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The Blonde, the Redhead and the Archaeologist(s)
Casey rolled her eyes. What the hell had just happened? She ran through a mental checklist before she sat up. Nope, no broken bones, although her shoulder was a bit sore from landing on it. The last time she had been hurled through a wormhole and came tumbling out the other end, she had wound up in an alternate universe...nope...don’t think about it! She quickly shoved that thought aside. No sense asking for trouble. She reached out with one hand. Smiled when her fingers came in contact with a very familiar head of hair. Had she really heard the ‘gate open and close again, just before she had lost consciousness? With a sigh, she forced herself to sit up, waited a few seconds for her Quickening to take care of the pounding behind her eyes. She slid over, ran her fingers over his jaw. Daniel was laying on his back, his glasses askew on his face, his pack a few feet from his shoulder. She straightened the frames, settling the nosepiece firmly in place. "Daniel?"
Annika opened her eyes. What in friggin' hell had that been? She had never felt anything like that before! Looking around, she felt her heart stop beating. The woman leaning over Daniel, running her hand over his cheek, was the blonde bitch she had seen in her vision. This was one vision she was going to change...no matter how difficult it might be! She glanced around, looking for something...anything that could be used as a weapon against the bitch, since her P-90 was conspicuously missing. There were several small statues on what appeared to be an altar near the far wall. She focused on the largest one, lifted her hand and willed it toward her. It floated across the room, the blonde totally oblivious to the movement. She wrapped her hands around the bronze figure and stood up; anger... desperation...emotions best left unnamed racing through her. Made her way to where the woman dressed in desert fatigues was kneeling beside Daniel. "Hey! Commando Barbie! Get away from him!"
The blonde Immortal turned her head slightly. Gasped out loud. Red hair. Violet eyes. Oh hell! Oh hell no!
"You’re putting your hands on my man!"
No way! No way in hell was she letting that red-headed bitch take Daniel from her! Because she couldn’t live without him! She reached for his BDU shirt, ripped it open, not giving a damn that buttons went flying every which way. She tugged at his tee shirt, pulled it up to expose the chest that always left her breathless with desire, with need. Couldn’t help but caress that warm skin, those solid muscles softly. "See that? He's The Chosen, cupcake." Casey said angrily, pointing to the blue black ink that proclaimed Daniel to be The Chosen.
Annika stared. When the hell had that happened? She had seen that beautiful chest just this morning in the shower, and that...that...that tattoo hadn't been there! And that bitch was still touching him!
Still furious, Casey tugged off her own BDU shirt, pulled up her tee shirt to expose her lacy little blue demi-bra. And a matching tattoo. "I'm the Heart of The Chosen. So back off yourself, you little bitch!"
"Nice artwork Picasso, but a few little squiggles doesn't make him yours. That archaeologist is mine!"
Casey's hand moved slowly, imperceptibly, toward her hip...and holster.
Blonde! That was the blonde from Annika’s vision...wait...he couldn’t help but grin when he saw...himself...laying on the floor beside the slender woman. That was the answer! "Ahem. Interesting design. That's Mayan, right?"
Annika frowned. Daniel hadn't moved. Since when could he throw his voice like a ventriloquist? More importantly, why was their bond yanking her sideways, from the other side of the room?
Both women turned their heads. Daniel sat up, a smile tugging at his lips, his heart pounding with love that Annika would fight so vehemently for him...over him.
Annika's eyes nearly popped out of her head. What in hell was going on? Since when could Daniel astral project? Funny...he looked pretty solid.
"Oh, hell," Casey whispered, hastily pulling her shirt back down.
His first thought when he had opened his eyes and saw the redhead standing beside Casey, ready to hit her with a piece of statuary, was dread. Casey had had that...nightmare... again, and he had managed to see himself dancing with that woman. Wait...who the hell were they talking to? One quick glance gave him the answer to both his question, and his dilemma, and put a grin on his face. "When did you put on the blue one? I thought you were wearing the yellow one today," Daniel said from the floor beside her.
"Oh, hell," she repeated.
Daniel couldn't help but chuckle as he looked over at...himself. "She gets a little possessive."
The other man smiled. "Yeah, mine too."
"Great for the ego."
Casey rolled her eyes. "Oh, you can both bite me!"
Daniel grinned. "Uh, no. I can bite you. He can bite her. Nobody bites you but me, Angel."
"Who's possessive?" Annika asked, one eyebrow arched.
Both men just grinned wider.
Annika was feeling more than a little confused. "Okay, somebody had better tell me what in God's name is going on, and damned fast, or heads are gonna roll!"
Casey gasped slightly.
"Oh, relax, it’s just a saying," the redhead snapped.
Daniel had gone a bit pale as well. "Yeah. But it’s a bit more than that for us. We prefer not to use it."
"Too scary," Casey agreed.
"You’re too sensitive," Annika replied, her anger still at full boil.
"We’re Immortal, and taking our heads is the only way to kill us, thank you very freaking much!" Casey shot in reply.
The young red head gulped. "Oops. Sorry."
She turned to look at her Daniel. "What?"
"Would you please put that very old, probably very rare statuette down? I don’t think you really want to hit her, do you?"
Looking at her hands, she realized she still had the bronze figure, her arms still raised in preparation for clobbering the blonde who was touching her man. Except, he wasn’t her man. Her man was over by the wall...and the guy still laying on the floor grinning like a madman, staring at the blonde with so much love and amusement in his eyes that it reminded her of her own Daniel... who was sitting over there...grinning like a madman at her... and hell this was confusing! "Uh...sure. I mean, no, I don’t want to hit her."
Casey grinned. "Weird, huh?"
"That’s the understatement of the year!" Annika replied.Hesitantly she started edging towards her Daniel. This was without doubt the most bizarre occurrence of her life. She really did have an open mind...hell with her gifts how could she not?...but two Daniels? She had to make sure that Daniel was really Daniel. And heaven help the other two if her Daniel wasn't real.
"Alternate universe." (Casey’s) Daniel said.
"Has to be," (Annika's) Daniel replied. He watched Annika sidle up to him, slightly wary yet determined. After a fraction of a pause she raised her finger and gently poked his arm. He tenderly clasped her hand in his, placed a light kiss on her knuckles. The rush of relief through their bond made him glad that he was still on the floor, otherwise he would have gone ass over ears....again.
"Must have been solar flares," CDaniel mused.
"Yeah, how do you figure that?" ADaniel asked.
"No mirror. We’ve had a few...experiences...with solar flares before," was the reply.
Casey sat back on her ass. "Well, if that’s the case, we’re totally screwed. We need Sam’s brilliant scientific mind to let us know if and when there will be another flare to get us home."
"Can you...sense...them? Did they get through okay, or are they still at the SGC?" CDaniel asked.
"Sense?" Annika was curious. Did this woman have some sort of psychic gift too?She moved back towards the other woman, however kept a firm grip on their bond. Daniel was real, but she wasn't taking the risk that he could go poof and disappear... for the moment she needed the reassurance of their connection.
She felt his hand wrap around hers when she closed her eyes. She reached out, listened... the sounds were...different...than what she was accustomed to. "Nope. So we are obviously in a different reality. You know, I really hate this shit!"
CDaniel grinned. "I know, babe."
"Uh...hello!" Annika said, a bit perturbed. "Sense?"
"I’m uh...gifted," Casey admitted.
"No shit? Me too! Well, for a long time I thought of it as a curse," the redhead admitted.
"Me, too!" Casey exclaimed. "It gets annoying to ‘see’ things, but then have to interpret what I ‘see’...especially if I don’t have a full picture of what’s going on!"
"Oh, isn’t that the worst! Not knowing for certain what might be merely symbolic, what should be taken literally," Annika shook her head. "Can you astral project?"
Casey gaped. "Uh...no. I can travel the astral plane easily enough...and I can mess with things on this plane from there, but I can’t project. That must be awesome!"
CDaniel looked at his counterpart. "And they’re off!"
"Bite me, Stud Muffin!" Casey retorted.
CDaniel responded by running his hand up and down her back. He put an arm behind his head. Might as well be comfortable.
"Um, this is really rude, I know, but...you guys are really...old...aren’t you?" Annika said.
She couldn’t help but giggle. "Stud Muffin there is just had his eighty-fourth birthday. I’m seventy nine. Well, sort of. Technically he’s forty-six. I’m forty-one."
"You don’t look that old!" Annika blurted out, her cheeks turning the same color as her hair the minute the words hit the air.
Casey smiled. "That’s because we’re Immortal. I...became...Immortal just a couple of weeks before my thirtieth birthday. Oma sent SG-1 back in time...guess there was something we had to change...anyway, she brought them back to just a few days before our first anniversary...and Daniel would have been...well, he was thirty-six at the time, because it was just before his birthday..." Words tumbled from her mouth in typical Casey fashion. She broke off at the wide-eyed, open-mouthed look on the young woman’s face. "You haven’t been with the SGC very long, have you?"
"Uh...no," Annika admitted.
Casey burst into giggles. "Oh, honey, you just entered the freaking twilight zone! If it’s weird, bizarre, twisted...you’ll experience it!"
"Thanks," the redhead grumped, dropping down to sit on the floor beside the blonde. "It’s been strange enough already. I really don’t want to know it’s going to get...weirder!"
ADaniel had sat up. "You mentioned being...Immortal?"
"Long story," the other man replied.
He looked around. "Seems we have plenty of time."
A loud groan came from one corner of the room. Both men were on their feet in an instant.
"What the hell was that?" Annika whispered.
CDaniel glanced at his wife. "Case?"
"It’s not alive, whatever it is."
Both men fished in their backpacks, withdrew flashlights, shined the beams toward the corner. Lit up a stone altar...that appeared to be an Ancient machine. And the sound was coming from it, as the ‘keys’ on the top began to rearrange themselves.
"That’s what’s been humming!" Casey exclaimed.
"You could have mentioned it sooner," CDaniel complained.
"I had more important things on my mind," the blonde replied saucily.
Annika giggled. "Yeah. Like trying to keep me from whacking the hell out of you!"
"You never would have gotten the chance," Casey replied easily.
ADaniel chuckled. "Sorry, My Angel, but she’s right. She had her nine mil on you as soon as she had...distracted...you with the...uh...tattoos."
How had she missed that? She shook her head mentally. Guess she had been more upset than she realized. She grinned over at the blonde. "Well, if you had shot me, you would have had two of me to deal with, one of which a bullet wouldn't stop!"
Casey grinned. "Astral projection?"
"That must be so neat on missions!"
"It has come in handy a few times."
"Does Daniel travel with you?"
"No! Daniel can...travel...with you?"
"Yep, he can. It’s because of the Fire."
CDaniel rolled his eyes. "Can we please stay focused here?"
ADaniel snickered. "If your wife is anything like mine, it won’t be easy."
He couldn’t help but grin. "Yeah. Sort of like a new toy."
"Now who’s unfocused?" Casey asked, raising an eyebrow.
Both Daniel’s were moving closer to the machine. "I’ve seen something like this before," CDaniel said quietly. "There was a planet we visited that had a machine like this... supposedly for time travel. Totally screwed things up until we could get it shut off."
"Yeah, same for us. Did the machine in your reality work?" ADaniel asked. "The one in our reality caused us some problems. Time loop."
"Yeah, the archaeologist we met there managed to start it. It caused a time loop for us, too, and we have no idea how long we were actually caught in it," was the reply. He stepped closer, examined the writing on the wall behind the stone device.
"I’ve never seen that particular dialect before," ADaniel admitted. "It’s Ancient, but it’s an... odd...variant."
"It’s an obsolete version of the language," CDaniel said. "The few times we’ve encountered it, there’s usually a device around that should be left well enough alone."
Casey had followed her husband, was struggling to translate three of the symbols. "Does that really say ‘from one existence to another’?"
"You can read that stuff?" Annika asked.
The blonde Immortal blushed. "A little bit. Daniel’s been teaching me. I can read Goa’uld, and Terran, and Langaran, and Cardorian."
"Casey is an archaeologist," CDaniel said proudly.
"Not degreed," the woman mumbled, blushing furiously.
"You’re still one of the best," her husband insisted.
"So does that say ‘from one existence to another’?" ADaniel asked, frowning at the inscription.
"Yeah, it does."
"Then this...device was meant to allow movement between...what, planes of existence...or realities?"
"Considering that we’re here, and you’re here, I’d say it’s the alternate realities," CDaniel mused. "Somebody turned this thing on..."
"And we got sucked here?" Annika asked, a frown on her face.
"That’s about it," CDaniel agreed.
"We’re going to have to find a way to...manipulate it, in order to return to our own realities," ADaniel said.
"Yeah. And not knowing how long we were unconscious, we may not have a lot of time," CDaniel said.
"Entropic cascade failure," ADaniel nodded.
"If our counterparts exist here," CDaniel pointed out. "I have no idea what happens when two of the same person from different realities converge in a third reality."
"It could get even worse for the two of you," Casey pointed out.
Both of the men nodded.
"So I take it we have to find a way out of here...fast?" Annika asked.
"That’s about the gist of it," Casey replied. She glanced over at the young redhead. Offered her hand. "Casey Jackson."
Annika glanced at her Daniel,caught his wink and she grinned, accepted the hand, shook it firmly. "Annika...Jackson."
For a second they gripped each others hands, then both felt a shot of electricity zip up their arms. The women sprang apart.
"Holy Shit!" "Holy Shit!"
Their identical cries echoed around the room. Casey was flapping her hand to try to get rid of the pins and needles shooting through her. Annika sucked on fingers to stop the burning sensation. Neither had received any visions from the other, but clearly having two such powerful psychics together had created unforeseen side effects.
"Ooooh baby, did the world rock for you too?" Annika chuckled and after a moment Casey's rich laugh joined hers.
"Well, it didn't rock, but it definitely rolled!" Casey giggled.
"Should we be worried that sparks are flying between our wives?" Daniel raised an eyebrow at his double.
"I won't be, if you won't be."
Annika's grin faded when she looked back over at the two men. "Guess we’d better figure out a way to get home, huh?"
The two Daniel's looked at the wall behind the device. It was covered with cuneiform. "There’s a lot here," CDaniel sighed.
"Give me a quick run down of the language," ADaniel said.
The dark blonde Immortal pushed up his glasses. "It’s like Ancient Egyptian and Goa’uld, the basics are the same, the vernacular is all that’s different. If you know the basics of Ancient, it's easy to pick up."
The other man nodded, listened carefully as his counterpart began to translate several of the lines of cuneiform.
Casey rolled her eyes. "He’s gone."
"What?" Annika asked.
"When he gets that glazed look in his eyes, he’s gone. There won’t be anything getting through to him." She looked around. "We’re going to be here for awhile. While our archaeologists do their thing, I suggest we check and see what else is hiding in this room."
CDaniel glanced around,not quite as 'gone' as Casey believed. He shivered slightly. This temple was nearly identical to the one where the Stargate stood on Abydos. Memories long tucked away were beginning to surface. He could almost believe that he had walked through the Stargate for the very first time. "We should check and see if there are other rooms. See what’s outside. Set up a perimeter."
ADaniel nodded. He, too, was feeling uncomfortable in the large room. This place was too familiar, was bringing up too many memories, and the pain associated with them. "I agree," he said softly. Praying that they wouldn’t find the exterior of this temple to be like Abydos as well.
The two women in the room were watching the two men. Both were sensing the unease. The sadness. Both knew the reasons for those feelings.
"Where are our weapons?" Annika asked.
Using the flashlights to illuminate the corners that the flickering flames of the sconces left in shadow, all four P-90’s were recovered. Obviously the weapons had been thrown from their hands when they had come tumbling through the Stargate, heels over ears. They all heaved silent sighs of relief to know that they weren’t unarmed. Stranded in an alternate reality was bad enough. Unarmed would have been too much to bear.
The reality of their situation hit Casey. "My babies," she whispered.
CDaniel wrapped his arms around her, pulled her close. "They’re fine, Angel. We’ll get home, I promise."
She took comfort in his arms, breathed deep of his familiar, masculine smell. As long as they were together...they were undefeatable, she told herself.
"Babies?" Annika asked softly.
Casey nodded. "Emily Rose is five, Daniel Nicholas is three, and Ethan Melburn is not quite four months old," she replied. She opened her pack, pulled out her journal. Inside was a photograph that Tessa had taken during the ‘family’ Labor Day picnic. The three Jackson children were posed together in the sandbox at the neighborhood park. She handed it to the redhead.
"They’re beautiful," Annika smiled.
"Thank you." She looked over at her husband. "You focus that beautiful, brilliant mind on that wall. Annika and I can establish a perimeter."
With a nod, CDaniel turned back toward the wall that was covered with Ancient text. And hoped like hell he...they...could translate it fast enough to get home, before it was too late.
She put the photograph back into her journal, which she then shoved back into her pack. Grabbing her weapon, she pointed the muzzle toward the only visible door in the room. "Let's see what's out there, while these two and their brilliant minds work on the problem," she said softly.
Annika followed the slender blonde. Waited until they were out of earshot of the men before saying anything. The unease...no...the fear...flowed from the woman. "Casey, are you...are you okay?"
She shook her head, the red locks moving over her shoulders. "Of course you are, and there goes a flying pig," she mumbled.
The inner chamber led to a narrow hallway. They could see the glare of sunlight on the stone floor as they followed the corridor to the antechamber. A wide doorway opened to wide, stone steps...which led down to the sands of the desert floor.
"Abydos," Casey whispered, her heart giving a shudder. She had made peace with Sha're, and Daniel's memories of his first wife. At least, she had made peace with the woman's spirit. What would happen if Daniel came face to face with a flesh and blood Sha're? The first great love of his life...the woman he had given up everything for.
"Did Daniel ever tell you about the Mastadge...that...beast thing..." Annika started.
"That managed to drag him halfway across the desert?" Casey finished. She gave a small smile. "Yes, he did. I read about it in his journal as well." She had never finished reading that journal, the first of his adventures through the Stargate. After his first glowing impressions of Sha're, she hadn't been able to read any farther.
"I say if we see one of the damned things, we shoot over its head, send it in the opposite direction," Annika said.
The smile grew. "Tempting. But if there are people out there...he'll want to know."
She stole a sideways glance at the woman beside her. "That bothers you?"
Casey rested her hands on the P-90 that was now clipped to her vest, scanned the vast sand dunes that surrounded them. How could she explain her fears...as irrational as they seemed...to this woman?
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