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Casey was giggling when SG-1 arrived at the barn. It was a sound that Daniel loved. It was a sound that now had his heart sinking. She had continued to block him, was doing so even now.
"Casey?" Jack called.
"Jack! Hey, come on in! We’re almost finished with this hand, then I’ll deal you in," she said, grinning from where she sat on the ground. Wade was sitting in front of her, studying the cards in his hand.
"We should be getting back, Ba’al could be there by now," Daniel said coldly.
Casey looked up at him. His eyes were full of anger…and hurt. She looked down at her cards. She wanted to say something, didn’t know what to say. She had continued to block him, because his anger was breaking her heart. She hated it when he was angry with her.
"If he was, we’d have heard about it," Jack said, settling down beside Casey. "We just made a three mile hike. A little rest is in order. Deal me in, Case."
Sam glanced at Daniel. "Me, too."
"I should also like to be dealt in," Teal'c said.
She glanced up at him, waiting for him to join.
"I’ll wait outside," he said through stiff lips.
The first time she saw Wade in the infirmary on the Phoenix, she knew that she and Daniel were heading into trouble. Her guilt over what had happened in the pleasure house had nullified what Daniel had done with Ishtar, in her mind. But had what she done been any different, any worse that what he had done? She was still having nightmares about Wade, trying to deal with her feelings about him. It would be nice if she knew what they were! He was a kind man, just like Daniel. But she loved Daniel. Wade would never be more than a friend. If he could even be that.
She dealt the cards, blew the first hand, handed the deck to Jack, and walked outside. He was standing with his hands shoved into his pockets. Her mind reached out to him…slowly, tentatively, only to be shoved away. She moved to stand near him. He walked towards the corner of the barn, turned his back to her. The action broke her heart. And told her all that she needed to know. "So be it," she said softly. She walked back into the dilapidated building. "If you all don’t mind, I’m going to head back into town. I…need some time alone. Jack, I’ll need some time off when we get home…I need to…" tears fell onto her cheeks. She pulled herself to her full height, and willed herself to get through this. "I’ll need to make arrangements."
"Arrangements? For what?" Jack asked. He glanced out the door, a frown on his face.
"For the kids and I. We’ll stay with my folks until…until I can…decide…where I want to go." Casey pulled her pack on, grabbed her P90, and started down the road. She didn’t glance back, although she desperately wanted to, wanted to see if maybe, just maybe, he was watching…cared enough to watch.
Daniel heard what she said. His heart plummeted to his feet. One chance, bucko, his brain told him. You have one chance to stop this, to change her mind. He watched her walk by, his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth, the pain in his chest making it nearly impossible to breathe.
Wade was on his feet. Stalked outside, and stood shoulder to shoulder beside the man who could be his twin. "Go after her."
Daniel fought the urge to hit the man. "Isn’t this what you want? Hell, maybe you planned it this way. Leaves her free for you, doesn’t it?"
Wade’s blue eyes flared with anger. "I may love her, but her eyes will never see me, never see any other man! If you leave her now, she will remain alone…her love for you is too deep, too strong. She told me once that you are the only man she’s ever wanted, the only man she will ever want. You’re a fool if you don’t go after her. I never figured you for a fool."
His heart turned over. He couldn’t live without her. He knew that as well as he knew that the sun would come up on Gamma. He didn’t want to live without her. "She’s blocking me," he said stubbornly. His heart, his soul, were begging him to run after her. His mind was still full of anger, still hurt that she would defend this man. Even when he understood, deep inside, that she shouldn’t have to.
"Have you forgotten how to use your voice to speak to her? Your hands? Your kisses?"
Daniel looked down the road. She was almost over the first rise.
"Go, now, before it’s too late. Don’t ruin her life, and yours, because she has a heart full of goodness," Wade said gently.
Daniel took off at a run.
Casey waited until she knew that she was no longer visible from the barn before dropping to her knees. How many times had they teetered on the brink like this? How many times had they managed to cling to one another and work their way back to safety? She was too numb to even cry. All she could do was kneel there, gasping for breath, her heart breaking, her soul shattering into a million pieces. She couldn’t stay on Gamma. Maybe she’d go to Langara. Perhaps she could get work with their Stargate Program. She would set up a visitation schedule so that Daniel could see his children at least once a week. She was sure that her mother would help her with that, so that she never had to see him again. Because seeing him would only hurt more.
She started, but didn’t turn around.
"Can we talk?"
She said nothing. She pulled herself to her feet, continued to stare down the road.
"I’m really sorry. I was acting like a jerk."
"Yes, you were," she said softly.
"I hurt you."
She didn’t say anything. She lowered her head, and nodded.
"I never meant to. Damn, I keep saying that, don’t I?" He dropped his pack in the middle of the road. He watched her, the way she held herself, as if she were prepared to run at the slightest provocation, her slender shoulders held stiffly, trying to bear the pain. "I really blew it this time, didn’t I? There’s-" his voice caught, he couldn’t breathe for a minute. "There’s no way back this time, is there?"
She closed her eyes, the tears falling freely now. Her heart was on the verge of shattering. One wrong word, one wrong move, and it would fly into pieces. "I don’t know, Daniel, is there? I always thought that you’d-" she stopped, shook her head.
"What, Angel? That I’d what?"
"Be there for me," she whispered.
Oh, god, oh god, oh god! She was slipping away from him; he could feel it...he could see it...and he felt so damned powerless to stop it! What words should he use to bring her back? What words would reach her, heal her heart? "I love you, Casey. Ja te volim, Casey...Rwy'n dy garu di...Seni seviyorum...Bhebbek...Te adoro, Casey...Ya tyebya lyublyu...Eu amo te...Jeg elsker deg ...Bahibak...Ez te hezdikhem...Ti voglio, Casey... Ani ohev otach. S'ayapo...Ich hab dich lieb...Tá mé i ngrá leat...Je t'adore, Casey. Tora dost daram...Ik hou van jou...Ana Behibek...Ne mohotatse. I know more if you want to hear it," he said softly. "I always will be there for you, Angel. Always. Just please, give me another chance?"
She could feel her heart latch onto the hope that his words gave her. She clung to them, every beat of her heart, every breath she drew now filled with hope that maybe, once again, they could back away from the edge, could find their way back into one another’s arms. "Daniel, I love you. I don’t know as many ways to say it as you do. But I mean it every bit as much. I hurt you, Beloved, and I never meant to," she whispered.
His mind was spinning. His heart was pounding. "Let me feel it, babe, please?" He staggered, dropped to one knee as the raw emotion, pure love, filled his mind, washed over him like warm water. He sent out his love, gently at first, until he was unable to hold back, needed her to know…to feel…how much he loved her.
They had gone through so much, how could she believe that something this…trivial…could break them apart? Yes, she was hurt. She had been angry. Daniel had been feeling the same way. Why did they always have to rush to the very edge of the cliff? Was it because of the Fire? Probably. Their anger seemed to burn as hot as their love. She felt him reach out to her, so tenderly…then a sudden rush that dropped her to her knees. His love made her feel so warm, so safe, so secure…and if the neighbors ever saw them like this, they'd think she and Daniel were killing each other. She suddenly started giggling.
Giggles, that's a good thing, isn’t it? "Angel?"
"We can never do this at home. The neighbors already think we’re weird enough."
He couldn’t stop the laughter that bubbled up. "Yeah, they do, don’t they?"
She stood up, and looked at him. "I’m sorry."
"I’m sorry, too, babe."
"I forgive you."
"I forgive you. Although I have a lot less to forgive." He took a step closer to her.
"I’m sorry I screwed up that meeting." She took a step toward him.
"I’m not. Whenever you need me, babe, I’m going to be there. You needed me. Maybe not as much as we thought, but in that moment, at the second you cried out to me, you needed me," he said softly. "I’ll always be here, babe, always." Another step toward her.
"Promise?" She stepped closer.
"Promise, Angel." He pulled her into his embrace, crushed her against his chest, felt her arms lock around his neck. His lips sought, found hers. He kissed her as if it were the last time he would ever be able to do so. "Love you, Angel," he whispered, when he finally pulled away from her sweet lips.
"Love you, Sweetheart."
"Casey, babe, I have to know…is there…do you have feelings for Wade?" He watched her eyes, praying that he wasn’t pushing too far too soon.
She looked at him, her green eyes betraying her confusion. "I don’t know! He’s a kind man, he’s like you in many ways, but so different from you. I love you! I’m in love with you! If…if there are feelings, it’s nothing more than friendship. But…I’m not even sure I feel that for him! I know that sounds mean…but…he’s…I…"
"It’s okay, Angel, just say it," Daniel said softly.
"He’s the man I cheated on you with. Every time I see him I’m reminded of that. I hurt you, and it’s killing me to know that!"
He hugged her tight again. "Oh, my poor Angel!" He kissed her forehead. "Babe, you didn’t know what you were doing. You were so out of it I’m surprised that you can even remember his face, or his name. Let it go, Angel. You told me to let go of what happened on Arconia. You let go of what happened on Dracia. Let it go, babe."
The radio on Daniel’s shoulder crackled to life. "SG-1, this is Sabotti. Guess who just dropped in for a visit?"
"Hold him there, Sabotti. Keep that town secure. We’re on our way," Jack replied.
He could feel her begin to tremble. "Okay, what’s the story with Ba’al?"
Casey began to fill Daniel in on what had happened on the mission. They didn’t exactly run, but they hurried back into town. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c were pleased to learn that the couple had once again worked things out.
Wade remained silent, although he watched her eyes, watched how she was clinging to Daniel's hand, his arm. He shook his head. Someday, he promised himself. Someday I will find a woman who will love me that much.
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