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In the Arms of Love
Jack was waiting anxiously at the bottom of the ramp when the two teams came through the gate. "Welcome home, campers." He kissed Sam briefly, then looked up at Casey and Daniel. "Well, I suppose Mr. Grumpy here told you that you’re back with 1, right?"
Casey looked up at Daniel. "Mr. Grumpy?"
Sam laughed. "That’s a mild description. He was absolutely livid when he had to spend three days down without you, while you were stuck in Glenncairn!"
Casey blushed. "I wasn’t easy to live with myself," she said, glancing at Major Parker, Texas and Tony.
"You were fine, Casey, until somebody mentioned the ‘gate," Tony replied, grinning. He looked around at the others. "Then she’d start mumbling under her breath, and go kick the DHD a few times." The others laughed.
Jack looked up at Ben. "I’m putting you with SG-6, they need a man, and Sam says you’re a whiz with gizzmos and doohickeys. Major Parker will retain command." Jack watched the man’s reactions. From what Sam had told him, there was no doubt that soon Braeden would be leading his own SG team.
Ben nodded. "That’s fine, sir," he replied. He looked at Sam and Teal'c. Both had been friendly enough, well, with Teal'c it had been hard to tell, the Jaffa rarely spoke. Daniel tolerated him. Barely. It would be much better to be on a team where he hadn’t forced a well liked…no, well loved teammate off. He had dreamed of being a part of SG-1. He hadn’t realized that just being assigned to the team wouldn’t make him a part of it. He didn’t have a chance of ever becoming a part of that team. They were too close, too comfortable together…too much a team, for him to ever fit in. After going through the ‘gate, he couldn’t imagine never getting to do it again. He’d be a part of any team that would have him, any team that he had a chance of fitting in with. He was smart enough to realize that rank was no substitute for experience when it came to traveling through the gate. If Major Parker was in charge, that was fine with him. So long as he was on an SG team.
Major Parker looked over at Casey. "Sure wish I could keep you, Jackson," he said with a smile. He looked at Daniel. "But I guess it’s just not in the cards."
"Thanks, Major," Casey smiled.
"Well kids, let’s do the debrief thing, so you can all go home," Jack said. He put his arm around Sam’s shoulders and led the way.
A A A A A A
Casey sighed when she walked in the door. It felt wonderful to be home. She dropped her bag onto the floor, went into the living room and dropped onto the sofa. She picked up the remote, and turned on the TV.
Daniel watched her for a minute, then went to join her. She situated herself in the corner, pillows piled around her, then pulled him back against her, his head resting on her shoulder. "Anything particular on that you want to watch?"
"Oh, not really. Just thought I’d use it to zone out for a little bit," she replied.
"Yeah, I am. Emotionally drained. I never want to go through another month like this again. I can’t take it. Being away from you, never getting to talk to you, or hold you…it was just too much. I know that sounds pathetic and clingy, but it’s the way I feel."
"Nothing pathetic or clingy about it. I feel the same way. We’re married, Case. We’re supposed to be together. We’re supposed to be able to sleep in the same bed at the same time, eat at the same table at the same time. Hell, just watch TV together. A month like this last one won’t happen again, that’s for damned sure," Daniel said.
She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, one hand moving up and down his chest. He had taken the remote and was flipping through the channels. He found a program on the History Channel, and looked up at her. "It’s fine," she said. She didn’t care what was on, as long as he was in her arms while they watched.
Daniel watched the program, one about the First World War, was aware that fifteen minutes into it Casey had fallen asleep. He had tried to get up, but she had murmured and pulled him closer. With a smile, he settled himself against her, listened to the faint beating of her heart, breathed in the soft, sweet smell of her skin. When the show was over, he half listened to the next program that came on. He lifted her fingers to his lips, kissed them, tasted them, sucked gently at them. Yelped when they closed around his tongue.
Casey was grinning down at him. "Cat got your tongue?" she teased. She giggled and pulled her fingers from his mouth. "Sorry, I couldn’t resist," she said.
He grinned, and shifted around until he was facing her. "Feeling playful, huh?" His fingers dug into her sides, she shrieked and tried to fight his hands off. They were breathless when they slid to the floor, their laughter still echoing around them.
"God, I’ve missed you, Angel," he whispered, looking down into her eyes.
She wove her fingers through his hair. "Missed you, too, My Heart." She pulled his head down, sighed when their lips met. When she let him go, he was smiling, his eyes full of love. "Daniel?"
"Casey?" he grinned.
"Have you been to the grocery store lately?"
"Nope." He sat up, pulled her up with him.
"Okay. Where do you want to go?"
"Hungry an hour later."
"Nah, not in the mood."
She looked at him and grinned. "Okay, wise guy, your choice…Olive Garden or Red Lobster."
"Red Lobster it is," he grinned.
A A A A A A
It was barely after five, so the restaurant wasn’t very busy. They sat in a booth near the window, watching as people walked and drove by. Casey entertained him with speculation on what each person was doing, even thinking by looking at their facial expressions.
When a dark haired man walked by, his arm draped casually around the shoulders of a blonde, she froze, her eyes going wide.
"Casey? Babe, what’s wrong?" Daniel asked, a frown on his face. He looked from her to the couple she had been watching, then back again.
She shook her head slightly, then looked at him, trying to smile. "Just looked like a ghost from the past," she said. She reached over and took his hand.
Her fingers were trembling, and he wrapped his hand around them, let his thumb caress her knuckles. "You okay?"
She smiled. "As long as I’m with you."
Her words made him smile. She could make him feel as if he were invincible, with just a look, a simple statement, a quiet smile. "What you do to me, woman," he said softly. He lifted her fingers to his lips.
"What you do to me, My Love," she replied just as softly, cupping his cheek with her hand. She shivered when his hand covered hers, and he turned his head, licking the sensitive skin of her palm.
"Casey? Is that really you?" a deep voice asked from just above them.
She looked up, managed to choke down a groan. "Hello, Kenny."
Daniel started, then looked at her. She was looking at him, her eyes full of love and trust. He smiled and winked at her. She giggled. Gods, how he loved that sound!
"So, uh…gonna introduce me to the flavor of the week? Or is it done by the day now?" Kenny asked sarcastically, his grin twisted.
"Daniel, this is Kenny Vincent. I believe I’ve told you about him. Kenny, this is my husband, Doctor Daniel Jackson."
Daniel looked up at the man. "I think you have. The ass who was cheating on you with the next door neighbor?"
"She was just one of many," Casey replied. She noted that the blonde on Kenny’s arm had been looking Daniel over as if he were a menu item. The woman jerked and gave Kenny a hard look at Daniel’s comment.
"Doctor, huh? Guess that helps on medical costs when you come home with-"
Daniel was on his feet. "I don’t think you want to finish that," he said, his voice a low growl.
Casey was on her feet as well. She slipped to stand just behind Daniel. "He’s not worth it, Sweetheart," she said, holding onto his arm.
Kenny stepped back. He looked at Casey. She was beautiful. She’d always been so damned beautiful. And her eyes were still as expressive as ever. There was so much love for this man reflecting in them that it was impossible to see anything else. She'd never looked at him the way she was looking at this doctor. Doctor. Yeah, that figured. He was still doing construction work, when he could get it, and she was married to a doctor. He looked down at the woman beside him. Tammy…Terry…what the hell was her name? He’d met her in a bar last night, woke up beside her, managed to spend the day at her apartment while she worked. He looked back at Casey. He hadn’t missed what she had called this man. He noticed the pendant that glittered against her breasts. Half a heart. He’d bet that the small lump under the doctor’s shirt was a matching half. That was so typical of her. She had looked at pendants like that before they had been married. She had never wanted to buy any.
"Why don’t you and your…friend…go have dinner, and leave us to ours," Daniel said quietly.
"How have you been, Case?" Kenny asked, ignoring the man beside him.
Casey looked up at Daniel, the light in her eyes enough to brighten the room around them. "Wonderful," she said softly, the word almost a sigh.
Daniel looked down at her, smiled, lifted her fingers to his lips once again. His own eyes burned with love.
As Casey and the doctor looked at each other, Kenny got the impression that as far as they were concerned, no one else existed. He cleared his throat. "Heard that you were kidnapped."
"Yes," she said simply, finally looking over at her ex-husband. "But I got away. Daniel rescued me."
"Would have been nice if you had let us know you were all right," Kenny continued, his voice full of accusation.
"If there had been anybody who really gave a damn, I guess I would have. Kelley and Gretchen were notified when I was…found. If they chose not to pass on the news, that’s not my problem." Casey replied calmly.
This was not the same, insecure little girl he had been married to. This was a strong, self-assured woman. One hell of a woman at that. She was still slender, he noted, but she looked…fit. "Your mother was worried about you," Kenny said softly.
"I’m sure she was. Looked good for the neighbors to put on the tortured mother act. Look, there's nothing I want to say to you, and you sure as hell don’t have anything to say to me that I want to hear. So, please, take my Husband’s advice. Go have dinner."
"Not even willing to have a drink for old time’s sake?" Kenny asked. Casey looked at him. There was absolutely no emotion whatsoever in her eyes now. Not anger, not hatred...nothing. He could even have handled pity. But to see nothing ripped him to the core. He'd never stopped loving her. Every woman he took to bed was a substitute for her. True, she hadn’t had that much experience when they were married, but with patience she could have been- He cut that thought off. Wondered briefly why he had felt it necessary to continue to bed other women when he'd had her. He looked again at the man she was married to. For all that he looked like a geek, there was something about him, in his eyes, that told Kenny this doctor didn’t fear anything. Something that warned him that Daniel was not a man to be messed with.
"Babe, would you rather go somewhere else to eat?" Daniel asked.
Casey shook her head and smiled up at him. "No. We’ll stay right here. I don’t have to run from anything. Any demons, any hurts from the past, you've fought and defeated, you've healed."
Kenny blanched at her words. Her meaning was clear to him. "No problem. We’ll just be on our way. Nice to see you again, Casey." He waited, but when she said nothing, just stood there looking at him, her hands holding onto the doctor’s arm, he shrugged and walked away.
Casey slid into the booth, Daniel sat down beside her. "Are you okay, babe?"
She smiled. "I’m fine. I’m really fine," she said, almost as if she couldn’t believe it herself. She took his hand and lifted it to her lips. "Oh, Daniel, you have done so much for me! You’ve taken all the bad things, all my fears, and destroyed them…oh, I love you!"
Daniel smiled, brushed his fingers over her cheek. "You did that all by yourself. I was just there to hold you."
She shook her head stubbornly. "No, My Heart. Without you, I never would have had the courage to face those things alone. When I looked at them, I was terrified. It was your strength, your love, that saved me."
"Damn, Case, do you know what you do to me when you say things like that?" he asked softly.
He smiled. "You make me feel like…Superman."
She giggled. "To me, you are."
They were eating their appetizers when they noticed that Kenny and his friend were leaving.
"Wonder what he’s doing in Silver Springs," Casey mused.
"Do you think he’ll bother you, knowing that you’re here?"
She shook her head. "I don’t think so. We’re not listed in the phone directory. Unless he follows us home, he doesn’t know where we live. Besides, if he gives us any trouble, we could just have Teal'c pay him a visit."
Daniel laughed. "That would definitely make him rethink any harassment." Just to be sure, though, he thought, he would make damned sure they weren’t being followed for the next few days.
Kenny stood across the street, watching Casey and her husband laughing and talking, watched as she fed him from her plate. Watched as she took something into her mouth from his fingers. He lit a cigarette. What a fool you’ve been, Vincent, he thought. He knew that there was no way he could take on the doctor and win. He’d been in enough bar fights, sized up enough opponents to know when he was outclassed. And this guy outclassed him, big time. Shouldn’t have spent so many years drinking so much. He tossed down the cigarette, and opened the door of the car he had managed to talk that girl in Phoenix into signing over to him. What was her name? Sherrie? Sharon? Susan? Started with an ‘S’. He'd been drifting for years, ever since the divorce papers had arrived at the apartment where he had lived with Casey. He was here now because he'd heard about construction work in the area, something for the military. Hadn’t panned out though. They wanted to do a security check on him. He'd had a few run-ins with the law over the past few years. So he'd simply walked away. He'd planned on leaving Silver Springs last weekend, wasn’t sure why he had stayed. Now he knew. He sat in the car, watching, waiting.
When he had heard that Casey had been kidnapped, Kenny had envisioned himself finding her, saving her. She would be so grateful that she’d forgive him, take him back. He had spent months trying to follow a trail that led no farther than Mt. Baker in Washington State. It was as if she had vanished from the face of the earth. He'd seen Kelley at the Blue Gull a time or two, and could remember the night he'd overheard her talking to that Gretchen bitch, the one who had cut him down with three words and a look in front of his buddies, telling her that Casey was safe, and was starting a new life in Colorado. Hell, he’d been making his way here for the past four years, he just hadn’t realized it.
They were leaving now, getting into that brand new Jeep Renegade. He was holding the door for her, leaning in to kiss her. Kenny could remember exactly what her lips tasted like, the sweet smell of her skin, the soft feel of her. He closed his eyes, remembering how it felt to have her underneath him, naked and whimpering.
He almost missed seeing them turn onto Baker Drive. He started the car, and followed.
Daniel glanced in his rearview mirror. The car with out-of-state plates was still following them. "Babe, we’re going to the base. I think your ex is behind us. Don’t turn around, I don’t want him to know that I’ve seen him."
"You have got to be kidding," Casey replied with a sigh. "He never was the sharpest tool in the shed."
Daniel laughed. "Are you okay?" He reached over and took her hand.
Casey smiled at him. "You’re right beside me. So yes, I’m okay. Don’t think you’ll be going anywhere without me for awhile, though," she giggled.
"You’re an incredible woman, Casey Jackson," he said softly.
"Thank you, kind sir. You’re pretty incredible yourself. And sexy. And handsome. And brave. And strong. And-"
"Better than chocolate," Daniel finished with a grin. Her words had his heart beating faster. How he loved the way this woman could stroke his ego! The most amazing part was that she believed what she said. He could see it in her eyes.
When Daniel stopped at the guard shack, he told them about the car that was following them, and who was driving it. The Marine took down all the information, then promised to call either his office or Jack’s if the car or driver tried to come onto the base.
They could see the gate from the parking lot, and they sat in the jeep, just watching. Sure enough, the car that had been following them came by, slowed down, turned into the espresso stand and sat there for a few minutes. Daniel knew that the tag number was being taken down by the gate guard, and would be put through the computer.
"I think we’ll just spend the night here," Daniel said. "Come on babe. I have some work that needs to be done anyway. You can go down to the Pit for awhile."
Casey smiled. "If it’s okay with you, I think tonight I’d rather just stay with you. I’m not scared, really I’m not. But I’ll feel much better if I’m at least in the same room as you are."
He nodded. "Whatever you want, babe."
Once in his office, Casey made herself comfortable in one of the chairs. Daniel was already absorbed in whatever it was that he was working on. She sat and watched him, just looking at him, watching his eyes, the slight frown that wrinkled the skin between them. Almost absently he picked up the phone. He was talking to Sam. She could see excitement in his eyes, could hear it in his voice. As usual, a chat with the tall blonde astrophysicist had helped him with his own work. He was scribbling furiously on the pad beside him. He glanced up, caught her watching him, and winked. She smiled, and winked back. He went back to work, and she opened her book and began to read.
A A A A A A
Kenny could barely see the jeep. He saw them get out, go through that second gate, get onto a bus that went into that tunnel. Damn, what the hell do they do here, anyway? There was a lot of security. He continued to flirt with the girl who was working in the espresso stand. He hated the shit, but he bought a latte anyway. This girl was too heavy for his taste. He liked ‘em tall, slender, blonde…like Casey. But flirting gave him time to watch. He’d have to find a place where he could see the gate, but not be seen. He finally said goodbye, and drove up the road, looking for a suitable position. He parked behind a stand of trees, where he could see the main gate onto the base. He'd found her. Now all he had to do was convince her to come back to him. His brain was too muddled from the alcohol he had consumed at the restaurant to understand what an impossibility that was.
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