<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
White Lace and Promises
They hit hard, bumping into one another, rolling into an undignified heap of limbs and aching muscles at the bottom of the ramp. The iris was closed, and the sound of several bodies hitting the titanium shield that protected the SGC from unwanted visitors…most of the time…echoed eerily.
General Hammond walked into the room. "What happened?"
Casey sat up. Now that she was safe, Daniel was safe, the team was safe, she let go of the anger that had filled her the second they came under fire. "I told you so! I told you we shouldn't go! I can't give you details…but I know when it's bad! If you want to ignore my feelings, by all means, do so! But I will never again walk through that damned 'gate when I know it's a bad idea! I'll nail your ass to the wall if you're stupid enough to go and get yourself killed!" she hissed at Daniel.
"Casey! That’s enough!" Jack growled.
She pulled herself to her feet and stomped toward the door. She stopped and turned around. "Sir!" she sneered, then pushed past the Marines and into the corridor.
General Hammond stood watching her, his mouth an 'O' of surprise. If she'd been in the Air Force, he would have had her arrested on the spot for insubordination. She wasn't in the Air Force. And she had warned him. He looked down at Daniel and smiled. "She seems to have a bit of a temper, doesn't she?"
Daniel grimaced. "Yeah, she does. But she's right. She tried to warn us. And ignoring her damned near got her and Sam raped and all of us killed."
The general and the colonel both winced. "Go get checked out. Debrief in an hour."
She was sitting in the corner near the elevator, her legs drawn up to her chest, her arms around them tightly when the rest of the team approached.
"Casey?" Daniel asked softly.
She raised her tear-stained face. "He was going to kill you," she whispered.
Daniel lowered himself to the floor beside her. "Yeah, well I've been in that situation before," he said.
She glared at him. "Thanks. That makes me feel so much better!"
"Casey, this is what we do," he said gently, ignoring her comment. "We made it out. We're lucky that way."
"One of these days your luck is going to run out," she said. "Won't that be a bitch?"
The others shifted uncomfortably. "Case, I know this was your first mission where things went fubar, but…" Jack started.
"Excuse me, didn't I say that we shouldn't go? Why ask me if you're not going to listen?" Once again Casey pulled herself to her feet. "I know I'm the new kid, and all that, so why pay attention to what I have to say, right? I never asked to work here! I never asked to be put on the team! I never even asked to brought down here!" She slid her ID tag into the scanner. The elevator opened, and she stepped in. "You were the ones so damned interested in using my…gift!"
Too stunned to reply, the team watched the doors closed. "She's really pissed!" Jack said, shaking his head.
"She's really scared," Daniel corrected him. "And she's hurt. She's right. Casey never asked to be brought here. I did that because we all wanted that edge that she could give us. We ignored her, and we nearly paid with our lives. She has every right to be angry," he said softly.
"Daniel's right, sir," Sam said. "She didn't say a lot during the briefing, only that she didn't think it was safe, and that it would be better not to go. But we could all see that she was terrified."
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed. "Did you not notice that other than the Jaffa, and the slaves in that building, there seemed to be no others in residence in that city?"
"There wasn't any evidence of life in any of the images," Sam admitted. "I guess I didn't think about it before, but if there'd been people there, we would have seen them."
Daniel swiped his ID, followed his teammates onto the elevator. He had the sinking feeling that Casey was hurt enough, angry enough, that she'd leave the SGC rather than face a repeat of the day. He knew one thing for certain - he couldn't, he wouldn't go through the 'gate without at least knowing that she'd 'seen' that the mission was safe. If that meant quitting, then he'd do so. More than likely he'd remain employed by the SGC, there was more than enough work that required his skills as linguist and an archaeologist. But he wasn't about to risk his life. He had too much to live for, now.
A A A A A A
Casey was sitting on the bed, allowing Janet to poke and prod at will. Something that the petite doctor took immediate note of. The usual chatter was missing. In fact, Casey hadn't said a word since she'd arrived.
As soon as SG-1 walked through the door, the young blonde jumped to her feet. "Are we finished?" she asked softly.
"Yes, we are," Janet smiled. Before she could say more, Casey was on her way out of the infirmary. No one missed the way she brushed past Daniel when he reached out for her. Nor did anyone miss the look of devastation in his eyes. "What happened?"
Jack sighed. "We had a bit of a situation."
"Which could have been avoided if we'd listened to her," Daniel pointed out, his voice low.
Janet glanced at Sam, who nodded slightly. "Well, let me get you all checked out." She approached Daniel first. He needed to talk to his fiancée. And soon.
Casey slammed the locker closed. She was still shaking. She'd never been so afraid in her life! Not even when Sergeant White had held that knife to her throat. No, it wasn't bad enough that she'd nearly been raped. She shuddered at the memory of that man, his naked body on top of her equally naked body. Daniel had almost died. And that, as far as she was concerned, was the most terrifying thing of all. General Hammond had asked for her opinion on the mission, and then totally ignored it. Jack and Teal'c had convinced him that the possibility of finding a weapon to use against the Goa'uld was worth the risk. Nothing was worth risking Daniel's life for…nothing!
She rode the elevator to ground level, zipped her coat up, and headed for the bus stop near the front gate. She'd take the local bus as close to the apartment as she could, walk the rest of the way if necessary. It had been tempting to toss her ID badge at the guard and telling him to keep the damned thing, but she knew that she'd be going back down into the mountain, if to do nothing more than quit. Besides, the guard had nothing to do with the situation that had made her so angry.
It took nearly an hour to get home, and by the time she did, she was half-frozen. She ignored the blinking light on the answering machine, knowing that it was a message from Daniel. She wasn't ready to talk to him, not yet. She grabbed the bottle of Southern Comfort, and headed for the bathroom. She wanted a hot bath to warm up. A drink to take the edge off. And then she was going to have a good, long cry.
A A A A A A
General Hammond sat down. "Ms. Webster left the facility, it seems," he said with a frown.
"She's upset, sir," Daniel said immediately.
"I know, son, and that's my fault," the general said kindly. "I rather imagine she's trying to decide whether or not to continue working with us."
"Aw, I don’t think Case would quit. She's seen Goa'uld up close and personal-" Jack started.
"Yeah, really up close and personal!" Daniel snapped. "As in the goddamned snake was naked and lying on top of her! If she hadn't managed to get my pocketknife, he'd have raped her, Jack! On top of all of the other shit she's had to deal with in her life, and since she started working here! She had to kill to protect herself! Think about that, Jack!" By the time he'd finished, he was shouting.
The older man sat back in surprise as the young archaeologist yelled at him. The implications set in. "Shit," he said softly
"Yeah," Daniel said, his own voice soft once again. He checked his cell phone. He'd left a message on the machine at the apartment, begging her to call him.
"So tell me what happened," General Hammond said, more subdued than the team had seen him in weeks.
They carefully outlined what had happened, from coming under fire as soon as they stepped through the Stargate, to their escape under fire and nearly overwhelmed by Jaffa.
"The thing is, sir," Sam said, "there was no evidence that anyone other than that Goa'uld, and his Jaffa and slaves were present. We saw no activity other than that of the Jaffa."
"Is it possible that the citizens of the city were simply not allowed in the areas where you were held?" the general asked.
"I suppose it's possible," Sam agreed.
Daniel'd opened the folder that held the UAV photos of the area. "You'd think we'd see some sign of life in these, wouldn't you?" He pushed the folder to the center of the table. Each of the people around him took a turn at looking at the images.
"Well, I believe we have learned something from all of this," General Hammond said quietly.
"Yeah, a new Goa'uld," Jack said. "You know they tossed his snake ass into a sarcophagus as soon as we left."
"I'll see what I can find on him," Daniel said.
The general smiled. "Well, there is that. But I believe we have learned to heed Ms. Webster's warnings. If she will consent to continue working here. Doctor Jackson, if you can convince her to come and talk to me, I'll do my best to repair the damage that was done today."
"I'm sure she'll be willing to talk to you, sir," Daniel replied.
"I hope so. Dismissed." The General stood and walked back into his office.
Daniel tried calling the apartment again. Left another message. The thought that maybe she hadn't gone home caused a moment of panic. If she wasn't at the apartment, where was she? He went to Sam's lab. She'd probably be tinkering with that power source they'd found. Wasn't surprised to find Jack and Teal'c there as well.
"I'm gonna call it a day," he said, shoving his hands into his pockets.
"Did you talk to Casey?" Sam asked.
He shook his head. "I left another message. If she's not there, I don't have a clue where she'd be," he said, the worry that he felt reflected in his eyes.
"See you tomorrow, Danny," Jack said quietly.
"Yeah." With a half-hearted wave he headed for the elevator. Wondered briefly what he'd do if she wasn't at home when he got there.
A A A A A A
She was wrapped in his robe, sitting on the sofa, staring out at the gray sky, thinking that the buildings looked as cold and bleak as she felt. Daniel had been so anxious to take her to the SGC. Sam had told her that all of them, the team and General Hammond, had wanted her and her special gift to help them in their fight against the Goa'uld. So, was that the reason Daniel had flown to Tacoma? Not because he wanted her, exactly. But because he wanted what she could do for the SGC, what they hoped she could do?
Her heart continued to insist that he was her Destiny, and she was his, that they'd both recognized that connection immediately. But her mind, and the anger and fear that still filled her, continued to taunt her with the thought that it was only her gift that he was after. Never her. Never her heart. Never her love. That he was getting laid was just a side benefit for him, the fear told her.
She heard the door open. She didn't move, said nothing, listened as he walked into the dining room. The sound of his boots against the hardwood floor disappeared when he stepped onto the Oriental rug that covered the living room floor. She felt him sit down beside her. "Is that all you wanted?"
He frowned, totally confused by the question. "What?"
"My…gift. That's the reason you flew to Tacoma, isn't it?"
"No. I flew to Tacoma to find you. Because I wanted what the Daniel in that alternate universe had."
She turned to look at him. "What was that?"
"Love," he said, without hesitation. "Happiness. I wanted to have a woman look at me like his Casey looked at him."
She searched his eyes. Found the answer she was looking for. Nodded slowly. "I don't know if I can do that again," she said softly.
"Go through the 'gate and fight against Goa'uld?"
"Watch you being hurt, knowing that you could be killed at any second."
"Would you believe me if I told you that we don't often have missions like that?"
"Probably not," she replied.
He grinned. "Most of the time we're searching ruins. Fun for me, pretty boring for everyone else. Sometimes we're meeting new people. That's usually exciting. We've run into a few problems, but we've always been able to make them understand that we mean no harm. If we can free them from Goa'uld slavery, well, that makes all of the other shit worth dealing with," he said honestly.
"Have you ever killed anyone?" she asked her voice not much more than a whisper.
"Yeah, I have. It's never easy. Not even when it's a Goa'uld." That it caused him no grief to kill Goa'uld remained in the back of his mind - undisturbed, unexamined. His hatred for the creatures obliterated any guilt he might have felt. "If it was easy, if it didn't bother you, then I'd be worried."
"Then you better start worrying. Because killing that ass today didn't bother me."
He smiled. "You're a beautiful liar. I saw it in your eyes. It bothered you as you were doing it. You're still angry. That's okay. Hold on to it. Let it protect you from the guilt. Because I know that as soon as you calm down, you'll feel guilty about it."
"How do you know?" she asked.
"Because I know you," he replied. He ached to hold her. Hesitated to reach for her, especially after the question she'd asked him.
"Are you angry with me?"
"Do you love me?"
"With all of my heart."
"Can…will…hold me, please?"
He moaned as he pulled her close, held her tightly. "This is what I've wanted to do since you unfastened those manacles," he whispered. "What I've needed."
"Me, too," she whispered in reply.
He tugged at her until she was sitting on his lap. He buried his face against the soft, fragrant skin of her neck. Lilacs. She must have taken a bath. She was safe, she was alive, she was in his arms, and she still loved him. That's all he needed, all he'd ask for.
"I'll apologize to General Hammond tomorrow. But I meant what I said. If he and Jack and Teal'c and you and Sam are going to ignore any…feelings…that I get about missions, I can't see any need of me working there. I can find a job elsewhere," she said softly.
"I don't think you're going to have to worry about that," he replied.
"I hope not. I really do like working there."
"Let's not talk about work," he said, planting small kisses on her neck.
"What do you want to talk about?" she asked, smiling as she tipped her head to one side, offering him greater access to her throat.
"I don’t want to talk at all." He worked his hand beneath his robe, found her naked. "Let me love you, Angel," he whispered.
"I'd like that," she whispered in reply. Locked her arms around his neck when he stood up and carried her to the bedroom. Where they spent the remainder of the day comforting one another at first, until the passion built, and they could think only of pleasing one another.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>