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My Eyes Adored You
They learned that the people of the village called the planet, and their village, Pangeria. Sam had contacted the Phoenix, the location of the planet was determined, and the ‘gate address found. By the time that the remaining villagers had returned to their burned homes, Duncan had already sent a medical team and food supplies through the ‘gate.
Josef, one of the older men who had been chosen to protect the women and children, had become the spokesman for the villagers. "Your kindness is most appreciated." He looked around at the destruction. "It will not be easy to rebuild. All of our men are gone. We were few to start with…now…" he shook his head.
Daniel watched the man, an idea tickling the back of his head. "I know of men who have been wounded, not physically, but their hearts, their souls. They were slaves. They have nowhere to go. Perhaps they could find a home here?"
Josef studied the Tau’ri. "It sounds good, my new friend. If they are young men, their help will be appreciated, for the time that they will stay."
He frowned. "Time that they will stay? You won’t allow them to stay here permanently?"
The older man shook his head. "They would be welcome for as long as they wish to remain. But a village with many men, and very few women…" he trailed off.
Jack and Daniel shared a look. "We can bring women here. They were also slaves. Twenty-four men. Twenty women," Daniel said.
Josef frowned in thought. "You say they were slaves?"
Okay, Daniel thought. Honesty time. This would be the deal breaker, he was sure of it. "The men were taken forcibly, sold into slavery to a pleasure house for women. The woman who owned it…tortured…the men. The young women are slaves…bred to be…bred to be prostitutes…whores. They were taken from their homes at the age of twelve, perhaps younger, and taught…to please a man."
The eyes of the old man widened. "That is horrible!"
"We thought so, too. It won’t be easy for any of them to learn to live as free people," Daniel admitted.
The old man crossed his arms over his chest, tapped his cheek with one finger. "I can see no other alternative to save Pangeria. There are only seven families left, after five chose to go back to our home world before the first winter was over. Winters here are harsh. We must work hard. If these men, and women, are willing to work hard, there is room on Pangeria for them."
Daniel grinned. "That’s great. We’ll help you get housing built for them."
"There is one condition," Josef said. His eyes were hard, his mouth a grim line. "There will be no debate. It is not negotiable."
"What is it?"
"The men must take a bride from among the women within a month of arrival. It is the only way to prevent…trouble."
As much as he hated to admit it, Daniel knew that the old man was right. "I’ll talk to them."
Within four hours, both groups of former slaves were on the planet. He had expected the other members of the village to be hostile to the news of the newcomers. They were not. Every woman of the village was stunned to learn about the young women, and assured the Tau’ri that they would be taken care of, taught to cook and sew and weave. He had a good feeling about this.
Wade looked around. The village was nestled in a valley, surrounded by tall mountains. He took a deep breath of the fresh air. He had talked to the men, and they had all agreed that this was the best offer they would ever receive. The getting married part sucked, as far as he was concerned, but when he found out that there were four more men than women, he decided immediately that he was going to be one of the happily single four.
The gate opened and twenty young women walked through. They had been slaves all of their lives. Making decisions for themselves so soon after gaining their freedom had proven impossible. Hannah had agreed on their behalf. She led them down the steps.
Ishtar looked around, her eyes wide. She had been told that she was to be married. But only if the man pleased her. She didn’t understand how this could be. If she pleased him, that was all that mattered. She looked around. When she saw him, standing apart from the rest, his arms crossed over his chest, his feet spread apart, her heart began thumping against her ribs. He looked like Dan’yel! His hair was dark. And he had hair on his chin. She studied. She liked it. Very much, she decided. She walked slowly to where he stood.
Wade watched the little auburn-haired beauty approach him. She looked up at him with the most incredible gray eyes he had ever seen. He was sure that if he held his arm out straight, she would be able to walk under it without bumping her head. Something stirred inside him. Something that wanted…needed to protect this woman.
She touched her chest. "Ishtar." She put her hand on his chest.
She repeated her movement.
He smiled. "Wade," he replied.
"Wade," she repeated. It was almost a sigh.
He liked the way she said his name. "Ishtar," he said, putting his hand under her chin and tipping her head so he could look into her eyes. "Ishtar."
Casey watched from the steps that led to the ‘gate. "I love happy endings," she sighed.
"Huh?" Daniel asked.
She nodded to where Wade stood, Ishtar’s chin in his hand.
She giggled. "To say the least."
Jack joined them, watched the couple that was getting acquainted. "I’ll bet when we come back in six months he’ll be running the place," he predicted.
"And she’ll be running him," Casey added softly. "Permission to go home, general. I have babies I want to see."
Jack looked around, noted that SG-1 and SG-6 were gathered around him. "Dial us home, Daniel," he said.
A A A A A A
She was working in the garden, planting daffodils and more tulips along the side of the house. Nicholas was in the playpen beside her, happily making noise. Emily was following Daniel as he mowed, the bubbles from her Playskool mower filling the air around them. She sat back on her heels. She missed Emma Hanks, the neighbor they had had on Baldwin Street. Caroline had just sent word that the woman had passed away three days before her ninety-ninth birthday. She also told Casey to expect a package.
So she wasn’t surprised when the delivery van pulled up in front of the house. She stood up, brushed her hands off, and hurried to greet Craig.
"Hey, Mrs. Jackson!" the young man said. He took her in at a glance; long legs wrapped in denim so faded it was nearly white, the soft material clinging to her curves, a tee shirt that had to belong to her husband, tied at the waist. Her hair pulled back in a ponytail. As always, she looked great.
"Hi, Craig. Delivery for me?"
"Yep. From Silver Springs, Colorado, USA, Earth," he grinned. He held out a handheld computer, she pressed her thumb against it. He handed her a container. It wasn’t an ordinary box.
"Thanks. See you later," she said, already walking toward the porch.
Craig grinned. Mrs. Jackson was well known for her love of on-line shopping. He stopped to make deliveries at least once a week at the Jackson house. He had no doubt he’d be back. Possibly even this week. "See you later!"
Casey sat down on the front steps and carefully opened the box. Inside were cuts from every rose bush that had been in her yard on Baldwin Street, as well as some from Emma’s yard. There was a note attached.
"Dear Casey and Daniel (Stud Muffin)
If you’re reading this it’s because I finally decided to move on. Don’t you dare cry and carry on. I’ve had a good, long life, and I’ve had fun.
I miss you kids like crazy. The couple who lives there now are worse than Wilson, real stick-in-the-mud types. They never have parties or barbecues. Waste of a perfectly good deck, if you ask me. After all hell broke loose here, I understood why you had to leave. I can only hope that you are happy. Thank you for the emails. I always enjoy them.
Casey, I figured that wherever you are, you will have a garden. Here are some starts for rose bushes. I know you loved your garden. And, yes, I got permission first.
Now, underneath all of the rose cuts, wrapped very carefully, I know because I wrapped it myself, is a scrapbook I started for the two of you years ago. I was quite the popular girl when my friends found out that the Casey and Daniel who had been my neighbors were the Casey and Daniel from SG-1. You kids are heroes here. About damn time, I say. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
Now, I know you have better things to do than listen to an old woman gab, or read her ramblings. So you just get back to what you were doing. Better get the roses planted as soon as possible. They already have enough roots to put them straight into the ground.
I never told you, but I loved you both as if you were my own.
You two take care of each other.
Tears rolled down her cheeks. Daniel walked up, pulled his do-rag from his head and wiped his face. He dropped down beside her. "What’s wrong, Angel?"
"It’s from Emma," she whispered.
He read the letter, felt tears fill his own eyes. "Let’s get those roses planted babe. Then we’ll look at the scrapbook."
They spent the remainder of the afternoon planting roses. Emily was overjoyed to be able to help. While they worked, Casey told the toddler about the lady who had sent them, and how special she was.
A A A A A A
As eager as Casey was to see the scrapbook, dinner had to be prepared, and eaten, and baths given to the kids, and they each took a shower, then there was snuggle time. It was well after ten when they sat down on the sofa and opened the book.
On the inside of the cover was a picture of them, taken at their wedding. Casey recognized it as one that Emma had always admired, and that she had given the woman. The next few pages were dedicated to their anniversary barbecues, each year getting several pages. Emma had noted what song Daniel and Casey had danced to, and funny comments made by friends and family accompanied each photograph. Every article ever written about SG-1 was in the book. Every interview, a copy of every photograph. They laughed and talked about each page, the memories pouring back like sweet wine into their minds. There were almost a dozen articles that they hadn’t even been aware of, plus print outs of the now twenty websites homepages dedicated to the team. There were three sites dedicated to Casey and Daniel alone. They hadn’t been aware there were any. It was nearly two am when they shut the computer off, still dazed at what they had found.
Casey was the proudest, however, of a site that Emma had dedicated two pages of the scrapbook to. It was filled with all of Daniel’s work before he joined the Stargate program. He had actually written two papers just before Nicholas was born, which had been published, and were, of course, listed. It was a web page at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. It proclaimed that Dr. Daniel M. Jackson, alumnus, was the institute's most famous, and that he was the most brilliant archaeologist on Earth. It pointed out that it had been Dr. Jackson who had translated the glyphs on the Stargate. That he had known for years before the program started that the Pyramids were landing sites for alien spacecraft.
She looked over at him. Her eyes were shining. "As Emma would say, ‘bout damned time they realized how brilliant you are." She ran a finger over his still whisker-stubbled jaw…she had begged him not to shave…just yet. "Your parents would be so very proud of you."
He started, looked at her. He had just been thinking about his parents, wondering what they would think of his work. "Thanks, babe."
"I’m proud of you, too."
He leaned over to kiss her. "I’m kinda proud of you. Four sites dedicated to the ‘hottest babe in the Stargate Program'."
She blushed. "Yeah, well, you had five sites…hunk."
He grinned. He scratched his chin. "Is there a reason you wanted me to leave this?"
She smiled seductively at him. "Yep. Wanna know what it is?"
She leaned over and whispered in his ear. He picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. The small lamp didn’t go off for almost three hours. It was a good thing she had already called Erin to pick up the kids first thing in the morning.
She snuggled close, her head on his shoulder, his hand moving up and down her back. "Daniel?"
"Are you still having…nightmares?"
"Occasionally. We’ll get past this."
"Love you, Angel. Sleep now," he said softly.
She closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.
He laid awake for a few minutes. Her nightmare haunted him more than any of his own. He knew that she was still having it. He had peeked a time or two, never staying, just looking in to see if it was the same one. It always was. He grinned. He thought he had come up with the perfect plan to stop it forever. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.
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