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It's Hard to Say Goodbye
She paced the floor angrily. Although she had managed to hide most of her telepathic strength from the Council of the Ancients, they had taken enough from her, as well as her Immortality, to make it impossible for her to work on her own. It had been easy to ally herself with Toren, especially when she had learned that he, or his host, at least, had a bit of psychic power. All it had taken was a foray into his mind that had left Goa'uld and Host in a coma for days. It was unusual for the Host to remain as strong as this one was, but Toren needed him to control the mental powers. Now, she was Toren's most trusted advisor. Never his lover, however, no matter how much she might wish it. She was too old, too…ugly. She had aged rapidly after being tossed from among her kindred. That also made her angry.
She had been warned not to go near the humans who had been the cause of her exile. She smiled grimly. She had not gone near them. But she was manipulating those who could. When her spies and seers among Dagon's priests and priestess' told her that the Goa'uld had taken a new host, one who knew The Chosen, she had been unable at first to believe her good luck. Dagon had been no match for her when she had begun manipulating him months earlier, and it had been very simple to plant the thought that with The Chosen and his little witch under his control, he would be able to finish the job he had started eons ago: he would at last defeat Toren. At the same time, she informed Toren of Dagon's intent, whispering in his ear that while The Chosen was no threat, and easily disposed of, his little witch could prove a valuable asset. The experiments had been going well. Soon she would be able to transfer her consciousness into another body. Unlike a Goa'uld, she wouldn't have to fight for control of the body, the 'download' would simply 'erase' the other consciousness from existence.
She glanced into the other room, where Toren lounged, naked, his body glistening with oil from the massage he had just received. When she inhabited the body of a woman he found so attractive, one that he yearned for, she would have him. And then she would spurn him, as cruelly as he had spurned her. Her cheeks flushed with the memory of that horrible night. He had been in fine form, having just taken over another planet, defeating one of Dagon's motherships…
He swept into the room, his crimson robe fluttering out behind him. The smile on his face was contagious. She couldn't help but return it. "It went well?"
"Just as you predicted. Your insight prevented my ships from becoming trapped. I now control Randesia." He began to peel off the armor that he wore only as a means to inspire awe and fear into the primitive peoples of the planets he conquered.
Did he not care that she was in the room? Did he not know what the sight of his handsome, virile body did to her? Or was it on purpose, to see if the powerful seer was a woman as well as an advisor? She dropped her own robe to the floor, stepped toward him.
He glanced over, saw that she was naked. The look of…disgust…on his face stopped her where she stood. "Please, old woman, do not embarrass yourself further. Put your clothes on. Leave me. And send me two, no three, yes three of the women from my harem."
If she had possessed the power she'd once held in her slight body, she would have destroyed him where he stood. He saw not the woman inside, but the body: old, wrinkled, sagging…her long hair now thin and white instead of the thick auburn it had always been. Her cheeks had flamed with anger, and shame. She had grabbed her robe, pulled it around her body, and fled from his chambers. She had not, in spite, sent anyone to his room. She'd heard him roar for his women thirty minutes later. Then she had suffered, listening to the sounds of pleasure that echoed from his room for hours afterward.
She looked at him. Yes. She would have him, once she possessed the body of that blonde witch. And then she would walk away from him. She would tighten the controls she had placed in his mind, and force him to watch her with other men, lusting after her, wanting her, having had a taste of what he would never have again. Her smile was as cold as her gray eyes. Yes, he would pay. As would that damned human who was the reason she was here to begin with!
A A A A A A
Casey sat up, wild-eyed, her heart pounding against her ribs. Her fingers went to her face. Met with smooth, supple skin.
"Case?" a sleepy voice asked from beside her. "What's wrong?"
She reached over and ran her hand up and down his chest. "Nothing, sweetheart. I'm sorry I woke you. Go back to sleep," she whispered.
The best way to stop his questions was to distract him. She leaned over and kissed him. "I'm sure," she whispered again, then moved her mouth to his throat. "I'll be right back." She slipped out of the bed and went into the bathroom. With luck, he'd be back asleep within minutes. She picked up her hairbrush and idly ran it through her hair. She jumped when his hand pulled it from hers, and put it back on the bathroom counter.
He put his hands on her shoulders, turned her to face him, although in the dark, he could see little more than the outline of her sweet face. He'd heard the moans. Had gone into the dream to see what was happening. Had stood just behind her as she watched the old woman, and peered into dreams, thoughts, that belonged to the hag. "I saw it, too," he said softly.
She sighed, slipped her arms around his waist. She should have known. If she hadn't been so…surprised…at what she was witnessing, she would have felt him. Well, at least now she didn't have to try and figure out a way to tell him.
"Now, are you all right?" He put his arms around her shoulders, pulled her close.
"I think so," she replied.
"Was that…real?" he asked. He led her back to the bed, turned on the little lamp on the bedside table. Watched as she climbed onto the mattress and sat cross-legged. He stretched out on his side, facing her. Smiled when her fingers began to move up and down his arm. He didn’t think she was even aware of the caress.
"I'm pretty sure it was. I…" she shook her head. "I was dreaming about something screwy, I think I was at the grocery store, but I was trying to find the last magazine for my P90…I was running up and down the aisles looking for it, sorting through cans and jars…" she shook her head again.
He grinned. Some of her dreams were downright entertaining. He had watched her trying to fit oversized shells into a magazine once. The look of frustration on her face had been priceless. "Go on."
"Well, it was weird. All of a sudden I was standing on a terrace. It was night, and I could feel …maybe sense is a better word, that there was a large…castle… behind me. There was a woman in the shadows. I don't know how I knew it, but she was beautiful, long black hair, deep blue eyes. Anyway, she moved… sorted of glided to stand beside me. She said there was something I needed to see…to hear…to know. Her voice was a whisper, almost…almost like a breeze."
Daniel shivered. Just before he had awakened to hear her soft moan, he had heard a soft sound, a whisper. He had heard a soft, feminine voice say three simple words: 'she needs you'. He had opened his eyes, and seconds later Casey's soft moan had filled the room.
"At first I didn't want to look, but she…somehow she was able to force me to. I watched that woman…training …the young girls who would become priestess'. She broke them down, dehumanized them, then began to drug them, using different combinations of herbs and chemicals to get the desired results. Then, she sold them…to Dagon. She took on the persona of a slave trader and sold them! She told him that they were powerful seers. She had collars on them, simple silver collars, she told him that the collars prevented the girls from using their mental powers against her. He was stupid enough, or desperate enough, to believe her. She…she told him that the only way to subdue them, to control them, was to take them first to his bed, and then put them in a temple using their powers to protect him. He believed that too."
Without having to be told, he understood that this was what had brought about the soft moans, especially if she had 'witnessed' the rape of these young girls. "Then what?"
"Then I was in a room…that room, watching her. Listening to her thoughts, seeing her…memories." She shivered violently.
"C'mere, Angel," he said softly. She settled against him, helped him bring the blankets over them. When she had her head on his arm, her back pressed against his chest, he let his hand move up and down her hip. "I must have come in at the same time you went to that room."
"So, Dagon wants us because she wants us," Casey said softly.
"We need to find out who she is."
"My dad knows."
"Yeah, he does. Case, do you think we should take a look and see what's going on right now?"
She giggled. "I take you with me once, and now you think you have to come along on every ride?"
"Yep. Keeps your sweet, sexy ass out of trouble," he replied, kissing her shoulder.
Her giggles intensified. "Oh, right. Like it kept me out of trouble with Toren?"
He flinched. "I'm sorry, Case. I never should have done that."
Her hands moved over the arm that encircled her waist. "Don't apologize, Beloved. Had the situation been slightly different, you reacting to a beautiful woman, I would have thrown an even bigger temper tantrum. Besides, if you hadn't forced me to go back, I wouldn't have met him, and we wouldn't know about what's going on."
He frowned as a thought began to nag at him. "So who was the woman who warned us?"
She scooted so that she was laying on her back. Looked up into troubled blue eyes. "Us?"
"I heard a voice…a woman's voice...tell me that you needed me. I woke up just seconds before you started to moan. If I hadn't been awake, I don't think I would have heard you," he explained.
She shivered again. Had he not heard her, not entered her dream, he wouldn't have known about it, confronted her, and she never would have told him, and…another shiver moved over her slender frame. "I have the feeling that we'd better wake Dad up. The team, too. I think things are going to get a lot more…intense."
His hand moved up her arm, wrapped around her chin. "Let's take a look, Angel."
She smiled, reached up and caressed his face, then closed her eyes.
She met him, let him pull her into his arms. 'Ready?'
'Yep.' He began to send her the strength she needed to carry him along with her as she searched. He could do little more than hang on, everything around him nothing more than a blur of lights and darkness.
'Well, hell!' she said.
'She's convinced Toren that if Dagon gets us, that he'll finish the job that he started however many thousands of years ago. Toren wants revenge, she's playing on that. He's getting his fleet together.'
'And heading for Gamma.'
'Yep. Didn't we just see this movie? I really didn't like parts of it.'
He grimaced. 'Yeah, well now we have to get the team together.'
'Daniel, if we lose another team…I can't take that, it'll kill me.'
'I know, Angel. Let's go back. We have work to do.'
She opened her eyes, looked up at his beautiful, handsome face. "Thank you," she whispered.
"Being there with me. It makes seeing…bad things…a little easier to deal with," she explained.
He kissed her tenderly. "I'll be there for you, always."
"I love you. Only you, always you, forever," she whispered.
"Love you, Angel. Only you, always you, forever," he replied. He kissed her again. "You call your dad. I'll get the water in the shower warmed up."
She nodded. Held him for just a few seconds before letting him move away from her. She looked around him, felt no danger, no threats. She could feel the tension leave her body after her quick search. If anything happened to him, she would just curl up and die of a broken heart. The darkness was…under control. But she had no illusions. Without Daniel's love, his strength, that darkness would consume her.
A A A A A A
Duncan glanced around the conference room when he walked in. "Didn't we just do this?"
Jack nodded. "Yeah. Seems that things have gone from bad to worse."
The Highlander listened, a deep frown on his face as Casey detailed her dream, and what she and Daniel had 'seen'. He looked over at the man he depended on when it came to the tough decisions. "Do we try to take them out again, like we did with Dagon?"
"I don't think we have a choice," Jack replied. "It did get rid of those motherships. And that's what we need to do…again."
"What if we get a message to Dagon, let him know that Toren is after Daniel and Casey as well?" Sam said.
Teal'c nodded. "Dagon is desperate to stop Toren from being able to exact revenge. Toren is desperate to exact that revenge. If we can focus them on one another, we might be able to move in behind them and destroy both."
Jack studied the dark features of his friend's face. Nope, he wasn't joking. "Okay, just how are we going to do that?"
Casey began to giggle. Everyone looked at her, smiles tugging at lips. "Okay, we know that I can 'contact' Toren, right? What if we send a message to Dagon, and then I let Toren know…sort of a 'I'm-not-supposed-to-tell-you-this-but…' kind of thing?"
Aaron was studying his daughter. "Let Toren believe that you do find him attractive, and that we have…realized…that we cannot hold off his fleet. If he has no idea the size of Dagon's fleet, you can convince him that defeating Dagon was luck, that Dagon was a fool, but that you realize that Toren can't be defeated."
"And then let him think you're doing it in order to protect yourself…and Daniel," Jack said, nodding slowly. "Can you do it?"
"I had Ba'al convinced I was doing Methos on a daily basis, didn't I?" she asked, her eyes flashing.
Laughter moved around the table.
"What about this woman," Daniel asked quietly. He focused his attention on his father-in-law.
Aaron returned the gaze steadily. "She will be removed from the scene very shortly. She was warned about this. I will contact those who will inform the Council of the Ancients. If the Council does not deal with her, immediately, there will be those who will. And that will not bode well for the Ancients."
Glances were exchanged. "The Council screwed up by not stopping Simmons, didn't they?" Casey asked softly.
"Yes. And in doing so, angered Beings much more powerful than the Ancients. A lesson in…humility…could destroy more than half of the Ancients who remain," Aaron replied.
"Daniel is more than just the Champion for the Innocent, he's a freaking lighting rod!" Casey hissed.
"Huh? I don't get it," Jack said, looking from Casey to Aaron to Daniel and back.
"There are those on other…levels…other planes of existence who are stretching their cosmic muscles. And the Big Boys don't like it. So they give Daniel super powers, announce that fact to all interested parties, then sit back and let the good times roll! Yeah, he's doing what he's supposed to be doing, fighting the Goa'uld to protect the Innocent. But he's also a nice target for any group or individual eager to prove how powerful they are. And killing him would accomplish that," Casey said, staring at her father. "Except that I'm not about to let some…asshole Ancient or Ascended or whatever the hell they are, do that!"
Aaron smiled. "You are quite intuitive."
"It's all right there," she said softly, her eyes hard, angry.
Her father jerked. He hadn't even felt her move in his mind! Her strength, her skill, was indeed growing rapidly. "I will ask you never to do that again."
"Then quit keeping information from us…from me. I've told you before I'll do whatever it takes to protect him. I meant it. I'll kill anyone, destroy anything, to keep The Chosen safe. I do mean anyone!" Her eyes flashed with anger.
Everyone around the table shivered slightly. The ice in her voice seemed to have brought the temperature in the room down a few degrees.
Aaron's blue eyes flared with anger for just a moment. Then he began to chuckle. "You are indeed my daughter. As well as your mother's! Please believe me, my darling child, when I tell you that I had no intention of hiding any information. In my own defense I guess I just forget that not everyone knows what is going on the same as I do. Please know that it was not done with malice. I too, am eager to protect The Chosen, as much as he needs protection, if only to shelter you from heartache."
Casey studied him for a minute. She could feel the love that the man had for her. "I believe you."
Jack was looking from father to daughter and back, trying to figure out what was going on. "Okay, for those of us still floundering around here, what the hell just happened?"
"My daughter was too impatient for me to figure out that I needed to tell you, and Daniel, as much as I know about what is going on. The battles we wage, general, have repercussions on many levels. Many are only physical manifestations of struggles that are happening on higher planes of existence."
"Makes you feel like the mortals must have when they were used for the entertainment of the Olympian gods, in all of those myths," Daniel said, shaking his head slightly.
"Very much like that," Aaron agreed. "Know this - Daniel is much more powerful than even the Beings who bestowed that power upon him realize. As he continues to learn how to control it, use it, he encourages it to grow ever stronger. One day, he will be a threat to even those Beings."
"Oh, now that does not sound good," Jack hissed.
Aaron smiled. "They may be powerful, but they are also wise. They will choose to leave him alone, rather than risk their own destruction."
"You're sure about that?" Duncan asked one eyebrow raised slightly.
The Ancient grinned. "As much as I can be."
"You old sonuvabitch!" Casey hissed.
Blue eyes began to twinkle at her. "You are indeed a smartass. I told you that you were intuitive."
"Uh…hello? Mere Immortals trying to keep up here," Jack said.
"My father isn't just an Ancient. That's how he managed to keep so much of his power. The Ancients don't even know! Does Mom?"
"I keep nothing from your Mother," Aaron replied.
"This is not explaining anything," Jack grumbled.
"Oh, my god!" Sam breathed, her eyes going wide.
Jack frowned at his wife. "Will somebody please tell me what the hell is going on?"
Daniel was staring at his father-in-law as well. "Just how many levels did you come down to become an Ancient, and why?"
"Let us just say that the move downward was not as far as you believe. But farther than any others have chosen to go. And because I fell in love with a green-eyed beauty who could sense me when none of the others could." Aaron turned to Casey. "Your mother was stripped of most of her strength. There was nothing I could do to prevent it, not without exposing myself. But she possessed great psychic talents. You inherited those from her, although your talents…skills…surpass even hers."
"Because I have your genes." Casey's green eyes went wider. "Framone didn't manipulate my genes! I'm…I was…different because of you!"
"He did a bit a manipulating, when he discovered the difference in you," Aaron replied.
Daniel was frowning. "So are you hiding from those who are like you?"
Aaron shook his head. "No. They are well aware of where I am. That I have chosen to live the way I have is of no concern to them. That you continue to…grow…is only a curiosity to them."
Sam's eyes couldn't get any wider. "But if…then…Oh, my god! The Beings who gave Daniel his…powers…are…"
"They gave him those gifts only because they were allowed to."
Casey was staring at her father as well. "Can't get much higher, can you, Dad?"
The man tossed back his head and laughed. "Believe it or not, yes, that is possible. Very few reside there, however."
Jack shook his head. "So, you really are like…God?"
Aaron guffawed. "No. These levels of existence are accessible to anyone who has the strength, the will and the wisdom to reach them. My ancestors were as human as you."
"Let's see…Human…Immortal…the Ancients…The Others…The Ascended…the level of the Triad…then there's the level of the Beings that gave Daniel his power…how am I doing so far?" Casey asked.
"I'm impressed. There is a level between that of the Triad and the other Beings, known as the Committee. Which consists of beings from every level above the Ancients. There are higher levels," Aaron said.
"I take it that you're from the level just above those Beings that gave Daniel his power…we have got to come up with a name for them…" Casey said.
"Again, very intuitive. And they are called the Beings of Light, loosely translated," the Ancient said.
"So the levels of 'godhood', like we hear about with the Olympians, and the Kartesh of Langara, those levels were…are… real," Daniel said.
"I do not wish to interrupt such an enlightening conversation," Teal'c said quietly, "But unless these higher beings are going to step in and protect the SGC and the colonies, we have an imminent threat to deal with."
"T's right. We'll discuss all…this…later," Jack said, waving a hand in the air to indicate the discussion that had been going on.
Duncan nodded, still a bit stunned at what he had just learned. He glanced at Casey, and an errant thought had him laughing out loud.
"What?" Casey asked.
The Highlander looked over at her, then reached out and took her hand. "I was just thinking… I've never known a real goddess before, and considering who your father is…" he glanced up at Aaron. That man winked at him.
"Oh, please," Casey groaned.
"She's always been my goddess," Daniel said softly, lifting her fingers to his lips.
"You've always been my god," she replied. "If your power rivals even that of those who gave it to you, that certainly puts you on that level, doesn't it?"
He grinned. "Technically, maybe, I guess."
Jack cleared his throat. "Okay you two. Knock it off." He ducked his head to hide his grin.
"Okay, back to work," Duncan said. "Let's go over this idea again. We have to get a mission planned before that goddamned Goa'uld is knocking on the door."
The team settled down and began to discuss options, pros and cons of each idea examined thoroughly. SG-1 was doing what SG-1 did best. They were getting ready to take on the bad guys. And with or without help from 'gods', they would continue to protect the Innocent from the threat of the Goa'uld.
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