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Whispers From the Past 

Chapter 5

Casey stopped short when she saw Cam Balinsky and Airman Tommy Reeves in the storage room. "Oh," she said.

Cam looked up. "Daniel send you to help us search?"

Not hardly, she thought. He hasn’t actually spoken to me since this morning. Well, no, he had...just before Sha’re showed up and dared to dismiss her! And that was only because...she pushed the thought away. He'd found her just long enough to tell her that they would be talking...soon, he said. She shuddered mentally at what that might mean. But there was no doubt that what he wanted to say to her had nothing to do with looking for a device for the Quantum Mirror! "It’s okay, I know where they are," Casey said quietly.


She cursed herself for the slip. If Daniel didn’t believe her, why would anyone else? "The controller," she amended, ignoring the questioning look from the archaeologist.

"You’re sure?"

As sure as she could be, given she’d ‘seen’ the items in a box, along with several other things tagged as coming from the same place...a little insight that had occurred during the elevator ride down. "Yep," she said, forcing a smile to her face.

With a nod, Cam climbed over the boxes that blocked the path. Smiled at Casey as she stepped out of the room, allowing the two men to retreat to the main archaeology lab, where they had been working on the temple wall that still required piecing together. A task that Daniel had been working on, until the discovery of the pillars.

She waited until they were out of sight, then crawled over all the crates that stood between her and the two items she needed. The controller was on one side of the box, the stone device buried beneath several other items.

She took a deep breath. Hoped that Annika would have the time to answer her questions. Peeked out of the room to make certain no one would see her before scurrying across the hall to the storage room where the mirror stood...dark and ominous.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Sam barely glanced up when Daniel came into the office. She'd located the notes, and had gotten caught up in reading about some of the research that Dr. Carter-O’Neill had been conducting.

"I know how to use it," Daniel said, hoping for a bit of levity.

"I know you do," Sam replied absently.

Shit. It seemed that he was simply incapable of communicating with anyone today. So much for being a linguist, eh, Danny?

The blonde major shook her head. "Sorry. Yes, you did use the controller, didn’t you?"

He couldn’t help but smile. "Get a little side-tracked?"

She gave a guilty smile in return. "A little."

"I have Cam looking for the controller...since everything got moved around, it might take awhile to find. And we're running out of time."

Janet stuck her head in to the room. "Daniel, we should go talk to General Hammond."

"Why do I need to be there?"

"Because you’ve been the one to deal with them, well, Skaara and Sha’re, since they arrived. He’s going to want to know everything you’ve observed about them," the military officer replied.

Security risks. What had they said or asked. Which was...nothing. He’d learned nothing more about them than what everyone else had heard in that briefing earlier in the day. He didn’t actually remember most of that! He did know that Sha’re was more...volatile...than ‘his’ Sha’re had been. That Skaara seemed more...angry...bitter...than he had ever known the young man to be.

"I’ll go along," Sam said, holding up several printed pages. "I found something in my notes that might help us. How Doctor Carter-O’Neill was able to assess a reality without actually stepping through the mirror. It’s only a general safety measure, but might help a bit."

Janet nodded. "Let’s go."


A  A  A  A  A  A


She studied the mirror. There were laser beams that crisscrossed in front of the large object, meant to alert the SGC if anyone should step through it. Which, she thought with a sigh, had worked perfectly earlier in the day. How in the world was she going to get the device onto the mirror?

Okay, where there’s a will, there’s a way! When her hair fell forward, she bit back a curse. Didn’t need her hair to set off the alarms! She pulled it back, used a strand to ‘tie’ the thick waves into a loose ponytail. Hoped it would stay back and out of the way long enough to do what she needed to do.

She crawled onto a stack of boxes that were as close to the mirror as they could be without triggering the alarms. They gave her five foot, seven inch frame just enough height to reach the top of the mirror without actually touching the front of it.

It took several attempts before she located the correct position for the device. Just as she had thought, the ‘hooked’ top fit perfectly against one upper corner. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the square ‘openings’ on the bottom began to glow. Yep, needed to be near the mirror to work. Now, how the hell was she supposed do this?

She noted the rings inscribed in the middle. It resembled a miniature DHD...the glowing squares on the bottom probably served as chevrons, she thought idly. She checked the symbols on her hand. What order? Which one first? Logically, left to right...she took a deep breath, betting on logic.

With shaking fingers, she pressed the correlating symbols on the device that matched what she had written on her hand. She could only assume that she hadn’t entered them backwards. Backwards! She closed her eyes. Tried to remember exactly how the numbers had been aligned. If she were looking at them through the mirror...she reached out, touched the device. Let her senses seek the answers her mind wasn’t able to find. Yes! Backwards. And um...what had Annika said about the date? Four months ago...which meant she needed to adjust the year...she opened her eyes and realigned the last row of numbers.

She crawled off the boxes, taking care not to get too close to the red glow of the lasers, positioned herself in front of the mirror, and pulled the controller from her pocket. When she bumped the small ‘handle’, the room she was looking at...or rather into...flickered slightly. Then ‘settled’ back to where it had been.

Okay, let’s hope this works. She pushed the lever of the device slightly. The room flickered...changed. Hmm...empty. As in nothing at all in the room. That wasn’t right. She moved the lever again. The scene in the mirror seemed to spin, then slowed and ‘settled’ once again. She cocked her head sideways. The room was dark. No table. Okay, this wasn’t the right one either. She studied the device in her hand. Barely touched the lever. The room flickered. Still no table. Another touch of the lever. There was a table this time. And a very...busy...Daniel and...some brunette? Okay, that was just not what she needed to see right now! She bumped the lever again.

The mirror flickered again, and she let out a sigh of relief to see Annika, standing beside the open door. That relief was short-lived, however, when she realized that the redhead was about to leave the room. Oh, hell! She couldn’t let her leave...who knew how long it would be before she...or anyone else for that matter...came into the room again! Nor did the thought that the redheaded woman might not be the one she had met earlier cross her mind. "Annika!"

The redhead let out with a yelp, slammed the door closed, and seemed to collapse against the frame. She frowned when her gaze stopped on the mirror. "Holy shit, Casey! A bit of warning would have been nice!"

"Sorry," Casey mumbled. It was now or never, and she’d better get to asking before she lost her nerve. She took a deep breath. "Look, I know we just met and all, but I really could use your help! Kasuf is really in a bad way and we have to find somewhere to send them and the sooner I can get Sha’re through that thing the better even though Daniel might not feel the same way and since you’ve already worked this mirror and know about more realities than I do I thought maybe you could give me a clue what to look for."

Annika stared for a moment. "Damn! All in one breath! I’m impressed."

Casey couldn’t help but grin. "Yeah, I do that sometimes."

The redhead cocked her head sideways. "Things still going bad?"

She averted her eyes from the intense gaze of the alternate reality seer. "You could say that."

"Something happened."  The redhead slung the strap of a P90 that had been laying nearby over her shoulder. 

She gave an unladylike snort. Just a few things, as a matter of fact, she thought. "Yeah, well, Wifey Number one waltzed into his office, called me a...." She took a deep breath. "Called me a slut and a whore. So he grabbed her and left with her. That’s when I came in here the first time, and we...uh..." she waved her hand toward the mirror.

Violet eyes narrowed slightly. "I see."

"Then...everywhere I go, that bitch is either already there, or she shows up. Daniel is spending his time with her...or must be...except when he came into the storeroom." One slender shoulder moved up and then back down, she was completely unaware of the fact that her pain was acutely visible on her delicate features. "He didn’t believe me about the device," she said, pointing to the stone hanging on the front of the mirror.

"He loves you," Annika said firmly.

Casey looked at the woman. Tears filled her eyes. "No matter how many people tell me that, it doesn’t make it true. Unless I hear it directly from him..." she shrugged again.

Annika murmured something beneath her breath, she couldn’t catch what the redhead was saying, only that the tone of voice wasn’t particularly complimentary.

"Look, I know you’re busy, but...Kasuf is dying," Casey said softly. "As much as I’d like the chance to kick Sha’re’s ass, I’d rather see that man somewhere safe, somewhere that he won’t suffer like he is now. I just need to know how to use this," she said, holding up the controller, "and how to figure out if I’ve hit the right reality."

"The only way to know that is to talk to someone there. You really don’t want to actually step into another reality, you might get trapped there."

Which would create an entirely new set of problems...that could include facing entropic cascade failure herself. Casey shuddered.

"Yeah, been there, done that. You so don't want the t-shirt," Annika nodded, accurately guessing what the blonde was thinking.

"I need to get on this now...he doesn’t have long...it’s really...it’s really bad." No one had told her. But she could ‘feel’ the man’s agony. Perhaps because they weren’t from her reality, she was able to sense the three visitors in a way that she had never been able to feel others before.

"No way to just ship him to another reality, give him more time?" Annika asked.

Casey shook her head. "He goes to the ‘right’ reality now...or he’s going to die, either here, or as soon as he steps through the mirror."

Annika began to pace. Suddenly stopped short. "Um, here," she waved her hand about, indicating her world, "Kasuf and Skaara Ascended, and Sha're died going on six years ago."

Hope lit up green eyes. Did this woman have any idea what she was about to let herself in for? No doubt Sha’re would determine that that ‘Dan’yel’ should replace her missing husband! "You'd be willing to take them?"

"Well, it's not up to me," Annika shrugged. "But I can ask General Hammond and he'd probably have to run it by the President-"

"I...er...meant you personally," Casey interrupted. This woman had become a friend in a very short amount of time. She couldn’t do that to a friend, not without some sort of...warning!

"Oh." Annika was a little taken aback. "Um, thank you for asking but...how can I put this tactfully? I don't have the same hang-ups about Sha're. And even if I did, we're talking life and death here. We could always try and find another reality for them if things don't work out here."

Ah. Apparently Annika wasn’t...damaged...didn’t suffer from the insecurities that she faced, Casey thought, almost enviously. Another thought prodded her...one about bouncing the Abydonian’s butt across the desert...yep, that would certainly go a long way to giving a woman a bit of...security. "Oh, okay. In that case, do you think the General would agree?"

"Only one way to find out." She turned, then stopped, looked over her shoulder. "Given the time factor, maybe we should consider leaving the mirror on, at least until I get a yea or nay from my end. You've got alarms set up on your side, right?"

Casey nodded.

"So do we. And I'm assuming that there's no enemy threat ready to waltz on through?"

"Not from here."

"Cool. I'll get this hayride moving." Annika strode over to the wall phone and dialed the General's extension. She gave a quick explanation of what had been transpiring in the room, in relation to the mirror.

Casey watched intently, almost too afraid to hope that she’d been able to find a place to send the dying Kasuf. As much as she didn’t like his children, she had no quarrels with the older man. She caught what had to have been the end of the conversation between Annika and the General Hammond of her reality.

"Yes, sir. Well, Daniel's within earshot of me and Teal'c is on his way down with the senator." Annika turned back to the blonde. "He wants a bit more information. He's going to call a briefing ASAP."

"Okay. I'd better bring my general up to speed, too. Even if you can't take them, using the mirror is the only solution we have..." She turned away, ready to race up to the general’s office, let him know that she might have found a place for the three visitor’s to go. Never once considered that her actions had been taken without approval...or even his knowledge.

"Hey, Casey!"

She looked back over her shoulder. "Hmm?"

"Don’t suppose you’ll accept a trade, Sha’re for Kinsey?"

Casey contemplated for a moment. Even if he was the host of Mehen, Kinsey was technically alive and well. "We've got one of our own. Your Kinsey would suffer entropic cascade failure."

With a poker face that would make Teal'c proud, Annika replied, "And your point is what exactly?"

Casey blinked. Then the meaning of Annika’s request dawned on her. The idea was actually priceless. She giggled at the thought that Jack would more than likely pop up a bag of popcorn, and sit in the infirmary and watch. Probably give Kinsey a score for each and every ECF seizure. "I'll ask. I know Jack won't have any objections."

"Sweet! You give a girl hope!" Annika waggled her fingers in farewell. "Talk to you in bit. Hopefully it won't be more than an hour."

Casey waved back, then turned and headed for the door. She’d let General Hammond know what she had done...and learned. Maybe Kasuf would be better in a very short amount of time. And Sha’re would be gone. Not that Daniel would be too happy about that...


A  A  A  A  A  A


The meeting had been...short. Five minutes at the most. And General Hammond had been very...succinct. Find a place...a reality...for Kasuf and Skaara and Sha’re immediately. The Texan hadn’t been interested in excuses, didn’t care why the controller hadn’t been located, why the search hadn’t already begun. Daniel sighed. He was more than willing to let someone else deal with Sha’re for awhile.

That thought prodded him. Maybe he should have just done that from the beginning. The one thing he remembered clearly from the briefing that morning was that Sha’re had been on the verge of throwing a tantrum...she would have refused to leave the room without him. He'd offered to take her to the VIP quarters just to...to what? Spare himself the embarrassment? And just what exactly would he have to be embarrassed about? His Wife was a lady...a charmer...she could out diplomat the best of them when she wanted to do so. Yes, Casey had a temper. One hell of a temper. But she struggled to control it, and she would never do anything that might cause trouble for him.

He ran a hand over his jaw. Yep. Never should have walked out of the briefing room with Sha’re. Never should have continued to respond to her every demand. By doing so, he realized, he had been re-enforcing her belief that he was...rather, could be...her ‘Dan’yel’.

It didn’t help his mood to discover the storeroom empty. Damn it! Cam was supposed to be looking for that damned thing! He had a basic idea of where it should be...

With a muttered curse, he maneuvered himself over the crates that crowded the floor. Made his way carefully to the shelf where the artifacts from that alien lab were kept.

Daniel heard the soft clearing of a throat. Turned, expecting to see Sam or Janet standing in the doorway...as Casey wasn’t speaking to him, and Sha’re would have simply walked in and started talking...calling him ‘her husband’. When he came face to face with a redheaded, violet-eyed apparition, he backed away so suddenly that he fell over two crates, landing in an unceremonious heap on his ass.

"Howdy," the apparition looked down at him, violet eyes full of fire. "Good position. Keeps you in place while I tell you what a jerk you’ve been."

For a moment he was too stunned to speak. When he finally found his voice, only one question came to mind. "Who are you?"

"Call me the ghost of your wife's love."

He closed his eyes. Felt his heart beginning to break. Opened his eyes slowly. Yep, she was still there. "Ghost, huh? Must mean it’s dead."

"Oh, no, but just like Ebenezer Scrooge, you get a chance to redeem yourself." The apparition moved closer, her face just inches from his. "Do you realize what you have done to your wife from the moment you woke up this morning? You've acted like a friggin' tyrannical Goa'uld over what was supposed to be a mischievous gift. You have fawned over and taken the side of your dead first wife. Totally dismissed Casey’s theory on the device she tried to share with you, which, by the way, happens to be spot on. You have rejected her in every possible way. Are you so enamored with seeing an alternate version of Sha're that you have forgotten how fragile Casey's heart is?"

Every time he tried to object, to stop the flow of words, the apparition just spoke a bit louder, more forcefully. For just a fleeting second the thought that the redheaded ghost was almost as good at talking as Casey flittered across his mind. When she paused to take a breath, Daniel took his chance. "I’ve been trying to apologize all day."

The ghost gave a snort of disbelief. "Yeah, well, ya' can't have been trying too hard because as we speak she is shattering into a million pieces."

He flinched visibly. Oh, god! He knew exactly how fragile she was! Was well aware of the fact that recent events had taken a toll on her. She was still having nightmares about Ba’al! She might have taken a step away from all that Helen Webster had done to her in that art gallery, but she was a far cry from being the whole woman he knew she longed to be, the woman he ached to help her become. "Do you happen to know where Casey is now?"

"Not precisely, but she'll be at the quantum mirror in a bit."

No clue why she’d be in the storage room with the mirror. But he didn’t care. If that’s where she was going to be, by god that’s where he’d be! And woe to the first person who tried to interfere before he had a chance to talk to her...hold her. Beg her forgiveness.

"Shit, I've gotta fly and scare the bejeebers out of Kinsey."

Kinsey? Scaring him? Now that sounded like a good idea...and fun, too! He gave the ‘ghost’ a bemused smile. "A ghost's work is never done, huh?"

The beautiful ‘ghost’ grinned at him. "Nope. But this haunting will be a lot more fun."

Daniel watched as the 'ghost' flickered and then blinked out of existence. Still a bit unnerved at the sudden appearance...and disappearance...of the apparition, he sat for just another moment. Didn’t want to piss her...whoever she was...off any more than she already was! He pulled himself to his feet. Now there was only one thought on his mind. He would do whatever it took to get...to earn Casey’s forgiveness.


A  A  A  A  A  A


By the time Casey arrived at the door to General Hammond’s office, she realized that what she had done...had been doing...could be seen as insubordinate. She should have reported Annika’s first visit immediately. Certainly shouldn’t have operated the mirror without permission.

She took a deep breath. Tapped lightly on the door. "General?"

Hammond looked up, smiled at his unexpected visitor. "Casey! Come in!"

She couldn’t help but smile. The general always greeted her so warmly, as if he were genuinely glad to see her. The smile faded quickly. "Sir, I need to talk to you about something, and I need to get it all out...so...please don’t ask any questions until I’ve finished?"

He leaned back in his chair. Several not so pleasant rumors concerning the events of the day had already reached his ears. By the look in those expressive green eyes, and the pale cheeks, the worst of the rumors must be true. He braced himself. No doubt whatever Casey was about to say wasn’t going to be easy to hear. "All right."

"This morning, after Sha’re called me-" She broke off. She couldn’t even utter those hateful names in front of the general! She shook her head. "Daniel left his office with her, and I went back into the storage room..."

He almost smiled at the guilty look that flashed over her face. Almost. Until he realized what she had said...the Abydonian woman called her...what? Like many of the others in the mountain, he knew about Helen Webster, and the childhood Casey had endured. And Dr. Jackson had left with that woman? For a moment he regretted not having this information when the archaeologist had been standing where his wife was now, twisting her fingers around one another. He’d have decked the younger man!

"I wanted to kick that damned thing across the room!" she admitted. "Anyway, I was sort of staring at the mirror, only it wasn’t dark any more, and there was this woman, and we talked, and she’s really nice, and another wife of Daniel...well, in that reality...and there was this device on the mirror, and I knew I’d seen it before, I just didn’t know what it was but then I sort of understood...well, not how it works or anything, but how it was supposed to go on the mirror..." Deep breath. "And I can...sense...the pain that Kasuf is in but I don’t know why unless it’s because he’s not from this reality and he’s really in serious trouble so I thought that maybe Annika, she’s the woman I met through the mirror, could help me because she’s worked with the mirror before and we really need to find a place to send Kasuf before he dies and I know it has to be the right reality..." Another deep breath. "So I talked to Annika and she’s talking to her General Hammond about sending the three of them there because their Kasuf and Skaara are ascended and Sha’re is dead there, too."

It took concentrated effort not to laugh out loud. As it was, his lips were twitching. As Colonel O’Neill had said on several occasions, the slender blonde would be able to recite the Air Force regulations manual in one breath! "Let me see if I caught the highlights. You met a woman from another reality through the mirror."

"Yes, sir. She was looking for me...well, an alternate version of me," Casey said.

"I see. And you’re aware that Kasuf is dying."

"Yes, sir."

"And this woman-"

"Annika," Casey offered.

"Annika, is speaking to...uh...my counterpart in that reality...in order to obtain permission to send Kasuf, Skaara, and Sha’re to that reality."

"Yes, sir."

"Do you know anything at all about the device that you...discovered?"

"It was in the storage room, sir. So I didn’t really discover it. I think it has to do with the time that you want to locate through the mirror," she said, basing her judgment on what Annika had said during the first ‘meeting’ between the two women.

He frowned slightly, tapped his fingers on the arms of his chair.

"We left the mirrors on, so that we don’t have to look for each other," Casey added. "They have an alarm system as well."

"How did you attach the device without tripping the alarms?" His curiosity was sincere. He, Colonel O’Neill, and Major Carter were the only personnel who had pass codes to deactivate the laser alarm system that surrounded the Quantum Mirror.

"I climbed on some of the boxes beside the mirror, and reached over the beams," she admitted.

General Hammond chuckled. "Very clever. Well, it seems that you may have saved the day."

"Me, sir?"

"If I know my counterpart, he’ll understand the necessity of getting Kasuf to a reality where his counterpart doesn’t exist. Even if the three need to be...moved on...the time for Kasuf to recover will make any further traveling through the mirror possible," the general explained.

"I need to get back up there, so I’m there when Annika gets an answer."

Hammond nodded. "Very well. As soon as you know, call Doctor Fraiser so that she can get Kasuf to the storage room. Call me after you’ve spoken with her."

"Yes, sir!" She snapped off a smart salute, and dashed out the door.

He gave in to the chuckles that had been threatening to break free. He should have just assigned the task of finding a safe reality to the seer in the first place, he thought, giving his head an amused shake.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Daniel was pacing the room. Well, pacing as much as he could. He had glanced toward the mirror a time or two, watching the storage room that he could see. He had no idea why the damned thing was activated. He'd studied the device that was hanging on the front of the mirror...probably the device that Casey had tried to tell him about...his heart cringed again at the thought of how easily he had dismissed her. Christ, he had fucked up so badly all day! He rubbed his hands over his face, trying to calm the fear that continued to grow...fear that he had irreparably damaged his marriage...fear that Casey was so hurt, so distraught, that she would never be able to forgive him.

Casey raced into the room, nearly fell face first when she stopped so suddenly at the sight of Daniel. "Oh," she said softly. She was already backing toward the door.

He lunged forward, grabbed her arms. "Please," he begged. He looked into her eyes. Couldn’t see past the walls she had erected there...walls she was building around her very soul. Walls to keep him out. Felt his heart breaking into pieces...as many pieces as she was on the verge of shattering into.

She gasped when he dropped to his knees in front of her, his hands wrapped firmly around hers. Felt the tears fill her eyes when he pressed her fingers against his lips, his beautiful blue eyes pleading.

"I am so sorry, Angel," he whispered. "As pitiful as that sounds, as little as the words can convey, I’m so sorry."

She didn’t dare speak. She was already beginning to fight the sobs that were straining to move past her throat. She wasn’t ready for this...she couldn’t bear to hear him say goodbye!

"Please, Angel, please give me the chance to make up for all of the stupid, colossal mistakes I’ve made today."

Her heart lurched, she was almost too afraid to believe what she had heard.

When she remained silent, one tear making its way down her pale cheek, Daniel felt near tears himself. "I...I uh...I really do like the tattoos. Temporary or permanent, I don’t care. The thought that comes with them, the gift of your love is so precious, it means so very much to me."

His...confession...startled her. And gave her hope. She swallowed. "Really?"

He dared to smile. "Really."

She lowered herself to her knees, so that she was face to face with him.

He reached out and caressed her cheek with the back of one finger, her hands still firmly gripped in his other hand. "She was going to throw a temper tantrum. I just wanted to get her out of the conference room...so I could go somewhere...so I could think...figure out what was going on," he said softly.

She nodded, encouraging him to continue.

"I was heading back to my office...I wanted...no, I needed to talk to you...to apologize about how I reacted to your special gift...I hadn’t even made it to the elevator when Janet paged me back to the infirmary."

"Temper tantrum?"

"Yep. She wouldn’t...she wouldn’t..." he closed his eyes. Felt his own tears begin to fall when one slender hand pulled free, and caressed his cheek. He pressed his face against the warmth of her palm, covered her hand with his own. "No matter what I said, no matter how many times I told her, she just wouldn’t listen!"

A smile tugged at her lips. "You said she was stubborn."

Daniel opened his eyes. "That woman is nothing like the Sha’re I knew," he said. "Sha’re...‘my’ Sha’re had one hell of a temper. But she learned to control it. I wouldn’t deal with her when she was in one of her moods. Part of her problem was the fact that she was so damned spoiled. The Sha’re who showed up here this morning...there’s a bitterness, an anger in her..."

"She watched her Daniel taken through the ‘gate. Saw him as the host to a Goa’uld. That’s enough to piss anyone off," Casey said softly. She gently wiped away all traces of his tears. Smiled when he did the same for her.

"When she called you those names...I damned near hit her," Daniel confessed. "The only thing I could think of was to lock her in the VIP room so we could talk...so I could explain..."

"You didn’t..." she dropped her eyes.

"I didn’t what, Angel?"

"I didn’t know where you were...you left with her, and I didn’t see you again until Jack paged you to your office...and she said...well...and I thought, that maybe..."

"That I was with her because I wanted to be with her?"

She nodded slightly, her eyes riveted on the leg pocket of his BDU pants. "I thought maybe..." She took a deep breath. "I thought that maybe you were making love to her. Sha’re was your first true love."

He groaned, reached out and pulled her close, buried his face against the fragrant skin of her neck. "Never! I never...hell, I was spending half of my time trying to get her off me."

What he was saying gave her a glimpse of his frustration at the situation; put into context with what had happened, what she had witnessed, it changed each of the confrontations completely. "You never did choose her over me, did you?"

His head came up. He gripped her chin with one hand, gently brushed a stray lock of hair from her face with the other. Waited until her eyes finally met his. "That’s what you thought I was doing?"

"Yes," she whispered.

"Oh, my sweet Angel," he said, the words almost a low moan. No wonder she was on the verge of shattering completely! "You’re my heart, Casey. You’re my Destiny. I made my choice when I flew to Tacoma to find you. I made my choice when I held you in my arms the first time. I made my choice when I vowed myself to you for eternity. I didn’t make any choice today, Angel, because I made it almost two years ago."

The love in his eyes, the conviction of his words was the healing balm that soothed the pain in her heart. "You weren’t even tempted?"

"Not even a little bit," he replied truthfully.

Casey glanced at the mirror. "I met a woman named Annika. That’s her reality. She’s checking with her General Hammond about sending Kasuf, Skaara, and Sha’re there."

"Tell me about her," he said softly. He sat back, pulled Casey onto his lap, held her tightly.

She described the first meeting, her desire to kick the mirror, his chuckle warming her heart. About helping Annika decipher the correct date from the Ancient calendar, showing him the ‘notes’ on her hand. Explained about the glowing symbols of the device on the opposite side of the mirror catching her attention, triggering her memory of seeing the device with the other artifacts.

"I’m so sorry, Angel," Daniel murmured, his lips pressed against the side of her face. "I was so certain that you were just desperate to get rid of Sha’re...I didn’t even give you a chance to explain."

"I forgive you," she whispered. She locked her arms around his neck.

"I love you, Casey. Please, don’t ever doubt that."

All day long people had been telling her that Daniel loved her. And she had doubted. She had needed to hear it from his lips. She sighed. "Say it again."

"I love you."

"I love you, Stud Muffin."

He smiled. Pulled away just far enough to look at her, needing to see...desperate to see...that light of love in her eyes once again. Sighed mentally when her eyes smiled back at him, the cool detached look that had filled them completely gone. His heart gave a shiver of relief. He still had an entire day to make up for. Had an idea or two. Dinner out. A nice warm bath with the jets on. Making love.

"You know, we should send some intel through. I mean, if they’re willing to take on the Troublesome Trio-"

Daniel snickered. "Just come up with that?"

She gave a shy smile. "It’s sort of been bouncing around in my head all day."

"Certainly fits."

"Well, there you are!" a voice boomed above them.

The two Jacksons looked up to see Jack standing in the doorway, his hands in his pockets, one eyebrow quirked slightly. 

"I see that things are the way they should be," he grinned.

Daniel pulled Casey closer; a subtle, unconscious movement that he wasn’t aware of, but that the older man didn’t miss. "What’s up, Jack?"

It did his heart good to know that he'd managed to ‘threaten’ Daniel where Casey was concerned, that he had riled up a bit of jealousy. Served him right. And obviously it had helped the archaeologist take the necessary steps to fix things between him and his wife. "Seems Sha’re is pitching one hell of a fit. Janet is absolutely refusing to page you. I thought I’d see if I could find you...get a pointer or two on how to deal with her," Jack replied.

"Well, hell," Daniel muttered.

"Better go rescue Janet," Casey smiled.

"Not without you!"

Casey glanced at the mirror. "I should stay here...if Annika comes back with permission..."

Jack looked at the mirror. Frowned when he realized that it was activated. "What in the hell is going on?"

"No time, Jack. Later, I promise," Daniel said, helping Casey to her feet, pulling himself to his. His arm went around her shoulders immediately. Possessively. "Just stay here. If a woman-" He looked down at Casey. "Describe Annika so Jack will know it’s her."

"Um...about my height and build. Bigger on top...more curvy...long auburn hair, violet eyes, and a lilac tattoo on her forehead," Casey recited.

Daniel’s eyes went wide. She had just described the ‘ghost’ who had paid him a ‘visit’. "Does Annika have any...uh...talents?"

"She’s a seer, she mentioned telekinesis," Casey replied.

And apparently the ability to turn herself into a ghost to give hell to the errant husbands of her new friends, Daniel thought amusedly. "Okay, let’s go save Janet."

"Hey!" Jack protested, as the two brushed past him. "What am I supposed to say to this woman?"

"Try ‘hello’," Casey tossed over her shoulder.

"Smartass," Jack mumbled when Daniel’s snicker filled the narrow corridor.

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