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Out of the Blue
Casey had called Sam the first thing that morning, explaining that she and Daniel wanted to go over the mission reports with the rest of the team. It was barely eight a.m. when she and Daniel walked hand in hand into the briefing room.
Sam had already gathered copies of mission reports as far back as Thanksgiving. The team discussed each mission, all of them doing their best to remember anything that might have seemed odd, but not important enough to be mentioned in the reports. At noon they closed the last folder. Nothing had seemed to stand out, for any of them.
Daniel had his hands tented, fingers against his lips. "It's here, we're just not seeing it," he said absently.
"Whatever it is, only affected Casey," Jack sighed, leaning back in his chair.
"Not necessarily," Sam said. "It's possible that something affected Daniel as well."
Teal'c frowned. "We have read the reports, but perhaps we should…'walk through them', trying to recall exactly what happened as closely as possible."
Sam nodded. "Good idea." She reached for the top folder. "Okay. This is the mission when Toren was on his way here…"
A A A A A A
They'd ordered lunch in, still going through the reports. So far nothing was jumping out at any of them, nothing that could explain the change in Casey's Quickening. Dr. Montigue tapped lightly on the door of the room. "Forgive the interruption, but the results of the DNA tests have been reached."
Casey reached for Daniel's hand, gripped it tightly. Searched the doctor's face for any clues.
The older Immortal smiled. "Casey, you are definitely the mother. Daniel, you are most certainly the father."
Tears filled his eyes. He reached for her, pulled her onto his lap, buried his face against her throat. One hand moved over that flat belly. His baby was growing there. His baby!
She looked up, green eyes shining, reflecting tears of relief, of joy. "Thank you," she said softly.
"You're welcome. And I expect to see you Monday morning," Dr. Montigue replied. "We need to take a blood test, and get you started on prenatal vitamins."
"I'll stop by first thing," she promised.
With a smile and a nod, the doctor pushed his hands into his pockets, turned and left the room. He gave a nod to Duncan as the men passed one another in the corridor.
Duncan hurried into the room. "Well?"
"He did it again," Casey grinned.
"Daniel knocked me up again," she giggled.
"Yeah, well you don't have to take seriously what I poke at you in fun," Daniel retorted. Laughter filled the room, relief reflected on every face.
"Casey Jackson, I would like to call Carlotta and relay this most satisfying news," Teal'c said.
"By all means," Casey smiled. "And tell her she was right. This baby does want to be born. That's the only reason I can think of to explain this."
Daniel was about to close one of the folders. Frowned, pulled it closer. "Let me up, babe," he said distractedly. Where had he put the journal for this mission? Since it had happened just after Christmas, chances were it was still in his office… He was up and out of the room before the others had a chance to react.
"Daniel?" Casey called. She looked at her friends and shrugged.
"Better follow him. He has that look in his eyes," Jack sighed, getting to his feet.
When the team, and Duncan, walked into Daniel's office, he was reading one of his red journals. He let his head drop back, and groaned.
"What?" Casey asked, racing to his side, grabbing the journal. She read the paragraph that he pointed out. "Oh, hell!"
"What?" Jack demanded.
"Remember the cave people?" she asked
"Can't forget 'em," the general retorted. For nearly ten hours he, Daniel, and Teal'c had been prevented from getting near Sam and Casey. Had nearly been forced to watch a contest that would have determined which of six young men would be mated to the two women. Had damned near been killed when the old woman, who was the leader of the cave dwellers, had decided that the three men were a threat to what she wanted to accomplish. Then there had been the aggravating attempts to get them relocated. It had finally happened, but not before he'd had to fight the urge to smack Grandma Moses upside of the head.
"Remember that…Being…who appeared right after Case opened fire with the P90, and we were discussing a way to help the cave dwellers?" Daniel asked.
Frowns flickered over four faces, three heads nodded slowly.
"She put her hand on my stomach, and said that it was a shame that I wouldn't bear children for them," Casey said.
"She never said anything about Casey not bearing a child for us…or me," Daniel added.
Teal'c nodded. "That is most certainly when Casey Jackson's Quickening was changed."
"You said that you thought that the Being might have been one of the Ascended, or one of the Others," Sam mused. "We know that they have the power to change the Quickening."
"Well, I'd say we solved that little mystery," Jack grinned.
One little mystery solved. One giant heartache avoided. That still left the greatest threat that Gamma had faced to date. Casey was pulling her lip between her teeth.
"Case?" Daniel asked softly.
"We still have to take out Penatil."
"Yes, we do," he said softly. "And we will. You'll just be helping from here."
She looked at him. "With Penatil involved, I’m no safer here than I would be on a mission with you."
He frowned. Hated to admit that she was right.
Jack was frowning as well. "I don't want to risk you, or your baby," he said.
"Rak'nor sent word that he has four spies among Penatil's Jaffa. And that one of Methos' spies may be able to allow himself to be 'captured', as someone who can read Tau'ri," Duncan said. That information had arrived only minutes earlier. Which was why he'd been on his way into the conference room. "So until we get word from them, I'm not sending any teams anywhere near Penatil."
Casey cocked her head to one side. "It'll take time. This might be the break we need…it'll keep him off of Gamma's doorstep, at least in the immediate future. I think that Methos' spy will be able to…control…how quickly progress is made on the…experiments…if Penatil has the correct notes…if we're lucky, Penatil won't have anyone else who can read the notes, and the spy can…leave out anything…useful. I can't see that part clearly…I think he might have enough to get started, but not enough to understand just what all is required to make the…experiment…work."
"That's good news," Jack sighed. The base, and Hope, had been preparing for battle since the Goa'uld had been defeated three days prior. Casey had warned of his impending return, and the reality was - if he did - it wouldn't take long for him to wear down and destroy their defenses.
The young blonde nodded. She closed her eyes, 'listened' carefully. "We still have to take him out. But he's going to be focused on this for some time…and he's going to be adamant that none of the other Goa'uld know what he's up to."
"He's going to disappear," Daniel hissed.
"For awhile, I think," Casey nodded. "And Jordan is going to try to rebuild by attacking those closest to him. We still need to keep an eye on him."
"I sent a message to Thor, and to the Tollan," Duncan said. "I'm hoping to cash in on some of that good will that we've earned saving their butts."
"Having a few extra ships around would make me sleep easier, especially while we're down seven satellites," Jack said.
Daniel was frowning again, as a comment that had been made years ago began to rattle around in his head. "Duncan, do you remember Reggie? On PX3 695?"
The Highlander frowned. "Yes. Why?"
"He said something…if I could just remember…about protecting the Innocents…and something about the Quickening…" Daniel sighed with frustration. "It will come to me, I hope."
Duncan was frowning as well. "If I remember anything specific, I'll let you know."
"Thanks," Daniel replied.
"For now, why don't you all take the rest of the day off," the Scot suggested. "We'll discuss your next mission on Monday. And whether or not Casey will be joining you."
She huffed a sigh, crossed her arms over her chest. "I can go on the cake-walks," she insisted.
Daniel's arm pulled her close, his other hand moving over her flat belly. "That's my baby…our baby in there, and I will not risk either of you."
There was no way to hold back the smile that tugged at her lips. Their baby. Daniel's baby. She put her hand over his. "I know," she said softly. "I just know that I want to keep working as long as possible."
"You can," Daniel replied. "From here."
"Casey, you and Daniel can communicate so easily, he can tell you what he sees, or hears, or whatever, and you can guide us from here," Sam said gently. "You need to take it easy, and be careful."
Her smile widened. "I'm already at six and a half weeks. I think everything is going to be fine. This baby-" she broke off, cocked her head sideways. Her heart began to pound against her ribs. Hoped that the Being who had changed her Quickening could still be…reached…in that cave. And that she could slip through the 'gate without anyone knowing…well, except for Duncan…maybe…after the fact. This was something she had to do, to know, and she had to make the 'visit' alone.
"Case?" Daniel asked, with a worried frown.
"This baby really wants to be born," she said softly.
Jack grinned. "Stubborn. Wonder where the kid gets that?"
Snickers, chuckles and giggles filled the room. "Well, now that we know that everything is okay, you all get out of here for the day," Duncan said.
With nods and smiles, the team headed toward the elevator.
A A A A A A
Duncan returned to his office to find young Stephanie Miller waiting to speak to him. She'd printed out a copy of his email concerning the Tok'ra, and was clutching it tightly.
"Um…Ms. Miller, correct?" Duncan asked with a smile, dropping into the chair behind his desk, motioning to the one in front of it.
"Yes, sir," she replied nervously. She had never actually spoken to the Gammian President outside of the few brief remarks at any of the parties she and Todd and Ramir had been invited to, where the Who's Who of Gamma were in attendance.
"Relax," the Highlander said gently. He could see that the young woman was shaking. "What is it that we need to discuss?"
"It's about the Tok'ra," Stephanie replied. Grateful that her voice sounded stronger than she was feeling.
"What about them?"
"I'd like to volunteer to blend with a Tok'ra symbiote."
Brown eyes went wide. He could feel his jaw drop open. It took effort, but he managed to close his mouth. "Are you serious?"
"Very serious, sir," the young woman replied.
"Stephanie," Duncan said, using the young woman's first name, leaning forward, his arms folded on his desk, "This isn't something to jump into. The Tok'ra are looking for permanent hosts. Do you have any idea what the means?"
"Yes, I do," she said quietly. "I understand that it means sharing my body…my mind if you will. That my life span will be doubled, at the least. And that I'll have access to the same knowledge that the Tok'ra has. So very much knowledge." The last was said softly, awe filling her green eyes.
He studied the young woman. He'd thought at first that this was nothing more than an altruistic move on her part, a wish to help the Tok'ra. Or perhaps just curiosity about being a host. Something in her eyes told him she'd been thinking about this for a very long time. "You're certain?"
"Yes, sir. Most certain."
He nodded slowly. Dr. Montigue had located two others who were willing to blend: a woman facing invasive cancer that was spreading faster than the doctors could keep up with, and a young man who had just been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. That such diseases still afflicted humanity bothered him at times. With all that they'd discovered, surely the cures to these diseases could be found! "All right. I've sent a message to Selmak. She…and General Carter, should be here sometime Tuesday. Have you spoken to Doctor Jackson about this?"
"No sir, not yet. I wanted to let you know first, so that you could contact the Tok'ra," she replied.
Duncan sighed. "You need to tell him. He'll have to arrange to hire someone to replace you." According to Daniel's praise of the young woman, that wouldn't be easy. And he was still looking for at least two more archaeologists to work in the Center. This would not make the young man happy!
"I'll speak to him today," Stephanie promised.
"He and Casey took the day off," Duncan said absently. "You'll have to tell him as soon as possible on Monday."
"You're absolutely sure?"
"Absolutely, positively sure. More sure than I've ever been about anything in my life," she said softly.
He nodded again. "Very well. I'll contact you when Jacob/Selmak arrive."
She stood to her feet, understanding that the meeting was over. "Thank you, President MacLeod."
"Don't thank me," he said, smiling to take the edge from his words. "You're the one taking a leap into the unknown."
"But it's not the unknown," she protested. "I know exactly what to expect."
I hope so, he thought worriedly. "I understand that there will be a process that you will need to go through before you actually become a host."
"Yes, sir. The Tok'ra need to make sure that I'm…stable…mentally. Emotionally able to deal with being blended."
Well, she'd researched the subject! "Something like that." He smiled again. "Have a good weekend. It's possibly the last one you'll ever spend…alone."
She smiled brightly. "If I’m very lucky!" She bounced out of the door.
Duncan sat back, rubbed his hands over his face. He could understand the reasoning behind Mrs. Malkin and young Mr. Lowell's decisions. But Stephanie was healthy, smart…what could be the attraction of being blended with a Tok'ra symbiote? He shivered slightly. Just the thought of a snake crawling into him…he shuddered again. Well, she had to pass a battery of tests before being accepted. Maybe she'd be lucky, and the Tok'ra would reject her as a potential host.
A A A A A A
Erin and Aaron were sitting at the breakfast bar, stunned expressions on their faces. "You're what?" her father asked.
Like every father had from the time of the beginning upon being told such news, Aaron's eyes moved to Daniel. It didn't matter that they were married. That they had been long before he had become a part of his daughter's life. Or that for them, pregnancy was a miracle of greater proportions than that of the mortals around them. For just a few seconds, that sandy-blond haired man was guilty of doing this to my little girl. He smiled. "I didn't even know you were taking the injections."
Daniel chuckled. "She wasn't."
Erin's eyes went wider than they already were. "Then how can you be pregnant?"
"Remember the mission I told you about, with the cave people, where Sam and I were mistaken as the Daughters of the Great Spirit Mother?" Casey asked.
Both Desala's nodded.
"There was a…Being…whom we assume was taking care of…protecting…those people. She showed up after I opened fire with a P90…I had to," Casey said quickly, "they were going to kill Daniel and Jack and Teal'c, and I only fired into the air… well, I did shoot a big bear skin…or whatever type of skin it was…to shreds. Anyway. She…um…she wanted me, and Sam, to stay, and to bear children for them. I don't know if she knew we were Immortal or not."
"If she was of the Ascended, or of The Others, she knew," Aaron said confidently. "There is a different aura around Immortals, that these Beings can perceive."
Casey nodded her understanding. "Well, she put her hand on my abdomen. I don't remember feeling anything…not like the warmth I felt when Oma changed my Quickening. I was a little distracted at the time," she admitted. "Anyway, she changed my Quickening."
Aaron frowned. "Of this you are certain?"
"That she changed my Quickening? As sure as I can be. We've already had DNA tests run, Daniel and I are definitely the cell donors," Casey replied. Her father's reaction made it even more important for her to speak to this…Being. For her own peace of mind. Knowing that Daniel was her baby's father was a burden off of her shoulders. But she needed to know that there wouldn't be any more…surprises. She didn't think that any of the birth control methods, other than a condom, would work for them, and she wasn't about to start using anything that would prevent him from naked inside her. She wanted nothing to come between them when they were melded together as one entity.
Erin smiled. "I know that you are happy about this," she said, looking at Casey. She looked at her son-in-law. "How do you feel about it?"
Daniel grinned. "I was pretty shocked at first. Scared, too, until we knew for sure that I was the father. But now…" He reached out, pulled Casey to stand against him. "Now I'm pretty excited."
"Why would you think you were not the father?" Aaron asked, one eyebrow going up in surprise.
Casey carefully explained what their fears had been. When she mentioned, and explained, her 'Immaculate Conception' theory, the Ancient had roared with laughter. When her parents admitted that there was always the slim chance that the Ascended, or The Others, or even the Ancients might have wanted a child born for a specific purpose, she was doubly glad the tests had been conducted. Knowing that the child in her womb was hers, fathered by the man she loved, burned for, made her heart shout with joy, and took the burden of worry from her mind.
Emily chose that moment to run into the kitchen. She stopped, looked at her parents, and how her father's hand was gently rubbing her mother's flat belly. She walked over, put her little hand on top of his. "Mommy gots a baby in her tummy," she announced.
Aaron guffawed. "Yes she does, Little Why Bird."
Daniel grinned at the nickname. Had heard it often. And agreed that it fit his precious, precocious daughter.
"Daddy putted it there."
"Also true," Aaron agreed. He picked Emily up when she skipped to his side, put her head against his arm.
"We're gonna have a girl baby this time," she said.
"Emmie, we don't know if the baby will be a boy or a girl," Casey pointed out.
"We gots a boy baby already. Nicholas was a boy baby. We needs a girl baby."
The adults chuckled at her reasoning. "I take it you would prefer a little sister rather than a little brother?" Erin asked.
A frown crossed the little girl's face. Two of her friends had little sisters who were always getting into their toys, even more so than Nicholas did. "Little sister?"
"If the baby is a girl, she will be your little sister," Erin explained.
The frown deepened. She looked up at her mother. "If the baby is a girl, would she have to sleep in my room?"
"For awhile, I suppose," Casey said.
"If it was a boy baby, it would sleep in Nicholas' room?"
Now this was an aspect she just hadn't considered! "Maybe we should have another boy baby," she said after a moment of contemplation.
Daniel laughed. "I wondered how long it would take her to figure that out," he grinned.
Casey had her hand on top of Daniel's as he continued to caress her belly. "I think it's a boy," she said softly.
He kissed the side of her head. She'd been right about Nicholas. "I don’t care what it is, as long as you and the baby are all right."
"Amen," Aaron said softly.
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