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Ruby was watching anxiously out the window. She'd seen the jeep in the parking lot when she opened her curtains at six a.m., like she did every day. Had noticed the Colorado tags and had known immediately that Casey's doctor had arrived. She wanted a glimpse of the man who could hurt such a sweet girl so deeply, and still manage to get her back. Casey didn't always go across the street to eat breakfast, but Ruby hoped that she would today. Maybe she'd take that husband of hers over to the diner.
Casey rolled over, felt the body beside her. Her heart did a happy dance against her ribs and she curled up to his side.
"Mmm…soft," his voice said softly.
She smiled, ran her fingers over his chest. "Strong," she replied.
"C'mere, you," he said, pulling her until she was lying on top of him. He was hard, ready for her. He pushed his hips against hers.
"You're certainly needy," she teased. She rose up, took him into her ready and willing body.
He felt himself move with ease into that sweet, warm well. "I'm not the only one."
Softly, gently they took one another to that place where only they could go. When they could finally breath normally, they took a shower together, giving in once again to the passion that had been too long denied them.
When they'd finished in the bathroom, Daniel grabbed the small box he'd put in his duffel. He caught her hand, pulled her close. "I believe these belong to you," he said softly, slipping her wedding band and engagement ring back onto her finger. "Forever, Angel. My Wife, my Beloved, forever."
"Forever," she whispered. She stared at the rings for a few seconds, then wrapped her arms around his neck, felt him pull her close and hold her as tightly as she held to him. "Forever." Slowly she released her hold on him, stepped away from him. He took the bottle of lotion from her hand, gently rubbed it into her skin.
"I'm starving," Daniel said, pulling on his jeans.
"Jimmy makes great pancakes. I've never had his waffles," she admitted softly, pulling on her own clothes.
"I'm willing to try them," he replied, smiling at her. He watched her tuck the tank top into her jeans, pull her hair back into a ponytail.
"Me, too," she said. She grabbed his hand before he opened the door. "Um…I'm not real sure what kind of a…well…I don't know how the folks around here are going to respond to you."
He grinned. He had no doubt that Casey had managed to charm the entire town, and probably had every person she knew protective of her. "It's okay, Angel. As long as you love me, I can handle anything."
"I do love you," she said softly, wrapping her arms around his waist and putting her head on his shoulder. "Only you, always you, forever," she whispered.
"Only you, always you, forever Casey," he whispered in return, holding her tightly.
She giggled when his stomach began growling. "I guess I'd better get you fed."
"Probably a good idea," he grinned in return.
The door was barely closed behind them when Ruby hurried toward them. "Good morning Casey," she called.
Daniel didn't miss the subtle eye-rolling. He smiled. He'd have to ask about that later. He waited until Casey had introduced them before greeting the woman.
"So, you're Casey's husband," Ruby said, looking him over. He was a fine looking man. Nice smile, very nice eyes.
"Yes, ma'am. Very honored and proud to be her husband," he said quietly.
Well, that spoke volumes, didn't it? Something told the older woman that this young man had suffered every bit as much as Casey had during their separation. Before she could respond, the salesman who'd rented room number two was walking toward the office to check out.
Casey gave a flutter of her fingers, and pulled Daniel toward the diner. "In about fifteen minutes Jimmy is going to have more business than he's ever had before at one time."
He laughed. "Ruby?"
"Oh yeah. If there's anything you want to know about the people of Los Noche, she knows about it. Things she shouldn't know about as well."
Jimmy and Theresa greeted Casey warmly. Theresa smiled at Daniel, but Jimmy just stared at the man, a scowl on his face. "You all right, Casey?" he asked, hesitating before heading back into the kitchen.
"Better than I have been in a long time," she replied softly.
The older man studied her face, watched those green eyes fill with love when they focused on her husband. Noticed the rings on her finger. He gave a curt nod, and hurried to the kitchen to finish heating up the grills.
"What can I get for you two this morning?" Theresa asked.
"Casey tells me that the pancakes are great here. I think I'd like to see if the waffles are as good," Daniel replied with a smile.
The woman nodded. "So you actually going to eat breakfast this morning, or do you want your usual?"
Daniel frowned when he looked at his Wife. "Usual?"
"Just cup of coffee," Theresa replied. She gave an approving nod when Daniel's frown deepened.
"I'll have a waffle with the coffee," Casey said. "And I think I want some bacon too. Just a couple of slices."
"Coming right up," Theresa said. She hurried to the kitchen, still writing on the ticket.
The bell above the door jingled, and Eunice Cleavemont hurried in. She stared at Daniel for a few seconds, then bustled over to one of the larger tables in the corner. Within ten minutes five women and three men, all of them of retirement age, were sitting and sipping coffee, casting curious looks at the young couple seated at the table by the window.
"Told you so," Casey said, shaking her head.
"Hey, at least I know that you were being looked after while you were here," he said softly. He reached out and took her hand, raised it to his lips.
She sighed at the familiar gesture. "I missed you so much," she whispered.
"I missed you too, Angel."
Tank saw them when he pulled up. Could see even from this distance the happiness that lit up her face. He took a deep breath, went into the café. He glanced around, nodded at Norm and Eunice and the gang. "Mornin', Casey," he said, stopping at the table.
Daniel looked up into the face of the man he'd spoken with when he'd first arrived.
"Morning, Tank. This is Daniel. Daniel, this is Tank Murphy. He was my boss over at Shady Dan's."
"Shady Dan's?" Another frown.
"Local watering hole and requisite small town dive," Tank replied. "Case…er…Casey was the bouncer." Snorts and chuckles echoed from the corner table.
"Bouncer?" The frown deepened.
Tank grabbed a chair and sat down, nodded his thanks when Theresa put a cup of coffee in front of him. "The first day Casey came into the place…" he paused, took a good look at the man who held firmly to her hand; knew that if he was in that position, he'd want to know everything. "She was torn up. I could see that in her eyes. She ordered a bottle of tequila, a salt shaker and some limes. She did a couple of shots. I was telling her about Los Noche. Couple of the locals decided to introduce themselves. Tilly got a little too friendly, and Casey put him in his place. Took her all of three seconds to do it. So I hired her to help me run the bar and be the bouncer for the place."
Daniel smiled. Teal'c had taught her hand-to-hand combat. He had no doubt that she could take a man out without breaking a fingernail.
"She added a lot of class to the place. Taught us all some line dances. Brought a lot of life to the joint," Tank said softly, his eyes on Casey.
He didn't miss the fact that the man was in love with his Wife. Hell, he'd fallen in love with her at first sight. He knew that Destiny had played a big role in that night. But the more he learned about her, the more he realized that it wouldn't have taken longer than a few days to be head over heels in love with her even had the 'connection' not been as strong as it had been from the beginning. "She brings life and sunshine to any place she walks into," Daniel said quietly.
Tank took a sip of coffee, looked at the man that she loved. "If she ever comes back here crying, there won't be anywhere on this god's green earth for you to hide." His voice was low and firm.
Casey's eyes went wide. "Tank!" she objected.
"It's okay, Angel," Daniel said. He looked at the bald man with the tattoos that covered muscular arms. "If she ever comes back here crying, I'll hold you to that."
Tank frowned slightly, then nodded his understanding. "Well, I'll leave you to eat your breakfast."
Casey kept her eyes on her cup of coffee. She tried to pull her fingers from Daniel's hand, but he wouldn't turn loose of her.
"Nothing happened between us," she whispered. "He…well, he put his arms around me while I cried, but just once. And he took me to Albuquerque for the…" her voice trailed off. She looked up at him, her eyes full of tears. "He's just a friend, nothing happened, I swear it!"
He reached out and caressed her face. "Shh…I know that, Angel. I know you well enough to know that you'd never…you wouldn't break our wedding vows." Something, he thought miserably, he'd done. He didn't know for sure what had happened during the four days that Osiris held him prisoner. He had his suspicions.
"Neither would you," she whispered. "Not willingly. Not knowingly. Anything that happened while you were under the influence of those drugs doesn't count. That wasn't you. That was just the drugs."
He felt tears prick his own eyes. "I love you so much it hurts," he whispered.
"I love you so much it hurts," she replied. She glanced around the room. Tank had his back to them, sitting at the counter talking to Theresa and Jimmy, who listened through the wide window that opened to the kitchen. Norm and Eunice and their friends were already playing pinochle. She leaned over the table and kissed him gently. "Forever."
"Forever," he replied. He kissed her again before she sat back down.
Daniel declared the waffles to be almost as good as Casey's. Jimmy had taken that as a complement, and had wished them both well when they left the diner. "Do you want to stay here for another day, or go on home?"
"Take me home," she said softly. "It won't take me long to pack."
His heart soared at the words. While she was in the bathroom, gathering her things and putting them into her small toiletry bag, he noticed the bottle of tequila on the dresser. There was only about two inches left in the bottom. A quick look into the small refrigerator let him know that she was drinking the liquor mixed with the orange juice. A Mexican screw, as it had been called when he was in college.
"I couldn't sleep," she said softly.
He closed the refrigerator door. "You don't have to explain," he replied.
She finished packing her clothes, put her hair dryer and toiletries bag into the duffel, looked around the room that had been her home for almost three weeks. "Are we really okay?"
He put his arms around her and pulled her close. "As far as I know. All I want is you in my life, beside me. I can't live without you, Case. I don't even want to try. I just want to take you home, and get on with our lives."
"I want that, too." She raised her face, begged for the kisses that could reassure her.
Her lips were like fine wine. He drank from her until he knew that he either had to stop, or take her to bed. "How soon do you want to leave?"
She giggled, pulled away from him. "As soon as I pay Ruby what I owe her for this week."
Twenty minutes later the jeep was on the highway again, heading back to Silver Springs.
A A A A A A
"Where do you want this?"
She huffed a sigh, put down the paintbrush and carefully opened the bathroom door. Daniel was standing in the middle of the dining room, a large box in his arms. She took a second to appreciate the muscles that strained to hold the heavy item. She glanced at the top of it. Grandma Rose's crystal. "Just put it in that corner for now," she said, pointing to the only corner in the dining room. The china cabinet that they'd agreed on, which matched the table they already owned, would be delivered during the following week. Until then, the boxes of china and crystal would be fine there.
Jack came in, carrying two lamps. "Where do you want these?"
"Just put them on the breakfast bar until the furniture gets here," she replied. She'd left the apartment early in the morning, before the movers arrived. A stop at Home Depot, and she had what she needed to decorate the doors of the bathroom cupboard. She'd refused to let Daniel in to see it. She was nearly finished with it.
"When will that truck get here?" Sam asked, carrying in a small box. It was marked 'Den', so she dutifully carried it to the room that would serve as Daniel's office.
"Should have been here by now," Jack grumbled.
Daniel just grinned. He'd made arrangements for an extra stop. He'd watched her looking at the bedroom sets when she'd thought him busy with the paperwork for the china cabinet. He couldn't wait to see her face.
Casey had already disappeared back into the bathroom. She'd actually hoped to have had this done before they moved in, but the Goa'uld had not been the most cooperative. The team had been on seven missions during the first three weeks of June. The first of them happening the day after she and Daniel had returned to Silver Springs.
She'd been surprised…shocked, actually, at the reaction to her return to the mountain. She didn't think that there'd been one person who hadn't stopped her to welcome her back, to tell her that she'd been sorely missed. Janet had told her that it was proof that she was most assuredly needed and wanted at the SGC. The diminutive woman had then turned to Daniel, her dark eyes sparkling with humor. "Her we need," Janet had said. "You…ah…not so much."
She couldn't help but giggle as the memory flittered through her mind. There. Now all she had to do was finish filling in this spot…Done! "Daniel!"
"Come here, please." She stood back, away from the door.
"Close the door," she said softly.
He did as she asked. Looked at her. Then turned his head and looked at the cupboard. He gave a small gasp. "Oh, wow! This is…this is an illustration of the daily bath ritual!"
"Rather fitting, I thought," she giggled.
Daniel grinned. "Case, it's perfect! How did you know about this?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Ever hear of the public library?" She nodded to the book on the floor that was open to several colorful illustrations.
He stepped closer to her, pulled her into a hug. Now he was damned glad he'd made that surprise purchase! "You're something else, you know that?"
"No, what am I?" she asked her eyes laughing up at him.
"A smartass," he groaned.
"Hey you two, knock it off and get out here! This is your stuff we're humping here!" Jack's voice said from the other side of the door.
Daniel found a small box that would prevent the bathroom door from opening completely, and marring the still wet paint.
"Truck is here!" Sam called.
Daniel positioned Casey beside the open French doors. "You tell them where you want everything," he told her. He called Sam, Jack, and Teal'c to the side. "Don't let her leave there," he whispered.
"Why?" Sam demanded to know.
"Because I don't want her to ruin her surprise," he replied, a wide grin on his face. He refused to say another word.
Casey pointed to the far wall of the living room when the four men who worked for the moving company began to bring in the massive glass-door bookshelves. The door to the driveway was soon nestled between the pantry in the kitchen, and the wide shelving units. The oak shelves and cabinet went on the opposite wall. The Oriental rug was unrolled, and defined the living room area. The sofa went across from the fireplace, and the two upholstered chairs on each side of the gray tile and river stone hearth. As soon as they'd been put down and the protective plastic taken off of them, she'd hurried over and twisted and turned until she had them at the angle she wanted them. The coffee table, end tables and sofa table were in place by the time she was finished.
The dining room table and chairs were next, followed by the rattan chairs that would grace the breakfast bar. The queen-size mattress and boxed springs came next, the dresser and chest of drawers after that.
"Oh, my god!"
Daniel raced from the den, where he'd been supervising the arrangement of his desk and filing cabinets. Her eyes were wide, and she whirled to face him.
"Same day we ordered the china cabinet," he replied.
She followed the movers as they carried the brass headboard and footboard into the bedroom. It was the bed she'd been drooling over while Daniel paid for the china cabinet. When she turned around, he was directly behind her. She threw her arms around his neck. "Thank you! How did you know?"
"Just watched you, Angel," he replied truthfully.
"You're an amazing man, Daniel Jackson," she said softly. She leaned up and kissed his lips. "Remind me to strip for you later," she whispered.
"Not a problem," he grinned. He had plenty of cash on hand.
Janet and Cassie arrived, full of news about Cassie's day at cheerleading camp, and carrying five pizza boxes. Jack was sent out to her car to fetch the grocery bags that held cold beer and soda.
The group opted to sit on the deck to eat. "Okay, Jacksons, we hauled the boxes into the house. You get to unpack them," Jack said, licking cheese off of his fingers.
Casey smiled. "I don't mind. I certainly do appreciate all of your help," she said softly.
"We appreciate the help," Daniel said, just as softly. He put his arm around Casey's neck, pulled her close and kissed the side of her head.
"That's what friends are for," Janet said, smiling.
"Let's hope that the freaking Goa'uld will take a break from bothering people," Casey grumped. All but one of the missions the team had been on had required protecting people they'd met through previous missions from Goa'uld determined to make slaves out of the small communities.
"I'd love to know what they're saying about us," Sam said, giggling slightly. "I mean, we've shown up everywhere they've tried moving in."
"I'm sure it's mean and hateful and totally unflattering," Jack replied.
"Probably upped the prices on our heads," Daniel quipped, reaching for another slice of pizza.
"Of this I have no doubt," Teal'c said. "Casey Jackson, are we to be allowed to see what you spent the day working on?"
Casey giggled. "Sure you are. Come on."
The group followed her into the bathroom. "Kinda tight," Jack remarked, Sam standing up against him on one side, Janet on the other.
Daniel closed the door.
"Did you paint that?" Sam gasped.
"Free hand," Daniel replied proudly. "She did the entire thing freehand. She got a book from the library. These are 'scenes' of a daily cleansing ritual," he said, pointing to each of the doors, which had a 'panel' of the representation.
"That is very impressive," Janet said.
Casey blushed slightly. "I really only added the color. Cassie is the one who helped me get the outline right," she said softly.
Cassie grinned. "It was really easy to do. Egyptian art isn't that hard to duplicate."
Daniel smiled. "You both did a great job. It looks fantastic."
The group returned to the deck to finish the pizza, discussing the various talents of the team members and their close friends. As soon as the pizza boxes were empty and thrown away, one by one their friends said their goodbyes, leaving the couple alone in their new home.
She wandered into the bedroom and began to make the bed, running her fingers over the shiny brass posts and the smaller spindles.
"So, think you're going to be happy here?"
"I think I'll manage," she said, turning to face him.
Her smile was enough to light up both Springs and Denver, he thought. "Good."
"What about you? Think you can handle having to mow the yard?"
"What? Mow? That was not listed in the papers we signed!" he said, pretending to be shocked.
"If you missed that, then you missed the part about having to take the trash out, and making sure the trash can gets to the curb on trash day, and about washing the windows-"
"Whoa! I don't do windows!" he declared, holding up both hands.
Casey giggled. "Maybe we can hire college students to do the windows."
"Deal," he grinned. "Let's finish making the bed. I'm beat."
They snuggled close in their new bed, in their new house. Together.
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