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Whispers From the Past
"You’re certain about this?" he asked softly. He was wearing the robes he had left Abydos in. He carefully adjusted the veil over her hair, the bright gold of the ‘coins’ that decorated it catching the harsh light of the ‘gate room. She'd ordered it online from a company that specialized in traditional Middle Eastern clothing. She was wearing the linen dress that she'd purchased in Egypt in the shop just off the lobby in the hotel where the team had stayed, on the mission to stop Tem. The length of cloth around her slender waist had been a wedding gift from one of Sha’re’s many ‘aunts’. For some reason, Sha’re had never worn it. That was the only reason that Casey was willing to do so. The robe that covered her had been purchased at the airport in Riyadh.
"I’m positive. You need to...you need to reconnect with your Sha’re...to remember the good times with her, how much she loved you," Casey replied.
Daniel hugged her tightly. "You’re my Destiny, Case. Even if she had lived...you would still be my Destiny. Sha’re told me that."
"I know," Casey smiled.
"I want you to meet Skaara and Kasuf...the men I know," Daniel continued.
"I doubt we can avoid seeing them," she teased.
Daniel shifted the bouquet of flowers that he and Casey had picked up, at her insistence. When he pointed out that the Abydonian’s didn’t decorate their graves in such a manner, she had calmly informed him that it was their custom to do so, and since Sha’re had been his wife, he had every right to leave a remembrance of flowers.
General Hammond had been surprised at the request, but had not objected. Teal’c had convinced Jack that this was a trip that the Jacksons needed to make alone. The colonel wasn’t happy, and had put a four hour time limit on the visit. Which the general had backed to the hilt.
A message had been sent through, using the MALP. Just as it had been when he had unburied the Stargate so that he could try entering the addresses he had found in the hidden chamber, the pyramid was well guarded; the presence of the familiar machine had been noted immediately. Daniel was certain that there would be at least a few of the tribes’ people to meet them in the ancient temple where the Stargate loomed over all.
His fingers wrapped around Casey’s hand, he led her up the ramp and through the event horizon; over eight years had passed since he'd taken the same steps on Abydos for the first time.
Standing in front of a large group of excited, smiling people, were the two men who had been his family...who still were family to him, even if the reason...the connection between them...had been broken.
"Dan’yel!" Kasuf said, spreading his arms wide in welcome. "It does my eyes good to see you, my son!"
"Good Father," Daniel replied, accepting the excited hug.
Skaara barely waited until Kasuf had stepped back before grabbing Dan’yel and hugging him tightly. "I am so glad to see you!"
Daniel laughed, patted the young man’s back. Gently pried himself free. "I sent word of my marriage, I would like you to meet my Wife, Casey," he said quietly.
Kasuf took Casey’s hands in his own. "My heart rejoices that Dan’yel has found happiness at last."
Casey smiled. "Thank you. Your words honor me, and I’ll treasure them always," she said softly.
The old man gave a startled look at Daniel, having been unprepared to hear the Tau’ri woman speak the tongue of the gods with such ease. He beamed at her. "Welcome, welcome!"
Skaara grinned at Daniel, teasingly pushed him aside. "Tell me why such a beautiful woman would find a man such as this worthy of you! Has he ever told you that we called him the ‘Chicken Man’? O’Neill explained to us what a chicken is."
She couldn’t help but giggle. "I haven’t heard that story."
With a wink over his shoulder, Skaara led Casey toward the opening of the temple. "When O’Neill and Dan’yel and the others first arrived here, we thought they were gods, or at the very least messengers of the gods. We were very ignorant people at the time," he whispered conspiratorially.
"I can understand how you’d believe Daniel to be a god," Casey replied, turning her head to focus her eyes on Daniel’s face.
Skaara hooted with laughter. "You must share your secret for so captivating this beautiful woman, Dan’yel!"
Daniel grinned. "I’m the one captivated, Skaara," he replied.
Kasuf walked beside his former son-in-law. "Your eyes tell me that you have at last found peace."
"I was afraid you’d be...upset...that I had remarried," Daniel confessed.
"Why should I not wish for you to be happy? You were a good husband to my daughter, Dan’yel. You did what you could when Sha’re was taken away by the Goa’uld. You saw to it that her child was safe. Sha’re is gone now. Her spirit at peace. She would not wish for you to remain alone, to be so miserable." Kasuf said.
"Miserable? You thought I was miserable?"
Kasuf smiled. "When you came back for the one year remembrance ceremony of Sha’re’s death, when you spoke for her spirit, I knew that you had not yet let go of her. I had hoped that the ceremony would give you peace, would help you to move on in your life."
"I was damned lonely," Daniel admitted.
"Of this I am aware," Kasuf replied. "You were alone from the night that Apophis took Sha’re. You lived with that pain, with that loneliness until the day of her death."
Daniel grimaced. He hadn’t realized that his father-in-law had been so...aware. "I lived with that loneliness until the day that I met Casey. I loved Sha’re very much."
"I know that, Good Son," Kasuf said reassuringly. He gave a sideways glance at the man beside him. "She is very beautiful. Her eyes are full of love for you."
"Yes, she is beautiful," Daniel agreed, watching as Skaara continued to tell Casey about that first mission...and the days he had spent living among the Abydonian’s, flapping his arms in imitation of what the archaeologist had done in his first attempts to communicate. Smiled at the sound of her laughter. "That she loves me is a miracle I dare not examine."
"There is something...something special...between the two of you."
"She’s my Destiny, Kasuf. Sha’re told me so."
The old man nodded. "Yes, yes, I can see this."
Daniel stopped short. Turned to face his friend...and the only man he had called ‘father’ since his own father had been killed. "That doesn’t bother you?"
"Why should it? What is meant to be, is meant to be," Kasuf shrugged. "Sha’re was happy with you. She loved you. She had those memories to cling to, to treasure as she suffered with the demon that lived inside her. Without those memories, she would not have been strong enough to fight the demon, never would have been able to speak to you, even as the demon tried to kill you."
Daniel frowned slightly. He had told Kasuf about seeing Sha’re, speaking to her, in the seconds that passed while Amaunet held him captive within the beam of the ribbon device. "I guess I never thought of that," he said softly.
"You are a young man, Dan’yel. It is not good that you be alone. Your wife was taken from you. There is no shame, no harm in taking another wife."
Kasuf smiled. "I think now you will tell me how you found such an enchanting creature."
"Well, it’s quite a story," Daniel grinned. He paused, finally remembering the flowers that he carried. "First, I’d like to put these on Sha’re’s grave. It’s a custom of my people."
"Then you must do so." Kasuf turned to look down the path where Skaara continued to regale Casey with his tales. "Skaara!"
Skaara turned to face his father. "Yes?"
"Dan’yel and Ca’see have a task to which they must attend. We will go on to the village."
Daniel started. How had Kasuf known that he’d wanted Casey to go with him?
The old man turned back to Daniel. "You know the way, Good Son. When you are ready, we will be in the village square. We have prepared a...what did you call it...ah yes, an 'armadillo chicken'."
Daniel grinned. Memories of his first night on Abydos, the feast that had been given to honor him and Jack and the others filled his mind. "I’m sure Casey will be thrilled."
With a chuckle, Kasuf patted Daniel’s shoulder, gathered his robes around him and hurried down the path.
Skaara had escorted Casey back to Daniel’s side, gave them both a smile and a nod, and followed his father.
"Wow," Casey said softly. "Now I know for certain Jack has been here before."
"How?" Daniel asked.
"He very negatively influenced Skaara. Taught him how to tell tall tales!"
Daniel laughed. It had been a very long time since he had stood on the sands of Abydos and laughed. He nodded toward the flowers. "Let’s go put these on the grave."
A A A A A A
Casey stood back as Daniel carefully laid the flowers on the top of a heap of stones. The stones, he had told her, prevented the desert winds from blowing the sand away, and exposing the body within. She smiled, and knelt beside him when he looked up at her, held his hand out.
She watched his eyes. There were no tears. A bit of sadness, but nothing that would indicate he was upset. "May I...is it okay if I talk to her for a minute?"
Daniel smiled. "I think she’d like that, Angel," he said softly.
With a nod, Casey turned back toward the stones. "Hello, Sha’re. I’m Casey. I suppose you already know that, though. I just want you to know that you will always have a special place in Daniel’s heart. And that’s as it should be. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wanted to thank you for visiting him...for helping him to understand that it was...okay...to love me. I love him so very much, and I promise that I’m taking care of him. I make certain he eats right, and gets enough sleep, and I hold him when he’s had a bad day, and...I love him Sha’re, with all that I am. I just...I just wanted you to know."
He couldn’t help but smile as he listened to her talk to his first wife. Understood that this was as therapeutic for her as it was for him. That coming here helped to ease the feelings of frustration, of anger, that dealing with Sha’re’s counterpart had dredged up, had left in both of them. "I’d like to thank you too, Sha’re," he said softly, when Casey had finished. "I know you’ll understand when I tell you that I’ve never been happier. What we shared was wonderful and beautiful, and I’ll treasure the memories forever. I’m honored, I’m blessed to be loved by a woman like Casey. I think that maybe you had a hand in the two of us finding one another. You always took good care of me, and I think that bringing Casey into my life was your way of continuing to do that. You knew that she was my Destiny, and you knew that I was so damned lonely...I love her, Sha’re."
A gust of wind moved around them, and seemed to caress both of them on the cheek. Casey smiled, and closed her eyes. Leaned into the invisible caress. "Thank you," she whispered.
A A A A A A
The villagers called out greetings, all of them rushing forward to touch Daniel, to greet him. He responded by calling each of them by name; asking about siblings and parents and children, bringing even wider smiles to their faces.
He settled beside Skaara, motioned to Casey that she should sit between him and Kasuf. "It looks as if it’s been a good year," he said, pointing to the abundance of food on the mats in front of them.
"We can only hope that this year will be as plentiful," Kasuf replied.
"It will be. The rains will be a couple of weeks early this year," Casey said softly.
Daniel grinned. "Really?"
"Really what?" Casey asked.
"Didn’t hear that, huh?"
"Ooo! I hate it when that happens!"
Kasuf frowned slightly. "I do not understand."
"Casey is a seer. A very good one. Often, she’ll say something that she’s totally unaware of saying...as she did just now. When that happens, she’s never wrong," Daniel explained.
Skaara’s eyes went wide. "Then the rains will truly come early?"
"You can count on it," Daniel promised.
"With this knowledge, we can be first at the oasis," Kasuf said thoughtfully. "That will offer us the advantage of choosing the best site for camping." That advantage would put his tribe first in trading. They would have first choice of all that was brought in...something that hadn’t happened in a very long time.
Two men carried out a tray that held a very large, very scaly looking creature. It was put down with a modicum of ceremony in front of the guests.
Daniel grinned, accepted the flat bread that Kasuf handed him, reached forward and scooped out a bit of the meat. "Dig in, Angel. It tastes like chicken."
She raised one eyebrow. "You’d better not be jerking my chain, Stud Muffin."
He continued to watch her, amused to see that Kasuf helped her pull a bit of meat free.
Casey closed her eyes, popped the meat into her mouth. It did not taste like chicken. She didn’t gag, and that was a good thing. It really wasn’t bad...but it would take a bit of getting used to. She glared at Daniel. Turned to Kasuf and flashed a winning smile. "It’s very good. But it doesn’t taste like chicken at all. I suppose that when Daniel told you that it tasted like chicken, it was only because he’d never eaten good chicken."
Kasuf chuckled loudly. "I do hope that you have seen to it that he’s had ‘good chicken’."
"Oh, yes, I can guarantee that," she replied. She tossed a smirk in Daniel’s direction. "I heard that he liked riding mastadges."
Skaara snorted, nearly spit the mouthful of water he had just taken. "He likes being dragged by them," he teased.
"We don’t need to discuss this," Daniel grumped.
Kasuf grinned, took pity on Daniel. "Tell us how you came to find this enchanting woman."
Casey blushed, lowered her eyes.
Daniel told the story of SG-1’s mission, of the solar flare that sent them into a parallel universe, of meeting themselves...of meeting the Casey of that reality. And of searching for her as soon as he had been returned to his own reality.
Yes, Kasuf thought, watching the two as Dan’yel talked, it is indeed Destiny that Dan’yel and Ca’see be together. There was...something...between the two, a bond not visible, yet plainly seen nonetheless. He had thought of Dan’yel as his son, still considered himself to be the young Tau’ri’s ‘Good Father’. It pleased him...and relieved the worry that he had held...to see Dan’yel so happy.
A A A A A A
The meal was barely over when Daniel glanced at his watch. "Good Father, I must apologize, Casey and I are due back...about ten minutes ago. I was only able to get a few hours to visit."
Kasuf rose to his feet, causing the others to follow suit. "I am glad you were able to come to us, Good Son, if only for a short time. We will walk with you to the pyramid."
Skaara fell into step beside Casey. "You are a seer?"
"Yes, I am," Casey replied.
"Tell me, do you see a wife in my future? A woman as beautiful as you, only with hair the color of the night sky, and dark eyes that burn for me?" he asked cheekily.
She stopped, took both of his hands in hers. Closed her eyes. "Nope." She opened one eye, then grinned at the crestfallen look on his face. "Let me look again."
Skaara shook his head, grinned broadly. Ca’see was easy to tease, and she seemed to enjoy teasing in return. He knew without being told that she made Dan’yel laugh. And that was a very good thing, in his mind.
"Yes, Skaara, I do see someone for you," Casey said softly. "Just remember, a broken pot is a very good thing."
The young man frowned. "I do not understand."
Slender shoulders moved up and down. "I’m sorry, Skaara...that’s what I see. Just remember that. Someday it will make perfect sense to you."
He nodded. "I will remember."
Once inside the temple Daniel entered the symbols that would return them to the SGC on Earth. Watched as the event horizon opened, then sent the signal that identified him and Casey as the travelers about to enter the wormhole.
"Please, you must visit again, when you can stay longer," Kasuf told Casey. He hugged her. "My heart will see you as my daughter."
Tears filled her eyes. "Thank you...Good Father," she said softly.
"Do not let him neglect you for his work," Kasuf warned.
Daniel flinched. Knew for a fact that he was guilty of having done so to Sha’re.
Kasuf turned to Daniel. "I may sleep at night now, knowing that you no longer grieve, that your heart has returned to the land of the living, where it belongs."
"Thank you, Good Father," Daniel murmured, hugging the man tightly.
"You are my son, no matter what," Kasuf whispered.
Tears stood in his blue eyes. "Thank you," he whispered in reply.
Skaara hugged Casey. "I hope to talk to you again, Little Sister."
She smiled. "I promise, the next time we come, we’ll bring Jack."
Dark eyes danced. "You will tell me about the things O’Neill has done?"
"Every single, silly thing," she promised. She stepped back, accepted the well wishes of the others, while Daniel said goodbye to Skaara.
"I am glad you are happy, Brother," Skaara said.
"Thanks," Daniel smiled.
"You were a good husband to Sha’re. Now, be a good husband to Ca’see."
"I will, I promise."
Casey looked over her shoulder as Daniel led her up the steps. The smiles and waves, the looks of indulgence from Kasuf, the teasing wink from Skaara, all went straight to her heart. "Goodbye!"
A chorus of goodbyes followed them into the icy cold of the wormhole.
A A A A A A
Jack was waiting at the bottom of the ramp, pointedly tapping on the face of his watch. "A little late, aren’t you?"
Daniel glanced at his own watch. "Only about thirty minutes."
"You can’t rush a feast," Casey said. "And that damned thing looked like a freaking armadillo on steroids!"
Ferretti snickered. "Didn’t taste like chicken, did it?"
"Not even close!" she declared. "Which I told the Chicken Man, here."
Jack and Ferretti exchanged looks, then began to laugh. "How’d you hear about that?"
"Skaara," she replied.
"How is Skaara? Still brewing moonshine?" Jack asked.
"If he is, we didn’t get any," Casey said. She looked over at Daniel. "It was a lovely afternoon."
"Yes, it was," he said softly. Fears, anxieties...guilt...all had been put to rest. He was still as much a member of that tribe as he had been when he had taken Sha’re as his bride. The acceptance that he had felt had been extended to Casey. If they ever needed to leave Earth, it would be to Abydos he would run. For the first time since that horrible night when Apophis had raided that temple, Abydos was home again.
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