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Whispers From the Past

Chapter 2

Casey pulled the vent closed behind her. This was her favorite hiding place during ‘training days’. She'd managed to take out two teams from this spot. She couldn’t help but smile at the memory of the yelps of surprise as she had drenched the men, from the safety of her hidey-hole.

She pulled her legs up to her chest, rested her cheek against her knee. Just what Fate had decided that every damned woman Daniel had been involved with...or married to...had to show up now? For a moment she contemplated searching for Dr. Carrie Weaver, just to get it over with!

Every moment of that briefing played again and again in her mind. The concern that had filled his eyes when he had looked at her...finally...just before Sha’re had distracted him by tugging at his arm...

Closing her eyes, Casey tried to push away her doubts and fears. Daniel hadn’t chosen Sha’re over her. He hadn’t! He was just trying to be...polite. Kind. Trying to keep the Abydonian woman from pitching the bitch that she had seen in those brown eyes.

So why did it hurt so damned much? Why did it feel as if she'd been in a contest she didn’t even know existed, and she had lost...totally and completely?

"Daniel loves me," she whispered. Anger and fear warred within her heart. She began to regret her frustration, her indignation that morning. Wished she could go to him, apologize. Feel his arms around her. Hear him whisper his love in her ear. Know for certain that she still was ‘Daniel’s Property’.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Janet had been alerted regarding the patient on the way to the infirmary. She was about to greet them when Skaara and Kasuf both doubled over in obvious pain. There were no visible signs of the entropic cascade failure that wracked their bodies. There was also no doubt that the results of that phenomenon were wreaking havoc on them. "Get them into beds, now. Start IV’s, saline drip, add ten cc’s of Demerol."

Medics and nurses hurried to comply. The petite doctor looked up at her friend. "Sam called me, filled me in a bit. I’d say that the constant travel through the mirror, suffering ECF time and again has weakened them. Given Kasuf’s condition at the moment, I believe his internal organs have been affected; whether or not the damage is reversible, I don’t know."

"Which means?" Daniel asked, a worried frown on his face.

"We have a matter of a few hours to get them to a reality where their counterparts don’t exist. Or they’ll die here," Janet replied quietly.

He ran his hand over his face. Looked down at Sha’re. She was watching the activity around her father and brother with something akin to curiosity on her face. "Would you like to remain here with them?" he asked gently.

"I would rather be with you," she said, smiling seductively at him, pressing against him.

Daniel shook his head. Half pushed her to one of the chairs near the bed where Kasuf was lying. "Stay here. I’ll be back for you."

"I will be here, My Husband," Sha’re said, lowering her eyes modestly. Hoping that by behaving as a dutiful, obedient wife, Dan’yel would soon take her home.

Janet raised an eyebrow. "Doesn’t she know?"

"She knows," Daniel said wearily. "She just doesn’t care."

Janet shook her head. No one had missed how the Abydonian woman had been clinging to him when they had walked into the room. She hadn’t missed the look in his blue eyes. Daniel had looked frustrated, and if she didn’t miss her guess, he was a tad on the angry side, as well. If she had to, she’d subtract an hour or two from the amount of time that the Abydonian men could safely stay. The sooner these three were out of here, no...the sooner that dark-haired woman was out of here...the better!

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Jack checked in all of the places where he thought Casey might go...Daniel’s office. His lab. The office where she and Jonas had been working on that snake database. The commissary. The gym. The team CO offices. She was nowhere to be found. A quick check with the security check points assured him that she hadn’t left the base. She was somewhere, they just had to find her.

He hoped like hell that Daniel would pull his head out of his ass before he screwed up so badly that there would be no fixing his marriage. Daniel loved Casey. No doubt about that. He’d watched his best friend for the past...how long now?...almost two years if memory served...knew that each day found Daniel deeper in love with his wife. Someone just needed to remind him that Sha’re was dead, and that the woman here now, causing so damned much commotion, was far different from the woman they had all known, and Daniel had loved. Before Casey convinced herself otherwise.

"Come on, Radar, give me a break here," he mumbled under his breath. Decided that he’d check out the officer’s lounge. Maybe she'd gone there. It was one place he hadn’t looked...yet.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Teal’c stopped beside the vent. Leaned against the wall. "Daniel Jackson was shocked to see those people," he said quietly. Remained silent for several minutes. He frowned, worried that perhaps he had been mistaken.

"If you say so," a soft voice replied at last.

"Do not doubt his love for you, Casey Jackson. I have seen what he is willing to do, what he is capable of doing, when it comes to you."

She heaved a sigh. "Doesn’t make it hurt less."

"Of this, I am aware. Casey, do not let your pain, and your anger, put words in your mouth better left unsaid," Teal’c warned gently.

She couldn’t help but smile. "Right. No telling him to take his little Abydonian bitch and get the hell out of my sight. Got it."

Teal’c chuckled loudly. "I assume you will no longer feel the need to say that?"

"Not making any promises, Jaffa. I don’t suppose you’d be willing to give me a hand out of here?"

Teal'c tugged on the vent cover that was waist high on the ventilation shaft that ran through this particular corridor. Held his hand out. Smiled when slender, creamy white fingers grasped his firmly. Returned the hug that the young seer gave him as soon as her boots hit the concrete floor.

"I just needed a few minutes to pull myself together, a place where I could be...alone," she whispered.

"I know."

"This is going to be a long day."

"I have no doubt."

A page for Daniel, calling him to the infirmary, echoed above them.

"Have I ever told you how much I hate Wednesdays?"

"You have not."

"Well, I do. Just as much as I hate Mondays."

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Sam was sorting through the files on her computer. She had kept the copious notes taken during the visit from...herself. She knew that there had been references to...and instructions for...the device that activated the mirror, how to adjust it to find compatible realities...

"Hey," Jack said, walking into the lab, his hands shoved into his pockets.

She looked up. "Did you find her?"

"She’s in the gym with Teal’c. Beating the shit out of the bag." He'd seen the two members of his team in one of the corridors, walked with them to the gym. Watched as Teal’c carefully wrapped those slender hands in tape, to protect her fingers. She was okay...for now. He just needed to have a little heart to heart with Daniel. Okay, he wanted to have a talk with Daniel. What he really wanted was to do a little yelling at Daniel.

Sam gave an unladylike snort. "Wrong bag," she muttered.

Jack couldn’t help but grin. "My thoughts exactly." He toyed with several of the tools that were scattered on the work table he was leaning against. "I know you didn’t know them well, but does something seem...odd...different...about those three?"

"Like the fact that this Sha’re isn’t at all quiet or shy?" Sam replied immediately.

"That, too." Jack frowned. "There’s something different about Skaara."

Sam shook her head. "I don’t know him that well. But now that you mention it...he seems...I don’t know...he has an edge to him."

He nodded. "I know they’re from a different reality. I guess it’s different enough to have made significant changes in their personalities."

"I guess."

"So what are you doing?"

"Trying to find the notes on the mirror that Doctor Carter-O'Neill left for me," Sam said.

"Find ‘em, Sam. We have to get those three out of here."

"To keep them alive?"

"To keep Casey from falling apart."

Sam smiled. She'd seen the flashes of anger in the seer’s eyes when Daniel had walked into the briefing room with the Abydonians. They'd been as prevalent as the hurt that had also been reflected in those green orbs. She'd noted that the minute Kasuf and Skaara had looked through her, and Daniel had said nothing, Casey had carefully pushed down her emotions...and self-protective walls had started going up around her. If they didn’t get rid of Sha’re soon, those walls might be difficult to tear down. Difficult, or even impossible, for Daniel to move past.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Daniel was on his way back to level eighteen when he was paged to the infirmary. With an inner groan of impatience, he retraced his steps.

Sha’re was standing at the door, tears running down her cheeks. "I will not be kept from you! I have spent too much time away from your side!" she declared, reaching for him.

He looked over the dark head of his first wife’s counterpart at Janet.

"She started demanding to go with you the minute you were out of earshot," Janet said drolly.

Wrapping his hands around the Abydonian woman’s arms, he gently guided her back into the room. "Sha’re, you’re safe here."

"I am safe only with you," Sha’re replied, winding her arms around his neck, pressing against him.

It was an automatic response to hug her in return. He closed his eyes, trying to avoid the curious...and questioning...looks from the med techs. And the censure in Janet’s eyes. He heaved a mental sigh. He had to find a way to get Sha’re to rest...he wasn’t a physician, but even he could see that she was exhausted. "I’ll take you to your quarters."

"You will stay with me there? Hold me in your arms while I sleep?" Sha’re asked breathlessly.

"No. I’ll take you there. You need to rest. I have work to do." And a Wife to apologize to, his mind added, making his heart cringe slightly.

Sha’re pulled away, shaking her head stubbornly. "I will stay with you."

He rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. Readjusted his glasses. "Sha’re, you’ll stay here, or in the quarters General Hammond was generous enough to assign to you. Those are your choices."

She crossed her arms over her chest, glared at him for a moment. When Daniel continued to stare coolly at her, she gave a huff of impatience, whirled around and returned to the chair that had been placed beside Kasuf’s bed. She flopped onto it, her eyes tossing daggers at the archaeologist.

Without another word, Daniel turned and left the infirmary for the second time. His goal to find and talk to his Wife. To beg her forgiveness for his very...idiotic...response to her most incredible gift of love. To reassure her that this Sha’re was no threat to her...to them...to their marriage.

No one was watching Skaara. He however, had missed nothing. He was very accurately surmising the situation. He began making his own plans. Which started with getting out of the infirmary...

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

General Hammond replaced the receiver on the red phone. He had the answer he wanted. Now, the problem became finding a place for the...refugees...to go. Instructing Walter to send a message to Daniel, requesting that the device for controlling the mirror and all documentation that was available on the mirror itself be located as quickly as possible, he sat back in his chair.

Dr. Jackson had been through the mirror, had survived a chance encounter with an alternate reality...barely. They had been ‘visited’ by Dr. Samantha Carter-O’Neill and Major Charles Kawalsky, who had been trying to find a way to help save their own Earth; had done so following a plan that Colonel O’Neill and Dr. Jackson had concocted. They had ‘introduced’ the people of that SGC to the Asgard of that reality. He wondered briefly how those folks were doing...

He looked up when Dr. Fraiser tapped on his door. She was carrying the folder that held her weekly reports, which was probably the actual reason for her presence. "News, Doctor?"

She handed over the file. "Kasuf is very ill. I don’t know how much longer he can survive traveling from one reality to the next, experiencing ECF each time. Skaara is younger, healthier...which is the only reason he’s still walking. From what Sha’re has told me, she only suffered from ECF three times total, so far."

"I see."

"I don’t think we have more than six hours. Eight at the most."

"I understand."

Janet turned to leave, then glanced over her shoulder. "The sooner the better, sir."

Hammond nodded. He knew exactly what the CMO was referring to. "I agree. The president has already refused permission for Sha’re to stay. Security risk, he says. There’s nowhere to put her safely, and he doesn’t believe that she would be willing to stay unless it was with Doctor Jackson. The president doesn’t wish to see that happen."

"Good!" Janet said, then blushed.

"I just hope Doctor Jackson agrees," the general said quietly, his own worries and doubts exposed in that simple statement.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Casey finished brushing her hair. Pulled it back into its customary ponytail. Beating the bag, talking with Teal’c, and a bit of time alone in the shower to accustom herself to the idea of the presence her husband’s first wife...the counterpart from another reality of his first wife, she corrected herself firmly...had calmed her considerably. She was still wary of Daniel’s apparent acceptance of Sha’re’s belief that she was his wife, and that he was her husband. Of course, she hadn’t seen him since he had left the briefing room, Sha’re clinging to him. Not that he’d come looking for her. No doubt he was still pissed about her tattoos. And busy with...her.

It was too much. It was just too much. In the course of three-and-a-half weeks she had been a prisoner on Ba’al’s ship, after whoring herself through a negotiation, an attempt to prevent the unthinkable, to give time to SG-1 and the others of the SGC to find a way to defeat him. Daniel had almost died as a result of that...mission. Then there was that painting, and all of the emotions...mostly the guilt and the shame, that it had dredged up. She had taken a step toward defeating the demons that Helen Webster had loosed in her soul. But it had been a very small step. Now this.

Sha’re. Daniel’s first wife, his first true love. He'd given up everything for her, remained on Abydos for her. He had searched for three years after she'd been taken by Apophis, had never given up hope, had never stopped loving her. He had grieved for two years after her death. No matter what anyone told her, she knew the truth - his love for Sha’re was unending. And if he was being offered the chance to be with her...

She shook her head. For the moment, there was nothing that she could do. Daniel was going to have to make the decision; decide whether he wanted to allow Sha’re to stay, and pursue a relationship with the dark haired beauty, or remain married her. And she was so not going to think about that. Not now.

Five minutes after returning to the office where she and Jonas were working on the database, Casey realized there were files in Daniel’s office that she needed. Steeling herself for a confrontation with her husband, or worse, seeing him with Sha’re, she took a deep breath, and walked down the corridor. Each step found her battling her fears, and the desire to turn and flee the SGC altogether.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

He had watched the petite doctor. She looked like the Janet Fraiser he knew in his own reality. But this woman was not as...easily...swayed by his smile, by his teasing. She did not like him, he could sense that. Not that it mattered at all.

Upon her return from the general’s office, Janet had been listening to the young man begging to leave the infirmary, giving an litany of reasons that would have made Colonel O’Neill proud. Something about the Abydonian set off her internal sense of danger...She finally relented...mostly so she wouldn’t have to deal with him, telling Skaara he could leave, given that he go straight to the quarters assigned to him.

Skaara readily agreed. He had spent nearly a year sneaking around the SGC, moving so silently that he went wherever he wanted, no one the wiser of his presence. He was more than capable of getting where he needed to go. And he most certainly had a specific place in mind.

With a silent sigh of resignation, her eyes making one final assessment of his condition, Janet removed the IV from Skaara’s hand, watched as he nearly bolted from the bed as soon as she had withdrawn far enough for him to do so.

What he had heard and seen had given him an idea of just what the problem was. There was a solution. Now that he was free from the infirmary, he would be able to do what must be done. As long as his father was ill, he was the man of the family. The responsibility fell to him.

Within minutes of the SF leaving him in the small VIP room, Skaara was slipping out the door. He had learned many useful skills from Kopie and Big Dog and the others of the gang. He slid the slender metal ‘tools’ back into his pocket. Knowing exactly where he was, and where he wanted to be, he hurried toward the elevator.

 

 

 

He looked around carefully. The blonde woman was alone in Dan’yel’s office. He walked in, studied her for a moment. She was beautiful. But she was the reason that his brother-in-law would not take Sha’re home with him. Would not make his sister happy once again.

Casey looked up, immediately noted the look of anger in the dark eyes of Sha’re’s brother. "Is there something you need?"

"Why do you not see that you are no longer wanted?" Skaara asked abruptly.

"Excuse me?"

"Sha’re loves Dan’yel. Dan’yel loves Sha’re. You should leave, so that they can be together once again."

This was the young man that Jack talked about, cared so much about. She shivered slightly. Something told her she was seeing a side of Skaara that Jack had never been exposed to. "Daniel’s first wife, Sha’re, is dead. Has been for some time now. Your sister is not his wife. Nor is he her husband," Casey said, her voice calm.

"He is Dan’yel! She is Sha’re! Time means nothing!" Skaara hissed coldly. "You are but a weight around his neck, holding him down, keeping him from doing what is right!"

The shiver had morphed into the shakes. She hadn’t actually spoken to Daniel since a matter of minutes before Sha’re had appeared...had it only been two hours ago? It seemed much longer. Was he yearning to be with his first wife, his first true love? Was he spending time with Sha’re? Was he even now making love to her in the quarters that the general had assigned to her? Her stomach lurched, her heart dropped, her cheeks paled until she was ghost white.

"Go from this place...do not embarrass yourself by clinging to a man who does not want you...do not burden Dan’yel with your whining. You are a harlot...a whore...just comfort he sought in the cold of the night as his heart wept for Sha’re!" Skaara continued, noting the woman’s reaction to his words.

"Get out of here," Casey said, her voice shaking. "before I call security!"

Skaara gave a snort of disgust, shook his head, and turned away.

 

 

 

Jack was just stepping off the elevator, determined to check on Casey. She hadn’t been doing so good by the time that very...interesting...briefing had concluded. She’d spent some time in the gym with Teal’c, but no one had seen her since. Casey had a way of twisting things and coming up with the worst possible conclusions. He had to make certain she wasn’t doing that now.

Sha’re had commandeered Daniel from the minute she had stepped through that mirror, according to Teal’c; the last he had seen of them, the archaeologist had been taking the woman to her quarters. This day was giving him heartburn! He shook himself from his thoughts, couldn’t help but smile when he saw the young man walking toward him. "Skaara!"

"O’Neill!"

"Looking for Daniel?"

"No. I wished to speak to the whore who keeps him from his wife," Skaara replied bluntly.

Jack had the young man against the wall before either of them were aware he had moved. His arm was across Skaara’s throat...and pressing hard. "You will never use that word to refer to Casey again!"

"It is because of this woman that Dan’yel will not take Sha’re to his home. Return her to her rightful place as his wife!" Skaara spat, still too angry to recognize the fact that he had never heard O’Neill speak with such a voice, one so...hard, almost cruel. Never had O’Neill raised his hand in anger toward him, another...oddity...that he missed.

This young man might have Skaara’s name...and face. But he was nothing like the friendly, easy-going Abydonian youth he'd come to love like a son. "Let’s get something straight right now," Jack replied coldly, "In this reality Sha’re was taken by Apophis. Had a snake put in her head. Daniel spent three years looking for her. Two years mourning her death. I, for one, was damned glad to see him start living again when Casey came into his life. In this reality, Casey is Daniel’s wife. Your sister is trying to horn in where she doesn’t belong. Daniel isn’t her husband. Isn’t her Daniel. And she...and you, had better get used to that fact damned quick!"

As soon as O’Neill had released him, Skaara straightened the shirt he was wearing. "Dan’yel is Dan’yel. Sha’re is Sha’re. She loves Dan’yel deeply."

"Well, this Daniel isn’t her husband."

"He is still Dan’yel."

"And he’s crazy in love with and married to Casey."

"‘This’ Dan’yel did not love ‘his’ Sha’re if he can do this!" Skaara countered.

"Daniel loved Sha’re more than she deserved," Jack replied frostily, voicing an opinion he had held from the first time he had met the young woman. He had believed her to be beautiful, shy...and spoiled. He'd also learned that he had been absolutely correct in his assessment.

The young man decided to switch tactics, and to ignore the hint that Sha’re was unworthy of Dan’yel. If he could get O’Neill on his side, it would be easier to drive the blonde whore from Dan’yel’s life...and heart. "I thought you were my friend, O’Neill."

"I’m the friend of Skaara. Of this reality. I don’t know you." Jack brushed past the young man. If Skaara had said anything to Casey that had upset her, he’d toss all three of the Abydonian’s back through that damned mirror head first...and he didn’t care where they ended up!

Skaara watched the man walk away. The friendship between Dan’yel and this O’Neill was strong, he sensed that from the way O’Neill spoke. He frowned slightly. Dan’yel, before Hathor had taken him, had not been as close to the O’Neill he knew. It did not make sense! Dan’yel said that no matter the reality, they were the same people! The young Abydonian man was learning that even though differences might be small in nature, the results were often quite...unexpected. None of the people he knew were behaving as they should be.

He pushed O’Neill’s angry words from his mind. He didn’t want to dwell on them. Didn’t want to have to deal with the fact that Sha’re might never have her husband back again, no matter what reality they entered. He swayed slightly, put his hand against the wall. He and his father were still weak from the terrible pain caused by being in the wrong reality. Soon it would start again. If Sha’re chose to stay in this place, he had to make certain that she would do so as Dan’yel’s wife. His father would know what to do. He would speak with him. Together they would make certain that Sha’re was granted her heart’s desire...to be reunited with Dan’yel.

 

 

 

Jack paused at the door. Casey was facing the bookshelves behind Daniel’s desk. Her slender shoulders were shaking. The tie that had held her hair in its customary ponytail was on top of a stack of folders on the desk; with her head tilted downward as it was, those blonde tresses were hiding her face from view. That was a little trick she used when she didn’t want anyone to see when something was really bothering her. One that Daniel had alerted his teammates to, telling them that if she was ‘hiding’, something was wrong. Aw, damn it to hell, anyway! He walked in, picked up the phone. "Walter? Page Doctor Jackson to his office, will ya?...Thanks."

Casey jumped at the unexpected sound of Jack’s voice behind her, wiped hastily at her cheeks before turning to face him. "I’m okay."

"Uh huh. C’mere." Jack stepped forward, wrapped his arms around her slender frame. The page for Daniel echoed above them.

She couldn’t help but lean into the embrace of her friend. For several long minutes neither of them spoke. She drew a shuddering breath. "I don’t care who she is...was...is...hell this is confusing!"

"You’re telling me? This stuff always gives me a headache," Jack said, grinning weakly. "I don’t know what Skaara said to you. But I do know this...Daniel loves you. He’s crazy about you. And his Sha’re died two years before he met you. He made his peace with her, Casey. You’re his wife now. And that’s all that matters."

"Maybe," she said softly. "Realistically, this is his chance to have the life with her that he didn’t have...thanks to Apophis."

"You’re not listening, Jackson," Jack said gruffly. "The only Sha’re who matters...mattered...to Daniel, is buried on Abydos. The woman in the VIP quarters is not ‘his’ Sha’re."

"But she could be."

The words were barely whispered. And gave him a peek at the fears that were haunting his young friend. He tucked his finger beneath her chin, forced her to look up at him. "I don’t think so. She doesn’t seem to be anything like the Sha’re of this reality. Skaara sure as hell isn’t anything like the Skaara I know!"

"The only one who can make that decision is Daniel," Casey sighed. Her heart trembled at the thought of him choosing to end their marriage, to be with the woman who was his first true love.

"What’s going on?" a familiar voice asked from the doorway.

Casey turned to face her husband, but didn’t allow her eyes to meet his. "Nothing."

"Your wife was standing alone in here crying," Jack said bluntly. For the moment, he would refrain from explaining exactly why Casey was crying. She hadn’t said anything...but his gut was telling him that Skaara had used the same...profane...name for her that had resulted in his tossing the kid against the wall. "I was just trying to make her feel better."

Daniel’s eyes went to Casey, searched her face, saw the fear lurking in her eyes. Before a guarded look he'd never seen before settled there. A look that had him shuddering to his very soul. "Angel?"

"I’m o...fine," she said, just barely catching herself. Looked away before the concern that had flooded his blue eyes had her racing into his arms.

Jack stepped away from her. Leaned against the work table. "Casey seems to think that you and Sha’re are going to head to Abydos to set up housekeeping."

"What?"

"I didn’t say that," Casey protested weakly.

"Well, maybe not exactly. Something about this being your chance to have the life with Sha’re that Apophis stole from you. Or words to that affect," Jack replied, still staring at Daniel.

Daniel shook his head. He had a headache, brought on by dealing with a woman who insisted that she was his wife, and demanded that she be treated as such. A woman who wouldn’t listen to reason. Wouldn’t stop clinging to him. A woman who was nothing at all like ‘his’ Sha’re. Memories of his first wife were inundating him...the good, the bad, and everything in between. Now this. He heaved a mental sigh. "What led to this...interesting ...assumption?"

Casey’s slender shoulders went up and down.

"Considering the way you behaved during that briefing after those three showed up, I’m not surprised that's the conclusion she came to," Jack said. He was still pissed at Daniel about that.

"What are you talking about?" His confusion was genuine. He didn’t actually recall much of that briefing!

"You sat there with Sha’re hanging all over you, and Kasuf and Skaara beside her. Nice little family group," Jack retorted, holding back none of his ire.

Daniel frowned. He'd been so shocked to see his wife standing in the storage room, Goa’uld free...and she then had launched herself into his arms...whoa...wait...his wife? Oh, hell! He stepped closer to Casey, swallowed hard when she backed away from him, pressing against the books and shelves behind her. "Casey?" he asked softly.

She couldn’t look at him. Wouldn’t look into those beautiful blue eyes. No doubt he was giving her that sad puppy dog look. And she so didn’t want to deal with that right now. What she had said to Jack had been the truth. Daniel had to make his own decision on how to deal with the situation. Personally, she wanted to deck the bitch named Sha’re, and tell her to back off. Then beg Daniel not to allow the woman’s appearance to change what they had...the life that they shared.

"Talk to me, Angel," Daniel pleaded softly.

"What’s there to say? Sha’re wanted...wants...your attention. You seem to have no problems obliging her." She was rather proud of herself. What she had wanted to say was a bit more...pointed. And very unladylike.

"I suppose I handled the whole thing rather badly," Daniel admitted, more to himself than to the two people standing near him. "I was just so damned shocked to see her!"

"We all were, Daniel," Jack said. No way was he allowing the Space Monkey to wiggle out of this with that excuse!

"Jack, do you mind? This is...personal," Daniel said, tossing a frowning glance at the man.

He returned the frown. Turned his back to the archaeologist. Walked over and hugged the slender seer. "If you need anything, you know where to find me, right?"

She forced a smile. Finding Jack required knowing his ‘routine’. "Right."

Daniel waited until the older man had left the room. He tried to move closer to her, only to have her practically run toward the work table, putting the piece of furniture between them. First the fight this morning...god he’d fucked that up royally! Now...this. "We need to talk."

"About what?" About the fact that her life was about to change drastically, and forever, and not in a good way?

Where did he begin? So many things to explain! It would help if he could just have a moment to gather his thoughts! It seemed like he’d been hit from all sides by the unexpected since he’d crawled out of bed, and he was still reeling from those ‘surprises’. Top that off with the epiphany that had struck earlier in his office...He took a deep breath. Tried desperately to find a way to say what he needed to say. Found that for all his linguistic abilities, absolutely nothing came to mind...no words that would explain how he was feeling. "I know today has been a bit...well, things are a bit...well, you know."

The only thing that she knew at the moment was that her husband seemed to be too busy with his first wife...or rather, the counterpart of his first wife...to even be aware of anything else that was going on around him. In her mind, that could mean only one thing...and it wasn’t good for her.

"About the tattoo-"

"Don’t worry about it," she said quietly. Totally misinterpreting the reason for what she assumed was concern. "Like I told you, it’s just ink. They’ll be gone in a few days."

"Oh."

She glanced up at him. He almost sounded disappointed. No, that was just wishful thinking, she thought wistfully.

"You’re my Wife, Casey."

"A bit more difficult to change than drawn on tattoos, but not insurmountable," she replied flippantly. Yep, nervous or scared, and the smartass just took over. Right now, she wasn’t just scared...she was terrified. Her heart was begging him to reassure her...to make the choice, to do so audibly, visibly...now.

"What?" He did not like the implications of her comment, one that sounded as if she had given the idea considerable thought. His heart shuddered again.

Casey’s attention was drawn to the door by a flash of movement. Sha’re stepped into the room.

The Abydonian woman gave Casey a dismissive glance, before her gaze focused on Daniel, her eyes lighting up, the features of her face softening. "Leave us. I wish to speak to my Husband," Sha’re said sharply.

Oh, that bitch had not just said that! "Excuse me?"

Sha’re’s head whipped around. "You will leave us! Now! You mean nothing to him! I am his Wife!"

"Not in this reality, cupcake. I don’t care what happened in your reality, in this one, you’re dead!"

"I am his first Wife! I am the one who will stand by his side. I am the one with whom he will sleep!"

"Oh, don’t even think about that, cupcake! I’ll knock you three ways from Sunday if you so much as try it!"

Sha’re’s hands came up, her fingers curled into claws, ready to launch herself at the blonde woman and scratch her face with her fingernails. "You are but a slut! A whore!"

It was as if ice water had been poured down her spine. No matter how hard she tried to get away from those words, it seemed that someone was constantly hurling them at her.

Oh, son-of-a-bitch! Just what Casey did not need to hear! Daniel grabbed Sha’re’s arm. "Stop it! You’re supposed to be waiting for me in the infirmary!"

Sha’re pressed her body against his, smiled up at him, her eyes sending sultry messages to his. "I wished to be with you, My Husband."

"Sha’re..." He sighed, a jumble of emotions racing through him. He wrapped his hands around her shoulders. So far, she’d been less than receptive each time he had reminded her that he was not her husband. What she’d said about Casey...he glanced at his Wife, cringed mentally. He needed to get the two women apart, needed privacy to talk...only one way to get that! He tugged, pulling the dark haired woman toward the door.

Sha’re tossed a triumphant look over her shoulder.

Casey seethed silently. And felt her heart drop to her feet.


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