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Casey met Tiesha topside, sliding into the front seat of the lieutenant's car. "I didn't want to take these inside," the young woman explained. "These are proof sheets. You pick the one you want, and I'll do a bit of work on it, frame it, and you'll have the photo portrait you wanted."
With a nod, she opened the envelope. Withdrew two sheets of photos. "Wow!"
"They all turned out great, didn't they? Of course, the portrait will look even better, because you won't be able to see the straps for the wings, or the wire for the halo."
She could only stare. The wings looked as if they were attached to her body, as if they actually belonged there. The halo glittered above her head. And...she never thought she'd be able to admit it, but she didn't look bad at all! "I don't know if I can choose!"
"Mind if I offer a suggestion?" Tiesha asked.
"This one, or this one. You've managed to look seductive and innocent at the same time. Don't know how you pulled it off, but the camera never lies!"
Casey studied the two photos. The second showed more of her breasts than the first. His beauties, as he called them. "This one," she said, pointing to the second photo.
"Excellent choice. Now, I'm going to frame it, is maple okay? I found some beautiful maple frames online, and I have about a dozen of them."
"That's fine," Casey murmured.
"Okay, the portrait will be fifteen by twenty. And I'll do a two by three for Doctor J to keep in his wallet."
She giggled. "I'm sure he'll appreciate that."
Tiesha laughed. "I'm sure he will, too."
Casey studied the other photos. They were all pretty much the same, Tiesha had known exactly what she wanted, it was just a matter of catching the 'right' expression. "What will you do with these, and the negatives?"
The young SF smiled. "The negatives are yours, Casey, you paid for the film. The proofs I'll destroy."
She sighed. "Thank you."
With a glance at her watch, she stepped out of the car. "I have to get back before he misses me. See you inside tomorrow, enjoy the rest of your day off!"
"I will. See you tomorrow!"
Casey jogged back toward the bus stop. Her heart pounded with excitement as she rode to the massive door that could seal of the mountain in a matter of seconds if the need arose. Flashed a smile along with her badge at each of the remaining checkpoints.
When the elevator doors opened on level eighteen, Daniel was standing there, waiting to get on. "Hey," he said, his face lighting up with a smile.
He pulled her into his arms, gave her a kiss. "Where are you headed?"
"General Hammond's office. New MALP reports," she replied. "You?"
"Gym. Workout with Jack and Teal'c."
"Anything specific I need to work on when I'm finished?"
He shook his head. "Just the tablets on the work table."
"Right. The ones that are in so many pieces it's impossible to tell what was written on the majority of each tablet."
"I think I'll play a little game of 'fill-in-the-blank'," she grinned.
Daniel couldn't help but chuckle. "Should make for some interesting reading."
"I'm sure it will."
He kissed her again before stepping out on level twenty-one. "I'll meet you in the commissary at two-thirty. We'll have coffee."
"I'll be there," she promised. Shivered appreciatively at his wink, held the door open long enough to watch him walk down the corridor. The man had the finest ass she'd ever seen!
A A A A A A
It had been far too long since she'd enjoyed a 'girl's night out' with Sam and Janet. Daniel was happily up to his ears in artifacts, and Jack had strict orders to drag him home no later than midnight. Which was when Jack's hockey game was scheduled to end. Teal'c had taken the opportunity of a quiet weekend to slip to the Land of Light to visit with Master Bra'tac and Rya'c. Casey sat back in the chair, contentedly sipped her wine.
"Sam tells me that you're planning a barbecue at your place for Daniel's birthday," Janet said.
Casey nodded. "His birthday is on Tuesday, I plan to take him to dinner that night, but we'll celebrate on the 5th. Dad will be out here for the 4th, so we're going to do the parade and the rodeo, and then the fireworks show. He has to be back in Kansas City for a meeting with clients on the fifth, something about it being the only time that the owners and his crew can all sit down in the same room at the same time. So he's catching the red-eye flight after the fireworks are over. Will you be back from D.C. in time for the party?"
Janet nodded. "My flight leaves Reagan Airport at nine, so I should be here by two."
"Did she tell you about her 'special' gift for Daniel?" Sam asked, her blue eyes twinkling mischievously.
"No, she didn't," Janet replied. She turned to Casey. "Give, girlfriend."
"Tiesha Taylor took a few pictures for me. We chose one, and she's going to make a portrait out of it," Casey shrugged.
"She's an angel," Sam said. "White wings and gold halo, wearing a tiny little white thong, and white stockings, and a white corset, and her hands are covering her boobs. It's a shame you can't see the shoes, but Tiesha thought a torso shot would be the best."
Brown eyes went wide. "Are we going to see it?"
Again slender shoulders moved up and down. "Tie suggested hanging it in the bedroom. It is rather...well..."
"It's seductive!" Sam declared. "I was there when Tiesha was taking the photos. It's going to be erotic...but very...classy."
"Sort of like Playboy, eh?" Janet teased.
Casey's cheeks turned crimson. "Better than that, I hope. I keep worrying that Daniel won't like it."
The petite doctor burst into giggles. "He's gonna love it!" she predicted.
"That's what I told her," Sam said.
"Well, it's hard to come up with gift ideas," Casey complained. "What do you get for a man like Daniel?"
Janet frowned. "I know what you mean. It's hard to find gifts for Paul. I hate to get things for his apartment, I want gifts from me to be...personal. And how many ties can a man own?"
"I can buy fishing tackle for Jack, but even that gets old," Sam admitted.
"There's a lecture at the college on Daniel's birthday, about the affect of Native American traditions on modern American life. I bought tickets. I thought it sounded interesting, and like something he'd enjoy."
"I knew Paul loved me when he insisted on attending a medical lecture on viral infections and the impact on the heart with me," Janet giggled. "He said if I had to be there, then at least he could sit beside me, and hold my hand."
"What are the chances of him being transferred to Peterson?" Sam asked.
"Right now, slim to none," Janet replied. "He's trying to keep his position in DC as the liaison between the Pentagon and the SGC. If he can work that position into a consultant's position, he could retire, move here, and then just fly back and forth."
"So even with the distance, things are going well?" Casey asked.
"Actually, I think the distance helps," Janet confessed. "Neither of us have been in a relationship in a very long time. And both of us have been badly burned. We love each other, but we still have our own lives." She rolled her eyes. "I know, that sounds selfish."
Casey shook her head. "I think it sounds like the two of you have exactly what you need right now. If that changes, you'll figure out what will work for you."
Sam nodded her agreement. "Not everyone wants the nine-to-five, white picket fence and minivan life. Not all of us are cut out for it, either."
"Well, I'm just glad I asked him to dance at a certain wedding reception," Janet grinned, tossed a wink at Casey. "How are things between you and Jack?"
"Great. He keeps hinting that he lives farther from the base than I do, and it would be so convenient to carpool."
Casey giggled. "I thought he wanted to keep the rumors under control."
"Not gonna happen," Janet retorted. "Besides, everyone in the mountain has known for years that they've been carrying a torch for each other!"
Sam blushed brightly. "Yeah, well, knowing it, and being able to do something about it are two different things."
"I can't believe it took the president so long to figure out just how intense working there is, and that by its very nature, the SGC is not a typical military installation," Casey muttered. "What works well for the 'regular' military doesn't always fit us."
"True," Sam said.
"I'd ask how things are between you and Daniel, but the smiles you two wear all of the time are answer enough," Janet teased.
"I'm so glad to be home," Casey said quietly. "He..." She looked down, blinked tears from her eyes. "We had the day off, the day after we...um...dealt with Dartal. We spent the day in bed, cuddling mostly. We were just laying there, holding each other..."
Sam reached across the table and took her free hand when Casey wiped a tear from her cheek.
"He asked me if I was really there, or if I was just a dream. I told him I was home, thanks to him, that he'd saved me. I looked up, and tears were rolling down his cheeks. He..." she took a sip of wine, gratified when Sam's fingers tightened comfortingly, encouragingly. "He said that he'd been losing hope...that if the idea of 'shining a light on the haystack' hadn't come to him when it had, thanks to Airman James, he..."
Janet wrapped her hand over the entwined fingers of her best friends.
"He said he didn't want to live without me, couldn't live without me," Casey whispered.
"I knew he was slipping away from us," Janet said softly. She cleared her throat. Smiled brightly. "That's all over, honey, and things are fine now."
Casey smiled as well. "Yes, they are. We actually had an argument yesterday."
Sam giggled. "I don't think I've ever known anyone for whom an argument was a good thing!
"What was this wonderful argument about?" Janet asked.
"Lydia, our housekeeper, doesn't clean the den," Casey explained. "I wouldn't ask her to, not with all the stacks and piles of papers and books that Daniel has lying around. So I clean it. I'd run the vacuum, and cleaned the chairs, so I was just going to dust a little bit. I moved one pile of papers maybe three inches, and he had a fit. Said I was messing things up, that if I kept moving things he'd never be able to find them. I told him if he couldn't see what was in front of his nose, he should have his damned eyes checked."
Sam and Janet burst into giggles. "If that's the worst thing the two of you have to fight about, you're very blessed, girlfriend," Janet laughed.
"I am very blessed," Casey said softly.
A A A A A A
The Goa'uld had never been particularly considerate. In fact, Casey grumped, as she tied her boots, they were the most inconsiderate bunch she'd ever had the displeasure of knowing. An hour earlier, she'd been sitting in General Hammond's office, going over the MALP reports that had come in the day before. It had been, she'd thought, her last task of the day. Of the three reports, only one had caused her to cry out with alarm. The UAV had taken photographs of a small village...and she could 'see' it burning...and the people led through the 'gate into slavery. She'd been unable to see the mark on the Jaffa. Nor had she been able to surmise the identity of the Goa'uld involved. She had seen, however, that if just one team was in that village before the Jaffa arrived, there was a very good chance that they'd be able to prevent the disaster from happening. But whichever team went, they had to leave immediately. SG-1 was the only team with all members still on duty. She'd called Charley, and left a message for her father, telling him that it looked as if she and Daniel weren't going to be home for the 4th of July after all. And that she'd call just as soon as they were.
"Talk to me, Radar," Jack said as the team armed themselves.
"I can't see much...just that some damned snake is going to try and take that village," Casey replied.
"Will you be able to see more once we're there?" Sam asked.
"I hope so," was the quiet reply.
"Okay, campers, let's go." Jack led his team to the 'gate room.
General Hammond was waiting beside the ramp for them. "I don't want those people frightened needlessly," he said. "Doctor Jackson, do your best to explain to them that we're only trying to help them."
"Yes, sir," Daniel replied.
"SG-1, you have a go. Godspeed, people," the general said quietly.
A A A A A A
It was late evening on the planet the computer had designated as P5R 6J2. Dark red streaks on the very edge of the horizon were all that was left of the day's sunshine. Jack and Daniel took point, Teal'c was on the six. They were all tense as they made their way from the Stargate down the narrow, dusty road to the clearing where the small village was nestled.
When they arrived at the cluster of small houses, there was no one to be seen, although several goats were wandering free. The animals ignored them as they approached.
"Hello?" Daniel called out. "Hello?"
"Any clue to the identity of these people?" Jack asked softly.
"None," Daniel replied. "The houses are pretty average, could have been built by-"
"Who are you?" The voice came from the first house on their left.
"Hello?" Daniel repeated, hoping that whoever had spoken would do so again, so that he might possibly figure out what language was being spoken.
"I asked you who you are! Speak up, or we'll kill you where you stand!"
That part he understood! Probably had more to do with the tone of voice than understanding each individual word. The language was the precursor to Greek, and a language that hadn't been spoken on Earth for many centuries. One that Daniel had never heard before. That he was able to recognize a few words was sheer luck. "I am Daniel. We come to you in peace," he said, using the oldest Greek dialect he knew, hoping that whoever he was speaking to would understand enough to hold back the attack on them. On a hunch, he spoke again, in Goa'uld. "We mean you no harm."
"Who are you?"
He couldn't help but grin. The accent was heavy, but he was able to understand. "We are travelers. We come from a distant land. We have learned that an enemy is about to attack you. We wish to protect you."
"Who would attack us? We have nothing!"
"The enemy that comes will take you, and your friends and family. They seek slaves," Daniel replied. And worse, his mind added.
The door opened slowly. A man of medium height and build stepped out cautiously, the arrow still notched against the string of his bow. "Why would you help us?"
"Because that is our job...um...what we do," Daniel replied.
Casey put her hand on her Husband's arm. "Tell them that we were sent by the gods to protect them," she said softly.
"Casey, I won't lie to them," Daniel argued.
"Prove that it would be lying," she said, her green eyes holding his in the dim illumination of their flashlights.
He studied her for a moment. Heaved a sigh. "My friends and I have been sent to protect you, by the gods," he said.
The man lowered his bow, his eyes going wide. The doors of the other small houses opened slowly, men stepped out into the dusty courtyard. The faces of women and children could be seen peeking around the shutters on the windows. "Then the old hag was right!"
"Old hag?" Daniel asked, a frown on his face.
Casey felt the presence of the seer before the old woman stepped out from the shadows of trees behind the houses. Knew that the woman sensed her as well. She stood still as the woman approached. When Daniel and Jack would have stepped between them, Casey put a calming hand on each man's arm, moved in front of them.
"So, you're the one."
"If you say so," Casey replied.
The old woman cackled. Turned her attention to Daniel. "There is much power in him. Great strength."
"Yes, there is."
"You are his Guide."
"I am," Casey agreed.
The old woman turned to face the group of men who'd gathered behind her. "Even now, as you see with your own eyes that what I told you was true, you still doubt. Know this, if in your disbelief you send these warriors away, you doom yourselves, and your families, to death."
The man who seemed to be the leader looked from Daniel to the old woman, and back again. "If the evil that will visit us is so great, why didn't the gods send an army? What can three men do?"
"You see, yet you are blind," the old woman said sadly, shaking her head. "Perhaps you are not worthy of rescue."
"Wait a minute," Daniel said. "There is no way we'll leave these people alone, to face what...those who are coming. We will wait near the 'gate...um...Chappa'ai, for those who will come. We don't want them to get this far, don't want to endanger the children."
The old woman nodded. "You should go with them," she told the leader. "Show the gods that you are capable of aiding in your own defense."
"That won't be necessary," Daniel said quickly.
"Perhaps not. But they shouldn't hide behind the doors like cowards."
"Uh, Daniel?" Jack said, a frown on his face.
The archaeologist quickly explained what was happening. Jack looked at the group of men. "If they're all armed with bows and arrows, they might be able to stop any Jaffa who might slip by us. If they know to aim for the throat." With luck the Jaffa wouldn't be wearing their full helms. Their throats would be the only place on their bodies vulnerable to such primitive weapons.
With a nod of understanding, Daniel relayed the message to the old woman and the leader.
"And what will you demand of us, in return for your protection?" the leader asked.
"Your friendship," Daniel replied.
The answer caused a stir among those who listened with rapt attention.
"If we're going to catch the goons at the 'gate, we'd better get there and settled in," Casey said.
"Daniel, tell those men to keep an eye out, and to aim for the throat. Let's go, campers!" Jack ordered.
With an apologetic smile, Daniel explained that the time for the battle had arrived. He warned the men what to look for, what to do if they saw any of the Jaffa. Promised that they'd return when the enemy had been destroyed.
"Daniel, move it!" Jack called, the rest of the team right behind him, jogging back toward the 'gate.
He ran to catch up. "The old woman said something about the men hiding in the woods behind the houses. The women and children will take shelter in a cave nearby."
"Good," Jack replied. "Okay, let's get settled in. Lights off, night vision goggles on. Make every shot count, campers."
Casey took comfort from the warmth of his shoulder as it brushed hers each time he shifted slightly. Jack and Sam were on the other side of the 'gate, and Teal'c was hidden by several trees that stood approximately fifty feet in front of the 'gate. It was as surrounded as the five of them could make it.
As always, the hardest part of any battle was the wait. She hadn't had any idea how soon the attack would come, only that it would. And that for a change, those of the SGC could make a difference. It was nearly dawn before the sound of the 'gate activating broke the silence of the small meadow.
When the inner ring began to spin, five hearts began to pound. "Wait until we know what they're gonna do," Jack's voice whispered in their ears.
A A A A A A
This was the first raid he would conduct since his 'return'. When his spy had informed him that the village on the planet could be easily taken, he'd immediately drawn up a plan of attack. The Jaffa waited for his order. They were young, and inexperienced. His plans, however, would change one of those facts rather quickly. He'd overseen the training that they had received, making him confident of his success. He was not willing to risk himself on the basis of that confidence, however. He'd make his appearance and claim the people, as was his right as their god, once his First Prime had secured the prisoners, and only then. With a kiss, he bid his lover goodbye, with whispered promises of a swift return.
Tem turned to his First Prime. "Send them through. I have loyal Goa'uld in need of healthy host bodies. Those not needed will fill the slave pens."
The man nodded. Gave the order. And the Chappa'ai came to life.
He watched the Jaffa rush through the blue in the center of the stone circle, then turned to the priest who'd brought him such...interesting...news. While the memories of his lover were probably still intact, all ability to reach them was long gone. So he'd been no help in discerning the truth of the rumors. However, if what he was hearing was true...to have such a woman at his side would be very...convenient. A soft, feminine body to share with his 'father', his lover. A mother for his sons. And a seer to guide his armies. Yes, he'd become more powerful than Ra with such a woman at his side. "Find her," Tem ordered. "I want her here as quickly as possible."
"My Lord, Ba'al searches for her as well," the priest replied.
"This means nothing to me."
"Should Lord Ba'al learn that you have her, he would be quick to attack," the priest explained, mentally rolling his eyes at the arrogance of his 'god'.
"Which would afford us the opportunity to take all that Ba'al holds. I want this witch found, and I want her found immediately!"
"Yes, My Lord."
A A A A A A
When the first group came through, they hesitated, looking around uncertainly. Then began to line up in formation on either side of the 'gate.
Jack frowned. The faces were those of very young men. They had training...but no experience, the way they moved broadcasted that fact.
When the 'gate hissed closed, fifty Jaffa stood waiting. The First Prime pointed toward the narrow dirt road. The first group began to march.
Shit! If they opened fire now, the rest of those Jaffa would have a hell of a good chance of getting in a lucky shot or two. If they didn't fire, that bunch would be on the road and out of sight in a matter of seconds. Jack shook his head. "Make it count, kids. Get the group heading for the road first," he whispered.
In an explosion of noise and hot metal, the first group of Jaffa went down without firing a shot. There was momentary confusion among the ranks of those who waited in front of the DHD. It looked as if the First Prime was dialing for home. He was screaming for his men to open fire, which they did, aiming blindly into the woods around them.
"Take 'em out, campers!" Jack ordered.
The darkness of night was lit by the blasts from the staff weapons, and the bursts of fire from the P90's. The more the team fired, the more often the Jaffa were able to see where the rain of death was coming from.
"Move! Don't sit in one place!" Jack yelled, shifting toward his left.
The 'gate opened with its customary 'whoosh'. The First Prime and those not dead...or dying...raced up the steps and through the event horizon. Jack called for the team to cease fire.
"The First Prime will be taken to task for his failure," Teal'c said, as he walked carefully among the bodies.
Weapons were switched to auto-mode. Any Goa'uld symbiote that tried to escape the pouches of the Jaffa was killed. Teal'c methodically moved from body to body, reaching into pouches, pulling out the Goa'uld larvae. He snapped them into pieces, then tossed them aside.
Casey watched for a moment. "Why?"
"We don't dare take the chance that just one of those things could survive," Jack replied. "There's an entire village of people not too far from here, we don't need a Goa'uld setting up camp there."
She nodded her understanding.
"Daniel, go tell Grandma Moses and the head honcho that the trouble has been taken care of. They'll have to get rid of the evidence...somewhere not here," Jack said.
With a nod, Daniel wrapped his hand around Casey's. "Let's go," he said softly.
The noise of the battle had been that of the fires and demons of hell. The screams of those dying had been heard clearly in the village. Shaken, the old woman and the men who'd waited in hiding, ready to ambush any of the 'metal men' who escaped the warriors of the gods, walked slowly toward the man and woman who approached, hand in hand.
"We've stopped them, for now," Daniel said. "You should remain on guard. If the Chappa'ai should come to life, kill any who are dressed as the dead Jaffa. Bury those bodies that remain far from the Chappa'ai, so that any who come through again aren't given a warning of danger."
"It will be as you say," the leader said.
The old woman put her hand on Casey's cheek. "The burden you bear is a heavy one. You have already suffered much. Such is the fate that has been thrust upon you."
Thrust upon them was right! Deep in her heart, she knew that Daniel had been chosen as The One because of the wonderful man that he was. She'd do anything, everything, that she had to in order to protect him. She smiled.
"Your path is a long one. You will find peace, in time."
Now that was something to look forward to! A little house on the beach...in Sicily. Daniel would write his books. She'd have her gardens...it sounded like heaven to her! "Thank you."
"Wrap it up, Daniel," Jack's voice said from the radio.
Eyes widened around them. "You have great magic!" the leader gasped.
Sometimes, it was too difficult to explain. Simple things like lighters would be considered great magic by these people, as primitive as they were. And often, it was better to leave them as they were, to allow them to progress naturally. Or as naturally as possible after their experience with 'gods'. Or warriors of the gods. He couldn't help but glance upward. Had SG-1 been used by a higher power to save these people? If so, he wouldn't complain. "We will come again, someday. So that we might learn about you," Daniel said quietly.
"We will await your return," the leader replied.
"Daniel, come on!" Jack's voice insisted.
He keyed the radio. "On our way."
A A A A A A
The team had debriefed as soon as they'd returned. General Hammond had wanted to speak to Casey about a concern that had cropped up in the accounting department. Neither of them were certain her gift of sight would help, but she'd been willing to try. And she'd been able to identify a woman who was embezzling funds. Which explained the disappearance of several thousand dollars. The general had been relieved to learn exactly what was going on. Armed with the proof he needed, he'd be able to make certain the woman got the help she needed for her gambling problem, and see to it that no more of the SGC's budget would disappear.
Casey walked into the locker room just as Sam had been leaving. She and Jack were going to grab dinner and head home, the major had said. They'd agreed on the time for the barbecue the next day, and said their goodnights.
This was a good day, she thought, standing beneath the water in the shower of the women's locker room. Even if she'd missed the parade. And the rodeo. And was really too tired to even think about the fireworks display. SG-1 had saved a small village from being enslaved. Yes, it had been a very good day!
When she went to get dressed, she gasped. Propped against the metal door of the locker was a large, flat object, wrapped carefully in brown paper. An envelope was taped to the front, with her name written across it. The portrait! It had to be! She could barely contain herself, wanting to rip the paper off and look at it. Instead, she satisfied her curiosity by opening the envelope. The note was short, and brought a smile to her lips.
The wallet sized photo had been wrapped in the note. She dropped onto the bench and stared. She looked...good grief, she looked like an angel! A sexy angel to be sure...but the wings looked so...natural...and the halo seemed to be floating above her head...and how had Tie managed to get it to look as if it were glowing? She took a deep breath. She'd be positively devastated if Daniel was disappointed in this portrait. Or worse yet, disapproving.
She was carrying the large package when she met him at the elevator. She grinned at the look on his face.
"So, what's that?"
"Your birthday gift."
He grinned from ear to ear. "Let me see it!"
Oh, that piqued his interest! The slight blush on her cheeks had his heart pumping with excitement. It didn't take a genius to figure out that it was a photo...or portrait of some sort. With luck, it would be an oil painting of a naked Casey, he thought with a grin. "As soon as we get home?"
She smiled at his eagerness. "As soon as we get home."
"Good. I'm gonna like it, aren't I?"
"Oh, I hope so," she sighed softly.
The ride home was the longest it had ever been. She was so nervous her stomach was starting to hurt!
Daniel carried the package into the den. Leaned it against the back of her upholstered chair.
"Um...I just wanted you to know, Tiesha took the photo. The idea was hers...well, for the...I mean, I'd wanted to have some sort of photo taken, and I wanted something special, like a portrait, but I wasn't sure exactly what...and Tie came up with-"
He put his finger on her lips. "If it's from you, I love it. Now hush and let me open it."
She pressed her trembling fingers together as he carefully slit the tape open. Pulled the brown paper from the frame.
Sweet Jesus in Heaven! She was stunning! Wearing that little white satin number...and the stockings...and a lacy white thong that just barely covered paradise, and left that sexy ass bare...and her hands were cupping his beauties, her fingers covering the pink nipples that made his mouth water. Feathery white wings sprouted from her slender shoulders, a golden halo shone above her blonde head. And that smile...sweet and innocent and seductive...it was enough to melt his brain. "It's...Casey, it's breathtaking!"
She smiled. "You like it?"
"Like it? I love it!" He was unable to take his eyes from it! He started laughing.
"What's so funny?"
"Remember our afternoon in the hotel room, making new memories?"
"I remember," she said softly.
"I looked up at you, and swore I saw angel wings," he said softly. "My Fantasy Angel."
"I thought we could hang it in the bedroom. I mean, it's just for us, and no one goes in there," she said shyly.
"I'd love to have a copy to hang above my desk at work," he grinned.
His grin went wider. "I know. Every guy in the SGC would be standing in there all day long, staring at it."
"And beating off," she added dryly.
He roared with laughter. "No doubt. God, Case, it's like you strolled through my brain and picked up on one of my fantasies!"
"Well, you can't hang it above your desk, but...here." She handed him the wallet sized photo.
He studied it carefully. Winked at her, and pulled his wallet from his hip pocket. Carefully inserted the photo in the plastic protector. "Now I'll have my Fantasy Angel with me always," he said softly.
A A A A A A
The barbecue was well underway, and Emma Hanks was entertaining the guests with a story about her adventures working in London during the Great War. To the horror of her parents, she'd traveled by ship to the war-torn city, to help in any way she could. Deemed too 'unladylike' for the esteemed USO, she'd been promptly dismissed by a woman she described as so uptight, she couldn't pull her legs apart long enough to put pants on, which sent the group into hysterics. She told of finding work in a local pub. It was there, she said, where she met her Henry.
When she'd finished, Emma insisted that it was time for some music. Daniel obliged by turning on the stereo.
Casey was putting the candles on the cake, Sam and Janet sitting at the bar talking to her, when the phone rang, the bell barely noticeable above the sounds of U2 and the buzzing of several conversations.
"I'll get it," Jack offered, then pointed toward the den.
"Thanks, Jack," Casey said, then turned back to her task.
He didn't see the portrait when he walked in. Whoever had been calling had hung up by the time he picked up the receiver. He didn't think it would be Gary; Casey's father had her cell phone number, and he would've at least left a message.
Jack turned to leave the room. And came face to face with a nearly naked, winged Casey. She was...damn she's beautiful! Not that Sam wasn't, his brain pointed out hastily. But..."Holy Hannah!"
Daniel walked to the island. "Did I hear the phone ring?"
"Yep," Casey replied. "Jack's getting it in the den."
Oh shit! Casey had moved her portrait into their bedroom, leaned it against the front of the dresser, which just happened to be on the same wall as the door...unless someone went into the room, they wouldn't see it. He, however, had moved it to the den so he could sit in his chair and look at it. Stare at it. Pant over it. He dropped a kiss on the tip of her nose, hurried into see if his best friend had managed to miss it. He couldn't help but grin. Jack was staring. No need to ask what he was staring at.
"Oh...I...uh...phone," Jack stuttered, when he looked into cerulean blue eyes.
"Who was it?" Daniel asked, nodding toward the phone.
"Dunno. They hung up before I picked up." He waved a hand at the portrait. "This is new."
"My birthday present."
"Right, wings. Nice wings. Gorgeous...uh...wings."
Janet walked in. "What are you two...whoa!"
"Nice wings," Jack said immediately.
"Very nice," Janet grinned. "She told me about it. It's beautiful, Daniel."
"I know," Daniel replied, a wide, proud grin on his face.
"Wings," Jack said again.
Janet started to giggle. "Seems Jack noticed the wings."
Daniel chuckled. "Yep. I, myself, am particular to those perfect breasts."
Jack started to speak, choked slightly. Shook his head. "Where are you going to hang it?" he managed to rasp.
"In our bedroom. Probably above the dresser. I'll get to hold my Angel, and see her every morning when I wake up."
"Yeah, nice...very nice," Jack muttered. "Wings. Nice wings."
Janet took Jack's arm. "I think the colonel needs a drink. You might want to put that away, unless you want all of the guys here to see it."
"Casey had it put away," Daniel confessed. "I just wanted to sit and look at it, before everyone arrived...I sort of forgot about it."
"We won't tell anyone, will we, Colonel?"
"Nope," Jack said.
With Janet and Jack hiding the hallway from view, Daniel slipped the portrait back into the bedroom, exactly where Casey had left it.
Janet whispered into Sam's ear. Who immediately slipped toward the bedroom. Sam was just as impressed as Janet had been, and told Daniel that she'd been present when the photos had been taken, but had had no idea the portrait would be so beautiful. Daniel closed the bedroom door when he and Sam left to join the others.
"Who called?" Casey asked.
Jack turned to look at her. Shuddered slightly. "Nice wings," he muttered under his breath.
"Nobody there when I picked up," Jack replied.
"Probably a telemarketer," Casey grumped.
"Probably," Jack nodded. He gratefully took the beer that Janet had handed him, gulped down half of it.
Casey gathered everyone, Emma started them singing, and Daniel paused to make his wish before blowing out the candles on his cake. What more could he ask for? He had everything he needed. Friends, those he could call family, a nice home...and most important of all, Casey. The woman who completed him. Who'd banished all of the darkness and emptiness from his heart. She was his Destiny. His Fantasy Angel.
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