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Dance of the Heart
The teams ‘gated home long enough to replenish their depleted ammunition, and ringed to the Phoenix. A Tok’ra ship waiting near Alteria was following Zinder, and the Phoenix was on the way to meet up with it.
Casey was asleep, curled up on the bed, her hands under her cheek. Daniel sat beside her, content to just watch her. He reached out and traced a finger over her cheek. She shifted slightly, a small smile lifted the corners of her lips. He took her hand, lifted her fingers to his lips.
She had been so frightened after the attack that on the journey back to the village she had insisted on riding with him. He had held her in his arms, the swaying of the camel soothing her enough that she finally relaxed her death grip on his arm, although she never actually let go of him. He smiled, his heart beating faster knowing that she drew comfort from his presence. He drew the same comfort from her. Holding her close, knowing that she was safe had made the trip much easier on him as well.
He stretched out beside her, pulled her against his chest. She snuggled against him, sighing softly in her sleep. He smiled again, closed his eyes, and let sleep overtake him.
The ship suddenly shuddered around them. Daniel sat up, bleary-eyed, trying to figure out what had awakened him. Another shudder. "Angel, wake up. We’re being attacked."
She sat up, rubbed the heels of her hands over her eyes, and followed him to the bridge. Jack nodded at them as they ran in. Casey took her spot at the weapons console.
"Target their weapons first, then engines," Jack ordered.
She obeyed, firing volley after volley of missiles at Zinder’s ship. He had excellent shields, but between the Phoenix and the Tok’ra ship, they were beginning to fail. Her next attack was aimed for his engines. He was already beginning to move away, and Jack ordered the Daniel and Teal'c to follow.
"Blow him out of the sky, Case," Jack said quietly.
"You got it, sir," she replied. She flipped up a plastic cover, pushed three toggle switches forward. "Nukes armed and ready," she said softly.
"One at a time, let’s not waste ‘em if we don’t have to. Fire one," Jack said.
The first missile destroyed his ship in a flash of white-hot light. The Phoenix rocked slightly from the concussion wave. The shields held fast, however, protecting them from radiation.
"Scratch one bad guy and his goons," Casey said, a grin on her face. "And SG-1 can do the bad-guy-stomp-happy-dance." Everyone on the bridge chuckled.
"Let’s go home, campers," Jack said, a wide grin on his face.
A A A A A A
SG-1 returned to Alteria to let the village leaders know that Zinder was dead. However, within minutes of ‘gating to the planet, they came face to face with just how wrong they were. The Immortal was sitting outside the tavern, conducting business with several men, Doria Olmstead by his side. Her beautiful face was badly bruised, and she sat cowered beside him.
Casey hissed a breath, immediately dug into her pack for the antidote to the "Hathor drug" and injected Daniel and Teal'c, Sam was already injecting Jack. "I guess we’re about to find out how well this stuff really works," she whispered to Sam.
The five team members walked calmly to the front of the tavern, sat down at the table next to Zinder and his associates. He glanced up at the newcomers, his eyes widening in surprise when he recognized them. He looked at Doria, then back at the men and smiled, the action having neither warmth nor mirth. He roughly grabbed the woman beside him, then sat down beside Casey.
"You are extremely difficult to get rid of," he said, looking at her. "I had thought by now you would be on the slave blocks in Darteen. It doesn’t matter, I’ll take you there myself. You’ll fetch a high price."
"Think so, huh?" she asked, calmly chewing on a piece of fruit.
He reached out to caress her cheek, stunned when Daniel grabbed his hand. "Try to touch my Wife again and I’ll kill you."
Zinder looked at Doria, then at the three men at the table.
"Oh, yeah, that Hathor thing. Our doc came up with a nifty antidote for that. We’re getting it to all of our allies as we sit here talking," Jack said, grin on his face. "Don’tcha just hate when that happens?"
Zinder stood to leave, only to find Teal'c’s hand holding him in place. He looked over at his bodyguards. They were staring at Doria. Again he turned to look at her."What have you done?" he hissed.
Doria grimaced."I haven’t done anything. You’re the one who dragged me over here. They weren’t looking at me before."
"So just looking at you can cause…that?" Sam asked.
The dark haired woman nodded smugly. "It’s like a Medusa curse. If I wear the perfume based on the drugs that Hathor used to control men, and the contact lens that send out tiny impulses, men can’t resist, and find that they have to stare at me. The longer they stare, the more they come under my power."
"Good thing we blindfolded you guys," the blonde colonel said to her companions.
Doria looked at the bodyguards."Please, he hurt me," she said, her voice soft and lilting. The two goons stood to their feet, lunged at Zinder.
"You bitch! I’ll kill you for this!" He spat, fighting against the goons.
"How does he keep from falling under your spell?" Casey asked.
Doria smiled as the largest goon snapped Zinder’s neck and let him fall to the ground. It would be a few minutes before his Quickening revived him, and that’s all the time she needed. "He also has an antidote. However, it’s not as powerful as he believes, and constant exposure to me, and the perfume, has weakened him. He’s not as resistant at he thought. He’s been doing exactly what I’ve wanted him to for the past six months."
"So, are you buying or selling those weapons?" Jack asked.
"Selling. I need certain…components…for a little project of mine."
"Let me guess, a super-duper Hathor machine," Sam said, rolling her eyes.
"You are a smart one, aren’t you?" Doria retorted sarcastically. "Once I have the amplifier built, I will open Stargates across the galaxy. Once the men are under my control, they’ll do as I say. The women will be helpless to stop me. If they get in the way, I’ll have their own husbands kill them. It should prove to be quite entertaining."
"You are one sick bitch," Casey replied.
"You certainly won’t be able to stop me. I believe I shall start my…conquests, by taking your handsome husband." Doria turned her attention to Daniel.
‘Daniel, my heart, look at me, only at me. No matter how hard it is, look only at me,’ Casey said silently. All she needed was to shake this bitch’s confidence long enough to kill her. Between her and Sam, they should be able to get the job done.
Daniel’s blue eyes focused on his wife. 'It’s getting really difficult, babe,' he told her.
‘I know, sweetheart. Think about the striptease I’m going to do for you when we get home,’ she replied. She continued to hold his blue eyes with her own.
Sam worked her knife free of its sheath, taking care than no one noticed her movements.
'Babe, I don’t know how much longer I can fight this.'
‘Think about Emily, think about our life together. Think about how you’d feel if this bitch succeeds. She’ll kill me in a heartbeat, Daniel. She’ll behead me in front of you, or will make you do it’
Daniel jerked at her words, his eyes taking on a haunted look as he stared into the green depths of her eyes.
Doria was concentrating her powers of persuasion on Daniel, furious that his wife seemed to be holding his attention fully. Sam took advantage of the fact that the woman was distracted, and thrust the knife into her ribs. The woman screamed, and fell sideways. The goons jumped to come to her rescue, but Jack and Teal'c, who had not been subjected to her concentration, calmly zatted them.
Casey leaned over and grabbed the woman by the hair. "Let me tell you something, cupcake. Nobody goes after my man and lives to tell about it." She slid her hands down to the woman’s jaw, having every intention of snapping her neck.
With her attention focused on her own survival, Daniel was able to shake off the last of Doria’s effects on him.
Doria’s hands reached for Casey’s face, her long fingernails began to claw at the soft skin. Satisfied that she had scarred the young blonde for life, she reached up to pull at that long blonde hair. Her attention was diverted, however, when tiny blue sparks appeared on Casey’s cheeks, leaving the skin as unblemished and supple as it had been before her attack. She let out a small cry. "Immortal! You’re Immortal!"
"Well there’s a news flash!" Casey spat, still struggling to hold the woman’s jaw in her hands. She pulled herself to her feet, yanking Doria up with her. The woman continued to struggle. With the swipe of one foot, Casey had the dark haired woman on the ground, her knees on the woman's chest, and began to pummel the already bruised face.
When Daniel would have pulled the two women apart, Jack put a hand on his arm. "She needs to do this, Daniel. That woman has to go, and so does the past," he said quietly.
"He was never yours, you sorry snake-headed bitch," Casey hissed, her eyes seeing not Doria Olmstead, but Neferteri. "He never loved you." Her hands were around the woman’s neck, and squeezing. Doria was trying desperately to pull the hands away from her throat. "He’s mine!"
Doria’s face was going from red to blue. Her attempts to free herself became more futile, more feeble. Her arms dropped to her sides.
Casey continued to squeeze, even after feeling the soft tissue near the esophagus collapse. She was shaking the woman now as well. "Die you snake-headed bitch! Die!" She continued to hold the woman by the throat, even after she was dead.
Jack reached down and touched her shoulder. "She’s gone, Case, you can let go now," he said softly.
The young Immortal shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Not ‘til she’s dead!"
The older man rubbed a hand over her shoulders. "Okay, Case. Kill her, honey."
Tears were beginning to drip onto the dead woman’s face. A few minutes later she took a deep breath. "Jack? I can’t…my fingers…" she said, looking up at him helplessly.
He knelt down beside her and gently pried her fingers from the bruised, battered flesh. He rubbed them gently. "Okay now?"
She nodded, then looked around. "How the hell did I get down here?" She started to stand, looked at Doria. "Oh my god! Did I…" she crawled away, towards the corner of the building, began to be sick.
Daniel was at her side in an instant, holding back her hair, gently rubbing her back. He reached for one of the glasses on the table. When she was finished, he gave it to her, let her drink and spit until she felt better. He helped her to her feet, pulled her into his arms.
Casey began to cry. "I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…I didn’t mean to…I’m sorry!"
"Shh…it’s okay babe. It was her or you. She would have killed you. You did what you had to do," Daniel said softly, holding her tightly, smoothing her hair from her face. She was shaking so hard that she could barely stand. "You saved a lot of people, Angel. She was a sick, twisted woman. You did what had to be done."
"You aren’t…you still…"
"Love you, Angel. Love you with all my heart."
She wrapped her arms around him, clung to him.
Jack put his arm around Sam’s shoulders. "I think we’ve finally put that damned mission behind us once and for all."
Sam leaned against him, watching her best friend cry. "I hope so. Casey has paid for that again and again and again. There’s nothing left for her to lose to it."
Jack looked around, bit back a curse. "Where the hell did Zinder go?"
While everyone’s attention had been focused on the drama between the two women, Zinder and his bodyguards, freed from Doria’s control when her attention became focused on Casey, had managed to slip away.
"He will not fare as well without that woman," Teal'c predicted.
"I have a feeling that you’re right, T. Okay, campers, let’s go home," Jack said.
Daniel scooped Casey into his arms and carried her to the gate. The elders of the village met them there.
"You have stopped but one head of the beast," the man known as Ahmed said. "But we will continue to fight the belly. One day, all of the heads will die. You have given us the courage to stand against the beast. For this we thank you."
"If you need help, need anything, you call us," Daniel told them. "We’ll do whatever we can to help you."
Ahmed nodded. "Your offer is accepted with much gratitude. Go in peace, and know that you are welcome here."
The team walked through the ‘gate, and down the ramp. Duncan was waiting for them.
"Long story. But Casey is finally rid of Neferteri," Jack said.
"It’ll all be in the debrief. I think we should let Daniel take Casey home. Sam, Teal'c, and I can give you the highlights."
Duncan nodded. "Get checked out with the doc, take her home, Daniel," he said quietly.
Daniel nodded. "We’re going to take a couple of days, maybe the rest of the week."
"That’s fine. Take as long as you need," the Scot replied.
With a nod, Daniel carried his wife to the infirmary. It didn’t take long for Dr. Montigue to give them both a clean bill of health, and send them on their way. Home had never looked so good, to either of them.
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