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Daniel was sitting with his chin in his hand at the conference table in the briefing room. His head was throbbing. Janet had given him another injection of the Hathor-gene serum, just before he'd left Ravanna, so at least he wasn't suffering from the shakes. He still didn't know exactly how he'd ended up on the Tok'ra base, nor could he account for the four days he'd been missing. They assumed that eventually Sarah would be able to fill in those blanks. Jacob had contacted the SGC thirty minutes into the debrief to let them know that the final steps of the procedure to remove the Goa'uld from Sarah had been completed, and that she was not coping well. The Tok'ra Council was going to approach her about blending with one of the many Tok'ra symbiotes in need of a host, and continuing to be 'Osiris'. There was hope that she would do so.
He looked over at Jack again. His friend refused to meet his gaze. Something was wrong. He rubbed his fingers over the bridge of his nose. "I want to go home. I want to see Casey, and I want some sleep."
He missed the worried glances exchanged between the general and the colonel. "Go ahead, son," General Hammond said softly. When Jack would have said something, the older man put his hand on the colonel's arm, subtly shook his head. There was always a chance that Jerry had misinterpreted things. The Jacksons had just bought a house. It was possible that the owner was allowing Casey to begin moving things in while they waited for Daniel's return and his signature on the final paperwork. That happened often enough. The tears could have been nothing more than her concern for her husband. Hope always springs eternal.
They watched the young archaeologist leave the room. He looked exhausted. And haunted. Everyone sitting around the table was aware that more had happened on Yu's ship, and while he was in Osiris' custody, than he was telling. None of them were sure they really wanted to know what Daniel had endured…suffered.
A A A A A A
He opened the door. Felt the difference instantly. Cold. He looked around. Felt his heart break into pieces. Gone! Her things were gone. He opened the cupboards where Grandma Rose's crystal and china had been…empty. She'd left everything else, taking only what she'd arrived with. He raced to the bedroom, opened the closet. Empty. Drawers, empty. He caught sight of a trash bag. Found those sexy little teddies, the nighty's. Couldn't hold back the sound of pain that filled his throat. He wandered into the bathroom. Her robe was gone. Everything on the counter, that wonderful tangible evidence of a woman's presence…gone. He stumbled into his office. Dropped into the chair when his eyes focused on the small objects on top of his legal pad. He read the message, gave in to the pain and began to weep. He dropped the credit card, bent down to retrieve it, found the crumpled papers, read them. Could see where her tears had caused the ink to run. Her pain was tangible. After all she'd gone through in her life, he'd battered her heart…broken it completely. He hadn't realized it, had been drugged at the time…but he had hurt her, intentionally or not.
The doorbell brought him to his feet. Maybe she'd changed her mind! Maybe Sam had been able to find her, talk to her, explain what had happened. He raced to the door to open it. Found his teammates standing awkwardly in the hallway. "She's gone," he said hoarsely.
"We'll find her," Jack said firmly.
"Daniel, she didn't give anyone a chance to tell her what was going on," Sam said gently.
"She had a bad feeling about this mission," Daniel replied. "We should have listened."
"She had a bad feeling?" Jack asked, frowning.
Daniel nodded wearily. "She was convinced that it was because she didn't want me to go."
Sam frowned. "She said something odd yesterday, something about being blind."
"Is it possible that something, or someone, was interfering with what she was seeing…or not seeing?" Jack asked.
Daniel shrugged. "Anything is possible." He leaned against her when Sam hugged him. Took the comfort offered by his best friend.
"Okay, Daniel, I know that you two talked about everything. We just need to jog your memory. She's mentioned favorite places, or places she'd like to visit. You just have to remember them. Then we'll check them out," the blonde major said soothingly. "Then you'll explain what's going on, and bring her home."
He nodded. "If she'll forgive me," he murmured.
"As soon as she finds out what really happened, she's going to be back in your arms, and your life, faster than you can say Casey Jackson," Jack promised.
"Indeed," Teal'c said. "Her love for you is deep. Or she would not have reacted in such a manner."
He looked up at the Jaffa. Realized that there was a great deal of truth in the statement. Which gave him hope. All he needed was enough hope to hang on. He'd find her, and bring her home. And this time the Goa'uld involved in the whole damned mess wasn't a direct threat to his Wife.
A A A A A A
Casey carefully counted out her money in the privacy of the bathroom stall. It probably would've been wiser to have spent another night in the apartment, rather than spending money she really didn't have on a motel room. But she couldn't face another minute there. Not knowing that she'd lost him, forever. As it was, she'd cried most of the night, not falling asleep until near dawn. She'd barely been out of the room by check-out time. She kept five twenties out, put the rest in the back section of her wallet, hidden from prying eyes should she need to show identification.. She stuffed the money into the front pocket of her jeans. With a deep breath, she left the ladies room. Time to do what she knew she had to do.
The man behind the ticket counter smiled at her. "What can I do for you, Miss?"
"I need a one-way ticket to Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the first bus that leaves here," she replied softly.
He studied her, took note of the fact that she'd been crying. None of his business, he scolded himself. "You just missed the one o'clock. bus. Next departure for Santa Fe is ten-thirty tonight."
She nodded, paid for the ticket, then looked around. Made her decision. "I'll be back in time for the bus." She found a locker, put her duffel into it, then took the key. She slipped it into her pocket.
Grant Park was in full bloom. Flowers with bright colored petals lined the sidewalks. The trees were budding out; the cherry trees dressed in their finest pinks and whites. She wandered slowly. That was the hill they'd sledded down, right after she'd arrived here. This was the bench they'd sat on and ate ice cream from the ice cream parlor just around the corner, on the first warm day of spring. This was the tree she'd been leaning against when he'd kissed her, so tenderly.
Memories flowed, unbidden. Unwelcome. Precious. The only thing she'd keep of him. Those, and photographs. She'd known that Daniel wouldn't want them around, certainly Sarah would want no reminder of her. Looking at them only stabbed more deeply at her heart. She'd contemplated tossing them, but couldn't bring herself to do it. So she'd packed them with her books. Perhaps someday she could look at them and remember, and not feel as if she was going to die from the pain.
She walked to the Sonic. She didn't know if they had these drive-ins around Santa Fe. She wasn't hungry, but forced down an order of onion rings and a strawberry shake. Tired physically...exhausted mentally...numb emotionally, she walked back to the bus depot. And waited for the bus that would take her away from the beautiful, amazing life that had been hers for a short time.
A A A A A A
Daniel was holding an ice pack to his head. He wanted something for the pain in his heart as well. He'd rehashed every conversation he could remember having with Casey. He'd shared only a portion of those conversations with his friends, the rest too private, too precious.
When asked, Jerry had informed them that she'd left just before six o'clock the day before. He knew the cab driver, and called the man. The driver remembered her, of course he did. He didn't often have women that beautiful in his cab. He'd taken her to a nearby hotel. She'd called again just this morning, the cabbie informed them, and when he heard the call come through, he'd recognized the name, and had picked her up and then driven her to the airport. But he wasn't sure she'd gone inside. As he was pulling away, he told Daniel, he thought he saw her get into another cab.
"She's trying to throw us off of her trail," Jack mused, after using his rank to find out if she'd taken any flights from the Colorado Springs Airport. None of the carriers had any record of a Casey Jackson, or a Casey Webster purchasing a ticket. "Why?"
"I have no idea," Daniel muttered.
"Because it will be hard for you to serve her with divorce papers if you don't know where she's at," Sam said softly.
His head came up, and he cursed softly as it throbbed. "Divorce papers?"
"You have to remember, she's convinced that you're with Sarah, that you want to be with Sarah," was the gentle reply.
He moaned. "I have to find her!"
"Okay, she took the wedding pictures. But she didn't take the ones from your office on base. We'll get copies made, and hit the airport. Somebody saw her. If she took another cab, we'll find that driver, and find out where she went," Jack declared.
"Why can't we just issue an APB on her?" Sam asked.
"Oh, yeah. Let the cops find her and treat her like a criminal," Daniel spat. "That's sure to make her want to come back to me."
Jack reached out and grabbed the young man's shoulder. "Easy, Danny."
"Yeah, you can say that. It's not your wife who's run off," Daniel growled. Why had she done that? Why hadn't she waited to find out what was going on? Because, his brain told him bluntly, she only believes what she sees. She'd learned the hard way that words could hide a multitude of lies. You have to win her back, his brain informed him. He groaned mentally. That wouldn't be easy. Not as hurt, not as angry as she was.
"You need to get some sleep," Jack said gently. "We'll get started in the morning."
"In the morning she could be across the country," Daniel replied.
"In the morning we'll all be rested and better able to deal with this. We will find her, Danny, I promise," Jack said. "And she'll understand that what happened wasn't your fault."
He cringed. No, none of it had been his fault. If you didn't take into consideration the fact that he'd agreed to go on the goddamned mission in the first place.
A A A A A A
Casey boarded the bus. There weren't many passengers. She chose a seat in the back, put her duffel beside her to discourage any potential encroachers. When the bus began to move forward, she watched as the town of Silver Springs was left behind. Her heart remained there, in tiny pieces. She'd never love again. Not like she'd loved Daniel. There would never be any other man who could please her, take her to that secret place that they'd discovered together. No, Daniel still held her heart, or the pieces of it. He always would. She choked back a sob, fought back the tears. There was no sense crying about it. Done was done. It was over. She had to move on. Or die from the pain. "Goodbye, Daniel. I will always love you," she whispered.
A A A A A A
Daniel grabbed the pillow and went into the living room. Without her beside him, he couldn't sleep in the bed. Tears rolled down the side of his face as he listened to the emptiness around him. "Where are you, Angel?" he whispered. His heart was aching, shattered by her absence. He had to find her. He had to!
Second wept softly. "He has suffered so much! This is not fair!"
First tried to smile, her own eyes full of tears. "What has happened was unforeseen, true. Because of the interference of others. But we will be allowed to…guide…The One. We may only do so three times, until this situation is...remedied; so we must chose wisely when and where we will assist him."
"It would not do to…guide him…too quickly," Third said, watching the man toss and turn on the sofa.
"No, it would not," First agreed.
Second longed to reach out and comfort him. Sighed when she turned to follow her companions.
A A A A A A
Jack tossed back his drink. Goddamned Goa'uld snakes! He was glad to know that Osiris was dead. Sure as hell wished it had happened before Casey had seen Daniel under the influence of that damned drug! He'd never forget how the light had just…died…in her eyes, how the pain had filled them. The heartbreak she felt had reached out and touched him as well. He looked at the phone. Wondered if she was home. If she was alone. Sometimes…sometimes she was the only one he could talk to. He shook his head, poured another drink, tossed it back as well. Calling his ex-wife wasn't something he should even be considering. He needed to get some sleep. He had to be ready to look for the woman who'd made his best friend so damned happy. Had to get those two back together. They belonged together, for crying out loud!
Sam curled around her pillow, let the tears come. Jack hadn't stayed. They'd held each other, but had been too lost in their own thoughts, both worried about Daniel and Casey. Daniel was devastated. And somehow she knew that if for some reason Casey didn't come home with him…she absolutely refused to entertain the thought that they might not actually find the seer…he'd leave the SGC. He'd never walk through the 'gate again. And she needed…wanted…her best friend, her best friends, working beside her. She closed her eyes. In the morning things would look better. They always did.
Teal'c stared at the wall. He'd not thought that Casey Jackson would ever willingly leave Daniel Jackson. Her pain must be great, if staying was too difficult under her mistaken belief that he no longer loved her. He frowned. There was much more going on than what he could see with his eyes, hear with his ears, this much he could sense. He closed his eyes. He could no longer reach the same state of kel'no'reem now that his symbiote was gone. But he was still able to meditate. Perhaps he would recall something that she'd said as they worked together in the gym that would give them a hint as to where she'd gone.
General Hammond closed the folder. Jacob had told him what Selmak suspected had happened on that ship. Between that, and being abducted by Osiris…he shook his head. Daniel Jackson willingly endured more shit than any of the others who worked for the SGC, all in the name of defeating the Goa'uld. The young man had a deep hatred of those damned parasites, had every reason to hate them. If Casey wasn't found, he had no doubt that Daniel would quit. His heart wouldn't be in the work, and truth be told, that was dangerous for everyone. He stared at the red phone. Keeping both of those young people working at the SGC was important...vital. Not to mention that he cared for both of them personally. The members of SG-1 had saved the world a time or two…Daniel had helped save the world a time or two. Casey had saved the lives of nearly every SG team in the mountain. It was about time for some payback. He reached for the red telephone. "Yes. This is General Hammond. I need to speak to the president."
A A A A A A
Sarah sat on the bench, watching the lights that played along the water's edge. Jacob Carter - and his symbiote, Selmak - had told her what had happened. She knew exactly how Daniel felt. She'd felt the same way when he'd walked away from her so many years ago. She'd slammed out of his office, furious that he could forget their anniversary. Now she realized that it hadn't meant that he hadn't cared…he had, in his own way. When he'd left, without even saying goodbye, she'd cried for days. She'd harbored the hope that they'd get back together. It hadn't taken long for her to realize that he'd never loved her, not the way that she loved him. She took a deep breath. Selmak had already promised to make the arrangements. When it was…done…she'd go back to Earth, just for a short visit. She had no doubt that his friends would find his wife. She'd talk to this woman who'd managed to win Daniel's heart...this Casey...explain that while he'd been free of the drug, Daniel's thoughts had been on her, that her name had left his lips repeatedly. Maybe, just maybe it would help to mend what Osiris had tried to destroy. It was one of the few things she could make up for.
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