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Forever And Ever, Amen
"Daniel, can you get that?" Casey called, pulling a pie from the upper oven, placing it carefully on the island. She opened the lower oven door and reached in to baste the turkey that was beginning to brown.
She huffed a sigh, and threw the potholders on the counter. She hurried down the hallway, tossing a glance into the den. Yep, he was working, oblivious to the world. She wiped her hands on the apron that covered her red dress, and opened the door.
"Merry Christmas, Casey!" Jack greeted her, putting a brown grocery bag into her hands.
"Merry Christmas, Jack." Casey smiled at him, and reached up and kissed him on the cheek. Teal'c and Sam stood just behind him. "Merry Christmas, Sam," she said, grabbing the woman in a one-arm hug, careful not to upset the casserole dish that Sam was holding. She grabbed Teal'c by the front of his jacket and pulled him down towards her, planting a kiss on his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Teal'c."
"Merry Christmas, Casey Jackson."
She followed her guests back down the hallway, putting the grocery bag on the counter and putting the contents, two six-packs of beer and a quart of vanilla ice cream…ice cream? …into the refrigerator and freezer, respectively. She giggled. When Jack had asked her if he should bring something, she had replied that it wasn’t necessary, but he could if he wanted. His contribution to the holiday meal was typical Jack.
"Wow, Case, the place looks amazing," Sam said, taking in the gaily decorated room.
The room was a Christmas showplace. The tall blue spruce tree was decorated to within an inch of its life with green, red and gold ornaments. The mantle above the fireplace was covered with fir boughs, and bright red bows and gold glass balls peeked from the greenery. The table had a centerpiece made of an assortment of white, green and gold candles, all decked with red bows. Mistletoe hung at the doorway into the hall.
"So, where’s Daniel?" Jack asked.
Casey rolled her eyes toward the den. "Evidently whatever it was that SG-5 found last week is just too interesting to stop working on. He’s barely surfaced since he started. I’m amazed that I was able to distract him long enough to get him to shower this morning."
"Eww…mental image I did not need, Mrs. Jackson," Jack declared. He eyed the mistletoe, then glanced at Sam. Casey could see the wheels turning behind his eyes, scheming to get the colonel under the greenery, an excuse to share a forbidden kiss. She determined to help that scheme along.
"Please, sit down. I’ll see if I can tear Daniel away from his work," Casey said. She hurried down the hall, opened the doors to the room with a definite ‘bang’. "Daniel?"
"Honey, they’re here." She said, running her fingers through his hair.
She shook her head, bent down and whispered in his ear. "Don’t worry about any crashing sounds you might hear. Jack and I are going to get naked and swing from the chandelier."
She grinned and waited…one, two, three…
"What? You’re going to do what?" Daniel said, turning around in his chair. He groaned. "You are such a wanton hussy!"
"You love me anyway."
He grabbed her and pulled her to him, burying his face between her breasts. "I damn well do love you," he said, his voice muffled.
"Come on, honey, it’s time to open gifts."
Daniel followed her back into the great room, greeting the people who had been his family for almost eight years. He smiled as Casey excitedly began to gather the exquisitely wrapped gifts from under the tree, arranging them on the coffee table with a flourish.
"Wow," Sam murmured, reaching out and touching a delicate bow that resembled a rose. "Where did you get these wrapped at, Casey? They’re beautiful!"
"Casey wrapped them all herself," Daniel said proudly.
"Wow," Sam repeated, looking from the packages to Casey and back again. "Must have taken you hours!"
"Days," Daniel said, rocking back and forth on his heels, bursting with pride.
Casey rolled her eyes. "It’s no big deal," she declared. "Can we get on with it?" she asked, eyeing one particular box that had her name on it. She plopped down on the wide pine coffee table, grabbed the first gaily-wrapped gift, checked the name on the tag, and handed it to Jack. "I hope you like it," she said shyly.
Jack held the gift for a moment, hesitant to disturb the elaborately twisted ribbon. "Gee, I dunno if I should open this or not. Seems a shame to ruin all that work."
With a sigh, Casey leaned over and gave the paper a strong tug. It ripped loudly. "See, that’s all there is to it."
Jack glared at her. "It’s my present. I'll decide when it’s time to rip it open!" With a grin, he finished tearing the paper away. And revealed a top of the line fishing reel. "Oh!" he said softly. He stared at it for several minutes, not saying a word.
"Is it okay?" Casey asked worriedly. "The guy at the sporting goods store said it’s the best reel there is, but if you don’t like it…"
He reached out and took her hand. "Case, it’s…it’s perfect, thank you," he said softly.
The next gift went to Sam. Just as Jack had done, she looked the box over carefully, noting that the bows were arranged with almost mathematical precision. "I don’t want to ruin the bows," she said out loud. Before Casey could offer the same ‘assistance’ that she had to Jack, Sam carefully searched for and found the tape holding the ribbons together. As gently as if she were defusing a bomb, she released the satin ribbon, keeping the intricate bows intact. Once the paper had been just as carefully opened, Sam gave a small gasp. Inside was a motorcycle helmet. But not just any ordinary helmet. The black plastic was covered with carefully placed constellations, each silver star reflecting the light. On the front, in definite contrast, the words "Born to be Wild" were emblazoned in gold. She looked up, her eyes bright. "It’s great, Casey, thank you!" She leaned forward to hug the slender young woman perched on the coffee table in front of her.
"Hey, the helmet was my idea," Daniel said from his chair.
"Thanks, Daniel," Sam grinned.
Casey grabbed the next gift and handed it to Teal'c. "I hope you like it," she told the giant man. "I think it’s something you need," she added.
Teal'c inclined his head toward her, and then casually ripped the paper from the box. Casey giggled as Sam flinched, watching the paper and ribbons flutter to the floor.
"Now there’s a man who knows how to open a present," Casey declared with satisfaction.
Inside the box were a dozen CD’s ranging from rock-and-roll to jazz to rhythm-and-blues to classical. Teal'c looked at her, one eyebrow raised quizzically.
"You have a great DVD collection," Casey explained, "but you haven’t got any music! You can’t live without music!" she declared.
"Then this is indeed an appropriate gift, Casey Jackson. Thank you," the big man said.
Casey grabbed a long narrow box and handed it to Daniel. She held her breath while he carefully unwrapped it. Inside was a jeweler’s box. He opened it, and then looked up at her. She moved over to perch on the arm of the chair. She pulled the two pendants from the box. Each pendant was an intricately carved half heart. The two halves fit together to form a perfect heart. On one pendant the name 'Casey' was inscribed, on the other 'Daniel'. "I thought-" she started.
Daniel put a finger to her lips, tears forming in his eyes. "It’s the most perfect thing you could have gotten," he whispered. He took the pendant with Casey’s name on it and put it around his neck. "I love it." He pulled her down into his lap and kissed her deeply.
"Ahem." Jack cleared his throat.
Daniel broke the kiss with a grin. "Gee, Case, I think there’s a box there for you. The one you’ve been shaking all week."
Casey threw a glare over her shoulder as she reached for the box that had been tempting her ever since she had noticed it under the tree. Without a second’s hesitation she tore open the wrapping. "Yes!" she squealed as her endeavors revealed the pair of diamond earrings that she had been drooling over from the first moment she had seen them in the jewelry store window. She threw her arms around Daniel’s shoulders and kissed him. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
As the stack of gifts diminished and the pile of discarded paper and bows grew, Jack found himself the owner of a new fishing pole, to go with the reel, as well as season tickets for the local hockey team, and a new pocket knife with real pearl inlay. Sam received a certificate for a local beauty spa, a cashmere sweater, and a sapphire pendant and earring set, the latter a gift from Jack. Teal'c now owned a portable CD player, for his new music collection, another Three Stooges DVD, and a book - a collection of photographs of the most beautiful places on Earth. Daniel had a new shirt, the dark blue a compliment to his eyes, a package of silk boxers, which had earned Casey a "hussy!" remark, a set of beautifully carved chess pieces, and a collection of classical stories, including Oliver Twist, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
"You never really had a real childhood, not with moving from foster home to foster home," Casey explained as he examined each book. "When you told me you’d never read Huck Finn…" she shrugged. Daniel pulled her once again into his embrace.
Casey was delighted with the cashmere sweater that she received, laughing with Sam over the fact that they had bought the same gift for one another; a silk peignoir set that brought a wolf whistle from Jack; and a book on ancient civilizations. The latter brought a moan from Jack and laughter from Sam and Daniel. That the gift had been from Teal'c made it all the funnier.
The best gift of all, as far as Casey was concerned, was a gift that came from Jack, Sam and Teal'c. It was for both her and Daniel. There were two photo albums, and two videocassettes, one each for the night that Daniel had proposed to her, and for their wedding. They watched each of the cassettes while they waited for the turkey to finish baking. Jack and Daniel exchanged jibes as they watched, both men thoroughly enjoying the exercise.
Dinner was a success, if the stripped carcass of the turkey and the empty serving dishes were anything to go by, and the afternoon and evening had passed pleasantly, full of laughter. Jack had managed to "trap" Sam under the mistletoe, although Casey knew that it had been a mutual "entrapment". Daniel had caught Casey under it, Casey had caught Jack, and laid a chaste kiss directly on his lips, surprising the man so much that he was speechless, and both Sam and Casey pulled Teal'c under it, each of them kissing him on the cheek.
A A A A A A
Alone again at last, the only illumination in the house coming from the colored lights on the tree, Casey and Daniel lay stretched out on the sofa. A fire crackled merrily in the hearth.
Casey sighed contentedly. "This has been a perfect day," she said softly.
Daniel had his arm around her, his thumb tracing lazy circles against her cheek. "Yes, it has been."
"You know why it was so perfect?"
He smiled. "No, why?"
She shifted positions so that she was lying almost on top of him. "Because of you."
"I thought it was because of you," he said, pulling her more fully on top of him.
"You know the best part?"
"It’s just the first of many, many more perfect Christmas days," she said. She kissed his lips, letting her hands roam over his body. "Why don’t you model a pair of those boxers for me," she whispered seductively.
"Hussy," he whispered against her cheek, grinning broadly.
"You love me anyway."
"I damn well do love you."
"Will you still love me when you’re old and gray?"
Daniel laughed out loud. "Absolutely. Will you still love me when I’m old and gray?"
"More than ever," she whispered. "Forever and ever, Daniel. I’ll love you forever and ever."
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