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Another One Bites the Dust
The Persephone stayed in orbit above the planet, the Phoenix and the Hak'tyl returned to guard Laurel's planet. Chances were that Nergal was going to show up in one place or the other…soon. He had already tried attacking Laurel no less than five times now. No one believed that he would give up.
Just as she had done on the Phoenix, Casey had found a cargo bay and was working out to her music, her body moving in time with the beat; each stretch, jab, punch, and kick full of the anger…and the fear…that raced through her. She could still feel the terror, the confusion that had filled that young girl's mind. That memory triggered another, of a young blonde woman, her eyes filled with fear and pain, and how for one brief second they had locked on her own, just before that bastard had slit her throat. How many more Innocents would die before they could stop him? How many more would suffer? Was he even now torturing one of them as he had tortured her? Her fists punched the air…she tried to steer away from the thoughts of what had happened to her. The pain…the anger…the feelings of helplessness…the despair she had felt when he had made it very clear that she would allow him to touch her…or die. Why? Why hadn't he beheaded her? No matter what he did to her, she could not, would not have ever let him touch her… never! What if…what if he was taking his anger at her out on Nissa and the others he had taken? Why hadn't she tried harder to kill him while she had been his prisoner?
Daniel watched her from the hatchway, his arms crossed over his chest. She'd been quiet since their return to the ship. She had her back to him, she was drenched with sweat, her tee shirt was sticking to her wet skin. When she suddenly dropped down to the floor, her hands over her face, he hurried to her side, pulled her into his arms. He said nothing, just let her sob against his shoulder.
His arms were warm and strong, and she could smell the sweat on him…he had been in the gym working out with Jack and Teal'c. She couldn't find words to explain, she could only cling to him and cry.
"Cry it out, Angel. Let it all go," he whispered.
Her sobs turned into wails of pain. It had been nearly three weeks since her return from captivity. She had been busy, kept herself busy, and continued to force the memories…the images of torture…to the back of her mind. Reaching out to Nissa, touching her broken mind, had brought every horrifying moment back with crystal clarity. Her body was shaking, her heart pounding…she opened her eyes…
"Welcome back, my little Tau'ri. Perhaps today you will tell me what I wish to know. Give me what I will have," Nergal said, smiling at her. His hand reached out to touch her face, caress her arm.
No! Oh, god no! She was still here! Still his prisoner! Still being tortured! She had only dreamed that she had been rescued…dreamed about Unlinkil, dreamed that Daniel had come and taken her home…No! No more! She couldn't take it anymore! No more pain…no more!
His hands gripped her arms. She fought against him, tried to pull away. One arm free…she used both hands…her feet were unbound, she kicked at him…there…free!…run…hide! She looked around frantically. No escape! Terrified, she saw a dark corner, ran and huddled there, praying that he wouldn't find her as she hid in the shadows.
"Casey! Casey! Take it easy, babe! It's me, Daniel! Casey, look at me!" She had stopped crying, only to suddenly begin fighting him. Her eyes were glassy, filled with terror. Wherever she was, and he suspected she was back in those torture chambers of Nergal's, she was trying to get away. She kicked him…hard…managed to break free from his grip. He gasped in pain, ignored it while he tried to reach her. For whatever reason, right now she was blocking him. He doubted that she realized it. She looked around, her eyes wild with fear, and then ran to the corner of the room. She was huddled there, rocking back and forth, tears falling down her cheeks. Oh, god! No! I can't lose her, not like this!
If she could just reach Daniel, her mind told her, everything would be fine. Daniel would help her! He would come and get her …take her home. She just needed Daniel! She closed her eyes, reached out…there! He was there.
He smiled when he felt her. He reached back, caressed her gently.
'Daniel, please! Help me! I can't take anymore! Please!'
'I'll be right there, babe, I promise. I won't let him hurt you again.' He moved slowly toward her. 'I'm almost there, babe. Can you see me?'
She opened her eyes. "Daniel? Oh, god, Daniel!" She rose to her feet, launched herself into his arms. "Oh, god, I can't take anymore!"
"Shh, it's okay, Angel. I have you. He can't get to you now, we're safe. Close your eyes Angel, I'm going to take you to the Persephone, okay?" He scooped her into his arms. He didn't know whether he was doing the right thing or not. All he knew was that he wanted to get her to their quarters. He was sure she would calm down in the more familiar surroundings.
She nodded, closed her eyes and pressed her face against his shoulder.
"Don't look Angel, until I tell you it's okay."
Once again she nodded.
He practically ran through the narrow passageways to the officer's deck. He waited until the hatch was closed behind him before putting her on her feet. "It's okay, babe, you can open your eyes now."
She opened her eyes slowly, looked around her. She knew this place. She looked up into familiar blue eyes, eyes that she trusted. Eyes that she loved. They were full of love…and worry…and fear. "Safe now?"
"Safe now, Angel. Would you like to take a shower?"
"Okay, let's take a shower. Are you hungry?"
She shook her head.
"We'll take a shower, and then we'll get some sleep, how does that sound?"
He smiled. "It will be easier to undress out here. Can you do that? Can you get your sweats off?"
She looked down at her body. "Sweats?"
"Yeah, babe. Can you take them off?"
Her fingers pulled at the fabric, began to shake when the material refused to come off of her body.
Daniel frowned. This isn't good. Not at all. "It's okay, Angel. Let me help you. You know how much I love to undress you," he tried to smile at her.
She looked at him, then smiled shyly. "You like to do that."
He did smile. "Yes, I do." He stripped his own sweaty clothes from his body, then gently undressed his wife. She held tightly to his arms.
"Yes, Angel, you're safe now."
He shuddered at the implication…the memories that she had of being tortured…his heart breaking at the pain she had endured, both the physical and the mental. His mind railed in anger against the Goa'uld who had so wounded her, his Beloved, his Chosen. "No knives, babe."
She nodded, let him lead her into the tiny bathroom. She continued to cling to his arm while he got the water hot enough to be comfortable.
"In we go. Let's get cleaned up, okay?"
He carefully lathered her scrunchy, moved it gently over her body.
"No more blood?"
He winced, looked into those wide, green eyes, saw the fear still lurking there. "No more blood, babe. I promise."
She watched the water swirl down the drain. There was no blood in it. Just lots of pretty bubbles. She giggled softly. She liked bubble baths.
"Let me wash your hair," he said softly. He took the sprayer and wet her hair thoroughly. She had two bottles of shampoo on the ledge. He grabbed the one she used the most often, put some in his hand, then gently began to work it over her head, through the long silk that wrapped in wet tendrils around his fingers.
"That feels nice," she said.
"Good," he replied. She had closed her eyes, her head back completely, letting his fingers work over her scalp.
"You have the most incredible hands," she sighed.
Daniel heaved a silent sigh of relief. She was sounding…normal…once again. "I've always thought you were the one with incredible hands," he said, smiling.
He was rinsing her hair, was almost finished, when she jerked, opened her eyes and looked around her. She pulled her lip between her teeth. "Okay, as much as I love taking showers with you…when did we get in here?"
"Let's finish up, then we'll talk."
She smiled at him, grabbed his soap and washcloth, and began to gently, lovingly wash him. When she was finished, she washed his hair, then reached out to the narrow shelf above the tiny sink that was on the wall next to the shower, grabbed his shave cream and razor. Her fingers worked the foam onto his face, then she carefully moved the razor over his cheeks, jaw and chin. She giggled as he moved his face to help her. "You look so silly doing that."
"Made you laugh, though, didn't it?" he replied with a chuckle. She giggled again.
She pulled the sprayer around and carefully rinsed his face, then let her fingers move over his skin. "Smooth. Your handsome, beautiful face is all smooth now."
"Thanks, Angel," he grinned.
"You're welcome." She turned the water off, reached for the towels. They dried one another, he wrapped her hair in a towel and squeezed the excess water from the long locks.
He grabbed her comb before she could, gently worked it through her hair until all the tangles were gone. She put lotion on her body, he smoothed it onto her back and hips and that sweet ass. Daniel couldn't help but watch her dress. He loved the way she literally slipped into her clothes. Almost as much as he loved the way she slid…or shimmied…out of them. He pulled on clean boxers, reached for the clean fatigues. Smiled when her fingers brushed his aside and buttoned up his shirt.
"Something - happened - didn’t it?" she asked softly.
"Yeah, babe, something did," he replied. He sat down on the bed, took her hand and pulled her down beside him. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"I was in the hanger bay, working out. I was thinking about Nissa, and how I should have tried harder to kill that bastard when I had the chance."
He snorted. "I don't think you had much of a chance of that, Case. I think you did damned good to just survive!"
She shook her blonde head. "I should have at least made the attempt. How many more Innocents will die because of my failure?"
His blue eyes widened as he stared at her. "Casey Renee Jackson, that is the most preposterous thing I have ever heard! You were being tortured…to death! How in the hell were you supposed to kill him?"
Tears welled up in her eyes. "Daniel, I could have…when I was in his…his room. There were swords right there, not once did I even try to pick one up! Not once did I attempt to take him out!"
He studied her for a minute. "How close did you get to these swords?"
She pulled her lip between her teeth. "Well, they were on the wall…in the…main room. I didn't even see them when I first went in, I was so hungry and thirsty all I saw was food and water. And him, of course, because he sat right across from me and ate. Then…" she closed her eyes, memories washing over her, causing her to shudder. "I was so damned tired! I could see the bed…and I…all I could think about was sleeping…just for a little bit."
His heart ached, understanding how weary she had been, as weary mentally, and emotionally, as she was physically from days of death and torture. "You needed rest, babe. I could tell how tired you were when you 'talked' to me."
She nodded. "The next day…" She shuddered. "After all of…that…when I was dressed, and I walked into the main room, he was already sitting at the table. I should have just walked over, grabbed a sword and killed the bastard!"
"Uh huh. How close to those swords was he?"
She gave a small shrug. "I don't know…a few feet, I guess."
"And you think he would have just sat there and let you grab one and kill him?"
Her lip went between her teeth again. "I should have at least tried."
"If you had, chances are he really would have beheaded you," he said firmly.
She shivered. "But I didn't even-"
He put a finger to her lips, then took her chin in his hand, turned her face toward his. Waited for those beautiful green eyes to focus on his. "Casey, there is no way you could have reached those swords and done anything other than get killed…and possibly beheaded. You were doing damned good to survive. He's a monster, Casey, and nothing you can do will change that. He's killed thousands of Innocents, babe. He'll kill more, unfortunately, before we get him. Not one of those deaths is your fault."
"One is," she whispered. "If I hadn't refused him, he never would have called them in…slit her throat."
"I think he would have done that anyway. Because he knew it would upset you. Knew that it was a way to control you. If not her, not that moment, then someone else later."
She moved towards him, wrapped her arms around his waist, put her cheek against his shoulder. His arms went around her, pulled her close, held her tightly. "You really think that?"
"I firmly believe that, Casey."
"So how does this come into me being in the cargo bay working out, and then suddenly in the shower with you?"
"I don't know what you were thinking about, Angel. I had just got to the doorway, was watching you…I like doing that, you know. Some of those moves of yours are downright titillating!" he teased lightly.
"Anyway, you suddenly dropped to the floor and started crying."
"I remember that part."
"I pulled you into my arms, and let you cry, and then all of a sudden you started fighting me…you kicked me…and managed to get away. Then you huddled down in the corner, scared to death. You reached out for me and begged me to come get you. So that's what I did. I…uh…I made you close your eyes, and I brought you here. Got you into the shower."
Casey shook her head. "I remember crying on your shoulder. I don't remember the rest."
One hand was moving up and down her back, slowly caressing her, offering comfort. "Angel, after what you've been through, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner."
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Being such a basket case."
He heaved a sigh. "Casey Renee!" He sighed again, tipped her chin up so that she was looking at him. "Angel, you are not a basket case. You are the bravest, strongest, most amazing woman I have ever met!"
"I think you're just a wee bit prejudiced," she said, smiling up at him.
"Think so, huh?"
"Yep. I shake my assets at you, and I can have you believing that the sky is green and grass is purple!"
He laughed. "Okay, I admit that when you shake those incredible assets at me, I get a bit…distracted. But I know the truth about you, lady. You're an incredible woman, Case. I'm damn proud of you."
"Thanks for rescuing me…when I needed rescuing."
"You're welcome for that, too."
"Thanks for loving me."
"No thanks needed for that, Angel."
She sighed softly, snuggled closer. "I love you, Daniel Jackson."
He pressed a kiss against her forehead. "Love you, too, Casey Jackson."
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