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Sand in an Hourglass
Gina looked up when the door opened, allowing an icy breeze to blow through. Her heart still raced each time she saw him. And still broke each time the blonde appeared at his side. She chided herself for her not so kind thoughts about Mrs. Daniel Jackson, pasted a smile on her face, grabbed five menus, and hurried to greet them. "Hi, gang."
"Hi, Gina," Daniel smiled. "Booth if you have one."
"We sure do! This way," she replied.
Jack glanced around. He smiled and thanked the waitress as he slid next to Sam. As always, Gina had brought them to a corner booth, where they had privacy. Which was exactly what they needed right now. It was late afternoon. Other than a few guys at the bar, and a couple shooting pool, they seemed to have the place to themselves. Good, they'd be able to talk without worrying about anyone overhearing them.
Drinks were ordered, pizzas were agreed upon, and the waitress left to take the order to the kitchen.
"Okay," Jack said, folding his arms on the table, leaning forward so he could speak softly and still be heard. "What the hell happened in that hallway?"
Daniel shook his head. "I'm not sure I understand," he admitted.
All eyes focused on Casey. "You said that Anubis was Ascended," Sam said softly.
"The first time I did a search and 'saw' him, I knew that there was something...different, something...odd...about him. Then when I had to play 'twenty questions' with Miss Eloise-" Casey started.
"Wait a minute," Jack interrupted. "Had to play 'twenty questions'?"
"Miss Eloise is allowed to guide me. But she can't say anything, can't tell me anything, unless I ask a direct question. Even then, she can only give me a 'yes' or 'no' answer. So I have to play 'twenty questions' to find things out sometimes," the young seer explained.
He nodded his understanding. "Got it. Go on."
"Well, I had this...feeling...that something was going on...something more than just taking out Anubis to save Earth. That he had to be taken out for a much...larger...um...more important reason."
"If he was Ascended, why was he here? I thought that the Ascended were forbidden from interfering," Daniel said.
"They are. But see, he wasn't fully Ascended. I mean, he could move to where the Ascended are, but he wasn't exactly one of them."
Daniel frowned. "They couldn't touch him as long as he was in mortal form, on this plane of existence."
Casey's frown matched her husband's. She nodded. "That makes sense. You had to stop him here..."
"They had to have known he wouldn't let me kill him," Daniel mused.
"But if you could force him to give up his mortal form, they could deal with him on their plane," Sam hypothesized.
Both Jacksons nodded. "Makes sense," Casey agreed.
"So did They...whoever 'They' were, in that cavern, did they give you that power to deal with Anubis?" Jack asked.
Daniel shrugged. "I don't know." He studied the table, carefully examined his mind, 'felt' around his body. Could still feel the warmth, noted that it felt just a bit hotter, that the power he suspected he'd been given seemed just a bit...stronger.
"It's one of the reasons," Casey said softly. "No doubt as The One, Daniel will have to use it again."
His head flew up, he turned his gaze to his wife. "Say what?"
"You're The One, Daniel. I don't know exactly what it means. But I do know that it's not going to be an easy path for you...for us." She glanced at each of her teammates. "I also know that you were granted Immortality so that you can help him," she said softly.
"Hey, we're a team. We stick together," Jack replied, a small smile on his face.
Silence fell over them as they each began to deal with the understanding of what was being asked of them...the cost of their 'gift'.
Casey closed her eyes.
"I'm right here, Sunshine."
She looked around. They were standing beside the lake she'd seen before. The surface of the blue water was like glass. The air warm and perfumed by the flowers that grew in abundance nearby. She settled beneath the giant oak that sat on the bank near the water. Miss Eloise sat down beside her. "It was awful."
"I know, Sunshine. But you survived."
"Yes, I did."
"And The One did what was needed."
"Which was pretty damned scary to see!"
The old woman smiled. "I'm sure it was."
Casey looked around. Then at the old seer. There was something..."I know that Jack, and Sam and Teal'c...and I...were granted Immortality so that we can be with him. To help him. So that he's never alone."
"If each of you hadn't earned Immortality, you wouldn't be Immortal."
"Too bad General Hammond and Janet couldn't be granted Immortality as well. We could sure use them. I'm certain that the president, whoever he...or she...might be, could be convinced that leaving certain people in certain positions is the best thing for the SGC, and for Earth."
"It would mean telling each president the truth," Miss Eloise pointed out.
Her eyes went wide. "It can be done?"
"If The One makes the request, then I'm certain that it would be considered."
She pulled her lip between her teeth. "But we have to tell the president first, don't we?"
"Well, I suppose that it really wouldn't be any more difficult to handle knowing than being told about the entire Stargate Program."
"It would be to our advantage."
"It would also be a great responsibility. And a great burden."
Casey thought about the general's daughter and granddaughters. About Cassie. General Hammond and Janet would have to watch them age, grow old...die; while they remained as they were. Not an easy choice to make. "I guess it would be."
"But the offer should be made. If they understand the importance of what you do, what is asked of you, they may be willing to make the sacrifice."
She nodded. "Guess I should tell the team first, though, right?"
Miss Eloise smiled. "It'd be a good idea. And tell them that there are those who are grateful for what they have already accomplished. Tell Daniel that...tell him that we thank him for his...assistance."
"I'll do that."
She opened her eyes. "We need to talk."
Jack groaned. "I don't want to hear it. I'm going to sit back and drink my beer and eat my pizza and I don't want to know about any threats or problems or snakes or-"
She smiled. "Daniel, Miss Eloise says thank you for your assistance," she said, effectively cutting off the tirade. "It seems that...how did she put that...'there are those who are grateful for what they...we...have already accomplished'."
"Hey, it's what we do," Jack grinned. His comment was met with quiet chuckles and giggles.
"Tell her she's welcome, I think," Daniel smiled. He looked at her eyes. Watched her tug on her lip. "There's more."
She nodded. "General Hammond and Janet could become Immortal."
Sam nearly dropped the bottle of beer that was in her hand. Teal'c raised one eyebrow so high it nearly climbed off his head. Jack choked, and Daniel looked as if a feather could knock him over.
"Say what?" Daniel managed to ask.
"We need to talk to them. But they're both in positions to help us do what we need to do. And...well, the catch is, we have to tell the president about us."
"Because each incoming president would also have to know...to understand why the general and the CMO, and SG-1, were still going strong, no matter how much time had passed," Daniel said.
Casey nodded. "There aren't enough people who really know about the SGC, and SG-1. And when they aren't...in the position...to have access to the information, they wouldn't know that certain things were the same."
Jack nodded slowly. "It'd be nice to know that we wouldn't have to break in an new C.O."
"And having a CMO on our side will only make it easier to hide what we are," Daniel mused.
"The secrecy required to work in the facility would prevent anyone from discussing what they might suspect," Teal'c added.
"It would be nice to have them around," Sam said softly.
"Yes, it would," Casey agreed.
Jack looked at his watch. "We'll eat, and then head back to the base. We should be able to talk to them about this before our briefing tomorrow."
"Will it mean a trip to the cavern?" Daniel asked.
"I don't know," Casey replied honestly.
"That could be a bit complicated," Jack said. "Explaining why they need to go to the planet where we disappeared for two weeks...having them gone for that long could be a problem."
"Let's not worry about that until we find out if they're even interested," Daniel said quietly.
Murmurs of agreement circled the table.
He put his arm around Casey, pulled her back beside him. Smiled when she snuggled against his side, totally oblivious to the look of jealousy that flashed over Gina's face when she brought a fresh round of beers. He never noticed things like that anyway. At that moment, he was too wrapped up in his thoughts to even see the waitress.
His life had taken a most unexpected turn when he and his teammates had been tossed headlong into an alternate, future reality. He never could have dreamed of the changes in himself, the amazing things that he'd experienced. Being part of SG-1 had always brought the unexpected, a bit of the bizarre into his life. Going to other planets on an almost daily basis via a stable wormhole was astonishing enough. But to have Casey in his life, his Destiny by his side, it was a miracle for which he'd always be thankful. He hadn't known what true, deep love was until she'd opened that apartment door.
Being Immortal, well, that was just mind bending. And something he didn't think about often. It was just too...weird...to think about. Knowing that he'd have eternity with Casey was all that he dared to consider, all that he really cared about.
When the pizzas were brought to the table, the team had managed to come out of their shock, both at what they'd witnessed Daniel do, and at the news that the general and their favorite doctor could 'join' them in their Immortality. They teased one another quietly, their soft laughter floating through the room.
SG-1 had pulled another rabbit out of the hat. That it was done with skills, with gifts granted to them, or at least to Daniel, was of little consequence. What mattered was that they'd prevailed, as a team, once again. After all, as Jack pointed out, they were the good guys!
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