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With twenty days of leave time, the team had decided to do a bit of sightseeing while they were in the area. So they were staying downtown at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel. Traffic was heavy, as was the norm for that time of day, as they made their way up I-5, then into the heart of the city. Plans were discussed and made; a trip to the Space Needle...a walk on the waterfront...a visit to Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant.
The rooms were ready, Jack had made certain when making the reservations that they'd remain near one another. They agreed to meet in the lobby bar to make dinner plans around five...Jack announcing that for once they'd be able to take advantage of the ‘Happy Hour’.
Casey unclipped her garment bag, hung it in the closet beside Daniel’s. Dropped down on to the bed. "Why don’t you call your friend...invite him to join us for dinner," she suggested.
Daniel smiled. "Good idea."
"Then-" she broke off, tugged at a thread in the bedspread.
"Then?" he asked softly.
She looked up at him. "Could we just...walk...maybe do a little window shopping? I don’t want to buy anything," she added quickly. Lord knew she'd spent enough last month on new sheets and throw pillows for the bedroom. She should know better than to go into Bed&Bath when they were having a two for one sale! Especially with Janet around!
"Sounds like fun. And how do you know you won’t find something you’ll just have to have?" he teased.
"Because whatever I buy has to fit into my luggage," she replied.
"You can always have it shipped home."
Her eyes lit up. "Yeah, I could! I hadn’t thought of that!"
He groaned playfully. "I can see it now...boxes and boxes of souvenirs and trinkets."
"Watch it, I can make that happen!"
He dropped down beside her. Reached out to caress her cheek. "Babe, whatever you want," he said softly.
She smiled. How often had she heard those very words? And they still caused a flutter in her heart, a feeling of awe...and disbelief that she could have found a man so generous. "Just a walk, that’s all I want."
Daniel studied her for a minute, his fingers tracing a pattern over the soft skin of her face. "You’re nervous."
"A bit. I haven’t seen her in over nine years," she admitted.
"You don’t have to go," he replied.
"We’ve already had this discussion. I need to do this, Daniel."
He sighed. "I know. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. Which I don’t."
She couldn’t help but smile. "I think I figured that part out. Call your friend."
He leaned forward to kiss her, then reached for the phone beside the bed, fishing in his pocket for the slip of paper he'd written Mike’s phone number on before leaving the house earlier in the day. He dialed carefully. Listened to the sound that indicated that it was ringing. Just as he was about to hang up, a breathless voice answered.
"Hey! Doctor Jackson."
Daniel smiled. "How’s it going, Mike?"
"Funny you should ask. I’m about to go on a last minute dig. I could use a warm body for moving dirt."
His interest instantly piqued, Daniel sat up on the bed. "Really? Where?"
"Little place called Wenepo. It’s in the middle of what used to be Salish land. It’s taken nearly a year to get permission to do a dig near what could be one of the first settlements of the tribe, and I only have three weeks to do it in."
Three weeks. Without a doubt he could get an additional day or two of leave, if something interesting was found. Casey had loved the digs she'd been on so far... "Yeah, well, you just might have that warm body," he replied.
"What?" Mike’s voice went up.
"The reason I called is that I’m in Seattle for a few days. Was wondering if you’d like to have dinner tonight...meet Casey, since you didn’t get to come to the wedding."
"I'd love it!" the older man declared.
"My...friends...are here as well," Daniel said.
Mike knew about Sam and Jack and Teal’c. He'd never met them, but understood that the three people had become the closest thing to family that Daniel had. It had always bothered him that Daniel had always been alone...so very alone. He had no idea that the young archaeologist had reconciled with his grandfather...just before the old man decided to stay with the Giant Aliens who had haunted him for over twenty years. "The more the merrier. When and where?"
"Can you meet us in the lobby bar of the Renaissance Hotel downtown around five?"
"I’ll be there," Mike replied.
"Good," Daniel grinned. "See you then."
"Yes, you will! Later, Danny."
The line went dead, and with a chuckle, Daniel put the receiver back in the cradle. He couldn’t wait until Mike saw Casey. The older man would flip out. He looked into those amazing green eyes. "How would you like to spend a couple of weeks on a dig?"
"Really? An honest-to-god dig? Where? When? What culture-"
He laughed out loud. "Hey...slow down!" His heart was racing at her obvious excitement. She'd wanted to be an anthropologist. Had embraced archaeology with all the enthusiasm that he felt for his profession. "Yes, an honest-to-god dig. Here in Washington ...some place called Wenepo. What could be one of the first Salish settlements."
"Sounds great! When do we leave?"
"Probably sometime tomorrow."
She suddenly pulled her lip between her teeth. "What about Sam and Jack and Teal’c?"
He frowned. "I’d love it if they decided to join us. If they don’t that’s okay, too. They can do some more sightseeing, or whatever. We can meet back up with them when our leave is up."
She studied him for a minute. Could see in his eyes the same excitement that filled her own heart. "I think they’ll understand," she said softly.
"I think so, too. Now, I think a walk was mentioned earlier."
She smiled. "I believe you’re right."
"Let’s go, babe. Burn off some of that excess energy and excitement before you start bouncing off the walls!"
"Me? Hey, you’re excited too!"
"Never said I wasn’t," he replied. "I’m just better at controlling it."
"Oh, you are so going to pay for that!" She grabbed a pillow and thumped him on the shoulder with it.
He defended himself until he was able to move past her defenses, and put her on her back. "Surrender?"
He grinned. Leaned down and kissed her. Felt her hands go into his hair when he deepened it. "Now?"
"I’m still thinking about it," she replied, her eyes laughing at him.
He lowered his head, captured her lips with his one once again. "If you want to go for that walk, we’d better leave now," he whispered.
"We don’t have to go for a walk," she whispered in reply.
"I was hoping you’d say that." His fingers began to work on the buttons of her blouse. When the phone began to ring, they both groaned. He grabbed the receiver. "Yeah?"
"Hey, Danny. Feel like taking a stroll?"
"Yeah, we were just discussing doing that."
"Uh huh. Meet you in the lobby in five."
"On our way."
"We’re going for a walk?" she asked.
"Looks that way. Unless you’d rather stay here."
"It’s up to you," she replied.
He smiled. If he wanted to stay in this room...in this bed...for the next twenty days, and that was a damned tempting idea, she'd do so in a heartbeat. But she'd brought up going for a walk, he knew it was something she wanted to do. "Let’s take a walk, Angel. I’ll finish ravishing you after dinner."
"I do hope you’ll wait until we get back to the room," she said, her eyes dancing with laughter.
"Such a smartass you are," he retorted. He kissed her. "Let’s go." He pulled himself off the bed, ran his hands through his hair to ‘straighten’ it, watched her re-button that pretty little red blouse. Daniel stuffed the key-card for the room into his pocket, locked the door and followed her into the hallway.
A A A A A A
The three men were walking just behind the two women, who were chattering about the various shops that lined the street. "My friend Mike is joining us for dinner," Daniel said quietly.
"This is the guy who got you totally wasted in Houston, right?" Jack asked.
"The one who sent you back to Colorado damned near dead from the mother of all hangovers."
"Okay," the older man said easily.
"He...uh...he’s starting a dig...near Wenepo, Washington. Asked if I was interested. He only has three weeks; he’ll need all the skilled help he can get. Casey and I were going to go along. If you guys want to come along...well...that would be great."
"A dig? On my vacation?"
"Maybe there’s a river nearby. You could fish," Daniel suggested.
"Fish, huh?" Jack looked over at the tall Jaffa. "What do you say, Teal’c...do you think we should go along...just to keep Daniel out of trouble?"
The dark man smiled. "I believe it would be most prudent to do so."
"We’ll have to ask Sam, but I’m sure she’d like to help. So, sure, count us in." Words weren’t necessary, Jack thought, watching the happy smile that lit his young friend’s face. Just like Casey, Daniel rarely asked for anything out of the ordinary; anything he might consider...excessive. Just the company of the people he trusted...that he called family. "So when do we leave on this adventure?"
"Probably tomorrow. After I...uh...meet with...her."
Jack nodded. "I told the police lieutenant to expect us around ten."
The younger man nodded. "Good. We can take care of that...then have lunch."
He wasn’t so sure that Casey...or even Daniel, would be able to eat after facing the woman who had been such a negative factor in the young woman’s life. But...then again...maybe saying what he needed to say would get the weight that Daniel had been carrying around off his shoulders. "That’s the plan, then."
A A A A A A
It seemed that Casey and Sam had decided that they needed to ‘dress’ for dinner...proof that the two didn’t often have the opportunity to dress up and look like the beautiful, feminine women that they were. And were going to grab the chance to do so.
He watched her put the finishing touches on her make-up. The black, back-pleat skirt that she was wearing hugged her slender hips. The lacy emerald green camisole was low cut and damned sexy. He'd heaved a silent sigh of relief when she'd pulled a cardigan from her duffle. The dark green of the sweater accented the color of her beautiful eyes. "You look beautiful," he said softly as she recapped her lip gloss.
She looked over at him. He was wearing black trousers and a dark blue shaker knit sweater. "Thank you," she replied, her voice soft as well. She smiled at him. "You’re looking good, yourself."
The look she gave him said more than her words. Sent his ego soaring. "Thanks." He watched her slip her feet into the high-heeled pumps that did such great things for those incredible legs. Yep, Mike is gonna flip.
"Well, I think I’m ready." She pulled the cardigan on, ran her hands through her hair one last time.
"Let’s go." He followed her into the hallway. His hand went to the small of her back, the need to touch her undeniable.
Mike was already waiting for them, sitting at the bar, watching the elevator doors. When he saw Daniel step out, his arm around the waist of a blonde with looks that could turn a grown man into a slobbering idiot, his eyes went wide. How in the hell had the little geek managed to catch the attention of a woman like her? Not that Danny was ugly or anything. He wasn’t...but still...Dayum! He was on his feet, nervous as a schoolboy as his friend and his beautiful new wife approached.
One look told him all he needed to know. He watched Mike’s eyes go wide, and then stay focused on Casey. Watched him hastily wipe his hand on his pant leg before offering it to her. Yep. He'd flipped. Daniel couldn’t help but grin.
"I’m Mike, and why is a gorgeous woman like you with a geek like him?" Mike said, grinning broadly.
"I’m Casey, and I happen to be madly in love with this archaeologist," Casey replied flippantly.
He laughed, then looked at Daniel, clapped him on the shoulder. "You lucky dog!"
"Very lucky," he replied. "Casey, this is Doctor Mike Loughlin. He was my senior advisor when I started grad school, now he’s a professor of Archaeology at the University of Washington. Mike, this is my Wife, Casey Jackson."
The two shook hands once again, laughing and exchanging ‘how-do-you-do’s’. "Seriously, Danny, I’m happy for you," Mike said, giving the younger man a one-armed hug. "You’re looking a damned sight better than the last time I saw you."
"Part of the reason I looked so bad was alcohol poisoning," Daniel replied dryly.
Casey burst into giggles. "I’ve told Daniel that I think we should go to Houston, and to the bar where the two of you did all of that drinking, so we can have a memorial service for all of those brilliant brain cells that suffered such a horrible death."
Mike roared with laughter. "Beautiful and a sense of humor!"
"And an archaeologist," Daniel added.
"Daniel, I’m not-" Casey started to protest softly.
"Maybe not degreed, but she has the training," he finished, before she could say more.
The older man looked at her. "Damn, Danny! She’s the perfect woman!"
His grin nearly split his face. "Yep."
Daniel turned around to see Jack, Sam and Teal’c standing just behind him. Introductions were made, and the group found a table to share, while they debated on just what, and where, they wanted to eat. After careful consideration, it was decided that staying at the hotel, and eating in the Pellini Italian restaurant on the premises would allow them to have a few drinks and not have to worry about driving. They finished their drinks, and headed for the elevators and the 28th floor, where the restaurant was located.
Once they were seated, Daniel turned the discussion toward the upcoming dig, informing his old friend that he and the team would be accompanying the UW professor. Who was overjoyed to learn that he'd have the extra help he'd been searching for.
"I have a group together: three trained volunteers, a student and another archaeologist." He glanced sideways at Daniel. "Remember Doctor Bernie Watson?"
Not as ‘doctor’ he didn’t. But he did remember the woman...tall, willowy...brown hair...hazel eyes...and an attitude that didn’t quit. She'd decided early on that the young grad student with the impressive collection of degrees was her nemesis. Until they were forced to work together on a project. They became friends as they spent hours doing research. He'd helped her write her dissertation. She'd been most interested in the tribes of people on the South Pacific Islands, and he'd enjoyed helping to find the facts and figures that she needed, had probably learned as much as she had. She'd passed with flying colors, and had been so grateful...and excited...when she received her grade that she'd kissed him. He'd thought the simple gesture was an indication that she was willing to move their friendship to the ‘next level’. So he'd kissed her again, letting his hands move from her arms to her breasts. She'd pushed him away, her eyes wide with surprise. Which had sent him scurrying back to his room...and doing whatever he had to in order to avoid her for the remainder of the year. "Yeah, I remember her," he said quietly.
Her? Bernie as in ‘Bernice’, or ‘Bernadette’? Casey looked from Daniel to Mike and back again. Evidently there was some history between her husband and this woman. Oh, hell! She tried to force her heart out of her stomach and back where it belonged.
Mike cleared his throat. "Yeah, well, she’s the...uh...archaeologist."
Daniel studied his friend. "I see."
"She...uh...she moved in with me a couple of months ago," Mike admitted sheepishly.
He heaved a mental sigh, his fears of dealing with the woman somewhat allayed. If she was in a relationship...if she was in a relationship with Mike, chances were that she'd be...cordial. At least civil. Hopefully Casey’s presence would help to soothe over any other...rough spots...that might occur. "Really? That’s great!"
None of his friends missed the marked signs of sheer relief in the features of his face. "Is she going to be joining us for dinner?" Jack asked.
Mike shook his head. "She’s taking a truckload of equipment to Wenepo tonight, making sure that all of the rooms are ready. I’ll give her a call later and tell her to reserve three more?" He glanced over at the younger archaeologist.
Daniel nodded. "Sounds good. We have some...um...business we have to take care of tomorrow. Then we’re good to go."
"Actually, I won’t need you on site until day after. I have to go to a couple of meetings with tribal elders, get all the blessings taken care of. I don’t know how long that will take, so we’ll do set up the day after tomorrow."
"Hey, that means we can do the Space Needle thing," Jack declared.
"And the waterfront...I want to go through the shops on the piers," Casey said.
"We can do dinner at Ivar’s," Sam suggested.
Their sight-seeing agenda still intact, the team began to pepper Mike with questions about the dig.
"Amazingly enough, the site was only discovered about two years ago. A group of hikers found a cave that had several drawings on the walls. There are four other caves, two of them quite a bit higher than the others. We haven’t had a chance to even see inside them yet," he told them.
"Why not?" Jack asked.
"The area is Salish Holy ground. As soon as there was proof that the caves had been occupied at some point in time, that whole side of the mountain was basically sealed off. They aren’t crazy about the idea of having a bunch of white men...and women...stomping around up there. But I was able to convince them that a scientific dig, done right, would only enlighten them about their ancestors, and the people who lived there," Mike said.
"You said you only get three weeks to do all of this?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, well, that’s mostly because of the weather. By the first part of November it will be too wet to be able to do anything without making a mess out of what we’re trying to examine. If we can find enough, we’ll be able to get permission to do further work next summer. For this trip, I’m most interested in those caves."
It had been a long time...years...since Daniel'd had to worry about getting permission to do a dig. Nearly everywhere that the team went, the residents were long gone. Where there were still people living nearby, most didn’t seem to care one way or another; it was usually easy enough to get permission from those who did. He hadn’t realized how ‘spoiled’ he'd become, starting a dig as soon as he found something of interest. Granted, he normally didn’t get to stay and complete the study. But he was the one to decide which places were important, and which ones weren’t.
"Will we need any equipment?" Daniel asked.
"Just clothes that you don’t mind getting filthy. I suggest a couple of pairs of jeans, a few tee shirts. Maybe a sweat shirt or two. Definitely a rain slicker of some sort," Mike replied.
He nodded. Sat back in his chair, wrapped his fingers around Casey's. A real vacation. He hadn’t had a real vacation since...well, their honeymoon didn’t count...it had been their honeymoon...so he hadn’t had a real vacation in...sheesh... years. Since he'd started working on the Stargate Program with Catherine Langford. He’d had time off, but he hadn’t taken a vacation. Yeah, this was just what he needed...what she needed...what they needed. He would face down Casey’s tormentor. And then take his Wife on a dig. Right here on Earth. Where there wouldn’t be any Goa’uld to worry about.
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