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Forever And Ever, Amen
The first time she had been through a Stargate, it had been as a slave. Now she went through as a soldier. She had already accompanied SG-1 off-world on two missions. Both missions had been simple, just evaluating uninhabited planets. Neither had any type of ruins, at least none that SG-1 had seen, nor was there any naquadah to be found. All members of the team were thankful that the missions had been uneventful. Casey was even more grateful that she'd not been bothered by any 'poking', or that quiet little voice in the back of her mind. She had enough to deal with, she didn't need to worry about any latent 'abilities'. No matter what Miss Eloise had told her.
Her first meeting with the Tok’ra, however, had not gone as well. When General Carter and his associates had first come through the 'gate, and had spoken, Casey had not waited for orders. Instead, believing the SGC to be under attack, she opened fire. She hit one of the Tok’ra, but it hadn't been more than a flesh wound. She still wasn’t good at moving and shooting at targets at the same time. She could hit the target, just not where she wanted to. Which turned out to be a good thing in this case.
Once it had been explained to the visiting Tok’ra that Casey had been the abducted woman that SG-1 had been searching for, all had been forgiven, if not forgotten. She had apologized, and had found that Selmak, General Carter’s 'symbiote', had a wonderful sense of humor. Even General Carter had been willing to 'forgive and forget'. She wasn’t sure about the other Tok’ra, the one she had shot, but then, she really didn’t care either. Not after hearing what they had come for. It seemed that the Tok’ra turned to the Tau’ri of the SGC whenever they wanted something done, but deemed it either too trivial or too dangerous for the Tok’ra to actually do themselves. At least that was the way Casey viewed it. As far as she was concerned, the Tok’ra weren’t far enough removed from the Goa’uld to warrant being trusted. She had figured out quickly that General O’Neill felt the same way about them.
A A A A A A
Casey was lying on her bed, reading the reports of past missions, carefully studying Daniel’s reports more than the others, finding his observations of the people they had met, and the places they had been to be far more interesting than the military style of General O’Neill’s reports, or the scientific observations of Colonel Carter. The room had been used for storage, but now her bed, her chair and ottoman, the chest of drawers she'd found at a swap meet and had painted, and her stereo made it her own private haven. Her CD’s and photo albums and framed photos and other bric-a-brac were still in boxes on one side of the room, but they were all there. As were the boxes filled with what she had inherited from her Grandma Rose. She didn’t know how General Hammond had done it, but true to his word, within two weeks all of her things were with her at Cheyenne Mountain.
Someone knocking on the door interrupted. "It’s unlocked," she called out, closing the folder.
An SF opened the door and nodded at her. "General O’Neill wants to see you in his conference room right away, ma’am."
Casey rolled off the bed, grabbed for her boots. "Right behind you," she said.
For some reason she had expected to find General O’Neill alone. However, Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c were there as well, none of them looking happy. Sam wouldn’t meet her eyes, and Daniel looked as if he were sick. Even the normally stoic Teal'c had a frown on his face. A glance at the general had her gulping. He looked positively steamed. What had she done now? Once inside the room, she saw two men she had never seen before, and General Hammond. She hadn’t known he was in the mountain. The last she had heard, he had returned to D.C.
"What’d I do this time?" She asked, trying to smile, even though her insides were starting to quake.
O’Neill looked down at his hands. This was another damned distasteful thing to add to the growing list, he thought bitterly.
Just as she started to sit down, one of the men pulled a small caliber handgun from his pocket and pointed it at her. She could feel panic rising up inside. She turned pleading eyes to Jack, backing towards the wall behind her. "Uh…if I screwed up that bad, can we at least talk about it?"
Before Jack could respond, a shot rang out.
Casey looked down at her chest, watching, as her tee shirt became red. Her ears started to hum, and she could feel her legs giving out. She crumpled to the floor. Then Daniel was beside her, pulling her into his arms. "Why?" she managed to whisper.
Daniel shook his head, tears in his eyes. "I promise to tell you as soon as you wake up, okay?"
She nodded, feeling the blackness of unconsciousness enveloping her mind. She was unaware of the medical team that put her carefully onto a gurney, nor did she know that they hurried her to a room where she would be monitored closely. Only a handful of people knew about Doctor Pierson and his friend MacLeod; the room she was taken to had been made off-limits to all but those who had been cleared for the 'project'.
"If she doesn’t wake up, I will have you both shot," General Hammond said tersely.
"I’ll have your heads whacked off of your shoulders," Jack growled.
"She’ll wake up, general, trust us," Duncan said quietly, not bothering to clarify to which general he was responding.
Methos noticed that Duncan’s brogue was especially thick right now, which meant he was as upset about this as the others in the room were. He shook his head mentally. They were merely doing what had to be done. He stood up. "Now we wait. It could take up to forty-eight hours."
It took every ounce of control he could muster not to smash his fist into Pierson's face. Daniel took a shaky breath, ran his hand over his face. Noted that his fingers were covered with blood. Casey's blood.
Teal'c stared coldly at the Immoral, his huge hands curled into fists.
Sam glared at the lanky young man who stood stretching in front of her, as if he hadn’t just shot and killed a young woman in cold blood. "Sirs, permission to stay with Ms. Webster."
Both Hammond and O’Neill nodded.
Neither Teal'c nor Daniel needed permission, but both quietly requested to accompany Colonel Carter. Both were sent to sit with the now dead young woman.
A A A A A A
Daniel rubbed his eyes and put his glasses back on. His back was hurting from the plastic chair he had been sitting in for the past five hours. The alarms on the monitors had been turned off, but the flat line on the screen next to the bed hadn’t changed since his arrival. Teal'c was sitting on the floor, practicing his kel'no'reem, although he couldn’t reach the same state of deep meditation now that he no longer carried a symbiote. Sam was sitting on the only other chair in the room, her head against the wall, her eyes closed. Daniel knew she wasn’t sleeping, however.
Several times he had reached out and had taken Casey’s hand, willing her back to life. He took it again, rubbing his thumb absently over her knuckles. It suddenly occurred to him that her skin wasn’t as cold as it should be, having been dead for this long. And there was no sign of rigor mortis, either.
His head jerked as he thought he saw a slight blip on the monitor. He waited, scarcely daring to breathe. Again, there it was, just a slight blip, not even a real heart beat. He reached over and turned the volume up. A loud "beep" echoed in the room.
Casey heard a sound, almost like her alarm clock. She tried to move, but her body wouldn’t cooperate. Her limbs felt as heavy as lead. Her chest hurt, the pain burning under her breast. She suddenly felt as if she couldn’t breathe. She began fighting to take a breath. At last she was able to fill her lungs. She inhaled with a gasp, taking in as much air as she could, her back arching off of the bed.
"Casey?" Daniel was leaning over her, Sam was standing just behind him, and Teal'c was near the foot of her bed.
The pain that she felt was beginning to fade away. She sat up, her head spinning slightly. By the time she was fully upright on the bed, she was feeling fine. She searched her memory for the reason she would be in a hospital bed, connected to monitors and hovered over by her new friends. It came back to her in a flash; being called to the conference room, the dark haired man, the gun, the pain, the tears in Daniel’s eyes, his promise…"He shot me!" She shook her head slightly. If she'd been shot, she shouldn't feel as good as she did. One hand went to her chest. There were no bandages. No wound. "What in the hell just happened to me?" A sudden blinding pain struck just between her eyes, then faded to a 'buzz'.
"You’re Immortal," a voice said from the doorway.
Casey glared at the man who had shot her. Too angry to bother to hold her hospital gown closed, she pushed herself off of the bed, crossed the room in three steps, and sent the man into the hallway with a right hook. She watched in amazement as her knuckles swelled, and then tiny sparks flashed over them. In a matter of seconds it was as if she had never struck the man.
Methos was on his feet, his jaw still sore, although the pain was fading fast. He’d be more careful in the future; this little dynamo packed one hell of a punch.
"What’s happening to me?" she whispered, backing into the room.
"You’re Immortal," Methos replied softly, now standing just inside the door. "You can’t die. Unless someone takes your head."
"I don’t understand!" she said, the confusion in her eyes echoed in her voice.. "Is this because of the Goa’uld? Did they do something to me?"
Methos shook his head. "You were born this way. You’re adopted, right?"
"How did you know?" she asked, her voice a raspy whisper. No one here at the SGC knew about that!
"All Immortals are foundlings. None of us know where we come from. Although there have been some tablets found that may just give us a clue. For now you need to learn about the Game, and how to defend yourself."
Casey dropped onto the chair that Daniel had recently vacated. "This is all waaay too weird."
Daniel knelt down in front of Casey. "I told you that I’d answer all of your questions when you woke up. Do you remember that?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I do," she replied softly.
"What Methos says is true, Casey. You’re Immortal. You have to learn how to fight with a sword, to defend yourself. That’s how Immortals fight. Other Immortals will try to kill you."
"If I can’t be killed, why would they try?"
"You can die if they…uh…decapitate you. Then they take your Quickening," Daniel replied.
"Decapitated?" Casey shuddered. "What’s a…Quickening?" She looked from Daniel to Methos and back again.
"It’s your power, all that you know, all that you are," Methos explained. "You’ll have to learn how to stay focused so that if you take a Quickening, you can prevent the one you’ve killed from taking over your mind and body."
Casey held her hands up in front of her. "Whoa, wait a minute. This is all too much…this isn’t another of General Jack’s training exercises is it? To see if I break under pressure? To find out if I’d give out information if I was captured?"
Sam shook her head. "Casey, I know this is hard to believe. It’s hard for us, too. But it’s all true. Methos shot you. You died. You were dead for almost six hours."
"Clinically dead. Brain-dead. Dead," Sam replied.
Casey put the heels of her hands over her eyes. "If this isn’t a pizza induced nightmare, then I have truly entered the friggin’ twilight zone!" She dropped her hands and looked around at the faces in the room. She knew that none of these people would lie to her. She could sense that the man named Methos was telling her the truth. "Can I get dressed now?" she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Methos, Teal'c, and Sam quietly filed out of the room. Daniel took her hands in his own, lifted her fingers to his lips. "I’m sorry they did it this way. You should have been told first."
"Was being Ascended anything like this?"
Daniel smiled. "I have no idea. I don’t remember very much from that time."
Casey leaned forward and rested her forehead against Daniel’s. "Does my being…Immortal…make a difference to you?" She was as aware of …whatever it was between the two of them…as he was.
"Not even the tiniest bit." Daniel pulled her into his lap, hugging her against his chest.
Casey snuggled into his embrace. "First I’m a Goa’uld slave, now I’m Immortal. What’s on the agenda for tomorrow?"
Daniel grinned into her hair. "You learn to fly like Superman?"
She giggled. "I don’t know about that. I’m not crazy about heights."
"Thanks for being here for me."
Daniel looked down at the woman in his lap. When she looked up at him, her eyes shining with unshed tears, her lips trembling slightly, he felt a surge of love rise in his chest. For the first time since Sha’re, he had found someone to love. He slowly lowered his head, giving her time to back away.
Instead, Casey lifted her head, her lips meeting his lightly, tentatively.
There was a secret to opening that sweet mouth. When she parted her lips, he groaned and deepened the kiss, slanting his mouth over hers, his tongue gliding into her mouth, tasting her, touching her.
"So how’s the patient…whoa…excuse me!"
"Jack has got to have the worst timing in the world," Daniel growled against her mouth.
Casey grinned. "Or the best. A few more minutes and I would have taken advantage of the situation. Your reputation would have been ruined."
Daniel laughed out loud. "What a wanton hussy you are!" he teased.
"Hussy?" Casey giggled. "Give me a couple of minutes to get dressed, and then we’ll see what Jack wants," she said, already climbing to her feet.
"Probably just wants to make sure you’re really alive and well," Daniel said, standing up beside her.
"Probably. Go, now, before we wind up on this bed!"
Daniel planted a kiss on her forehead. "I’ll be just outside the door."
Jack was waiting, along with Methos and MacLeod. "Uh, sorry about, uh, interrupting there, Daniel."
Daniel grinned. "No problem. You managed to save my reputation."
Jack looked at Daniel. "Come again?"
Daniel chuckled. "Never mind." He turned to the other men who stood waiting. "Now what?"
"Now she starts her training," Duncan replied. "I have a sword for her. If it’s too big, I know where we can get one that will 'fit' her. Until she can defend herself, she shouldn’t be alone whenever she’s outside. I haven’t felt the presence of any others, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there."
"How much room do you need for this Errol Flynn type stuff?" Jack asked.
Both Methos and Duncan grinned at the reference to the movie swashbuckler. "The larger the area the better," Duncan said. "She needs to learn how to move, how to take advantage of her surroundings. The more variety we have to work in, the better."
"There’s a warehouse we use for cadet training. I’ll see to it that you can work there undisturbed," Jack said.
The door to the room opened and Casey stepped out. She swayed slightly, and put her hand to her head.
In an instant Daniel was at her side. "I thought she was supposed to be blessed with perfect health!"
Duncan took Casey’s hand. "What you’re feeling is how we know if another of us is near. In a few seconds it should fade to just a "buzz". Do you feel it?"
Casey nodded. "The pain is gone. Now it’s like…it’s like…"
"White background noise," Duncan provided.
"Yes!" Casey exclaimed, nodding again.
"Since we haven’t met properly, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Duncan MacLeod, of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in the Scottish highlands in 1592. I was turned out of my village after my first death, called a devil and a demon. My clansman, Conner MacLeod, also an Immortal, who had ‘died’ a hundred years before my birth, found me, and became my teacher. If you will allow me, I will be yours." Duncan lifted her hand to his mouth and gently kissed it.
Casey smiled up at the handsome dark-haired Scot. She glanced at Daniel, saw the frown that pulled at his face. She pulled her hand free and stepped closer to the archaeologist. "Thank you. I appreciate the offer, and I gratefully accept. But do I have to start training today? I was hoping to have a nice quiet dinner tonight."
Daniel slipped his arm around Casey’s shoulders. "I don’t see that waiting until tomorrow would hurt anything. She won’t be alone," he said, looking directly at Duncan.
If Duncan saw the challenge in Daniel’s eyes, he chose to ignore it. Instead, he turned to Casey. He had felt a strong pull of attraction to this young woman the moment he had first seen her, when she had returned from her "boot camp" training. She reminded him of Tessa. Not so much in the way she looked, although her hair was nearly the same shade of blonde. Casey’s eyes were deep green, where Tessa’s had been blue. But Casey had the same fire, the same spirit that Tessa had possessed. It was that fire that drew Duncan, like a moth to a flame. Watching her surreptitiously over the past week had just made the attraction stronger. "General O’Neill has offered the use of a warehouse. I will meet you there at six-thirty in the morning," he said, smiling down at her. "Wear something comfortable and easy to move in. I prefer sweats myself," he added.
"Why so early?" Daniel demanded to know.
Duncan turned his attention to the man beside Casey. "Discipline. And the sooner she starts, the sooner she’ll be able to defend herself." He nodded at Casey, then turned and walked away.
Methos had watched the by-play with an amused smile on his face. He'd noticed how Duncan’s eyes had lit up when he had his first glimpse of the new Immortal. He had watched the Highlander watching the woman every chance he got. He had also seen the way that Doctor Jackson looked at her. The next few weeks promised to be interesting, indeed. He pushed himself away from the wall where he had been leaning, and with a nod, followed his friend.
"Glad to see you up and around," Jack said.
"Thanks, General Jack. I’m glad to be up and around. Even if I had to enter the twilight zone to do it!"
Jack grinned. "Ya know, Casey, most folks either call me 'General', or 'Jack'. 'Jack' will work just fine."
Casey smiled. "Okay…Jack."
"That’s better!" he grinned. "Well, kids, why don’t you two go have a nice dinner and…well…whatever."
"Jack!" Daniel protested.
"It’s okay, Daniel," Casey said. "He knows that we have the hots for each other." She grinned scandalously, her eyes dancing with mirth.
Daniel grinned and hugged her. "True. Okay. We’re outa here. See you in the morning, Jack."
Duncan watched from a dark recess of the corridor as Casey and Daniel waited for the elevator that would take them up to the world outside. They were kissing; just light, playful kisses. His own mouth watered at the thought of kissing Casey’s full, pink lips. He shook his head. Obviously the woman loved someone else. Why couldn’t he respect that and leave it alone? Why did he have the feeling that training Casey was going to be the hardest thing he had ever done?
A A A A A A
Dinner had been a quiet affair. They had found a small café near the base, and had sat talking and drinking coffee until closing time. Since Daniel still lived on the base as well, they returned there, walking through the deserted corridors arm in arm. They spent the rest of the night in his room, propped up against the pillows of his bed, Casey’s head resting on his chest, still talking. It seemed that there was no subject that they couldn’t discuss. When Daniel began talking about his work, Casey asked a multitude of questions, delighting the archaeologist. He answered as fully as he could, each answer spawning more questions. To share his passion with the woman he was falling in love with went beyond his wildest dreams.
It was a quarter after six when a sharp knock on the door brought the two of them awake. Neither could say when they'd fallen asleep.
"Ms. Webster? Mr. MacLeod wanted me to remind you of your six-thirty appointment," an SF said, his voice muffled by the closed door. Neither of them bothered to wonder how the SF had known that Casey was in Daniel’s quarters.
Daniel groaned. Casey looked at the clock beside the bed. She turned and planted a kiss on the tip of his nose. "I have to go, I need to stop by my room and change. I’ll catch up with you later."
Daniel managed a nod. "I’ll be in my office," he told her, yawning.
"Okay." She started to stand up.
Daniel grabbed her arm and pulled her back towards him. "You’re not leaving without this." He pushed his hands through her hair and brought her face to his. Softly put his lips against hers.
His kiss was gentle, arousing, and delicious. It sent shivers up her spine. "Hold that thought, Doctor Jackson," she smiled. She pulled away, stopped at the door to blow him a kiss, and then disappeared into the corridor.
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