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The Darkness Within
The landing had been rough. She should be glad that she was alive and in one piece, she thought. When three of the detonators on the explosives had gone off early, she and Daniel had found themselves cut off from the rest of the team. Surrounded by Jaffa, they had made their way to the escape pods, hoping that Colonel Bradshaw could beam them out before they needed the narrow tubes. Two more explosions and the ensuing fires made using the escape pods their only choice. Daniel had kissed her, told her that he loved her, then closed her into the pod. She hit the red button, could feel it being hurled away from the ship.
She found the lever for the door, fumbled with it, and managed to push it open. She looked around. She had crashed in a rather large forest. It looked to be tropical. More jungle than forest she determined, as she examined the area around her. She reached out for Daniel, but couldn't feel him anywhere. She panicked, her heart shattering. No, he's not dead, she told herself…or if he is, he'll revive shortly. He made it into the other pod before the ship blew. He did! He did! Oh, god, he had to have made it! She willed herself to remain calm.
She took a quick inventory of what she had. The transmitter for the beaming device was still attached to her collar. She tried to contact the Persephone with the radio, to no avail. Probably still maintaining radio silence. What good was a cloak if the enemy could trace transmissions from you? But at least they knew she was alive, and would begin to scan for her.
In a quandary about staying with the pod, or seeking out a source of water and shelter, Casey decided that it would be easy enough to track her, as long as she had the transmitter. She looked around, reached out to see if she could feel any danger. She felt nothing, and after further inspection of her environs, decided that she had found a path, and that she would follow it.
She whirled around. Nergal was standing beside the pod, leaning against it casually, his hands in the pockets of his light-colored linen slacks. "Nergal," she whispered. Her heart began to pound, her body was shaking. Why hadn't she sensed him?
"I've missed you," he continued, speaking softly, smiling at her. His eyes moved over her slender frame, undressed her, caressed her.
"Can't say that I've missed you," she retorted. She was slowly backing up. Another step, far enough away to prevent him from grabbing her, and she could turn and run.
"We're together now, my beautiful one. We'll be together always."
"Not even if hell freezes over!" She turned to flee, only to come face to chin with three very large Jaffa. A quick look around told her that she was surrounded. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit! She continued to spin, looking for an opening, even a small one, her eyes taking on the wild look of a cornered animal.
Without a word the closest Jaffa yanked her into his arms, then tossed her over his shoulder. The others fell into step behind him.
Why did they always have to treat her like a freaking bag of potatoes? She struggled, but the man holding her was large, and his arm tightened around her, making it difficult to breathe. Okay, that didn't work. Think of something else. Maybe if she went completely limp, he would loosen his grip on her, and she could surprise him. She thought about that, glanced down at his back. More than likely her head would just bang against the armor that covered him, she'd get a headache, some bruises, and that would be it. Damn it! There had to be a way out of this!
Before long they had entered a clearing. In which a Goa'uld cargo transport was waiting. Her heart sank. If she was taken too far, the Persephone wouldn't be able to track her. 'Daniel? Daniel! Please answer me! Daniel!'
She was dumped unceremoniously in the hold, and the door was closed and locked. She frowned. Something was wrong here. She didn't think that the main cabin of the transport was large enough to accommodate all of the Jaffa who had been with Nergal. Maybe he was leaving them, or most of them, behind on the planet. Maybe he had a camp on this planet. Maybe he was taking her to the ship she had suspected that he had. Maybe she was in big trouble and she should concentrate on finding a way out of it.
"Nergal! Nergal! I know you can hear me, you snake-headed son-of-a-bitch! I'm going to kill you! You know that, don't you? I'm going to make sure you stay dead this time! For Little Flower. For Tiesha. For Darilla. For…" She never had learned the name of the girl whose throat he had slit in front of her, or the name of the young woman that she and Daniel had rescued from Ashnan's palace. "For all of the innocent people you've tortured and killed, for all of the little girls you've raped! All of them! Do you hear me?" She kicked the door several times, venting her anger and frustration into the actions.
There was no response.
"Daniel, please, please talk to me," she said softly, sinking to her knees.
A A A A A A
Daniel watched the monitors that kept track of every function of his Wife's body and brain. Dr. Montigue was bewildered by the increased amount of brain activity, considering that she was physically in a comatose state.
He raised her hand to his lips, kissed her soft fingers gently. "Come on, Angel, I know you're there. I can feel you. Whatever it is, babe, fight it. You can do it. You can beat this. You beat those demons on PR3 195. You beat that demon bitch Lilith. You can do it, Casey. You're strong. You're brave. You can do it," he whispered. "I can't live without you. Emmie and Nicholas need you, Angel."
Several times he had reached out to her, trying to get past the block that someone had erected in her mind. He didn't think it was her. He shuddered at the implications. If she wasn't blocking him, then Nergal had indeed followed her 'back', and was now wreaking havoc. The damage could be extensive. Irreparable. Permanent. Images from a dream haunted him - images of a room with padded walls and floors; a woman alive, but not…there. "I won't give you up, My Star. I won't."
The rest of SG-1 and Duncan stood nearby. Aaron and Erin had been informed, Erin was on her way in. There was hope that her gift would allow her to get through to Casey where Daniel was unable to do so.
"How much more can she go through?" Sam asked quietly, tears in her eyes. She leaned heavily against her husband's shoulder. Like the others in the room, she felt helpless, and that feeling only added to her disquiet.
No one answered. It seemed that at every turn there was a monster, a demon, an enemy to fight, one that targeted the soft-spoken, gregarious woman, either directly, or through Daniel. The two seemed destined to struggle, fight, stand dangerously close to the edge of the precipice; dealing with more hurt and pain than any two people should have to deal with. None of them understood that this was the fate of The Chosen, and His Chosen. That their battles were often waged on many levels, even though they themselves were unaware of this fact.
Erin arrived, hugged Daniel tightly. She reached up and brushed the tears from his handsome face. "She is strong, Daniel. She'll beat this."
"I know," he said hoarsely.
With a nod, Erin took her daughter's hand. She reached forward, trying to 'see' what was happening. Just as had happened to Daniel, she was forcefully pushed away. "She's fighting, I don't know who. Until she realizes that she's blocking us, there isn't anything that we can do."
Daniel sank onto a nearby chair. He had pinned his hopes on his mother-in-law. "Do you think she'll realize it?"
"Sooner or later." She took his hand. "She'll be all right, Daniel. I can…feel…this. I don't know when. It might…it might be awhile."
He shuddered. Christmas was three weeks away. She had started her Christmas shopping, had already decided where she was going to put the Christmas tree. Was working on bows for gifts. How could he face a holiday without her? What about Emily and Nicholas? How would they react to Christmas without their Mommy? He pulled the chair to her bedside, took her hand. "Come on, Angel. All I want for Christmas is you, whole and safe and in my arms," he whispered. "Please, Angel, please."
Three Beings watched from nearby. "This is a difficult test," the Third said.
"It is more than a test. This enemy has become more than just Goa'uld," the First replied.
"She fared well during the Test of the Heart. She will survive this,"
"If she does not, I fear that The Chosen will not. He still has not healed completely from the last time she was nearly lost to him," the Second said.
The Third nodded. "You have seen that his heart, his mind, are still raw from those wounds."
"May we not offer comfort?" the Second asked, looking hopefully at the First.
"We may not. Unless we are called upon," the First replied.
Three faces turned towards the unconscious woman on the bed, and the man who sat silently beside her.
"Will The Chosen be strong enough to bear this burden?" the Second asked.
The First smiled. "Yes. He is strong of heart, just as His Chosen is. He is a good man. A kind and gentle man. Any shadows that move across his soul, he is quick to destroy. The Chosen understands well that to give in to the Darkness would be to lose his very soul, as well as all that he loves and holds dear."
"We will…stay?" asked the Third.
"Until we are sure that this test is completed," the First replied. "When it is, the strength of her gift will rival that of The Chosen."
The Second nodded, looked at the dark blonde-haired man and smiled with pride. "He is stronger than any on the Committee had foreseen."
"Yes, he is," the First replied, with a smile just as proud. "He suspects what he can do. He will reach her, when it is time. His strength will help her to harness her own."
A A A A A A
She was pacing in the hold. Her watch, oddly enough, had stopped working. She had no idea how much time had passed. She reached out again, searching for her Beloved. She could feel the evil that lurked on the other side of the door. She recoiled from it, but did not withdraw. She continued to search. Daniel would be all right, and he would contact her, and he would find her and save her. Just like he always did. "Love you, Daniel Jackson, wherever you are," she whispered.
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