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The Blonde, the Redhead and the Archaeologist(s)
For several long minutes Annika was certain she had opened her mouth and firmly wedged her foot into it. "I'm sorry..."
"No, it's all right," Casey said softly. She continued to stare out at the desert. "Sha're was his first love...first...true love. He willingly stayed on Abydos, abandoned everything... everyone he knew...for her. He searched three years for her...mourned at least that long after she was killed. That's a deep, deep love."
"Yes it is," Annika admitted. "But-"
"If he were to...meet her...again...knowing what he knows, he could prevent Apophis from taking her. He could...he could live a long, happy life with her, raise a family..." She damned her eyes for filling with tears.
"He has you," the young redhead replied just as softly. "If he met her now, it wouldn't be the same. He loves you. Nothing, not even meeting her, would change that. She wouldn't be...his...Sha're. He's already said goodbye to her."
"Maybe. How do I...we...How can we be sure that this wasn't meant to happen, so that he could be with her again...in this reality?"
Talk about twisting logic until it screamed, Annika thought, shaking her head mentally. She could sense the darkness that haunted this woman. Her aura was as bright as Daniel's. But the hint of darkness was there. Not evil, at least, not in her, but done to her. Someone had hurt this woman, left scars that were deep and dark, and might never heal. "I don't think that we're supposed to be here at all. We don't belong here. And how do we know that the Daniel who belongs here won't show up, and find Sha're? And for that matter, I don't think this is even Abydos."
She took a deep breath. "Probably not. I don't think there's anything out here. I'll set up motion sensors by the outer door, and a couple in the hallway. They'll give us enough warning if something does decide to show up." Casey turned and led the way back up the sandy dune to the steps.
Annika followed the woman back toward the pyramid.
"If you're married to Daniel in your reality, Kenny must have succeeded," Casey said suddenly.
"My first husband. He nearly beat me to death once. I've never told Daniel about it. If...if you're his...Daniel's...Destiny in your reality, it's because I'm dead."
She stopped in her tracks, her jaw hanging open. "Dead?" Annika was a believer in Fate but she had never once thought that the Powers That Be may have played as serious a move as killing someone to 'arrange' her life. And it was more than a little disturbing to have met the counterpart of who had died.
"If my best friend had been five minutes later, he would have choked me to death. She was worried about me, couldn't shake the feeling that I was calling for her, and showed up at our apartment. She walked in, caught Kenny with his hands around my throat...He's an idiot, but he's not a fool. He took a swing at her, to knock her out of the way, and then ran off."
"And you didn't press charges against him?"
Casey smiled. "It took another two weeks just to summon up the courage to divorce him. He didn't...I didn't see him again...well...he showed up at the courthouse, the day we were supposed to sign all of the final papers, begged me to forgive him, to take him back. My... my adoptive mother was there..." she waved a hand in the air. "Very nasty mess. I didn't hear from either of them for years after that."
"So does this mean that in your reality...I'm still...alone?" It was easier to discuss the results of Fate's game by referring to any other reality than her own, for she was having some very guilt ridden thoughts right now.
She cocked her head sideways. "I don't think so. I see...I see a man with long, dark hair, dark eyes...he...he surfs."
Annika smiled. She was certain she had never met a man like that.The only surfers she knew were Scarecrow and his mates Down Under. Maybe in that reality she had remained in Australia. What kind of a bitch did it make her to be glad that the Casey of her reality was...gods, she couldn't even think it! But if it hadn't happened, she and Daniel never would have met, never would have fallen in love. And that thought was more painful than she could bear.
"It's okay. I'd be thinking the same thing," Casey said softly. She didn't need to be psychic to sense the guilt emanating from the young woman. Understood what had caused it. Thinking about being dead wasn't easy. And obviously Immortality and The Chosen didn't exist in Annika's reality...or her counterpart would still be alive...somewhere. But if the shoe were on the other foot...she would be just as happy knowing that Fate had conspired to put her into Daniel's arms. After all, Sha're had died so that she could be with her Daniel, hadn't she?
"Makes you wonder which of us got him in this reality," the redhead grinned, pushing that jumble of mixed emotions aside to be dealt with later.
"Could be someone entirely different," Casey grinned in return.
"Don't even want to think about it," Annika said firmly. She had her Daniel. That's all that mattered to her.Besides, thinking about Daniel with any other woman...nope, don't think about it at all!
A A A A A A
"She's beautiful," CDaniel said, as he carefully examined one section of text.
"Yes, she is." Before he could return the compliment, his companion cut him off with a question.
"Uh…what’s with the star on her…" he gestured to his forehead. His curiosity was piqued. It didn't look like a birthmark nor a tattoo.
"It appeared when she fought off a ribbon device." Daniel gave a shudder at the memory of feeling His Angel’s strength being sucked out of her. "It kinda focuses her …er…power. A word of advice, if it turns dark purple…run for cover and pray that Annika’s not pissed at you." A wry grin touched his lips. "Last time that happened she yanked Oma into our plane of existence, trapped her and bullied her into breaking the rules."
CDaniel chuckled, picturing how his Oma would react to be manhandled. "Ah, the joys of a having a stubborn, passionate wife."
"Your wife is beautiful, too."
"Inside and out," CDaniel replied. He glanced sideways at his companion...at...himself? "I swear sometimes she's out to kill me, though."
ADaniel grinned. "I take it you don't mean with a P-90."
CDaniel grinned as well. "Nope."
"Ever thought about...twins? Annika can do the astral projection thing...and her...astral self...can interact with the people she runs into. She's knocked the shit out of a few that way. And done other...interesting things." The thoughts of which were making it difficult to concentrate on the text in front of him.
"Casey? Twins?" CDaniel contemplated the idea for several long seconds. Thought about her amazing...talents. Her ability to drive him to the very brink of insanity with her sweet warm mouth and that incredibly sexy body. Shook his head. "Two words. Heart attack."
"But you're Immortal," ADaniel pointed out.
"What a way to go!"
CDaniel chuckled. "So, uh...can she...uh...take all of you?"
"Yeah, she can."
"Never thought it would happen for me," CDaniel sighed.
"Me, either," ADaniel replied. "Not even Sha're..."
"I know. Guess that's part of what makes the sex..." he broke off, shook his head. "It's never been just sex for us. It's too..." One hand moved in a circle, as if it would help him discover the word he wanted to use.
"Spiritual," ADaniel supplied.
"Exactly. When we make love...she takes me to places I never knew existed. It's as if our hearts...our very souls are dancing among the stars," CDaniel said.
"I know what you mean." Both men frowned at the same time. "It's interesting that in such similar realities, we're not married to the same woman," ADaniel said softly.
CDaniel sighed. "It's possible that Casey was killed in your reality." That thought always brought a shiver to his heart. The thought of never meeting her, never seeing the love burn in those amazing green eyes, never have the laughter that she brought to his life...never to feel complete...the shiver moved over his entire body.
"Killed?" Cerulean blue eyes went wide. Daniel balked, both at the idea of Casey being dead and at the assumption that if she were alive in his reality that he would not be with Annika. Casey was a beautiful woman, but he wasn't attracted to her, didn't feel the burning need to kiss her senseless whenever he looked at her. Only Annika created that sensation in him. And he wouldn't want it any other way.
"She doesn't know I know about this. Kelley, her best friend and roommate before we met, told me about it. I knew that her first husband...abused her, mentally and emotionally. I suspected that he beat her, although she's never said a word about it. Kelley told me that one night she kept hearing Casey's voice, panicked, begging for help. So she went over to their apartment. Found that bastard with his hands around her neck, squeezing...trying to kill her. He took a swing at Kelley, and ran out the door. It took her two weeks to talk Casey into filing for divorce."
"Bastard!" ADaniel growled.
"Oh, yeah. The son of a bitch showed up in Silver Springs, tried to cause trouble. If I had known then-" he broke off, shook his head. "I don't like killing. Except for Goa'uld."
"Goa'uld don't count," ADaniel smirked.
"True. I could have killed that slimy bastard with my bare hands if I had known."
ADaniel translated more of the text on 'his' section, the glanced over at the other man. "If Casey is with you, what about the Annika of your reality?"
"I don't know," was the honest answer. "She's beautiful, I'm sure she would have found... someone."
A few more minutes of silence filled the temple as they worked. "You know, it's possible that there isn't a Casey in my reality, or an Annika in yours," ADaniel said softly.
CDaniel frowned. There were hundreds, thousands of realities. They were already aware of at least a half dozen, and two, possibly three had their own Daniel's and Casey's, they knew that for certain. "Yeah, it's possible," he replied.
"Or, even more bizarre," ADaniel grinned, "somehow Casey and Annika are the same person, more or less, in both realities."
A moment of thought had him grinning. Beautiful, hot tempered, gifted-psychically. "Yeah, that's very possible. Just change one or two things in the distant past..."Like the fact that Casey was an Immortal, created by the Ancients to protect the Innocent.
The men began to chuckle. The idea that they were married to the same woman, just in a different 'package', was downright entertaining. And both of those 'packages' were enough to make any man sit up and beg.
"I'm so glad you're laughing," a soft voice taunted from the doorway. "Makes me think maybe you've made some progress."
"You're a smartass," CDaniel growled, without turning around.
"Yeah, and you love..."
"Yep," he replied, cutting her off, his cheeks flushed.
Casey checked her watch. "According to this, we've been here for five hours. I'm ready for lunch."
CDaniel rolled his neck, flexed his shoulders. "Sounds good. Find anything?"
"Lots of sand. I put out motion sensors."
He nodded. "Good."
"So are you making any progress?" Annika asked. She walked toward the two men. Frowned slightly. The men had moved to put their flashlights down, and now...
Okay, which one was which? Casey frowned. "Stud Muffin?"
"Take your shirt off."
"You have a sexy Mayan tattoo. Annika's Daniel doesn't."
"So why doesn't he take his shirt off?" CDaniel protested.
"Works for me," Annika grinned.
"How about I take off the BDU shirt, since it doesn't have any buttons anyway," CDaniel suggested.
Casey heaved a sigh. "It won't be as...exciting, but I suppose that will work."
Annika frowned. In her vision, Daniel had been wearing a brown tee shirt when he had kissed the blonde woman. The frown changed to a smile. "I think it's a great idea."
ADaniel was smiling as well. He too, was thinking about the vision his lover...his wife, had experienced.
CDaniel shrugged out of the shirt, tossed it toward the corner where the packs had been stacked.
She walked toward him, her eyes sparkling with love...and not a little mirth. She slid her arms around his waist, felt his go around her, pull her close. She leaned up for his kiss, felt the Fire rush through her body, the feeling familiar and comforting and arousing all at once.
CDaniel shifted, pulling her closer, turning them slightly, his lips moving over hers, his tongue seeking entrance to that warm, sweet mouth. He smiled down at her when he finally pulled away, both of them understanding that to continue would be to tempt the Fire to overtake them...and right now they didn't have time to become...distracted. "Love you, Angel," he whispered.
Annika gasped. Her vision! That was her vision! Right there, it was happening right there in front of her, in living, breathing color! She jumped slightly when familiar arms wrapped around her from behind. "Their love is so beautiful," she sighed.
"Almost as beautiful as ours," ADaniel said softly. He turned her around, pulled her close. Began to hum ‘their’ song softly, swaying gently. Annika smiled up at him, her love so bright in her eyes that no one could doubt that she belonged to him, and he to her. "Feeling better, My Angel?" he asked softly.
"Much better," she replied. She rested her head against his shoulder. "Much, much better."
He looked over and smiled. "Take a look, Angel," CDaniel whispered.
She turned her head, gasped softly. Just as she had seen in her dream, Daniel was dancing with a redheaded woman, the love they felt for one another tangible. Her eyes filled with tears. "You're mine," she whispered.
"All yours," he whispered in reply.
"And those two belong together as much as we do."
"Hey, weren't we going to eat?" Casey asked.
Annika looked over. "I think it was mentioned, yeah."
The four sat down, digging through packs, bringing out MRE's and bottled water. The two women exchanged glances and smiles when they noted that both of the Daniel's were eating beef stew. That the two men were exactly the same became clearer with every passing moment.
CDaniel frowned. "Did anybody think to check their watches when they woke up?"
Casey smiled. "Nope."
"Hey, when I woke up, I thought I had a blonde to kill," Annika joked.
"Sorry, I was trying to figure out a way to keep my wife from killing your wife," ADaniel replied.
He sighed. "Yeah, I saw Annika, and figured all hell was about to break loose."
"Well, at least my dream has a happy ending," Casey said, licking peanut butter from the small container from her fingers.
"I hear that!" Annika nodded. "I have never had a vision that made me look forward to being drugged!"
"Drugged?" Casey asked, one blonde eyebrow moving up.
Annika giggled, and told her new...friend?...yep, her new friend about the interpretation that she and Daniel had decided upon.
"All I knew was that Daniel was going to leave me," Casey said, shaking her head.
She hadn't said it, but he could hear the word 'again' as plainly as if she had spoken it. That several of the times he had 'left' had been mere dreams didn't stop her from being hurt...and terrified that one day it would really happen. No matter how much he tried to get through to her...CDaniel sighed. One day. One day she'd be able to move past the pain, the scars, that held her heart, caused her so much grief. "Never gonna happen, babe," he said softly.
It wasn't hard to pick up the pain...the absolute agony that the woman felt. Annika hesitantly reached for Casey's hand again. The last time they hadn't been prepared...but if she could help...if she could offer just a bit of peace..."Casey, give me your hand," she said softly.
"What? Want to get your world rocked again, huh?"
She smiled. "No. I want to help you. I can feel...I don't know what happened...but maybe..."
CDaniel grabbed onto the hope that Annika could help his wife. "Please, Angel, if she can take away the pain..."
The look of hope in his beautiful blue eyes was the only thing that had her reaching slowly toward Annika's offered hand. He had to be so damned tired of fighting her battles, dealing with her insecurities. Keeping her...sane.
As soon as their hands touched, sparks began to dance around them. "It's okay, Casey," Annika said softly, tightening her grip. She reached out, and the two women sat, their hands locked together, blue sparks jumping between them.
She could feel the young redhead waiting. Slowly, she opened herself. Could feel Annika doing the same. Oh, god...she had been so hurt! Not able to touch anyone...a little girl so alone, aching to be hugged, terrified of the images that flooded her mind whenever someone touched her...even her mother flinched at her touch…her mother…what a bitch, not to mention hypocrite…blaming Annika for not having a vision of her dad’s death…the utter devastation of losing the man who meant so much to her...the only one who had understood her 'gift'...
Jesus H. Christ! No doubt Daniel had no idea about that! Hell on Earth! This woman had survived literal hell on Earth! The beatings...the...holy shit! Molested! The bastard had only used his fingers, but still...and the awful things that...bitch...said to her...shouted at her...day after day after day...tears began to run down her cheeks. No wonder Casey was terrified that Daniel would leave her! It had happened to her again and again...social workers, teachers, adults who should have been there for her...passing her on, walking away...the death of her Grandma Rose...even Miss Eloise 'left' her when the old seer passed away.
Casey wrapped Annika in her arms. Held her tightly, fought to hold back the sobs that welled up inside her. So lonely, oh god, she had been so lonely! Just wanted to be loved... how familiar that desire was! She reached out mentally, soothed away the pain she could find, not even aware that Annika was doing the same.
She had never been able to...touch...another person's mind...not like this. It was instinctual to offer comfort. Hugged...Casey was hugging her so tightly, and god it felt so good! Only Daniel could touch her like this...no demands...taking all of the hurt. "Let go, Casey. Let it go," she whispered, finding the worst of the memories. So damned dark and painful.
There was a blue haze around the women now, neither man dared to try and touch them. The air hummed with electricity, and the sounds of sobs as Casey and Annika let go of the pain that both carried, the results of their respective childhood's...and the gifts that set them apart from the rest of the world.
Slowly the women moved apart. Smiled, dried one another's tears. "Better?" Annika asked softly.
"Yes, thank you," Casey replied in kind. "You?"
She examined the feeling of peace that filled her. It was...different...than anything she had experienced before. "Much."
"We...uh...we should get back to work," CDaniel said softly. "We're running out of time." He stood to his feet, ran his hand over silky blonde hair, smiled at the redhead who had just helped his wife, and hopefully healed some of the wounds he knew existed, but could never reach, and walked back toward the device.
ADaniel dropped a kiss on his wife's head, and followed the other man.
"We should probably take an inventory of what we have," Casey said, taking a deep breath, and silently examining the darkness that she had shoved down so far. It was...different now. Oh, the old memories were all there. But...different. They held no...power...over her any longer.
"Good idea. How long do you think we have?"
Casey shrugged. "Depends on how long we were out, and if having two of the same person in the same room in the same reality will bring on entropic cascade failure sooner."
There was that phrase again! What the hell was 'entropic cascade failure'?
"So, tell me about your life," Casey said, unknowingly cutting off the question the young woman was going to ask.
Annika smiled. "Well, it's been exciting since I met Daniel!"
"No doubt," Casey laughed. "How did you meet?"
"Hathor and her sibling Thor."
"What? Hathor and Thor are brother and sister in your reality?"
Annika tried to keep a straight face. "From the same litter actually."
"Litter?" Green eyes went wide. So, much for similar realities… Caught the ‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth’ expression. "You’re not talking about the Goa’uld or Asgard are you?"
"Oh, did I forget to mention that they’re my puppies?" Annika laughed. "It was a real Kodak moment when Thor, the Asgard I mean, found out my pet shared his name. It was priceless. Any way, puppy Hathor chewed up Daniel's shoe, and then wedged herself under his house. I was trying to get her out, and..." she launched into the story of how she had met the love of her life.
The two men had been listening, quietly adding asides, 'clarifying' certain details, chuckling softly. "We need to see what's higher," CDaniel sighed, looking at the text near the ceiling.
"There's that altar...maybe if we pulled it over here," ADaniel suggested.
Carefully putting the statuary on the floor, out of harm's way, they carried the table to the wall, wedged it between the cuneiform covered surface and the device. Climbed on top of it.
"Still need to be a bit higher," CDaniel observed. He looked around. "Think there might be stools or something in the antechamber?"
"Let's find out."
"So anyway, there I was, hanging onto the gutter, which was not going to stay attached to the house for long, the ladder on the ground, paint everywhere," Casey was saying, "not wanting to call out for help. Because whoever helped me would be certain to tell Daniel, and then I would have gotten a lecture about waiting for him in the first place!"
Annika was practically in tears as she laughed.
"I figured that Emma, she was our neighbor at the time, sweetest woman I've ever met, anyway, she always kept an eye on things, and whenever we were out working, she 'checked' on us. So I was certain that she'd come running through the gate between our yards, and put the ladder back up where I could get to it," Casey continued.
"She was off 'man-hunting' with a couple of her cronies."
The redhead squealed with laughter. "So what happened?"
"Well, I had just about talked myself into just letting go, when Daniel drove up. The lecture I had wanted totally to avoid? Two hours. After he stopped laughing at me!"
"At least it was only Daniel who saw you!" Annika gave a lopsided grin. "When I make a fool of myself I tend to unwittingly have an audience. If my emotions get the better of me I subconsciously split my astral self. Bet you’ve never appeared in front of General Hammond in sexy underwear or bounced around the briefing room singing ‘Bad Medicine’ to Jacob/Selmak, Freya./Anise , and Bra’tac."
"Oh, my God! How embarrassing!" Casey erupted into a fit of giggles. She cut off abruptly when she glanced over at the side of the room where the men were working. "Daniel Melburn Jackson!" she gasped.
Annika's head flew around to see what was going on. "Daniel!"
The two men had found three small stools and a small box, and had carefully placed them on top of the table, and were standing on the rocking makeshift 'ladder'.
"Uh...Daniel? Why didn't you just ask for help?" Annika frowned.
ADaniel looked over his shoulder at his wife. "Huh?"
"What the hell?" CDaniel exclaimed as he found himself lifted into the air.
"Oh," ADaniel grinned sheepishly. "Sometimes I forget," he admitted.
Casey giggled as the two men floated toward the ceiling.
"Wait, right here!" ADaniel called out.
"Nifty trick," CDaniel grinned.
"Yeah, Annika's just full of 'em," he grinned in return.
"Just like kids, can't turn your back on 'em for a second," Annika grumped. "Let me know when you're ready to move."
"Thanks, My Angel," ADaniel replied.
"My pleasure, My Love."
Casey cast a glance at her watch. By now Sam, Teal'c, Jack and Duncan had to be going nuts. She couldn't reach her reality...she looked over at the young woman beside her. Maybe...
"Well, hell!" CDaniel grumped.
"What?" Casey asked.
"According to this, we have to find the 'hidden' text."
"Well that just sucks," his wife replied.
ADaniel looked around. "It has to be somewhere nearby."
CDaniel nodded. "In this room." He looked around carefully. The wall behind the Stargate was gold leaf. It almost looked like... "There!"
The other man followed the pointing finger. "Yep. That has to be it. We need down now, babe."
Annika gently lowered both men to the floor.
"Daniel?" Casey said softly.
"We should try to let the team know what's going on," she said.
He frowned. "I thought you said you couldn't reach our reality."
"I can't. At least, not alone." She looked pointedly at Annika.
The redhead grinned. "Oh yeah, team work! Together we might be strong enough to get where we need to go!"
"I can move-" Casey started.
"She can flitter around like Tinkerbelle," CDaniel interjected with a grin.
"through the astral plane," she finished, trying not to smile at his description.
"Anywhere you want to go?" Annika asked.
The younger woman frowned. "I have to have a specific destination."
"We have one."
Annika shook her head. "I have to 'see' it...know where I'm going."
Casey pulled her lip between her teeth. "Can we...show you?"
"It might work. Come over here," she said, waving the two Daniel's to where she sat with Casey. The men settled beside their wives. "Concentrate on Gamma...on Hope...and the SGC," she instructed, putting her hands on Casey's and CDaniel's foreheads.
Both began to think about their home...the planet, the growing town...the place where they worked with friends...family.
"Got it," Annika grinned.
"Can you...communicate...with Daniel...um...your Daniel?" Casey asked.
"Yep. That subconscious splitting thing, I can do to consciously as well. Can you and...uh...your Daniel communicate?"
"Very easily," CDaniel assured the younger woman.
"Okay, let's see how well this will work." She scooted so that she was sitting in front of her husband. He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her into his lap. His...twin...was doing the same with Annika, although that apparently was more the desire to hold each other than a necessity. He couldn’t stop his mouth from dropping open as he saw the redhead take a few deep breaths before a transparent twin emerged from her body. He returned his attention to his wife. Casey closed her eyes, met him in that sunny meadow. "Don't let go," she whispered.
"Never, Angel," he replied. He smiled, kissed her gently. "Be damned careful. I don't want you lost out there. And we don't know what kind of threats there may be."
"I'll be extra careful," she promised.
"Think we should get comfortable here, too?"
"Probably a good idea."
As soon as they were settled on the grass in the same manner as their bodies were sitting on the marble floor of the temple, Casey closed her eyes, and began to move upward. She searched quickly, trying to sense a direction...a way to get from one reality to the other. There! It was tiny, and directly above the temple pyramid on the planet below. "Annika?"
"Where the hell are you?" Astral Annika was zipping around the room, orientating herself to the sudden weightlessness.
Shit! Obviously she could see the astral projection of the young redhead, but Annika couldn't see her. "I'm right here."
Annika's 'ghost' glanced around. "Not helpful."
"I don't know why you can't see me...you should be able to," Casey groused.
"You aren't...projecting," Annika explained. "You do all of your...traveling...mentally."
"Okay. So now what?"
"Can you see me?"
"Then you follow me."
"Okay. That works," Casey agreed. "Do you see it, just above us...it looks like a tiny speck of light."
Annika looked upward. She could sense more than actually see what the other seer was looking at. Understood that for anyone else, that spot didn't exist. "Got it."
"Okay, we head for that. It's the...I think it's the opening that device created," Casey said.
"Makes sense to me." As much as any of this entire mess made sense, Annika thought.
"As I'll ever be."
"Meet you there," Casey said, already moving toward that tiny spot.
"Okay, I’ll…er…see…uh…hear you there." Closing her eyes Annika concentrated on the images Casey and Daniel had transferred to her of their time and planet. When she opened them, she wasn’t quite where she expected.
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