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Let the Games Begin
The shields on Ba’al’s ship had prevented their attack from causing more than just minor damage. They were able to move away from him, but not before he fired on their engines. Reduced to sub-light speed, they limped through the system, looking for a place to hide while Jacob/Selmak and Sam repaired the ship. Teal'c and Daniel kept watch on Ba’al’s location. He was actively looking for them. They had found a small moon and were hiding between it and the planet beneath them, using the unusual magnetic field of the planet to hide their ship signature.
Casey was sitting on the steps where the throne had once been in the control room, Jack companionably beside her. "This whole mess is my fault," she whispered.
"No, Case, it isn’t. If you have to blame anybody, blame Doria Olmstead," he grinned.
She tried to smile, failed. She shook her head. "I’m the one that gave the idea to the Tok’ra Council, who then convinced, and coerced the Immortal Council into going along with it."
"Casey, Selmak says that Talek was already thinking about this before you and she ever mentioned it. That’s why he was so eager to ‘cooperate’ with your little payback scheme. Which, by the way, we richly deserved."
"Not really. You guys were being drugged. I should have been quicker to pick up on that. I mean, really, Teal'c flirting? Come on…that alone should have sent off every warning alarm in my brain. It’s just-" she broke off, dropped her eyes.
"Just what, Case?" Jack asked softly.
"She had dark hair, dark eyes…" she shrugged, refused to look at him.
Just like Neferteri, his mind finished. How long would that damned mission haunt them? He wondered if Daniel had made the connection yet. "Casey, Sam told me how great you did. She and Jareel managed to get almost everything off of his computer. We have enough info to make Ba’al miserable, and take him out soon. You should be proud."
She nodded, the motion barely perceptible. She pulled her legs up to her chest, rested her cheek against her knees and closed her eyes.
He watched her for a moment, went to join Daniel and Teal'c by the control console. "Daniel, you realize why Doria set her off, don’t you?"
"Yeah, because I was, how did she put that, ‘dragging my tongue on the ground over her’," Daniel replied. He glanced over at his wife. She appeared to be asleep.
Jack shook his head. "She had dark hair and dark eyes."
Daniel looked at him for a minute. Casey had said something about that while they had been fixing dinner that night.
"Like a certain Goa’uld." Jack offered, when he saw that the younger man still didn’t understand.
"Oh, god!" Daniel breathed. Now her tirade that night in the kitchen made perfect sense. "Will I ever stop hurting her with that?"
The general put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. "Time, Danny, she just needs more time. Hell, it hasn’t even been five months yet. And she had to deal with it all over again thanks to whoever the hell it was who was using it to mess with her head."
"I don’t know how much more she can handle emotionally, or mentally, before she shuts down completely," Daniel said, his eyes on her again.
"Maybe we should pull her off of rotation. Sam is back now…" Jack started.
Daniel shook his head. "She’s still hurting from our lack of trust. To do that would only exacerbate that problem," he said softly. "If you and Duncan pull her off rotation, I don’t know that she could handle it. She’s gone through hell, Jack. Erin told me what she went through, or some of it anyway. She said that she and Tessa and Sam and Carly took turns sitting with her, holding her while she cried. She said that Casey stopped talking at all on the third day, and that for the last two days she didn’t even get off the couch. She didn’t eat, she didn’t drink anything, she didn’t sleep, she sat there and cried. Two days. Forty-eight hours straight. They could barely get her to eat or drink, let alone sleep, before that. Erin said that she was ready to call Doctor Montigue when Casey asked her to take Emily home with her. That was the day she went to PY2 498. And tried to kill herself."
Jack sucked in a breath. He hadn’t realized just how far down Casey had fallen into grief. He glanced at Teal'c, saw that the usually stoic Jaffa had tears in his eyes.
"We came damned close to killing her, Jack." Daniel said, his eyes full of tears, his voice soft. "How can I ever make that up to her?"
"Love her, Daniel. Just love her," Jack answered quietly.
"Daniel Jackson, I will continue to scan for Ba’al. Perhaps you should sit with your wife for awhile," Teal'c suggested gently.
Daniel looked at the Jaffa with gratitude. "Thanks, Teal'c. I think I’ll do that." He walked over to where she sat, lowered himself to sit behind her. He pulled her back against him, let her settle with her head back against his shoulder. Her hands were on his arms, holding him tightly. "Love you, Angel."
"Love you, too," she replied. "I’m sorry I got us all into this."
"Babe, you didn’t get us into anything. The Tok’ra already had this planned. If anything, I should be apologizing. I’m the one who acted like a fool over that woman…"
She shook her head. "You were drugged. Like I told Jack, I should have picked up on the fact that something was wrong…but I was so damned jealous!"
He tightened his arms around her. "Angel, I wish you could see inside my heart. You’re there, you fill every space in my heart. You fill my soul. You and Emily, Case. You’re all I want; all I’ll ever need. I love you. I could say those same words in thirty-five languages, and it still wouldn’t be enough, still wouldn’t give you any idea how much I love you, how much I want you, how much I need you."
She snuggled back against him. "You know, Ba’al does have a right to be pissed off," she said after a few minutes of silence.
She shrugged. "What he said was true. I offered myself to him…I acted just like a whore for sale."
"Casey, don’t you dare go there!"
"Daniel’s right, Casey," Jack said, having heard her comment. "You did a job. Ever hear of the CIA? The FBI? The NSA? Those people do the same kind of job, under the same dangerous circumstances in order to defend their country. Those organizations have women who do the same thing, make the same sacrifice for their country. Only here a lot more was on the line than one country. Every human in the galaxy, hell, the universe, is at risk from the Goa’uld. You did what you had to do in order to help us beat those snakes. Did he propose to you, and did you accept?"
She smiled. "No."
"There you go. Just a job. That’s all it was. Don’t forget that he raped you."
She shook her head. "Not in his mind. In his mind he was making love to his Beloved."
Daniel flinched. "Casey, you told me to let…that…mission go. I’m going to tell you the same thing. Let it go. It’s over, done with. Let it go, babe."
"I’ll try," she said softly.
He knew from experience that it wouldn’t be easy. "You’re mine, Angel. You always have been. You always will be. There isn’t anything in this universe that can change that. Nothing. Nothing and no one can take you from me. You belong to me," he whispered in her ear. He could see the slight smile that came to her lips, felt her lean back against him harder, snuggle deeper into his embrace. He would ‘reclaim’ her every day if that’s what it took to help her move past this. And he was going to stop paying attention to women with dark hair and dark eyes.
Sam and Jacob walked into the room, smiles of success on their faces. "Let’s get out of here," Jacob said. Teal'c brought the hyperdrive engines online, and they headed for the Alpha site.
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