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Casey opened up her eyes. Gray. Lots of gray. Whirring noises of air filtration systems, and heating systems, and other familiar sounds. Her head was pounding. She laid still, waiting for the Quickening to ease the pain. She closed her eyes again, searched her mind. She felt…bruised, but otherwise okay. She remembered being on Osiris’ ship, she remembered finding herself on that planet, and she sure as hell remembered that big cat. But what had occurred between then and now she hadn’t a clue. She looked around, then glanced down beside her. Daniel was asleep with his head on the bed, her hand tucked in his. She smiled, ran the fingers of her other hand through his hair.
He stirred, opened his eyes, and grinned sleepily at her. "Hey, gorgeous."
"Hey, yourself, handsome."
His grin widened. "I take it you remember me."
She frowned. "When didn’t I remember you?"
He lifted her fingers to his lips. "It’s an interesting story. I’ll tell you later. How are you feeling?"
She did a mental inventory of her body. "I have a bit of a headache, it seems to be fading now. I’m absolutely starving."
"I’m not surprised. What would you like?"
"A big honkin’ plate of nachos, and a burrito, and maybe some Mexican rice," she said.
"A big ‘honkin’ plate, huh? We’ve got to stop spending so much time with Jack," Daniel chuckled.
"Hey, hey, hey! I heard that!" said the topic of their conversation. The gray-haired man walked to the other side of the bed, dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "Welcome home, Case."
"Thanks, Jack. Where’s Sam and Teal'c?"
"I am here, Casey Jackson," Teal'c replied, rising from his position on the floor. "I believe that Colonel Carter is finishing the report for this mission."
Casey nodded. "Is Methos here?"
The men all exchanged uneasy glances. "We were kinda hoping you could tell us something about that," Jack said.
She frowned. "From the beginning?"
"Okay, well, these guys came to the door, Daniel and I were going out the back, he got jumped and told me to run, even though I didn’t want to," she said, looking at her husband accusingly. "I was running towards the shopping center on Pine Street, guess I shouldn’t have cut through that alley. Anyway, Framone was there, his goons caught up with me, Methos was there, I don’t know how, and Framone took both of us. I think he knocked us out or something, I know we were on that ship longer than a day and a half. I really pissed him off this time," she added.
"How did you do that?" Daniel asked.
"Well, the room he keeps putting me has no controls for the door on the inside, and all these hideous erotic murals on the walls and this huge freakin’ bed. For some reason he always leaves a bowl of fruit and a pitcher of water for me, so I poured the water around the edges of the door…zapped that puppy closed permanently. They had to cut a hole in the door to get us out," she said, grinning.
Jack and Daniel laughed, Teal'c smiled at her.
"Before they got us out though, we did a little, um…adjusting to his murals. One guy is now…well, let’s just say we neutered him."
Jack guffawed. "Didn’t know you were so destructive, Case!"
She smiled. "Funny, that’s what Methos said. Well, Osiris attacked
Framone, and we kinda got caught. She was totally pissed to see me!"
"After what you did the last time, I’m not surprised," Daniel grinned.
"Well, Methos tried to get us out, using the eyes and the voice, ya know? But, when he gave them a planet to go to, what does he do? Tells them we need a lift to PX3-695. She was not amused. Evidently the snake-heads know that’s like Immie central. So, we wind up in the dungeon-"
"Dungeon?" Teal'c asked, lifting one eyebrow. "I am not aware of any Goa’uld ships that have such a thing."
"It looked like one, T, trust me!" Casey replied. "Anyway, she had Methos trussed up on the floor like a Christmas turkey, and I was hanging there, and she came in and did the usual ‘give me the gate codes and all your military information’ routine. She was yanking on Methos so he could see her goon bea…uh…pestering me…"
Daniel and Jack exchanged a glance. Both of them had caught what she had started to say. "She had him beating you, right?" Daniel asked, a frown on his face.
She took his hand, lifted it to her lips. "It was no big deal, Daniel, honest. Just a little harassment."
"Like the' harassment' you took on PY3-279?" Casey’s face went pale. He could feel her fingers begin to tremble. "Tony found your original report. Which is now filed in the official report," Daniel told her.
"I never wanted you to know about that, any of it," she whispered hoarsely.
"I didn’t want you to worry about me."
Daniel groaned. "Casey, I worry about you every time you go through that 'gate, whether you’re with me or with one of the other teams. Comes with the territory. Never, ever lie to me about something like that again, okay? I could have been more understanding, more help to you if I had known. From now on, I want the truth, and I want the whole truth. Understand?"
She nodded. "Right back at you. Don’t think I don’t know you were tortured on PY5 662."
Now Daniel’s cheeks paled. "How…?"
"You mumbled about it in your sleep. I put the pieces together."
Jack cleared his throat. "From now on, I expect a full, truthful report from both of you. Got it? I want an amendment to your report on PY5 662 by the end of next week," he told Daniel.
"Okay, Case, go on with your report. Osiris’ goon is beating you…" Jack said.
"Yeah, okay. Well, I’m not sure what happened, I was pretty out of it…actually, I was damned close to dead," she said.
Daniel sucked in a breath, grasped her fingers tighter.
"Then, all of a sudden the room filled with light, so I know it was Oma, then I came to on that planet. Made it through the night only to become some huge cat’s lunch…or at least I thought I was going to. I remember it getting me on the back with its claws, then I managed to get away for a few steps, then it pounced on me, brought me down, I remember extreme pain in my back, I think the cat landing on me must have broken it. I hit my head on something, and I remember thinking it was a hell of a lousy way to die. Don’t remember anything after that, until waking up here."
Jack nodded. "So Methos wasn’t with you?"
Casey shook her head. "If Oma took me out of there, she wouldn’t have left Methos. I don’t think, anyway."
Jack nodded. "Okay. Hey, I’ll go see about getting a big honkin’ plate of nachos for you. Want ‘em with meat?"
Casey nodded. "Beef on the nachos, a chicken burrito and a side of rice."
"On its way," Jack said. He gave her shoulder a pat, and then left the room. He also had a phone call to make to a feisty white-haired neighbor.
"I shall visit you later, Casey Jackson," Teal'c said inclining his head toward her.
"Thanks, T. I’ll be looking for you," she said. Once they were alone, Casey patted the bed beside her. "Please?"
Daniel needed no more encouragement than that. He stretched out beside her, pulled her into his embrace, her back pressed tightly against his chest. "I missed you," he whispered.
"I missed you, too," she whispered in reply.
"Oma paid me a little visit. She says that you’ll never be taken from me again."
"I sure hope she’s right. I’m getting damned tired of this. Oh, I made a promise to Framone for you."
"You did, huh?" He was smiling. He pulled her closer. He pressed his lips to the side of her head.
"Yep. Told him that when you caught up with him, you were going to bounce his head right off of his shoulders."
"Damned straight I am! He’s going to pay for everything you’ve gone through," Daniel said softly. "We will find him babe, I promise you that."
She snuggled against him, her hands clinging to the arms that surrounded her. "Maybe now I can get a decent night’s sleep," she said, yawning.
"Sleep, babe. I’m here. I’ve got you, and I’m never going to let you go," he murmured. His kissed the side of her face, tightened his arms around her yet again. The thought that he hadn’t done a very good job protecting her so far flittered across his brain, bringing feelings of guilt and frustration. But she was here in his arms, she was safe, and he wasn’t letting her go anywhere without him. Never again. He closed his eyes, her soft body against his allowing him to really sleep for the first time since her disappearance.
Soft light filled the room. Oma stood watching them, noting that even in their sleep they clung to one another. No one had expected their love to be so deep, to burn so brightly. The Fire of their love could power dozens upon dozens of suns. They still had much to do, there were many enemies still to be fought. But they would do so together. They were the hope of the future. She pulled a blanket up over them, smiled down on them. "Sleep young ones. You have earned it." She was gone with the fading light.
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