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Love's Gentle Touch
Three ATVs sat at the foot of the ramp. The team tied their gear to the back of each, where a special rack had been mounted for just such a purpose. It had been decided that the vehicles would be started off world, and not in the 'gate room. With Duncan's 'Godspeed', they pushed the four-wheeled vehicles up the ramp and through the gate.
The planet was semi-arid, which seemed to be the norm in this particular section of space. Or perhaps just the ones that Nergal visited. They donned their helmets, which came complete with communication capabilities, and started the engines on the ATVs.
Daniel and Casey shared one, Sam and Jack shared another, and Teal'c took the third, his holding the extra equipment and supplies they would need. With a wave, Jack took off. Daniel and Teal'c were right behind him.
Casey sat back, watched the planet pass at a much faster speed than it would have had they been walking. Which was good. The ruins were two days from the gate on the ATV. It would have taken them a week to get there on foot. Villages and cities weren't usually put so far from a Stargate, unless the people who built the village or city didn't know what the 'gate really was. Daniel didn't think that the inhabitants of this planet were unaware of how the Stargate worked, but anything was possible. He theorized that the people who had once lived there probably guarded the gate, and wanted enough time to prepare for any invaders that came through. She slipped her hands into his pants pockets, her fingers gently massaging his hips. After awhile, unable to resist the temptation any longer, she leaned forward, his back warm and strong against her chest. She slid her arms around his waist as she snuggled against him.
They had arrived on the planet near the middle of the day. They had already put in a full day's work on Gamma. By late afternoon, they were all more than ready to stop and rest. They found an area raised slightly from the surrounding desert, and set up camp.
Daniel drew first watch. He was just starting another pot of coffee when he heard her. Soft moans, no cries, just soft moans. He listened for a few minutes, then went into the tent. He sat down beside her, took her hand, raised it to his lips, prepared himself for the worst. If she needed him, he was going to be there. He smiled when he saw what she was dreaming about.
The sand on the beach was white. The water that lapped at the shore was blue and crystal clear. They were lying on a blanket, hidden by a small dune, making love. Her body writhed beneath the attention his mouth was giving her.
"Like that, babe?"
"Yes," she moaned, her hips rising off the ground, seeking his mouth once more.
"Oh, yes," she said softly.
He lowered his head and began to tease her once again, his fingers joining his mouth. She began to whimper, then cried his name as her orgasm shook her...
He put her hand on her stomach, leaned over and kissed her, crawled out of the tent. Her dream had left him aroused. No water nearby, which meant oral only. That was no problem. With luck, he'd be getting one of her incredible blowjobs when he crawled into the sleeping bag beside her in a couple of hours, and would be tasting her sweet, sweet honey. That thought made him lick his lips in anticipation. He grinned when he glanced toward Jack and Sam's tent. He had heard whispers and quiet moans from there earlier. Jack had admitted to him that they…indulged…as well - when it was safe.
He went back to the fire, took the now hot coffee from the coals. Adjusting his night vision goggles, he made a perimeter check, then went back to pour himself a cup of the waiting brew.
He looked up at the stars. They were always so different from what he was used to. He and Casey had loved to lie out on the deck on summer evenings in Silver Springs, and look at the stars, quietly talking about all that they had seen. They did the same thing now, quiet moments alone that he treasured in his heart. The night sky above Gamma was now looking familiar to him, many of the constellations had been charted and named by the two astronomers on the base. It still awed him to see two moons in the sky at night, and it caused him wonder to think that Emily and Nicholas would know a sky with two moons as…well…normal. He wondered if he would ever be able to take his children to Earth, show them the Pyramids at Giza, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, a night sky with only one moon. He shook his head. Even if he couldn't take them to the planet of his birth, he could take them across the galaxy, show them the wonders of many, many distant worlds.
"Any coffee left?" a soft voice asked.
He looked over as Casey walked toward him. She had pulled on her pants, but was still braless in her sleeveless tee shirt. He poured a cup for her, handed it to her. "Something wrong, babe?"
She shook her head, avoided his eyes. If this…nightmare…had been the one he had peeked in on, no wonder he had been upset. She was upset by it! The images, the voices, still danced in her head, her body was still trembling.
"Angel? Talk to me," he said softly. He pushed her hair behind her shoulder.
"I think I just had that nightmare, again. I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Sorry for what?"
"I really don't want that, you know."
He smiled. "I know."
"I doubt I'll be able to go back to sleep. I'll take over for now," she said.
He looked at her for a minute. "Do you remember how your dream started out?"
She looked at him, smiled. "Yes, I do."
"Me, too." He stood up, leaned over and kissed the top of her head. "Wake me up when your watch is over."
She nodded, gave him a smile that made him hard and ready for her. "I promise," she whispered, her hand caressing his leg as he stood beside her. She watched him go into the tent, listened to the sounds of him undressing and settling into the sleeping bag, then looked out across the desert. It was beautiful here, in its own way. Most planets were. Like Daniel had earlier, she looked at the stars, thought about how many different constellations she had seen in her time working for the SGC. She loved laying on the deck with him, looking at the night sky, listening to the stories and myths associated with each group of stars.
Pulling her night vision goggles on, she made a perimeter check, took them off and sat back down beside the fire. She thought about that night in the jungle, when their camp had been visited by the ghosts…souls…of those Mayan people. She reached out, just to get a sense of what was around them. Felt nothing at all. Just…emptiness. She reached out again, only as far as the tent this time. Smiled when she felt his sleepy response.
Her thoughts drifted to the nightmare that had brought her out of her peaceful slumber. Thinking about it caused her to shudder. Just what in the hell did it mean, to have Wade beneath her, telling her how much he loved her, and Nergal behind her, telling her that she was his? She'd never even met the freaking Goa'uld, for crying out loud! He was a handsome bastard, she had to admit that. Made Ba'al pale in comparison. Although he would never measure up to Daniel in her eyes! She thought about what Gwenyth had told her, that often nightmares were comprised of images created by the mind to represent what one feared the most. Okay, that certainly made sense! She certainly feared what she had…experienced…in that nightmare! Why did her dreams always have to revolve around sex? She almost giggled out loud. Because her life revolved around sex! Making love with Daniel was the most important thing in her life. Okay, maybe not the most important thing. But darn close. They made love at least once a day, when she wasn't riding the cotton pony. Her smile widened when she thought about how often Daniel came to her, that sexy smile on his face, his need evident in his eyes…and his pants. How many times had she awakened to find him playing, or moving on top of her? She turned to him just as often, her need an exquisite ache, woke him just as often with her kisses and caresses. The Fire burned so hot in them! Made their tempers just as hot as their love, she had decided. Which in turn made life…interesting.
She finished the rest of her cool coffee, emptied the remainder from the pot into the cup, then started a fresh pot. She looked around again, sighing with contentment. She liked missions like these… nobody shooting at them; just easy days of travel or examining ruins. If only all of their missions were this…pleasant!
She glanced at her watch. Teal'c was due to take over. She really didn't feel sleepy, but knew that the giant man would be upset with her if she didn't wake him to take his full watch. At least she wasn't screwing Jack and Teal'c in her dreams. That errant, unbidden, unwelcome thought almost caused her to groan out loud. With her luck, that was probably the next nightmare on her brain's 'must play list'!
Casey gently woke Teal'c, waited until he was dressed and standing beside the fire, then stepped into the tent. She pulled her pants off, slid into the sleeping bag beside him. She reached gently for him, kissed his neck, his jaw, leaned over his shoulder so that she could kiss his lips.
He rolled to his back, opened his eyes, kissed her in return. He gasped when her soft hand wrapped around him. "C'mere, babe," he whispered, pulling her hips toward his head. He helped her slip her panties off. He raised up to allow her to get his boxers off. He sighed with satisfaction when she settled over him. He could smell her arousal, and it made him all the harder, needier.
They made love to one another; hands moving, mouths caressing, teasing, bringing pleasure. She whimpered softly, his throbbing cock deep in her throat, making him gasp and moan as well. They found the box of Wet Ones, cleaned up, settled back into the sleeping bags to sleep.
A A A A A A
It was barely dawn when the team broke camp and started on their way, agreeing to stop later to eat when they were all more awake and hungry. Sam insisted that she and Casey be allowed to drive the ATVs; telling the men that they needed to know exactly how to handle them in case of an emergency.
Mile after mile they went, passing several dry riverbeds. They didn't know if the rivers had emptied permanently, or whether they had just arrived during the dry season. The sun was at its apex when they stopped once again. Bouncing over the rough terrain made frequent stops necessary so that they could stretch their legs and, as Casey put it, work the numbness out of their tired butts.
"Any bad feelings, Case?" Jack asked, scanning the desert around them with binoculars.
She reached out, toward the ruins. Cocked her head to one side. "Nothing bad. Odd, maybe, but not bad," she replied. She couldn't 'see' anything, could only feel a slight…hum…around them.
"Okay, keep your eyes open, campers," Jack responded. "Let's move out."
Casey and Sam raced to the vehicles in order to drive once again, both of them giggling loudly. Daniel settled himself behind his wife, and pulled his notebook from his pocket. He began to try to read the notes he had brought along, detailing the observations of the UAV.
Jack looked over at him and shook his head. Did that man ever stop working? he wondered briefly. Did he think about rocks and…stuff…when he made love to Casey? That thought had the older man chuckling to himself. From the little that Daniel had told him, Casey left no room for anything other than her when she was making love to him. Lucky little SOB. He had no complaints. None at all. Sam kept him more than satisfied. Nope, no complaints whatsoever. He glanced at his young friend again. Lucky little SOB.
Daniel tried to concentrate on his notes. To keep from thinking about the fact that his cock was rubbing against her sweet ass. It had been challenging enough with her riding behind him, she had managed to work her hands into his pockets, and kept caressing his hips as they rode, or leaning against him, her perfect B-cup breasts pushed against his back. But this was nearly unbearable. He tried to scoot back, but the constant bouncing of the vehicle hindered him from having any real success in keeping any distance between their bodies. He looked around. Sam and Jack were on their right, just ahead of them, Teal'c was on their far right, about even with where they were at. He grinned, slipped his left hand around her side, worked it under her shirt, caressed her breast over the lacy material of her bra. Her nipples were hard. She was as affected by what was happening as he was. He felt her sharp gasp when he gently pinched her nipple between his thumb and forefinger. She pushed her arm down against his hand, trying to move him away. After a few minutes of struggle, during which he was sure he had felt her giggle, he gave her breast one last squeeze, then let his hand drop away from her. She shifted her hips slightly, pushing back against him abruptly. He grinned again as he felt himself harden. Most definitely he would be tasting her tonight, and she would be sending him to heaven with her sweet mouth, again.
The terrain had become rocky, and Sam suggested that they slow down slightly. Not more than two miles later the ground was sandy once again.
By dusk they were tired and ready to stop for the night. They weren't walking, but riding the ATV was just as wearing on their bodies. They built a fire, sat around it laughing and talking in the way that was so familiar, so comfortable.
Daniel was sitting behind Casey, his arms and legs around her, his chin on her shoulder. "Love you, Angel," he whispered.
She turned her head, kissed his cheek. "Love you, too," she replied.
They were all their feet in an instant when they heard it…a long, mournful cry. Jack grabbed his night vision goggles, paired them with the binoculars. "Case?"
She reached out. Felt pain…remorse…loneliness. "I don't know if it's definitely a 'who', but someone, or something, is in pain."
"Physical?" Sam asked, as the cry echoed around them again.
Casey shook her head. "No. That is a wounded soul."
"Well, campers, let's take a look. Radio contact, check in every five," Jack said.
They all headed out in separate directions. Casey was thankful for the goggles that made her surroundings as bright as day. She reached out, tried to find whoever, whatever it was that was so desolate. The feeling was the strongest to her left, so she veered in that direction.
"Casey? Check in," Jack's voice crackled from the radio on her shoulder.
She reached for it, held down the button to transmit. "Nothing so far," she replied. She listened as he contacted each of the team members. She would have passed right by the small cave had she not seen a tiny creature come scampering from it's dark interior. She knew that it was not making the sound they had heard. Approaching slowly, she reached for her radio. "I might have found something, looks like a small cave," she reported.
"Location?" Jack's voice asked.
She looked at her compass. "I'm northeast of the camp. Not sure how far. Maybe a half mile, not more than that," she replied.
"Stay put," was the CO's command.
"Stay out of that cave, Casey, no matter what you see," Daniel's voice admonished.
"Okay, already," she replied, slightly aggravated. Sheesh! Nothing like carrying on as if she were a complete idiot! She had only followed that dark head into the cave on Gamma to keep from losing sight of him! The mournful cry sounded again, definitely from the cave. "Are you hurt? Can we help you?" she asked softly.
Teal'c reached her first, having been the closest to her position. He heard her speak, waited beside her for an answer.
She looked up at the large man, shook her head, then reached out with her mind. Images…dark and painful, full of blood and torture…flooded through her brain. She tried to pull away, but whoever…whatever…she had reached refused to let her go, clinging to her desperately. Tears began to course down her cheeks, as the images became clearer, more violent. She was given a front row seat for hideous acts of mutilation…rape…murder. Her heart was pounding against her chest, it was difficult to breathe as the onslaught continued, then played over and over and over. She shook her head in an attempt to break the contact, took a physical step away from the cave entrance.
Daniel reached them, looked at her, and then up at his large friend. "What's going on?"
"I do not know, Daniel Jackson. I believe that Casey Jackson may have attempted to contact the…being…with her mind. She seems unable to break free," the Jaffa replied.
He put his arms around her, reached out to her, caressed her gently.
She was terrified, unable to halt the horrible images, no matter how hard she tried to pull away.
"Casey, I want you to look at me," he said softly. He turned her toward him, took her chin in his hand. "Look at me, Angel."
Her eyes were wide, full of fear as they locked with his. The fingers of both of her hands closed tightly around his wrist.
"Okay, we're going to back away slowly. I'm right here, Angel. Do you feel me?" He reached out and caressed her gently, felt the anguish, the panic that she was feeling.
"Now, hold on to me, can you do that?"
She searched, concentrated on his presence. She 'grabbed' at him, felt him 'grab' her in return.
"That's it, Angel. Nice and slow. Back away nice and slow."
Her eyes still locked with his, she obeyed, following his presence out of the dark cave. When at last she was free, she collapsed into his arms.
Jack and Sam had arrived in time to witness the event, remaining quiet until they knew that Casey was safe.
"What the hell was that all about?" Jack asked softly.
Daniel had Casey clutched to his chest. "She reached someone…or something. I only saw a few of the…images…that she was getting. It was bad. Torture, lots of it," he said.
Jack glanced at the cave. "Okay, T, let's take a look inside. We'll be right back. If you don't hear from us in five, get back to camp. If we're not back by tomorrow morning, go back to the gate and get the hell out of here." He stopped Sam's objection with a kiss. "That's an order, colonel," he said softly.
The two men took their flashlights, but didn't turn them on. Teal'c led the way into the dark cave.
Daniel checked his watch. "Jack? Teal'c? See anything?"
"Not a damned thing," Jack's voice replied. "Except for a lot of drawings. I think it's okay, you can all come in. How's Casey?"
She was standing beside her husband, still trembling, but otherwise unharmed.
"She's okay. Still a bit shaken, but okay," Daniel replied.
"Good. Come take a look at this stuff, Daniel. You're the expert."
Just minutes later, Daniel was examining the walls by flashlight. "These are certainly representations of torture," he said softly. "This depiction seems to indicate the use of a machine of some sort to…looks like they're pulling something from the…victim's …head."
"Like that thing that Anubis used?" Casey asked.
The young archaeologist nodded. "Could be. This one…really needs no interpretation," he said. The characters on the stone wall were being decapitated.
"Immortals?" Sam asked nervously.
Daniel shook his head. "I don't think so. There aren't any markings that would represent the Quickening. These all seem to be…lower…on the walls than what is normally found," he said, squatting down to examine the drawing.
"This is lovely," Jack intoned, his expression clearly indicating the opposite. He pointed to a drawing that could only be the mass rape of three women. He counted forty-two stick-figured 'men'…their erect penises apparent.
The younger man moaned. "I just found our culprit." He pointed to the marks that were associated with Nergal.
"Now why am I not surprised," Jack asked quietly.
Casey shuddered. She turned around slowly, taking in the features of the small cave. She reached out and touched one of the rocky walls. "This is where they hid. He found them, but they hid here for several days, without food, without water…" she shook her head.
"Who?" Sam asked.
She closed her eyes. "A family…no…larger than that…extended family. Five…six men. Three women. One child."
"Oh, god," Daniel said softly. "They hid the child here, and that poor kid…witnessed…all of this!"
"That would explain the terror, the panic I felt pulling at me when I tried to pull away," Casey said. Understanding that the…being…had been a frightened child tugged at her heart. The thought of that child, seeing the brutality inflicted upon the adults he…or she? depended on, loved, then being alone after Nergal and his minions had left, for how long?…brought tears to her eyes.
"I believe we should find this child," Teal'c said calmly.
"T's, right," Casey said. "We need to let him…yes…him, know, that it's over, and that he can…come out, move on."
Jack and Daniel exchanged glances. "Okay. Let's look around," Jack said.
It didn't take long to find the small skeleton. Casey cradled the skull in her hands, tears dripping off of her cheeks and onto the dusty bone. "It's okay, sweetie. It's all over. You can come out now, we won't hurt you. Your family is waiting for you. Your mother and your…sisters are so eager to see you again! Can you see them?"
The rest of the team stood quietly as she spoke softly.
She reached out, a bit timidly. Found the spirit that had latched onto her with such strength. It held to her now, frightened, so tired of being alone. "You've been very good, you stayed well hidden, just as your father told you. He's so proud of you, little one," she crooned, holding the skull against her breast, as if she were cuddling a living child. "Do you see them?…Good! That's good, sweetie…It's okay, you can go to them. I'll be right here, I'll watch to make sure you get there safely."
After a few minutes of silence, she smiled, nodded her head, then tenderly set the skull down. She turned her tear stained face to her friends. "He's okay now. He was so terrified, so lonely." She looked down at the bones by her side. "I think he deserves a decent burial," she said softly.
"We'll go back to camp and get the shovels," Jack said gently.
"I'll just sit here with him," Casey replied.
"I'll wait with her," Sam said, her own eyes full of tears. She sat down beside the younger woman, clasped the slender hands in her own tightly.
The moon was low on the horizon when the team crawled exhausted into their sleeping bags. Teal'c insisted on taking the first watch. He meditated; sent up prayers for the small child who had suffered so greatly.
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