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Whispers From the Past
"...Lady, your love's the only love I need
And beside me is where I want you to be
'Cause, my love, there's something I want you to know
You're the love of my life, you're my lady..."
Written by Lionel Richie
Performed by Kenny Rogers
She tossed her hair back, practically threw her hairbrush onto the counter. Planted her hands on her hips. "So what?"
"So what? So what?"
"Yeah, so what? It’s my body!"
"I am well aware of that fact."
"I’m not a child." She wrapped her arms around her waist.
"I know that."
"Then stop treating me like one!"
He rolled his eyes. Wiped the remainder of the shaving foam from his face. Tossed the towel toward the basket. "I am not treating you like a child."
"Yes, you are! Since when do I need your permission to do anything?" She bent over, retrieved the towel from the floor, threw it into the basket with more force than necessary.
"You’re my Wife!" he exploded, grabbing his glasses.
"No kidding! But you don’t own me!"
"I never implied that I did!"
"Oh, really? Then what was...was...that?" she asked, motioning toward the shower with her chin. "Explain...this!" she demanded, her hand waving in a circle in front of her.
He didn’t answer.
"Shock. I was in shock."
"Oh, please! It’s not that big of a deal!"
"Excuse me? Not a big deal?"
She shook her head, stomped out of the bathroom. Just what in the hell was his problem? When had he become so damned puritanical? She yanked her favorite jeans over her legs. Which just happened to be his as well. Contemplating peevishly for a moment, she jerked them off, tossed them to the floor and grabbed a pair of relaxed fit denims. Pulled on a heavy sweater.
He watched as she breezed past him. Grabbed his boots and carried them to the living room. Plopped down onto the sofa beside her. "You should have told me."
"It’s my body," she huffed, shoving her feet into her boots.
"I know that," Daniel snapped in return. "But damn it, Casey, you could have at least talked to me about it first!"
"What is the big deal? The only other person besides you who will ever see them is Janet!"
"That’s not the point!" The point was, he fumed silently, that someone...some man, had been way too close to the intimate secrets of her body. And he didn’t like the idea one iota. No, sirree! It was his Wife’s body. That sweet little twat belonged to him! Just how long did it take to do a tattoo like that, anyway? How tempted had that man been by her sweet scent? Had he fantasized about her? Had he moved closer, just to feel the heat of her body, get a closer look through the lacy silk of her panties...she had been wearing her panties, he assumed...he hoped. And he wasn’t about to say any of that out loud!
"Then what is the point?"
"You got a tattoo without talking to me about!"
"And I repeat...for the third freaking time...it’s my body!"
He shook his head. "We’re going to be late," he said standing to his feet, heading for the door, not waiting to see if she was following behind him. Caught a glimpse of her in the reflection of the leaded glass doors of the bookcase. Couldn’t help but grin when she stuck her tongue out at his back. Part of him was actually amused by the tattoo. Well, tattoos. One on each inner thigh, just about an inch from paradise. ‘Daniel’s Property’ it said. ‘Daniel’s’ was on her right thigh, ‘Property’ on the left, so that anyone looking at her would get the message clearly. He had to admit that the calligraphy was beautiful. According to her, it had been a decision made after sharing one too many drinks with Sam and Janet. Who apparently were sporting new tattoos as well. He jerked his leather jacket from the coat stand by the back door.
"It’s not even real," she muttered, grabbing her purse and coat, and stomping along behind him.
He barely heard the words. But they impacted on his brain immediately. He whirled to face her. "What?"
"It’s just temporary," she replied, crossing her arms over her chest. "Needles. They use needles!"
His cheek twitched. "You didn’t know that needles were used to put the ink beneath the skin?"
"Yes, I knew! I’m not an idiot!" she declared.
"I didn’t know that they had to keep poking you with the damned thing!"
"Just how did you think it worked?" His curiosity was sincere...no doubt her explanation would be worth every moment of anger he had felt...was still feeling.
"I don’t know!" she shouted. "But I chickened out, until the artist told me she could just draw it on until I made up my mind for certain."
His brain focused on one word. One very important word. "She?"
Casey rolled her eyes. "I have already told you that the tattoo artist was a woman. Well, actually, there were three women there, and two men. All tattoo artists. They have nice private booths where the work is done."
Okay, so it wasn’t as bad as he thought. And no, she hadn’t mentioned before that the tattoo artist had been a woman. "How long will it last?"
"I don’t know."
"She didn’t tell you?"
"I’m sure she did. I just can’t remember. To be honest, Daniel, it all starts getting fuzzy about there. Probably because Janet and Sam and I were sharing a bottle of Jose’s Black Label. None of us are into pain, you know."
The twitch in his cheek was becoming more pronounced. Oh, he was still pissed off. Something that...significant...should have been discussed. If he ever decided to get a tattoo he’d talk to her about it! If he ever decided to get a tattoo. A nice set of white angel wings, he thought, wrapped around her name. Right over his heart. And just where in the hell had that thought come from?
The ride to the base was made in silence. It wasn’t the comfortable kind of silence, either. She stared out the window beside her, a slight frown on her face. He concentrated on the traffic, trying to calm himself with the new facts that accompanied his rather surprising discovery. Had he not leaned over to kiss her belly in the shower...
He shook his head. At first he thought that a piece of the scrunchy had torn off, and was sticking to her skin. He had knelt down, in spite of her protests, something he realized now should have been the first warning sign. She hadn’t wanted to move her legs apart, the second warning sign. She had heaved a sigh, muttered ‘what the hell’, and had presented him with her new tattoo. Tattoos. ‘Daniel’s Property’.
"Just when were you going to tell me about it?" he asked sulkily, breaking the silence that hung heavily between them.
"Tonight," she replied. "I was going to make it a real presentation. A gift. I belong to you, and I just wanted something...tangible...to show that."
Her voice had gone soft, become wistful. Okay, he thought a tad guiltily, so his first reaction had been a bit...rough...
"What in the fuck is that?" His voice had been cold.
"Looks like a tattoo to me," she had replied, smiling at him.
"I can see that. I suppose this is what you and Sam and Janet were up to last night? Getting shit-faced and tattooed? The three of you are worse than drunken sailors! That is so irresponsible! Did you even bother to find a clean tattoo parlor? How could you do something like this without talking to me about it first? What in the hell were you thinking?"
She had pushed past him at that point, her eyes full of the anger...and the hurt...that his words had caused.
Yep, definitely could have handled that better. It was just that he had been so...shocked. He had nothing against tattoos. There were African and South American and Asian indigenous tribes for whom tattoos were marks of status. In the States, the societal opinion of tattoos was shifting toward acceptance. But she should have talked to him before marring that beautiful, creamy flesh. Marring...is that really what he thought she had done? Each letter was carefully drawn, starting in dark blue, and ‘fading’ into a soft lavender. ‘Daniel’s Property’. His heart beat just a little faster as his memory provided a Technicolor picture of those beautiful thighs, and the carefully drawn letters. ‘Daniel’s Property’. But damn it! She should have talked to him about it first! Just why in the hell put a tattoo there, if he was the only one who would ever see it? That thought poked at him, but offered no solace.
The silence continued as they rode the bus to the mountain entrance. As they made their way through the final checkpoints. When they reached level eighteen she was off of the elevator like a shot, heading straight for the office where Jonas was working on sorting through half a dozen well-known Mayan myths. He had recognized several of the key elements as being similar to myths he'd learned as a young university student at the most prestigious university in Kelowna. What he remembered was being added to the database. Under the notation of ‘alien mythology’.
Daniel frowned slightly. Casey had been spending a lot of time with Jonas. He disregarded the fact that she was still working on the database, and that the Kelownan was actually helping her with it. He grumped silently that it seemed the younger man saw more of his Wife during the day than he did! She’d had lunch with Teal’c every day this week as well. Not that he'd actually noticed at the time. He was so busy with translations that it was usually the middle of the afternoon before hunger drove him to the commissary.
He dropped into the chair behind his desk. What was it that bothered him about the tattoos? That they were there...or that she had done it without saying a word to him about it? She’d gotten her navel pierced without letting him know she’d ever thought about doing so, and he hadn’t felt...what...threatened? And he loved how sensitive that flat abdomen was now, how he could make her gasp and sigh, just by running his fingertips around the little platinum ring that decorated her sexy little ‘inny’ bellybutton. Teal’c had been with her that day. Had gotten his ear pierced as well. That had merely amused him.
He busied himself making coffee. Told himself that he had every right to be pissed off. That Casey had acted impulsively, recklessly. What if she got an infection? No needles, his brain reminded him. Right. Okay, so just how had that tattoo artist applied the ink...with such style, so elegantly...to those slender, luscious inner thighs? Still, she should have at least told him she was thinking about getting a tattoo, for chrissakes!
With a resigned sigh, he pulled out the folder that held photos from one of SG-12’s last missions. There were a dozen pillars...not connected to any buildings, or even near ruins. Just the pillars, in groups of two, set in a circle, in the middle of a lovely and isolated valley. And there were markings that were definitely Ancient. As he had every day this week, he submerged himself completely in his work.
A A A A A A
Casey tossed her hair over her shoulder, settled into the chair behind the desk...the top of which was strewn with notes and folders full of notes. Half of them had been written out by Jonas. Every myth he could remember, he had carefully typed out and printed for her. She couldn’t help but smile as she thought about her new friend. He was an incredibly quick study...was learning Earth history as fast as he could read it. Which had led to several interesting discussions.
She glanced out the door, down the hallway. Tugged her lip between her teeth. She wondered what Daniel was working on. Probably the same translations he’d been struggling with all week. SG-12 had located several pillars that had Ancient markings on them. But they had been written in a cuneiform that Daniel had never seen before. Searches of every known form of that style of writing had netted him nothing. He was left with no other choice than to try and find something familiar, some tiny bit that he could recognize. He hadn’t been very...talkative...for the past few days. Hadn’t seemed to want to be disturbed when she'd stopped in to ask him about lunch. She understood that the translations he was working on were difficult. She hadn’t wanted to bother him...but she missed seeing him for at least one break during the day...
Startled out of her reverie, she jumped slightly, then returned Jonas’ bright smile. "Good morning, Jonas."
He studied her for a minute, perched on the corner of the desk. "Are you all right?"
"I’m okay," she said, not even noticing her ‘slip’. "Why do you ask?"
He shrugged slightly. "Your eyes...they’re sad."
Leave it to Jonas to notice even the tiniest detail. He was very much like Daniel in that respect. "I’m okay, really," she repeated, forcing another smile to her face. "Ready to tackle this database again?"
"We’ll beat it yet," he grinned.
"Oh, I hope so! It would help if these stupid snakes would just drop dead. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the ‘current status’ updated." There were stacks of mission reports that held information to fill that particular column.
Jonas snickered. "From what I hear, that would be too much to ask for."
"Unfortunately." That little poke in the back of her mind caught her attention. She paused, waiting for the ‘download’ that was certain to come. Again she glanced down the hallway. Contemplated going to Daniel’s office. It was much easier to deal with when he was there, helping her...holding her. She shook her head mentally. No doubt he'd be too busy to stop right now, especially for something so....trivial. After all, it wasn’t as if she couldn’t handle the download alone. She’d done so for years before meeting him. She refused to acknowledge the fact that she'd never had ‘downloads’ as vivid, or as often, as what she had experienced since meeting him.
When the anticipated flash of light failed to appear, she sighed and pushed that nagging poke away, and began sorting through the notes beside the keyboard. ‘Cronus...origin of myth - Greece. Known as the father of the Titans. Castrated his father, Uranus, who later became known as Zeus’...What a piece of work. She was certainly glad that Teal’c had been able to kill the bastard...well, technically it had been his android clone who had fired the fatal shot. But at least he'd been there, had helped to destroy the bastard who had so brutally murdered his father.
A A A A A A
He reached for his mug. Empty. Again. When he looked over at the carafe on the coffee maker, he realized that he'd already gone through the pot he had made. His stomach chose that moment to growl, complaining about the fact that he had missed breakfast. Because, he reminded himself, he and Casey had been fighting at the time.
There hadn’t been a stop at the commissary, not even long enough to grab a muffin or bagel. As soon as they had cleared the last checkpoint, and got onto the elevator, Casey had jabbed the number eighteen, then went straight to the office where Jonas was. No kiss to see him through the morning. No sexy little wiggle of her fingers as she left him. She had walked away from him, her back straight, her head held high. Madder than hell at him.
The sound of her giggle and Jonas’ laughter filtered in to him. He was on his feet, heading toward the door before he realized it. When it hit him. He was jealous! Jealous of Jonas Quinn and the friendship the Kelownan was forming with his Wife. Unlike Teal’c, who was her best friend, her ‘overprotective teammate’, and her co-conspirator on ‘training days’, the young man was a threat...not an actual threat per se, but one perceived mostly on a subconscious level. A threat making its way to his conscious mind. He didn’t know what designs Jonas might have on Casey...
Daniel stopped, ran a hand over his face. Jonas didn’t have any designs on her. He was well aware that she was a married woman, and Daniel already knew the Kelownan well enough to know that Jonas would never do anything improper, anything that might hurt or embarrass Casey. And she thought he was a 'sweet young man'. He was a friend, nothing more. A friendship no different than the one she had with Tony Sabotti. Or that new endocrinologist, Dr. Jared Parker. Who, his brain reminded him, was a damned good looking man, if the gossip he'd heard was to be believed. Tall, dark, and handsome, according to the nurses he'd overheard talking. He’d only met the man once, in passing, but had to admit that Parker had the kind of looks that turned heads. He wasn’t worried that Casey had developed an interest in him. Of course, he pointed out to himself, she wasn’t spending every day, all day long with Dr. Parker, either. She was, however, spending every moment with Jonas Quinn.
Okay, so he was jealous. She was his Wife, he was head of the Archaeology Department, and if he wanted to check on their progress, he could do so! With determined strides, he headed for the small office.
As soon as he appeared in the doorway, she knew he was still angry. She could see it in the set of his jaw. The icy look in his beautiful blue eyes. Well, hell, she thought, giving a resigned sigh.
"Doctor Jackson!" Jonas said, greeting the man who was technically his boss with a wide smile.
Hmmph. He was still ‘Dr. Jackson’. She was ‘Casey’. Not that he could actually remember ever telling the Kelownan to call him by his first name. And ‘Mrs. Jackson’ was pretty damned formal, given the working conditions in the mountain. And she had asked Jonas to call her by her given name. "Hello, Jonas," he said, forcing a smile to his face. Noted that she wouldn’t even look at him. Yep, still in the doghouse, bucko. Because you’re an idiot. A jealous idiot.
..."I was going to make it a real presentation. A gift. I belong to you, and I just wanted something...tangible...to show that."...
Her softly spoken words, that wistful tone of voice echoed again and again in his head. In that moment the value of her gift...the love that accompanied it, hit him squarely in the face. Well, he'd certainly screwed that up, hadn’t he? She loved him, he had absolutely no doubt of that. Not in the deepest, most secret places in his heart. What more proof of that love could she have offered, than to have his name inscribed permanently onto her skin? A tattoo that only he would see, each and every time he made love to her. A tattoo which declared that she belonged to him, and him alone. Okay, so it was only temporary. But if she did have the tattoo done permanently...
The jealousy that he had just moments before admitted to began to writhe when Jonas leaned over to read what Casey had typed, pointing to the screen...saying something about adding a notation about some Kelownan god...Maybe he should have her working on the database in his office, or in the lab. At least they could be in the same room together as they worked. The way they had been...the way they had always worked, before Jonas arrived...Well, hello. There's the true heart of the matter, bucko. He missed having her near him. Plain and simple. He understood that she had been trying to make the Kelownan’s transition a bit less stressful. She wanted Jonas to feel comfortable at the SGC, to feel at home. Because she was a loving, caring woman. With a tender, compassionate heart.
He wanted...he needed to apologize. However, he did not want, nor need, an audience when he did so. What they discussed regarding their personal lives was no one else’s business. "Casey, can I see you in my office for a minute?"
She heaved a mental sigh. If he thought for one minute she was going to stand there and listen to him rant about her tattoos...her temporary tattoos, he was crazy! "Not right now. I’m in the middle of half a dozen cross references, and if I don’t do them all at the same time, I’m liable to miss one."
He frowned, but nodded. "Okay. As soon as you’re finished."
The frown deepened, and he watched for a moment, Casey typing furiously, Jonas shuffling through notes, of what he had no idea. He forced himself to remain calm. Fought back another surge of senseless, baseless jealousy. They’d talk. He’d tell her the truth - that he missed her. She’d start working beside him again. He’d even admit to liking the tattoos. Real or not. And everything would be just fine.
He was halfway to his office when the klaxons above his head screamed to life.
"Intruder alert! Level eighteen...storage room A! Intruder alert!"
A A A A A A
Skaara helped Kasuf step through the mirror. Sha’re barely made it through before the Sam of that reality, battle-weary and bloody, gave a sad smile, and then shut the mirror off from that side. The young Abydonian man didn’t even realize that the device that allowed him and his father and sister to carefully choose which reality they stepped into had been left behind.
Sha’re looked around. Another storage room. Different than the others, though. Many more boxes were stored here, all shoved toward the far wall. The wail of the klaxons, the flashing red of the alarm signals, the sound of feet pounding in the corridor outside...far too familiar to her now.
Daniel skidded to a halt in the room. Took one look at the three unexpected occupants. Felt his jaw drop. Just before he was enveloped in an embrace by familiar arms; a body he’d thought to never hold again was pressed against him, the scent of her cleansing oil surrounding him completely.
"Dan’yel!" Sha’re whispered. She held tightly to him, tears running down her cheeks. So many realities where he had not survived, or had been taken as a host, or was not part of the SGC at all...but he was here! He was alive and well and had no demon inside him! It was a sign, she knew it was!
Skaara grinned broadly, and even Kasuf’s pale face mirrored his joy at seeing the man that they admired, that they loved as ‘Good Son’. "This is the place," Skaara said softly. "We are home!"
Casey ran into the room, Jonas beside her. Teal’c entered just seconds after she did...he'd been on his way to see Daniel about changing the time for their daily workouts. Armed Marines arrived just seconds later.
No one needed to tell her who the woman was. The woman who was wrapped around her Husband so possessively. The woman her Husband was holding just as tightly. Well, wasn’t that just a kick in the fucking pants? Good thing that tattoo isn’t permanent, she thought bitterly. Without a word to anyone, Casey turned and left the room.
The action was witnessed by only one other person. He raised one eyebrow slightly. Shifted his bulk so that he could see the corridor as she walked away, her back held stiffly...from anger or heartache he had no idea. He spoke softly to Jonas, sent the young man to alert General Hammond of the unexpected arrivals. Lifted the phone to cancel the alert.
Daniel finally had the presence of mind to take Sha’re’s arms from around his neck, gently push her far enough so he could look down into her face. "Sha’re?"
"Oh, Dan’yel! For so long we have been searching!" she sighed. Skaara was correct. They had found home at long last.
"I don’t understand." He shook his head, was about to translate when she spoke.
"It is a long story, My Husband. One that I shall tell you, and then we will go home." Brown eyes glistened with tears, shone with unabated happiness.
English? Sha’re spoke English? "We should talk to General Hammond," he managed to say, so stunned that it seemed his brain had stopped working altogether.
"Yes, let us speak to Hammond," Kasuf said, standing a bit straighter. As father, and one of the chiefs of his clan, he would be the one to speak to the leader of the SGC. To make the arrangements for his daughter and son, and for himself, to remain in this place. He too believed that seeing Daniel alive and well was a sign from the gods.
Not one of the Abydonians noted the look of absolute shock on Daniel’s face, nor the platinum and diamond band that flashed on the third finger of his left hand. They had spent enough time on the Earth of their reality to understand just what such an adornment signified. It was an oversight that would have long lasting repercussions.
Teal’c led the way, the Marines following close behind, surrounding the...visitors. That the presence of his Wife, or even her whereabouts, slipped Daniel’s mind completely, was a fact that his still spinning thoughts failed to grasp.
A A A A A A
General Hammond was standing beside the conference table, the remainder of SG-1 behind him, when Teal’c led the group into the room. "Doctor Jackson, what is going on?"
"They came through the mirror, sir," Daniel replied.
"We are home, now," Skaara declared. "The gods have led us to this place."
"Uh huh. Please, be seated," the general said, motioning to the table. He was already feeling the beginnings of a headache. And it was still early in the day...the clock on the wall showed that it was barely ten a.m. Not even lunch time! Typical. He’d have Walter call Abby. Chances were he’d be late for dinner tonight.
Jack scowled at the impromptu seating arrangement. Glanced at Casey, who Jonas had dragged along with him to alert the general. The young man had been sent back to his office for the duration of what was sure to be a very interesting, classified briefing. Her wide green eyes and pale cheeks made him flinch, and he barely bit back the caustic remark that was waiting on the tip of his tongue, there to be tossed at the archaeologist who was settling nonchalantly into his chair.
Daniel sat down in his ‘usual’ chair. At least he assumed he was sitting. He must be, because everyone else was sitting around the table as well. The fact that Sha're was clinging to his hand, her other hand on his arm, failed to register in his mind. Didn’t see that Kasuf was sitting beside his daughter, Skaara on the other side of him. Nor was he aware of the dark looks coming from Jack and Teal'c, who were seated across from him. The questioning looks from Sam, who was sitting next to Teal’c. Didn’t even notice that his Wife, who was beside Sam, wasn’t looking at him at all.
His mind was racing with the knowledge that he was now aware of another reality where he wasn't with Casey. Is she dead in this 'new' reality as well? Had Kenny Vincent managed to brutally murder her there? Were there other Daniel's who had managed to live a quiet, happy life on Abydos with Sha're? And if they had been on Abydos, why were the three speaking English, and how had they come to know about the mirror...and why are they here?
General Hammond hadn’t missed the placement of the people around the conference table, either. From the looks on three of the faces to his left, it was definitely a ‘them vs. us’ situation. He frowned mentally...didn’t like the feeling that his premier team might be on the verge of a breakup. He glanced at the archaeologist, realized that Daniel was literally in a state of shock. He wondered briefly if the young man was completely aware of where he was, given the almost glazed look in his eyes. Could only hope that the other members of SG-1 took note of that fact as well.
"We have traveled far," Kasuf began, his English stilted and heavily accented. "But we are home. The fact that Dan’yel is here is proof of that."
"Can you explain why you chose to come here, and through the Quantum Mirror?" the general asked, choosing for the moment to ignore the declaration of their intent to stay.
"The Demoness...Hathor, that is what O’Neill...the O’Neill of our place...reality," Kasuf corrected himself, "called her, she came through the Chappa’ai. She took Dan’yel and several others, killed those who attempted to stop her. O’Neill led many men through the Chappa’ai to rescue those who had been taken. They were unsuccessful."
Skaara had been staring at Teal’c, his lip curled in a sneer. "Why does this Jaffa sit with us?"
"Because he’s a part of SG-1," Jack replied quickly. "He saved our butts on our first mission after Apophis showed up. He denounced the snakes...er...Goa’uld, as false gods, and joined us."
Kasuf eyed the large black man warily. "You trust this shol’va?"
"He is not a traitor!" Casey said sharply.
Kasuf and Skaara both looked at the slender blonde. Their eyes immediately dismissed her as unimportant. Something silently observed and noted by both Hammond and O’Neill. "We have been in many...realities," Kasuf continued, stumbling slightly over the word. He coughed frequently, and his hands shook as he used them to gesture as he spoke, telling them about several of the realities they had encountered. "In each one, Dan’yel was either dead, or had been taken by the Demons. In a few, those we met had never heard his name. Several were in battles as heated as the one from which we escaped," he finished. He began coughing, seemed to have trouble breathing for several moments.
"We were cut off from the Chappa’ai," Skaara added. "Dan’yel had told me about the mirror, and the magic that it could do. He went through and nearly died. But he said that each reality had the same people."
"The same generally speaking," Sam said. "Details and personal memories are different for each reality."
"Each time, a sickness would come upon us. Sometimes all three of us, other times, only Skaara and myself," Kasuf said.
"Entropic cascade failure," Sam nodded.
"Yes, that is what the first Carter said the sickness was," Kasuf agreed. "She told us that only when we found a place where our...our..."
"Counterparts?" Sam offered.
Kasuf nodded. "Yes, yes, counterparts. Only when we have found a place where they no longer live we will be safe."
"As far as we know, Kasuf and Skaara, our Kasuf and Skaara," Jack added emphatically, "are alive and well."
"There is another Sha’re?" Kasuf asked, just before yet another coughing fit overwhelmed him.
"No," Daniel said quietly. "Sha’re...my Sha’re, was taken as host to Amaunet. The wife of Apophis. She was killed four years ago."
"I am here, Husband," Sha’re said softly, reaching up to caress Daniel’s cheek.
Jack glanced at the general. Received a subtle shake of the head. It was all he could do to keep from kicking Daniel under the table. He cast another glance at Casey. Oy...that was not a good sign! Eyes as big as saucers, no color at all in her cheeks...and tears. Aw, crap! She's gonna cry!
"If we cannot stay here, where are we to go?" Kasuf asked wearily. His body was shaking slightly, his face pale. It was more than obvious that he was unwell.
"Doctor Jackson, do we have the device for controlling the mirror?"
"Yes, sir," Daniel replied. It seemed that his mind was refusing to work. He had no idea where the device might be...it had been determined that storing it near the mirror might prove to be an accident waiting to happen. But where had he put it?
General Hammond sighed. He had a feeling that these three needed to leave as soon as possible...and not just because of the threat of entropic cascade failure. "Kasuf, it’s quite apparent that you’re unwell. I’d like to have Doctor Fraiser take a look at you. I’ll have quarters assigned to you-"
"I shall stay with my Dan’yel," Sha’re said firmly, her hands clinging to his hand. The ring free hand.
For the first time since walking into the room, Daniel seemed to notice what was going on around him. It was an almost visible action when he shook himself mentally. "You’ll stay in your assigned quarters, Sha’re."
"You will stay with me?" she asked hopefully.
"No," Daniel replied.
"But why?" she demanded.
"Because Daniel is married, that’s why," Jack snapped, unable to remain silent any longer. He'd been watching Skaara. Listened to what the young man had said when he added his observations, his opinions. Couldn’t put his finger on just what about his young friend bothered him so. And he’d been watching Sha’re, as well. Who had continued to hold to Daniel as if she had the right to.
"Where is this ‘wife’?" Skaara asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.
Daniel’s blue eyes went to Casey. She was staring at her hands. Even from across the table, he was sitting near the head of the table, she near the foot, he could see that they were trembling. "Casey is my Wife," he replied firmly.
All eyes focused on the slender blonde. She glanced up, noted the look of concern in familiar blue eyes. Was surprised that he'd remembered. It seemed that he was quite content to sit and be pawed by his first wife. Could feel the sudden surge of anger, the hatred, from the woman who sat beside her Husband. She shook her head mentally. The counterpart of his first wife. He was just...he was what? Shocked? Confused? No more so than she was! She remained silent.
"Airman, see to it that Kasuf is escorted to the infirmary. Have Skaara and Sha’re taken to the VIP quarters for now," General Hammond ordered quietly, rising from his chair, signaling that the briefing was over. Everyone else rose as well.
The armed guard entered the room, motioned that the three newcomers should follow him.
"No! I will not leave you! I cannot leave you!" Sha’re cried out, throwing herself into Daniel’s arms.
"It’s all right, Sha’re," he said soothingly, running one hand up and down her back. "Go with them. You’ll be safe."
Bile rose in her throat as Casey watched. He was touching Sha’re, caressing her, just as he had done for her so many times. Would she ever be able to find comfort from that simple, almost absent-minded caress again? Tears filled her eyes. Spilled onto her cheeks when Teal’c closed his fingers around her hands, squeezed gently.
General Hammond frowned when it seemed that Dr. Jackson hadn’t even noticed that his wife was in tears. While he was certain that the young man was still in a state of shock, he'd responded clearly enough that his first thoughts, his priority, should have been Casey. Instead, her teammates were physically and emotionally surrounding her. It was yet another important sign that the Abydonians missed.
"General, I’ll go with them, make certain they’re settled into the room," Daniel offered. He knew how demanding Sha’re could become. Didn’t want to deal with one of her full blown tantrums; not here, not now. He needed time to think. To gather his whirling thoughts and figure out just what in the hell was going on, and what he was going to do about it.
"Very well," Hammond replied, his frown deepening. He didn’t want to make a scene, sensed that Daniel was offering simply to get the dark-haired woman to cooperate. He watched as the guards followed the archaeologist, the woman who continued to cling to him, and her brother and father from the room.
"Damn it, sir-" Jack started.
The general held up a hand to forestall the rant he was certain was on the colonel’s mind. "I know," he said.
"We can’t let them stay here!" Jack exploded.
"Kasuf and Skaara are still alive in this timeline," Sam said. "So they couldn’t stay, even if Daniel wanted them to."
"Sha’re could," Jack pointed out bluntly.
With a barely suppressed sob, Casey put a hand to her mouth, then ran out of the room.
"Damn it!" Jack swore. Cursing himself for saying out loud what everyone was thinking. That if Sha’re demanded to stay, there wasn’t much they could do to stop her. If the Kasuf and Skaara of this reality found out about her, they’d welcome her with open arms. And probably expect Daniel to pick right back up where they had left off...regardless of the fact that he was remarried. That his Sha’re was dead.
It had been apparent to all in the room that the three...visitors...were convinced that finding Daniel alive and Goa’uld free was a sign that they were to remain with him. That they expected Daniel to treat Sha’re as his wife, and Kasuf as his father-in-law.
Jack ran his hand over his face. "I’ll go talk to her, sir," he said.
Hammond nodded. "I want a solution to this...problem...as quickly as possible, people."
"Yes, sir," Sam replied.
The general gave a sharp nod. Returned to his office. He picked up the phone on his desk. Left a message for Abby...telling her that he wasn’t certain when he would be home. It was going to be a very long twenty-four hours. He could only hope that the emotional fall-out from the situation wasn’t so damaging that it couldn’t be repaired.
A A A A A A
Daniel tried to extract his arm from her grip. Each time he attempted to step away, put a bit of space between them, she just clung more resolutely to him. Pressed even closer. This is not my Sha’re, he told himself, even as her familiar scent surrounded him. He’d already said goodbye to his first wife, his Abydonian bride. He’d made peace with her spirit. He was head over heels in love with Casey. Casey! Her green eyes had been full of fear, and hurt... Just before she'd lowered her head, hiding behind the curtain of her long silky hair, he'd watched her carefully push down all of her emotions. That worried him...
"Everything will be as it was," Sha’re said happily. "There is no war here. You are free to leave this place. We will return to Abydos, and I will give you many fine sons-"
"No, Sha’re," Daniel said abruptly. "This is not your reality. Kasuf and Skaara, my Kasuf and Skaara, live in peace on Abydos. My Sha’re is buried there."
"But do you not see, My Husband? The gods led us to this place, so that you and I could be together, as we are meant to be!"
According to his Sha’re, the two of them weren’t meant to be together, never had been. Could that explain why, in reality after reality, they'd been torn apart? "And what of your father, and your brother?"
She looked over her shoulder at the two men. "They will seek safety in another place."
"You could let them leave?"
"It is meant to be," she insisted, a hint of anger in her voice.
"To know that my daughter is happy, and at the side of her husband, is all the comfort I need," Kasuf said, giving Daniel a wide, if a bit weak, smile; apparently trying to put the archaeologist’s mind at ease concerning his feelings on the matter.
"I am not her husband. I’m not her...I’m not the Daniel of your reality," he said firmly. Could tell by the look in three pairs of dark eyes that his words were falling on deaf ears.
"The one to whom you are married, this...Ca’see," Skaara said, sneering when he said the woman’s name, "You took her to your bed only to ease the loneliness left by Sha’re?"
"No, Skaara. Casey and I found each other in a very...miraculous...way. Because she and I were...are...fated to be together. She’s been my Destiny from the beginning of time," Daniel said softly.
"No! That is not true!" Sha’re cried. "I am your wife, Dan’yel! If you wish to keep her as a harem slave, I will not object. But I am your wife!"
The elevator doors opened. Daniel stepped forward, turned to look at the three people beside him. "No. Not here."
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