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Chapter 3

Casey strode into the room. The six men sitting around the conference table flinched at the anger in her eyes. "If I have to shoot you all, I will," she said, her anger apparent in her voice.

"Casey, we didn't think-" Jack started

"Again! You didn’t think again! I've already told Daniel that I was at risk every time I 'searched'! Not one of you bothered to think about that, did you?" She glared at her father. "You should have known that, even if these other rats didn't!"

Aaron held her gaze. "You are right. I should have thought of that."

She shook her head. "Let me tell you all something, and this had better be the last damned time I need to say it! If I need protection, I'll tell you! You either trust me, or I walk away right now!"

Duncan cleared his throat. "Sorry, Casey. We just…" He slammed his hands down on the briefing table in frustration. "Damn it, Case, you went through hell because of that monster! If believing he was dead gave you just one more day of peace-" he broke off and shook his head. "We didn't realize that it could put you at risk. If we had known, we would have told you immediately."

She dropped onto a chair. "Get Sam up here. She needs to know about this too. And if any of you ever pull this crap again, I swear to all the gods you'll never live to regret it!"

Duncan went over to the phone and called for Sam.

'Love you, Angel.'

'Love you too, Stud Muffin.'

'Am I forgiven?'

She tried to hold back her giggle. 'Oh, I think the bath and the massage and the…extra-curricular…activity last night earned you all the forgiveness you need.' Daniel had made love to her so gently, so tenderly, bringing her to orgasm no less than six times before he finally allowed himself to fly with her above the clouds and into oblivion.

He grinned, lifted her fingers to his lips. 'Figured you'd like that.'

'Oh, I liked it all right. I liked it every time!' The giggle finally escaped.

Daniel chuckled and kissed her fingers again.

Jack rolled his eyes. "I hate it when you two do that!"

"Which is exactly why we do it," Daniel replied calmly.

The older man started, then chuckled. "Good one, Space Monkey."

Unlinkil watched, an amused smile on his face. He had learned much about SG-1, how long they had been together, the many dangers they had faced as a team. The fact that they considered themselves a family as well. If anyone could defeat Nergal, defeat all of the Goa'uld, it would be SG-1.

When Sam walked into the room, her eyebrows went up. "What's going on?"

"It seems that we poor, delicate females have been 'protected'. Again." Casey said

The tall blonde shot a look at her husband as she sat down. "Really."

"Yep. Nergal is still alive. So is Zinder, but we just found that out from the photos of RZ2 766. Nergal they've known about for a couple of weeks," Casey replied.

"And you didn't think this was information that should be disseminated?" Sam demanded to know.

"We thought that it would be better to just keep a lid on it for now," Jack said.

Sam glanced at Casey. "Are you all right?"

"I'd have been better if I hadn't smacked into him while I was doing a 'search'," the young blonde Immortal admitted.

All of the men winced. Casey was aware of that fact.

"Not the best way to find out he's alive, I'm sure," Sam agreed.

"No, it wasn't. By the way, Nergal may have a ship now," Casey said.

"Why didn’t you-" Duncan broke off. "I trust you won't hold any information back?"

She frowned. "I resent that! No, I won't hold anything back. I'm not a man!" she said, her words biting.

The Highlander shook his head. She was still upset. And trying to handle a pissed off Casey was like trying to handle an angry porcupine with bare hands. "I apologize. I know that you would never put the SGC or any of the teams at risk."

Jack cleared his throat. "Why don't you just shoot us and get it over with," he said.

Casey smiled. "Because I'd rather watch you squirm waiting for it," she replied.

"Casey Renee." Aaron's voice was quiet. "What was done, was done in love, with love. With much concern for you. It is not worthy of you to hold this against any of us."

She dropped her eyes, blushed slightly. "It might be easier to deal with if it wasn't a reoccurrence. I forgave you all for that deal with Neferteri. I was under the impression then that anything that happened in the future, I would be made aware of it. I appreciate the fact that you all love me enough to want to protect me. But, Dad, you especially should have known that if he was alive, I was going to 'feel' him. And that it would have been easier on me to know he was out there. An omission is just a non-verbal lie," she said quietly. Again, every one of the men reacted to her words, their faces revealing their feelings.

Unlinkil watched the faces of the men. Something had happened, something that had hurt this woman deeply, and they had been involved. And these men still carried guilt over whatever it was.

"I humbly beg your forgiveness once again, Casey Jackson," Teal'c said quietly.

"Teal'c, you are forgiven," she replied softly.

Daniel lifted her fingers to his lips. "Babe, if I had known…if I had thought that you would…run into him…I would have told you as soon as we suspected he was alive. I'm sorry. Casey, I just wanted you to have as many more…carefree…days as possible."

"I understand. I do, and I appreciate the thought. It makes me feel…loved. But sometimes trying to protect me only winds up hurting me worse." She looked around the table. "I want you to know that I love you all very much. I can't put into words how much your love means to me. But please, you have to learn to trust me to know when I need protection, or help. It hurts too much to be lied to. Intentionally or unintentionally."

Duncan cleared his throat. "I…uh…I think we get it, Case."

She smiled. "Good. Now that all of that is settled, what are we going to do about Nergal?"

"Nothing," Unlinkil said.

"Excuse me?" she said, staring at the First Immortal.

"For now it would be best if the Tau'ri behave as if they are not aware of Nergal's presence," he explained.


"Well, to begin with, it would put my spies at risk. Possibly expose several of them. Secondly, it would be better to let the System Lords deal with him. This will lead to more squabbling among them. If they fight one another, they are not out seeking new territory, and they might actually reduce their own numbers."

She nodded slowly. "We should still be the ones to take him out if he gets too close to any human settlements…free ones, or any of the planets that we helped gain freedom during the fight against him."

"I agree with Casey," Jack said. "We are the ones who urged those folks to rebel against him. The very least that we owe them is to make sure that they stay free."

Duncan nodded. "I'll have the Persephone and Prometheus begin a security sweep of the area. They can do a regular patrol of the planets that we helped to rebel. If he comes near, they'll have permission to engage and destroy."

Jack sat back, satisfied with the decision.

"Now, about this mission to RZ2 766," Duncan said. "You'll be leaving in three hours. I'll have Daniel and Jack help me brief SG-6 and Marine Two. Case, I want you and Sam to take care of anything you need to during that time. You'll be gone for several days."

The two women nodded.

The Scot looked at Unlinkil and Aaron. "Thanks for coming in, gentlemen. I think we've dealt with everything, right Case?"

She smiled at him, gave him a subtle wink. "Right, Duncan."

He smiled. "Good. Okay. Let's get this done."


A  A  A  A  A  A


Sam fell into step beside Casey as she walked toward the elevator. "I can't believe they did this to you again!"

Casey sighed. Her anger was spent, and she was finally able to understand the underlying need to protect her. "I know. I was terrified when I first felt him, and then when Daniel admitted that they knew he was alive…I was packing to leave! I was so damned angry! I can understand Daniel's need to protect me…we had a long talk about it." She paused, a smile on her lips. That long talk had happened in the bathtub, surrounded by candles, satiated from making love. "I understand Dad's need to protect me. I can even understand Duncan's need, we were… lovers…for awhile. But I had always counted on Jack and Teal'c to…I don't know…defend my right to be treated like the rest of the team, I guess."

"They love you, too," Sam said quietly.

"I know. I don't think I understood just how much. I…please don't tell them this, promise me?"

"I promise."

"I…I…touched them…just to try and get an idea why. Jack, T and Daniel saw the…the torture rooms. Daniel said he found the piece of my blouse that Nergal had ripped off…he took the button. He has it on his desk at home. Anyway, during that debrief, they had a much better…idea…of what had happened, they had seen where it had happened. They really just wanted to protect me from the nightmares and the…other stuff. Dad should have known that I'd feel him, should have told them that. He could have told me, and let the guys think I was still…unaware."

"Your dad is still blaming himself for not demanding to raise you. He counts all of your hurts as being his fault," Sam said softly.

Casey nodded. "I know."

"So, next time it happens, what will you do?" Sam asked.

She began to giggle. "If it happens again, I think I'll just quit banging my head on the brick wall of male over-protectiveness and deal with it!"

Sam laughed. "Good. Because it will happen again."

"I know that, too."

The two women parted ways, and went to take care of the things that mothers were best at dealing with.

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