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When Destiny Calls
Kelley burst into the apartment, her arms filled with cardboard boxes, one of them holding the odds and ends of personal paraphernalia that one seemed to collect at work over time. "Casey Renee Webster, I want to know everything and I want to know it right now!"
Casey came out of the bedroom and grinned. "Okay, it was a dark and stormy night…"
The tall redhead laughed. "No it wasn't. Last night was clear and cold. Now tell me what happened!"
"A miracle, Kells. An honest to goodness miracle. I told you that something was about to happen, something…major."
"Yes, you did," Kelley replied, dropping the boxes, then perching on the arm of the sofa.
"I was sitting on my bed, contemplating life as a bitter, lonely virginal old woman with a hundred cats. And the doorbell rang. I swear, if I'd known that he - my Destiny - was standing on the other side, I don't know if my legs would have held me up!" Casey admitted.
"Okay, so this guy rings the doorbell. That doesn't explain why you just took off with him," Kelley grumped.
Casey smiled. "Kelley, there are some things you're just going to have to take on faith," she said, remembering Daniel's insistence that what he told her about the Stargate, and other worlds and the letter from her…counterpart …in another time and reality, must remain a secret. "Let's just say that he had…proof…that he was my Destiny, and I was his. Not to mention that my heart recognized him. He kissed me, and…it was incredible, and I knew, Kelley, I knew!"
Kelley nodded. "Okay. So, how was it?"
"Mind-blowing. The most amazing thing I've ever experienced in my life. And Kelley, the most amazing thing is he loves me! He really loves me! He even filled…" she moaned. "Oh, crap! He filled that prescription for my stomach, and I forgot to get it from him! Well, at least I have the receipts for the rings, thank goodness!"
Casey held out her hand.
"Oh. My. God! How can you lift your hand with that thing on it?" Kelley asked, grabbing her friend's fingers and examining the diamond ring that sparkled there. "Okay, so where is he?"
"He had to go help his friends. They're in very serious trouble," Casey said softly.
Kelley nodded. She'd known about Casey's 'gift' from the first time the two had met as roommates in college. "So when is he coming back?"
"He's not. I'm going there. Friday a truck is coming to get all of my things. Which means I need to go to the storage unit," Casey replied.
The redhead glanced at the clock. "Give me a minute to change, and we'll go now. I'm going to be working overtime for the next couple of nights."
"Because of me?"
Kelley grinned. "Mostly. But one of the other girls thought you quit because of what Jan was expecting you to do. So she threatened to quit too. Right now Jan is scrambling to replace you…with two people."
"Figures," Casey muttered. The gleam of headlights caught her attention. She watched the red pickup truck screech into a parking stall. "Oh, shit!" She grabbed the phone, the notepad, and dialed the number that would ring directly onto a general's desk in a secret base in the heart of Cheyenne Mountain.
"General Hammond, this is Casey Webster, sir, and well, Kenny is right outside my apartment! What should I do?" She could feel the panic building, wishing fervently that Daniel was there to protect her.
"Ms. Webster, hang up and call 9-1-1. I want you to tell them that you are under the auspices of the United States Air Force, and give them my number. You are to insist that a patrol car be sent immediately. Do you understand?" His voice was soothing, calming.
"Good girl. I want you to call me back when the police are there."
"Call now, Ms. Webster."
The line went dead. She clicked, heard the dial tone, and dialed the emergency number just as Kenny began to pound on the door, demanding entrance. "Hello. My name is Casey Webster. I need a patrol car here right away. General Hammond said to tell you that I'm under the auspices of the United States Air Force. His number is…"
Kenny was kicking the door, and if he continued, the cheap run-of-the-mill apartment door was not going to protect the two young women for long.
Casey was clinging to the telephone so tightly that her knuckles were white. "Please hurry! He's going to break the door down!"
After what seemed like an eternity, but was in reality only a few minutes, the sound of sirens in the distance grew closer. Two police cars raced into the parking lot, stopping directly in front of the apartment.
"Back away from that door! Hands on your head!" was shouted by one of the officers.
"This is just a little disagreement between my girlfriend and me," Kenny said, in his most charming voice. "I admit I got a little…loud, but that's really all, officer."
"Move away from the door!"
The man hesitated, then did as he was ordered. One of the officers hurried to the stoop and knocked lightly. "Ms. Webster?"
Kelley opened the door. "She's here, she's okay."
The officer nodded. The young blond woman was shaking, he could see that from across the room…her eyes wide and full of fear. "I'm Officer Collins. It's all right ma'am. We'll take him in for disturbing the peace. Would you like to press charges against him?"
"What kind of charges?" Casey asked, her voice shaking as much as her body.
She nodded. "Yes," she whispered.
The police officer noticed the ring. "Are you engaged to him?"
The smile that lit her face seemed to light the room as well. "No. I'm engaged to Doctor Daniel Jackson. He lives and works in Silver Springs, Colorado." She pointed to the boxes on the floor. "I have to get everything packed and ready to move by Friday."
Officer Collins nodded again. "Okay, if you'll just sign this, we can start the process."
Casey signed her name, amazed that she was able to hold the pen, and write legibly. She glanced out the window. Kenny was talking to one of the officers, his hands handcuffed behind him. "He was just a friend, who wouldn't take no for an answer," she said softly.
"I understand," the officer said kindly. Not surprising, he thought. The woman's a knockout! That huge diamond winked at him. And taken, he sighed mentally.
"How long will he stay in jail?" Kelley, ever the pragmatist, asked.
"We can hold him for twenty-four hours," the Officer Collins replied. "If he comes back, just call." With a nod, he walked out of the apartment, closing the scuff-marked door softly behind him. A few minutes later the darkness in the parking lot seemed especially black after the bright flashing lights that had lit the area.
Casey picked up the phone again, called General Hammond and let him know what had happened. The general assured her that Kenny would not be out of jail before she left the city. She had no idea how he could know that, or arrange it. But she knew that he did, and could.
"Let's go to the storage unit, girlfriend. We'll pick up a pizza on the way home," Kelley said softly. She disappeared into the bedroom, only to reappear a few minutes later in jeans and a sweatshirt.
A A A A A A
None of the boxes were especially heavy. And only eight of them were marked with Casey's name. They contained all that she had from her Grandma Rose, and the few books she treasured so.
Kelley shook her head. To think that Casey's entire life could be condensed and contained in a dozen boxes. If it wasn't for the blonde's 'gift', there would be no way in hell she'd let her best friend of nearly nine years run off with a strange man. But in all that time she'd never seen Casey as happy, as animated as she was now. Whoever he was, Doctor Daniel Jackson had put a light in those green eyes that had never been there before.
The women opted to stop at Azteca rather than have pizza. Casey gave Kelley an almost blow-by-blow description of what had happened from the time Daniel had rang the doorbell until he road off in that jeep.
"I love him," Casey said softly.
"I know, Case. I can see it in your eyes. Just remember, if this doesn't work out, you'll always have a place with me," Kelley replied.
"What about the rent, the bills? Will you be able to cope?" Casey asked, tugging her lip between her teeth.
"I'll be fine, honest. Ricky called me last night. I guess Mom called him at work yesterday, demanding to know why he hadn't been by to fix her water heater. Ricky has already told Mom twice to call somebody, and he'd pay for it."
"She didn't do it," Casey said. She shook her head. Vikki Campbell was a selfish, controlling person, who expected her son and daughter to live their lives around her needs and wishes…and demands.
"Nope. Ricky told her that she'd deal with a screwed up water heater until she got off her lead ass and made that call. Then he told her that from now on, she was going to have to live on her retirement and the money Dad left for her, and that if she couldn't do it, too damned bad!" Kelley shook her head. "She called me at work today, crying and carrying on, and Casey, I just…snapped! I told her she was a grown woman, to start acting like it, and that I have my own life to live! She started that wailing crap, told me that I didn't love her, and what was she going to do, and how was she going to make it alone. I told her to figure it out and hung up. I called Ricky, and he said he was proud of me. Then he made me swear not to go over there until Saturday. He said he'd visit her on Sunday."
Casey nodded. "It's about time! I told you that the two of you were going to have to stand up to her sooner or later!"
"Yeah, well, I hate to admit this, but it felt good! If she can't be satisfied with seeing me on Saturdays, then she just won't see me!" Kelley declared.
"Good for you!" Casey exclaimed, and raised her glass of iced tea in a salute. She bit back a yawn.
"Let's go, Case. We'll get your stuff into the house and then get some sleep. I know it won't be the same as sleeping in his arms, but you'll be doing that soon enough," Kelley said gently.
She nodded, fought back the tears, and tried to 'sense' whether or not he was all right. She could feel nothing wrong, so had to assume that he was. She followed her best friend out of the restaurant, unaware of the appreciative looks that were passed her way by the group of businessmen at the bar.
Two hours later she was curled up in her little bed. Cold and lonely. Just a few days, she told herself. He promised, just a few days.
A A A A A A
At that particular moment Daniel was sitting with Major Ferretti beside a cheerfully crackling fire. He watched the leader of the tribe carefully. Noted that the skinny man wearing the impossibly large wooden headdress seemed to have decided that he was the leader of the strange, light-skinned interlopers.
"You have come for the other trespassers," the man said at last. He lit the long pipe he'd been holding. Whatever was inside the bowl smelled suspiciously like marijuana.
"Yes," Daniel replied. "They did not understand the warning trees. That is my fault. I beg your forgiveness." He lowered his head, looked down at the ground. If he assumed the role of leader, taking responsibility for their actions, he'd be able to negotiate for their release without causing further problems. And for these people, the leader assumed full responsibility.
"You will take their place among the trees?"
His heart jumped in his chest, began to pound. The trees were full of skeletons, those who had trespassed on what the Alingi considered their territory. And all of their territory was believed to be sacred ground. He swallowed. Surely the team could get him down if he was put into one of them, and they could make it to the 'gate before these people found out. The worst part of this - punishment - was that the offender was tied into the tree alive, and simply left to die. "Yes," he said. "I will take their place among the trees."
Major Ferretti may not have understood what was being said, but he could tell that whatever that skinny old man had said had shocked…and scared…the archaeologist. "Doc?" he whispered.
Daniel gave a sharp shake of his head.
"A good leader is always willing to accept the consequences for the deeds of his people," Tonka said, nodding sagely. He handed the pipe to Daniel, watched as the young man took a healthy hit, held it, then slowly blew the smoke toward the fire. He accepted the pipe back.
"A good leader must also understand when there has been no intentional transgression," Daniel replied softly. "Or else trade for goods necessary for the well being of his people would become impossible to obtain."
The old man narrowed his eyes. "They did not stop when they were told to!" He passed the pipe again.
"Because they did not understand what you were saying." Daniel replied, accepting the pipe, taking another hit. "If your people were to come to my land, and they were told to stop, and did not, because they could not understand our words, we would not kill them." Technically it was true.
"Your ways are not our ways," Tonka said. He passed the pipe a third time.
Daniel took yet another hit. This was the best stuff he'd had since college! He fleetingly thought about asking whether he could take a sample back with him. Shook his head mentally. Jack would come unglued, and he really didn't want to put General Hammond in that kind of a situation. "This is true. Our ways differ. Yet, under the Eye of the Great Serpent, are we not all equal?"
Tonka frowned, and stared into the fire.
Daniel waited patiently. These people were related to the Aborigines who roamed the Outback of Australia. There were differences, such as their worship of snakes; but he'd been able to study their cave drawings while he and SG-3 waited for Tonka and the other tribal leaders. He hoped he'd come to the correct conclusions about them, and their culture.
"If you take your people and go, how do we know you will not come back and attack us?"
"Because it would not benefit us to do so. We wish for you and your people to live in harmony with your land. We do not wish to interfere." Daniel assured the man.
"My people will expect me to hang you in the tree," Tonka said, smiling wickedly at him.
Daniel looked the man in the eye, his heart pounding against his chest. "If that is what you must do, then you must do it. Although a wise leader understands that there are times when he must do what is right for the people, even if it is not what they want at the time."
"I will think on your words. You will stay here."
"May I see my people?"
"How am I to know they are safe?"
"Because I tell you that they are." Tonka stood, and moved toward the mouth of the cave. The others followed, although several large men holding nasty looking clubs with barbed hooks on the end remained just outside.
"Well?" asked Ferretti.
"We wait," Daniel replied. He stretched out on his side, leaning on his arm, stared into the fire. Glanced at his watch. This time last night he was making love to Casey. In fact, right about now they had been finishing up that mind-blowing trip around the world. He laid back, closed his eyes. Wondered whether she'd have worn the blue teddy, or the white one tonight. Groaned mentally as he struggled to keep his body under control. A few seconds of thinking about the situation he, and SG-3 and SG-1 were in sufficed nicely to that end. Love you, Angel, he thought. The last thing he saw before sleep overtook him were those green eyes, full of laughter.
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