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What the Eye Beholds, the Heart Denies
The days passed slowly. The first time she'd tried to return to the SGC, she hadn't made it past the main gate. She'd nearly hyperventilated. Jack had turned around immediately. It was obvious that it would be some time before she was able to return to her duties within the secret bunker.
With the rather disconcerting revelation that Casey was emotionally, and mentally, unable to even be near the base, the team had settled into a routine. Jack stopped at the bungalow on Baldwin Street every morning on his way to the base. Made certain that Casey was awake. Forced her to leave the bed...to shower...to dress. Each day was just a bit easier for her to do so.
Teal'c showed up every day at around noon. Insisting that she eat a healthy lunch. Staying to make certain that she did so. He also encouraged her to walk, telling her that it would help her to maintain her strength.
Sam called at least twice during the day, keeping Casey up-to-date on what was happening at the SGC, the latest news on their friends and co-workers. Chats that Casey treasured. That made her feel as if she hadn't been totally shut away from her friends. If she noticed a complete lack of information regarding her best friend's romance, she remained silent about it.
Janet called at least once a day, even if it was just long enough to nag her about drinking the protein shakes that her body needed. Knowing that the wheedling and threatening came with a large dose of love as well kept Casey smiling about those calls.
Jack stopped again on the way back to his cabin in the evening. Most of the time he only stayed for a few minutes, just to make certain Casey was all right. Sometimes he stayed for dinner. They'd order pizza or Chinese food, and watch a movie...or a hockey game.
It might have been a rather...odd...routine, but it worked for all of them. One week turned into two. Two moved closer to three. Each night Casey marked another day off the calendar. Another day that she'd managed to get through without him. None of them would admit that what they were doing was existing at best. It was the most that they could hope for.
A A A A A A
She walked every morning, and every afternoon. Avoiding the places where she and Daniel had gone. It was just too difficult to face the park and the small neighborhoods to the east of them. The sidewalks where the two of them had strolled, hand in hand, or arm in arm...whether it was after a fight, to clear the air between them...or just because they needed to get out of the house for a little while. Sometimes it was just a means of stretching their legs at the end of a long day spent on the base, working on their individual projects. So, she always headed west when she left the paving-stone path that led to her front porch.
She was going for the second walk of the day. It was cold, but the sun was shining. She tossed one end of the colorful scarf she wore over her shoulder. Pushed her hands into her pockets. Even in the gloves, her rings sometimes caught on the edge of the pocket. When it happened at that moment, she smiled sadly. Her rings were back on her finger, where they belonged. Jack and Teal'c had broken into the small metal lock box that held the velvet jewelry box where Daniel tucked their rings before each mission. It was just one of the myriad of little things that the two men had done for her, in an attempt to help her adjust to her new...circumstances.
Two years ago at this time, she hadn't been in Colorado for three full weeks. Memories of those first days filled her mind. She'd never been as happy as she had been with Daniel. She'd felt alive with Daniel...as if she'd stepped out of the shadows and into the light. She shivered, only partially from the cold breeze that moved through her hair. The darkness that Daniel's presence had dispelled was back...just as gloomy and dismal as before. Only now she had no hope of ever escaping from the bleak existence that was now her life. She'd been with her soul mate. The one man in the universe meant just for her. She would never love again.
She put one booted foot in front of the other. Not really paying attention to where she was going, or where she was. Just walking...in an attempt to pass the long, lonely hours without him. Without the man she'd loved more than life itself. She'd been honest with Janet, when the doctor had pointedly asked if she ever felt so depressed that she had suicidal thoughts. She did...she had them every day, at least once. But Daniel would be so disappointed in her if she took the easy way out. Which was why she avoided the liquor cabinet as well. She knew that if she took that first drink, if she sought the numbness that being drunk could offer for just a short while, she'd never sober up. And that would also disappoint him. Daniel didn't believe in taking the easy way out. He had never chosen the easy path, never used crutches like alcohol or drugs to ease him through difficult times in his life. She wouldn't do so, either. No matter how tempting it sometimes was.
When the sidewalk was thrust into shadow, she looked up to find herself in front of a large church. She wasn't a religious woman, she didn't believe in any of the 'man-made' religions. In her opinion, the religions served only to put a few in control of the masses. The religions had nothing to do with God, or worshipping him...at least, not for those in control. It was all about power, not faith. Only a few deluded themselves in to believing otherwise. She supposed that they were the ones who were the most responsible for sustaining the illusions that held so many people in the grip of those dogmas.
She couldn't explain the feeling that washed over her as she stood, looking up at the bell tower that seemed to touch the cloudless blue sky. Didn't understand why she felt so pulled...as if the very sandstone blocks that the church was constructed of were calling to her...inviting her to enter. Nor would she ever know what motivated her to turn up the walk...to open the door. To step inside.
The scent of burning candles filled the air. She paused for a moment, allowing her eyes to become adjusted to the dimness of the vestibule. There was no one around, it seemed. No one to tell her she couldn't be there.
The sanctuary looked vaguely familiar. Images...memories of a small child...pushed forward. The windows, with their large colored panes, scenes depicted with smaller pieces of brightly colored glass, seemed to welcome her...the designs they painted on the floor beckoning to her.
She moved forward...past the rows of pews with their kneeling boards. She stopped just short of the step that led to the altar and the lectern behind which the priest stood to deliver his sermons. She sat down on the carpeted floor...closed her eyes and lifted her face toward the warmth that the sun offered.
"May I help you?" a male voice asked softly.
Casey opened her eyes, turned her head to look at the person who waited for her answer. "I doubt it," she replied.
The priest was wearing his collar and black clerical shirt beneath a dark blue cardigan. His hands were pushed into the pockets of his black pants. He was an older man, his hairline had receded nearly to the crown of his head, but what was left were thick, salt-and-pepper curls that refused to be tamed. His deep blue eyes were warm and friendly behind the round, wire-rimmed glasses he wore. His smile was just as warm as his eyes. He was a large man, she noted. Much larger than what she would expect a priest to be. He was, she decided, much more suited to be a lumberjack, or a longshoreman. "Perhaps you could tell me what's troubling you," he said calmly.
She gave an unladylike snort. "My husband was killed three weeks ago." Didn't even feel the slightest remorse for the lie. It had been two weeks, four days and five hours. Close damned enough. "It's my fault he's dead."
If he was shocked, neither his face nor his demeanor reflected that. Instead, he sat down at the end of the nearest pew. "I see."
"No platitudes? No condolences? No reassurances that I couldn't possibly be to blame?" Her voice was brittle, her eyes daring the man to take up the gauntlet she tossed before him.
"I rather imagine by now you've heard more condolences than you can deal with. Since I don't know the facts that surround your husband's death, I can't offer any reassurances. And I do my best to avoid platitudes. They're just clichés, pretending to be important."
Her lips pulled up ever so slightly at the corners. "How refreshing."
"I could state the obvious. That you're broken hearted. That your world has been turned upside down, and left in shambles around you. That your pain is so visible in your eyes that I can feel it," he said softly.
"But you won't."
"No, I'll refrain."
Another smile. It was small. It was sad. But it was there.
"So, tell me, do you have a name, or shall I make one up for you?"
The smile widened, if only a bit. "If you made one up, what would it be?"
The priest crossed his arms, one finger tapping against his lips in a gesture so like Daniel's that it took her breath away. "I believe I would call you...Angelica. Angel, for short."
The color drained completely from her face. Just what were the odds that this priest would choose that very special pet name, one that Daniel had bestowed upon her the morning after their first wonderful night together? Hearing it uttered out loud ripped at her already shattered heart. "Who are you?" she whispered hoarsely.
He smiled. "I'm Father William."
"I suppose that my name foreordained my becoming a priest."
"William means 'valiant protector'. And that's what I try to do...prevent those under my protection from perishing."
Something felt...strange...about the situation. Her faith in her abilities, in her gift, had been so undermined by the events around Daniel's death she no longer trusted her feelings; no longer believed that her instincts, honed from years of dealing with her gift of sight, were trustworthy. Still...she could sense that he was telling her the truth. There was more to this man than what he was telling...and in her desperation for the answer to 'why', she convinced herself that what she was sensing was so obvious that even Jack would have picked it up. Her heart began to pound against her ribs. "So, Father William, who are you, really? And no crap. I'm too tired to deal with any mumbo jumbo. Just straight forward answers."
He smiled again, his eyes twinkled. "It doesn't work that way."
The little voice in the back of her mind was screaming at her. However, she'd been ignoring it for days. She wasn't about to pay attention to it now. That
little voice had failed her. When she had needed it, that little voice had
remained silent. "Right. You know, I'm tired of the ones who have the
answers never sharing them. If you have something to say, say it."
"I don't have anything to say."
"Uh huh. Fine. Then I'm leaving."
"You're free to do so. Free will. That's what it's all about."
"And that is the biggest line of crap yet. What kind of free will is it to burden an eleven year old child with a...a..."
"A curse," she spat, her eyes blazing, "with no warning whatsoever. I never asked for it! I didn't want it! If it hadn't been for Grandma Rose, I'd have been certain I was insane. Then, just when I needed it the most, when it was the most important, it wasn't there!"
The smile faded. "That was most unfortunate."
"No shit!" She glanced around, almost expecting to be struck dead. She pulled herself to her feet. "I don't care who you are. Or what you are. I don't care about anything any more. I exist, only because my body hasn't gotten the message that I'm dead! When Daniel died, I died! And that will never change!"
"No, I'm sure it won't," Father William said quietly.
"Now, if you don't have any enlightened messages for me, I'm leaving."
The man sighed. "Be sure to zip your coat. It's getting colder outside."
With a huff of frustration, she stormed up the aisle, stomped out of the sanctuary. The huge front door of the church slammed closed behind her.
A frown crossed the priest's face. He sat for several minutes, then glanced up. "I know," he whispered.
A A A A A A
The thought that she didn't actually remember a church being on that corner tried to find purchase in her brain, but she continued to push it away as she walked home, her strides full of anger. She pushed at that damned, nagging voice as well. Just shut the fuck up, she thought, furious at whoever 'controlled' her gift. If you couldn't tell me what I needed to know before Daniel died, you can just leave me the fuck alone now!
Needing something to do, anything to do in order to put the disturbing...incident...at that church from her mind, she sorted through the boxes in her closet. Rearranged her shoes according to style, and then by color. That she had so many pairs was due to the fact that she was...she took a deep shuddering breath...had been...married to the most generous man in the world.
It had been a long time since she'd gone through one battered old shoebox. She'd packed it when she had left the Webster house to go to college, pulling each tiny animal from the hiding places where she stored them, protecting them from Helen Webster's rages and Sheryl's thieving fingers. Each one had been a gift from Grandma Rose. Birthdays, Christmases, when she got an 'A' on a difficult test...when she'd survived another round of 'discipline'. The box had been tucked away in her closet in the dorm, and then in the closet of the room she'd shared with Kelley in that tiny apartment. She'd kept the box with her, not putting it into storage with her other boxes, but she hadn't opened it.
She settled on the floor beside the sofa table. Gently took each crystal or porcelain animal from the paper that protected it. Lined them up beside her. The elephant with the curled trunk that held a tiny, red crystal rose. The ceramic giraffe. The lion. The zebra. The gorilla. The rhinoceros. The hippopotamus. The dolphin. The whale. The orangutan with its long arms...the porcelain the exact shade of red as the fur she'd seen on the real one at the zoo. The mermaid. And the dragons. Twelve dragons. One for each sign of the Zodiac. All of them delicate and beautiful.
Dragons were supposed to be good luck. Maybe, if she'd had these out...She frowned. Another thought pushed forward. It had been so long, she had actually forgotten about them. There'd just never been the time to go through all of her belongings when the shipment had arrived at Daniel's apartment. Then, when she did have the time, there were more important things to be done...that she wanted to do, and sorting through boxes had never been on that list. Now she had all the time in the world. She wondered if the others were still in the boxes where she had packed them so long ago...
She hesitated at the door. She hadn't been in the room since she'd returned home. She slowly slid the doors open. Was hit immediately by his scent. The hint of his aftershave lingered in the air. She breathed deeply, didn't bother to fight the tears that formed, that slid down her cheeks.
Casey stepped into the den. It was exactly has he'd left it. Not one thing had been disturbed. Lydia only came once a week now, Jack had insisted that she wait a few months before making the decision on whether or not to stop having the housekeeper come in at all...but the den was still one room she didn't clean. Sam and Janet had both gently suggested that she needed to clear out Daniel's belongings. She would never do that. Everything would remain as it had been. His clothes, his artifacts, his books...they were all she had of him now. She'd never part with any of it!
Slowly, she moved toward his desk. The legal pad on top of the stacks of notes was covered with his handwriting. She ran her fingers over the words, smiled at the scribbles in the margin of the page. When she picked it up, a loose sheet from the pad fluttered to the floor. She retrieved the fallen page. Settled into the leather chair where Daniel spent so many hours, working on the puzzles that challenged him...determined to learn all of the secrets held by the bits and pieces of civilizations that came into the SGC on a nearly daily basis.
"Dear Daniel," was written on the top line. In his handwriting. This was the letter he'd received from the Daniel of the other reality. For a moment, Casey understood exactly what Sha're had gone through...the hope she must have nurtured...the relief, the delight in finding Daniel, or rather a Daniel, alive and well and snake free and one who knew her...For a moment she envied Annika. That woman's Daniel was still alive. Was still beside her. Still loved her.
Shaking her head to banish the disquieting thoughts, she began to read. The insight to what Daniel had been thinking, what his intentions had been on that very trying day, brought a fresh round of tears. When she reached the end, she remembered Daniel's odd question about the French maid's outfit. Her heart ached to be able to wear it for him. To be able to torment...tease...please him playing games with feathers.
She carefully put the letter back on the desk. Wrapped her arms around her slender waist and gave in to the sobs that struggled to get out. "Daniel!"
A A A A A A
The school clock chimed the hour. She'd been sitting and crying for nearly forty minutes. She wiped her face. Stood to her feet. Crossed the room and opened the closet doors. There were only two boxes in the deep closet with her name on them, the others were Daniel's...a fact of which she had actually been unaware. The first was on top of two other boxes marked 'Misc.' in Daniel's bold handwriting. Probably artifacts, she thought absently. It was awkward, and a bit heavy. But she managed to get it to the dining table. A second trip had the other box sitting beside the first.
She used a knife to cut the tape that held the boxes closed. One by one she sat the ceramic dragons on the table. There were six. Green, yellow, blue, red, black, and white. Each one nearly sixteen inches tall, and twelve inches long. The intricate details created so carefully that each scale seemed to glisten individually. The tails curled toward clawed feet. Real leather wings were folded against their sides. Gemstones glittered as the eyes. Emerald for the green dragon. Topaz for the yellow dragon. Sapphire for the blue. Ruby for the red. Onyx for the black. Opal for the white.
These had belonged to Grandma Rose. Willed to her, along with the mixing bowls, and the copper pans, and the cookbooks. There was no doubt that her father...that Frank, she corrected herself...had been the one to make certain that the items listed in the will made it into her possession. She remembered these sitting in one of the curio cabinets...two dragons on each shelf. She had no idea where the her grandmother had found them, whether she'd gotten them as a set, or collected them individually. She only knew that they had been in that tall cabinet at the end of the hall. And that she'd always known they were special.
Maybe she'd get a curio cabinet. There was room beside the entertainment cabinets. Then she'd have the dragons on display. Daniel wouldn't mind...She shoved that thought away. Stared at the three oak units that were lined up against the wall. Found the step stool. Arranged the dragons on the top of the units...putting the white and black dragons facing each other on the center unit, the blue and green on the left, the red and yellow on the right. When she stepped back to survey what she had done, she wondered why she hadn't brought them out sooner. It was if they were meant to be there.
The tiny menagerie, as Grandma Rose had called it, was carefully re-wrapped and returned to the shoebox. One day she'd get a small display case. One that she could hang on the wall.
Casey settled onto the sofa. Stared at the dragons. "I could use a bit of good luck," she whispered. "Just enough to help me get through tonight. Just tonight. I won't even think about tomorrow...or tomorrow night...or the day after. Just let me get through tonight."
A A A A A A
Jack stopped short when he walked into the kitchen. "Those are new," he said, pointing at the dragons. Dropped onto one of the dining table chairs, accepted the mug of coffee with a smile.
She glanced over at the oak cabinets. "They belonged to my Grandma Rose. She willed them to me. I'd completely forgotten about them. I was going through my-" She'd never talked about her crystal and ceramic menagerie with anyone other than her grandmother. It hadn't been safe to do so. No one could know about it, or Helen and Sheryl would find out about her tiny animals. And then they would take them from her. "I decided to get them out," she said.
There was more to the story than that, but he wasn't about to push. "They're nice."
"Yes, they are," she smiled. She toyed absently with Daniel's ring. She wore it on a chain around her neck...a lovely platinum piece of jewelry purchased specifically for keeping his wedding band close to her heart. Teal'c had driven her to the mall that day...
"Are you okay? You seem a bit..." Jack shrugged slightly.
"Crazy?" She certainly felt as if she were. Ever since she'd returned home from her walk, she felt as if she were barely hanging onto her sanity. The annoying poking in the back of her mind wasn't helping her mental state at all. She stubbornly refused to acknowledge it.
He frowned. Where the hell had that come from? She was behaving like she did when she'd had a 'download', and was trying to work out exactly what she had seen. "Distracted," he said.
"I'm fine. Honestly," she said, putting a reassuring hand on his arm.
"Wanna order a pizza? There's a play-off game tonight," Jack offered, giving a crooked smile.
"Would you be offended if I ask for a rain check? I thought I'd take a nice bubble bath, go to bed early."
He studied her for a minute, then nodded. "No problem." He toyed with the mug of coffee on the table in front of him. "I know I'm not good at the talking stuff. But I can listen real well. If you need to talk."
She smiled. "That's a very sweet offer."
"Well, there's no expiration date. Any time."
"Thanks, Jack," she said softly.
He finished the coffee. "I'm gonna head home, order a pizza, and watch the play-offs."
"You do that. You can give me the scores in the morning."
"That's a promise." He squeezed her hand, stood to his feet. "Sleep well."
"You too, Jack."
She followed him to the front door. Watched him get into his truck. Waved back at him, waited until his taillights disappeared around the corner. She wondered briefly if he'd stop by Sam's for a bit. Never stopped to wonder about the fact that neither of her friends were mentioning one another.
A A A A A A
The old woman paced the waiting room, her brisk strides telegraphing her frustration. "Fine mess this is," she muttered. "Damned fine mess!"
The younger woman watched nervously, twisting her fingers around one another. "There's nothing we can do! We can't interfere!"
Sapphire blue eyes, filled with the fire of indignation, held the gaze of her younger companion. "Which is what started this fine mess in the first place! Now, tell me what she said. Every word, exactly."
"She wanted...no, she demanded to know where you were. She was very concerned for your safety, offered to help you. I think she wanted very much to help you. She asked me to take her to where you were..." The dark haired woman shrugged.
"Go on," the old woman said.
"She told me that her...what did she call them? Oh yes, that her 'information dumps' were different. No, that's not exactly how she had said it. She said that something had tried to 'come through'. She had received a bit...then nothing at all."
The old woman's frown deepened into a scowl. "Then this was carefully planned." She looked over at the younger woman. "Anything else?"
"She asked me to pass along a message."
The old woman perked up. "Which was?"
"She was complaining about her 'information dumps'. She said, um...she said that it would be nice if whoever passed along the information could be more vague. That it sometimes took her days to figure out what the images and sounds meant, that sometimes the two didn't go together at all. 'See if they can make my life any more miserable, will you?' is what she said."
The old woman grinned. Wondered briefly if she should explain the concept of sarcasm to her companion. "She never was patient." The smile faded. "There was nothing else?"
The younger woman shook her head. The dark eyes widened. "Wait! There was one other thing!"
"She said that when you were available, I was to tell you to 'give her a call'."
For a moment, the old woman stood still, obviously digesting this final bit of information. She turned to the look at the woman who sat calmly on a chair near the window. "I'd say that was a request, wouldn't you?"
"I suppose it could be interpreted in that way."
"I think maybe we'd better do so. Or things are going to be so totally messed up we'll never see them set right!" the old woman huffed.
"We are not to interfere."
"Yes, I know that. However, I am her guide! If she's requested me, I have the duty to speak with her!"
The woman smiled. "I suppose you do at that."
"What about the rest of the situation?"
"Love and determination cannot be held back."
Well that was a lovely bit of nothing, the old woman thought sullenly.
"So what will you do?" the woman near the window asked.
"What she wants me to do,," the old woman replied with a careless shrug.
"You cannot just...appear to her, not when there hasn't been a direct...request."
"Yes, we've both followed that rule to the letter, haven't we?"
Again the woman smiled.
"I'm going to do precisely what was asked of me. No more, no less." She outlined her plan, smiling slyly as she did so.
The woman chuckled.
The younger woman looked from the short wrinkled old woman to the dark haired woman who sat smiling happily. She wasn't entirely certain, but she thought that they'd found a way to step in...to correct a heinous wrong. Without breaking the rules.
A A A A A A
Casey sat curled on the sofa. The house was dark...the only sound that of the school clock on the wall. She'd taken a nice long, hot bubble bath. Had only cried twice during that time.
These were the hours that were the most difficult for her. She couldn't lay in the bed...memories of the love they'd shared tormented her. She treasured each moment. Even as those moments taunted her with the fact that there would be no new memories. No new moments to add to the storehouse of precious times spent with him...in his arms.
So she sat, staring into the darkness. Aching with loneliness...worse than what she'd suffered before meeting Daniel, because now she understood just how special, how beautiful love was.
Sometimes she could read, and would do so until she fell asleep. But not tonight. Not after finding the notebook. The one that Ms. Adams had used to keep the notes for their wedding. It had been in a box beside her menagerie shoebox. She'd seen it sticking up when she had put the porcelain zoo away. Thinking it was one of her notebooks of poetry, she'd pulled it from the plastic milk crate it was in, with all of her other notebooks. 'Webster-Jackson' had been written across the front in permanent black marker.
Two years ago today, she had planned her wedding. That most beautiful day...the most incredible day of her life. Second only to the day when Daniel had knocked on the door to a tiny apartment in Tacoma, Washington. She could remember how he'd smiled at her as they sat side by side on the love seat, pouring through book after book as they planned their special day. How he winked at her...managed to coax her into choosing exactly what she had wanted. In spite of the cost. She'd had the wedding of her dreams, a wedding that would have thrilled any woman who had a heartbeat. She'd married her knight in shining armor.
She wiped away the tears. She'd lost so much. No, it was worse than that...When Daniel had died, she'd lost everything.
A A A A A A
He stared at the empty glass in his hand. He'd kept the promise he'd made to himself. Two drinks. No more. He looked at the phone again. Knew he should call her. Talk to her. He also knew that she was pissed at him. What he wasn't certain about was exactly why she was pissed.
Okay, that wasn't exactly true. He hadn't been the most...affectionate...in the past few weeks. He hadn't been with her at all since Daniel's death. Hell, the first week he'd been trying to keep Casey from completely falling apart. Damned near hadn't succeeded. He shivered as he recalled the dead stare that the seer'd had, right after realizing that that bits of information that could have saved Daniel had been there...she just hadn't been able to recognize them as such.
He'd fallen into a routine. One that let him continue pushing his own feelings on the matter of his best friend's death to the back of his mind. SG-1 was off of the mission roster. For the first time since the Stargate program had been reactivated, with him as an integral part, he didn't care. Didn't care if he never set foot through the 'gate again. The very heart and soul of the team was gone. Without Daniel, there wasn't an SG-1. It was just as simple as that.
Jack pulled himself to his feet. Glanced at the clock. Gave in to the nagging voice that insisted he at least call and tell her goodnight. He picked up his phone, dialed as he walked to his bedroom. Listened to the sound that indicated it was ringing. Felt his heart quiver in his chest at the sound of her voice. Had it really been that long since he had heard it? "Hi."
There was a pause. "Hi."
"I didn't wake you, did I?"
"No, I was just...um...reading."
Now why did he get the feeling that reading was not what she had been doing? She sounded as if she were catching a cold. "Oh. I just...I just thought I'd call and wish you sweet dreams."
"Oh. Well, thank you."
Damn it...he felt as if he were talking to a stranger! "Sam, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Jack."
"All right. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then."
"I'm sure you will. Goodnight."
"Goodnight." The connection was broken before he could say more. The bothersome thought that he hadn't actually seen Sam for several days pushed forward in his mind. He'd make sure to stop by her lab. Just for a few minutes. He knew she was busy. She was always busy. Some doohickey or another...or some power source just waiting for the brilliant Major Doctor Samantha Carter to figure it out. There wasn't a doohickey or motor or power thing-a-ma-jig that his Sam couldn't figure out, he thought proudly.
He dropped down onto the bed. Forced every thought from his head. Concentrated on remembering the precise locations of every constellation he could think of on the star charts. It was the easiest way for him to fall asleep.
A A A A A A
She closed the phone gently. Wiped her cheeks. It was the first time in nearly three weeks that he'd called her. Surely it meant something, didn't it?
Each day, Jack continued with his normal 'routine'. Wandering the corridors of the SGC in an attempt to avoid the stacks of paperwork that piled up on his desk. That routine had always included at least one stop in her lab. To bother her. Or to not bother her, but to just sit and watch her. Until he couldn't stand it any longer and started asking questions, butchering every technical word and phrase he could think of. It always made her laugh. He hadn't been to her lab since he'd returned to active duty.
No one had said anything, certainly General Hammond had given no indication that he was disbanding the team. But everyone knew. SG-1 was gone...finished. She'd never realized that Daniel had been the 'glue' that held the team together. Not that she, Jack, and Teal'c couldn't work without him...they had done so on several occasions, when he was recovering from wounds...or temporarily assigned to another team because of some archaeological discovery or another. But those had been short term arrangements. There was always the understanding that Daniel was SG-1.
But now...she shook her head sadly. Casey couldn't even come near the base without freaking out. Not that she could blame the slender seer. No doubt she would feel the same way if...
Sam crawled off the bed. Jack wasn't dead. But he was just as 'missing' as if he were. He'd pushed her away, almost from the moment that they had known, after seventeen long, heartbreaking hours, that there was no miracle survival for the archaeologist they all called 'friend'. He'd closed himself off from her, from Teal'c...from everyone. Everyone except Casey.
She was not going to think about this. Not now. She trudged to the basement. There were several projects in various stages of completion. Similar to those she'd worked on during her first two years at the academy. Only now she used alien technology to try to make very terrestrial parts come together in new ways. An attempt to make what they were learning out there, applicable here.
Flipping on the overhead light, she sat down at her work bench. Stared at the bits and pieces for a moment. Noticed a screw that looked loose. Picked up her screwdriver. And did what she had become an expert at doing. Pushed her emotions aside, and let her mind take over.
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