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If Not for Love
"…You understand, and you never say
How every plan could fade away
If not for love where would you be?
Ashes to dust, water to rust, away from me…"
by Nanci Griffith
He rolled over, stretched his hand out. The bed was empty. He strained to hear, smiled when the sweet sound of her voice echoed over the monitor. She was giggling now…so was his daughter. Two of the three most beautiful sounds he had ever heard. He scratched, stretched, scratched again. Naked. He was naked. They had made love. For three glorious, mind-blowing hours. His smile became a grin as images of what they had done the night before danced before his still closed eyes. Her voice faded, they were in the kitchen now. He forced his eyes open. The sun was shining between the slats of the closed blinds, decorating the blue ceiling and walls with thin stripes of golden light.
He sat up, rubbed a hand over his face, reached for his sweats. He could smell the coffee now. He pulled on the sweatpants, and headed for the bathroom. Emily was jabbering away, Casey was laughing softly. He grinned again. Beautiful sounds.
When he padded barefoot into the kitchen, Casey was already feeding Emily her breakfast of cereal and fruit. The baby squealed and pointed when he walked into the room. He poured a cup of coffee, blew gently to cool it enough to take that first desperately needed sip.
"Hey, Princess," he said, smiling at her. He dropped a kiss on top of her head, leaned over and kissed her Mommy’s sweet lips. "Morning, Angel."
"Morning, sweetheart. If you want to finish feeding your daughter, I’ll get your breakfast," she said with a smile.
He sat down at the counter, took the spoon from her hand and dipped it into the cereal. Emily opened her mouth, waited patiently while he tried to get the gloppy stuff to stop dripping. "Are you hungry this morning, Princess?" he asked, getting a spoonful into her little mouth.
She pointed at him, her little mouth working on the cereal. When she had swallowed, she smiled brightly. "Daddee!"
He caught the little hand, kissed that sweet finger, then gave her a bite of fruit. A glance over his shoulder told him that he was getting an omelet for breakfast. Cool. Casey made great omelets. Her robe slipped the tiniest bit, giving him a clear view of a perfect breast and it’s dusky rose nipple. His body responded instantly. "So how are you feeling this morning?" he asked, that grin back on his face.
She looked at him and giggled. "I’m feeling just fine, thank you very much. In spite of the fact that you snored all night."
"What can I say, babe? You wore me out."
She giggled again. "I kinda figured that out when you were asleep almost before you rolled us over."
"Hey, a man can only take so much before the body shuts down," he grinned broadly.
"I didn’t hear any complaints last night," she countered, her eyes dancing, her smile lighting her face.
"Aren’t hearing any now, either." He stood up, opened the pantry and found the box of Cheerios. Poured a few on the high chair tray for Emily to eat. He watched his daughter for a minute, smiled as she carefully picked up each piece of the cereal and put it in her mouth. Took the two that she offered him, his heart bursting with love for the child that was his. He finished his coffee, got up and poured another cup. When he walked past his wife to sit back down, he let his hand follow the curve of her hip. He could feel her body shiver; he chuckled, thrilled to know that his touch aroused her every bit as much as hers aroused him.
They ate their breakfast, he listened as she talked about her plans for the day. He loved to listen to her, laughed at her colorful and accurate descriptions of the people they worked with.
He took his shower while she cleaned Emily’s face and hands and dressed her for the day. He shaved while she took her shower, the task hampered by the fact that he kept watching her in the mirror as she lathered and rinsed her beautiful body. He dressed, was filling his pockets while she quickly put body lotion on every inch of her skin.
Erin was in the kitchen by the time she was dressed and ready to go. With a few final hugs and kisses for their daughter, they walked out into the sunshine, ready for the day ahead of them.
A A A A A A
Duncan had called a meeting, wanting their input on new MALP data from one of the planets they had received during the night. From what they could see, there was a small village, and it showed the signs of a very recent attack. So recent that many of the cottages were still smoldering.
The need to check for survivors, the importance of finding out who was responsible for the destruction, resulted in a mission. They would embark as soon as they had their gear together. Casey made a quick call to Erin, to alert her to the possibility that they might be gone for awhile.
SG-1 stood at the bottom of the ramp, waiting as the last chevron was locked and encoded. The entire team frowned when Casey bit her lip, and then shivered so violently that it was noticeable even in the control room.
"Case?" Duncan asked.
"I don’t know," she replied. "It’s…not exactly bad, but not good either…I can’t explain it." She shrugged her shoulders. "No real danger…just…something not right."
Duncan hurried to the ‘gate room. "What do you think?"
Jack looked over at Casey, a frown on his face. "We really need to check that place out. Might be some survivors. Send in a couple of teams after us," he suggested. "Give us twenty, then send them through."
The Highlander nodded his agreement. "Okay, SG-1, you have a go. Godspeed." He grinned slightly as he spoke. The team was superstitious enough that they refused to walk through the gate until he had spoken the words. Amazing the rituals that military personnel…and the civilians…used to keep themselves on track.
The five members of SG-1 walked up the ramp and through the ‘gate.
A A A A A A
The village was in ruins. Several goat-like creatures wandered aimlessly, bleating their displeasure. A search of the entire area found no one alive. They began to bury those that they had found, laying them gently to rest, each heart sending prayers to the gods for the safe passage of the innocent souls.
Teal'c was the first team member to notice the small temple hidden in a stand of trees just outside the village itself. It wasn’t very big, maybe ten feet by twelve feet. No glyphs or cuneiform or runes to be seen, although it was brightly painted. The only thing in the temple was against the opposite wall from the open front of the building. On a small, wooden stand was a large, highly polished black stone.
Sam and Daniel examined the stone without touching it, finding nothing interesting or particularly special about it. They speculated on the various origins of the rock, and it’s significance for the people of what appeared to be a simple farming village.
Casey shivered just as Daniel reached out to touch the stone. "No! Don’t…!"
The air was filled with the crackle of static electricity, and a greenish flash filled the temple. Daniel was on the ground, alive, but unconscious. She pulled him into her arms, settled with her back against the wall, his head against her shoulder. "Oh, Daniel, please wake up," she whispered.
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