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Chapter 8

The yard and house were full of family and friends, the air full of the smell of good food and the sounds of laughter. Their 10th anniversary barbecue was in full swing…a bit late, but that was all right. No one seemed to mind. In fact, everyone involved was relieved that the celebration was occurring at all.

Nicholas would have his birthday party tomorrow night, although it would be confined to close friends and family. The tot probably wouldn't understand what was going on, but Casey had carefully explained to Emily, and the child seemed to accept the second party with good grace. The fact that they had gone to lunch together, just the two of them, had probably gone a long way to soothing any hurt feelings the little girl might have suffered.

Daniel never let Casey out of his sight. In fact, he barely allowed her to leave his side. It would take time before he was comfortable enough to keep from reaching out to her constantly, both physically and mentally, reassuring himself that she was indeed there.




During one of the occasions when she was in the kitchen, Daniel standing at the grills talking to his friends, Sam approached her.

"Welcome home," the tall blonde said softly.

"Thanks, Sam. It's good to be home," Casey replied, smiling brightly. The smile faded when she looked at her best friend's face. "What's wrong, Sam?"

Sam shook her head, lowered her eyes. Cleared her throat. "I'm so sorry, Case," she whispered hoarsely.

"Sorry? Whatever for?"

"It was my fault, it was all my fault," Sam replied. Tears crept down her cheeks.

Casey put down the spoon she had been using to fill the potato salad bowl with, put her arms around the woman's slender shoulders. "That is not true! Sam, none of us knew what was going to happen. I had a feeling that something was going to go wrong…but I didn't know what, and then…it all just happened so fast. But it was not your fault!"

Sam hiccupped a sob. "Daniel thought so."

"Daniel was just upset. He wasn't thinking clearly," Casey replied.

"So, are we okay?" Sam sniffed, wiping the tears away.

"I never knew we weren't okay!" Casey insisted. "You're my best friend, Sam. If we had to go on a mission just like that one, I would trust you to know what you're doing, trust my life to you. Because I know that you would never willingly, knowingly risk any of us. Let it go, girlfriend. It's all over, it all worked out."

The blonde colonel took a deep breath. "Yeah, it did. Any theories on that?"

Casey glanced around. Tessa was standing near the doorway. Her smile beckoned the other woman into the room. "A couple. Come here." She grabbed their hands and led the two women into Daniel's den, closed the doors. "Sam, did Daniel call the Triad?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, we could see the glow, hear what they said…they refused to help him…something about being forbidden to interfere. The thing is…it felt like they wanted to help him."

"Just before everything went black…well…blacker," Casey amended, "I could have sworn I saw them. And they were holding their hands out to us. I…well, the past couple of nights I've been having this…dream. Only I'm not sure it's a dream. I saw the Triad, and they were smiling, and then they took us…well it felt like up. Not far, just a little ways. Then, I think I heard First say that we would sleep for just awhile, just until she had permission. Permission for what I don't know. I remember telling her…or at least I think I told her, that Daniel would be lost, that he'd be devastated. She said that she would help him."

"Did she?" Tessa asked.

Casey shrugged. "Daniel told me that twice when he was thinking that he'd never see me, hold me again, that he heard my voice telling him to 'never say never'. I think that might have been First, trying to get him to hang on, to believe in a miracle." She shook her head. "I'm not sure. All I know is that I have no clear, real recollection of anything other than that room exploding, then waking up in the infirmary. The rest is like a dream…almost more feelings than images."

"Daniel is The Chosen," Sam said, "and you're His Chosen. Maybe they understood that you deserved a miracle, whoever 'they' are."

Another shrug. "Could be. I'm not going to question. I'm just thankful to be alive and home!" Casey said, smiling.


The three women grinned at the edge of panic in his voice.

"In here, Stud Muffin," she called out.

The single pocket door opened, and he looked into the room. One eyebrow went up at the sight of the three women together. "What are you three up to?"

They began to giggle. "Just comparing notes on tying you guys down in bed," Casey replied calmly. Tessa and Sam burst into gales of laughter at the look of shock on Daniel's face. "We were just talking, Daniel. Honestly."

"Come on, Angel. It's time for our dance," he replied softly. He led her to the deck, friends and family gathered around as the stereo began to play. Kenny Rogers began to sing as he held her tightly, his face pressed against her neck.


"I can’t remember when you weren’t there
When I didn’t care for anyone but you
I swear we’ve been through everything there is
Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed
Can’t imagine anything the two of us can’t do

"Through the years, you’ve never let me down
You turned my life around, the sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you ... through the years
I’ve never been afraid, I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I’ve stayed, right here with you

Through the years

"I can’t remember what I used to do
Who I trusted whom, I listened to before
I swear you’ve taught me everything I know
Can’t imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more.

"Through the years, you’ve never let me down
You turned my life around, the sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you ... through the years
I’ve never been afraid, I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I’ve stayed, right here with you

Through the years..."


"Love you, Angel," he whispered.

"Love you, Sweetheart," she replied in kind. She locked her arms tighter around his neck, felt his arms tighten around her, pulling her closer to his strong chest. "We'll always be okay as long as we're together."

"Together always," he murmured next to her ear.

"Together always."


The three beings smiled at one another. They had managed to return The Chosen's Love, his very heart and soul. Not even the Beings they served could come between The Chosen and His Chosen. Nothing in the universe could destroy such strong, deep love.

"Let us leave them," First said softly. "They have much to celebrate."

Second and Third smiled, and followed First into the darkness of the night.


Casey felt the slight breeze, and smiled. "Thank you," she whispered.

Daniel looked at her. "They're here?"

"They were. They're gone now."

"Happy anniversary, Case."

"Happy anniversary, Daniel."

He pulled her closer again, nuzzled her cheek. "I thought I'd never get to say that to you again, never hear it again."

"I know. But I’m here, my Heart. And I'm never leaving your side, not as long as I have anything to say about it."

"You won't leave my side as long as I have anything to say about it either," he declared fiercely.

She smiled. "I don't think even the gods are going to test your sincerity on that issue."

He grinned. "They'd better not. At this point in time, I'll take them down if I have to, in order to keep you safe."

She giggled. "I don't think they realize what they've done. You're more determined than they know."

"Especially when it comes to you." He lowered his head, his lips claimed hers, gently at first, until the passion began to build.

"Oh geez, would you two give it a rest!" a familiar voice complained, laughter just beneath the words.

Casey pulled away slightly, smiled against his lips. "Should we?"

"I think so."

They turned together and gave Jack a rousing Bronx cheer, to the amusement of all around them. Laughter filled the air, drifted toward the heavens.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Friday morning found SG-1 together and waiting in the conference room. Duncan walked in the door, paused for just a moment to look. The premier team, the best of the best, sat waiting for him. They were talking quietly among themselves, laughing at something Casey had just said. He grinned. Everything was copasetic. Good. Great even.

He sat down at the table. "Okay, team, we have some images from MALP2. What we're seeing seems to indicate these folks might be a bit more advanced than we are. They're aware of the MALP, they've been examining it without touching it, and they haven't seemed overly concerned that we're watching them," he said.

The team opened their folders and examined the photos. "Standard 'meet-n-greet'?" Jack asked.

The Highlander nodded. "Casey, tell me what's going on out there," he said softly.

She smile at Daniel, slipped her hand into his, waited for his gentle presence. She smiled. "They're curious about us, willing to let us go to them. I can't feel anything bad. Not even tense. They're…they're just now reaching out to the stars…they have no idea about their Stargate, it's been just a relic of their ancient past for centuries," she reported.

Jack nodded at Duncan. "When do you want us to go?"

"They've waited this long, they can wait until Monday," Duncan replied with a grin. "Daniel, we'd like to send a message through to them today, let them know that we'll be visiting. We have some recordings of them talking to one another. See if you can figure it out."

The young archaeologist nodded. "What time frame?"

"See what you can do in an hour. If you need more time, you'll have it," Duncan replied. He glanced around the table. "Welcome back, team. We missed you around here."

Smiles lit five faces, and they stood to go to their separate tasks. "It's good to be back," Jack replied, putting his arm around Sam. "Damned good to be back."

"Indeed," Teal'c said, smiling at his friends, his family.

Daniel pulled Casey into his embrace. "Damned good to be back," he said. He led the way out of the conference room, his Wife safely at his side. He knew for certain that all of them had changed, just a bit, because of the experience. They all believed in miracles now. Not just the fabled SG-1 luck. Honest-to-goodness miracles. Because they had just received one.


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