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Deceptions and Illusions
Daniel continued to take pictures of the walls. He wanted to study them, but he didn't think the translations would change. Dagon was as twisted as Nergal had been. Without a doubt, this was another Goa'uld that needed be taken out as soon as possible. He looked over at Rayner. The man was staring into the fire. "We might as well get some work done while we wait."
"Wait for what, to die?" Rayner asked sarcastically.
"Jack is already working to find a way to get us out of here."
Rayner watched in silence for several minutes as Daniel made a tracing of a group of symbols that had been carved into the rock. He was still angry, still stinging over the fact that Daniel had been, right…again. "She was a good fuck," he said bitingly. He wanted to get to Daniel, the need to hurt him still burning in his gut.
"That's all they ever are to you, aren't they? Just a fuck. You're too in love with yourself to ever be able to love someone else," Daniel replied coldly. He remembered how it had been with Sarah. They had been good together. He shook his head. She had been in love with him. He had always known that. Had never admitted to himself that his feelings had never been as strong. He had cared for her…deeply. But he didn't think he had ever been in love with her.
"There are some amazing photos of your wife on the Internet. Seems somebody was able to get a camera into a shower somewhere. Maybe you posted them? Just a kinky way to let other people share her? What a body, huh? So tell me, do those nipples taste as sweet as they look? Is that sexy wife of yours as good a fuck as Sarah? Or is she better? Do you fuck her at home, too, or just at work?" Rayner sneered.
Daniel felt the Fire burn through his veins as his anger roared to life. He could hear the pounding of his heart in his ears. He was across the cavern in four steps, grabbed Rayner by the front of the shirt and slammed him against the rock wall. "Don't you ever talk about Casey like that again! I could kill you, right here, right now," he said, his voice dangerously low and calm. "One flash of light and you're gone. You're so jealous you can't see straight! Because I'm a damned good archaeologist. I'm a damned good linguist. I’m a damned good anthropologist. Hell, I'm The Chosen! Who the fuck are you? Some little piss-ant wanna-be who has to cheat and steal every bit of research you've ever worked with. I know all about the last three expeditions you've been on. The fact that you angered the locals as well as the governments in two countries by stealing artifacts. You made such an international mess that your passport was pulled!"
He chose to focus on the only thing he could argue about…"So now you think you have super powers? Really, Daniel, I think all of this has fame gone to your head! You’ve become delusional!"
Daniel raised his hand, tossed a fireball into a group of stones near the back of the cavern. Three split into pieces. "Be glad that wasn't you," he hissed. He tossed Rayner away from him.
Rayner stared at the rocks, which were still steaming. "Jesus, Danny!" he whispered.
For a moment Rayner sounded the way he had when they had made significant progress on one of the projects they had worked on for Dr. Jordan, progress made when Daniel had been able to put pieces of information together and come up with the answer to the problem. "Yeah," he said softly.
"So all of that…Chosen…stuff, is true?" He looked at Daniel, not a little fear lurking in the depths of his eyes.
Daniel lowered himself wearily to the dirt floor. "Yeah, it's true."
Rayner sat down beside him. "So…what do you do…as The Chosen, I mean?"
"Whatever I need to do," Daniel replied. He rubbed a hand over his face. "I shouldn't have done that. I never want to hear you talk about Casey like that again, but I'm sorry for losing my temper like that."
His brown eyes went wide. "You're sorry? Hell, Daniel, I just…what I said was wrong, and I’m sorry." He really did regret saying the things he had. But he had been angry, and Daniel had been treating him like an underling, he thought, trying as always, to rationalize his behavior to himself.
Daniel shook his head. "I shouldn't have let it happen. I know better." He gazed into the flames of the fire for a few minutes. "The true nature of a man is decided in the battle between his conscious mind and the desires of the subconscious," he said softly.
"A little something I picked up," Daniel said with a small smile. "I know better than to let my subconscious…desires…take over. I don't dare lose complete control of my temper."
"To be honest, I have no idea how bad it would be. I'm fairly sure I could do some major damage," Daniel admitted. "When it comes to Casey-"
"You'll do whatever it takes to protect her," Rayner said, with a small smile of his own. "There really are nude pictures of her on the Internet. I…it's hard to get them out of my head, especially since I've met her. I won't lie to you, Daniel. I dream about making love to her."
"You and half the men on the base," Daniel replied dryly.
"How do you do it? How do you keep from going nuts knowing that men are looking at her, thinking about her? How do you keep her…interested in you?"
He purposely chose to ignore the first question. The answer bothered him. He should be more concerned, he was sure that he should be. He should be jealous, angry that so many men panted after his Wife, rather than feeling proud of how beautiful, how attractive she was. He shouldn't feel like strutting around; he shouldn't be so damned smug about the fact that she belonged to him, and him alone. "We went through the Ceremony of Fire. She and I are bound together, heart to heart, soul to soul, body to body for eternity. Even if she wanted to sleep with another man, she wouldn't find any pleasure in it. Same for me, I could never find pleasure in another woman's arms. The good news is, I don't want any other woman, she doesn't want any other man."
"How can you be so sure?"
"She was willing to be beheaded rather than let Nergal touch her," Daniel answered.
Rayner was stunned. "Wow."
Daniel smiled. "Yeah. Casey is my Destiny. I'm hers. We've gone through a lot together, suffered a lot. The only thing that keeps me going sometimes is her, and her love." He looked at his watch. "We should probably try to get some sleep."
With a nod, Rayner stretched out, closed his eyes. He could hear Daniel moving around a bit, making himself comfortable. It was a lot to take in. The images of that blue fire flying from Daniel's fingertips filled his mind. Just before those of a beautiful, naked Casey wafted behind his eyelids. Even if she couldn't find pleasure with him, he was more than certain that he could find it with her. And he didn't think he could continue to fight the urge to have her for much longer.
A A A A A A
Casey sat up, her heart pounding against her ribs. 'Daniel?'
'I'm here, babe.' He sounded sleepy. She had awakened him.
'I'm sorry I woke you.' Her body began to tremble. She needed him, needed to feel his arms around her, needed his strength, his comfort.
He could feel her disquiet, feel her fear growing. 'What's wrong, Case?'
'The cavern you're in…they still use it.'
'I think they're coming.'
'Through the 'gate?'
'No. At least I don't think so…I…' she closed her eyes. 'They bring the ship in, people get off of it right there at that ledge and go directly into the cavern. Daniel, there are several rooms, one is where…is where… they make sacrifices there.'
'How much time?'
'Not long. I think we'd have enough time to get to the 'gate if you weren't trapped.'
Daniel sat up, looked at the rocks that lay in pieces. Felt the Fire that flowed through his veins begin to burn hotter as he worried. Fire. Of course! 'I have an idea. Tell Jack and the guys to get ready, we might need some help. Any ropes?'
'Guess we'll just have to hope that we don't need them.'
She cocked her head to one side, then smiled into the darkness. 'You're going to use the Fire.'
'I'll be at the top of those stairs waiting for you.' She smiled again as he caressed her gently, wrapped her in the warmth of his love. She returned the caresses, sent her love slowly, felt him take it from her. He moved away from her. She pulled on her pants and hurried out of the tent.
Jack and Teal'c were sitting beside the fire. "Casey?" Jack asked, a worried frown on his face.
"He's going to use the Fire."
With a nod, Jack stood up, woke up the Marines. The men carefully traversed the stairs, their flashlights lighting the precarious pathway. There was enough room on the ledge in front of the cavern for them to stand.
She looked over the edge, her fear of heights preventing her from doing more than clinging to the rock wall and watching. Sam rubbed a hand over slender, trembling shoulders, offering comfort to her best friend. Casey accepted that comfort gratefully.
Jack keyed his radio. "Daniel? We're on the ledge. What do you want us to do?"
"Stand back. I have no idea what's going to happen. Might be a good idea to wait on those stairs," Daniel's voice replied.
"Got it." He motioned, and the men moved back up. "Okay, go for it."
Together. They couldn't be defeated as long as they were together. Daniel smiled. 'Send me your Fire, Angel.'
She closed her eyes, held her hand out, willed the Fire to him, felt him take it gently.
He could feel that soft, warm flood of strength that came from her. He concentrated, pulled up the Fire, let it build up in his fingertips. So damned hot! When he could stand the pain no longer, he threw twin balls of fire, white-hot and the size of basketballs, into the rock wall that blocked the entrance to the cave. Cracks formed in it, all of them steaming from the heat of the fire that had impacted on it. He took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, once again pulled up the Fire. The second round of white-hot flames knocked a section of the wall to the ground, leaving an opening large enough to crawl through. He grabbed his pack.
Rayner had watched, his eyes wide. Messing with Daniel would be suicide! He followed the dark-blonde headed man, relieved to see the flashlights of the others trained on them and the ledge.
Casey was bouncing on her toes by the time Daniel made it to the top of the wall. He had barely dropped his pack when she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms and legs around him, holding him tightly. "I knew you could do it," she whispered.
"Only with your help," he whispered in reply, holding her as tightly as she held him. He turned to a grinning Jack. "We need to leave. Now. That cavern is still used, and Casey says the proprietors are on their way. We have enough time to get to the 'gate," he said to Jack.
Jack nodded. "Let's get moving campers. We're gonna push it all the way back."
Camp was broken down in record time, the ATVs loaded, and the teams set out in the dark of night, moving as if the hounds of hell were nipping at their heels, fleeing what could become a death trap if they were to be caught.
Franklin and Baker were surprised to see the entire group racing toward them in the early morning light. When the order to open the 'gate came over the radios, they did just that, grabbing their sleeping bags and supplies, and tossing them onto the ATV.
The 'gate opened, just as a large ship passed overhead. Definitely a Goa'uld al'kesh. The teams scrambled through the 'gate before the first gliders were able get close enough to fire on them. That blessed SG-1 luck had been with them once again.
A A A A A A
It was nearly three a.m. Gamma time. Troy welcomed them home, and informed them that he had contacted Duncan. The Highlander was on his way in. Jack sent the teams to shower and then to eat. They would debrief as soon as the Scot arrived.
Casey and Daniel were in his office, going through the CD's of images that had been taken. "I'll run these over to the Center," she said, putting the group of shiny disks into a small box. "You take the packs down to the locker."
"Getting bossy, aren't you?" he teased.
She scrunched up her nose at him. "Like you weren't going to tell me the very same thing!"
He grinned. "Okay. Here, take these too," he said, pulling the tracings he had taken out of his backpack. "Just leave it all on my desk. We'll sort it later."
She nodded. "I'll meet you in the commissary."
Daniel kissed the tip of her nose. "Meet you there," he replied.
She joked with the guards at the front desk when she signed out, told them she'd be signing right back in, and made a bet on how quickly she could get to the Center and back again. Still giggling, she hurried into the night, toward the building loomed in the darkness.
Her ID pass unlocked the front door of the Center, and she flipped a switch, turning on the lights in the gallery. She bounced up the stairs and into the office, intent on just dropping the disks and paperwork onto the desk. The computer was still on, and flashing that new email was waiting. She dropped down into the chair. She'd just take a quick look, and then go back into the mountain.
A A A A A A
Rayner had been in the lobby of the barracks when he saw her dash by. Alone. He made a trip to his room, then stopped at the coffee machine, still wiping at his nose. He was grinning with anticipation. He used his pass at the door, delighted to find that he was in the system. He stopped in the gallery long enough to glance up at the office. She had her back to the door. Perfect! He sat the cups on a nearby table, and took a small vial from his pocket. He carefully scooped a tiny spoon into the white powder, and stirred it into one of the cups. Experience made him knowledgeable. He was prudent in the amount he used; he wanted her cooperative, not unconscious. He snapped the lid back on, and started up the stairs, whistling as he did so. Sometimes dreams did come true.
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