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Whispers From the Past

Chapter 11

"Have anything to tell me, Radar?" Jack asked quietly as they peered around the first building.

"Sorry, nothing."

"Stay alert."

She nodded. Felt a prickle, spun around, staying as low as possible. "Jack?" she whispered, her eyes wide, searching the grass behind them.

"I feel it too," he confirmed, grimacing slightly. No doubt whoever was watching them knew that at least Casey was aware of their presence. "We’re going to keep moving forward. When we get to the corner of that second building, I’m going to circle back. You keep moving forward. Stay a bit higher, so that whoever is watching thinks I’m still in front of you."


He led the way, taking a moment to squeeze her hand reassuringly.

It felt as if hours had passed by the time they reached the second building. In reality, it had been only a matter of minutes. Jack lowered himself to the ground, rolled around the side of the building, then was on his feet again in a flash, following the wall, heading back in the direction from which they had come, and hopefully come up behind whoever was watching them.

Casey didn’t crouch as low as she ran forward, hoping that it appeared that she was trying to see over Jack’s shoulder, as she had been doing.

"Still feel it, Radar?" Jack’s voice asked.

"Yes," she whispered in reply.

The others remained silent, knowing that to speak now could give away the position of their leader. Daniel fretted, tried to visually locate his wife. However, the layout of the various buildings, mostly houses it seemed, prevented him from seeing anything beyond the street he was on. Keeping his back against the walls, ducking past windows, checking the interiors for any sign of life and finding none, he continued toward the rising smoke that was still leaving a trail across the sky.




Jack worked his way past the two buildings he and Casey had just checked out. Both were empty, and neither looked as if they had been occupied in a century or two. Maybe longer. The sun was beginning to dip in the sky...it 'felt' like east to him...but not all planets had the same magnetic poles as Earth. Regardless of what the true direction was, the setting sun was offering dark shadows for him to hide in.

Movement in the tall grass just short of the first building caught his attention. He flicked the safety off of his P90. His first and primary thought was that he and Radar had been stalked by an animal. If that was the case, it would pick up his scent any moment now, and could turn and attack.

A flash of red, what looked like blonde hair, and a streak of something running toward the first building.

He was behind that ‘something’ in a heartbeat, was already raising his weapon when his brain informed him that he was staring at the back of a child. His finger jerked away from the trigger, he took a deep breath to calm his pounding heart. Stepped closer, put his hand out and closed his fingers around a thin shoulder. "Hey there-"

The child let out with a bloodcurdling scream, began to swing arms and kick skinny, dirty legs at her attacker.

"Whoa! Easy! Take it easy!" Jack said, trying to keep his hold on the kid, and avoid getting punched or kicked in any tender places.

Casey raced back to find her CO holding onto a little girl...a terrified little girl. She let her weapon drop to her side, put out both hands, palms up. "It’s all right," she said soothingly. "We won’t hurt you."

The little girl stopped struggling long enough to look at the woman who approached. Her eyes went wide, fingers went to her own blonde hair, and then she began to struggle once more.

"Daniel! Get over here!" Jack barked into his headset, hoping like hell that the archaeologist could find something in his bag of linguistic tricks with which to communicate with this kid.

Casey knelt down as close to the flailing arms and legs as she dared. Reached out and touched the child’s back.

The girl jerked, stopped fighting, and turned to face the woman.

Offering a soft smile, Casey remained still when dirty little fingers reached out and touched the braid that had fallen over her shoulder. The child again began to run her fingers through the tangled mess of blonde hair on her own head.

Another scream filled the air, this one not as high-pitched as the little girl’s. Her eyes went wide, and Casey immediately put her hands on the little girl’s arms. "We won’t hurt you, I promise," she said softly.

"O’Neill, I have discovered a child," Teal’c’s voice crackled over the radio. "A boy, young judging from his size."

"Yeah, we have a little girl here," Jack replied. "We’ll meet up with you."

Casey slid one hand down the little girl’s arm, wrapped her fingers around the trembling hand, and slowly rose to her feet. "Let’s go meet my friends, and I can meet your friend," she said.

Daniel ran into them at an ‘intersection’ just a few yards from where a fire was burning in a large pit. "Hello," he said, smiling down at the little girl.

Having decided that the woman was the most trustworthy, two fingers of her free hand went into her mouth, and the little girl half hid behind Casey’s leg, peeking out around her hip.

"How are you?" he asked in Goa’uld. There was no response in the child’s dark eyes that would signify that she understood what he had said.

Teal’c was carrying the boy beneath one arm, small fists pounding against his chest. As soon as he was close enough to his teammates, he put the child down, one hand instantly going to the top of the boy’s head, holding him just out of reach, although the youngster continued to swing his fists with fervor.

"They’re terrified," Casey said. She approached the little boy, the little girl still clinging to her hand.

His dark eyes went wide when he saw the two standing together, and he slumped to the ground. His black hair was matted, and he was dirtier than the girl. He said something, although no one had a clue what it was.

From the tone of voice, he was probably asking if the team was going to kill him, Casey thought.

Daniel continued to try several of the alien languages he had learned over the years. It wasn’t until he began to use a language that he had picked up from the traders, while searching for Casey, that the children perked up, and looked at him.

"You did it, Danny," Jack grinned.

"We’re not going to hurt you," Daniel said immediately. "Where are your parents?"

The little boy stood, pointed in the direction of the wreckage.

"Oh, god," he muttered. "I think we found their parents."

Tears filled Casey’s eyes. "How long have they been here? Are they alone?"

Jack cleared his throat. Raised an eyebrow when she looked over at him. "Well, find out," he said to Daniel, biting back his smile.

"My name is Daniel. What’s yours?"

The little boy studied the man with the strange object on his face, then looked at the pretty woman who was standing beside him. "Illam," he replied, after deciding that he had little choice but to trust these people. The decision reflected on his very young, very dirty face.

"Hello, Illam." Daniel slowly reached out, took the boy’s hand and placed it in his, shook it solemnly. "Is this your sister?"

Illam nodded. "Dara."

Daniel turned to the little girl. "Hello, Dara."

She gave a shy smile, then buried her face against Casey’s hip, still clinging to the woman’s hand.

"This is Illam and Dara," Daniel announced. He turned his attention back to Illam. "That man is Jack. The man who...found you...is Teal’c. The woman holding Dara’s hand is my Wife, Casey. And the woman over there," he said, pointing to Sam, "is Samantha. We call her Sam."

Sam smiled, understanding that Daniel had been ‘introducing’ the team, and had given her full name, and then her nickname.

"Are they alone?" Jack asked. He and Teal’c had continued to scan the buildings around them.

"Haven’t found out yet."

"Would you please do so?"

"Illam, is there anyone here with you and Dara? Someone who takes care of you?"

The boy shook his head. "I’m taking care of us," he replied, pushing out his thin chest.

"They’re alone."

"How long?"

"How long have you been here, alone?"

Illam looked toward the street that led out toward the wreckage. "We came here just before my birthday."

"How long ago was that?"

Thin shoulders moved up and down. "It’s been a long time. I didn’t count the days." He whirled around, bounded toward one of the buildings.

"Hey!" Jack called. He was ready to run after the kid when Daniel put a restraining hand on his arm.

"Wait, Jack. I think he might be about to show us something," the archaeologist said softly.

Sure enough, the little boy hurried back, handed a small metal box to Daniel.

"Teal’c, do you know what this is?" Daniel asked. "Because I haven’t got a clue."

"I believe it is a chronometer," the Jaffa replied.

Daniel continued to turn the box in his hands, examining it for a lid of some type. "Any idea how to...um...open it?"

The little boy tugged on Daniel’s arm. Took the box and touched the side. What appeared to be a digital clock and calendar sprang up.

Teal’c stepped closer. "The first set of numbers will represent the date. The second, the time of day for wherever this clock was set."

"What does it say?" Daniel asked, frowning at the symbols. He recognized them, had seen them at the tavern where he and his teammates had waited for Tieel. But he couldn’t read it.

"This device appears to be broken. If I am reading this correctly, it designates a day six months past, in comparison with the calendar of the Tau’ri. The month is that of Syo."

"Six months? These kids have been alone for six months?" Casey shook her head. "Oh, these poor babies!"

Jack shifted from one foot to the other, his hands resting on the butt of his P90. "Okay, do we stick around and do what we came here for, or do we take these kids back to the SGC right now?"

"Sir, I think staying here for a day or two would probably give us time to gain their trust," Sam said. "If we try to take them now, they’ll fight us...after all, their parents are still here."

He nodded. "Daniel? Radar?"

"I agree with Sam," Daniel said. "If we force them to leave, I don’t know how cooperative they’d be."

"We should find out what their spiritual belief’s are," Casey added. "If they do believe in burial, we should do that...offer them closure."

Another nod. The comment wasn’t unexpected, coming from her. "Teal’c? Any words of wisdom?"

"I agree with my teammates," he replied.

"Okay then. Carter, you can start running your tests. Daniel, you see what you can find out from these kids. Teal’c, let’s take Radar and see if we can find a wall and a flower bed she likes."

Teal’c was carrying the ‘portable lab’...a leather encased box, no larger than a shoebox, it carried rudimentary equipment to run simple soil analysis tests. The hand scanner that Sam used, reverse engineered from confiscated Goa’uld devices, would also aid in doing a field report on any ores available in the soil.

"I’ll need to find an open area for the tests," Sam pointed out.

"Okay, T, change of plans. You go with the Major. Radar, you’re with me. Daniel, you get to baby-sit."


"Until we find this stone with the writing on it, there’s not much for you to do," Jack pointed out. "Right now you're the only one who can talk to them. And we’ll be able to cover more ground without the munchkins."

Daniel heaved a pained sigh. "Right."

"Okay, let’s go."

Teal’c followed Sam as she headed back the way the team had come. She planned to avoid the crash site, however. Not only would any readings be contaminated by whatever the ship had been made of, and used as fuel, it was a ghastly scene of death and destruction.

Jack led the way down a wide avenue that appeared to be a main artery of the city. At each corner, they stopped to look each way down the adjacent streets, searching for a flowerbed full of purple flowers.

Daniel sat down on a nearby rock wall, it looked as if it had surrounded a garden at one time. Lowered his pack to the ground. Wondered just what the kids had been eating. Then wondered if giving them an energy bar would hurt them. He decided to risk it; he’d split one between them.

The children watched closely as he dug through the contents of his pack, their heads as close to his as they could get, trying to see into the pack. He smiled when he found one of the bars. Unwrapped it, and broke it into two pieces. He handed one piece to each of them.

Illam sniffed it, then hesitantly licked it. Eyes went wide, and then began to shine. He took a bite, chewing slowly, savoring the treat.

Dara took a tiny bite from the corner of her piece, then beamed a smile at Daniel before taking a larger bite. He couldn’t help but grin in return.

"Good," Illam said, shoving the last of his piece of the bar into his mouth.

Dara finished her piece, licking her dirty little fingers until she was certain not a trace of the delectable treat was left.

Knowing that he liked a drink of water after eating the bars, they were a bit dry, Daniel took three bottles of water from his pack. Opened each one carefully. The children watched as Daniel took a drink of water, then copied his movements. They drank greedily, making him wonder just how often they did eat or drink anything.

"Did you build this fire?" Daniel asked pointing toward the pit that had been dug literally in the middle of the street. It looked as if the paving stones had been used to line the hole.

"Poppy did," Illam replied.


"He’s my poppa’s poppa," the boy explained.

"Is he here?" Daniel asked, looking around.

Illam pointed toward one of the buildings, farther away than the one from where he had kept the chronometer. It was hard telling what else the kids were hiding in there.

Having a sinking feeling that he knew what he was about to find, Daniel stood to his feet. "Stay here," he said, when the children started to follow him.

As soon as he stepped through the door, he knew. Holding his jacket over his nose and mouth, he pushed into one of the back rooms. The body was seriously decomposed. He slammed the door shut, ran out of the small house, gasping for breath as soon as he was far enough away. "How long ago did your Poppy...um...go in there?"

The little boy shrugged. "I don't remember exactly.  It wasn't many days after he dug this pit. He told me to never let the fire go out. He showed me where to find roots we can eat, and water. He went in there, and told us to stay out. He never came out."

"Did you go in there?"

Guilt flashed over the boys face. He lowered his eyes, nodded slowly.

"It’s all right, Illam, you didn’t do anything wrong. You’ve been very brave, and you’ve taken very good care of Dara," Daniel said gently. The old man must have known he was dying. He did what he could for the kids, took himself away from them, probably trying to spare them the horror of waking up one morning to find a corpse beside them.

"Fire needs wood," Illam said, pointing to the embers.

"Yes, it does," Daniel agreed. "Let’s go find some, shall we?"

"I know where the best wood is."

"Then you lead the way."

Marching importantly in front of the grownup, Illam set off toward one of the side streets. Daniel couldn’t help but chuckle, then looked down when Dara took his hand and began to tug him along. Someday. He and Casey were going to have children. A boy and a girl. Someday.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Jack pulled off his hat. He studied the sky. Clouds that had been on the horizon were moving quickly, and seemed to be heading in their direction. "Sun’s almost gone. Let’s head back."

Casey nodded. "I think we’re too far."

"Far? From what?"

"I don’t know, exactly," she admitted. Cocked her head sideways. "Center of the city."


"Huh what?"

He grinned. "You said ‘center of the city’."

"How nice," she huffed.

"First light tomorrow, we’ll have Daniel look with us. Since we have a general direction to look in."

"I don’t always get the details, you know."

"I know. And I’m not complaining, Radar. What you get is always enough."

"No, it’s not. But thanks for saying it anyway."

He shook his head. No sense arguing with her. If Daniel couldn’t get through to her, he sure as heck wasn’t going to be able to. Grabbed his radio. "Carter? How’s it going?"

"I have several samples, but I’ll need more light to work in," Sam’s voice replied.

"Save it until tomorrow. Head back to that fire."


"Let’s go, Radar."

"The kids need a bath," Casey said as they retraced their steps.

"Noticed that, did ya?"

"So, while Daniel and Sam are doing their thing tomorrow, you and I and Teal’c are going to give those kids baths. There has to be a water supply around here somewhere."

"Uh...mind if I object?"

"Not at all. Because it won’t do you any good. I don’t think it will be difficult to get Dara bathed. But little boys are notorious for not liking bath time," Casey said.

"I’m certain I was in command when we left the SGC. Just when did I lose control around here?" Jack muttered.

"Probably about the time we found those kids," Casey shot back.

He chuckled out loud. "Well, you’re probably right. Be easier to be around them if they’re clean."

"Very much so."

"Any ideas on what to do with them once we get them back to the SGC?"

"If there was some way of identifying the ship, we might be able locate family," Casey mused. "Daniel knows the language, so he’ll be able to tell us where to start looking."

"I’ll have Teal’c look around tomorrow."

"So you’ll give Illam his bath?"

Jack grimaced. "Guess I’ll have to. Doubt he’d let you do it."

"Probably not."


A  A  A  A  A  A


The team reconverged at the firepit , Daniel arriving with an armload of wood. The children sat and watched, wide-eyed, as MREs were nestled among the coals of the fire to heat, and lanterns were assembled and turned on. Jack announced that he, Daniel, and Teal’c would investigate the nearby cottages. One would be chosen for the team to spend the night in. Whether or not the children joined them, or slept in the structure that they had ‘claimed', was yet to be determined.

Casey pulled out her mess kit, filled the pan with water from two bottles, and began to boil it for coffee and tea. Dara stared at Sam, finally gathered the courage to touch her short blonde locks. Sam smiled, and the little girl settled happily between the two women.

The first two buildings had been difficult to move through, both had ceiling beams that had fallen, making them too unstable to risk staying in. The third seemed more structurally sound. There were three rooms, the main room had a hearth in one corner.

A rumble of thunder had all three men looking up. It only took a few minutes to examine the chimney. As long as he could see the dark swirling of the clouds that filled the sky, the smoke would rise. Hopefully nothing in it would catch fire. "Let’s get a fire going in here," Jack said quietly. "Get this place swept out a bit."

Daniel nodded, found a large, flat piece of wood, possibly the top of a table at one time, used it to push the debris that covered the floor into a pile. "Burn it?"

"No, we’ll use the wood you gathered. No telling what might be in or on that stuff," Jack replied.

Another nod, and the archaeologist, with the help of the Jaffa, began to clear the other rooms. The rubble that had covered the floors was pushed into far corners of each room.

Within a matter of minutes, Jack had a fire started. He watched carefully...the smoke rose nicely, a good sign. Carrying the board that Daniel had utilized to clean the floors to the fire that filled the pit in the middle of the street, he and Sam transferred the still warming MREs and pot of hot water to the new fire.

Casey, carrying Daniel’s pack along with her own, followed Sam into the small building. Smiled when blue eyes sought hers, held them for a moment.

"That room," Daniel said softly, pointing to the smaller, back room of the house.

She nodded, carried the packs into the room. When she went back outside to fetch the lanterns, it was beginning to rain. Dara and Illam sat as close to the fire as they could, watching with wide eyes. "Daniel!"

Hearing his name on her lips, he raced out. "What?"

"Tell them that they need to come inside," she said softly.

With a smile, he turned to the bewildered children. "Come inside with us. We have a nice warm fire. It will be dry, and you’ll be safe."

Dara looked imploringly at her brother. Illam looked from the man’s face, to that of the woman, and back again. So far, he and his sister hadn’t been harmed. It was getting colder, and the rain was making him shiver, Dara was already shivering noticeably...He nodded, rose to his feet. Dara sprang to hers, and ran toward the little cottage.

Once inside, the team gathered around the hearth. Two of the lanterns were placed on the mantel, which illuminated the room nicely. Mess kits were dug from the depths of the packs, and MREs carefully dished up. Casey slit open two of the entree’s, put them on the plates from her kit. Handed them and two spoons to the little ones. She used the plates from Daniel’s kit to serve up her Husband's and her own meals.

Illam watched for a moment, then copied the motions of the woman with the long gold braid. He carefully blew on the food he spooned up. Tasted it hesitantly. Blushed when his stomach rumbled almost as loudly as the thunder.

"How long since they’ve had a hot meal?" Casey wondered out loud, watching the children eat, shoveling the food into their mouths as quickly as they could without burning themselves.

"Looks like it’s been awhile," Daniel replied. He picked at his own meal. He much preferred his wife’s cooking to MREs. He looked over at Jack. "So what do we do with the kids when we get them back to the SGC?"

"Doctor Fraiser will look ‘em over," Jack said. "Then we figure we’ll let you try to locate family."

"Me?" Daniel said, surprised.

"You figured out the language," Jack pointed out.

"Yeah, it’s a language used by traders. The way Illam speaks leads me to believe it’s not his native language, and I have no idea what that might be . No clue where to even start to look for any remaining family," Daniel argued.

"If it’s a trading language, and they’re able to speak it fluently, we could start at a trading outpost," Sam suggested.

"Well, Illam speaks it," Casey pointed out. So far, Dara hadn’t said a word, although it was clear that she understood what Illam and Daniel were saying.

The thought of returning to the cold, barren planet, and the run-down tavern where he'd spent two of the longest, darkest days he had ever experienced had him shivering. There were other such places, of course. All of them visited during that long search for Casey. All held memories of anguish; he could recall all too well the feelings of futility as the team searched desperately for clues of his then missing Wife. "I suppose trading posts would be a logical start," Daniel admitted quietly.

"There are those among the Free Jaffa who would be willing to give the children a home," Teal’c offered.

Daniel perked up at that. "Might be better to just get them settled somewhere, rather than build up their hopes of finding someone, and that not happening."

Casey studied him carefully. Reached out and felt the conflicting emotions...guilt, anger, fear, dread... He'd never talked about the time spent searching for her during the weeks she'd been a prisoner of Ba’al, and then of Dartal. She only knew that he'd nearly slipped so deeply into despair that their friends were frightened for him. Understood that he had an aversion to the trading posts that they would be required to visit in order to ask their questions, to find and follow any leads on the family of the children who were sitting beside them, eyes drooping with sleepiness. "Maybe you’re right," she said softly.

He jerked slightly, looked over at her. Saw her concern, her love, filling those amazing green eyes. Sighed audibly. "If anyone thinks we should try to locate family, then we should."

Jack looked from Casey to Daniel and back again. He wasn’t exactly sure what had happened...he did know that Casey was trying to spare Daniel from something. Memories of searching for the seer flooded his mind. Trading posts...searching for answers...ah. He cleared his throat. "Chances are, we aren’t going to have much luck. Don’t remember anyone at those places being particularly talkative, or cooperative. At least, not with anyone not a trader."

Sam nodded, she'd also observed the exchange between the couple, and recalled the heartbreaking hours and days spent in the trading outposts. "Having them safe and in a stable home is more important than finding blood relatives."

Ducking his head to hide the surprise, the awe...the love...that filled him, Daniel studied the tops of his boots. He knew exactly what his Wife and his teammates were doing. How could he put his own discomfort above the lives of two children? Two orphaned children, his mind added. For all he knew, they had no other family. He frowned at that thought. Would Illam know about other family members? If so, that would make finding them much easier. If there weren’t any, or he didn’t know of any, wouldn’t settling them with a loving family be the best for them?

"Maybe we should just leave this up to General Hammond," Jack said.

"Good idea," Casey smiled. She reached over, wrapped her fingers around Daniel’s. Knew that whatever the general decided, Daniel would do what was required of him, to the best of his ability.

Her touch was enough to pull him back, away from the memories of those horrible days and weeks without her. He could feel her love washing over him tenderly...surrounding him like a soft, warm blanket.

Dara shifted, put her head against Casey’s arm. "I wish we had another sleeping bag," Casey said softly.

"The children may sleep on my sleeping bag with me," Teal’c offered. "The fire will keep us sufficiently warm."

"I suggest we all get some sleep," Jack said, even though according to their watches it was only two-thirty in the afternoon. Experience had taught the team to take advantage of any chance to rest. The hike from the Stargate had been enough to make them willing to try to sleep. "Teal’c, wake me up in a couple of hours."

The large man gave a slight bow of his head. He carefully unrolled his sleeping bag, spread it open beside the fire. "Daniel Jackson, if you will inform the children of the arrangements."

Daniel couldn’t help but smile. "Sure." He turned to Illam, pointed at the sleeping bag. "You and Dara will sleep there," he said gently.

Illam looked from Daniel, to the giant man who had captured him, and who had just spread out what looked like a soft bed, then back again. So far, these people had fed them, built a fire inside out of the rain and shared it...he gave a nod, and scampered toward the bag. "Dara, come sleep now," he said.

She had been nearly asleep. Barely nodded, scooted over to stretch out beside her brother, and was sound asleep within moments.

"I can’t imagine what those two have gone through," Casey said softly.

"Kids are damned resilient," Jack said.

"That fire outside was started by their ‘Poppy’, their grandfather. He’s dead...his body is in one of the houses down the street," Daniel said. "Apparently he lived long enough to get that pit dug, a fire started, and to find edible roots for the kids. Illam said that his grandfather showed him how to find the roots, then went to that house, told him to never enter there. I think the old man knew he was dying."

Jack nodded. "That explains how they’ve managed to stay alive."

"Well, first thing tomorrow, we bathe them," Casey said, watching as the little boy drifted off to sleep.

"That should be entertaining," Daniel teased.

"No doubt," she replied. "You can find out just what Illam knows of his people’s rituals or rites concerning the dead."

"Right." His fingers tightened around hers. "We should probably just leave Poppy where he is."

"Bad?" Jack asked.

He gave a short nod. "We’ll say a few words for him," he promised his tender-hearted wife. She’d just have to be satisfied with that.

"Let’s get some sleep, campers. We have a busy day tomorrow," Jack said quietly. "Two hours, Teal’c."

Daniel stood, followed Casey into the room that he had selected for them. It was colder than it had been before the rain had started. He stripped quickly, watched her in the dim light of the lantern he had brought with him as she did the same. "What’s wrong?"

"Who said anything is wrong?" She snuggled close to the warmth of his body.

"I can see it in your eyes, Angel. Something is upsetting you. Is it the kids?"

"Sort of," she admitted after a long moment. "Why didn’t I see them? Why didn’t I know that they were here, and needed help?"

He frowned slightly. "I don’t know. But if we’d come here looking specifically for them, they might have hidden from us, and trust me, there are plenty of places for them to hide around here. We could have spent days trying to catch them. That would have been traumatic for them...and then being taken back to the SGC..." he gave a slight shrug. "Sometimes, things work out just the way they’re supposed to."

"We still have to find that wall, or at least that stone. There’s something there that’s very important. At least, important to you," she sighed.

"We’ll find it. Jack says you know that it’s in the center of town. That’s only two streets over, if the width of the streets themselves is anything to go by. I passed a very wide avenue when Illam took me to where he collects firewood. Jack said the two of you followed another wide street, we figure that where they intersect is the center of town."

"I hope it’s that easy," she said, yawning.

"It will be." He pressed a kiss to her forehead. Gasped when her soft hand closed around him, bringing him to instant arousal. "Casey, you’re tired-"

"Not that tired," she smiled. "I have needs too, you know."

He grinned when he felt her shimmy out of her panties. Reached down and tugged his boxers from his hips. Sighed when she settled herself above him.

The sounds of their soft moans and heavy breathing were drowned out by the rain that beat down on the roof above them. Not even their soft cries as they took flight together were heard by their companions.


A  A  A  A  A  A


It was still raining when Jack woke Casey to take watch. She slipped from the sleeping bag and dressed in the dark; a feat accomplished through plain, old-fashioned experience. She padded barefoot into the main room, sat down and pulled her boots on.

Teal’c was sound asleep, Illam nestled against him on one side, Dara asleep with her head on his arm on the other. It was a picture of serenity that brought a smile to her lips. The way he held the children...gently, protectively...was typical of the Jaffa.

He had been the first to offer a place for those kids...had been the first to offer to let them sleep with him. Granted, both offers were logical. Her smile grew wider. Teal’c had the kindest, most gentle heart she'd ever met...aside from Daniel’s. Perhaps that was what had drawn the two men together...that gentleness. And their propensity to carry guilt for things they had done; things forced on them by circumstances. Things that they would never do, if left to their own devices. It was that gentleness, that kindness that had Teal’c sneaking slaves back to their homes. He was only able to save one or two at a time. But he risked his life each time. When he had told her of his activities as the First Prime of Apophis, and what he had done to atone for the atrocities he was forced to commit, his eyes had been troubled, the downturn of his thick lips pronounced. And he hadn’t seen that he'd been doing more than any other Jaffa had ever dared to do.

She carefully reached past the sleeping trio to feed more wood into the fire, trying not to disturb their slumber. She sat back down, resumed her thoughts. Teal’c had told her about the day that he'd been confronted by Jack O’Neill...the desperation in the colonel's eyes when he begged the Jaffa to help him free the slaves in the cell with him. Their friendship had been born in that moment...two warriors who stood for a moment on opposite sides. He had, Teal’c told her, in that instant known that Jack was the man who could free those prisoners. Including the First Prime of Apophis. It was also the first time that he believed the dream of freeing all Jaffa was attainable. How difficult had it been for him to abandon his wife and child, his friends, everything he'd known, in order to reach for what had only been a dream, to dare to believe that the dream could become reality?

She pulled her legs up, circled them with her arms, rested her cheek on her knee. If Teal’c believed that Illam and Dara would be well taken care of by the Free Jaffa, the Shakka, she'd heard Selmak call them, then she had no doubt that they would be. And allowing them to be adopted by the Jaffa would prevent Daniel from having to return to those places that haunted him so.

Content with the knowledge of what lay before the children, knowing in her heart that it was the right thing, the best thing for them, she continued to watch, listening to the storm that was abating, the thunder rumbling farther and farther away. For whatever reason, she hadn’t been shown the presence of these children. Nevertheless, they would be taken care of. Their lives would take a turn for the better. In spite of all they had experienced...endured...they would grow and prosper. And become strong, capable people. Considering their spirited fight against those they feared were enemies, she knew that the two would be awesome Jaffa!

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