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What the Eye Beholds, the Heart Denies

 

Chapter 12

The dishwasher was loaded. She finished wiping the counter. Daniel took the towel from her hand, tossed it toward the sink. Pulled her into his arms. She clung to him, holding him so tightly he could barely breathe. Not that he was allowing her much room for movement, either.

He could feel the warmth of her breath on his neck. Felt the tremors in her body. The familiar shaking in her shoulders just before her tears wet his skin. "Cry it out, Angel," he whispered.

It didn't make sense...he was home, alive and safe and healthy...oh, she could see he needed to put a few pounds back on. But he was home! So why was she standing here, unable to hold the tears back? When she'd first seen him, walking down the ramp behind Janet, she'd been positive that she was dreaming. Until he'd wrapped her in his arms. Kissed her senseless. Then she'd known, for not even in her dreams could she feel that way. He was warm and solid and he was holding her so close...

He closed his eyes. He was furious at what she'd gone through...the agony of believing him dead...the pain of trying to pick up the pieces of her life and go on. Been there, done that. An experience he wouldn't wish on anyone. His little adventure hadn't been much better, and if not for the help of his 'protectors', he'd still be marooned on that planet. Even though she'd finally been able to 'see' what had happened, knew that he was alive, how long would it have been before the Prometheus would have arrived to do a scan? Weeks? Months? Years? No, he wasn't going to think about it. Not now. He was going to take his Fantasy Angel to bed. He was going to make love to her until the only tears that filled her eyes were tears of happiness. "Let's go to bed," he whispered.

She took a shuddering breath. She'd had a lot of time to think, while the team had been looking for him. During the evenings when she sat here alone, because Jack insisted that she come home to rest. "We should talk."

Oh, hell. It was never a good thing if a woman's response to 'let's go to bed' was 'we should talk'. His heart trembled in his chest. He let her pull away from him. Watched her turn her back to him, fiddle with the canisters on the back of the counter.

"If you don't want to...well, you know...it's okay. I understand. Going through withdrawal...god, I can't even imagine how horrible it must have been, and you were alone and you could have died and no one would have known about it and what if something really terrible had happened and it's all my fault and god, Daniel, I'm so sorry!" Her head had dropped forward, those slender shoulders were shaking again. 

Goddamn it! When I find those daemons, I'm gonna rip them limb from limb with my bare hands! He forced her to turn back towards him. Wrapped his hand around her chin, tipped her head up so that he could look into her tear-filled eyes. "I won't lie to you and tell you that it was easy. But I will tell you this...I can't wait to addict myself to you all over again. Because I love to give you pleasure that way. I love watching your eyes. When I'm making love to you orally, did you know that you have this way of touching your top lip with the tip of your tongue? It drives me crazy! I love the way you pant and beg and moan and sing your love to me when I'm making love to you with my lips and my tongue. Please, Casey, don't deny me that pleasure."

"You really...you...you...really?"

He smiled, wreathed her face with his hands. Wiped her tears away with his thumbs. "I really."

"Whatever you want from me," she whispered. "I'm yours totally, to take any way that pleases you."

Oh, god. Does she have any idea what words like that could do to a man? "Let me make love to you, Casey. Let me hold you, and please you," he whispered in return. Gratified to see the shiver that moved over her slender frame.

She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I missed you so very much."

"I missed you, too, Angel." He scooped her into his arms. Carried her into the bedroom. She was scooting to the edge of the bed to stand up as soon as he put her down. He really wasn't in the mood to discuss anything. He wanted to make love...he needed to make love to his Wife. Make love with her. Hold her and know that he truly was home. "Now what?" he asked, sighing heavily.

"Turn the bed back, Stud Muffin. I'll be right back."

His eyebrows shot up in surprise when she closed the bedroom door behind her. Okay, just what the hell was she up to? The thought that she was going to call Jack, and didn't want him to overhear the conversation, flittered through his mind. He pushed down the wave of panic and jealousy that surged forward.

Tossing the throw pillows onto the chair, he tried not to think about what she might be doing. Pulled the comforter and the blankets back. Sat down and pulled his boots and socks off, shrugged out of his sweater. All the while trying to reassure himself that nothing was wrong. Casey loved him. She was happy to have him home. Her eyes told him that, and her eyes had never lied to him. He glanced at the nightstand. Her cell phone was beside his. He glanced at the door, and, hating himself for the damned insecurity he seemed unable to control, gently lifted the house phone from the cradle. Heard nothing but a dial tone. So what in the hell was she doing?

He twisted the switch on the lamp, putting it on its lowest setting. Shucked his jeans and boxers, stretched out on the bed. Oh, god, that felt good! After nearly a month of sleeping on the ground, wrapped in an animal fur, the comfort of the bed was almost enough to lull him to sleep. He locked his gaze on the door. Waiting for his Wife.

 

 

 

She hurried to the bathroom to strip, and put on a bit of lotion. She brushed her hair. Washed her face, erased all of the tear stains, knowing that the nights of crying herself to sleep were over. Slipped into the den. The package was still there...and while certain items wouldn't be used just yet, she'd planned to wear the new teddy for him the first night he was home. Granted, she'd feared that night wouldn't be as soon as she had hoped. But he was home now...and tonight was 'the' night.

He sat up when she tapped on the door. "Casey, what is going-"

When she stepped into the room, she almost laughed out loud at how wide his eyes had become. His jaw was hanging open, and he looked as if he might start drooling at any moment.

"Sweet Jesus in Heaven!" His cock was rock hard and standing straight up at the sight before him. The little...teddy...that she was almost wearing was enough to melt his brain permanently. Sheer black lace, it was literally a 'V' on her slender frame, the point disappearing between her thighs in a thong held in place around her hips by a strip of satin string. Her pubic bone was barely covered, just a hint of those dark blonde curls were visible in the opening that widened as it went up, the two sides of the top just covering her hard nipples. A jeweled strip kept the two sides from slipping out of place, and the entire thing was held up by satin string that disappeared behind her neck. Her navel ring winked at him, and he could just see the hint of the tattoos on her inner thighs.

"I wanted tonight to be special," she said softly. "Well, not tonight exactly...the first night you were home."

"Uh huh."

"I wanted to wear something that would turn you on."

He motioned to the erection that rose from between his legs. "Can't get any more turned on," he managed to say, his voice strained.

"So, do you like it?"

"Oh, yeah," he replied. "Get over here and let me take that off of you."

She giggled. "You don't want me to wear it for just a little bit?"

When she turned around, he moaned out loud. The satin strips that held the thong in place were the only thing visible, those luscious mounds fully exposed to his view. "Casey, get over here before I come just looking at you!"

Her giggle turned to a full throated laugh. She knelt on the foot of the bed, leaned over and practically slithered up between his legs as he laid back against the pillows. Her hands moved over his thighs. "I should take care of this, so we can take our time making love," she said softly.

"Not a bad idea," he managed to reply. Her breath was warm against the taut skin of his throbbing cock. He was aware that he'd probably shoot off as soon as she touched him. Didn't think he could push enough air through his parched throat to tell her as much. Watched as she ran her fingers through his pubic hair, shivered from that gentle, erotic caress.

She watched his head drop back when she began to lick him, from his balls to the tip that wept so copiously. She took that precious fluid, savored it like fine wine, then licked her way back down.

"Oh, god," he murmured. Gasped out loud when her warm mouth engulfed him completely.

No time to tease...at the rate he was throbbing, he'd be giving up that creamy white love at any moment. She settled on a steady rhythm, her tongue swirling over the swollen tip each time she moved completely up. Her hands worked in concert with her mouth, one stroking his shaft, the other cupping and rolling his heavy balls.

The clock on the table beside the bed ticked off the seconds...the minutes...as she did her best to drive him out of his mind. There was no way to hold back, even if he had wanted to...that talented tongue, her eager mouth, her soft hands with their amazing skill...all served to send him rushing up the side of the mountain. He gave a low groan as lights began to flash behind his closed eyelids, and that incredible feeling raced down his spine, up his cock and fired off, sending him spiraling into space. "Casey," he whispered, his body rigid as his climax rocked him from head to foot.

She accepted his gift of love, took all that he offered with ravenous delight...licked him clean, then kissed her way to his chest, lavished his hard nipples with soft kisses and tender nibbles, greeted his tattoo with more kisses, then moved up to his jaw, her lips stopping on his.

Her kiss was warm...gentle...offered him anything and everything. Once again he drank from those sweet lips, her sweetness so familiar and so welcome. All he needed in life he held in his arms at that moment. As long as he had Casey, he had everything. If she'd been with him on that planet, whether or not they ever left it wouldn't have been as great a concern. It was his need for her that drove him to find a way to return to her. His addiction, and his desire to re-establish that addiction, had nothing...or very little...to do with that need. She was the better part of him...she was the sunlight that filled his very soul.

She wasn't even aware he had moved, had been so wrapped up in the wonder that was his kiss that she hadn't even noticed the telltale signs...like the tightening of his muscles...that he was about to roll over, until she was on her back, looking up at him. She caught his face between her hands. "I'm not going to last long...I...I don't know how much...I mean..." she broke off.

Her cheeks were rosy, and even though she hadn't been able to articulate her meaning, he understood exactly what she was trying to tell him. "I don't think it will be a problem, Angel. You always provide ample amounts of that sweet nectar."

"What you mean is I can soak the sheets by myself," she replied dryly.

He chuckled, rubbed the tip of his nose against hers. "That doesn't happen often...not if I can help it. It's a shame to waste that sweet honey of yours."

"You're a very weird man, Daniel Jackson."

"You love me anyway."

"With all my heart," she sighed. Accepted his kiss eagerly, her fingers moving over his jaw, the pads of her fingertips rubbing against his beard, the tactile input making her shiver with desire...with need.

She smelled so good, and tasted so sweet, and if he never left this bed again he'd be a happy man. That she had wanted to make his first night home special was so typical of her. And lordy, what this lacey little number was doing to him!

He ran his fingertip over the points of her breasts, circling each nipple slowly, barely touching her, the lace a tantalizing barrier between his skin and hers. When he tried to move away from her lips, anxious to begin the journey of discovery, she held him in place, her lips and tongue taking what she needed. He acquiesced to her demands...her desires. Deepened the kiss and was immediately rewarded with a soft moan.

That he was in her arms, kissing her, ready to make love to her, was a miracle that she wasn't going to question. One for which she would be eternally grateful. She'd been able to sense his anger when he had spoken to Oma Desala. Anger that she knew would be needed when it came time to face Dartal's minions. She pushed those thoughts aside. Until it was time, she wasn't going to think about the battle that was to come. When his lips once again drifted from hers, over her cheek, to her jaw, to the spot behind her ear that always made her shiver, she didn't object.

Her body was pressing up against his, she was as eager to make love as he was. He was already anticipating that first taste of her sweet, sweet honey. He kissed and licked and nipped his way to her collarbones, taking the time to leave a lovely bruise on her elegant neck.

He was delighted to learn that the jeweled strap that held the top of the 'V' together was removable. He unclipped it, tossed it toward the night table. Pushed the lace aside. "My sweet beauties," he sighed, before anointing each pink tip with a kiss.

"The girls thought they'd never see you again," she whispered.

"Well, I'm not that easy to get rid of," he replied between kisses.

"Something we're very grateful for," she replied. Shivered when he captured a hard nipple between his lips and began to tease it with the tip of his tongue. She moaned out loud when he began to suckle, his hands caressing her as he did so. Her back was beginning to arch off the bed as he continued to make love to her.

How many nights had he dreamed of her, ached to hold her, to taste her? The emotions that raced through him...love, relief, desire, grief, anger, fear, need...all tumbled around in his head until he pushed them aside, allowing only his love for her, his need for her, to remain. He moved his mouth from one beautiful breast to the other, his mark coloring the sweet valley between them. Slid down on the bed in order to tease her bellybutton. He thrust his tongue inside the tiny indentation, wiggled it slightly, grinned when she giggled. He raised his head, his hand still caressing her. "This scrap of lace is sexier than hell. And it has to go."

She reached behind her to untie the halter strap. "Have at it, Doctor Jackson."

He tugged the top down, waited until she lifted her hips so that he could pull it free. In seconds it was on the floor. He sighed contentedly as she lay before him; naked, ready, and all his. The latter of which was the very best part, he decided. He glanced up at her, a slight frown on his face when her thighs moved together as he slid down, ready to make love to the very core of her being. "Casey?"

"I want you to be absolutely sure," she said softly. "It's so damned inconvenient!"

He ran his hands gently up and down her slender thighs, his thumbs moving between them. "How can I explain it so you'll understand? How do I get through to you? Babe, I love you. I love being addicted to you. I rejoice in it...revel in it."

"Why?"

"Because I'm the only man...the only one given the honor of being so close to you, of knowing you so intimately. The only one that you'll allow to become addicted to you. And you taste damned good, too."

She couldn't help but giggle at that declaration. "I just want you to be certain. I won't be upset if you'd rather not."

"Let me love you, Angel. Please don't deny me what belongs to me, and me alone," he whispered.

The look of love, of need...of sheer animal lust that filled his eyes did as much to convince her as his beautifully spoken explanation. With a nod, she let him part her thighs. Watched him move closer, close his eyes as he inhaled deeply.

His body was already shaking with anticipation. He might have gone through withdrawal, but the need for her was every bit as strong as it had ever been. Anointing her mons with soft kisses, he settled between her slender thighs. Smiled at the tattoos, kissed them gently. Unable to wait any longer, he ran his tongue from the top to the bottom of that warm, sweet slit. His body gave a violent shake of approval, and the moan of delight that filled his throat was echoed by her soft moan of pleasure as her body shivered from his touch.

Choosing one of his favorite Egyptian love poems, he began to write his love on her skin, taking the time to dip into that warm well to taste that sweet nectar. She writhed and wiggled and shivered and moaned beneath his ministrations, which aroused him every bit as much as her scent, her taste. He looked up at her, locked his gaze with hers. Watched her take a breath, waiting for the final assault on her senses. He teased her for just another moment, running his tongue over those puffy nether lips.

She could feel the roughness of his beard when he moved his face against her as he made love to her, the titillation sending messages of pleasure to her brain. "Please," she whispered.

He smiled against her skin. So loved it when she was begging. He finished the last stanza of the poem, then pushed his tongue into her, listened to the soft moan, and lapped at the flood of sweet nectar. Knowing there would be more when he sent her sailing into the stars.

When he moved his mouth forward, she moaned again. Her clit was pulsing and aching and if he didn't give her what she needed soon, she was going to scream. 

As if sensing her need, her desperation, he wrapped his lips around that swollen nub, began to tease it with the tip of his tongue.

"Nngg...goddess, yes! Right there!" Her voice was low, breathless, filled with raw need.

That's it, talk to me, babe...tell me what you want...he renewed his efforts, still watching her. There! The tip of her tongue was teasing her upper lip...she was getting close. He slid two fingers into her hot well, began to stroke hard and deep, the way he knew she liked it. Was rewarded by another moan and her thighs pressing against his shoulders.

Her fingers were clenched around his hair, holding onto him as he took her on that wonderful ride of pure pleasure. She let her eyes flutter closed as he led her higher and higher...she began to reach for the climax that was building, white hot and incredible.

Her body was shaking, the quiver that signaled her impending flight vibrating against his skin. He closed his eyes, concentrated on giving her all the pleasure that he possibly could. She surrounded him completely, filled him completely. She was all he wanted, all he needed.

Lights were beginning flash, colors to spin and twirl...she stretched, reached...grabbed for that most special of feelings...

That beautiful whimper filled her throat, built up until that dulcet song of love echoed on the air around him. He almost cried out as he quenched the thirst that burned in him, the need quelled by her love, and her sexy body. He took his fill, shuddering as the pheromones impacted on his system, sending him flying beside her.

"Daniel," she whispered, her body dropping back onto the bed, her heart pounding, her breath coming in gasps.

No time to wait...he couldn't wait...he'd been dreaming of this...He slid up, buried himself in her still convulsing well, felt it pull and tug at his cock. Her arms and legs encircled him, drew him closer, her soft sigh enough to make his heart flutter in his chest. He moved slowly, deliberately. Her hips met his thrust for thrust. When her arms tugged at him, he lowered himself slightly, felt her hard nipples pressing into his skin. "I love you," he panted softly, his lips beside her ear.

"I love you," she whispered. Turned her face slightly, nuzzling his cheek.

He knew what she wanted. Began to kiss her, the thrust of his tongue matching that of his hips. He rejoiced in the deep moan that filled her throat, the way she tightened her arms and legs around him, pulling him closer still, those slender hips continually meeting his each step of the way as he led her through the dance of love.

The brass headboard knocked against the wall with a steady tap-tap-tap. The beat increased as need and desire clashed, and bodies ground and thrust, hands gripped and caressed, mouths opened wider, taking and giving more as the fire burned out of control.

With a grunt of need Daniel rose up on outstretched arms, his feet pushing against the spindles of the footboard; he began to shove himself into her...harder, deeper, faster. Her fingers were tight around his biceps, her legs locked around his hips, never letting him move too far away from her body, her hips pointed up, taking him again and again with every thrust. He slammed his body against hers; needing, demanding, taking...

"Daniel!"

It took several seconds for her voice to filter through to him. Another second or so to realize just how desperate...how out of control...his movements had become. He froze, sweat beading on his face, fear filling his mind. Oh, god, he'd hurt her! "Casey?"

"No, no, don't stop," she moaned, her hips moving against his.

"Are you all right?"

"I'm on the verge of an orgasm, and you wanna talk?"

He chuckled, leaned down to kiss her, began moving again...slowly, gently.

"Harder, faster," she begged softly, moving her lips from his only far enough to speak.

"Easy, babe, easy," he murmured. Her hands moved from his shoulders, over his chest, her fingers plucking at his nipples as he continued to gently move against her, in her.

The gentle rhythm allowed for soft kisses and tender caresses. Murmurs of love, pillow talk that covered the subjects of does that feel good or did she like this or did he like that. Giggles and chuckles as they kissed and nipped and touched while their dance continued...more subdued now, but every bit as pleasurable.

He gasped when he felt that familiar massage deep inside her, as she worked those muscles around his throbbing cock. Groaned when she clamped her body around him again and again and again, shoving him back toward the precipice he'd just stepped away from. He pushed into her, remained still, letting her take complete control.

This was for him, about him. She watched his face as she concentrated on pleasing him, the intense throbbing of his member sending fingers of pleasure to tingle in her toes. Planting kisses on his neck and his sweat dampened shoulders, she added the subtle movements of her hips. His eyes were closed, his head hanging down as he supported himself on his arms once again. The stimulation was doing as much for her as it was for him, she was certain.

"Oh, god, don't stop," he begged, when she laid still, the only movement deep inside. He rubbed his hips up and down against hers, urging her to continue.

She complied, grinding against him, moving her hips in a gentle circle as much as she could. A smile tugged at her lips when he groaned out loud, and the tremors in the tendons beneath her fingers increased. Her own body was beginning to make demands of its own, her needs clamoring to be addressed. "Please," she whispered, "take me. I need to feel you, I need hard and fast and deep...please."

Any pretense of self-control fled in the wake of those soft whispers. He knelt on the bed, holding her hips against his body. When she held out her hand, he took it. Smiled when she pulled herself up, wrapped around him, her legs locked behind him, her arms tight around his shoulders. His hands cupped her ass, kneaded those firm globes as he began to thrust up into her. Within seconds he was lifting her, then impaling her on every thrust.

"Oh, goddess! Yes!"

Sensations of pleasure rocketed through both of them, left them shivering and moaning and clinging to one another. Their bodies continued to move against one another, her arms and legs helping him as he continued to lift her up and down on his aching cock.

"Nngg...don't stop don't stop don't stop don't stop," she chanted, grabbing for the climax that shimmered just out of her reach.

Primal need was in control as he continued to thrust. Her whispers fed the fire that burned within his body, in his mind, in his heart. A fire of love for her, consuming him...warming him.

Lights flashed, colors whirled...she dropped her head back and screamed as her orgasm exploded, sending her spiraling above the stars.

One...two...three thrusts and his own shout of completion echoed around them, his body shaking, his hips jerking with each spasm that sent his essence deep into her hot, convulsing well.

She leaned forward, rested her head against his neck. Tightened her hold on him when his arms locked around her waist, holding her close.

"Sweet Jesus," he muttered, trying to catch his breath.

"That was utterly amazing," she said, still breathing hard.

"You're telling me?" He nuzzled her cheek. Found the energy to lift one hand to cup her cheek. Moved his head so he could look at her. "I didn't hurt you?"

"No, Daniel, you didn't hurt me. But if you ever stop like that again, and decide you want to have a conversation when I'm that close, I swear I'll slug you!" she declared.

He laughed softly. "I'll make a note of that."

She shifted her arms and legs as he stretched out on the bed, still buried deep inside her. "It wasn't like this when I came home, and I'd been gone longer," she mused sleepily.

"I didn't want you hurt, or frightened, especially while your memory was messed up," he replied immediately.

"That," she said, motioning toward the bed, "was absolutely incredible. And so much better than my dreams of what it would be like when you were finally home."

Daniel reached over to turn off the lamp. The room was warm, their bodies satiated, their hearts and minds at ease now that the long nightmare was over. Exhausted from lack of sleep, for neither had slept well during the nights that had preceded their reunion, both drifted into the land of Nod, clinging to one another even as their minds surrendered control to Morpheus.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

He wasn't sure what had nudged him toward consciousness. He opened his eyes. Couldn't help but smile to see a familiar ceiling shadowed above him. Rolling to his side, seeking the soft warm body of his Wife, he realized she was sitting beside him, legs drawn up. In the dim light that managed to filter past and through the slatted blinds, he could just make out the glimmer of tears on her cheeks. "Case?"

His voice was rough with sleep, filled with concern. "Shh, go back to sleep," she said softly, running her hand up and down his arm.

With a shake of his head, he reached out, toward the stand beside the bed. The soft glow of the lamp filled the room, made them both blink in the sudden light. Pulling himself up, he reached out to caress her shoulder. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong. Everything is all right...now. I just...I just wanted to look at you."

It wasn't a difficult thing to understand. He'd felt the same way when she had finally returned to him. He'd spent a bit of time each night for a week just looking at her, watching her sleep, grateful that she was safe and alive and home...completely back with him. "I missed you so much," he said softly.

"I missed you. I never realized how much a part of me you are, until I tried to go on..."

A single tear began an odyssey down her cheek. He watched it for a moment, that drop of moisture the tangible proof of what she had endured. He reached out, gently brushed it away. Wished that he could just as easily do the same to the memories that would haunt her. "I know," he said simply.

She knew that he did. They hadn't yet been married two years...their anniversary was still a month away. They'd suffered so much, been apart for far too long during that time. She also knew that their path was difficult, and would continue to be so, because of who...what he was. As The One, he would face adversity, from those who would destroy the hope of mankind, and from the dangers that threatened mankind itself. Knowing, even understanding, didn't make accepting any easier.

"C'mere." He settled back against the pillows. Shifted, tugged at her until she was lying on top of him, her head on his shoulder. "Sleep, Angel."

She closed her eyes. Safe in his arms, she finally understood that the intensity of her grief had been partially due to the fact that her heart had never accepted what her eyes, and her friends' eyes, had told her. She'd known, on some level, heart to heart, she thought with a smile, that Daniel was alive. The warmth of his skin beneath her cheek, the soft thump-bump of his heartbeat had her relaxing completely. Within minutes the steady rhythm of his breathing, the soothing touch of his hands as he ran them gently, slowly up and down her back, had lulled her back to dreamland. Where nightmares held no power over her.

He held her, listened to the soft breathing that signaled that she had fallen back asleep. His hands continued to move; necessary to assure himself that she was truly in his arms, that this wasn't just an incredible, wonderful dream. He took a deep breath, the scent of her shampoo, of her skin filled his senses. The lamp went off once again. He held her tightly, felt her snuggle closer. Closed his eyes. Yes, everything was all right...now.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

The alarm jolted them both awake. Daniel slapped it off, groaned and rolled over, tugging Casey's warm body closer. "You forgot to turn the alarm off," he grumbled.

"Sorry. Had other things on my mind," she replied sleepily.

He grinned. Kissed her bare shoulder.

"Either ravish me or let me go back to sleep, just do one or the other now," she grumped.

His chuckle filled the air, his hands began to move over her body. "How about I ravish you, and then we both go back to sleep?"

"Good plan."

The love they made was gentle, tender...lacked the desperateness that had filled them the night before. They had assured themselves, and one another, that their nightmare was over, and that they were together once again. Her soft cry, his low groan of completion echoed almost simultaneously, and then peaceful silence filled the room once again as they gave in to bodies too long denied the rest necessary.

 

 

 

When he awoke again, it was to find the bed beside him empty, and the tantalizing smell of coffee lingering nearby. He turned his head. A cup of coffee, still steaming, was sitting on the nightstand. With a grin he sat up. The first sip had him closing his eyes. Oh, yeah. Now this is coffee!

He padded to the bathroom, coffee in hand. Sat the mug on the counter while he emptied his bladder. Smiled at the clutter of combs and bottles of lotion, her hair dryer, and...what was that? He didn't remember her having a long silver chain like this. He picked it up, the weight indicating that something was attached. His wedding band. She'd been wearing it on this chain. He thought about the fact that their rings were the first thing they went for as soon as they returned from a mission. From what he'd learned, she'd been in no condition to think about rings when SG-1 had returned to Earth from the Prometheus. He fumbled with the tiny clasp, pulled his ring free, slid it onto his finger. The weight of it felt right...was something he'd subconsciously missed during his 'stay' on whatever planet he'd been put on.

When he went into his closet to take a pair of sweats from the shelf, he made another, less heart warming discovery. The flag that had been presented to Casey during his memorial service. It was tucked on the shelf above the rack for his sweaters. As far as he knew, Jack still had the one from the first time the SGC had mourned his death...when he had been held prisoner by a creature known as Nem, of the Oannes, and his teammates had been given false memories of his...very horrific...death. At least this time he wasn't faced with having to renegotiate rent for his apartment, trying to track down artifacts that had been sold and donated...didn't have to put his personal life back together. Granted, Sam, Jack, and Teal'c had been more than willing to help him. Still, it had taken months before he'd felt as if his life had returned to 'normal'. Thankfully, the second time his teammates thought him dead, he'd actually managed to get back to the SGC before they had.

He pulled on the sweats. Headed to the kitchen to refill his now empty mug. Casey was stirring what smelled suspiciously like her maple sauce. He smiled at her, checked the warming oven...yep, a stack of waffles, just waiting for him. "I love you," he sighed, lifting the warm plate and its golden brown squares of goodness from the metal drawer.

"You love my cooking," she retorted, although she was smiling.

"That, too."

"I just realized I haven't cooked since-" she broke off, turned her head.

"It's okay, Angel," he said softly.

She reached out, slid her arm around his waist. "Yes, it is," she replied softly.

Daniel sat down to eat, pleased when she grabbed a plate and joined him, the now finished sauce in the pitcher she used for syrup. Held up his left hand. "I found my ring."

"Good."

"Thanks for keeping it safe for me."

"I wore it next to my heart, every day," she replied. And firmly pushed away every moment of the dark, lonely days, every agonizing moment of the cruel nights without him. "We'll need another lockbox to keep it in. Jack and Teal'c sort of destroyed the other, getting it open so I could have my rings."

He grinned. "That won't be a problem."

"It's a good thing you forgot to lock your desk drawer, or they'd have torn that apart, too," Casey giggled. "If they'd waited for Sam, I think she could have picked the lock. But Jack wasn't in a waiting mood. He said I wanted my rings, so I should have them."

Another flicker of jealousy flared slightly, tickled his heart. His head understood, his brain could comprehend that Jack had merely been taking care of Casey...looking out for her. Not doing anything different than he'd done for Sam or Teal'c, or even himself. But his heart still objected that anyone other he had been in the position to do those things...that it had been necessary for Jack to take care of her.

"I never would have survived without them, without our family," Casey said softly. "They were here for me, whenever I needed them, with whatever I needed from them. Even when I wasn't always sure what that was...and when I thought I just wanted to be left alone."

"That's family, for you," he replied. "There when you need them the most."

She sighed. "Luckily for us, we chose our family. No annoying aunts, uncles, or cousins to have to contend with; just the people we care about."

He couldn't help but chuckle. "True. I suppose it would have been even more trying, given the circumstances, to deal with Aunt Gertrude's cutting comments or Uncle Harvey's drinking binges."

She snorted, then giggled. "Wouldn't have been a problem for me. I'd have just shoved them out the door, and slammed it behind them. Or better yet, let Teal'c shove them out the door and slam it behind them."

"Guaranteeing that you'd never have to deal with them again," Daniel chuckled.

"Exactly the point."

"So," he asked, pouring maple sauce on his second waffle, "any plans for today?"

"Nope. It's really cold out, nearly froze my assets off when I checked the mail."

He glanced at the clock. It was just after ten. "Did it come early?"

"New carrier, or so I was told," Casey explained. "So the mail now arrives between eight-thirty and nine. Something about this mailman doing the route 'backwards' from the way the other carrier walked it."

"As long as the mail gets here, I don't particularly care what time it gets here."

"Me, either."

He couldn't stop smiling. When Casey poured more coffee for them. When he ate his third and fourth waffles. While they showered, and made love under the warm water. The conversations, the activities so ordinary, so domestic, that they were almost unbelievable when compared to what he'd been doing the day before. It added a surreal quality to the situation...as if he'd never been missing, never spent twenty-one and a half days away from home, away from her.

Casey's lips were upturned as well. She'd dreamed of having him home again, memories of the long days spent believing that it would never be pushed from her memory, her heart refusing to even look at them. She'd been granted a miracle. She'd be forever grateful.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

When the snow began to fall outside, Daniel built a fire, Casey spread a thick quilt on the floor. They sat and watched the giant white flakes that drifted downward, covering their little corner of the world in a blanket of clean, soft white. Their discussion, began haltingly at first as they shared what they had suffered and endured during their separation, became easier. Tears fell, comfort was offered and accepted.

Daniel'd had every intention of making love to his Wife again when the doorbell rang. He gave a growl of frustration. "If that's who I think it is, I'm sending him home."

Casey smiled. "If that's who you think it is, he won't be alone, and they need to...reconnect...with you as well."

He took a moment to examine that comment. Realized that he should be thankful that Jack hadn't shown up on the porch with the break of dawn. A thought that had him smiling, the weight of his friend's love settling around him like a mantle of warmth that protected him from the cold, bitter winds that could blow through his life. He pulled himself to his feet. "Better start another pot of coffee, and some water for tea."

As Casey had predicted, Jack wasn't alone. Sam was tucked under one arm, Teal'c standing just behind them. "Hi, Jack."

"Hello, Danny." Without waiting for an invitation, Jack pushed past the somewhat amused archaeologist. Sam took the time to kiss his cheek as she passed.

Daniel wondered for one brief second just how comfortable Jack had made himself here. Then chastised himself for the irrational feelings of jealousy. He pulled memories forward, and realized that Jack had always walked in as if he had the right to be there. And, Daniel admitted with a smile, he did. Jack was his best friend. That gave him every right to be there, to make himself at home. Which, from the sound of it, was exactly what he was doing. He couldn't help but smile when he heard Jack lamenting about the lack of 'good' beer in the refrigerator, and Casey's insistence that it was far too early in the afternoon to start drinking anyway.

"It is good to see you in your domicile once again, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said, stepping inside.

"Thanks, Teal'c. You have no idea how good it feels to be back!"

"I am certain I do not. However, I know that it is with much relief and happiness that Casey Jackson has welcomed you home."

Daniel grinned. "She gave me one hell of a welcome home."

Teal'c raised one eyebrow. A slow smile spread across his face. "Indeed."

"Had to be Fredrick's of Hollywood," Daniel confided. "Not even Victoria's Secrets has anything that...mind altering."

The Jaffa grinned broadly. "She did say that she wished to make your first night home after this ordeal one to remember."

"Oh, I'll remember it," Daniel swore. "Probably at the most inconvenient times."

Casey looked up when the two men entered the kitchen. "Hey, T-man."

"Hello, Casey Jackson. You are looking well."

She was certain she'd just seen the Jaffa's cheek twitch. "Yeah, well, a night of incredible sex will make any woman look good. Considering I had a most amazing night of love making, I'd say I'm looking damned good."

Daniel grinned from ear to ear, the scream of pleasure she'd given still echoing in his ears, making his heart shiver with love, delight, and not a little pride.

"Hey! What have I told you two about that?" Jack called from the living room. He was sitting on the sofa, Sam close beside him. "What do you want on your pizzas?"

"Huh?"

"Keep up, Danny. Ordering pizza's here," Jack grinned. "Because I'm starving and Radar refuses to cook."

"I never said that!" Casey objected. "I said I hadn't decided what to make for dinner! It's not even three yet!"

"Whatever...hello, yes, I need to order pizzas. Large pizzas," Jack said, grinning at them.

He stood with his hands in his pockets, just watching. Teal'c had joined Sam and Jack in the living room, settling into one of the chairs beside the fireplace. Jack was ordering the pizzas, Sam and Casey telling him what to order. The house was warm, and he was clean, his belly full, or at least, it had been, his Angel within arm's distance. His family was gathered around him. Funny, he thought, that it was the most simple of things that made life worth living.

"I'm not watching that campy movie again," Jack was declaring.

"So sleep. Doodle. Go home," Casey retorted.

"Ha ha. Pick something else."

Casey heaved a dramatic sigh, continued to read through the list of movies they owned. Finally everyone agree to watch "Space Cowboys"...again, one of Casey's personal favorites.

He went in to sit down beside Sam. Smiled and took her hand when she reached over and patted his knee...as if she needed the physical contact to make certain that he was really sitting there.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Two hours later, anyone looking into the room would be hard pressed to notice anything unusual. That is, if they were aware that the five individuals comprised that special entity known as SG-1. Pizza boxes were scattered on the floor. Casey had pulled throw pillows from the couch, and placed them against the coffee table and was leaning back against it. Daniel was stretched out in front of her, his head on her shoulder, his arms wrapped around her thighs, her arms locked around his chest. Teal'c was sitting cross-legged beside them, his knee against Daniel's arm, his shoulder touching Casey's. Jack was leaning against the sofa, his legs stretched out behind Casey, between her hips and the pillows. Sam was reclining against him, her legs over the top of Daniel's. The 'connection' was complete. They laughed as they watched the campy western comedy, 'Rustler's Rhapsody', for the umpteenth time, not even consciously aware of their physical arrangement. It just...was. Because it felt right. Because it was the way they were.

Daniel was home. Casey's heart, and mind, were completely whole. Sam and Jack were more 'together' than they'd ever been. Teal'c's presence offered the quiet comfort and stability they all depended upon, whether on a mission, or gathered in the living room of the Jackson's home, watching a movie. That mystical 'magic' had seen them through another heart wrenching situation. As they always did, they'd learned a few things from the experience; knowledge to be tucked away until it was needed. The bonds between the team members were deeper than they'd ever been before. Uniting them in a way that was totally unique among the SG teams of the secret SGC. SG-1 was back, stronger than ever.

The End


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