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Love Conquers All
"…Love conquers all
This one will last a lifetime
And if love conquers all
This one will last forever"
"Love Conquers All"
by Deep Purple
He rolled over, reached for her…felt nothing but the cold, empty bed beside him. He grimaced. Fought down the pain that clenched his heart like a fist. How long would he continue doing this? How long before he stopped reaching...wanting...? He could hear Emily starting to fuss in her room. He forced his eyes to open, and his mind to shut down. He crawled out of bed, already wearing his sweats and a wife-beater tee shirt. He had taken to sleeping in them again, since she wasn’t...home.
Emily smiled at him when he entered her room. "Wakey, Daddee," she said, repeating what Casey had taught her. Those simple words cut like a knife.
He swallowed, forced a smile for his daughter. "Mornin’, Princess," he said softly. "How’s my girl this morning?"
"Mommee home ‘day?" she asked. Every morning she asked the same question…was her Mommy coming home today? How long before she stopped asking? He couldn’t let her forget her mother. He’d take her to see Casey...maybe tomorrow. Each visit was hard on both him and his daughter. Resulted in more questions from the confused little girl, questions he didn’t have answers for. But Emily deserved to see her mother, even if her mother didn’t exactly see her.
"Not today, Princess," he said. He took her diaper off, put on her "big girl panties". Soon she wouldn’t need a diaper at all. Erin had been a godsend, taking care of the potty-training process. What did he know about potty training any child, let alone his daughter? He had always assumed that Casey- he cut the thought off, struggled to regain control of his emotions even as the grief overwhelmed him.
He dressed Emily, lifted her from the crib and took her to the kitchen to fix her breakfast. Once he had her settled into her highchair, he stirred a bowl of instant oatmeal, put it into the microwave. Unlike Casey, he wasn’t that great of a cook. Again, he forced that thought from his head. He poured his first cup of coffee while he waited for the cereal to cook. He took a sip, waited for the caffeine to hit his system. Wished for something stronger. No one knew that he was drinking at night, once Emily was in bed asleep. He had found that Southern Comfort was the only thing that could shut off the pain, the only thing that could help him sleep. He had never been much of a drinker…just the occasional beer, usually with pizza; a glass of wine or two with dinner. Now…now he just didn’t care. As long as it numbed him, even for a little while.
He made a piece of toast for his daughter, cut it into ‘quarters’, waited until the oatmeal had cooled a bit, then put it all on her tray. Emily could feed herself now, he always chuckled at how carefully she put the food, whatever it was, on the spoon before she put it in her mouth. Only that little index finger and thumb were allowed to get ‘messy’.
Erin arrived, came into the kitchen, kissed them both. Her eyes were as haunted, as full of pain as he knew his were. She didn’t say anything, but he was well aware that she had already been…there…and had made sure that her daughter had eaten something for breakfast.
He headed to the bathroom for a shower and a shave. Just like every morning now, the water from the shower mixed with his tears. Just like every morning now, his fingers caressed the half heart pendant on the dresser that bore his name. He looked at the bottles of lotion and shampoo and conditioner and perfume…missing her, aching for her. Dying a little more inside.
With a hug for his daughter, and a weak smile for his mother-in-law, he headed for the base. His next stop had become as much a part of his morning routine as shaving and brushing his teeth. The orderly smiled and unlocked the door to the room. The one with the padding on the walls and floor.
"‘Mornin’, Angel," he said softly. He didn’t expect an answer. Except for nonsense words that she hummed tunelessly to herself, she hadn’t spoken a word since…
Five months earlier...
"We have a request from Alteria," Duncan said, walking into the conference room. "Seems that Zinder is back, and they want some help taking the bastard out."
"We can do that," Jack grinned.
"That’s what I told them. Embarkation in thirty minutes."
A A A A A A
As soon as the team was through the ‘gate they realized they had been set up. The bodies of the leaders of the ‘freedom fighters’ were dumped in front of them. Then they were tied up and taken to the tavern.
"Well, well, well, as I live and breathe. The great SG-1," Zinder said. His smile was menacing. He nodded, and the men who had brought them in forced them to their knees.
Casey was pulled to stand directly in front of the Immortal criminal.
"You have caused more trouble than you’re worth," Zinder told her calmly. "I have plans for you. The others I care nothing about." He snapped his fingers, and long swords were held to the throats of each of the SG-1 team members. "Come quietly with me, and I’ll spare their lives. Make so much as a peep, and I’ll take their Quickenings, one at a time, starting with your husband."
Tears in her eyes, she nodded slowly. She allowed herself to be bound hand and foot.
"Casey, don’t-" Daniel had started to say.
"Please, Daniel, I have to…I don’t want you to die!" she said, then looked at Zinder, terrified that she had angered him, that her outburst would cost Daniel his head...his life.
The dark haired man only smirked. Another flick of his fingers, and she was picked up like a sack of potatoes.
It was the last time any of the team saw her alive and…well. They knew that Zinder would sell her at the slave market on Darteen. It took a full day for the Phoenix to get to Gamma to pick them up. Two more days to reach the planet known for its slave trade. What they had learned when they arrived there had been agonizing to hear, especially for Daniel. Had they arrived just a day sooner…
The ‘auctioneer’ remembered Casey very well, her green eyes had still been full of fire on her arrival. She had struggled with her captors, managed to knock two of them out before she was subdued. Zinder had been furious, and had ordered her to be ‘disciplined’ by his men…all of them. There had thirty-five total, and they had raped her in every way imaginable…three at a time, publicly. By the time she was put on the block for sale the next day, she had stopped talking. She had brought very little, her abuse had been witnessed by most of the buyers, and was widely talked about, lowering her value, but her blonde hair and beautiful eyes had caught the attention of the owner of a pleasure house near a mining colony. Elta’an was a sadistic man, and didn’t care if she was nearly catatonic. She could still be used by any miner willing to pay the price.
When Daniel, SG-1, and SG-6 had arrived at the mining colony to rescue her, nearly three weeks later, Elta’an had been amused. She had been popular at first, simply because she was beautiful. But the men who paid money for the company of a woman, even a beautiful woman, wanted more than a body that merely lay beneath them. The arrival of the team spared him from having to try to sell her, or the rather messy business of killing her. Immortals were always so difficult to get rid of! He ordered her beaten to death, and had her naked body dumped at Daniel’s feet. The young archaeologist had been devastated when she had reanimated, and had crawled away from him, huddled against the ground, absolute terror etched in the delicate features of her face. She had refused to look at him, even when he had held her chin gently in his hand. When finally she had looked up, though not exactly at him, his heart had broken. There was nothing in those beautiful green eyes…no life, no light, no love…no recognition. They were empty of anything but deep pain.
When he had brought her home to Gamma, Dr. Montigue had examined her, and while her Immortality had kept her healthy, her body free of disease and scars; her mind, her soul, had been damaged greatly…possibly irreparably. He told Daniel that there was the chance that she would never come back from wherever she had chosen to hide. During one of her nightmares Daniel had been able to see what she had endured. He had been physically ill for nearly two days. What hurt him the most, however, was the inability to find her, to help her. Even after four months, he was no closer to helping her than the day she had been returned to him. The images, the memories were there, but he couldn’t find her, couldn’t reach her, talk to her. Couldn’t bring her back.
He reached out and ran his hand through her hair. It was still soft as silk. Carly and Tessa took turns coming in every day and taking care of her. They bathed her, brushed her hair, sat with her, talked to her. Never left her alone during the day. At night, the only way she could sleep was under sedation. He let his fingers play with the long strands of blonde, stopped when he realized she had frozen, her body trembling. He dropped his hand, the pain he felt nearly unbearable. "I’m going off-world today, Angel. I’m not sure what time I’ll be back. I’ll come see you as soon as I can. Love you, babe," he said softly.
She was again humming softly, tunelessly, the nonsense words barely discernable.
Like every other morning, leaving her…leaving her like this, brought a pain that was like a hot knife in his heart. He knocked on the door, left the room, leaving his heart with the woman he loved, a woman who no longer existed.
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