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Between Two Evils
Casey was sitting cross-legged on the floor, carefully cutting out the clothes for the new paper dolls that she had found for Emmie on a quick trip to the Mercantile to pick up more of her monthly supplies.
"We do the house next, Mommy?" the little girl asked excitedly, carefully turning the poster-board pages of the book.
"Yep. They need a house to live in," Casey replied.
Nicholas watched his mother and sister, then returned his attention to the new coloring book in front of him. It was full of drawings of dump trucks and backhoes and steamrollers and other such equipment. His little fingers were wrapped around a crayon. The green one, which seemed to be his favorite. He scribbled happily across the page.
Daniel glanced up from the photographs that were spread across his desk. The scene of domestic tranquility caught his attention, and he turned to watch his Wife and children. In moments like this he could forget about being The Chosen. He could forget about being a member of an elite team that fought to protect humans wherever they lived from the threat of the Goa'uld. He could even forget his Immortality. In this moment he was nothing more than a father, a husband, blessed with a beautiful family. Doubly blessed to be able to spend time with them. He looked again at the photos. Taken of Dagon's temple before it was destroyed. He pushed them away, slid down to the floor and stretched out beside his son. "Hey, Little Man, what are you up to?"
Nicholas grinned delightedly at his father. "Cowor!" He grabbed a blue crayon and offered it to the man beside him.
With a grin of his own, Daniel took the crayon and began to color on the page beside his son's work.
Nicholas watched for a minute, then stretched out on his stomach exactly like his Daddy, and continued to draw bold lines of green across the page.
"Insert tab B into slot A," Casey was saying, carefully bending the cardstock house into shape. "Okay. Insert tab D into slot C." She frowned as she searched for the appropriate slot.
"Here, Mommy!" Emily said, pointing to the letter 'c' beside a narrow slit in the paper.
"Good job, Baby," Casey said. She continued to insert tabs into slots. "Wow, this is some house!" The 'house' was nearly four feet in height, to accommodate the twelve-inch tall dolls. And consisted of three levels. The photocopied depictions on the 'walls' of the house gave it the appearance of having several 'furnished' rooms.
"Big house, Mommy," Emily agreed.
"Glad I don't have to clean it," the blonde Immortal giggled. The timer on the oven chose that moment to go off. "Let's take this to your room, Emmie. Then Nicholas won't be tempted to play with it." She glanced at her husband. "Could you pull the casserole out of the oven?"
"Yep," he replied. He grinned at her, winked, then pulled himself to his feet. Chuckled when Nicholas chose to stand up in exactly the same way. "Let's go get the casserole, son," he said, running his hand over the light blonde head beside him. He had just put the hot dish on the trivet when Emily's frantic screams sent him running toward her room.
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
His stocking-ed feet caused him to slide into the wall when he managed to get through the door. Casey was on the floor, her eyes closed, her face pale. "Emmie, go call Uncle Jack. Do you remember how to do that?"
The little girl nodded, and ran for the telephone in her parent's bedroom. She picked up the receiver, pressed the number '2', and listened to the ringing sound.
"Unka Jak! Come now, Daddy says so! Mommy fell down and went to sleep and I couldn't wakes her up!" the little girl said in a breathless cry of panic.
Four houses away Jack thrust the phone toward Sam, and was already running for the door. "Get Duncan and T," he shouted as he bounded down the front steps.
Sam managed to calm Emily down. "Emmie, hang up the phone now, sweetie, and go open the door for Uncle Jack."
Emily obeyed, not even stopping to see if her mother was awake yet.
Daniel pulled Casey into his arms. "Let me see, Angel," he begged softly. Found himself unable to move past the block in her mind. Panic gripped him as memories of another such occurrence filled his mind.
She looked around. What the hell had just happened? One minute she was helping Emily put the new paper doll house on her dresser, the next…she was standing on the top of that damned mountain. She spun around, looking for him. Just how the hell had he managed to bring her here?
'Toren! You snaky bastard! Where are you?' she called out, her temper raging. Her fists were clenched at her side, and as soon as she found the asshole, she was going to punch his freaking lights out!
'He is not here,' a soft voice said. It sounded like a gentle breeze.
She whirled around, came face to face with the woman who had forced her to witness what that old hag, that Ancient, had done to those young girls, had let her see the old woman's thoughts. 'Who are you, and what do you want?' she demanded.
'I wished to thank you. You reacted as we had hoped. Now justice has been done,' the woman said.
'That doesn't tell me who you are,' Casey said, her voice betraying her curiosity.
'I was…I am a friend of Oma Desala's. I was one of her students. Not the brightest, I'm afraid. That honor went to Daniel.' A small smile accompanied the words.
'Kind of pushing the 'don't get involved' rule, aren't you?' she asked. Annoying how these 'higher beings' loved to avoid answering questions, she fumed.
The woman smiled. 'As long as I don't interfere on your plane of existence, I cannot be…disciplined.'
'Gotta love those technicalities,' Casey replied. 'So, you and your friends wanted that woman…um …taken out?'
'A rather crude way of putting it, but yes. She has caused great damage. Her attempts at revenge have created…stirrings…among the Ascended, and The Others. The Ancients allowed the situation to progress too far, and the Committee was forced to take action,' the woman said.
'I take it that this isn't a good thing?'
The woman smiled. 'No, it is not. For if they choose to look closely at what the Ancients are doing, they will do the same to the Ascended and The Others.'
Casey studied the woman. If she had been a student of Oma's…'Oh, god, if they look too close, they'll find that you're helping people more than you should be!'
'You are very astute. Yes, this could happen. Several of us risk severe punishment if we are discovered. We have no wish to abandon those who need…deserve…our guidance.'
'If we take out Dagon and Toren, who were set into motion against Daniel by that woman, then this…Committee, will be content to sit back and watch from the distance again.'
Casey smiled. 'We'll do our best.'
The woman smiled. 'Your Beloved grows more worried with each passing moment. Forgive me for pulling you here this way, but it was the only way I could pass on this…message.'
'Not a problem. Um…you don't suppose you could do something about the damned physical thing happening between me and Toren, could you?'
'I’m afraid not. But remember this…his strength is not as great as yours. Do not be afraid to fight him on this plane.'
'What about Daniel? Toren said that he could hurt him…kill him,' Casey said.
The woman shook her dark head. 'No. He has no power to do such a thing. His ribbon device will not work on this plane. I do not believe he understands this.'
The information flooded her with a feeling of relief. 'Thank you! I…I really needed to hear this, to know this.'
'You must defeat Toren here, before you attempt to defeat him on your plane of existence,' the woman said, her voice holding a warning tone.
She glanced over her shoulder. 'I guess I'd better go.'
The woman smiled, and vanished.
She opened her eyes. She was lying on their bed, in Daniel's arms, her head on his shoulder. Jack, Teal'c and Duncan were looking down at her, their eyes full of worry. "I…uh…just had a nice visit with an old friend of Oma's," she said softly. Just before Daniel's lips crashed down on hers, his kiss filled with urgency, fear, relief.
When those beautiful green eyes fluttered open, he almost shouted with relief. His lips were on hers before his mind had even fully formed the thought that he needed, wanted to kiss her, to make sure she was alive…and well. He pulled away slowly, her response to his caress making him ache with need. "What happened?"
"Remember that woman…the voice you heard, the one who…showed us…those things?" she asked. Her hands moved up and down his arm, the feeling of his skin beneath her fingertips sending messages of need to her brain.
"I remember," he said softly. Her soft fingers were setting his skin on fire.
"Well, she just wanted to say thanks, evidently that Ancient has been…dealt with. The problem is, the Big Boys got involved. They're looking closely at what the Ancients are up to. Which means scrutiny for the Ascended and The Others as well. If that happens, people…Beings…on those levels could be punished for helping mortals more than they're supposed to," she said. "She also told me that Toren has to be taken out on the astral plane before we take him out here." She held up a hand when Jack opened his mouth. "I have no clue why."
Daniel was frowning. "Maybe he's more powerful on the astral plane than here, and to take him out there will weaken him here."
Duncan sat down on the edge of the bed. "Casey, I hate to push you, but we need to deal with these snakes. We've dealt them both blows, but they're not out of the picture. And if we don't take them out now, we could face more Goa'uld trying to come here. We have to prove that messing with us is not a good idea."
She nodded. "I'd just as soon get it over with."
"Eat your dinner. Put your kids to bed. Then come to the base. We'll all meet in my office at…" the Highlander consulted his watch. "Nine."
"We'll be there," she said softly.
Emily was standing at the doorway, tears still wet on her little face. "Mommy?" she asked softly.
"Oh, Baby! Come here, Emmie," Casey said, holding her arms open toward her daughter. The little girl ran to the bed and crawled up beside her parents.
"I thought you was dead-ded!" The little girl hiccupped a sob.
Casey held the child tightly. "No, Baby, I was just…asleep. I'm okay."
Nicholas came into the room and climbed up beside his Daddy. He was clinging tightly to Daniel's neck as he sucked on three fingers, his little eyes wide.
"Emmy, thank you for calling Uncle Jack," Daniel said softly, his strong hand moving up and down her back. He shifted slightly. Casey was leaning against his chest, he put his other arm around his son.
"You did great, Rosebud," Jack said. He held open his arms, and his goddaughter stood up and walked across the bed, let him pick her up. "You're a very brave little girl, Emily," he said softly. He planted a kiss on her forehead.
"Indeed, Emily Rose Jackson, you are quite brave," Teal'c said quietly.
Duncan reached up and grabbed her foot, shook it gently. "Yes you are. Now, we're going to go home and let you and your Mommy and Daddy and Nicholas eat dinner. Okay?"
"'Kay, Unka Duncan." She gave each of the men a 'zerbert' kiss, then bounced back into her mother's arms.
"See you in a bit," Jack said. He followed Duncan and Teal'c out of the room. The quiet closing of the front door signaled their departure.
"Let's go have dinner," Casey said softly. "Then Mommy and Daddy have to go to work."
"To do a mission job?" Emily asked.
"To fight the nasty mean snakes?"
"Yes," Casey replied.
"Mommy, did a nasty mean snake make you go to sleep?"
She started, looked up at Daniel, then back into blue eyes so much like his. "No, Baby. A nice lady, a friend of your Auntie Oma, needed to talk to me. She lives…she lives in a different place, and when I'm asleep I can see her and talk to her," Casey explained.
"I was scared, Mommy," Emily said.
"I'm so sorry, Baby," she said softly. She hugged her daughter tightly. "You're my brave girl, Emmie."
"I'm so proud of you, Princess," Daniel said. "You did the right thing to call me right away. Then when I asked you to call Uncle Jack, you came right in here and called him."
"'Ungry!" Nicholas announced, tugging at Casey's arm.
She giggled. "I'll bet you are, Little Man. Let's hope dinner isn't too cold by now."
It wasn't. In fact, the chicken enchilada casserole was 'just right'. Daniel watched her eyes. Noted how she glanced at Emily, worry in those green depths. Just one more thing for her to fret about, blame herself for. He sighed mentally. What he wouldn't give to be just a regular old Immortal archaeologist again!
A A A A A A
The team was assembled in the conference room. For nearly an hour they discussed and debated what needed to be done. Casey had to do a search, find Toren, and defeat him on the astral plane before they would have a chance of defeating him in their own reality. Daniel would be with her, of course. Together they could not be defeated, they reminded their friends. It didn't make Jack, Sam, or Teal'c happy to know that Casey and Daniel would be doing battle with a Goa'uld, and they would be helpless to come to their aid if need be. Duncan suggested bringing Aaron in, but Casey had insisted that this was something that she and Daniel needed to do alone.
Once again it was decided that they would do the search, and the battle, from the infirmary, where medical help was instantly available if needed. Casey softly asked Daniel if he would mind holding her. He smiled, and pulled her to lie on top of him, his arms wrapped around her slender frame, holding her tightly.
"Ready?" she asked, looking up into his blue eyes.
He nodded. "Yep."
They met in the meadow. 'Let's get comfortable, Angel,' Daniel said. 'We don't know how long it's going to be.' He sat down in the tall grass, pulled her to sit in the circle of his arms and legs.
She pressed her back against his chest, getting as close to him as possible. When at last she was fully convinced that he couldn't hold her any tighter, she began to reach out. He opened himself once again, letting her take the strength from him that she needed.
They went first to the palace. The dark shield that had surrounded it was gone. Casey wondered briefly if Toren was aware of the fact that he was now 'vulnerable'. Hand in hand, they wandered the hallways of the palace, looking for him.
He was standing on a terrace, looking down into a garden. In front of him a young woman, not more than a teenager really, was kneeling, her mouth working over the length of his throbbing flesh.
"He'll never know what a good blowjob feels like," Daniel murmured in her ear.
She barely bit back the giggle that filled her throat. 'Daniel!'
He grinned. 'It's true!'
'You're just saying that because you're used to what I do for you,' she argued.
'I'm saying that because you turn my brain to mush every time you do it,' he replied.
Toren moaned, then sighed softly. The young woman wasn't very experienced, and most of his semen spilled down her chin. He ran a hand over her hair. "Much better than yesterday," he told her, smiling at her.
She smiled up at him. "I pleased you, My Lord?"
He reached down, wiped some of the white fluid from her chin, held his finger in front of her mouth until she licked it clean. "Yes. Sufficiently for today. Go now. Seek relief with your sisters."
The young girl stood to her feet, bowed, then hurried away.
Toren closed his robe, then put both hands on the stone railing that enclosed the terrace, and closed his eyes. Spun around when he realized she was standing there. His eyes narrowed when he saw that Daniel was with her.
"A little young, wasn’t she?" Casey asked bluntly. Her body had responded to seeing the man being pleasured. She could feel the tingle between her thighs. Could also feel that damned attraction begin to take hold. She fought it with every ounce of strength she possessed.
Toren's cheeks reddened slightly. "Until you are at my side, in my bed, you have no say over whom I choose to seek pleasure from."
"Well, then you'll never have to worry about me, because it's not going to happen," Casey replied.
"I will destroy him, and your friends, and Gamma if you do not honor our agreement," he warned.
Casey giggled. "Yeah, right. Seems to me you're down three motherships, Toren. Plus the hundreds of Jaffa you had on them. You're not such a big threat now. In fact, taking you out won't be much of a challenge at all."
His eyes flashed brightly with his anger. "You will regret your insolence!"
"You know, I've heard that before." She turned to Daniel. "Haven't we heard that before, my Beloved?"
Daniel grinned, stepped up behind her, wrapped his arms around her. He rubbed his cheek against her hair, let his hands roam up and down her slender arms, his wrists against her breasts. He could see the anger, the jealousy that his actions caused in the Goa'uld. "Yeah, we have. But we've never once regretted it, have we, my sweet Angel?"
She leaned back into his embrace. "Never once."
The Goa'uld was livid with rage, watching the woman he loved being pawed by that damned Tau'ri. He raised his hand, the ribbon device began to glow.
'Don't worry, she said it won't work here,' Casey told him.
'Hope she's right!'
Toren seemed to be struggling. Although the round stone in the center of his palm was glowing, nothing else was happening. He looked at Daniel, and then grinned. "If I cannot harm you, then obviously you cannot harm me."
"Don't count on it, asshole," Daniel replied. He calmly called up the Fire. He lifted his hand, and sent a blue fireball into the chest of the man standing just a few feet from him. "That's for daring to touch my Wife!"
The Goa'uld screamed with pain.
Another blue fireball. "And that is for daring to think that you could take my Beloved from me!"
His chest wide open, the edges of the wound cauterized even as the center bled profusely, Toren dropped to his knees. He could feel the connection fading quickly. No matter how hard he tried, maintaining it became increasingly difficult. He suddenly disappeared, his body recoiling from the impact. On the terrace the Goa'uld dropped to his knees, gasping for breath. He tried to reach out, to search. He was unable to do so. As the host worked frantically to re-establish the connection to the beautiful witch, the Goa'uld roared with anger. Within minutes the host was hiding in the corners of his mind, terrified; the Goa'uld totally in control for the first time since taking the body. He didn't need the talents of the host seer anyway, Toren told himself, even as the host began to argue weakly. When Casey was at his side, her impressive skills would be his, just as surely as if they were his own.
Still holding tightly to Daniel's arms, Casey reached forward and slowly entered the mind of her enemy. She barely escaped detection by the host. But when Toren began to rage at him, she was able to move more freely. She found the information she sought, then pulled slowly away, not wishing to alert Goa'uld or host to her presence. 'Let's go.'
They moved quickly back to the meadow. She turned in his arms, put her hands around his face and kissed him deeply. "Love you, Stud Muffin."
He kissed her back. "Love you too, Angel."
"I don't suppose we could stay here for an hour or so?"
Daniel chuckled. "As much as I'd like to make love to you here in the grass, we'd better get back. We still have to fight him there," he reminded her gently.
"When this is over, I want a couple of days off. One big bed. You, me, and no distractions."
"I like the way you think," he grinned. He kissed her once more, stood to his feet, and slowly, reluctantly moved away from her.
Casey opened her eyes. Looked up into blue ones that were filled with Fire, and a bit of amusement.
"Well?" Jack asked impatiently
She sat up. "Daniel took him out…on that plane, anyway. I was able to get into his head and find out what he has. A total of eight al'kesh About three thousand Jaffa. And a burning desire to get to that laboratory and the Zombies he can create there. I saw the glyphs for the Stargate address. We should probably get there, he was planning to leave as soon as he had enough men together."
Jack nodded. "Is he planning on turning Jaffa into Zombies?"
"No. There's a village there. He intends to use them."
"Oh, god," Duncan muttered. "I'll get the Marine teams ready to go with you."
Casey shook her head. "We'd better do this alone."
Everyone in the room stared at her. "Okay, I assume there's a reason," Jack said after a minute.
"Yeah, we can move faster alone. We're Immortal. And we can work together without thinking about it," she replied. "If we don't beat him to that lab, we'll be in big trouble. He isn't going to bring them here. That priestess bitch of his must have 'seen' our satellites. He's going to head straight for Earth."
"Oh, crap!" Jack muttered. "Okay, let's get geared up."
"Any pertinent info on the planet?"
"Lots of trees, hills and mountains. The lab is in the side of a mountain," she reported. She cocked her head sideways. "I think Dagon is going to show up there, too."
"Oh, hell the gang's all here," Sam grumbled. As she often did since their marriage, she sounded suspiciously like Jack.
"Okay, we're walking in, and we could be there for a few days. Let's pack light, make sure we have what we need. Sleeping bags go with us, tents stay here," Jack said.
"And as much C-4 as we can carry," Daniel added.
Casey smiled. "We won't be able to carry enough to bring this place down. But we have The Chosen."
Everyone looked at Daniel, then smiled. "Yeah, we do," Duncan said softly.
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