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When Destiny Calls
Casey was just getting out of the tub when the pizza arrived. She waited until she heard Daniel close and lock the door before walking into the room, a towel wrapped around her slender frame. She dug in her duffel, found her black robe, slipped it over her naked body, letting the towel fall to the floor.
Daniel put the pizza and the two bottles of soda on the small table, pulled the other chair from beside the bed, so that they could sit and eat. He was starving! He glanced at the clock. Nine. They'd had lunch at around one-thirty. They'd made love nearly the entire afternoon and most of the evening. Yep, he should be hungry!
The restaurant had thoughtfully provided paper plates and plastic forks, as well as packets of hot pepper flakes. Daniel slid two slices on each plate. She accepted the plate of pizza, opened one of the pepper packets, sprinkled the red flakes on her slices.
"Pills, babe," he said gently, remembering the prescription.
She smiled, went to her purse, found the bottle and took one of the pills. She popped it into her mouth, went to the sink and unwrapped one of the plastic cups and filled it with water. When she sat back down at the little table, she opened the soda and took a few sips. "The water here is terrible," she said, finally getting the taste out of her mouth.
He smiled. "The water in Silver Springs isn't bad," he told her. He watched her eat for a moment. "Would you tell me about your Grandma Rose?" He couldn't help but smile at the way her face lit up. The love she still felt for the woman was shining in her eyes.
"She was wonderful! I spent a lot of time with her, from right after my sixth birthday, until she died, which was just before I turned thirteen. I loved to climb trees, so she had her neighbor build me a tree house. She'd even climb up and sit with me, and we'd watch the birds, and the squirrels. She'd buy birdseed and sunflower seeds, and I'd leave huge piles of them on the limbs for the birds. When I wanted to be Wonder Woman, she bought me the costume. I wore it until it was rags," she giggled.
He chuckled, imagining her as a little girl in the colorful costume.
"She taught me how to cook. How to put on makeup. How to…protect myself," she said, the last added so softly that he barely caught it.
"From who, Angel?" he asked gently. His heart was pounding. Wondering what kind of abuses she'd suffered, what horrors she'd share with him.
"Her. I told you about Miss Eloise? The seer who helped me with my…gift?"
"She'd taught Grandma how to meditate. So Grandma taught me. I can remember the first time I met her," Casey sighed, her eyes seeing not the hotel room, but that wonderful little house that smelled of cookies and felt full of love. "I was five when I was adopted, I think it was just after my birthday. I didn't meet Grandma until Thanksgiving. I remember her sitting down on the floor beside me. She told me I was the prettiest little girl she'd ever seen." She glanced up at Daniel, her cheeks pink. "It made me feel good. She said that my eyes were full of sunshine. She used to call me that. Sunshine. Anyway, during dinner I knocked my glass of milk over, and...she...started screaming at me, telling me what a bad little girl I was, how much trouble I was. Things that I heard every day."
He swallowed, could see too well the scene she described. He reached for her hand. Held her fingers tightly, squeezed them gently when he felt them begin to tremble.
"I'd managed to get milk on me, and Grandma told them that she'd clean me up. She told me that I wasn't bad, and that I should always listen to my heart, because my heart knew the truth. No matter what…she…said, my heart knew the truth." Casey shook her head slightly, took another bite of pizza.
Daniel didn't miss the fact that Casey didn't refer to her mother as 'mom', or 'mother', or 'momma' or any of the other common names children used. It was 'she', or 'her'. He remained silent, allowing her to tell him as much as she wanted, in her own time.
"When they adopted Sheryl, I was so jealous! She got to help…her…bake cookies. I wasn't even allowed in the kitchen except to wash the dishes."
He almost choked on his bite of pizza. "How old were you?"
"Six…maybe six and a half."
"And you had to help her wash dishes?"
She shook her head. "No, I washed the dishes. Plates, bowls, pots, pans, glasses, flatware, knives…I remember one time I cut my finger on a knife, she told me if I was that stupid I could stand there and bleed to death. I was so scared, and it hurt, and I was crying…when Dad came in and saw what was going on, he took me into the bathroom, cleaned it up, and then put a few Band-Aids on it." She was staring at her finger.
He gently examined it, could see the faint scar. It was long and jagged, ran from the pad of her index finger to the crease just above the palm. He sucked in a breath. A cut that bad should have been stitched!
"The next day at school I didn't get to finger paint because of it. I was crushed," she said, smiling. "Anyway, I was jealous of Sheryl. So I took the scissors and cut all of her hair off. It was as long as mine. She…she was going to cut mine, but Dad told her no, then I remember him throwing my clothes into a paper bag, and taking me to Grandma Rose. I spent the entire summer with her," she said with a little sigh.
Daniel was shaking his head. "But you had to go back."
She frowned slightly. "Yes. School started again, oh I loved school! It meant that for a few hours it was okay to laugh and run and sing and shout and…bounce. I think jump rope was one of my most favorite things."
"Wait a minute, you weren't allowed to laugh?" His eyebrows had gone up.
Casey shook her head. "I was expected to behave like a 'proper young lady' at all times. The thing of it was, I didn't know what that meant! I guess because I was a bad kid."
The anger flared higher, hotter. "I don't believe that for a second. A normal kid, but not bad!"
She looked at him and smiled. "Maybe. I don't know how Grandma arranged it, but I spent every holiday with her, every summer. It was wonderful! I started my period-" she broke off, her cheeks blazed, she looked away.
"It's okay honey, I know all about the female anatomy," he said softly.
"I'll say you do!" she replied, her eyes dancing.
He grinned. "Go on with your story."
"I was at Grandma's house, and I woke up and there was blood on the sheets. And on my legs. I started screaming…I was just sure I was dying. Grandma came running into the room, there I stood, crying my eyes out. She hugged me, and then told me that we'd go to the library after we were cleaned up. She found books, and explained what was happening, told me that it meant I'd become a woman. She talked to me about everything. Grandma told me that no matter what…she…said, I wasn't…what she said I was. When I looked up those names-" she turned her head again, her cheeks flushed as she remembered the rush of shame she'd felt, sitting in the library, the dictionary open in front of her. She took a deep breath, gathered her thoughts. "I decided that the only way to avoid really being…that…was to just stay away from boys. Which wasn't hard. I was skinny and bony and ugly. I never got to do anything after school anyway, and I was never allowed to go to anyone's house, or have them over. I…I didn't have any friends, not really. Not until I met Kells."
He shook his head. Every puzzle piece of her past that she gave him created an uglier and uglier picture. He was sure that she'd told him more tonight than she'd told anyone, except possibly Kelley.
She tucked one foot beneath her. "Tell me about you. About your childhood," she said softly.
He frowned. He didn't particularly want to take this trip down memory lane. "I was bounced from foster home to foster home. Some were better than others. I was never…abused. But I always knew that I was an outsider…not part of whatever family I was with. I was lonely a lot."
She nodded. She understood that feeling well.
"I was like you, I loved school. I was always the skinny, geeky kid with glasses. I took my share of bullying."
Casey giggled. "I'd love to see the faces on those pot-bellied bullies now! You're magnificent, Daniel. You're brilliant. You're handsome and sexy and virile. You work out, and it shows. You have the most beautiful blue eyes I've seen. Yep, I'd love to see them now, all bald and fat and dull."
He was grinning again. His heart was pounding in his chest at her description of him. "You're good for my ego," he said softly.
"Like you are for mine," she replied. She glanced at the clock. "Okay, Doctor Jackson. Time to sleep. How far is it from here to Silver Springs?"
"Hour, hour and a half. Depends on traffic," he replied. He looked at her plate. She'd actually eaten two full pieces of pizza. It was start.
They began to clean up, moving in harmony without thinking about it, or even realizing it. Daniel set the alarm on the clock, but not certain that it worked correctly, called the front desk for a wake up call. Teeth were brushed, and Casey shyly checked the sheets. There was a large wet spot where they'd lain making love.
She shook her head. "Plastic sheets," she muttered.
Daniel laughed. "Don't worry about it, Angel. I like the way those sheets get wet!"
She giggled, brought a towel in from the bathroom, and spread it over the spot. "I guess I'll be washing the mattress cover and changing sheets every day."
"Maybe. Don't worry about it," he said again, settling down on the bed. "C'mere, Angel. Let's get some sleep."
She snuggled into his arms, thoughts of the day running through her head. She was in Colorado. She was with Daniel. And she was happier than she'd ever been in her life.
A A A A A A
Neither of them were ready to get up when the call came at five o'clock. They quickly pulled on jeans and sweaters, socks and shoes. Brushed their teeth. Daniel shaved while Casey brushed her long hair. She tucked it back with a soft headband that matched her sweater. It only took a few minutes to gather their belongings.
While Daniel checked out, Casey took advantage of the 'Continental Breakfast' and filled two large Styrofoam cups with coffee. Into one she dumped three creamers, one sugar. She put the lids on, and grabbed two muffins as well. The airport was near the interstate highway, and within minutes they were on their way to Silver Springs, sipping gratefully on the warm coffee.
"Is it okay if I turn the radio on?" Casey asked shyly.
"Sure it is," he replied, flashed a smile at her. Felt his entire body warm up from the smile she gave him in return.
She found a rock station, was singing softly.
"Case, I'm going straight to the Mountain. General Hammond wants to meet you. There are some…tests…they'd like to do. And Janet will have my nuts in a crusher if I don't get you in to see her right away."
She giggled. "I'll protect you. I happen to be fond of those nuts."
He nearly spit a mouthful of coffee onto the windshield. He started laughing. "Thanks, Angel."
'I'll try not to let you down," she said softly.
"Let me down?" He put his coffee in the cup holder. Reached for her hand. "That would never happen. All you have to do is be yourself, Casey. You're an incredible woman. Just stay away from the Marines."
"You're my woman, and I don't want to have to take out the Marine contingent in Cheyenne Mountain. We occasionally need their dumb asses."
She began to giggle. "I don't think you'll have anything to worry about."
He glanced at her, snorted softly. "Right."
She was looking around, taking in the sights of her new home. "It's beautiful here. I was afraid I'd miss the mountains, but these are just as pretty."
"I'm glad you like it," he replied. "Case?"
"When do you want to get married?"
She gave a start, nearly spilled the coffee she was getting ready to sip from. "I guess I hadn't thought about it."
"Please do. Think about it, I mean. I want to get married as soon as possible," he said.
She couldn't help but smile. "Any particular reason?"
"I don't want you getting away from me," he replied.
She leaned over, gently caressed his cheek. "That will never happen. I'll be with you as long as you want me to be."
The linguist in him took note of what she said. "Forever, Casey. I want you with me forever."
"Then you'll have me forever. I promise. Besides, didn't you say that technically I'm already your wife?"
Daniel grinned. "Yeah. Technically. I want you legally too!"
"I'm yours any way you want me," she said softly.
He took her fingers and moved them to his lips. "Love you."
"Love you, too." She returned her attention to the countryside around them. Frowned at the dark clouds that seemed to be gathering at the peaks of the mountains. "How far are we from Silver Springs?"
Daniel chuckled at her impatience. He'd been doing a bit over the speed limit, trying to make up for the traffic they'd been stuck in for nearly thirty minutes. "About forty-five minutes or so. Why?"
"Because I want to get there before that storm hits," she replied.
He leaned forward and looked at the sky, then adjusted the radio to a weather station. So far, there were only reports of scattered snow flurries. He looked at the woman he already called his Wife. Knew that she could sense things other people couldn't. "How long?"
"Half an hour at the most, I think," she answered. "I could be wrong."
He smiled. He doubted that she was wrong very often. There seemed to be very little traffic on the road. In fact he hadn't passed anyone for several miles. He increased his speed just a bit.
A A A A A A
He was right. She hadn't been wrong. They'd just hit the outskirts of Silver Springs when the wind began to howl, and the snow began to fall so hard and quickly that it was nearly impossible to see. He took the turn-off that would lead to the military base, creeping along in the near whiteout conditions.
Casey had never seen a blizzard before, and wasn't sure whether to be excited or petrified. She had the utmost faith in Daniel's ability to get them to their destination safely.
He took a second to glance at her. Her eyes were wide, he could tell she was nervous. "Not much farther now."
"Nope. But if I don't get to a restroom soon, I'm going to do something I haven't done since I was in diapers," she replied.
He laughed. "Yeah, I know that feeling." There! It was barely visible, but that was the fence that marked the edge of all of the government property. Which meant the gate was just around this curve...
Within minutes they'd passed through the first checkpoint. Daniel grinned when he learned that a temporary pass was waiting for Casey.
She pulled her coat back onto her arms.
"Okay, we need to get you a coat," he said, watching as she slipped her arms into the long, black wool coat.
"This is practically brand new," she protested.
"And it's lovely. It's also not nearly warm enough for around here."
She smiled. "I'd have bought an Eskimo parka instead of that babydoll nighty if I'd known about the weather here."
He grinned. "I'm glad you didn't. I like that little nighty-thing. I'll buy you a coat. Okay, let's go wait for the bus."
"That will take us into the mountain." He checked his watch. The bus ran on a regular, reliable fifteen-minute schedule. It should be there any second. For which he was thankful. She was already shaking from the cold.
Casey was clinging to his arm as they boarded, felt the eyes of everyone already on the bus watching her. She was certainly glad she was with Daniel! This many men - all of them staring at her - terrified her!
"Mornin', Doc," an older man said, grinning broadly.
"Ferretti," Daniel said amiably.
"This must be that special lady you were telling us about," Ferretti said. He could see why Dr. Jackson was knocked for a loop over her! Damn, what a looker!
"Casey, Major Ferretti. Major, Ms. Webster," Daniel said in way of introduction.
The major took note of how the archaeologist expected his fiancée to be addressed. "Ms. Webster, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Likewise," Casey said, her slender hand crushed in the man's strong grip.
Daniel glanced around. Every man on the bus was staring at her. He barely bit back his grin of satisfaction when she shifted closer to him, clung to his arm just a bit tighter. He'd never know that every man on the bus noticed her subtle movements, and envied him the attention of the beautiful blonde.
The bus ride was short, and let the passengers off in front of a door nearly six feet thick.
"Wow!" she whispered.
"It gets better," he whispered in her ear. He led her through the next checkpoint, joking with the guards on duty. When they reached level 11, they stepped off the elevator, went through the final security gate, and onto another elevator.
"Just how far down does this place go?" she asked.
"Twenty-eight levels total," Daniel replied.
He grinned. The elevator doors opened on level 27. He was taking her to meet General Hammond right off. So that they could start the damned tests, and get them over with. He was going to request that she be assigned as his assistant. Which shouldn't be difficult, considering that she'd been studying anthropology and had worked in an office. The schooling and experience provided the skills she'd need to help him.
Casey was already turned around and completely lost in the maze of corridors and hallways that Daniel led her through. He pointed out the women's restroom, he went across the hall to the men's. He was waiting for her when she stepped back into the corridor. More twists and turns. They stopped outside a door that looked like all the rest.
General Hammond was sitting at his desk when Daniel tapped lightly. "General?"
The bald man looked up; a smile lit his face when he saw the slender blonde clinging to the archaeologist. Colonel O'Neill was right. She was a beautiful woman. "Good morning, Doctor Jackson. I presume this is Ms. Webster?
Daniel held his arm out, indicating to her that she should go into the room first. She stepped inside, relieved to feel him just behind her. "Yes, sir. Casey, this is General Hammond. General, Casey Webster."
The general stood and offered his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you in person, Ms. Webster," he said.
She smiled. "It's nice to meet you, General. Please let me say thank-you again for your help and support the other night."
Daniel frowned slightly. That had been something he'd meant to ask her about. Their conversation that morning on the drive had consisted of listing their favorites. From music to food to movies to books. They'd learned that their tastes were similar, although not identical. Arguing over the merits of Star Wars versus Star Trek sagas had been down right enjoyable!
"You're welcome. Please, sit down," the general said, motioning to the two chairs in front of his desk.
Casey sat down timidly. Daniel had mentioned tests. She suspected what they were about.
"Has Doctor Jackson explained why we here at the SGC are so anxious to meet you?"
"Because I can…see…things," she replied.
Hammond nodded. "We'd like to run a series of tests. Nothing painful, I assure you," he said, smiling warmly. "Just to get an idea of just how…much…you can see."
She nodded. "That's fine."
"Good. Now, I see you have your pass. We'll have a permanent one for you by the end of next week. Right now there are some standard forms I need you to sign."
Daniel had explained these as well. She scanned them, then signed them. "Will I have to resign these after Daniel and I are married?"
"I don't believe that will be necessary," the general replied. He took the forms, stuck them into a folder that had been lying on the side of his desk. "I can't tell you how much it will mean to have someone with your…talent…working here. Your insistence that Doctor Jackson call in alerted me to the fact that something more was wrong than just a missed check-in call. Had we not heard from him, I 'd have waited another twelve hours. By that time the members of SG-1 might have been dead. Young lady, your 'sight' saved the flagship team of this installation, and for that I will be eternally grateful."
Her eyes were wide. "Um…thank you...er...you're welcome," she said softly.
General Hammond looked at Daniel. "Why don't you take Ms. Webster to the infirmary. Doctor Fraiser will begin the tests. She also mentioned something about wanting to see Ms. Webster for a physical?"
"Yes sir, my request. Casey has some stomach problems," Daniel said.
"Nothing serious, nothing that would keep me from doing my share of work or anything, I promise," Casey added quickly, her cheeks faintly pink.
The general exchanged a look with the young archaeologist. "I have no doubt that you'll do an excellent job," the man said. He stood to his feet. "I look forward to seeing you again, Ms. Webster."
She smiled, and shook his outstretched had once again. "Thank you, sir."
Daniel smiled as well, and led her out of the office. "You're going to like Janet," he said, swiping his ID badge at the elevator.
"You've mentioned that before," she said softly.
"Case?" He could sense her hesitation.
She shrugged one shoulder slightly. "I'm not crazy about doctors. Always poking and prodding. Having to do those damn pelvic exams every time you walk through the freaking door!"
Alarm bells went off in his head. "What?"
Another shrug. "The doctor that…she…always took me to insisted on giving me a full physical and a pelvic exam every time I went in. I have no idea what poking around down there had to do with sore throats and ear infections."
Oh, god, he thought, slightly panicked. "How old were you when this started?"
He closed his eyes. Felt as if he was going to throw up. She'd been molested, he was sure of it! "Angel, I want you to talk to Janet about this, explain to her…she'll…she'll know what to do."
"Okay." She frowned slightly, puzzled by his behavior. He was upset about something, very upset!
The elevator stopped, and they stepped out on level 21. Janet was waiting for them just inside the infirmary, a wide smile on her face. Which slipped the tiniest bit when she saw Daniel's face. "Daniel," Janet said in greeting.
"Hi, Janet. Casey, this is Doctor Janet Fraiser," Daniel said, his arm around Casey's shoulders protectively. "Janet, this is Casey."
Janet offered her hand. "It's nice to meet you, Casey."
"Nice to meet you as well," Casey replied, shaking the small hand. The woman had a very firm handshake! The petite brown-haired woman had a warm smile and kind, brown eyes, as well. But she was still a doctor! She looked around the room nervously.
"I'd like to do just a little preliminary exam right now, if that's all right with you," Janet said.
Once again her eyes went around the room. There were curtains that could be pulled around each bed, but only reached to about a foot below the bottom of the bed frame. There didn't seem to be any other rooms that could be used for such an…invasive …examination. Anyone could walk in and see everything that was going on if the curtains blew even the tiniest bit. She shuddered slightly.
"Casey, tell Janet what you just told me," Daniel said softly, his hand moving over her hair.
"It's just that…I'm not comfortable around doctors…medical doctors," Casey said. "No offense. I just don't see the need to do a full physical and pelvic exam every freaking visit."
Janet barely managed to hide her shock. "Well, I promise, I only do those once a year, unless you have a problem that warrants more frequent exams. Am I to understand that you received a full physical and a pelvic exam at every visit?"
"How often were you taken to the doctor?"
"Well, when I had that series of sore throats, it was every week. Then it was every two weeks so that he could take cultures to make sure that the infection was gone. I can't remember exactly how long that went on, it seemed like a long time. I had an ear infection once, and that meant weekly visits for almost six months."
Janet's face went pale. "Daniel, would you mind waiting outside please?"
"I'd rather not," Daniel said quietly.
The doctor looked at the slender blonde. "We need to talk, Casey. It's not going to be easy, I'm afraid. Probably embarrassing. If you want Daniel to stay, he stays. If you'd rather he leave, he leaves," Janet said gently.
Casey looked from Daniel to Janet and back again. "Something is wrong, isn't it?"
Daniel nearly cried out at the look of fear that flashed through her eyes. "Nothing that you and I together can't handle, babe," he said softly.
She started trembling. "I guess Daniel should hear it, then I won't have to repeat it," she said, her voice flat. Here it comes. The end to this beautiful, amazing dream. I should have known it wouldn't last. It's too perfect…too absolutely perfect.
He could see it in her eyes. She was terrified. She was certain that he was going to leave her. Like everyone else who'd cared for her had done all through her life. Whenever things became bad for her, she found herself alone. He wanted to yell out his anger. He wanted to confront the gods that would allow such horrors to happen to an innocent child. To his Casey!
Janet looked up at Daniel. Saw the love in his blue eyes as he looked at the young blonde woman. "Honey, I can guarantee that nothing said in my office is going to affect how much he loves you. In fact, I predict that he's going to be angry, not at you, but at the people who were supposed to be taking care of you."
"I don't understand," Casey said, a slight frown on her face.
Janet took her hand. "Let's go into my office. Just the three of us." She looked around, spotted a nurse. "Jill, call General Hammond and tell him there's going to be a slight delay on those tests for Ms. Webster. Tell him I'll explain later."
The woman nodded and headed for the telephone that hung on the wall near the door.
"Come on, Angel," Daniel said, his arm around her again, holding her tightly. Instinct told him the ensuing conversation wasn't going to be easy.
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