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Love's Gentle Touch
"…I never want this feeling to end
It took some time to find the light
But now I realize
I can see the heaven in your eyes…"
"Heaven In Your Eyes"
From the movie "Topgun"
Daniel was pointing again at a chart that listed the Sumerian gods and their relationships to one another. "Nergal," he was saying, "was originally a Sumerian god, but was adopted…completely, it seems, with no changes whatsoever…by the Babylonians. He's the god of the underworld, having achieved that status by taking demon dragons there and creating havoc until the goddess of the underworld, Ereshkigal, consented to marry him. The Sumerian's considered him a minor god, so he did 'move up' in Babylonian mythology to a major god, and was considered an evil god, who brought war, pestilence, fever…or plague, and drought.
"One of the interesting stories connected with Nergal," the archaeologist continued, "and appearing totally out of character for him, is that during the great deluge, he tore the mast off a ship, allowing a Babylonian by the name of Utanapishtim to escape, along with his family and 'specimens of all manner of animals', according to the text."
"So he's a typical Goa'uld," Jack said flatly, condensing nearly thirty minutes of Daniel's oral presentation into one statement.
Daniel pushed his glasses up, slightly annoyed that all his work could be summed up so…neatly. "Apparently."
Duncan nodded. "Okay, what about here and now, did you find anything from the information we have?"
"From what I have, he appears to be the most powerful System Lord in what we're calling the Sumerian sector. He also seems to do a lot of trading with slave dealers. I have no idea why. He controls a dozen planets, in four different solar systems," Daniel replied.
"I'd really like to have more intel on this ass before we make any real move against him," Jack said.
"I agree," Duncan nodded. "Daniel, didn't you say that there were UAV images that indicated ruins of a fairly large city, with Nergal's symbols everywhere?"
Daniel nodded. "Yeah, I did. It's on…uh…" he sorted through his stack of notes, "P7R 459. We might find more about his activities in this system by going there."
"Doctor Montigue has been able to synthesize the serum that cured Sam and Casey. It will be a new 'standard' in every first aid kit. If Nergal is involved, we figure there will be more nasty stuff out there," Duncan said. He turned his attention to Sam. "So, Doctor Colonel Carter-O'Neill, I understand that you have some good news for us," he said, grinning.
Sam gave a bright smile, looked around at her teammates. "I expect full kudos for this! We have ATVs for using off-world. We finally have a self-contained fuel cell with power for six months. The cells will be replaced on a regular maintenance cycle. They're all two-seaters; it was easier to build them that way as to build more vehicles, especially when it comes to making additional fuel cells. The engine compartment is sealed, so they can be used in the water, and when the tires are inflated, they become a water vehicle. So far tests show that they can be run for nearly three hundred hours with no maintenance whatsoever. Top speed is 30mph."
"No more walking for miles at a time?" Casey asked her eyes bright.
"Nope!" Sam replied.
"I could just kiss you for that!" the slender blonde giggled.
"I get to watch," Jack grinned.
"Like hell," Daniel mumbled.
Casey giggled louder. "You can watch too, Sweetheart."
Daniel looked at her, rolled his eyes.
Duncan laughed. "Okay, let's plan for you to leave at around 1700 today. Sam, I'll let you make sure the ATVs are ready. Daniel, how long do you think it will take you to examine these ruins?"
"Three, four days at least," was the reply.
"Okay, let's schedule five days. Two days there, two days back, if Sam's calculations are correct, and I think they are. Pack for nine days. If you need to stay longer, we can send more supplies through to you."
"Okay, SG-1, you have a go. Get ready to embark, people," Duncan said. He gathered his notes, and left the room. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c were right behind him.
He was still sorting through his notes, writing a comment here, changing something there. He looked up when he felt the weight of her stare. "What?"
"Is there anything we need to talk about?" she asked softly.
He shook his head.
She barely suppressed a sigh. He had been quiet this morning, barely talking to her as they got ready for work, had breakfast. As soon as they were on the base, he had sequestered himself in his office. No kiss on the elevator before she got off to head to the gym, no 'I love you,' nothing! He was blocking her mentally as well. "Daniel, something is wrong. You're angry with me, and I don't even know what I've done to make you mad, or hurt you!" She reached out to touch him, jerked her hand back when he pulled away. "Daniel?" she asked, her voice even softer.
He gathered up his notes, stood up and walked toward the door. "I don't want to talk about it, Casey. Leave it alone."
She sat stunned. His voice, his entire manner towards her, had been cool all day. Everything had been fine yesterday…last night they had made love, he had whispered his love in her ear the entire time…what had happened between the time that he had rolled them over, held her tightly, whispered his love again, and this morning? Her eyes went wide. A nightmare. One of them was having a nightmare, probably her, since she hadn't awakened to go into his…something so…horrible…that he couldn't deal with it, bad enough that she had completely pushed it from her mind! Would it ever end?
Daniel leaned against the wall. She didn't even remember! Had no clue that she'd had another nightmare, at least he hoped to god that's what it was! He wasn't sure when she had seen the images that one of Methos' spies had taken of the man they believed to be Nergal, but apparently the bastard had impressed her! Enough that she was making love to him…and Wade, at the same time no less! She hadn't actually cried out, but her moans had made him…curious. He had backed out as quickly as possible. He wished to god he'd never looked…wished he didn't have that ability!
Gwenyth Blackstone walked past him, smiled, and nodded.
He watched her for a minute, then hurried after her. "Doctor Blackstone? Do you have a minute?"
"Certainly, Daniel. What can I do for you?" she asked, her smile warm and genuine.
He frowned, looked at the floor. "Uh…when a wo…person…dreams, not a nightmare, just a dream…is it a representation of what they wish for?"
She smiled, knowing that Daniel and Casey had the ability to 'visit' one another's dreams. Evidently Dr. Jackson had chosen to peek into one that he didn't like. "Not always. Sometimes it can be a representation of what we fear the most."
"Even if she…er…that person…doesn't fight against what's happening?"
"Often, that is the very thing that she…or that person…is afraid of. Afraid that if put into a specific set of circumstances she wouldn't fight, or wouldn't fight hard enough, or is responsible for the entire situation to begin with," Gwenyth replied. Casey had come to her about the dream of Wade and Daniel raping and beating her, terrified that on some deep, subconscious level she secretly wanted to make love to both men. The psychologist wondered if this was the dream he was upset over.
Daniel nodded. That would be Casey. Convinced that whatever happened to her, she somehow deserved. That Wade was involved should have clued him in to that! He knew how she felt about that man…that he represented her 'cheating' on him. He should have a light bulb above his head, he thought, as understanding flooded him. Wade represented infidelity. Nergal had replaced Ba'al in her subconscious…the enemy that she had to fight. He smiled. "Thanks."
Gwenyth smiled. "You're welcome. And Daniel, remember, they are only dreams. No one should be held accountable for what happens in their dreams."
He had the decency to blush. "I know. Thanks, again."
She smiled, and resumed walking to the elevator.
He smiled again, then reached out for her. Blocked. Totally. What do you expect, bucko, after the way you've been acting all day? You've been blocking her! With a sigh, he headed to his office. He'd apologize as soon as he got there. "Casey? Babe, I'm…" he paused. She wasn't here. He glanced at his watch. She was always here at this time of the day.
He walked over to his desk, dropped down into the chair. After a moment's hesitation, he picked up the phone and called Sam's lab. She wasn't there. He frowned, tried to think of where she would be…He smiled. The top of the observation tower at the shooting range. She liked to sit there when she was upset.
A A A A A A
She had her legs drawn up against her chest, her cheek resting on her knee. She had wracked her brain trying to figure out what was wrong. She couldn't remember any nightmare, certainly Daniel hadn't had one. Whatever had occurred in her dream…or nightmare…he was angry about it. Holding her responsible for something that her subconscious had literally dreamed up. She was so deep in thought she didn't hear him climb up the tower. She jumped when arms went around her.
She said nothing, but nodded slightly. She was hurt, but she was angry as well. Why did he keep poking around in her dreams? Okay, she had done the same thing once or twice, but had quickly learned to stay away. And she didn't hold what she had seen against him! But oh, no! Daniel poked around, then became angry at her for something she had absolutely no control over!
He took a deep breath. She was pissed at him. Had every right to be pissed at him. "I'm sorry, Angel."
"So are you going to tell me what wicked, terrible thing I've done in my dreams now, or will I have to guess?" she finally asked, her voice full of exasperation.
"Nothing to worry about, Angel."
She gave a snort of disgust. "Right! That's why you've been giving me the cold shoulder all day!"
"It's nothing, Case, honest." He tried to move closer to her, take her into his arms. She stood to her feet, moved away from him.
"So who was I screwing this time?" She wouldn't look into his eyes. She'd be damned if she'd give in to that puppy dog look of his. Not this time! She had her arms wrapped tightly around her slender waist, a defensive posture she wasn't even aware of taking.
He blanched, her body language screaming her hurt…her anger…at him. "Nobody."
His answer came to quickly, his voice too…strained. "Right. You know, I never gave you hell when I heard you moaning, and went into your dream, thinking you were having a nightmare, only to find you fucking Sha're and Neferteri!"
His eyes went wide. "What?"
"I thought you were having a nightmare. I went in…found Sha're riding you and that Goa'uld bitch on your face. You were having a fine old time, from what I could see. But I never held it against you! It hurt, yes, but Daniel, you aren't responsible for what happens in your dreams! Unlike me! I have to be perfect in the real world, and my dream world as well, to keep from hurting your feelings or pissing you off! Geez, Daniel, give me a freaking break! Stay out of my head!"
"Hey, who said you have to be perfect?" he asked, his brain focusing in the only thing she said that he was willing to deal with.
She shook her head. "Typical. Ignore everything else I said-"
"Okay, I’m sorry! I’m sorry I was fucking my wife in my dreams!" He froze, regretting the words almost before they were out of his mouth, not sure himself where they had come from.
Casey went pale, her eyes went wide. "I think you should walk away now, Daniel." Her voice was shaking, her body trembling. Here came that damned cliff again, and they were moving too fast to avoid it this time!
"Go, Daniel. Please. Just…go." His angry words had cut her to the core. She didn't know how to deal with the fact that he was obviously still in love with Sha're, still considered her to be his wife.
He reached for her, horrified when she backed up, tried to grab her before she went over the edge. She fell to the ground with a sickening thud. He climbed down, almost falling himself in his haste to get to her. He pulled her broken body into his arms. "I'm so sorry, Angel," he whispered. "Love you, Angel. Always you, Casey, only you."
Her back arched, she took in a deep breath. She looked up, saw the love…the worry…in his blue eyes. She said nothing as his angry words began to ring in her head again.
"I love you, Casey. Only you. Always you. Please, Angel, you have to believe me," he begged softly; repeating the pleas that had been his mantra while he waited for her to reanimate.
Once again it seemed that they had managed to keep from falling over the cliff, metaphorically speaking, even if she had taken a literal fall. She smiled shyly. "Does this mean I won the argument?"
He laughed, pulled her tight against his chest. "You win, babe. You're right, I shouldn't go poking around in your dreams. I'm sorry for what I said. I don't know why I even said that."
She reached up to touch his face. "Sha're was your wife, Daniel. It shouldn't come as a surprise to know you dream about her."
"Was. She's gone. You are my Wife. My Destiny. My Chosen. Even if Sha're had lived, if somehow the Goa'uld had been taken out of her, you would still have been my destiny. We would have found one another, gone through the Ceremony of Fire. She told me that. I love you, Casey. Always you. Only you," he repeated firmly.
"I love you, Daniel. Always you. Only you." She snuggled deeper into his embrace. "So are you going to tell me what it was that has…had…you so upset?"
"Nope. Nothing to it. Nothing to worry about," he replied.
"Positive, babe. Feel like getting some work done?"
"I'd rather make love," she said, smiling seductively.
He grinned. "Jeep, babe. Let's go to the lake for lunch."
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