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Seek and Ye Shall Find

Chapter 4

Although it had initially been meant as a way to get Casey to the warehouse for her surprise birthday party, Jack admitted that the team did need to get their yearly weapons qualifications for their service records, particularly Sam and himself. So the team was spending the morning in the shooting range.

Casey had missed five of her ten shots with the nine millimeter. Jack told her to reload, then stood beside her. He keyed up a target. A male silhouette. He leaned over her shoulder. "It's Ba'al, trying to hide in the shadows," he whispered.

She frowned. Double checked her stance. Adjusted her grip on the handle. And put every shot within a three-inch radius. Of the paper target's groin. "Let the bastard bleed to death," she hissed.

Jack glanced at Daniel. "Ooo-kaaay," he said slowly, dragging out the word. "I'll go with that."

"He didn't Jack. He thought he did. He had every intention of doing so. He made Shanda..." she paused, shook her head. "He has a lot to pay for."

"Yes, he does."

"He'll be back."

Teal'c and Daniel, who were using the booths on either side of her, both jerked slightly, Daniel dropped the box of shells he'd been holding, sending the brass bullets across the floor. "Casey?" he asked hoarsely.

"I haven't seen it, no," she replied softly. "But...I feel it. Feel him...that cold, clammy feeling of evil."

Daniel closed his eyes. He'd been so certain that there was no escape for him. Not from there. Not when no one knew where he'd sent the bastard! A face twisted with cruelty flashed before his eyes. So why hadn't that son-of-a-bitch stopped him from killing Ba'al? Why hadn't the Jaffa killed him? There was a reason that Ba'al's First Prime had hidden like a coward. No doubt it had everything to do with self-preservation. Okay, if the snake was alive, then so be it. He'd kill Ba'al again, the next time their paths crossed. Only this time, he'd use the power that flowed benignly through his veins, waiting to be called into use. There wouldn't be enough left for the First Prime to gather into a dustbin.

"I do know this much," Casey continued. "The price on your heads...our heads...has gone up."

Jack chuckled. "One of these days I'm going to turn us in, collect the bounty, then we'll break out and clean up. We'll be set for life!"

Casey giggled. "Nice fantasy."

"Hey, gotta take 'em where I can find 'em," he grinned.

Casey had knelt down, was helping her husband collect the shells that had been scattered. "I'm sorry," she said softly.

"You've done nothing to be sorry for," he replied firmly.

"I could've kept my mouth shut. You were...you were happy knowing he was dead. That you'd killed him."

He put the shells he'd collected into the box. Looked at her, studied her expression. "Does that bother you? That I'm glad I killed that bastard?"

She shook her head. "What bothers me is how excited...how happy I was to hear that!"

"He's a snake, Casey. Don't you dare waste one second of your time feeling sorry for him."

"Not him. The host."

"Angel, I doubt that there's much left of the host after all of this time."

"You said that when Apophis died...in the infirmary, that the host was able...that you spoke to him."

"Yes, I did."

"He'd been host to Apophis for thousands of years."

"Angel, if we could save the host, you know I'd be willing to hunt for him, take him to the Tok'ra. But look at what happened to Sarah. And she was only host for three years."

"Sarah wasn't stable mentally before she was taken," Casey replied.

Daniel didn't reply. Jacob had sent word that they'd found Sarah in the room that had been her prison cell. Her arms had been a mess, the general had said. That she had to have been damned determined to have done such damage with a fork. A fork! He cringed mentally. How terrified, how desperate for release must she have been? Had he been able to help Sarah, he gladly would have done so. But he'd just as gladly have killed the part of her that had become Osiris, the part responsible for setting up Casey's abduction.

"I'm sorry," Casey murmured. "I know you loved her."

"Cared for her," Daniel corrected softly. "I never loved her...not...not love. Maybe you're right, maybe she was already..." Memories of her behavior, what he'd passed off as her British eccentricities, flashed through his mind. "She was already ill...psychologically," he admitted.

"In his weakened state, Osiris must not have noticed at first," Casey mused.

"Or Sarah was very good at hiding it. The part that became..." he paused. He'd never been able to reconcile the sweet, funny woman with the woman who raved like a lunatic over the slightest things...had she been suffering from dissociative disorder when he'd known her ten years ago? "The part that became Osiris," he finished.

"Is it wrong for me to be glad that Osiris is finally, really gone?" Casey asked softly.

"No, Angel. It's not wrong. I'm just as glad. I'm glad Sarah is at peace. That in the end, she managed to defeat him," Daniel replied just as softly.

 

 

 

They were settling into the jeep, heading back to the mountain, when Sam exchanged glances with Jack and Daniel. "Casey, Janet is making a run to the mall late this afternoon. She asked me if I was interested in going. I thought I'd like to go. Would you?"

She hesitated. Glanced up at Daniel. His fingers squeezed hers reassuringly. "I think I'd like that," she replied. It had been awhile since she'd done anything as...normal...as shopping at the mall.

"Great! She's going to be looking for a dress for a banquet she's going to attend with Paul. I think I should probably look around for one as well."

"You're going to the same banquet?"

Sam smiled, crossed her fingers and hoped that Casey wouldn't catch her in this little white lie..."No, but there will be the annual Air Force Ball next month."

Oh, yes. They'd been off-world last year, she remembered. Jack had been thrilled, delighted that he hadn't had to put on his 'dinner whites' and go and pretend to be interested in what some snot-nosed desk jockey was prattling about.

"Maybe you should look for a dress too," Daniel suggested. "Just so you won't panic a week before the ball and spend two days straight in front of the computer."

Her teammates laughed. Casey had earned a reputation as an online shopper extraordinaire. Daniel would moan and complain to his friends in the locker room, all the while secretly delighted that she was comfortable enough to get what she wanted...that he could spoil her so clandestinely.

"I agree, Casey Jackson. You are most disagreeable when you have been deprived of sleep due to your late-night online shopping excursions."

Jack and Daniel hooted with laughter. Sam laughed out loud at the look on Casey's face...a combination of shock and ire.

"You know, Jaffa, I can whip your ass!"

Teal'c grinned. "I do not believe that is possible."

"You just wait. You won't know when...or where...or how...but I will get you!"

"I shall be waiting."

"Hmmph!" She crossed her arms over her chest, glared at the man beside her. "I am not disagreeable! A tad grumpy, maybe."

"I stand corrected, Casey Jackson. You are grumpy when you have been deprived of sleep, due to your late night-"

"Don't know when to quit, do you, Teal'c?" Jack asked, grinning from ear to ear.

"I do, O'Neill. However, it is amusing to watch the sparks fly from Casey Jackson's eyes when she is...'pissed off'."

Again the look on Casey's face sent Sam into a fit of hysterics. "All right, what the hell did you guys do with the real Teal'c? This one's a smartass!"

Daniel laughed. "Jack was just saying that very thing the other day."

Jack caught Casey's eye in the rearview mirror. "You've been a horrible influence on him, Radar. He used to be so quiet, so reserved, so...nice."

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "I am still 'nice'."

"Yeah. You're a real nice smartass," Jack complained. "And it's all Radar's fault."

"Perhaps she has merely reminded me of that which I had suppressed as First Prime of Apophis," Teal'c said quietly.

For a moment, no one spoke. Then Jack heaved a dramatic sigh. "Lucky for us you did suppress that side of your personality. Otherwise, you'd have never made First Prime, and we'd have been up shit's creek without a paddle on Chulak."

"Indeed," Teal'c replied, chuckling softly.

Casey said nothing. But slipped her free hand into the Jaffa's, her other entwined with Daniel's.

Daniel caught the movement and smiled. If Casey had to name only one person as her best friend, he knew without a doubt that it would be Teal'c.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

The boutique was one they'd passed several times during their excursions to the mall, but they'd never ventured inside. Janet led the way, marching straight toward a rack of beautifully beaded gowns.

"Wow," Sam said, looking through the rack of colorful silk and satin. "I'd feel like a fairy-tale princess in some of these!"

"And the problem with that would be...?" Janet asked, her brown eyes twinkling. "That's the whole idea, dressing up, getting to feel special for the night."

Casey hung back a bit. She remembered going to the mall with her friend Jenny. Neither girl had been asked to their senior prom, nor could they have afforded a dress if they had been. They'd watched their classmates giggling and laughing and trying on dresses. Jenny had wanted to at least try one or two on; but terrified that if something were to happen to the dress, she'd be forced to pay for it, Casey had refused.

"Casey?" Janet asked, frowning slightly. "Are you all right?"

She shook herself mentally. "Fine," she murmured. Reached out and ran her fingertips over one of the gowns. Smiled when she thought about her wedding dress, so carefully sealed after it had been cleaned when she and Daniel had returned from their honeymoon.

Janet had found two gowns, had them hanging from her fingers. "Dive in, girlfriend, we're not leaving here until we've each found the perfect dress."

"I found the perfect dress once," Casey replied. "I doubt I'll be able to top it."

Sam rolled her eyes, selected a gown from the rack. "You can't wear your wedding gown to the Air Force Ball, or anywhere else."

"I don't see why not," Casey huffed. "It's a beautiful dress!"

"It is a beautiful dress," Janet said softly. "It's also your wedding dress. Come on, what do you see that you like?"

Slowly, she began to sort through the dresses. No...no...no...not this one either...she paused, unaware that Sam and Janet were watching her, and had exchanged grins. The gown was emerald green, strapless. She pulled it from the rack, held it up to get a better look.

"That's nice," Janet said approvingly. "Is that your size?"

She checked the tag. "No," she sighed, put the dress back.

"Bet this one is," Sam said, holding up a gown of the same style and color. "Size two, right?"

"Last time I checked," Casey replied.

"Let's try these on." Once again Janet led the way.

Giggling like school girls, the women helped one another with the tiny hooks and the narrow zippers that fastened each dress. Casey turned this way and that, studying her reflection in the mirror. She looked at the price, almost fainted, and then smiled. The majority of her pay sat idle in her checking account. Daniel insisted on paying for all of their living expenses. It was his responsibility, he told her, to take care of her, provide for her. She tugged her lower lip between her teeth. She didn't want to embarrass Daniel when they went to the ball...he'd informed her that because he was contracted to the SGC, he received an invitation every year. If Jack and Sam went, then he and Teal'c always tagged along, he told her. Now, he said, he'd go so that he could show off his beautiful wife.

"Oh, Casey! That's perfect!"

She looked over at Sam, noted the approval shining in sapphire blue eyes. The strapless gown was topped with a sweetheart neckline, dipping low to show off a bit of cleavage; was close fitting all the way to her hips, covered with beads in a intricate design. The satin skirt draped in asymmetrically cut layers, the edge of each layer was beaded as well. "You think so?"

"I know so!"

"I agree," Janet added.

She looked back at the mirror. How her life had changed since Daniel had come into it! There'd never been anywhere that she'd gone where such a gown would have been needed. Now...she'd met the President of the United States, because of Daniel. She was buying a ball gown, because of Daniel. She'd never felt as loved, as cherished, never been as happy as she was now...because of Daniel. "It's not bad," she finally admitted.

"Do you get that 'fairy-tale-princess' feeling in it?" Janet teased.

"Oh, yeah," she said softly.

"Then that's the dress," Sam told her.

Casey focused her attention on her friends. Sam had chosen a strapless sheath in navy blue. The embroidery on the bodice was exquisite. Janet had chosen a dress similar in style, only in fire engine red. "We look great, you know."

Janet was examining her reflection in the mirror. "Notice that we've all chosen jewel tones."

"Which means?" Sam asked.

"We're jewels?" Casey tossed in.

"It means we have good taste," Janet replied, rolling her eyes.

"Oh, that!" Sam huffed, a wide smile on her face, "Goes without saying.

Echoes from the past filled her ears...the excited giggling and talking the girls choosing their prom dresses had done. Complimenting one another...And now here she stood...a grown woman, with good friends, feeling as light-hearted and giggly as a teenager. She never would have dared to dream a life as full of happiness as she'd found with Daniel. Oh, there was plenty of excitement, and a bit of heartache as well. Between what they did for a living, and the fact that life wasn't always peaches and cream, she figured that they were pretty damned lucky. In fact, she was probably the luckiest woman on the planet, she decided.

Agreeing that the gowns were 'perfect', the women began the search for shoes. "You should come over to the house tonight," Janet said, tossing a glance at Sam. "We can do our hair, our nails, our makeup..."

"Talk about boys and the newest bands," Casey added.

"Why not? Sounds like fun to me!" Janet declared.

"It'd give us a chance to experiment a bit with how we want to look for the ball," Sam said slowly, watching Casey.

Once again she was struck by the fact that only at age twenty-eight was she getting to do the things she'd never done at eighteen. She knew that Janet and Sam were aware of what her life had been as a child, and a teenager. Were they doing this because they wanted to do so...to offer her a glimpse at what she missed...a chance to experience just a taste of 'prom night', or at least the preparations for that special, final celebration of high school?

"It'll be fun," Janet said, trying to convince the slender blonde seer.

Daniel had said something about catching up on translations...spending Saturday evening on the base wasn't her idea of a good time..."Okay," she sighed. "I'm in."

Sharing congratulatory smiles, purchases were finalized.  Sam and Janet hustled Casey out of the mall.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Casey was once again examining herself in the mirror...this one in Janet's bedroom. "You know, as good as we look, it's a shame we don't have anywhere to go," she said.

Janet giggled. "Yeah, a real shame."

Sam adjusted the strap of her shoe. Glanced up at the clock on Janet's nightstand. She knew she could count on Jack to be punctual. He always was. "Who knows, maybe a handsome prince or two or three will show up on the doorstep."

As if on cue, the doorbell rang. Janet sighed. "Stay here. I'll get it."

"Do you think it would be all right to just stay dressed up for a bit? We went to so much work," Casey said, glancing at her best friend. Who looked gorgeous.

"Oh, I think it would be just fine," Sam said, biting the inside of her lip to keep from grinning. So far Casey hadn't said anything about them acting 'weird'. So either she hadn't picked anything up...or she was just remaining quiet about her suspicions.

"Casey!" Janet's voice rang out. "Daniel is here!"

"Shoes!" Sam said hurriedly, helping Casey get her ankle-strap heels on.

His breath caught in his throat as he watched her walking down the stairs toward him. The gown she was wearing made her eyes seem all the more beautiful, and hugged that slender frame like a glove. Her hair was pulled up in a soft, feminine style; exposing the elegant column of her neck and throat, making his mouth water. "Wow," he said softly, his eyes lighting up.

She gasped. Daniel was wearing his black suit, and he was holding...she could feel tears forming. He was holding a corsage box! And something else...although she couldn't see it well, he had it beneath the white rose. Whatever it was, he slipped it into his jacket pocket. "What's going on?"

Daniel smiled. "Let's go to the prom, Angel."

She looked from his shining eyes, to the smiling faces of her friends. "You're kidding, right?"

"They'd better not be," Jack growled, tugging at his tie. "I didn't crawl into this uniform for nothing!"

She hadn't even noticed that Jack and Teal'c were waiting just to the side of the stairs, standing beside Janet. Jack was in his dress blues, and Teal'c was in his black suit as well.

"Your chariot awaits, fair damsel," Daniel said, bowing at the waist, and motioning toward the front door.

Casey hurried down the rest of the stairs, peeked outside. To see a black stretch limo sitting in front of the house. "Oh, wow," she whispered.

"Happy birthday, Casey," Daniel whispered. He offered her the small floral box, glad he'd taken the florists' advice and chosen a wrist corsage. "You're beautiful."

"So are you," she whispered in reply, watching him slip the flower band over her hand to her wrist. He adjusted it carefully.

Jack and Teal'c had corsages as well, and slipped them onto Sam's and Janet's wrists. "Ladies, you look great," Jack grinned.

"Thank you, sir," Janet replied.

"Close your eyes," Daniel whispered, his lips against Casey's ear. Grinned when she immediately obeyed. He took the long, slender box from his pocket, opened it, and pulled out the strand of pearls that the jeweler had insisted she'd love. He walked around behind her, put them around her neck, fastened the clasp. His grin widened when Sam and Janet gave him enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Her hand flew to her neck, her eyes popped open. "Oh, my god!"

Janet took her by the shoulders and led her to the mirror that was hanging in the living room above the fireplace. "They're beautiful," she said.

Casey stared at her reflection, at the pearls laying against her skin. "Oh, god, they're amazing!" She looked up to see Daniel standing behind her. His was smiling, his eyes full of love. "Thank you."

"You're welcome, Angel."

"Shall we go?" Janet asked. She and Sam were grinning like Cheshire cats.

Daniel offered his arm, and Casey slipped her hand through, rested her fingers on his wrist. "Let's go. Wherever it is we're going."

The group settled into the seats of the limousine, and Daniel opened the bottle of champagne that had been chilling.

"To my Angel," he said softly. "Happy birthday."

"Happy birthday, Casey," Janet grinned.

"Happy birthday, Radar," Jack said, saluting her with his glass.

"Many happy returns," Sam smiled.

"Tal mal' tiak mal we'ia Casey kahne. Tal ral tora ke," Teal'c said quietly. [I am honored to be (your) friend, Casey. I (wish you) good luck.]

"Thank you, Teal'c," she said softly. "Thanks, all of you."

Jack looked from the Jaffa to the slender seer and back again. He almost asked what his best friend had said. Then decided that it was between the two of them. He was enjoying the look of surprise...and excitement...on Casey's face. The quiet love on Daniel's. Did those two have any idea that when they were together, their love lit up like a beacon around them? That he'd heard grizzled war veterans comment that watching the two was enough to give them hope in trying to find that special someone? Ferretti had been divorced three times, but after watching Radar and Doc, as he called the archaeologist, he was willing to try again. If there was a woman out there who could put up with Ferretti, Jack thought, then he'd buy the damned ring!

"Penny for them," Sam said softly, folding her hand around his.

He smiled, laced his fingers with hers. Examined her hand for a moment. These were the fingers that could find their way with ease around gizmos and doohickey's and computers and anything else that moved, whirred, clicked or counted. They were also the fingers that could touch him and send him soaring. "Just thinking about how good those two are together."

She smiled. "Yes, they are. I'm so happy for Daniel. For Casey, too. They've both suffered so much, lost so much. They really do complete one another, don't they?"

"Yes, they do."

Casey was busy talking to Janet, not paying attention to where the limo was headed. Until she realized they'd passed through the main gate. She turned around in the seat, watched the road through the side window. "We're going to the warehouses."

"Told you she's sharp," Jack teased.

"Payback," Daniel chuckled. Her fingers locked around his, he could feel her trembling.

It seemed that SG-1 wasn't the only team to opt to arrive at the 'prom' in a limo. The driver took them to the door, helped them out, and then told Jack to call when they were ready to leave.

Daniel tugged her hand, anxious to see what his co-workers at the SGC had come up with. He nearly laughed out loud when he saw the room. Twice the size of a high school gymnasium, there were red, blue, and white streamers and bunting along every wall, surrounding every window, and adorning the makeshift stage at the far end; where Toni Sabotti stood, in a bright red suit, with his DJ equipment. A huge banner was hanging above his head, stretching from wall to wall.

Casey had put her hands over her mouth, her eyes wide, and the green depths glimmered with tears, even as she giggled.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CASEY! WELCOME HOME! WE MISSED YOU! THE FIRST ANNUAL SGC PROM!

 

"Now that is just ridiculous," Jack muttered, reading the banner.

Major Newsome was standing just inside the door, and heard the comment. Grinning, he walked toward SG-1. "Between Siler, Walter, and Gracie, they couldn't decide on the Happy Birthday, or the First Annual SGC Prom. Seems this is going to be a regular spring shin-dig for us. General Hammond says we need something every quarter just to keep us going. Then the rest of us wanted to welcome Mrs. J home, and let her know she was missed. Everyone argued for about an hour, then Walter suggested we just use it all. Siler agreed, the rest of us voted...and there you have it," he said, motioning toward the banner with his beer bottle.

"I think it's the most beautiful banner I've ever seen," Casey sighed.

Birthday greetings were called out, and her friends brought their spouses over to introduce them. It was one of the benefits of having large parties in the warehouse...spouses were able to attend; there was nothing for them to see on the first level, and no way for them to get to the lower levels. While all of the wives...and husbands...were aware that their mates were doing dangerous work, none of them understood just how dangerous it was, nor how many times their loved ones had come too close to death. So they'd never understand the loyalty that Casey had earned in the year and a half that she'd been a part of the command. They only knew that her name was a familiar one, most often associated with something humorous. Always spoken with respect and deep admiration.

Sabotti had caught up with Daniel the day before, and asked if there was a special song he'd like to have played, one that would come on as soon as he and Casey stepped into the building; one that the two would be able to dance to. It had been an easy decision. Casey loved the movie "Ghost". She'd watched it a dozen times since he'd picked up the DVD for her. And every time the Righteous Brothers would begin singing, she'd sigh, and tell him that it was the most romantic love song she'd ever heard.

Daniel took her hand, led her to the area that had been designated as the dance floor when the first strains of 'Unchained Melody' began to play. He wrapped one arm around her waist, held her hand against his shoulder, and began to sing along with the music. His heart battered his chest when she sighed, then snuggled against him.

The buzzing sounds of several lively conversations faded to silence as everyone in the warehouse watched the two dance. Dr. Daniel Jackson. The multi-doctorate holder who had deciphered the symbols on the Stargate, had understood what the stone ring was and what it could do, in just two weeks' time. The man whose passion...for learning, for knowing, for peaceful exploration...was the very heartbeat of the secret facility. Casey Webster Jackson. The seer whose gift had saved the lives of every member of every SG team in the SGC. At least once. The slender woman who'd breathed life into the corridors of the military base. The two people without whom the SGC could not function. And the two people who were least aware of those facts.

Immediately after 'Unchained Melody', Aerosmith's 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' started. Everyone moved onto the dance floor, the bright colors of the dresses worn by the women of the SGC created a rainbow against the backdrop of drab gray walls. Spirits were just as bright as the splashes of colored silk and satin.

She snuggled closer, and he couldn't help but grin. He was the luckiest man alive. He knew that for a fact...because of the woman in his arms. "So, will this do for a birthday celebration?"

She tipped her head to look up at him. "I didn't think you could top last year," she smiled. "Somehow, you keep doing that. Just making every day the very best I've ever had."

"The very best," he agreed softly. "Only because we're together."

"Always."

"Always," he whispered.

Major Whitmore had outdone himself...he had put out a buffet worthy of heads of state. The birthday cake he'd so carefully decorated was a garden of white and yellow roses. He'd heard that they were her favorites. They adorned the chocolate frosted devil's food cake. Everyone on the base was well aware of Casey's love affair with chocolate.

No one was prepared to see General Hammond and Teal'c on the dance floor with Casey, doing The Chicken Dance, but by the time the song had played through once, there was barely room to move. Jack had demanded that it be played again, and the men of the SGC tried to 'out Chicken' one another, making the women shriek with laughter. Two country western line dances were among the musical lineup as well, and had everyone stomping, twirling and dipping to the beat. Casey, Tony, and Texas lip-synced two hip-hop songs, bringing hoots of laughter and encouragement. Casey and Teal'c did the twist, and Daniel pulled her into his arms for a bit of dirty dancing.

Daniel knew that Casey would be overwhelmed by gifts...she'd consider the effort put into the party gift enough. So he'd suggested that their friends make donations to her favorite charities...a home for unwed mothers in Denver, the Salvation Army, and the National Zoological Society. The stack of birthday cards contained confirmation of those donations, bringing more tears to her eyes.

It was after two a.m. before they finally made it home, tired and stuffed with good food. She carefully put her dress on a hanger, ran her fingers over it. Cathy and Tiesha and Gracie had told her it was lovely, and would be perfect for the Air Force ball. She had to admit to feeling a bit like Cinderella. For her, the 'prom' had been the ball she'd never dreamed of attending.

After she'd washed her face and brushed her teeth, Daniel helped her to take her hair down, sat on the bed behind her and brushed it. "Did you enjoy yourself tonight?"

"Oh, yes!"

He smiled. No doubt whatsoever in that reply! "Good."

"You were the most handsome man there."

"Only in your eyes. You were stunning in that dress. Not one of the men could keep their eyes off of you."

She blushed at the compliment. "I don't know about that."

"I do." He continued to brush her hair, even though she was shaking her head. Someday, he thought. Someday she'll understand...be able to see, what an incredible woman she is.

 

 

 

Daniel looked up in surprise when Casey settled beside him, a few minutes later, her journal in hand. "Case?"

"I have to write it now, while it's all fresh in my mind...every wonderful, fun minute of it," she explained.

Good or bad. Her emotions flowed out of her and into her journal in the form of poems. He smiled. "I understand."

She pulled her legs up, propped the spiral notebook against them, and began to write. She giggled a few times, as she wrote of the dancing chickens and the twirling silk. She would never forget tonight. Now she was assured that the most precious of the details would never fade from her memory.

When she'd finished, Daniel put down the book he'd been reading. Reached for her. Damned glad that their flight wasn't until late in the afternoon. Dawn was breaking over the horizon when she snuggled against his chest, rested her head on his shoulder, and drifted to sleep to the soft music of his snoring.


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