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Chapter 2: Month 2
"Chevron six, locked and encoded," Walter called out.
Casey adjusted the pack on her back. Which was about half the weight it normally was. When she'd walked into the 'gate room with Sam, her pack in hand, Daniel had taken it from her, he and Teal'c unceremoniously dumping the contents onto the concrete floor, and then divided the majority of the items between their own. She shook her head and smiled. She hadn’t argued with either one of them. It wouldn’t have done any good. Teal'c had become as over-protective as Daniel. Aaron had assured Dr. Williams that ‘gate travel wouldn’t hurt her, although Erin had insisted that it would be better if she stayed where it was safe. Daniel and Teal'c had agreed with her mother, Sam had sided with her, and it had taken Jack to come to her rescue and put her back on full duty. Although Jack insisted that she could only go on survey missions. No way would he let her go into a dangerous situation if he could help it. This was the first mission she had been on since Dr. Williams had given them the news.
"Chevron seven, locked and encoded."
The 'gate opened with the usual amazing sights and sounds. She stepped up onto the ramp beside Sam. Immediately Daniel and Teal'c moved to stand in front of them. Casey heaved a sigh, and looked at Sam. The colonel was grinning from ear to ear.
"Get used to it. It’s only going to get worse once you start showing," Sam said softly.
"Babe? Are you all right?" Daniel asked immediately, looking back at her.
Sam laughed out loud.
"I’m fine," Casey replied. "Don’t need all this damned china doll treatment."
"Yeah, you do," Daniel said, just before he disappeared through the ‘gate.
Going through the ‘gate had always left her slightly disoriented. Today it left her nauseous as well. She put the back of her hand to her mouth. She was not going to throw up, not in front of Daniel. He’d get upset and send her home. She swallowed a few times, rubbed one hand over her flat belly. Help mom out here, will ya? she thought. Let’s not do anything that’s going to freak Daddy out. Let’s not get sick, okay?
"Casey?" Daniel was looking at her, frowning.
With a moan, she lost her battle with the nausea, and bent over, emptying the contents of her stomach. She felt a familiar hand rubbing her back gently, holding her ponytail out of the way as she heaved again. She reached for her canteen. "I’m okay, really," she said, once she had regained control of her retching body. She rinsed her mouth out, spit, then looked up at her teammates. "Okay, so where are these ruins?"
Sam was frowning at her. "Are you sure you’re all right?"
Casey rolled her eyes. "I'm fine, I swear. I just shouldn’t have eaten so many Oreos with my oatmeal, that’s all."
Sam blanched. "Oreos and oatmeal?"
"It was good," Casey insisted. "I won’t do it again." She wrapped her hands around her P90 and started down the steps that led away from the ‘gate.
"Oreos and oatmeal?" Sam repeated, looking at Daniel.
"She was scooping oatmeal up with the Oreos and eating them," he replied, shaking his head.
"Let’s hope her cravings don’t get any more weird than that," Sam said. "We should get moving, before Super Mom decides to do all the work herself."
The team followed the slender figure down the path towards the ruins. Teal’c’s long strides had him beside the expectant Immortal within seconds. He frowned at her as he looked around them, his staff weapon held at the ready, upset that she had managed to get away from his protective presence for even a few seconds.
The air was chilly, the temperature not more than fifty degrees. The sky above them was full of dark clouds, although they had no way of knowing for certain whether this was a normal occurrence, or if they were going to see some rain, or perhaps a storm. Casey pulled her jacket tighter around her slender frame, zipped it up to her chin.
There were two buildings intact among the ruins, both of them temples. Casey took the camcorder and diligently recorded everything she saw. Daniel was trying to decipher as much as possible to determine what was important and what wasn’t. Teal'c had positioned himself to keep guard, and Sam was looking around for anything that might be of scientific value.
The low rumble of thunder brought them all to their feet. The wind had picked up considerably in just a few short minutes.
"Let’s take shelter in that building," Sam shouted and pointed, trying to be heard over the wind.
Casey was fighting against the wind, trying to get back to where Sam and Daniel were standing. She was between the two temples, and the air was moving at an incredible speed as it blew through the narrow passage. A sudden, intense gust blew her off her feet and onto her back.
"Casey!" Daniel made his way to where she was laying. "Babe, are you okay?" He fought the wind that was whipping around them.
She nodded. She accepted his outstretched hand, pulled herself to her feet, only to be blown backwards again.
Daniel swept her into his arms, struggled to get past the walls, grabbing at Teal'c’s outstretched arm. They followed Sam into the larger of the two buildings. Once inside, the sudden absence of the wind had them all stumbling. He put his wife on her feet. "Are you sure you’re okay?"
"I’m fine, Daniel. Just…tired." Casey replied. She sank down to the floor, leaned back against one of the supporting columns.
Teal'c looked around, and found several small braziers. He set them in a circle around the group, and lit them. Within minutes they could all feel the welcome heat. "Are you warm enough, Casey Jackson?"
Casey smiled and nodded. "Yes, I am, T. Thanks."
Daniel was looking around them, reading the walls.
"Anything there that’s going to help us?" Sam asked, coming up behind him.
He shook his head. "This temple was dedicated to Seth."
"Well, he’s not around to care anymore," Sam said with a smile. That particular Goa’uld had come up against SG-1 several years earlier, and had lost. Sam had been the one to rid the universe of that particular snake.
Daniel grinned. "Nope. Nothing much here, just the usual exaltations about him."
Sam nodded. "Let’s set up for the night. With luck that storm will blow itself out by morning."
The four settled down to pass the time while they waited for the storm to pass. Daniel and Casey went through the recordings, marking them, deleting several, making notes on some of the images. Sam was working on her mission report, while Teal'c stood guard near the entrance of the temple.
A A A A A A
The sky outside had darkened, it was nightfall on the planet. With the fires in the braziers, and a couple of their lanterns, the temple was full of warmth and light.
Daniel spread out the sleeping bags, and zipped them together. He looked over at his wife, she was still bent over the laptop, typing away. He moved behind her, watched her as she made notes on the site. "Call it a day, babe. You need to rest."
With a sigh, Casey saved her work and closed the laptop. She tried to stifle the yawn that suddenly overtook her.
A hand appeared in front of her face. A hand that she knew well. A hand that knew her intimately. She smiled and put her fingers against his, let him pull her to her feet. She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I’m hungry."
He grinned. "What do you want, an MRE, an MRE, or an MRE?"
She pretended to consider. "Guess it’ll have to be an MRE," she said with a smile.
The four friends ate their evening meal, talking and laughing in the way that they always did. It was familiar, comfortable. Casey yawned again.
"I will take first watch," Teal'c said, situating himself against one of the columns that supported the structure.
"Okay, babe, time for you to get some rest," Daniel said softly.
She didn’t argue. She pulled off her boots and socks. She stood and stripped off her jacket and shirt, took off her pants and folded them all and laid them on top of her boots. She slid into the sleeping bags, clad in her bikini panties and tee shirt. Daniel was undressing as well. The team had worked together, lived together enough that none of them even noticed the others undressing. Daniel slid in behind Casey, pulled her tightly against him. She shivered and snuggled back against him. Within minutes she was sound asleep.
Daniel lay there, holding his wife his arms. As he had every night since she had told him, his hand caressed her flat belly. Just beneath his hand was their child. The thought sent a shiver through him. He went to sleep with a smile on his face.
A A A A A A
He wasn’t sure what woke him up. He opened his eyes and looked around. Casey was curled next to him, her body pressed against him. His hand caressed her belly, then he looked around once more. Standing next to one of the columns was a shadow. When the figure stepped forward, he gasped out loud. "Sha’re?"
"Yes, Dan'yel," she said, smiling at him. Her dark eyes looked down at Casey.
He looked down at the woman in his arms, suddenly felt as if he had been caught doing something wrong…as if he had been cheating on his wife. "Sha’re…"
Sha’re shook her head, her eyes filled with love, and sadness. "Do not feel guilty, Dan'yel. She is your Destiny. She always was."
"Why are you-"
"I am here to free you, Dan'yel," she said softly.
"Free me?" Daniel asked, confusion in his voice and in his eyes.
"You harbor doubts about fatherhood. You are afraid that you won’t be able to protect her, or your child."
"Yeah, well, I haven’t done such a bang up job in the protection department, now have I? I wasn’t there to protect you from Apophis; Framone took Casey away from me twice, so how can I think I can protect her now, or our baby?" There was bitterness in his voice.
"Did you ever stop loving me?"
Daniel shook his head. "There is still love in my heart for you," he replied. "I failed you, my love. I tried to find you, tried to reach you sooner, but I couldn’t."
"You did not fail me, Dan'yel. What was meant to be, was meant to be. My child is safe with The Others because of you. When Ca’see was taken from you, did you stop loving her?"
"No! Of course not! I almost went crazy without her. The only reason I got her back, both times, was because Oma chose to help us. I couldn’t save Casey either," Daniel said, his eyes and voice reflecting the grief...and the guilt...he felt as a result of what he saw as his failures.
Sha’re shook her dark head. "You knew where Framone would take Ca’see. You were there, waiting for him when he arrived with her. You would have found Ca’see without Oma’s help the second time. The only reason that Oma helped you was because the grief you felt from Ca'see's loss echoed throughout the universe. She wished to ease your suffering, and that of Ca’see. You failed no one, Dan'yel. Your love makes you strong. Your love is the only protection that she, or your child, will ever need. There are dangers ahead for you. But your love will protect them. You will be a wonderful father, Dan'yel. I know this, here," she said, putting her hands over her heart.
Daniel smiled. He looked down at Casey. She had moved slightly, her head was on his arm now. When he looked up, Sha’re was gone. "Thank you, my love," he whispered, looking around the room. He still loved Sha’re, and what they'd had together. The memories of his life with her were tucked away in a safe corner of his heart. But the love for Casey swelled and filled every other place.
Sha’re’s words echoed in his mind. "…She is your destiny. She always was…."
In his heart, in his very soul, he knew this to be true. He pulled Casey closer, smiled as she snuggled against him. His hand went back to her flat belly. He closed his eyes. If all they needed was his love, then he would never have to worry about failing them. All the love that he had was theirs.
Sam gently woke Daniel to take his turn at watch. Teal'c was still awake and the three of them agreed that Casey would be allowed to sleep. Teal'c curled up in his sleeping bag and was asleep within minutes. Sam told Daniel to wake her when it was time for his watch to end.
Daniel sat next to where Casey lay sleeping, drinking a cup of the coffee that Sam had made. He realized that Sha’re had not really been here, that he had been dreaming. It didn’t make her visit any less real. He thought about what she had said, that Casey was his destiny. If that were true, even if he had saved Sha’re, they would not have remained together. Somehow, someway, he and Casey would have met, would have fallen in love. They would have married, and would have gone through the Ceremony of Fire. Destiny. He looked down at the woman who held his heart, his very soul, in her soft, slender hands. "I promise, I’ll do my best to take care of both of you. Neither of you will ever be without my love," he said softly.
The morning broke sunny and much warmer than it had been the day before. About twenty minutes after eating breakfast, Casey gave in to her battle with the nausea and lost it. She talked quietly with Sam, and agreed that until she was over the morning sickness, she would remain on base. It was too dangerous for her and the rest of the team. When she told Daniel, she could see the relief on his face, in his eyes. That look tore at her heart. She hadn’t realized just how worried about her he had been. She sighed. She had just been on her last mission for quite some time. She would go on more. But not until after this baby was born.
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