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Devil in the Shadows
Daniel walked into the dining room of the hotel, a bouquet of flowers in his hand. Casey and Sam were in the salon, having their hair and make-up done. He sat down beside Jack, ordered a beer.
"Worried?" Jack asked casually. He remembered the…altercation…that had occurred when Daniel thought Casey had cut her hair as short as Sam's.
Both men stood to their feet when two incredibly beautiful, very familiar blondes entered the room.
Daniel's breath caught in his throat. Casey was wearing her black dress. The one he liked almost as much as the green one. Her hair was up, soft ringlets draped down in the back. Her make-up was flawless, giving her the look of a high-fashion model. His heart was beating a tattoo against his ribs as she approached.
"Hey, handsome," she said. He looked absolutely devastating in his black suit, with the black shirt and tie. His shoulders looked broad and strong in the jacket, she wanted to wrap herself around him and hold on to them.
"Hey, gorgeous. Wow…you look…wow!" he said, smiling. He stared for a few seconds, then grabbed the flowers. "It's been awhile since I bought you any," he said softly as he handed them to her.
"Oh, Daniel, they're beautiful! Thank you!" she said softly. Her eyes were shining with happiness.
He held her chair as she sat down, signaled for the waiter.
"Could you put these in water for the lady, and bring a bottle of Merlot?…uh…Vonadey?"
"Yes, sir, right away," the waiter said, taking the flowers.
Sam handed her bouquet to the waiter as well. "If it's no trouble," she said. "And a bottle of beer, same thing my husband is having."
The waiter smiled. "No trouble at all, madam." He bowed and hurried away.
The dining room was filling up quickly, and according to the marquee, an orchestra would be playing romantic music to dance to later in the evening.
Daniel took Casey's hand and lifted it to his lips. 'Tired?'
She blushed, shook her head. They had spent most of the day in bed, making love. 'Are you?'
He shook his head, winked at her.
"Would you two knock it off?" Jack groused, although his cheek was twitching.
"Want me to find a phone for you?" Casey asked, just before she dissolved into giggles.
"Ha ha. You are so not funny, Jackson," Jack said. He was about to lose the battle against his smile.
The waiter returned, followed by one of the kitchen helpers. She had one of the bouquets in a large crystal vase, he had the other. "I believe this one belongs to you, madam," he said, placing the vase he carried in front of Casey. "And this one is yours, madam," he said, taking the vase from the young woman and putting it in front of Sam. The center of the table was effectively taken up by flowers. "I shall return with your wine, sir, and your beer, madam."
"That's fine, thank you," Daniel said, smiling.
"These are so beautiful," Casey sighed, her fingers moving over the colorful buds.
"Not as beautiful as you," he said softly.
"Sweet talker." She leaned over and kissed him.
"Geez, don't you two ever give it a rest?" Jack complained. He lost the battle and his smile spread across his face.
"Not if I can help it," Casey replied calmly.
Jack nearly choked on his laughter.
"Aren't Teal'c and Carly joining us?" Sam asked. The Spanish woman had been in the salon with them, the three women had spent the time comparing notes on their husbands, no doubt arming the hairdressers with enough gossip for the next year.
"I thought they were," Daniel replied. "Here they come," he said, nodding toward the doorway.
Teal'c looked spectacular in his black suit, and the red dress that Carly was wearing was nearly as short and tight as Casey's black one. "I apologize for our tardiness," Teal'c said, holding the chair for Carly to sit down.
"No problem, big guy," Jack grinned.
"It was my fault, I'm afraid," Carly admitted softly. "I couldn't find my earrings. I was a bit panicked."
Casey glanced at the woman's ears. "Carly, those are lovely!"
The dark haired woman smiled. "These are rubies that my father gave me for my sixteenth birthday. I was to be married that year. I threatened to run away and join a convent. Instead, I joined a band of gypsy's. The rubies were stolen from me twice, it took nearly one hundred years to find them the first time."
"So they're very special to you," Casey said softly.
"Very special," Carly confirmed.
The waiter appeared, brought the bottle of wine for Daniel and Casey, Sam's beer, took drink orders for Teal'c and Carly, then dinner orders for the entire group.
"I hate to have to go back tomorrow," Jack sighed, just before he downed his shot of bourbon.
"Me, too!" Casey declared. "I don't suppose we'll have time for one last massage?"
"Nope. We have to head back first thing in the morning. We'll have enough time to go home and see the kids, then we're heading to Earth on the Phoenix II," Jack replied.
"The NID crew still being held on Terra?" Daniel asked.
"Yep. Emerson is singing like a bird. Telling them everything we already know. Some of the other crew members are doing their fair share of talking."
"In exchange for what?" Sam asked.
"They can do jail time, or work in one of the Terran mining colonies. The work is hard, and dangerous, and they wouldn't be allowed to leave for a set period of time. But they'd earn a decent wage," Jack said.
"At least they get a second chance," Casey said. She pulled her lip between her teeth.
"I know," Jack told her. "We'll stop 'em, Case."
"We have to. If the NID starts feeling desperate, they won't be above kidnapping people off of the street for their…process," she said, shivering violently.
Daniel squeezed her fingers. "Not gonna happen on our watch, Angel."
"Duncan said the EDA was appalled, didn't believe it until they saw the security tape from the ship," Sam said. "They're keeping the knowledge under their hat right now. Hopefully the NID hasn't managed to get an agent back on the EDA council just yet."
Casey lifted her glass of wine. "Here's to the end of the NID."
"I'll drink to that," Jack declared, holding up his beer.
"Me, too," Sam said.
"Hear, hear," Daniel said.
"To the end of the NID," Teal'c said, holding his glass of tea.
Carly raised her glass of wine as well. "To the end of the NID."
A A A A A A
Dinner was delicious, conversation flowed, all of them steering away from any topic that dealt with the SGC, the NID, Earth, or any other 'work' related subject. The orchestra had started playing, and surprisingly had played a few 'Tau'ri' numbers. When they began playing "Unchained Melody", Daniel led Casey to the dance floor. Jack and Sam were close behind. Carly had taught Teal'c how to dance, they were on the floor as well.
Casey slipped her arm around Daniel's neck, her hand wrapped in his, resting against the front of his shoulder. "I've really enjoyed this vacation. Well, all but the interruption."
"It was almost like having two vacations," Daniel said. "One week with the kids, one week without."
"True. I enjoyed both weeks," Casey said.
"So did I. I certainly enjoyed the days we got to spend in bed," he grinned, his eyes full of mischief.
"I have no doubt about that," she replied, her own eyes full of laughter.
"Ever want to try that one position again?"
"I could be persuaded."
He pulled her close, pressed his face against the side of hers. "What you do to me, woman," he whispered.
"Right back 'atcha, Stud Muffin," she replied.
"So what do you want for your birthday this year?"
"To be home," she replied.
He smiled. "Besides that."
"Daniel, I have everything I could ever ask for, ever want. I two beautiful babies, a lovely home, friends, family…but most important of all, I have you," she said softly.
"Well, I'll see if I can't think of something you might like," he said, winking at her.
"Oh, that's just mean, Daniel Jackson! Now I'll go nuts trying to figure out what you're getting me!" she complained.
He grinned. "You probably will."
"So, will you still love me if I'm nuts?"
"Even if you're cuckoo," he responded, sending her into a fit of giggles.
The music ended, another song began, and he continued to hold her in his arms. It had been an incredible week. It seemed that each of the couples of SG-1 felt the need for time alone. They had dinner together twice, went sailing once. The rest of the time the couples spent in their respective rooms. Casey and Daniel had spent nearly three full days in bed, making love to and with one another until all of the fears, the demons, were gone. As always, they talked as well as making love, purging the pain from their hearts…their minds… their souls. Casey had shared two full journals of her poems with Daniel, giving him more of an insight into her heart, her mind. That most of them were about him filled him with awe. He felt as if, for the first time, he truly understood just how much she loved him, needed him. Was delighted, and relieved, to learn that as much as he loved and needed her, she loved and needed him.
The music had ended, and they made their way back to the table. 'Let's take one last walk on the beach, please?'
He lifted her fingers to his hand. 'Anything you want, Beloved.' He turned to Jack. "We'll meet you in the lobby at eight in the morning."
Jack nodded. "We'll have breakfast in the café before we leave."
"Sounds good. Goodnight, Jack, Sam." He turned to look out at the dance floor. He held his hand up in a wave, Teal'c nodded and Carly smiled. He took her hand, and led her toward the beach.
"They look…peaceful," Sam commented.
"Yeah, they do," Jack agreed.
"Let's hope they can stay that way," she said, watching her best friends walk out into the moonlight.
A A A A A A
Casey took off her shoes, let the still warm water wash over her toes. "Daniel, do you ever wonder what your life would have been like if you had refused to help Catherine Langford?"
He smiled. "Actually, not since I went through that mirror the first time."
"Oh, I forgot about that. I guess you wouldn't want to think about that," she said softly.
"I know what you're asking, Angel. Yeah, I have, a couple of times. I wouldn't have gone to Abydos. Wouldn't have destroyed Ra. Wouldn't have met Sha're." He put his hands in his pockets. "I can't help but wonder, sometimes, if that wouldn't have been…better. She would have found a husband, had a family. Probably still be alive, they'd all still be alive."
"Maybe. Maybe not. Ra might have taken her as a host for his wife, rather than Apophis taking her. Ra might have destroyed the villagers just for the hell of it."
"I was just wondering if…if you had turned Catherine down, how would we have met? Or would we?"
Daniel smiled, pulled his hand from his pocket, put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against his side. "We'd have met Angel. Destiny, remember?"
She shook her head. "What if…what if we were only destined to be together because of the Stargate? Because you were to be The Chosen?"
"Then I wouldn't have turned down the job, would I?"
"You did in at least one reality."
Daniel stopped walking, turned her to face him, caught her chin in his hand. "Casey, what is all of this about? What's wrong?"
"I guess…sometimes I just wish you weren't The Chosen. So we could just stay on Gamma, and you could do research and translate to your heart's content, and I could be there for my babies, and not miss anything, and…" she broke off, pulled her lip between her teeth.
He raised her chin just a bit more, so that she had to look at him. "And?"
"And I wouldn't be causing you pain," she said, so softly he barely heard the words.
"Me? You…me? Causing me pain?" Daniel shook his head, pulled her into his embrace, held her tightly. "Casey Renee, what am I going to do with you? Angel, I'm going to tell you this one more time. Listen to me. You have not caused me any pain. What has happened to you has hurt like hell. Big difference."
"Not really," she whispered.
"Oh, yeah, there's a big difference. You were tortured, Casey. Killed again and again. Almost beheaded. That tears me up. Because I wasn't there to protect you, I didn't get there soon enough to prevent you from being hurt. What happened to you hurts me. You didn't do any of that. It was done to you. Do you understand?"
She nodded. "I still feel responsible. I hate knowing that you've been hurt, and the root cause is…me. If I hadn't been there, hadn't allowed myself to be taken, then I wouldn't have…you wouldn't have suffered, wouldn't have been hurt."
"Babe, how do I get through to you? What words do I use to make you understand?" Daniel was feeling frustrated. They had talked about this all week. She was still blaming herself for his pain…his hurts…his nightmares, from all they had been through during the past few months. "If I hadn't chosen to go on the mission to deal with Neferteri, you wouldn't have been hurt, wouldn't have tried to kill yourself. Wouldn't have suffered anxiety over every brunette that crossed my path."
"But that's different!" she insisted. "You had a job to do, you never intended for me to be hurt! You thought that Jack and Duncan had told me about the mission!"
"No, it's the same thing, Case. You knew that you had to be captured. Because of Tiesha. For Unlinkil. I understood that. I didn't like it, but I understood. What happened to you wasn't your fault. So how could it be your fault that it hurts me to know what you suffered?"
"Because I knew what was going to happen, and I knew that-" she tried to pull away from him.
He tightened his arm around her waist, firmed his grip on her chin. "Knew what, Case?"
"I knew that there was a very good chance that he was going to kill me…behead me. I…I-" this time she did pull away from him, turned her back to him, looked out at the ocean.
He stepped behind her, wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back against his chest. "Tell me," he whispered.
"I saw my death. I saw him kill me in his room…just like…just like he almost did," she whispered.
His heart stopped beating. She knew, had seen her death, and still she went, knowing that the mission had to happen the way it did. He couldn’t breathe. He pulled her closer, held her tighter, pushed his face against her hair, closed his eyes. "And this makes you guilty of hurting me?"
She bit back a sob. "Don't you see, I expected to die that day! I never…I never fought him! If…if I'd been thinking clearly… I…I never would have said goodbye to you…I would have sent my love, but I would have fought to win. You suffered, and it's my fault!"
Now her…guilt…was making sense. She hadn't been 'thinking clearly.' She had 'never fought him'. How the hell she was supposed to have fought…unarmed…against an insane Goa'uld waving a sword he had no clue. She never would have 'said goodbye'. In her mind, she had given up before that particular battle began. "Angel, I want you to listen to me." He turned her once again to face him.
She looked up at him, tears shimmering in her eyes, catching the light of the moon overhead.
"Oh, babe, don't you understand, you had been beaten, killed so many times, you were exhausted physically, and mentally? Unlinkil told me that you taunted that bastard every step of the way, you never begged, you fought against him hour after hour, day after day. He tortured Tiesha in front of you. He raped and killed that girl in front of you. Casey, you were as close to the edge as you could get. You didn't fail, Casey. You didn't hurt me. You did the right thing. You made the right choices to stay alive."
She looked at his face, wished she could see his eyes. She reached up, put her hand against his cheek. "I gave up," she said quietly.
He shook his head, put his hand against hers, held her palm against his face. "You've never given up in your life. You're a fighter, Casey. You always have been. You didn't give up. You made the best choice you could under the circumstances."
"I couldn't let him touch me," she whispered.
"I know, Angel," he replied softly. This was the one devil that continued to hide in the shadows, haunting her, worrying her… frightening her. This was the one devil that he was the most desperate to defeat.
"It would have broken me," she continued.
"I know. You were on the edge of the cliff. I understand that."
"So why didn't I fight him? I should have fought him!"
Bingo! There it was. The actual heart of the matter. "Because he would have beheaded you. In a way, you were giving him what he wanted. You said that you told him to use the sword, right?"
"Yes, I did. I told him to do it."
He smiled. Like puzzle pieces, it all came together. "Casey, that sounds like you were fighting to me. You were taunting him again. It was a game to him. You taunted, he killed you. You reanimated, it started all over. He tortured you, you taunted him, he killed you. So when you told him to behead you, taunted him to do it, you were fighting him. You were fighting him the same way you had all along. The only way you could. With your spirit. With your words."
She looked at him, his words echoing in her head. She held them, examined them, studied them. "I did fight him?"
"Every step of the way, Case," he said softly.
"I was so damned tired, I couldn't think…I was just so tired," she said. She could remember every moment; every bit of pain, every fear, the total exhaustion, with crystal clarity.
"But you never stopped fighting him. You never stopped taunting him. Even when he was threatening to take your head, you taunted him. You said goodbye, Angel, because you knew that if he did kill you, I needed those words. I needed to hear that…hear that you loved me. You made the right choices."
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I did the best I could," she whispered.
"That's right, babe. You did a damned fine job, too." He pulled her close. Please, he prayed to the gods and goddesses, please let her find peace now.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you, Angel."
"Let's go to bed. We're still on vacation for a few more hours."
He smiled. "Sounds like a good plan to me."
They walked arm in arm back to the hotel. They spent the entire elevator ride kissing. They spent most of the night making love.
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