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White Lace and Promises
Casey was stuffing extra socks, a set of Air Force regulation underwear, and a BDU into the backpack that Sam had drawn for her from supply. She added the small ditty bag, which had her soap, shampoo, body lotion and deodorant, as well as the issued toothbrush and toothpaste. She also had a standard first aid kit. Half a dozen MREs and a six pack of water went into the bag. The blonde major showed her how to attach the 'thinsulate' sleeping bag, which was just as warm as the more bulky, down filled bags, but weighed significantly less.
"Daniel carries a tent, so you'll be sharing with him," Sam said, as she zipped her own backpack closed.
"Having me along sort of screws up the sleeping arrangements, doesn't it?" Casey asked softly.
Sam smiled. "Usually Daniel and I shared a tent. Mostly because if we didn't have watch, we'd lay and talk about what we'd found. That drives the colonel nuts," she giggled. She attached a pup tent to the bottom of her pack. "I'll get my own tent, which will be great."
Casey looked sideways at her friend. "Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Sure," Sam said easily.
"Did you and Daniel ever…you know," she asked, blushing slightly.
"Oh, god no!" Sam said, her eyes wide. "I mean, not that he's not a hunk, and sweet...it's just that Daniel isn't my type."
"What about Daniel and Janet?"
Sam smiled again. "Daniel and Janet are very good friends. That's all they've ever been. For so long Daniel was looking for Sha're, hoping to find her, take her to the Tok'ra to have the Goa'uld removed from her. Then, after she was killed, for a long time it was as if he'd closed himself off emotionally. To be honest, Casey, I haven't seen him this happy since I've known him." She dropped down onto the bench, studied the younger woman. "The night we went to Abydos, thinking that Ra was back, and had come from there, the people had a feast for us. I watched Sha're and Daniel together. He was happy, and smiling…" She stopped, shook her head slightly.
"But there wasn't…I can't explain it…there's this…something that he's found with you. The man just oozes happiness. I've never seen his eyes so bright. Never seen him smile as much as he has since you came into his life," Sam replied.
"Funny, Kelley said the same thing about me," Casey mused.
"What else did she say?"
Casey smiled. "That she'd never seen me so animated. That I talked more about Daniel in two hours than I usually talked about anything in a week. I swear he must wish I'd get laryngitis or something, it seems I'm just yakking away all the time. But, god Sam, it's like I have so much I want to tell him, ask him, talk to him about! It's like…" She broke off, frowned slightly.
"Like what?" Sam asked gently.
"It's like I finally woke up from a really long, really bad dream. I feel…alive…for the first time that I can remember. I'm happy, Sam, and I've never felt this way before!"
Sam's first thought was that Casey had indeed had a very painful childhood. Her second thought was that her best friend, and her new best friend, shared similar wounds, and seemed to be healing one another. Her third thought was to wish that she could find such happiness. And hopefully with a certain colonel. She reached out and caught Casey's hand. "I’m really glad that the two of you found one another," she said softly.
"Me, too," Casey replied. "If Daniel hadn't come to Tacoma when he did, chances are I'd be dead now."
Sam's eyes went wide. "What do you mean?"
"Sunday morning I had this…flash…images of what would have happened to me. Kenny would have made it through that door, and…" She shivered. "Let's just say it would have been very painful and traumatic."
"Oh, Casey!" Sam murmured. She stood up, hugged the younger woman. "Does Daniel know?"
"Yes." Casey smiled. "I can't hide anything from him. He just looks at me and knows what I'm thinking!"
The tall major smiled again. Apparently Casey didn't know that what she thought, what she was feeling, was very apparent in her eyes. "Must be that connection," she said.
"Must be." Casey heaved the pack onto her shoulders. "Oh, man, and we have to walk too, huh?"
"Yep. Don't worry, it won't take long to get into shape," Sam teased.
"Yeah, or collapse, one of the two!"
Sam tugged her backpack onto her shoulders, led the way to the armory. Jack issued both women a 9mm Beretta, a zat'nik'tel, and a P90, plus extra magazines for each of the weapons.
Casey cocked her head sideways, a motion that the team already recognized. "I don't suppose you have ropes and thingy's to pound into rocks to climb with, do you?"
Jack grinned. "As a matter of fact we do. For all of us?"
The young blonde shook her head. "Two. Daniel and…I'm not sure…one of us."
The colonel nodded, turned to Daniel and Teal'c. "You two head to supply and get standard climbing gear. Grab an extra rope, just in case."
Daniel dropped a kiss on her forehead as he walked by, following the large Jaffa.
"This knowing in advance stuff is all right!" Jack declared.
"I could be wrong, you know. Or miss something completely. Or not get a 'feeling' soon enough," Casey warned.
Jack took her face between his hands. "I have faith, Casey. You're the edge we've needed."
Casey grinned, pulled her hair back into a ponytail, and plopped the boonie that she'd been issued on top of her head. "Okay, let's go. And if I pass out, get sick, or die going through that thing, just be gentle dragging me home."
Sam and Jack shared a grin. "You'll do fine," Jack assured the young woman.
Daniel and Teal'c met up with them in the 'gate room. Daniel had tied a do-rag over his dark blonde hair, she noticed. She liked the look. He was already sexy. It just made him all the sexier, she decided.
The warning klaxons began to wail, the security lights flashed as the inner ring of the Stargate came to life, spinning until the correct glyph of the address was beneath each chevron. The loud, metallic clang that filled the room when each symbol was locked made her heart skip. She hadn't been close to the 'gate when she'd seen it open before. The 'whoosh' of what looked like water was impressive. She involuntarily took a step backwards, to the amusement of her teammates.
"SG-1, you have a go," General Hammond said from the control room. "Godspeed."
"Okay, campers, let's do it," Jack said, leading the way up the ramp.
She took a deep breath. Blew it out slowly. Her eyes were wide, her pulse racing, her heart hammering against her ribs.
"It's okay, babe. I'm right here. There's nothing to it. A few seconds and it's all over," Daniel said softly. He held out his hand. Smiled when she took it. He laced his fingers with hers, and led her up the ramp behind Sam and Teal'c.
She hesitated for just a few seconds at the event horizon, reached out and touched with her fingers. She looked up at him. "I think I'm ready," she said softly.
He gave her another smile, tugged gently, throwing both of them into the wormhole and through space. Zero point three seconds later, they were standing on the planet designated by the computer as P7X 388.
"Holy shit!" she said softly.
Jack turned to look at her, couldn't help but chuckle. Her eyes were full of wonder as she gazed around. She was staring at the horizon, where three large planets could be seen, the graceful arcs filling the sky.
When Daniel started to lead her down the steps that led up to the 'gate, she swayed slightly. "Case?"
"Just give me a second," she replied, putting one hand against her forehead. "What a rush! Are there always so many colors and sounds when you go through that thing?"
"Colors?" Jack asked.
"Sounds?" Sam gasped. "What kind of sounds?"
Casey shrugged. "I dunno. Sort of like…like a huge room full of people whispering, you can't hear anything specific, just sort of a buzz. And yeah, colors, lots of red and yellow."
"It must have something to do with your psychic abilities," Sam theorized.
"I guess that means the answer is no, huh?" Casey said softly.
"I see flashing lights, that's all," Daniel said.
"Me, too," Sam agreed. Jack and Teal'c nodded. "Was it cold for you?"
"Very. Icy cold."
Sam nodded. "That seems to be the same for everyone."
"Okay, campers, MALP didn't show any sign of life around here, but that thing has been wrong before. Teal'c, take point. Daniel, on the six with me. Ladies, stay alert."
The team began to walk in the direction that their instruments indicated was north. Which was where the UAV had located the ruins.
The planet had a variety of deciduous trees. Thick green grass that reached their knees covered the ground, and several low bushes had grown close enough to the Stargate that their branches covered part of the steps. The sky above them was azure, cloudless, and the air had a faintly sweet smell. Probably from the numerous flowering vines that seemed to creep along the ground and up most of the trees.
"It's beautiful," Casey whispered.
Sam smiled. "Yes, it is." Sometimes, she thought, they forgot to just take a look at the incredible sights around them when they went off world. Daniel usually took note of such things, always the first to comment on anything of particular interest or beauty.
The sun had been low on the horizon when they'd arrived. It continued to rise higher in the sky, increasing the temperature dramatically. It had been chilly when they'd first stepped through the 'gate, now all of them were taking off the heavy BDU shirts, tying them around their waists, their sleeveless black tee-shirts showing sweat stains as they continued to trek toward their goal.
Not a sound could be heard, other than the rustling of the grass as they passed through it. Casey wasn't even aware that she was humming until Sam joined her. Soon Jack's gravelly voice was adding bass notes, and Daniel was singing as well. They improvised, laughed, sang more, creating their own version of The Temptations "My Girl". Although they couldn't see him, Teal'c was grinning broadly at the sounds that echoed softly behind him.
When the sun was straight overhead, Jack called for a rest. They all dropped down in the shade of a stand of tall, dark blue-leafed trees. "How much farther?" he asked, just before he drank nearly a full bottle of water.
"According to the UAV images," Daniel said, opening the leather case that he'd stuffed with pertinent information for the mission, "the ruins should be just over that hill."
The older man nodded. "Okay. Let's have lunch, and then we'll move on."
Casey opened the MRE, examined the contents. "Okay, this is edible, right?"
"Mostly," Jack replied.
She carefully opened the entrée, took the plastic 'spork' from the cellophane that protected it, a plastic knife, a paper napkin, and an individually wrapped Wet One. Took a bite of what was supposed to be a beef enchilada. Frowned slightly.
Daniel chuckled. "What's wrong, babe?"
"Is it supposed to taste like this?"
"Chicken." Her teammates laughed.
"They all taste like chicken," Sam giggled. "Except the chicken."
"Dare I ask?" Casey said, one eyebrow arched.
"Cardboard, usually," Sam replied.
"Next time, I bring my own," the young blonde grumbled, bringing another round of quiet laughter.
When they'd finished eating, all of them drinking a full bottle of water, they stuffed the trash back into their packs, tugged straps over shoulders, and headed out again.
It didn't take long for the team to climb to the top of the low hill. When they stood at the top, they all gaped in amazement. The 'ruins' stretched as far as the eye could see toward the horizon, and to the left and right of where they stood. Most of the buildings were still intact, standing in the bright afternoon sun, the vivid colors shimmering in the heat. There were a few crumbled areas, and several sections of the twenty-five foot tall wall that surrounded the city had collapsed.
"Wow," Daniel said softly.
Jack glanced at the young archaeologist. "Tell me you have an idea where to find that weapon."
"An idea, yes. But not an exact location," Daniel admitted.
"Okay, where do we start?" the CO asked.
Once again Daniel referred to the notes he'd brought with him. "If we can locate the temple of Anwaw, I should be able to find the information we need."
"The other day you said that this Anwaw isn't a god you're familiar with," Sam said, following Jack and Teal'c down the hill.
"No, I've never seen or heard references to him before. Everything I've found so far leads me to believe he's a local god," Daniel replied.
Casey shivered, heard a soft hum the closer they got to the city wall. After her experience in the 'gate room, she was fairly sure that she was the only one to hear it. "So, um…does anyone else hear that?"
Jack stopped short. "Hear what?"
"That hum. Very faint. I couldn't hear it at all when we were on the top of the hill. It gets louder the closer we get," she replied softly.
Weapons came up, eyes began to scan their surroundings. "Talk to me, Casey," Jack said quietly.
Without even realizing what she was doing, Casey closed her eyes and began to 'search', reaching out with her mind in an attempt to 'see' what lay beyond the thick, concrete wall. She could hear Miss Eloise talking to her, guiding her as she moved over the city; watching, listening.
She frowned. What was that? "There's a…well, I guess it's a space ship…" she shivered violently. "We need to be very careful. He hasn't found it yet, he doesn't know what to look for. He only knows that it's here," she whispered.
The team immediately dropped to their knees. "Can you see how many?" Jack asked.
"Um…about twenty. God, that armor is so freaky looking! He has them searching building by building."
"Where are they, Casey?" Daniel asked softly.
"Right in the middle of the city. Sort of a park, it looks like."
"Okay, I want you to look at this photograph. Tell me if you can see anything like it," Daniel said, taking a picture from his pocket. There were several glyphs on what looked like a column.
She studied the image, and the symbols, nodded and closed her eyes again. She'd already learned that temples were the most easily identifiable structures when excavating or examining ruins. "This could take a few minutes," she said softly.
"I don't want to take a chance of getting caught here in the open," Jack said. "Let's get inside that wall, find a place to set up."
Moving quietly and quickly, SG-1 slipped through a half-open gate. Three low buildings, houses more than likely, were to the right of the cobblestone street. Teal'c and Jack checked each one. The center structure seemed most intact, and less likely to fall down on top of them, the colonel decided. They moved inside, allowed their eyes to become adjusted to the dim light.
The room they'd entered was narrow and long. In the middle of the room was a raised, round fire pit. A wide stone ledge surrounded it. Chunks of dried, rotted wood were scattered throughout the room, had probably been pieces of furniture at one time. The door was flanked by two tall, narrow windows, and provided the only light for the area. A narrow doorway at the back of the room led to another, smaller room. It led to still another room, with a wooden door in the middle of the far wall, also flanked by two windows.
Jack, Teal'c, and Sam began to set up a perimeter, using grenades to set booby traps for anyone who might try to enter the room from the rear entrance. It seemed highly unlikely that such a thing would happen, as the door opened onto a long, narrow, rectangular courtyard, shared by several other houses that completely surrounded it. There was no other way into the weed-infested area. Just the back doors of ten houses.
Daniel led Casey to the fire pit, sat down beside her on the stone ledge. "Okay, Angel. Tell me what you see."
Holding tightly to his hands, she moved outward again. She was nearly to the center of the city for the second time when she realized what she was doing. For a few seconds she felt a rush of panic, of fear. Once again Miss Eloise's voice softly guided her, comforted her. She began to examine the tall columns on what appeared to be temples, which faced and surrounded the park where the alien ship was sitting. She didn't know it, not yet, but she was looking at a Goa'uld al'kesh. There! That one! She opened her eyes. "I found it," she said softly.
"Where is it?" Daniel asked. He glanced up when their teammates walked back into the room.
"There are eight temples. Two on each side of that park. From where we are, it's on the right side, farthest away. And it doesn't look as if those Jaffa are looking in the right place," she replied. "I could be wrong," she said softly, shrugging slightly.
Jack grimaced. "You said that ship was sitting right in the middle of that park?"
"Okay, we'll have to go in when it gets dark. Did everyone bring their night vision goggles?" Jack asked. Received four affirmative nods. "Teal'c, you'll take Daniel inside that thing. Danny, you're gonna have to work fast."
Both men nodded.
"Sam, you and Casey and I are going to have to provide cover for them."
The two women nodded their understanding.
"Let's get some rest. I'll take first watch," Jack said. "We move as soon as it's dark."
Casey settled on the floor beside Daniel, her back against the low stone wall of the fire pit. She snuggled up to him when he put his arm around her shoulders, pulled her close. She rested her head on his shoulder. Images of what she'd just seen, the realization of what she'd just done danced in her head.
"One day a man will find you, and the two of you will begin your journey together. His strength will flow into you, and make your powers that much stronger. The more he gives of his strength, the stronger you will become."
She shivered as the old seer's words echoed in her head. She hadn't understood what Miss Eloise had meant when she'd first given her the 'prophecy'. Hadn't understood until the day she'd arrived at the SGC. The irreverent thought that as often as she and Daniel made love, she'd be all-powerful by the end of the year flittered through her mind, made her smile. She closed her eyes, unaware of the moment when sleep softly claimed her.
She was standing inside a temple. The structure was impressive in its size. A dozen columns lined the wide hall on each side, holding the massive roof in place. Every inch of the round supports was covered with colorful hieroglyphs. The walls were painted with murals. Her boots echoed against the marble tiled floor as she walked toward a large stone altar. A pool, the full width of the room, and at least fifteen feet across, separated the main section of the temple from the small area at the back where the altar stood on a raised platform of solid rock. Torches flickered at regular intervals along the side walls; two tall, brass torchieres stood on either side of the altar, flames dancing and casting shadows around her.
"Who are you?" a voice from the shadows behind the altar asked.
"Um…Casey Webster," she replied, her voice shaking slightly.
Pause. "Who are you?"
She frowned. Okay, obviously her name wasn't what this…person…wanted. "I'm the fiancée of Daniel Jackson."
Pause. "Who are you?"
Now this was getting damned annoying! "I don’t understand your question!" she replied.
"Who are you?"
"I can tell you what I am, and that's pissed off," she replied sharply.
"Who are you?"
She sat down on the floor. There was no way to get to the altar without wading through that pool. And something in the back of her head told her that to do so would be very dangerous. "Who am I? I'm a survivor. I'm a seer. I'm a woman in love. I'm a soldier. Well, sort of a soldier. I'm a student."
"Why do you come here?"
Well, how about that! She'd finally moved on to question number two! "I seek to learn," she replied.
"What do you wish to learn?"
She smiled. "Everything."
"Will you die for him?"
Suddenly Daniel was suspended above the pool, hanging by his wrists from manacles, the chains attached to a ceiling so high she couldn't see it in the darkness. He was naked, and he'd been brutally beaten. The water in the pool began to boil, steam rose in continuous clouds. Her heart lurched in her chest.
"Will you die for him?"
She jumped to her feet. "Yes! Oh, god, please just let him go! Don't hurt him any more!"
"Will you die for him?"
"Yes, yes, yes! I'll die for him! Please, he's brilliant and good and kind and he's so important to keeping our planet safe! Let him go, I'll die in his place! Please!"
In an instant she was hanging above the water, watching it roll and boil.
"Why do you die for him?"
"Because I love him," she replied. "So that he can live. Because he must live!"
Steam rose up, moved around her. She blinked droplets of water from her eyes. And found herself sitting back on the marble floor in front of the pool.
"Are they worthy?"
She frowned. "Who? Are who worthy? Worthy of what?"
"Are they worthy?"
Great, she grumped to herself. Here we go again! She frowned. 'They'…first she was asked to sacrifice her life for Daniel…She smiled. "Daniel and Jack and Sam and Teal'c are worthy: of gratitude, from the people of the planet they've saved numerous times. From the people they've freed from Goa'uld slavery. From people they've rescued, and from all of the civilizations who have benefited from their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Of respect, for who they are as individuals; each of them are strong, brave, kind, generous…they've willingly offered their own lives for one another again and again. Of admiration, for what they've accomplished, for the fact that they are so special, that their hearts are intertwined, which happens much too rarely. Yes, they're worthy of the best things that can happen to them, for every blessing that they can be granted," she replied softly. "They deserve no less for the sacrifices each of them have made."
"Will you stand for them?"
"Yes," she replied without hesitation.
She sat up, her breath coming in short, shallow gasps.
Teal'c was on guard duty. He frowned as he watched her sit up, her eyes wide, full of fear. "What is wrong, Casey Webster?"
She shook her head, wrapped her arms around her waist. "Just a weird dream," she murmured. Something told her that there was more to what had happened than just a dream. She laid back down, snuggled closer to Daniel, felt his arm hold her tightly against his side. Her life had taken a turn for the better when she'd met him. She'd also entered the freaking twilight zone, she thought wearily. Better to be happy in the twilight zone than miserable in the real world, she thought, just before dropping off to sleep again.
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