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A Day In My Life

Chapter 2


It's all I can do to keep from bouncing on the balls of my feet as we ride the elevator to the surface. Daniel is standing there, his hands shoved into his pockets, leaning casually against the wall. How can he be so calm? There are murals...taken from the walls of a temple...well, actually, they are the walls of the temple. And according to the description, they are the 'creation story' for that particular civilization. Early Tollan was what Mike said the assumption is, although that's just a very hazardous guess based on not more than five minutes of examination. The team that found the ruins had been more concerned about saving what they could, getting the murals to Gamma, than what they actually depicted.

We have actually found out very little about the Tollan, and they certainly aren't very forthcoming with facts about their past history. I think that it's every bit as flawed and violent and bloody as the history of every other group of humans. That just seems to be the nature of the beast. Of course, such advanced civilizations as the Tollan are loathe to admit to such things. Any civilization capable of building their own Stargates can never have been primitive and violent, right? I can't help but heave a silent sigh. I wondered if the Tau'ri, at least those of the First World, will ever move past their bloodthirsty ways. I've stopped listening to the news reports that come from Earth. It's just too damned depressing. There's enough violence in my life as it is, being a soldier in the war against the Goa'uld. I've seen more death, caused more death, than any woman...any person...should have to deal with. I understand that it's a 'them or us' situation. Letting the Goa'uld win is not an option! It doesn't make it any easier to live with.

Knowing that my fellow Tau'ri are still battering each other is more than I want to deal with. Living on Gamma, in a city that prides itself on its lack of crime, where women and children can walk the streets at any time, day or night, with no fear of being mugged or assaulted, push away the problems of Earth. The people there will have to deal with their own issues. I have enough to deal with trying to keep their arguing asses Goa'uld free! There are times, especially when we're dealing with the freaking NID, that I'd love to just turn around and walk away. I would love to stay at home and take care of my babies. Do my own housework. Okay, I'm not crazy about housework, but a housekeeper wouldn't be necessary if I could stay home. Daniel could work three or four days a week from the den. If we didn't have to go out and fight the Goa'uld. To protect Earth. Because of all of the 'advanced' planets that know about the snakes, only the Tau'ri of the First World don't seem to understand just what they're facing. They've been free for over ten thousand years. There are no 'recent' memories of Goa'uld enslavement. No battles raged literally in the skies above their cities. No Jaffa marching through the streets, taking slaves, choosing those unlucky enough to be 'worthy' of becoming hosts. Sometimes, as wicked as the thought may be, I can't help but think that a little 'up close and personal' with a Goa'uld hell bent on making the First World his or her personal slave camp would be a good lesson for the people who continue to bicker there.

I understand why...how...there can still be all of the upheaval. Scholars have been working like crazy the past five years; going through historical texts, and religious texts, comparing the myths and stories to the facts that have been gathered. Which has dashed many a belief system. It's not easy to learn that your religion was founded on the worship of a Goa'uld. Or that the 'savior' you believed in was an Immortal zealot. Or that the 'prophet' you listened to was known by two dozen Immortals who still live...and he was nothing more than a very angry man, a criminal in his own society, determined to strike back at those who dared to judge him. Although that shouldn't have been such a shock, I suppose, it's happened again, quite recently. Right now there seem to be two factions of belief on Earth...those who have declared that there is no God...and those who believe that everything that we've found, that we've done, that we're doing, is an elaborate hoax. That there are no other civilizations on other planets. That everyone who 'have supposedly' gone through the Stargate have been 'secreted away' to some hidden spot on good old Terra firma. Those folks...well, there really isn't any hope of reaching them. Ignorance, fear, bigotry, anger...those things were already deep inside their hearts. Because of the events of our declaration of independence, they've been able to swell their ranks with the easily swayed, with people desperate for something to believe in...someone to blame for their fears. We're an easy target for all of that hate.

I've heard that the Catholic church, the Vatican in particular, is fighting nearly a hundred lawsuits, all in the name of keeping what they've had hidden from the masses for centuries in the dark catacombs beneath the city. Daniel is convinced that there's proof of the Goa'uld among the artifacts, the treasures that the Vatican has secreted away. And that by allowing anyone to see those things, it would just be more proof that what we've been telling them all along is the truth. There are several large Protestant denominations that have 'merged', and are preaching that what the people on Earth are living through are the 'last days'. Apparently Goa'uld are seen as demons. I've fought Goa'uld. Daniel and I have fought a few demons as well. There is a difference. Goa'uld are not demons. Royal pains-in-the-ass...but not demons. Of course this just has more people panicked. And brings in lots of money for the leaders of these churches; who sit in their mansions, stand at pulpits in buildings that cost millions of dollars, while the frightened parishioners live in mobile homes and drive ten year old Chevy's and drop every spare penny they can scrounge up into the offering plate in an attempt to avoid eternal damnation.

So with all of that...chaos...going on, I just tune out the news from Earth. I have enough in my life to deal with. I can't waste time on something I can't change. Daniel believes that in a few more years, things will 'settle down', and the people on Earth will move past the shock of having their belief systems, their history, turned upside down. I hope he's right. I know one thing, I'm damned glad we don't live there any longer. I can't imagine trying to raise my kids in a place like that. Once upon a time I cringed at the thought of having to move to Gamma. Now you couldn't force me to give up my home, my life here.

Sometimes I think about my life, how it's changed from what it had been before that cold, snowy night, when everything I knew, or thought I knew, was turned upside down. When I became a slave of a being...a creature...one that I had no clue even existed. Perhaps that's why I'm not so patient with the people on Earth. I've had my view of reality turned upside down and twirled around a few times for good measure. They've had the luxury of finding out about the Goa'uld from the safety of their own living rooms. Considering the fate of others who had been with me in the slave hold of that al'kesh, I was lucky. I spent only five weeks as a Goa'uld slave. But they were five weeks of absolute hell. Even Daniel doesn't know everything that I suffered, that I endured. The things that I did in order to stay alive that make me shudder, and burn with shame. Things that I have hidden, that I never want to have to look at.

It was worth every agonizing, terrifying, humiliating moment. Falling into Daniel's arms was the beginning of a new life for me. When he came into my life, he brought love like I had never known existed. He brought me out of the shadows of loneliness, and into the sunlight of happiness. Every day with him is precious, and I guard each memory jealously.

It hasn't been easy for us. But I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. Or the universe. Or anything in between. Our life together is just about as perfect as any couple could have...well, if you don't take into consideration all of the missions where we've been at serious risk of dying. Or any of the other...events...that have so colorfully 'punctuated' our lives. And I'm not saying that we never argue. Because we do. We've had some knock-down, drag out fights. Thankfully not often. But in every way that matters, our life together is just about perfect.

If not for Daniel, I wouldn't have a family of my own. The first time we made love, I wanted to give him a child...wanted to have a family with him. I didn't realize until a few days later, after talking to Methos, that it wouldn't happen for us. I'm Immortal. And Immortals had never been able to have children. I ached to give him the children I knew he wanted. Hazy, faded memories of our 'first' forty-three years together still linger at the edges of my mind. I can remember feeling guilty...feeling so selfish...because I didn't have the strength to let him go, so that he could find a mortal woman to have a family with. He always told me that I was more than enough for him, that as long as he had me, he was happy. I know he meant it. But I also know that a part of him, deep inside, regretted never having the chance to be a father.

When Oma brought Daniel, and Sam and Jack, back to me, she made them and Teal'c Immortal. With the blessing of the other Ascended. Which meant that even though we had 'moved back' in time, there still was no chance of having a family. Until Oma, and The Ascended, changed all of that for us...for all Immortals. And in doing so, guaranteed that there will always be Immortals to defend and protect the Innocent.

As long as I live I will never forget the look on Daniel's face when I had told him I was pregnant with Emily. Or how his eyes lit up the first time we heard her heartbeat. Or the tears of joy that had streaked his cheeks when he held her in his hands for the first time. The pride that filled those blue depths when he delivered Nicholas, his first son. The fear in them when Dr. Montigue told us something was wrong, just before performing a caesarian to deliver Ethan. The wonder that reflects in them when he's sprawled out on Emmie's bed during 'Snuggle Time'; Emmie laying on one side of him, Nicholas on the other, their heads on his shoulders, Ethan in one arm, holding a book in the other hand as he reads to them.

Hmm...I'm in a reflective frame of mind today. I have no idea why. I rarely have time to be so contemplative.

As it often does, usually at the oddest of times, it strikes me just where I am, what I'm doing...or about to do. Living on an alien planet. Studying the histories, learning about the cultures of people who are human, most of them taken from Earth, the 'First World', to start new lives, to evolve as a society, on alien planets. Finding that we're all basically the same, yet, so different from one another. That I know anything about other cultures, other societies, is because of the man standing beside me. I glance up at him, feel that rush of love and wonder when he winks at me. He has the most amazing smile I've ever seen. It turns my insides to complete mush.

I tug his arm, pull his hand from his pocket, check the time on his watch. Just a few minutes after ten. I love being able to be in the Center so early in the day. It gives us more time to actually accomplish something there. The grin he gives me just about melts my brain. Goddess, is there a better looking, sexier man anywhere? I certainly don't think so!

When Daniel had first hired Julie, I was convinced that he had done so because he wanted a dark haired, dark-eyed beauty in his life. I had been terrified that he was already having an affair with her, and that giving her a job at the SGC kept her close...so that they could be together whenever he wanted...whenever they could. I believed that he was tired of dealing with all of the drama...all of the 'near misses' that routinely pull us apart somehow. That his love just wasn't strong enough to deal with the constant pressure of trying to keep me...sane. That hadn't been the case at all, even though it took him awhile to convince me of that. A rather long sad story, but thankfully one with a very happy ending. Suffice it to say, I'm glad he hired her! Julie has taken over the many annoying tasks that I had been doing, which had tied up enough time that I only spent the equivalent of two days a week in the Center. Now, by ten thirty at the latest, we're in the Center. Working together on whatever project needs our attention. Or has sparked our interest.

That's one of the perks of being married to the Director of the Gamma Archaeological Research Center. Hey, he named it, not me. He's always tended to be nit-picky about details...which makes him a bit long-winded at times. Not that I mind...I could sit and listen to him all day...watch that sexy mouth...and his hands...but I digress. Because Daniel is 'the boss', we can pick and choose what projects we want to work on, and he assigns the others to Mike and Terry and Arlen and Susan and Ramir and Todd.

I catch sight of Mike and Terry coming up the steps from the warehouse...the basement of the building. A morning tryst, no doubt. Mike winks at me as they walked by. Yep. Getting a little nookie. Not that I can say anything. Daniel and I sneak off to the supply closet or the conference room at least twice a week. He calls those little trysts his 'afternoon delight'. I don't think he realizes just how much I enjoy them as well. There is something very...arousing...about the thought of being intimate just a few feet away from where our friends are busy working; pleasuring each other, driving one another crazy with our mouths and lips and tongues and hands. Is it warm in here, or is it just me? I get just a glimpse of Terry and Mike parting to go their separate ways for the day before Daniel leads me down the gallery. The supply room in the basement is 'theirs'. The conference room is 'ours'. Now that Stephanie is no longer with us, the supply closet near the restrooms is 'ours', too. Just the thought of making him 'assume the position', running my hands up and down that incredible body...get a grip, girl! There's work to do! Besides, Susan is inventorying in that supply closet today. We've been...observed...before. But never 'up close and personal'. I have no desire to change that fact!

Never in a million years would I have believed that I could be so...slutty! I have a real exhibitionist thing going on. We've been watched several times while we made love. I'm positive that it should bother me. But it doesn't. At no time has there ever been anyone actually...there...we were just silently observed through whatever means were being utilized. The Oannes seemed interested in watching us make love...and it wasn't as if we had actually been aware of it, we sort of...woke up...after the fact. On Dovinia Minor we knew we were being watched. But there had been a reason...a very good reason. Those people needed to see...to understand... that love between a man and a woman is a beautiful, natural thing. Sam had turned on the camera in our quarters on the Phoenix II, right after we found Daniel, when Betsy Fucking Harris had kidnapped him. And that psycho was the only one given 'access' to the camera feed. I have never hated anyone the way I hate that woman. I know one shouldn't speak ill of the dead...but I hope she's burning in the hottest part of hell for what she put my family through! So yes, we've...performed...for an audience or two...or three. Although we weren't even aware of it for two of those times, so they don't really count. And Daniel isn't complaining, so as long as he's okay with it, then all is good.


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The crates that SG-10 brought back are stacked in the back corner. Because that's the only place the crew could put them for the time being. Stephanie and Ramir and Todd worked so hard to clear out the warehouse, and it seems as if the past six months has brought an explosion of discoveries, every team dragging back a multitude of crates and boxes filled with artifacts. Daniel would be much happier if the artifacts could be left on site until he examined them...but that is never going to happen. He's only one man, and SGC Gamma has twenty-five teams. Well, twenty four. There isn't an SG-6.

Just as it always does, the thought of SG-6 makes my heart clench. I still miss them. Major Parker. Tony. Texas. Trent. I was assigned to SG-6 for a few months. I hated every minute of it. Not because of the guys...they were great...but because I never got to see Daniel. During the three months I was assigned to 6, my husband and I spent a total of six days together, and two of those hadn't even been full days. He had submitted his resignation to Jack because of it. And when he had threatened to quit, so had Sam and Teal'c. Which had given Jack the leverage he'd needed to let the president and a few very annoying senators know that he was running the SGC, and if they didn't like how he was doing it, they could find someone else for the job. The politicians had backed off. I was put back on SG-1. We took a long weekend off immediately after that...we went to Denver. That was when I got pregnant with Emily.

SG-6 transferred from the Alpha site to Gamma right after 'the exodus'. Jack, Duncan, General Hammond, and General Monroe had begun planning the move as soon as they had discovered that the NID was 'interested' in the 'rumor' about the Immortals. Having any of those assholes get their hands on an Immortal was...and still is...a nightmare to contemplate. Protecting Earth is what the Immortals had been created for. We can't do the job and be on the run, afraid for our own lives, at the same time. Duncan established Gamma with the help and blessing of the US government. The Immortals built Hope, the first place that any of them could live without fear. And they have kept it that way. Declaring their...our...independence has been the only way to see to it that Gamma, and Hope, remains a place where Immortals can live without fear. It allows us the freedom to do our job...protect Earth...protect all human life.

It seemed for awhile that SG-1 and SG-6 had become one team, we worked together so often. We were damned good, too. Then we went on that awful mission. Thanks to Steven Raynor, a Goa'uld named Dagon had decided that he wanted Daniel and I. And Gamma. The cost of protecting the new Immortal home world was heartbreakingly high.

Anita Parker and her kids have returned to Earth. She has family in Detroit. Evan Junior wants to enlist in the GMF. It might be odd thing to say, but I hope that Anita can talk him out of it. The Goa'uld have taken the Major. I can't stand the thought of the snakes getting his son as well. And no matter how much it rankles to admit it, we have suffered far too many losses at the hands of the Goa'uld, and the reality of it is, we'll likely suffer more. Evan Parker, Junior is not a sacrifice that I'm willing to make.

I force my wandering thoughts back to the artifacts that await us. The only inventory list of contents that we have is what the team who packed the crates wrote out. Daniel has been sending Todd and Ramir with several of the SG teams when MALP and UAV images show enough of archaeological interest. Which means that just getting the items tagged and inventoried has become a problem. We really do need to hire more help. I'll work on that ad later in the day. Maybe I'll suggest putting one in the Hope Sentinel. We might not find any archaeologists here, but I'll bet that we could at least find a few people willing to do inventory and research. And there's a lot of both that needs to be done.

When Daniel begins to open the crates, I can't help but watch him. Okay...ogle. He has got to be the best built man in the universe. I watch the muscles in his arms bulge as he begins to lift out the heavy pieces of mortared rock. Those are the arms that hold me. When I'm excited. When we make love. The arms that protect me...whenever I'm frightened. The curve of that fine ass when he bends over is enough to give me an old fashioned case of the vapors. Sam and I have often wondered if the guys are ever as...distracted...by the Fire as we are. I swear there are times I look at him, and it takes every ounce of self-control I possess to keep from grabbing him, sucking his face off...or dropping to my knees and making love to that magnificent anaconda of his until he's begging for mercy. I feel as if the Fire is always just a heartbeat away from burning out of control in me.

He turns around. Grins. Winks at me. The rat knows I'm standing here thinking about something other than that mural. He knows exactly what I'm standing here thinking about. The other night he asked me if his constant need to touch me, to make love to me, to be near me, in any way bothered me...made me feel smothered. It doesn't. I need him just as much. I might not be physically addicted to him. But emotionally...psychologically, I'm a bigger 'junkie' than he is! When I felt that my words weren't offering the comfort I knew he needed, I did the only thing I could think of to make my point...I used my body. Wrapped him as tightly in my love as I could. I'm pretty sure he got the message. I'm certain I'll have to 'repeat' it again...his insatiable need for me seems to bother him at times...not that he minds it, but he is, he has informed me, terrified that one day I'll lose patience with him, as he put it. Not gonna to happen. His love is what keeps me alive. His need is the gauntlet that protects me from my own doubts and insecurities. I have more than enough of those for both of us! I worry that one day he'll become weary of dealing with all of the scars that haunt me. The darkness that controlled me, dominated my thoughts for so very long has been subdued. I'm still learning to live without those constant fears hanging over me. But there are other scars that were left on my soul. I still battle them daily. Poor Daniel. He has a total basket case for a wife. That he loves me, puts up with all of it, is a testament to his patience, his innate goodness.

Slowly, carefully, we begin to arrange the pieces of the murals on the floor. The pieces are in a variety of sizes, from nearly too large for one person to deal with, to chunks no larger than my hand. For an hour we push and pull and tug and align and try to get them in the correct order. The team that took down the walls didn't have time to mark each piece as it went into the box. It's like putting a giant puzzle together. I've always enjoyed the challenge of puzzles. The first hint of the story is becoming visible. I can tell by watching his eyes that he's as excited as I am. The large pieces are fairly easy to place. It's the smaller ones that are the challenge. We have to lay them down, rotate, try them in another spot, but eventually we're starting to see it as it was meant to be viewed.

"This isn't Tollan," he says quietly. Daniel should know. He's been dealing with alien cultures for eighteen years now, give or take.

I certainly have no clue who the people we're seeing in the representations are. Scenes of daily life...farming, taking care of animals that look like sheep, weaving, making pottery... all of the things that would be expected of a agrarian society. From what we can see, there aren't any signs of industrialization. The only thing I can say with any certainty is that they aren't Cardorian. The few markings that appear to be some form of text on one of the pieces are unlike anything I've ever seen. "Any clue as to who they are...were?"

Daniel shakes his head. "I have no idea." His voice is soft. His eyes are moving carefully over the stones, his finger keeping his place as he examines every inch.

If he doesn't know, we're looking at the handiwork totally new civilization. Well, new to us. Unknown to us, is what I should say. My hands are shaking as I reach for one of the smaller pieces, push it closer to the one beside it. This fragment of wall that I'm holding was built...created...by the hands of an alien. The paint was mixed and applied by a being that we know nothing about. So far the drawings seem to be of humans...or at least hominids, but we have no idea who they were. Where they came from. Whether or not any of them are still alive somewhere in the vastness of the universe. Mind boggling stuff! Other items were found near the temple where these walls were taken from, objects of everyday life that might offer more clues about the people we're dealing with. "There were a few artifacts that were found nearby, almost six feet down."

His head nearly snaps off of his neck when he looks over at me. The only outward sign of his excitement. "Have Mike run a carbon test on them," he says. Calmly. Coolly. I'm about to fly apart I'm so excited, and he's as calm as if he were ordering a cup of coffee! How does he manage to do that? "Let's finish putting this together. Then I want to see the footage of the dig." He glances at his watch. "Ready for lunch?"

Lunch? At a time like this? We're looking at the walls taken from a temple who knows how old, a mural created by a civilization we've never encountered before, and he wants to eat? He's just not human sometimes! No one can be that calm at a time like this!

"Casey, you have to eat," he says quietly, taking my lack of immediate response as reluctance, or even unwillingness. Which isn't the case. I'm just too excited to eat!

"I don't know if I can," I admit. I can't keep my eyes off of it. The colors are faded. Large areas are completely devoid of any markings, the result of time and wind and erosion. But what we can see, even in its deteriorated state, is breathtaking.

"What you do to me," he whispers, just before leaning over to kiss me. Just a soft touch, his lips against mine. A quick flick of his tongue over my lower lip, and then he's pulling away. It's just enough to send flames dancing up and down my spine.

I manage to pull my eyes away from the mural long enough to look at him. When I'm feeling...insecure...when I doubt his feelings, his love for me, one look into those beautiful blue eyes is all it takes to set my heart back on the right path. His eyes are so full of love that it takes my breath away. I can feel my love for him pounding in my veins. "I love you."

He flashes that sexy, half-shy smile. My knees go weak. Happens every time. Good thing I'm already on the floor. "Love you too, babe. Let's go have some lunch. Then we'll finish this up."

I don't want to stop. We're so close to having it all done! I can't wait to have it all together, spread out across the floor, so that I can see the way it was meant to be viewed, as one long, beautiful mural. An entire story in drawings and a few carefully placed words. The story of a people who probably lived, died, and faded from existence while the first humans were gathering in caves on Earth. That's a hell of a lot to try to wrap my mind around. My eyes stray from his, back to those amazing drawings. His hand on my shoulder is the first clue I have that he's getting to his feet.

"Come on, Angel."

He's laughing at me. I can see it in his eyes, in the grin on his face. Not in a bad way. No, he's totally...amused. "How can you be so damned calm? We may have just discovered a new civilization, and you're acting like it's no big deal!"

"What, I should be bouncing around like you are?"

Now just what in the hell does he mean by that? I haven't moved from this spot! Nor have I made any type of movements that could be interpreted as 'bouncing'. None. I've just been kneeling here, helping him move these pieces of wall. He pulls me up, slides his hands over my hips. Which does absolutely nothing to help me maintain control. I need to touch him...just a little bit. So I run my hands from his waist to his shoulders. The warmth of his body, the firmness of the muscle beneath his shirts makes me start thinking about things other than the mural. See how much he affects me? "Bouncing?"

"Metaphorically speaking."

"Right. I am not 'bouncing around'!"

"Yes you are. I can see it your eyes. You're off the walls over this."

"And you're not even the tiniest bit excited?" I know that he is. I just want him to admit it!

"I never said that."

"I know, you're better at hiding, right?"

He flashes a smile at me. And then I see it. His eyes are alive, full of light and dancing with excitement. I hear someone walking up from behind me, and watch as he closes himself off once again. He guards himself carefully, a means of self protection he has developed as the result of dealing with the Goa'uld. Never let them see how scared you are. And he doesn't. There are times he just can't hide his excitement, or his anger, or his surprise. But only I am given the privilege, the honor, of seeing...knowing how he really feels, what he's really thinking. I reach out, touch him gently. Feel a wave of absolute exhilaration. His tender touch in return warms me to the depths of my soul. 'You're just as excited as I am!'

'And that surprises you?'

No, no it really doesn't. Daniel is passionate about his work. And something like this is totally mind blowing. He's doing as much 'bouncing' as I am. 'No.'

"Hey, Danny!" Mike says. I've always liked Mike. The man has the most cheerful disposition! In all the time I've known him, I don't think I've ever seen him in a bad mood. He stops beside us. Gives me a big smile. We share a secret, Mike and I. Oh, Terry is in on it too. It's something...special. 

"Hey, Mike. What's up?"

"We have to get something done about all of...this..." he says, waving his hand in the direction of the very crowded gallery.

"I know. Casey's going to write up an ad to send out to all the universities we can think of."

This is the perfect time to make my suggestion. "We should run an ad in the Sentinel as well."

Daniel's eyebrows go up, and then he frowns slightly. Facial movements that follow his surprise, and then indicate he's thinking about the suggestion. Daniel speaks not only with his words, but with his eyes, his face, his entire body. "Not many archaeologists around here."

"Maybe not, but I'll bet we could at least find a couple of researchers, and someone to keep the database up to date."

Mike nods. "We don't actually need archaeologists to inventory and tag this stuff. One of us can categorize it later."

"Good point," Daniel admits. His arms are folded across his chest, he's tapping a finger against his lips. He looks over at me. "Can you have something ready before the deadline?"

Which would be around three o'clock this afternoon. It shouldn't take too long to write something up. I'll have to take more time, put more effort into a plea for archaeologists, but for this..."Sure."

He nods. "Advertise for two researchers. One data specialist. For the inventorying...just list it as general assistance. I think three people to start with, we'll see how it goes."

"Thanks, boss," Mike grins. "I might be Immortal, but I'm not superhuman. No other super heroes lurking around here either."

Daniel grins. "Could have fooled me. You, Terry, and the Whitman's have never ceased to amaze me with what you can accomplish."

Mike grins, looks down at his feet, shuffles his toes a bit. "Thanks, Danny," he says softly.

"I mean it," Daniel says.

The look in the other man's eyes tells us both that he understands that, and appreciates the sentiment. "For now, I think we'll try and get everything organized according to the mission it was brought in from."

"Good a place to start as any," Daniel agrees.

With a nod, and another grin, Mike turns and walks away.

"Now, let's go get lunch." There it is again. That sexy, half-shy smile. I'm amazed that I can remain standing when he flashes that particular smile at me.

The weight of his arm around my shoulders makes my heart skip a beat. Sends fingers of Fire up and down my spine. He steps just a bit closer when I wrap my arm around his waist. Holding him, touching him, things I have to do...I love, I crave the feeling his body against mine, whether we're making love, or walking down the sidewalk toward the mountain.

We've been married eleven years. Well, a bit longer than that actually. Oh, the things we've experienced...endured...suffered...celebrated. And I'm still totally awed that a man as beautifully handsome, as brilliant, as important as Dr. Daniel Jackson would ever notice a skinny, plain, nobody like me. That he loves me...a thought that takes my breath away. The 'gift' that has developed between us, because of who he is and my own gift of sight, our ability to touch one another mind to mind, has been the most precious thing we've been granted. Our capacity to communicate telepathically is all that has kept me sane many, many times. Just knowing he's 'there' is a comfort to me. And each and every time I 'reach' toward him, touch him, caress him, the flood of love...of joy that he sends back to me never fails to send my heart soaring.


A  A  A  A  A  A


The guards know us, we joke with them as we wait for the scanner to identify our palm prints. Down to the twenty-second level, to the commissary. Sam, Jack, and Teal'c are already sitting at 'our table'. Sam is grinning from ear to ear. The satellites must be on the Phoenix. Good! Knowing that we have protection out there, that there are no 'blind spots'...no places where it's possible for 'the buzz' to be detected by those Immortal Hunters...will make it easier to sleep at night. Okay, not that I'm staying awake nights worrying about it. But it is a concern. The Prima soldiers that we captured when we managed to save Kaitlyn and her friends were adamant that their comrades would find us, and would destroy every Immortal 'demon' that 'fouled' the galaxy. Lots of hate there. Lots of prejudice. And that's the most dangerous hate of all.

We wave, and Daniel leads me to the counter where the food is displayed. Today there are several salads to choose from. There's a chicken salad...lots of chicken and tomatoes and cucumbers...I grab it. A packet of ranch dressing...ooh...they have the tomato-bacon-ranch dressing...I love that stuff! A piece of chocolate cake. And coffee. Daniel is eating soup and a sandwich it appears. And he has a piece of that devil's food cake as well. Do I even need to mention the coffee?

Daniel has noticed Sam's grin as well. "I take it the satellites are up?"

"The Phoenix is putting them in place as we speak," she tells us. "We'll have them online and operational by seven tonight."

Which means that Jack will ride home with us, and then come back to pick up Sam when she's finished. Like us, at least from what Sam has told me, they have discussed buying a second vehicle. And, like us, when it comes right down to doing so, just can't justify it. A second vehicle would sit in our garage most of the time. Why make payments on a loan, and insurance, for a car that wouldn't be used most of the time? And the team is so close - both physically, as in living just a few houses apart, and emotionally, - that there's always a ride available.

Our discussions about second vehicles had led Daniel to suggest to Robert deValicort that Hope is large enough for public transportation. An idea that was met with enthusiasm. Our little village has grown...exploded actually...into a medium-sized city...with no signs of slowing in the near future. I think my husband was right when he suggested that we're near capacity in this valley, and that new towns will be sprouting up in the Six Lakes area. I can't help but wonder if there won't be a resort going up near those lakes as well, two of them are rather large, and deep...and would be perfect for boating. It would certainly be a draw for the rich and famous of good ol' Earth, now, wouldn't it? To vacation on the 'edge of the frontier', as Gamma is often referred to in magazines and on television shows there. I have to rein in my wandering thoughts when I realize that Sam is waiting for me to reply to something she has said...and I haven't a clue what that was. "I'm sorry, what?"

Daniel chuckles. "Her mind is still in the Center, on that mural," he teases.

Well, it wasn't, but I smile. No sense letting them all tease me about how far my thoughts really were wandering.

"I just asked if you were ready for Tessa's gallery opening," Sam said.

At long last, after several months of frustrating delays, Tessa is finally opening her art gallery. Simply named 'Noel's', the gallery will house her work, and that of several other local artists. She's having a grand opening, a black-tie affair on Saturday night. Which means that Daniel and I will have to put off our 'marathon-love making session' for a few hours. "Yep. My dress is cleaned and ready to go. So is Daniel's tux."

This comment elicits a groan from the man beside me. "For years I lived without one of the damned things. Now it seems like every time I turn around, I have to put it on for some function or another."

There have been exactly four events for which his tux was required. And one of them he agreed to. He wore it for my birthday, because Sam, Tessa, and Carly decided that we didn't have the chance to dress up often enough. Then there was the opening of the Hope Cultural Center Museum of Art and Natural History. Amazingly long name, and yes, Daniel did have input on it. It has become a very popular attraction for both the citizens of Hope and the tourists who are increasingly flocking to our fair city. He wore it to the grand opening of the Hope Cultural Center Theater, where Carly's ballet troupe performed 'Swan Lake', and did so beautifully, accompanied by the small, but talented Hope Symphony. And then to the Hope Winter Festival Follies, a fund raiser that was a wonderful evening of one-act plays and modern dance numbers, and raised three hundred thousand dollars for the Hope Cultural Center. I never in a million years would have believed that my presence would be...expected...at such events. When we were escorted to our seats at the Follies, the team was together, as usual, and we received a standing ovation. Nice to know that our efforts are appreciated.

"I can't wait to see her sculptures," Sam says. "I've never seen all of them. And a few of them I haven't seen since she finished them."

"I'm anxious to see all of her paintings displayed the way that they should be." Tessa is an incredible artist. We have four drawings that she has done for us, a beautiful portrait of Daniel and I, and three of us with the kids. Tessa allowed Sam and I to go through her canvases one day. They're amazing. And should be hanging on walls where they can be seen and appreciated.

"Julie will have a couple of her paintings there," Daniel says.

I had forgotten that Julie is an artist as well. She must have mentioned it to him at some point in time. For just a few fleeting seconds, the fear that they're having long, intimate conversations...and perhaps more...flashes through my mind. The kicker is, if she didn't have dark hair and dark eyes, I'd never even give it another thought. But she does, and he...I push the thought from my mind.

"Case?" A slight frown mars his handsome face. 'What's wrong?'

It's not easy, the fears are still there, still wrap around my heart. Fears put there years ago, fears that I struggle so hard with. Fears that feed on my own insecurities. 'Nothing.'

'Only you, Case. Only, always and forever.'

It's downright spooky, and sometimes freaking annoying that he seems to be able to read my mind! 'I know.'

'Do you?'

Mom told me that Daniel suffers from my...fears...my insecurities, as much as I do. Of course he does! It can't be easy having a crazy wife! How often must he want to just toss his hands into the air, give up and walk away? 'Yes, I do.'

'Let me feel it.'

It always makes me smile when he asks...begs to feel my love for him. Gently, as carefully as I can, given that we're not alone, I allow my emotions, the love that I feel for him to move forward in my mind. I have no idea exactly how we can do what we do. I only know that we can. And I'm so glad for it! I 'send' my love to him. Watch him smile, feel that flood of emotion flow back from him...strong and deep.

"Would you two knock it off?" Jack grumps. His eyes are laughing at us.

"And we would do that because...?" I ask, using one of his favorite lines.

"Because it annoys the hell out of me."

"Which is exactly why we do it."

Jack harrumphs...I think it was to cover up the fact that he's trying not to laugh. He has 'complained' about Daniel and I 'talking' ever since we discovered that we had the ability to do so. Teal'c and Sam don't even bother to pretend that they don't find the whole thing amusing.

I glance around the room, just to see who all is here. Julie is having lunch with Turk...again. Apparently they've been doing that for the past week or so. Nothing else, at least not yet. But she finally asked him to have that cup of coffee. If I know Turk, and I do, he'll take his time in courting her. He's a great guy. I think they look cute together. Maybe seeing them together...knowing that she has a relationship with the Marine will calm the ridiculous, groundless fears that she's after my Husband...or that my Husband is after her.

There are four nurses having lunch together, one of them the woman named Ellie who has been interested in Daniel since our arrival here. No worries there. She's blonde. And while I was...dead...she tried to come onto him, and he shut her down. Hard. I still feel a bit sorry for her. I've noticed that she still watches him, although she never takes his vitals, or mine, any longer. Daniel is a handsome man. It's impossible not to be impressed by him, and attracted to him. Once again that feeling of wonder, that absolute giddy feeling of sheer amazement that a man like Daniel would even notice a woman like me, let alone love me, sends a shiver up my spine.

Yet another table is surrounded by the secretaries who have been hired by the various departments in the mountain. The majority of them are older women, wives of several of the executives of Merriwether Industries, or Collier Manufacturing, no doubt. Duncan has two now, one is really nothing more than a receptionist, making appointments for him, taking calls. I don't know why we didn't have them sooner...I guess we were all accustomed to doing the paperwork ourselves. Too many years of secrecy to overcome. Duncan has always hated that part of his job...the paperwork. Having someone to help him probably allows him more time to...to do what? Other than the paperwork, what does Duncan do around here? I'll have to ask him sometime.

Julie was telling me about the move to a 'paperless' operation that's in progress. About damned time, I say. The SGC is most definitely a military operation. But we don't need to keep some of the archaic military procedures that bog everything down in a ton of paperwork. Records need to be kept, and there are the request forms for supplies and equipment, and mission reports. But keeping them on the computers makes keeping redundant paper copies unnecessary. There will always be paper files of mission reports. There have been many times those reports have been used during briefings, or for research for other missions. But Duncan has declared that any mission reports older than three years go onto backup disks. Then those paper reports are shredded. Makes sense to me. The information is still available, without the need for an entire room to store it. Besides, we're living on a different planet, have trading agreements with 'alien' cultures, it's time to move into the 21st century with the way we operate! Less paperwork means even less time spent in Daniel's office every morning. I like that idea!

It doesn't take long to eat our lunch. On the elevator ride back to the surface, Daniel asks me if there's a possibility that the mural was created by people who might have been early 'members' of the Cardorian society, or at least, a few of those who had become a part of that very special civilization. It's a thought that hadn't occurred to me. I didn't see any Cardorian marks, but I was looking for what I could recognize. We have every Cardorian tablet, wall, and artifact filmed and photographed. It will mean sorting through each and every one of them, looking for the symbols that we couldn't...don't recognize.

"We'll copy what's on that mural, and then do a search," he decides.

If he's right, and these people were among those who became the Cardorians, we'll find a 'key' that will help us to translate what is written. And that will unlock the secrets of this new civilization that we've discovered. Considering what we've learned about our galaxy so far, no doubt those people were taken from Earth at some point in time. Amazing that the First World really is the first world where human life evolved. There are other humanoids, but they're different enough that we know their origins are far removed from our own. And there are damned few of them.

As soon as we're back in the center, I head up to the office to pull up images of three of the most diverse of the tablets, while Daniel hurries to the back of the gallery to copy the marks that are the written word of this mysterious new people.

I grab one of the yellow legal pads on the desk. I'll take a few minutes and get an ad worked out, so I can call the Hope Sentinel and get it placed before three. Simplicity is the key.



Wanted: Stalwart individuals not afraid of hard work, overwhelming work loads, and often eccentric co-workers. Attention to detail a must, organizational skills required, and a sense of humor absolutely essential. These brave souls will be interested in the following positions:

Two (2) researchers: Position requires mind-numbing hours searching through zillions of files looking for one or two vague references that must be immediately sent via email to those who have requested the information.

One (1) data entry specialist: someone not concerned about carpal tunnel syndrome, and will be willing to continually update and change information database on a daily basis. Most information will be mythological in nature, and known facts must be correlated in easy to read files. At least a hundred cross-references per entry will be required.

Two (2) inventory specialists: Able to lift heavy boxes without causing bodily harm, unafraid to stick hands into crates sealed up on alien planets. Attention to detail required, as these specialists will be expected to know the difference between all artifacts when inventory is taken. Must know the difference between a 'tic' and a 'tac'.

Please apply in person to Dr. Daniel Jackson. Or send resume to the Gamma Archaeological Research Center. May the gods have mercy on your soul.



And a sense of humor doesn't hurt either. Satisfied that the add says exactly what it needs to say, I grab the phone and make the call to the Sentinel. I send the ad as an email attachment, wait to have verification that it arrived. The man whom I'm talking to begins laughing, and continues to do so as he reads it out loud, making certain that it's just the way I want it. He promises that it will be in tonight's edition of the paper, and we end the call. He was still laughing as he hung up. It's not that funny!

"Hey, babe," Daniel says as he walks in the door. He tosses his legal pad on the desk. "Is this the ad?"

"Mmmhmm. I just called it in. It will be in tonight's paper." I watch as he reads it. His cheek is twitching by the time he gets to the end of it.

"You're a real smartass, you know that, don't you?"

"So I've been told."

"At least we'll know that whoever applies has a sense of humor," he says, grinning down at me.

"I believe I put in the ad that a sense of humor was essential."

He cracks up. "Working with you it certainly is."

"Are you complaining, Doctor Jackson?"


I pick up the legal pad he has carefully copied the text onto. Turn to the computer monitor. No doubt it's going to take the entire afternoon to go through the images of the tablets. A bit of that mind-numbing research. It's a good thing I love the job. And have a cute boss, whom I happen to love as well. Otherwise, I'd quit.

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