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Sand in an Hourglass

Chapter 4

Casey hurried around the table, making certain that each place setting was 'just so', and that the centerpiece she'd created from pieces of the Blue Spruce...which had been cut off of the bottom of the tree so that it would fit in the tree stand...and bright ribbons and candles looked as good as it could. She carefully lit the votive candles, opened the wine, and then checked the turkey and the ham that browned in the ovens.

Daniel leaned against the doorway into the Great Room and watched her. She was wearing that little black skirt, the one she'd worn the first night they went out. Her chunky sweater was ablaze with color. No doubt she loved color because of how bleak and dark her life had been. Her face was glowing with excitement, and he'd seen her shaking three of her gifts. He never let on that he'd noticed, however.

The timer on the lower oven went off. Casey took the clove-studded ham and put the pan on one of her large trivets. Took the casserole dish of sweet potatoes and slid them into the oven.

"Daniel, are you sure that two dozen rolls will be enough?"

He smiled. "Babe, I'm sure. There's so much food now we'll never eat it all."

"Uh huh. You said that at Thanksgiving, too."

The smile widened to a grin. "Yeah, well, it's a good thing that NID puke didn't show up until that night. Or you and Sam would have been on your own. Jack, Teal'c, and I wouldn't have been able to move."

She giggled softly. "No one forced you to eat so much."

"You're the excellent cook," he countered.

Before she could reply, the doorbell echoed around them. Daniel went to answer the door, while she drained the boiled potatoes, dumped them into the mixer to whip them.

In a flurry of greetings and shedding of heavy winter coats, and putting more wrapped gifts under the tree, Jack stopped and looked around the Great Room. The tree was amazing. He heard Sam say something about it looking as good as the trees that were professionally decorated. He hadn't even realized there was such a thing as a 'professionally decorated' tree! The mantle had greenery and silver and gold and red ornaments, and of course tall, red pillar candles, with gold bows wrapped around them. The table had another lovely centerpiece. Daniel told him that Casey had made this one. He counted half a dozen poinsettia plants sitting around the room. Green and silver garland had been twisted together and was looped around the island. Yep, she'd gone all out. He stepped back in surprise when Casey approached and planted a kiss on his cheek. Sam was laughing at him, and then pointed above his head. Mistletoe. Somebody could have warned him, for crying out loud!

Teal'c sniffed appreciatively as he placed a very long, narrow, carefully wrapped gift just behind the tree. "The meal smells very good," he said.

"Thank you. The turkey should be done in about fifteen minutes," Casey replied. She was placing slices of ham from the spiral cut meat onto a serving platter. "I hope no one minds, but I thought I'd just put all of the food here, and we can fill our plates buffet style."

"I think that's a great idea," Sam replied. She was nibbling a cookie from the large decorative platter on the coffee table. "You baked more cookies."

Casey grinned. "Daniel started whining about wanting more cookies as soon as he'd emptied the bag I'd made for him."

"How long did that take?" Sam asked.

"A day."

Sam laughed. "I was so proud of myself. I only ate half of them the first day. I did thank you for them, didn't I?"

"Several times," the young seer grinned.

"And I beg to differ," Daniel interjected. "I did not 'whine' for cookies. I merely asked if you'd be willing to bake more."

Casey rolled her eyes. "You whined. You begged. You wheedled. Until I caved and baked more. Which you promptly devoured. I had to bake more for today!"

Jack laughed. "Gonna have to put you on a diet, Space Monkey."

"I have a very rigorous workout routine. And I work out in the gym, too," the archaeologist replied, wiggling his eyebrows.

"I'll bet," Jack said quietly, unable to hide his grin. Once again he was struck by how happy his friend was. Daniel had always been so serious. He hadn't smiled a lot in the five years they'd worked together. Laughed even less. For the past year the man seemed to be smiling constantly. Those blue eyes twinkled with happiness. 




The meal was a complete success, if the amount of leftovers...or lack thereof...was anything to judge by. Sam and Casey cleaned the kitchen while Jack found and watched a hockey game. Daniel teased him about not watching football. To which Jack rolled his eyes.

Casey settled onto the arm of the chair beside Daniel. "Ready to open presents?"

He couldn't help but chuckle at the excitement in her eyes. "You are, apparently."

"You bet I am!" she declared unabashedly.

"Well, guess we'd better start unwrapping them, don't you think?"

She dropped a kiss on his forehead. Moved the tray of cookies to the island in the kitchen, and then began to stack the beautifully wrapped packages on the coffee table.

"Casey, where did you get these wrapped? They're unbelievable," Sam asked.

"Um...I did it myself," the younger woman replied, her cheeks faintly pink.

"You made these bows?"

"Every last one of them," Daniel said proudly.

She was excited to see what she'd received, but more so to see the reactions of her friends and family to the gifts she was giving them. Her fingers shaking with nervous anticipation, she handed the first gift to Jack.

He took the small, flat box, grinned at her, held it up to his ear and shook it slightly. "Nothing dangerous in here, right?"

"That all depends," she giggled.

He lifted one eyebrow, began to tug at the tape that held the paper together.

"You'll take all day doing it like that," Casey complained. She reached over and swiftly tore the paper from the box.

"Hey! This is mine," Jack protested.

"So open it already!"

He couldn't help but grin at her excitement. He lifted the lid. "Season tickets?" He took the booklet out of the box, examined them carefully. "These are for the center section, right in front," he exclaimed.

"I asked the man who sold them to me, he said they were almost the best seats in the stadium," Casey replied.

"Damned straight they are! Thank you!"

"You're welcome."

Sam was examining her gift, determined not to ruin the bow, which looked like a corsage of roses. When it appeared that Casey was going to 'assist' her as well, she pulled the package out of reach. "I'll open this my way, thank you!"

Daniel chuckled. "Better get it done fast. Case doesn't have a lot of patience."

After what seemed an eternity to the young blonde, but had only been a few minutes, Sam slid the box out of the wrapping paper. Lifted the lid. "Oh, it's perfect!" she sighed, lifting the leather vest from the box, running her fingers down the fringe that trimmed it.

"Born to be wild, eh Sam?" Jack teased.

"And don't you forget it!" the major replied, grinning broadly.

"Teal'c, I hope you like this," Casey said softly, handing him a rather small box. "You really do need it."

Puzzling over what exactly the young woman could believe that he needed, Teal'c began to unwrap his gift. Like Sam, he understood the amount of time Casey had spent making the intricate bows. Wondered briefly if the young seer understood that the way she wrapped the presents was a gift unto itself. Inside the box was a small device.

"It's an Ipod," Casey explained. "I've already downloaded a selection of music on it. Rock, classical, Celtic, a little bit of pop, some hip-hop, a few country tunes that are pretty good, blues, and some jazz."

Teal'c took the 'ear buds' and attached them to the player. "Thank you, Casey Jackson."

Casey smiled. "You have a great selection of movies. But you didn't have any music. Life gets pretty boring without music."

Everyone knew of the slender blonde's love of music, all types. And the fact that she didn't believe exercise could actually be done without 'tunes' playing...or if she had her way...blasting in the background.

"Then it is indeed something I needed."

She handed a rather large, heavy box to Daniel. Pulled her lip between her teeth as she watched him unwrap it.

He glanced up at her. She was afraid he wouldn't like it. Whatever it was. He opened the box to find leather bound books. "Robinson Crusoe," he said softly. "Oliver Twist, Tale of Two Cities, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, David Copperfield..."

"You said you never read the 'classics' as a child," she said softly.

"Angel, they're...they're beautiful." He handed a book to each of his teammates, so that they could see the detail of the engraved leather covers. "Thank you, babe."

She beamed as she watched him run his fingers over each volume.

"Now, don't you think you should open a gift?"

She hesitated, then chose the largest package from Daniel. She carefully opened it, glancing up at him as she did so. She could see the excitement in his blue eyes. "Oh," she said softly.

His heart fell. She didn't like them. He watched her lift the boots from the box.

"Oh, Daniel, they're perfect! They're beautiful! I've always wanted a pair of boots like these!"

Heart back up where it belonged. He grinned. "So you said," he replied. He winked at her.

One by one the gaily wrapped packages were opened and exclaimed over. Teal'c rose from the sofa, and took the gift he'd carried in earlier. "Casey Jackson, this is for you. It is very special. I hope you will use it well."

Curious as to what it could be, she hastily ripped the paper away from it. "Oh, Teal'c!" she whispered. Her green eyes swung to the man's face. "It's incredible!"

"What is it?" Jack asked.

"It is a basha'ak," the Jaffa replied. "It is the exact shape, size, and weight of a staff weapon. It is what chal'ti are given to train with."

"Chal'ti? Um...student...no...no...apprentice...apprentice warrior?" Daniel asked.

"That is correct, Daniel Jackson. Casey Jackson is becoming proficient in mastaba. It is only fitting that she continue her training," Teal'c replied.

"Training?" Sam asked.

"Casey Jackson will make a fine Jaffa," the dark man said. No one missed the twitch in his cheek.

Daniel stared at Teal'c for a few seconds, and then began laughing. "I'm sure she will," he chuckled.

Casey was running her hand up and down the staff. "It's beautiful," she said softly.

"We will begin your training in the morning," Teal'c announced.

"I'll be there," she promised solemnly.

Jack rubbed his hands together. "So, now that we've trashed the place," he said glancing around at the scraps of wrapping paper and strips of ribbon and discarded boxes, "let's eat pie!"

With a giggle, Casey carefully leaned the basha'ak against the wall beside the oak cabinets. Ran her fingers down the shaft one last time. Then followed her friends...her family, into the kitchen.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Daniel tossed the towel into the hamper. Casey was sitting in the middle of the bed, dressed in sweats and a tee shirt, brushing her hair. He stretched out on the bed beside her. Ran his hand up and down her thigh. "So, did Santa Claus bring you everything you asked for?"

She smiled. "And then some. I never dreamed I'd own such beautiful jewelry," she replied shyly. She'd been almost overwhelmed by the gifts of the diamond heart pendant and the diamond tennis bracelet.

He smiled at her. He'd had to wipe tears of joy from her cheek when she'd opened the two slender boxes from the local jewelers. "I don't think I've ever had a better Christmas."

"I know I haven't!" she declared. "You wanted our first Christmas together to be memorable. I'll never forget today!"

"Good." His hand continued to move over her leg. He looked up at her and grinned. "So, did Santa get me anything else?"

She looked at him. "Daniel Melburn Jackson! You peeked!"

He began to laugh. "No I didn't! I swear. But all last week Janet and Sam kept looking at me rather strangely, and they'd start giggling. So I figured something was up."

"You're sneaky!" she complained. She did have a new teddy. She'd planned to wear it on the anniversary trip he'd promised her. But Sam and Janet had been with her when it had arrived by mail. And both had suggested wearing it for him sooner. Janet had even proposed giving him a 'coupon' for 'one night of incredible passion and sex' as a Christmas gift, and to wear the teddy then. The other...items...she'd purchased at the same time were most definitely for their anniversary. She didn't care where they went, as long as they were able to be alone together, with no interruptions. She had every intention of blowing his mind.

His hand moved higher on her thigh. "So, did Santa get me anything else?"

She'd wanted to slip into the bathroom and change while he was distracted. By the time Jack, Sam and Teal'c had left, it had been after nine. And he hadn't been distracted, no matter how hard she'd tried. And they did have to get up early in the morning. She'd actually given up the idea of wearing it for him tonight. "This isn't how I'd planned it," she mumbled under her breath.

He sat up. "Then there really is something?"

She couldn't help but giggle at his wide-eyed, anxious look. "I don't know. I suppose I could go check. Don't move."

"I'm not moving a muscle," he replied. Because he had the feeling he needed to save all of his energy.

She'd carefully hidden the teddy in the bottom cupboard in the bathroom. In a bag behind the cleaning supplies. She pulled it out, and grinned. She'd found the white 'Santa hat' at the mall during her shopping trip with Teal'c. She knew that the Jaffa was probably wondering why she'd chosen an all white hat, and why she hadn't worn it during the day. But this was a 'gift' for Daniel, and Daniel alone. She giggled when she wondered how much of tonight he'd share with his friends. Sam had told her that Jack complained about how tight-lipped the archaeologist was regarding his love life.

He laid back on the bed, his hands under his head. It had been an incredible day. He'd been totally amused by the tee shirt. One he was certain he'd wear often. And there was only one 'chick' he was concerned about. And as long as she 'dug archaeologists', or one in particular...he'd be happy. The gift of books...how like her to want to give him something she felt he'd missed out on! He knew without a doubt that he would enjoy reading those stories. If he ever had the time! He could see them now, curled up on the sofa, she with her bodice rippers, he with one of the classics. Talk about domestic tranquility! Then there had been the drill. She'd excitedly pointed out every feature, telling him that the salesman had assured her it was 'top of the line'. If the thing just drilled a hole, he'd be happy.

Casey had done her best to make the day about family...including his parents. She'd even brought out the old photo album. Showed off his baby pictures. No doubt Jack would find some way to tease him about them. He hadn't even noticed that the bronzed baby shoes had somehow 'appeared' on a shelf beside two West African ceremonial masks, until Teal'c asked about them. He'd caught a few curious glances from both Sam and Jack, he knew that they were probably wondering why he'd never shared these pieces of his past with them before. After all, the team was as close as any unrelated individuals could get. He'd never talked about his past, his childhood. Had never been comfortable doing so. Too much pain, too many heartbreaks and disappointments. Better to just continue moving forward.

She was determined to give him back his childhood, or at least the best parts of it. The memories of his parents felt fresh and bright. No longer overshadowed by the long, lonely years he'd spent as a ward of the court, moving from one foster home to another, social workers coming in and out of his life with as much frequency. She was determined to banish every dark shadow that marred his heart, to heal every hurt he'd ever suffered. As much as he wanted to heal the wounds on her heart and soul, he thought. He'd never talked about his childhood with Sha're, other than to tell her that his parents were dead. He hadn't even explained how they had died. But he'd told Casey everything. Every painful moment, every embarrassing incident, every soul-shattering event that had made him the quiet, introspective scholar that he'd become. Just as she'd shared every dark, bleak moment of the hell on earth she'd endured.

She quickly cleaned up, applied lotion, brushed her hair one final time, and pulled the teddy up over her legs, her hips, slid the satin ribbon straps over her shoulders. Pulled the hat on. With a final check in the mirror, Casey cracked open the door of the bathroom. "Daniel?"


"Close your eyes."


"Because I asked you to."

"But why?"

"Listen, buster, Santa can take this present right back to the store!" Actually, he couldn't. Because she'd ordered it online. From Frederick's of Hollywood.

He couldn't help but grin. He closed his eyes. "They're closed."

She turned off the bathroom light. Stepped across the hallway, stopped in the doorway to the bedroom. Only the small lamp was on. "Merry Christmas," she said softly.

He opened his eyes. "Sweet Jesus!" he breathed. His cock stood straight up, tenting his sweats. Standing in front of him, looking like an Angel straight out of the pages of Playboy, was his Wife. She was wearing a white teddy, one that laced up the front, from the tiny bow between her beautiful breasts all the way down to the narrow strip of lace that went between her legs into the thong that exposed that sexy ass to his view.

"Like it?" She bit back her smile. His eyes had moved from her head to her bare feet and back again, stopping to take in every bit of the teddy, and what it did...and didn't...hide. 

"Uh huh."

She couldn't help but giggle. All the blood had headed straight south. She could see that for herself.

"C'mere. Let me open my present."

She walked slowly toward him. "I love you," she said softly, watching as his eyes continued to devour her.

"I love you, too," he murmured.

"I want to make love to you."

He moaned softly.

"I want to touch you, and taste you, and make you feel good...I want you to fly," she whispered, moving slowly toward him.

His breath was coming faster, her words turning him on every bit as much as her caresses would.

"I'm going to worship you, Daniel, until you can't take it. And then I'm going to make you explode." She was standing beside the bed now.

"Do it," he replied in a whisper.

She reached down and gently took his glasses from his face, put them on the bedside table. "Take your sweats off," she instructed.

The gray fleece pants hit the floor in an instant. His body was already tense with anticipation, his cock waving at her, begging for her attention.

She crawled onto the bed, knelt beside him. "You can open your present, after I've...helped you to relax," she said softly.

He smiled. Whatever she wanted to do was fine by him! He reached out with his index finger, to trace the dark outline of her areolas, not quite hidden by the sheer white lace. "I am a bit...tense."

"Lay back. Let me love you," she whispered.

He obeyed, watched as she moved closer. The tip of her tongue wet her lips, making his cock throb in response. Felt the jolt of electricity that rocked him every time her sweet lips came into contact with his. Felt her hesitate, as always, waiting for him to unlock the entrance to her warm, sweet mouth. He ran his tongue over her lips, softly, just barely touching her at first, then with a bit more pressure. Then just the tip of it over her full lower lip...and...Open Sesame! He dove in, the need to taste her overwhelming. He put a hand behind her head to hold her in place, could feel the velvet of the Santa hat against his palm; he grinned inwardly at that. It looked damned cute on her.

She let him take what he wanted, what he needed. This was about him, for him. Her hands caressed his face and throat, the feel of his skin beneath her fingers sending impulses of heat and desire to her brain. Oh, Goddess how she loved his kisses! Without realizing it, she'd taken control of the kiss, was stroking him, tasting him. Repeating any caresses that caused a shiver in the magnificent body beneath her.

When she kissed him, time stood still. The only thing that existed was him and her and the beating of his heart. He let his fingers slide up her side, until he could put his hand over her chest, to feel her heart. Was thrilled to discover it was pounding as quickly and as hard as his own. He let his fingertips continue to stroke her soft skin. Felt the response in the way she shivered, then pushed slightly against his hand.

Each time he touched her, it sent her soul into flight, whether he was just holding her hand, or putting his hand on her back as they walked, or caressing her as they made love. She silently begged him to move his hand down just a bit, to hold and fondle her aching breasts. When it seemed he was quite content to leave his hand over her rapidly beating heart, she shifted slightly.

She pushed her breast into his hand, her silent plea for his caresses. He filled both hands with the soft, firm orbs; the thin, lacy material that prevented the palms of his hands from feeling the warmth of her skin tickling them instead. The clock on the bedside table continued to tick away the seconds, the minutes. Still her lips, her tongue demanded from him, gave back to him until he thought he couldn't stand it. Waiting for her to touch him...make love to him.

Her thoughts were focused on the kiss they were sharing...giving to one another...taking from one another. She never would have believed that a kiss could be so erotic, that kissing could be almost as fulfilling as making love. Especially the way Daniel kissed. He never rushed her. Never demanded that she move on before she was ready; never pulled away from her until he was certain that her need had been satisfied. His hands caressed her, each gentle squeeze of her breasts sent fire skipping up and down her spine, then adding to the heat in the very core of her being.

He hissed a sigh of approval when she moved her lips toward his jaw. The journey had begun. And she'd take her time. Would drive him insane, while she tasted and teased him, making him wait for the most intimate of her kisses, the most craved of her caresses. His body was experiencing a medley of sensations...her fingers were now moving over his chest, tugging at his nipples, her lips were moving over his throat, and his sweet beauties were brushing against his belly, making him ache with need...she was making certain that he could feel her love with every touch, every kiss against his skin.

She could feel him throbbing, could feel him pushing his hips up, pressing his hot flesh against her, seeking relief. She knew what he wanted...what he needed. But she'd indulge herself for just a few minutes, making love to his strong, broad chest. Before Daniel had come into her life, she'd never thought about a man's nipples, or how sensitive they could be. Or what a turn on it would be to run her tongue back and forth over them, feeling the shiver in his body. Granted, she'd known only what she'd read. And she'd read extensively. Making love was more incredible than any book, any words could describe. Giving pleasure to the man who owned her, whom she owned as completely, was more important to her than breathing. Satisfied that his flat, brown nipples could become no harder, the brown discs that surrounded them puckered from her attention, she slid down.

"That's it babe, do it," he whispered again.

She watched his eyes as she began to run her hand up and down the hard length of him. The blue darkened, the pupils dilated slightly. He'd taken a breath, waiting for her to start making love to him. She licked her lips, watched his eyes widen. She leaned forward, ran her tongue around the swollen, mushroomed head of his erection. Felt more than heard the gasp that passed his lips. Her other hand began to gently caress his heavy balls. She couldn't help but smile triumphantly when he moaned. His hands were on her head now, not pushing her, just holding onto her. Waiting...his hips pressed upward...needing her to do more than just tease him. She slid her mouth over him, taking as much of him as she could.

"Sweet Jesus!" It was all he could do to maintain control...he was so close to the edge that it would take damned little to have him shooting off like a rocket. His body was shaking as he concentrated on anything other than the amazing job she was doing sucking him off. He thought about the duty roster that had been put up just before they'd left the base on Monday. SG-1 would be pulling stand-by duty on New Year's Eve. He wasn't a heavy drinker, wasn't really into partying, either; well, other than the parties that he and Casey threw. There had only be two, so far...the May Day party in the apartment...which had been noisy and boisterous and more fun than he'd had in a long time, and the July 4th barbecue that they'd held, 'breaking in' their deck. So working New Year's Eve was no great loss as far as he was concerned...sensations of pleasure flowed over him, pushed all coherent thought from his mind. Oh, god, she had the most incredible tongue in the universe!

She continued to make love to him, varying the rhythm slightly, taking time to lick the girth before moving up and down on him. He was beginning to mumble beneath his breath...between gasps for air...she couldn't make out the words, but she was certain he was begging. Which had her heart pounding with excitement, with satisfaction. It was time. She moved up on her knees, let that magnificent cock slide to the back of her throat, and she began to suck diligently, swallowing as the need arose. He was throbbing hard and fast, his hands had tightened around her head, his hips pushing up against her, trying to get just a little more into her mouth.

His eyes rolled back into his head, and he moaned long and deep, the sound coming from his belly as he gave her everything he had. The moan ended with her name, a whispered prayer of love.

She did a mental happy dance as she took down every drop of that precious white love, not stopping her ministrations until his body had relaxed against the bed, the tremors had stopped, and he was no longer pulsing. She kissed her way up his chest, ending with her lips pressed against his once more. "Now, I think you're ready to open your present."

Daniel looked at her from beneath heavy-lidded eyes. "I think you're right," he smiled. "Have I ever told you how well you do that?"

She smiled. "Do what?"

The slow grin that moved over his face warned her of his playful mood. "Give head. You have the most amazing tongue it has ever been my pleasure to experience."

Casey giggled. By his own admission she was the only woman who'd ever made love to him orally...at least to completion. "I think you've mentioned that a time or two."

His arms wrapped around her as she settled on top of him. As soon as he could move, he intended to unwrap his most delightful, delectable present. And send her into orbit...well, eventually. He grinned to himself. She was so beautiful when she was on the cusp of orgasm. He absolutely loved taking her to the edge of the cliff, and then keeping her there, just to observe the way her body reacted to his touch, his intimate kisses; to watch her...to fall in love with her all over again in that moment of sublime passion.

She giggled again when she suddenly found herself on her back. She'd been certain that it would be a few more minutes before he'd even be able to move. She wrapped her arms around his neck.

"What a beautiful present," he whispered.

"I'm glad you like it," she whispered in reply. He viewed her through the eyes of love. He saw her as beautiful, and that was enough for her...even if she was well aware of what she really looked like.

He lowered his head, kissed her gently. He never would have believed that love could be so all-consuming. Never would've believed that any woman could fill all the empty places in his heart, conquer the darkness left by Sha're's death. Sha're had been the first woman he'd ever loved...truly loved. Casey was the first...the only...woman he'd given his heart, his very soul to; giving her complete control over him. And not once had that thought panicked him like it always had in the past. "Ready?"

"Oh, yes," she whispered. His lips moved across her jaw, to her throat. She closed her eyes, shivered as he nipped at that sensitive spot on her neck. And wondered how close to the brink of insanity he'd take her before allowing her to fly.

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