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Wade was sitting quietly. Dr. Weston, the medical officer for the Phoenix, had told him that as soon as Dr. Jackson arrived, he would give the men the results of the DNA test.
"DNA?" Wade asked, a frown on his face.
"Deoxyribonucleic acid. That's a nucleic acid that consists of two long chains of nucleotides twisted together into a double helix and joined by hydrogen bonds between complementary bases adenine and thymine or cytosine and guanine; it carries the cell's genetic information and hereditary characteristics," the doctor explained.
"I do not understand," Wade said slowly, his mind swimming with the unfamiliar words the man had used.
"If your DNA and Doctor Jackson's DNA match, then we'll know that you had the same DNA donors. The closer the match, the more certain we can be that you indeed have the same parents."
The dark haired man nodded. "I do not believe this to be possible."
Dr. Weston only smiled. He knew the results of the test.
Daniel walked into the infirmary. His was holding tightly to Casey's hand, as much in need of her gentle support as to keep her physically at his side. "Well?" he asked quietly.
Dr. Weston pointed to a chair beside Wade. "Have a seat Doctor Jackson. Seeing the two of you together, I can see the similarities. You could be twins! There are families in which the siblings, no matter how many years there are between the births, look like clones of one another. I'd say that was true for your family. Doctor Jackson, Mr. Michaels, to 98.978% accuracy, you share the same DNA donors. In laymen's terms, gentlemen, you share the same set of parents."
Wade felt as if he had been hit in the gut. Daniel Jackson, his…brother? No! It couldn't be! He remembered his parents, his little sister and younger brother well! And how different you looked from all of them, his brain reminded him. He had always wondered about that…
Daniel felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. Oh, god, it was true! Everything Casey had told him was true! He had known…knew she was telling him the truth; he simply hadn't wanted to believe it!
For several minutes neither man would look at the other. Casey had pulled away from Daniel, retreated to stand near the door.
He looked over at her. She looked as if she were ready to bolt and run…again. He held out his hand. Smiled when she raced across the room to take it. He could feel her trembling. He reached out to caress away the fear he knew she was harboring. Smiled again when he felt the caress returned, softly, gently. "Guess you should tell Wade what you told me," he said quietly.
Wade looked up at the woman he loved…his brother's wife. Now how damned twisted is that? he thought miserably.
"Claire Ballard Jackson, your mother, was killed in an accident in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. That's on Earth. She was about three weeks pregnant…with you. Her - Guardian…a Being from another level of existence…took you from her womb just seconds before she…died, and hid you. Don't ask me how, I haven't got a clue. Anyway, when she was 'assigned' to another woman, one who had been wanting a child for years, and had been unable to conceive, this Guardian planted you in her womb," Casey said slowly, her voice soft.
Fate is a hateful, cold-hearted bitch, Wade thought for the millionth time in his life. She had a warped sense of humor as well. For the first time since hearing the results of the test, he looked at the man sitting beside him. "My hair is black, yours is dark blonde," he said, as if that would undo all that he had learned.
"Dad had black hair," Daniel responded quietly. "Mom had blonde hair. A little lighter than mine." His fingers tightened around Casey's. He felt her soft caress against his mind. He closed his eyes and allowed her to touch him, soothe him.
"Would you two like to be alone, to talk?" Casey asked softly. She continued to caress him mentally, smiled when he returned the touch.
"About what?" Wade asked tersely.
"I thought maybe you would like to ask Daniel about his…your…parents. About his life. Maybe Daniel would like to ask questions about your life," she explained gently.
Wade shook his head. "Nothing has changed," he said, his voice strained.
Casey shook her own blonde head. Both men could see the sadness in her green eyes. "Everything has changed." Her voice wasn't more than a whisper.
'Angel, let it go! I love you. I will not let you leave my side! You belong to me!'
She smiled at the fire that filled Daniel's eyes. 'I belong always to you, only to you, Beloved. I'm not leaving your side, as long as you want me.'
"Forever, Angel, forever," Daniel said softly. He watched the love in her eyes, the relief fill the green depths. "Always you, only you, forever."
Wade looked at her, saw the love that filled her eyes for this man…his…brother. For the first time he really looked at Daniel, saw the love in his eyes for his wife. He couldn't breathe. He had to get away, now! He stood to his feet, tried to think of something to say. His brain deserted him. Without a word he strode from the room. He headed for the cargo bay that had housed him and the other men who had escaped Drucilla Seleconne's pleasure house. It was the only place he could think of where she wouldn't be.
Casey watched the man leave, knowing that he was upset, knowing there was nothing she could do for him. She turned to Daniel. "Are you all right?"
He shrugged. "I guess so. I'm sort of numb."
She nodded. "Do you want to talk?"
He shook his head. "Not really."
She stood there, her fingers locked against his. She sat down in the chair that Wade had deserted, leaned her head against his shoulder. "I'm here, Beloved. Whatever you need," she said softly.
He turned his face toward her and kissed the top of her head. "Thank you, Angel."
A A A A A A
Wade paced the length of the cargo bay and back. How could this be? Every instance when he had felt…different…from his parents, his siblings, came rushing back into his memory. He shook his head. It just wasn't possible! It wasn't! How could he have been taken from the womb of one woman, a dying woman, and planted into the womb of another? He stopped suddenly. "…I've learned that what I think to be impossible often is very possible, in this universe…" The words echoed in his ears. He dropped to his knees. How could he be the brother of this man? What would Daniel Jackson expect of him…from him? Why did Casey ever have to come into that pleasure house?
His thoughts turned to his own family. His mother, Mara, a tiny woman with long red hair and deep brown eyes, always full of love and laughter. He had always found it amusing that she had to look up so far to shake her finger at him when she lectured him about whatever it was that he had done wrong at the time. His father was of medium height, Wade had towered over him by his sixteenth birthday. Dolan Michaels had dark brown eyes, and was so quiet that Wade remembered days that would pass without the man saying a word. But he was an excellent freighter captain. He had a devoted crew, and with one look from him each man knew what was expected. His little sister, Alleia, as tiny as her mother, her bright red hair and brown eyes, full of laughter, just like her mother…always full of mischief as well. His little brother Tomas, as serious as their father, his auburn hair a cross between his mother's red and his father's brown. Wade remembered the comments about his black hair, his blue eyes. How tall he was. How muscular he was, compared to his father's slight build. He smiled when he recalled how his mother would always laugh and say that the gods had blessed her with one of their own. He shuddered when he realized how close to the truth she was! Had she known…suspected…that he wasn't truly hers? She had loved him as fiercely, was as protective, as proud of him as she was her younger children. But had she known?
If Daniel's…his…their…parents had been killed, and Wade realized that Daniel had still been a young child when this had happened, what kind of life had he had? Were there people who had taken him in, loved him, cared for him as their own?
He took a deep breath. He would go back to Pangeria. Although he was Daniel Jackson's brother…younger brother…he was still needed there, still wanted there - he hoped. No, his parentage changed nothing. He had nothing to offer Jackson, wanted nothing from him. Especially when Daniel would always have her at his side.
A A A A A A
Casey watched as Daniel bounced his knee. He needed to let off steam, work his body while his mind dealt with the problem…news…situation. She led him to their room, changed into her sweats, convinced him to put on his, grabbed her CD player and speakers, and dragged him to the cargo bay. He hadn't put up much of a fight, a token one at best.
She showed him the moves…a combination of martial arts stances and thrusts that Duncan had taught her. She put on Aerosmith, and they began their workout. She had reached out to him twice, just to…touch him, smiled when she felt his gentle touch in return. Her fears were fading; now that it was confirmed, and Daniel was still here, still wanted her, she could see she had been overreacting. Was that because of her own…discomfort…guilt…concerning Wade?
Daniel was full of nervous energy. He had allowed Casey to drag him to the cargo bay; she had her CD blasting, and was taking him through a series of martial arts movements she had learned from Duncan. Sweat was pouring off him as he pushed his body to the limit, trying to keep up with her…and his mind. Wade Michaels was his brother! What a cosmic joke that was! He was absolutely certain that somewhere, someone was laughing their ass off.
He wondered briefly if his mother had even been aware that she was pregnant. He tried to think back, examine his childhood memories with the knowing eyes of an adult. No, there wasn't anything that he could remember that would have been a sign that she knew that she was expecting. He wondered if they would have been happy to know that they were going to have another child. He was sure his mother would have been. His father, always so patient when teaching him the ancient hieroglyphics that covered the walls of the monuments, the ruins that they excavated. Yeah, he was pretty sure that his father would have been excited as well.
Now what? his brain asked him. How the hell should I know? he demanded. How could he…accept…the man who brought so much pain to Casey? Was he going to be expected to invite Wade to family get-togethers, for Christmas and Thanksgiving? Oh, hell no! he thought angrily. Casey stressed out enough about holidays, she didn't need the added tension of spending the day with the man who had…had…say it bucko…get it out…the man who had fucked her in that pleasure house.
He dropped down to the floor, winded, leaned back on outstretched arms and watched as Casey continued her workout. She was drenched with sweat, her hair clinging to her wet cheeks and neck. She was punching the air as if it were a real enemy that she was trying to subdue. Her tank top was stuck to her back, he could see the muscles flex as she moved.
He realized that Casey was his focus; her comfort, her happiness, were what mattered to him. He didn't care if he never saw Wade Michaels again, brother or not. Genetics did not a family make. He was closer to Duncan than he would ever be to Wade. Jack was closer to being a brother than a just a mere friend. He had a family. There was no need for a brother.
She wondered if the two men would want, seek a relationship…try to become brothers in spirit as well as in blood. She wondered if she would ever be able to look at Wade and see not the man with whom she had cheated on her Husband, but Daniel's brother. During their time on Algeria…between the heated, glorious, mind-blowing love making sessions…Daniel had told her that she had never cheated on him. He had told her that as far as he was concerned, what had happened was closer to rape. She had not been a willing participant because she hadn't been lucid enough to give consent, or withhold it. She had finally come to understand that it was not until Daniel had come into the room, and pulled Wade off her, that she'd actually realized what was happening. It wasn't until she stopped Daniel from killing him with the Fire that Wade's face registered in her mind. Now she clung to that conversation and realization tightly, holding them up like a talisman of protection against the feelings of guilt that still filled her mind.
What would she do if Daniel insisted that Wade be invited to their home…to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners…birthdays …their anniversary barbecues? What could she do? Wade was his brother, and Daniel had every right to welcome him into his life, his home. She would survive. She would get through each…encounter. As long as Daniel loved her, as long as he never looked at her and saw only what had happened in that…place…then she would survive.
Why had the Triad decided to dump that information on her…on him…now? Was it just to insure that Wade was rescued, or was there more to it? If there was more, they would learn about it eventually, she supposed. She continued to push her body. If she could sufficiently wear herself out, maybe that damned nightmare wouldn't come. Thinking about it made her miss a step, threw her rhythm off. She clenched her hands at her side and let out a cry of frustration.
"Angel?" Strong arms wrapped around her. He smelled sweaty, masculine. Her body reacted at a purely primal level.
"Sorry," she murmured.
"For what, Case? Being as frustrated over this entire ordeal as I am?"
She looked up into blue eyes so full of love, understanding, warmth, that it took her breath away. "For letting it get to me."
He smiled. "I feel like screaming myself."
"We could do it together. Wonder what the sensors would pick up if we did?"
That brought a chuckle. "I have no idea."
"Daniel, I love you. Whatever you decide to do, I'll be right by your side."
He planted a kiss on the tip of her nose. "Thanks, Angel. I appreciate that."
She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pushed her body against his. "So, shall we go take a shower? We could…discuss …the first thing that comes up," she said, smiling seductively.
"Now that's a very interesting proposition," he said.
"I thought you might think so. Of course, if nothing comes up, we could always talk about the weather," she teased.
"Is that your way of saying you don't think I can get it up?" His blue eyes were dancing.
"Well, you have been exercising pretty hard. Tends to wear a man out. Especially at your age."
"Uh huh. I'm thirty-six."
"Oh, you wish! You're forty-four! Eighty-five if Oma hadn't sent us back in time!"
"Hey, the body is thirty-six."
"Yeah, and on a good day your brain hits six!"
"Oh, that's going to cost you, little girl." He pinched her firm behind. Earned a squeal of surprise.
She danced away from him. "Right. You have to catch me first."
He lunged for her, watched her skitter to the other side of the bay. She was laughing now. She watched him, her green eyes full of happiness - real happiness - for the first time in nearly two weeks. He leaned to the right, she headed to the left, where he managed to catch her and pull her close.
She wrapped her arms around him. "Do you realize what just happened?" she asked softly.
He shook his head.
"We're back, Daniel. Back where we should be…away from that damned cliff!"
He hugged her tighter. "Yeah, babe, we are." He pushed his face against her hair as she held him tighter. "Love you, Angel," he whispered.
"Love you, too, Sweetheart," she whispered in return.
"Let's go take that shower, and I'll show you just how tired I'm not," he said playfully. "Then we'll get something to eat."
"Will we be home in time for dinner?"
He smiled. "I hope so, babe. I miss 'em, too."
When he swept her up into his arms, she let out another squeak of surprise. She whispered to him all the way to their quarters. It was a good thing he was wearing sweats, she had him almost completely hard by the time they closed the door behind them.
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