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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story
Daniel pulled on his jeans, went to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. She was still in the bathroom, towel drying her hair, wrapped in his robe, the one he had picked up on a trip to Japan, when the doorbell rang.
"Hey, Danny! Sam said she saw lights on up here when she drove by," Jack said, standing at the door grinning. Sam stood behind him, Teal'c at her side. The Jaffa was wearing a Chicago Bull’s cap to hide his tattoo.
Daniel couldn’t help but grin. He had called Sam, told her of Casey’s anxiety. Knew that meeting them right away would ease her fears. "Yeah, well, come in."
All three of his teammates took note of the fact that the only thing that the good doctor was wearing was a pair of faded Levi’s. Sam frowned slightly
"Daniel, I couldn’t find…" her voice trailed off when she saw the three people standing in the living room with him. Her fingers clutched at the robe, pulled it tighter around her trembling, slender frame. "Oh…sorry," she said softly. "I didn’t know you had guests."
"We, babe. We have guests," he corrected gently. He held out his hand. "Come meet Jack and Sam and Teal'c," he said.
She hesitated, her glance going briefly to each face before dropping again.
"It’s okay, honey, c’mere." He wiggled his fingers.
She slowly advanced, put her fingers against his. They wrapped around her hand, squeezed it reassuringly.
"Casey, this is Jack O’Neill, Samantha Carter and Teal'c. Guys, this is Casey Webster."
She barely looked up as she shook each hand, backing closer to Daniel with every breath she took. When she was standing with her back against his chest, he wrapped his arms around her.
Sam could see that the slender young woman was upset. "I guess we should have called first, it’s rude to just drop in unannounced," she said softly.
"No, it’s fine, really," Daniel insisted, not realizing Casey’s discomfort.
"If you’ll excuse me, I’ll…I’ll…please excuse me," she said, her voice not more than a whisper. She turned and fled back down the hall and into the bedroom. She dropped onto the bed, her body shaking so badly she couldn’t stand. What a lousy way to meet his friends for the first time! She shook her head. What must they think of me?
"Daniel, you shouldn’t have let us in," Sam admonished.
"Why?" he asked, a slight frown on his face.
"Because she wasn’t prepared for…guests," Sam explained.
He turned and glanced at the closed door to his…their…bedroom.
"She’s embarrassed, Daniel, and probably horrified that the first time we met her was while she was wrapped in your robe," Sam continued.
Daniel ran his hand over his face. "Shit! She sat in the passenger seat and shook the entire way across Colorado, she got sick when we stopped at the Red Lobster because she was so nervous, and then I do this to her! Now what do I do?"
Sam smiled. "You give Jack the keys to your new jeep and let him and Teal'c start unloading it. Then you make coffee. I’ll be right back." She walked down the hallway and knocked lightly on the bedroom door. She opened it, and peeked in. Casey was sitting on the bed. She wasn’t crying, but she was close to it. "Hi. Mind if I come in and talk to you?"
Casey shrugged. Here it comes. The ‘you’re-not-anywhere-good-enough-for-him-who-do-you-think-you-are’ speech.
"Daniel is a sweet guy, but he doesn’t always understand the finer points of social interaction when it comes to women. He can tell you about any culture you can think of…he just… sometimes he’s just a typical man," Sam said, smiling. "He never should have opened that door, and I’m so sorry we just barged in on you like this. You’re probably overwhelmed enough without three gawking strangers stampeding in on you."
Casey’s eyes went wide. "You’re not going to tell me-" she broke off.
Sam frowned. "Tell you what?"
"That I’m not good enough for him," she barely whispered.
Sam studied the young woman, took into consideration what Daniel had told her over the phone a couple of hours ago…She reached out and hugged the young woman. "If Daniel loves you, then that’s good enough for me. And for those two guys out there as well. He was so excited to get back to you…so eager to tell us all about you. He’s got it bad for you, girlfriend." She took Casey’s hand. "Holy Hannah! I’d say the boy is serious, too," she said, examining the ring.
Casey smiled, found herself relaxing. "I had hoped to meet all of you under more…appropriate circumstances," she admitted.
Sam smiled. "I’ll bet you did. Let me tell you a little something about having those three guys in your life…always be prepared for the unexpected. You never know what one of them is going to say or do!"
Casey giggled. "Typical men?"
"Without a doubt." Sam stood up. "I’ll let you get dressed. Jack and Teal'c are unloading the jeep. I’ll go make sure they’re not doing anything stupid."
Casey giggled again. "Okay. Thanks," she said softly.
"Anytime," Sam smiled.
She stared at the closed door for just a minute, some of her fears slowly dropping away. She pulled on her clothes, a small smile on her face. She wasn’t positive, but she thought she might have just made a very good friend.
She was just pulling her tee shirt over her head when strong, familiar arms wrapped around her from behind.
"Babe, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…Sam just gave me hell for putting you in that…situation. I’m really sorry." He kissed the back of her neck.
She stepped away from him, pulled the shirt down, then turned to face him. "I should be really pissed. But…"
"Sam is really nice. She thinks a lot of you," she said. She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I hear you have it bad for me," she said, smiling up at him.
His blushed, wondering what exactly Sam had told her. "Yeah, well, can’t help it," he mumbled.
Casey stood on her tiptoes to whisper in his ear. "I’ve got it pretty bad for you, too." She dropped her arms, reached around and gave his ass a good squeeze, then walked out of the room.
Daniel turned to watch her, his heart pounding, his cock twitching, and a smile on his face.
Jack was in the living room, taking the components of her stereo out of their boxes. "This is a sweet system, Casey," he said, looking up and grinning at her when she entered the room.
"Thanks. I had to scrimp and save for two years to get it, but god it was worth it!"
"So where do you want it set up?"
Casey looked around the room. There really wasn’t a place where it would fit.
"What about here?" Daniel asked, moving some of the artifacts from the shelves.
"No! Put them back!" she cried out. "It was all…perfect…please…just…like it was," she said.
Daniel frowned. "Casey?" He put the pieces on the sofa.
She shook her head, her lower lip between her teeth.
"Casey, talk to me," he demanded gently.
"It was all…perfect…like…"
"Like a museum," Sam said.
She couldn’t help but smile. "Yeah, it is sort of like that. But it…flows. Each piece is able to hold it’s own…yet fit in with the rest," she said softly. "The colors of each of them are playing off of one another perfectly. To take one piece out just makes the rest…stop flowing. Whoever arranged those pieces had an eye for display."
They all stared at her.
"Casey, are you a designer?" Sam asked her eyes wide.
She laughed. "Not hardly."
"Right. That was fancy designer talk if I ever heard it," Jack scoffed. He turned to Daniel. "She’s one of those fancy artists, right?"
Daniel was grinning at her. "I’m not sure, Jack."
She blushed. "I’m not an artist either."
Sam shook her head. "Artistic talent takes many shapes. You, my friend, have the eye of an artist."
She blushed deeper, then went to the sofa, collected the items that Daniel had taken from the shelves, and put them back, exactly where they had been before.
"We’re still stuck with the problem of where to put the stereo," Jack informed them.
Casey looked around the room. There was a corner in the dining room, if she just had the shelves for it…"Just stack the components in that corner for now," she said, pointing.
Jack nodded and carried them to the spot she had indicated.
Daniel opened a box, pulled out a tiny porcelain animal. "What about these, babe?"
She walked over, took the miniature tiger from his fingers, and put it back in the box. "These…don’t fit," she said softly. She carried the box to the side of the room, and put it down.
Daniel felt his heart thumping. She was here, but she wasn’t…moving in. Her things were here, but she wasn’t making them a part of her surroundings. Oh, god, she wasn’t staying! Somewhere along the way she had changed her mind. "Don’t fit?"
"Don’t fit," she repeated. She pushed her hair back with one hand. "Maybe someday I’ll find a display case or something that I can hang in the bedroom."
It was a start, but not what he wanted, needed to hear. He wanted to walk in the door every night and see that she lived here, that this was her home. His heart was pounding harder, sinking lower in his chest.
She opened a box, smiled, and began pulling candles and candle holders out. She pushed aside a stationary box from Malaysia that sat on the coffee table. Three tall, iron candleholders went beside it, and the large white pillar candles on top. She stepped back, cocked her head to one side, then nodded. Two more candleholders came out, the pieces locked together, and were put on the floor beside the sofa table. The large three-wick candles went onto them. Again she stepped back, looked at it and nodded.
He put his arms around her, starting to relax. "Looks good," he said softly.
She smiled, then went to unpack the tea jar that her grandmother had loved so much. It was a flea market find, but it was beautiful, in spite of the crackle in the glaze.
"Wow!" Daniel exclaimed when she pulled it from the papers that protected it. He vaguely remembered seeing this on the little metal shelves in her apartment. "That’s a great piece. May I?"
She handed it to him.
"Definitely Ming dynasty. Early Ming. The crackle finish means it was heated too quickly. I’ve only seen half a dozen of these. Where did you get it?"
Casey shrugged. "Grandma Rose found it at a flea market. I think she said she paid five dollars for it."
Daniel laughed. "Your Grandma Rose was a shrewd woman. This jar is worth at least five thousand."
She looked at him, her eyes wide. "Dollars? Five thousand dollars?"
"That’s what I saw one sold for several years ago. By now it could be worth more." He carefully put the jar between the lamp and the telephone on the sofa table.
Sam was grinning at her. She had seen the younger woman’s discomfort when the tiny bric-a-brac came out, recognized it for what it was. This would help to ease that feeling of insecurity.
His heart had moved back up where it belonged, and had stopped pounding so hard. He watched her go to the shelves, rearrange three of the artifacts, step back and nod. He looked. It did look much better that way! She turned and caught him staring at her. She smiled, making his knees go weak.
"Where do you wish these boxes to be placed, Casey Webster?" Teal'c asked, carrying in three boxes marked ‘clothes’.
"In the bedroom, thanks," she replied. She cocked her head again, watched the giant black man disappear down the hallway. "That man is an incredibly long way from home," she said softly. "He must miss his family very much."
Three glances were exchanged. Jack frowned. "Uh…so just how much did Daniel tell you about his work?"
She started, glanced at Daniel, then looked at Jack. "Not very much. Just that he does...classified...work for the Air Force."
Her blush and the guilt in her green eyes told him all he needed to know. "It’s okay, Casey. You can tell me what he said," Jack said gently.
Another glance at Daniel, who nodded slightly, and she recounted all that he had told her.
Jack frowned. "That’s it?"
She nodded. "Please, don’t get angry with him…I was sort of pushing him, I needed to know about…things," she said hastily.
The older man smiled. "He shouldn’t have told you a thing about the ‘gate. But since he did…"
Teal'c had rejoined them in the living room. "There are only three more boxes, Daniel Jackson. I will bring them," he said. He bowed his head toward Casey and left the room.
"Casey, General Hammond is very eager to meet you. He wants you to come to the base with Daniel on Monday."
She looked up at Daniel. "I guess that would be okay. If it’s okay with Daniel."
"Babe, it’s fine with me," he replied. He already knew why the general wanted to meet her. Knew that there would be…tests…several kinds, run on her. He only hoped that they wouldn’t panic her.
When Teal'c arrived with the last of the small boxes, also marked ‘clothes’, which he took to the bedroom, Daniel closed the door, and sat down on the sofa. Sam was already sitting on one end, her foot tucked under her. Jack was in one of the chairs, the Jaffa lowered himself into the other. Casey looked at them, then smiled. "You’re a team. Friends as well as…teammates," she said softly. She didn’t voice the rest of her thought. Where do I fit in? she wondered.
Sam looked at her. "How long have you had this…gift?"
Casey frowned. "Gift?"
"Your…perceptions, your…feelings is how the other Casey put it. You’re psychic, aren’t you?" Sam asked.
She burst into giggles. "Hardly! I do get…feelings…from time to time." She glanced at Daniel. Those feelings seemed to come more often, were stronger, since meeting him.
"Yeah, well that nightmare of yours kept our butts out of the sling, thanks," Jack said. "You wake Danny up any time you need to when there is something like that we need to know!"
She smiled. "Okay. I’ll remember that." She stifled a yawn.
"God, look at the time!" Sam said, glancing at her watch. It was just after midnight. "We should get going." She pulled herself to her feet, walked to where Casey stood and hugged the slender woman tightly. "It’s great to finally meet you, Casey. Welcome to Silver Springs."
Casey hugged the taller woman back. "Thanks. It was great to meet you, too." She was surprised when Jack hugged her as well. She followed the three SG-1 members to the door, Daniel right behind her. "Thanks for all of your help," she said softly, her eyes going to Sam.
"Anytime. Talk to you later, Casey, Daniel," Jack said.
Sam smiled and nodded. "I’ll call you later," she said, winking.
Teal'c again nodded at her. "I look forward to meeting with you again, Casey Webster," he said.
She smiled. "Me, too, Teal'c." She watched them walk down the hall to the elevator, waved at them, then closed the door to the apartment. She was in Silver Springs, she had met his friends, and she had survived.
Daniel was standing in the dining room, his hands shoved into his pockets, making his jeans ride lower on his hips. "Are you okay?"
She looked at him, her body reacting to the sight. "I’m fine. Well…maybe not exactly fine," she admitted.
He frowned. "What’s wrong?"
She smiled. "The way you look right now is really turning me on. As in I need you this minute turning me on."
He grinned. "Really?"
"Really. Drop ‘em," she said, walking toward him, already pulling her tee shirt over her head.
"Well, I think I can make to the bed," she giggled. She squealed when he picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder and carried her to the bedroom.
He made love to her, easing every fear, every worry that had filled her heart and mind. She went to sleep in his arms, looking forward to her new life in Colorado.
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