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The Darkness Within
Except for being a bit dehydrated, and slightly mal-nourished, Dr. Montigue could find nothing seriously wrong with her. He insisted on giving her an I.V. that would bring her electrolytes up to acceptable levels, and would give her body the fluids she needed. He agreed to let her shower before hooking her up. Lying on the bed in clean BDUs, she already felt better.
Sam, Jack, and Teal'c had arrived. They all avoided looking in her eyes. SG-6 was out on a mission, but Duncan had sent word to them that the missing Immortal was home.
"Sam, what's going on?" Casey asked softly, jumping slightly as the nurse inserted the needle into her hand. She just happened to be the same nurse that Daniel fucked…no…that had not been her Daniel! And obviously it hadn't been this woman!
"Casey, you've been missing for over a year," Sam replied.
"No, that can't be right! A few days, maybe…but…" She looked at the faces of her teammates. "Where is my Husband? Where is Daniel?"
Duncan, Jack, and Teal'c exchanged uneasy glances. Jack cleared his throat. "After…uh…the ship started exploding…Daniel got you into an escape pod. A few seconds later Colonel Bradshaw beamed him to the Persephone. They couldn't get a lock on you, and then…We tracked the pod to one of the planets nearby, but it was empty."
She nodded. "Yeah, I got it open, ran smack dab into Nergal. He took me…he had a Goa'uld transport ship nearby. I don't know where we went from there."
"We looked everywhere. Daniel tried reaching out to you, until he exhausted himself," Duncan said, picking up the narrative. "After two months…well, we pretty much figured you were gone."
"So he left the SGC. Where did he go? Did he and the kids move-" She broke off, the looks in four pairs of eyes making her shudder with dread. "WHERE IN THE HELL IS DANIEL?" she shouted.
"On PX7-621. He uh…" Jack shook his head, lowered his eyes.
Sam took a deep breath. "Daniel lost it when you were officially declared dead. He wouldn’t eat, couldn't sleep…he started drinking…heavily. He wasn't fit to take care of Emily and Nicholas, so your parents took custody of them. One day he just… snapped…I guess. He came in, nearly beat Kyle to death, went through the computer, picked a planet, dialed up, and walked through the 'gate. He…uh…erased everything. We had no idea where he went."
"Until six weeks ago." Jack said. "Seems he's set himself up as the god of the people that live there. According to Tok'ra sources, he killed almost two hundred of them in a fit of rage right after he arrived, using the Fire. Guess they tried to capture him or something. The planet at one time had been under Nergal's rule. I guess the people figured that Daniel was a little better than Nergal. He has quite a palace from what we were able to see. And he's selling arms to anyone who wants to buy from him. We have no idea where he's getting them, the people on the planet certainly aren't technologically advanced enough to build them, they aren't advanced enough to even use gunpowder."
Casey listened, her eyes wide, her heart breaking, tears dripping off of her cheeks.
"We went there four weeks ago, SG-6 went with us. He…uh…he killed Tony. Called him a bastard, said that Tony had coveted his wife for too long. He accused us of killing you, had us thrown into his dungeon, it took us three days and the help of Marine 2 to escape," Jack continued.
"That was after he…he tortured us, Casey," Sam said softly.
"No!" She shook her head. "No, Daniel would never do that! Never! He wouldn't!"
Duncan took her hand. "Casey, you have to understand, Daniel…he just wasn't the same after you…after you were declared dead. He changed, Casey."
"He flipped his friggin' lid," Sam muttered.
"Let me go there. He'll be okay. He'll come back, we'll get the kids…"
More uneasy glances. "Your parents took Emily and Nicholas. We're not sure where. They were afraid that…" Duncan shook his head.
"Your parents feared that Daniel Jackson would harm the children if he were to locate them," Teal'c said.
Oh, goddess, this couldn't be happening! It couldn't! Daniel would never do the things that they said he was! He loved Emily and Nicholas more than life, he would never harm his children! "I am going to that planet, and I'm going now! Find Oma. She'll know where my mom and dad and my babies are. I want them here when I bring Daniel home!"
"Casey, there is no way I'm letting you go through that 'gate. Not there. He's not the same man you knew, Casey. He's angry, bitter…cruel. The Tok'ra…" Duncan took a deep breath, not happy to have to tell her the worst that she would hear. "Because of his…activities, the Tok'ra have targeted him for assassination."
"No! Oh, god, no!" She pulled at the I.V., ripped it from her arm, heedless of the blood that seeped from the wound. "I'm going through that 'gate right now. I can do it the easy way, or I can do it the hard way. Please don't make me kill you."
Duncan and Jack looked at each other. "She needs to see for herself," Jack said softly.
A A A A A A
She was shivering in his arms, tears falling down her cheeks. He held her closely. "I'm right here, Angel," he whispered. He reached out to her again, hit that damned wall. Frustrated, he pounded on it, not sure if she could hear it, or feel it. Still positive that it was not her that was blocking him.
Sam and Jack entered the room quietly. Sam had a cup of coffee for the young archaeologist. He raised the bed so that he could sit and drink, unwilling to let go of his wife for even a moment. He thanked his friend softly, sipped gratefully at the hot beverage.
"Any more…torture?" Jack asked.
He shook his head. "No. She's been crying for about fifteen minutes now. Whatever's happening now, it's breaking her heart."
Teal'c and Carly came in, sat down near the bed.
"Daniel, what exactly…what is going on?" Jack asked.
The young man sighed. Casey was sobbing silently again. He put her head on his shoulder, wrapped his arm around her and pulled her as close to him as he could. "If Nergal managed to follow her back into her mind, he's…torturing her. She has to fight him…push him out."
"And if she doesn't?" Sam asked. She immediately regretted the question when haunted blue eyes, so full of pain, met hers.
"She'll stay like this. Until he kills her…permanently," was the whispered reply.
"Oh, god," Jack hissed.
"Daniel Jackson, would Nergal's death end this torture?" Teal'c asked quietly. All eyes turned to look at the Jaffa.
"I…I don't know, Teal'c, I really don't," Daniel replied. "It might…I would think it would. If he isn't…there…to keep hurting her, then she'd be able to…sort things out, nightmare from reality."
Jack was on his feet. "I'll talk to Duncan. Unlinkil knows where the son-of-a-bitch is. We'll find out."
For the first time in over twenty-four hours Daniel felt a tingling of hope. "Hang on, Angel. We're going to get him, I promise," he whispered, kissing her forehead.
A A A A A A
Duncan and Jack had insisted that she wait until night planet side, before allowing her to go through the 'gate. She was dressed to blend in with the villagers, and Duncan warned her not to just storm up to the palace and demand to see him. He begged her to just watch for a little while, and if the opportunity presented itself, then she could approach him. Both men warned her again that Daniel was dangerous, and that he wouldn't hesitate to kill her.
Her heart in pieces, each piece pounding against her ribs, she walked through the 'gate. Jack had told her that it was about half a klick from the village, and hopefully her arrival would go unnoticed.
Unable to resist, she hesitantly reached out. Anger. Hatred. Coldness. Darkness. She withdrew quickly. The feelings were as bad as those associated with Nergal. "Oh, my sweet love," she whispered. That something started poking her again.
She slipped into the village undetected. The palace sat on a hill just on the other side of the humble cottages and shops. Even in the dim light she could see that it was an impressive structure. It looked…familiar somehow; the large statues that surrounded it reminded her of something…somewhere else. She shook her head, worked her way through the sleeping town, up the road to the stone building where her husband now lived.
It had an Egyptian feel to it. He had always loved Ancient Egypt. It was no surprise that he would build a palace to reflect that. She shook her head again. It was a surprise that Daniel would build a palace. And kill innocent people. And sell arms. And set himself up as a god. She put the back of her hand to her mouth, willed herself not to cry.
The sound of clinking armor sent her scurrying to find a hiding place. Jaffa? Armed Jaffa? Oh, god, had her friends missed the most important sign? Had he become infested by a Goa'uld, and weakened emotionally and mentally by her loss, the damned thing had managed to…change him…before it died? Her heart reached for this thought, held it tight. It made perfect sense! Was he even aware of what had happened to him? Would she be able to reach him…save him?
She waited until she was sure that the guards were not going to return, and moved again toward the torch lit terraces. She could hear music, laughter. She closed her eyes. That was Daniel's laugh. Followed by the higher pitch of a woman's laughter. The pain was physical. She couldn't, wouldn’t blame him. After all, he believed she was dead.
So tired. She was so very tired. She just wanted to rest, for a few minutes. She found a spot that was well hidden, but afforded a clear view of the front of the immense palace. She curled up, tears on her cheeks. "I love you, Daniel Jackson," she murmured, seconds before sleep claimed her.
The First watched carefully. Time was running out. If His Chosen did not solve the riddle soon, she would be damaged beyond the ability of the Great Ones to repair. That loss would be worse than having her die, the Being thought. She watched face of The Chosen. So much love. So much grief and fear. The Triad was forbidden to interfere, unless they were specifically called. Both The Chosen and His Chosen were aware of their existence. If only he would call to her!
The Second and the Third watched the First. The Being was worried. If things went…badly…then the search for a new Champion would begin. And The Chosen was the most capable, the most talented, the best man for the job that they could hope for. Any other would be a mere second choice.
Sunlight playing over her face woke her. She sat up, stretched carefully. She was hungry, and thirsty, and she wanted nothing more than to go get Daniel, go home, get her children and have her life back.
Casey managed to get closer to the palace without being seen. She was just a few feet from one of the beautifully tiled and decorated terraces. Her breath caught in her throat when he walked out. He was wearing silk pajama bottoms, his strong chest bare. She could see a tattoo high on the side of his bicep. He had a chalice in his hand, he lifted it to his lips as he looked down over the valley, and the village therein, below him.
A young woman with blonde hair joined him. Casey bit back her gasp when she saw the bruises on the woman's face. The woman poured more of whatever it was that was in the pitcher she held.
Daniel moved, she was sure that it was on purpose, and the woman spilled the crimson liquid. The scent of wine wafted on the air. "Stupid bitch!" he shouted. He backhanded the woman across the face, sent her slim body crashing into the wall. "Clean this mess up! Then go back to where you came from!"
He turned and stalked back into the shadows of the room.
She stared, her heart pounding, her heart disbelieving. Daniel wasn't like that! He was gentle and loving and kind and what was wrong about the way he looked? She couldn't put her finger on it. That annoying, nagging something was poking harder.
She reached out slowly, carefully. 'Daniel?'
Nothing. She couldn't even 'feel' him now, sense his presence. She frowned. Something was very wrong. If only she could figure out what it was…besides just the fact that Daniel was behaving like a Goa'uld...
She pulled her lip between her teeth. What would happen if…when she confronted him? Would he recover, or was he too far gone, his mind too warped to ever be the man she had loved so deeply? Pain, red-hot and sharp pierced her body. If she couldn't have him, live with the Daniel she knew and loved, she didn't want to live. If she had already been away from her babies for a year, chances were they wouldn't even remember her. No, better to just…go. Forever. Pulling up every bit of courage she could muster, she stood from her hiding place among the bushes and walked past the shocked woman, and into the room.
He was lying on a huge and round bed, a dark haired woman between his legs, her hair covering his chest, her head bobbing up and down.
It was if someone had shoved a bowie knife into her heart. "Daniel!" she whispered.
He turned his head, his eyes narrowed. "Who are you, and how in the hell did you get in here?" he hissed.
She stepped into the sunlight that danced through a nearby window. "Do you recognize me now?"
His eyes widened slightly. He roughly pushed the woman away, pulled his robe closed. He stood to his feet, walked slowly around her.
He didn't smell right. She reached out to touch him, only to have him slap her hand away.
"You dare to try and touch your god?"
"Oh, please! Get over yourself!" she retorted. That something was poking harder. Why was he speaking Goa'uld?
He moved closer, caught her hair in his hand, wrapped it around his fist. He jerked her head back, looked into her eyes. "You do look like her. But she's dead. My beautiful Casey is dead. And when she died, so did I. Who are you, who sent you?"
"Daniel, look at me," she demanded.
He turned his back to her, grabbed the chalice and drank deeply. When he faced her again, she could see that he was drunk. He wouldn't recognize her in this condition. He was probably seeing more than one of her, and none clearly. "You look like her. Let's see if you can fuck like her." He closed the distance between them and ripped the front of the simple gown from her body. He hissed a breath as he looked at her. "You look amazingly like her," he whispered. He grabbed the hair at the back of her head, yanked her head back once again, his lips crashing down against hers.
This was not Daniel. He would never be so harsh, so…cruel. Certainly didn't kiss like her Daniel! She struggled, tried to pull away from him. That 'something' was poking so hard it was beginning to sting.
Still holding her head in place with one hand, the other tore the remainder of her clothes from her slender frame until she stood naked before him. His hand moved over her body, roughly cupping her breasts, pinching her nipples until she cried out from the pain. When he shoved his hand between her thighs, tried to force his fingers inside her body, she began to struggle again.
He laughed, and let her go. He shrugged the robe from his body, then reached out and grabbed her, his hands closing around her arms, bruising her. He tossed her onto the bed as if she were nothing more than a rag doll. He climbed onto the bed, knelt over her, forced her legs apart with his knee, his body hard and ready for her.
She stared at his chest. It was wrong! He didn't smell right. He didn't feel right…She stared coldly up into blue eyes she didn't recognize. "You aren't Daniel. I don’t know who the hell you are, but you are not Daniel!"
He froze, then slapped her. "I am your husband."
She began to laugh hysterically. "Oh, so now you admit that I'm your wife? A few minutes ago I was just an interloper who looked like her."
Daniel slapped her again. "I am your husband," he hissed.
The tattoo! It was wrong! This was not Daniel! She was sure of it. She closed her eyes. 'Daniel? Oh, Daniel, please, I need you!'
The man above her moved away from the bed. He stood in the shadows. When he walked in front of the window, she thought she saw a flicker…like a wave…move over his body.
"Why have you come here, Casey?"
"I had to see for myself that you had turned into a freaking Goa'uld," she retorted. She crawled off of the bed. His robe was on the floor, she grabbed it and pulled it around her slender frame.
He smiled. "Did you come to save me…take me home? I'm ready to go home, Angel. We'll go home, and everything will be fine."
She shook her head. "Oh, I'm going to take Daniel home. As soon as I find him." She frowned. Why did she need to take him home? He was already there, waiting for her. The thought ricocheted around her head. The walls around her seemed to get the slightest bit pale…almost opaque. Not real! None of this was real! She began to search her mind. What was the last thing that she could remember…before the…that…mission? Making love! She and Daniel had been in the conference room making love, and she had heard…"Nergal! You slimy son-of-a-bitch!"
The room around them disappeared. They were in a temple of some sort. Nergal stood in front of her. "You cannot fight me, Casey. You belong to me. You will stay with me forever."
"Not going to happen, cupcake," she said. "I don't know how you managed to follow me back, but this is my head, and you aren't welcome! Now get the hell away from me!"
He threw back his head and laughed. "I am going nowhere, my beautiful pet." His eyes narrowed. "If you try to force me out, I will hurt you, irreparably."
She pulled her lip between her teeth. She certainly didn't want to live in a padded room, nothing more than a shell, for the rest of her life. She reached out, so afraid that she wouldn't feel him. 'Daniel? Oh, please, Daniel, I need you! Help me, please!'
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