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The Darkness Within
The bed was completely upright, Daniel continued to hold his wife. There had been no torture for several hours, and other than the crying, she had been quiet. He kissed her forehead, watched as the nurse, a blonde who constantly wanted to flirt with him, changed the I.V. bag. How brazen could she be? Wanting to flirt with him while he held his comatose wife! When the woman looked at him again, that…silly…smile on her face, he pointedly looked away.
Duncan had come in earlier, telling them that the mission to take out Penatil's ships had been successful. The other teams had checked in; reporting nothing more annoying than loud insects on one of the planets.
They watched, and waited.
'Daniel? Oh, please, Daniel, I need you! Help me please!'
He jerked. "Casey?"
Everyone in the room was instantly alert.
"Is she…?" Jack asked, the hope in his voice and on his face echoed in the features of every face around him.
Daniel nodded. "She just called out to me." He took her hand, closed his eyes. 'I'm here Angel. Show me, babe, let me see.'
He was suddenly standing in a temple. Nergal stood on one side, Casey on the other. She was wearing nothing but a silk robe.
With a cry, she raced toward him, only to stop just out of reach. "Take your shirt off."
"What?" He looked from her to Nergal and back again, confused.
"Take your shirt off," she repeated.
He looked into her eyes. She needed something, needed to verify that it was him. There was one way that she did that. He grinned slightly. Okay, two. But this would work. He took his shirt off.
The tattoo was exactly right, it was where it belonged. She stepped closer. He smelled like Daniel. Her fingers went over the smooth, strong muscles of his chest. He felt like Daniel. "I don't think he can access my deepest memories. Tell me something that only you and I know, something that happened years ago."
He frowned, searched through his memories. Then smiled. "Do you remember our first Christmas together? When we bought the tree? We went out to that tree farm, and found the perfect tree, only to find out it was about three times too big? So you found a smaller one, and I still had to chop about three feet from the bottom of it?"
She giggled. "I remember."
"Do you remember what we did after we got the tree in the house? You made some spiced apple cider, and you put on that sexy little red teddy, and we made love in front of the fireplace."
She rushed into his arms. "Oh, god, it really is you," she whispered. She raised her head for his kiss, shivered with relief and delight when he lowered his head and kissed her. This was Daniel! This was her Daniel!
He pulled away, looked over at Nergal. The Goa'uld was frowning, anger apparent in every feature. "What's going on, Angel?"
"I'm not sure. All I know is that what I was going through wasn't real. He…he's in my head, I'm not sure how to get him out," she said softly.
He frowned again. "Angel, if he's in your head, doesn't there have to be a link of some sort?"
She shrugged. "I guess so."
"Can you find it, follow it back, get into his head?"
"No! She has no power to do that!" Nergal said suddenly.
Was that fear that flickered over his face? Casey closed her eyes, clinging to Daniel as he held her safe in his arms. She reached out, began to search. There! Like a string of light, it was faint, but it was there. She caught just a glimpse of her body in the hospital bed, Daniel holding her tightly. She followed it, going faster as her confidence grew. "Don't let go of me," she whispered.
"Never, Casey. I'll never let you go," he promised.
Like a storm crashing onto the shore, she pushed into Nergal's mind. Dark. Cold. Evil. She held tightly to the warmth of Daniel's arms. She looked around carefully. It was one of his 'special rooms', a torture chamber.
"No!" he hissed, standing in the doorway that led to the stairs that went up to the throne room.
"Oh, yeah, I'm here, you sick bastard!" she replied. She knew that Nergal could not have reached her alone. She searched. Found her. An old woman. Terrified…growing weaker by the minute. The connection from him to her was on the verge of collapse. She reached out and calmed the woman, soothed her fears, and urged her to just let go. Assured her that all would be fine, that Nergal would be unable to hurt her again.
The old woman thanked her, sank down and promptly went to sleep.
She searched her own mind carefully. She could feel Daniel, holding her, waiting for her to do what she needed to do. But the Goa'uld was gone. She surged forward again. "You wanted to play, let's play," she said grimly. "Now we'll wander around in your head, see how you like it!"
Nergal turned and fled up the stairs. Casey followed, aware that she was now wearing her BDUs, fully geared and ready to fight. She slid to a halt when she ran by a library. She watched him disappear around the corner. She pulled at her lip. Go after him, or see what information she could find? As much as she wanted to kill the bastard, the information was more important.
"I'm right here, babe."
"Is there some way that you can get through to Jack and Duncan?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Good. I think I found something."
In the hospital room, Daniel opened his eyes. He looked around, his gaze stopping on Jack. "Better get something to write on. Case has found something."
Smiles lit every face in the room. Whatever was going on, they all understood that Casey was now in control.
She entered the room slowly. Scrolls were tossed haphazardly around the room. She would spend too much time looking through each one. She frowned. The room was cold, and getting colder; it wouldn't take long for her to freeze in here. So her time was limited. Ships, weapons, where would he keep that information?
Casey searched the room carefully, looking for any kind of markers that would give her an idea where to start. "Where in the hell do you keep all your military information," she wondered out loud. Several scrolls began to shake. "Yes! Ask and ye shall receive," she giggled. She opened the scrolls carefully. One al'kesh. Seventy Jaffa…young Jaffa…all but three of them on the ship. She continued to look. He was still on Ashnan's planet, waiting for repairs to the ship to be completed. She found a map, located the cottage where he was hiding. "Daniel?"
"Right here Angel."
"He has one al'kesh, still being repaired, in orbit around Ashnan's planet. It's cloaked, which is why the repairs are taking so long. Seventy Jaffa, all of them young, not really ready for battle. He's hiding out at one hundred fifty degrees, nine minutes, 212 seconds latitude, eighty degrees, fourteen minutes, 93 seconds longitude."
"Got it, babe. Now get your sweet ass back here."
"On my way."
"Be careful, Casey."
"I will be."
"Love you, too."
She closed her eyes, relaxed, and willed herself home.
The First smiled. "Her talents come from both parents. The ability to see; and now the ability to search for and find information in the minds of enemies."
"As well as to soothe and offer comfort," the Second replied. "That talent is uniquely her own."
The Third smiled. "Together, they are undefeatable."
"Yes. They will continue to protect the Innocent. Together."
She shifted slightly. Warm. She was warm. A smile lifted the corners of her lips. She could smell him, feel him. He was holding her. Tightly. She snuggled against him. Let her hand slide down his chest, to his belly…
Daniel grabbed her hand before it finished its journey, lifted it to his lips. Apparently she didn't realize that they weren't at home, and weren't alone. "Case?"
She opened her eyes. Looked up into blue eyes full of love and relief. "Hey, handsome."
Looking around, she saw the faces of her family smiling at her.
"Do you remember what happened?" Daniel asked her.
"Mostly. Did you get it?"
Jack grinned, waved a pad of paper in the air. "Got it, Casey. Welcome back, by the way."
She smiled. "Thanks. My babies?"
"They're fine, Angel."
"Not quite thirty hours," he replied.
"We really need to take that rat-bastard out," she said.
Duncan grinned. "How soon do you think you'll be ready to travel?"
She giggled. "As soon as I have a plate of nachos. I’m starving! I want to see my babies, too."
Sam, Jack, Teal'c, and Carly crowded around the bed, taking turns hugging her.
"Do you know what happened?" Sam asked.
"When I did that search…yesterday?" she looked up at Daniel for confirmation, he nodded. "He followed me back. He had a seer, an old woman. I don't know exactly how he was able to 'connect', I'm thinking drugs or something. Anyway, the minute I helped her let go, he was out of my head, and I was in his. Nasty place, by the way. I found the information, and then came back."
"Then you have a talent such as mine as well as the gift of sight from your mother," Aaron said from the doorway. He had spent the night in the infirmary, willing to do whatever was necessary to help his daughter, prepared to do whatever he had to, in order to protect her. He had left briefly to have a bite to eat.
"My darling daughter," he said, smiling. He slipped between Jack and Sam and kissed Casey's forehead. "You must be careful when entering the mind of an enemy. It can be confusing, and you could become lost."
She nodded. "Not to mention how creepy it is." She shivered. Daniel's arms tightened around her. She had the feeling she was being watched. She glanced at the corner where the feeling was the strongest, and smiled. "I don't suppose you can tell me anything?"
"Who…tell you what?" Jack asked, slightly confused.
Daniel saw her eyes glance around the room, focus on one of the corners. "They're here?" he asked softly.
She nodded, continued to look at the corner of the room. "I have this…feeling…that something more than just Nergal getting into my head was…is…going on."
The First was so proud of the young human that she was nearly beside herself. "You are correct. It was a test of your strength, your abilities. This…talent…gift…has been dormant in you. But it would soon have manifested itself, and it was necessary to ascertain that you would be able to…handle…this gift."
"So did Nergal get help do to that to me, or did you…or whoever was testing me, just take advantage of the situation?"
"When the…opportunity presented itself, the test was…conducted," the First replied.
Casey nodded. "Okay. Look, tell your boss, or whoever it is that keeps pulling this crap, the next time they want to…test me…let me know. I can always find them and talk to them myself, but that might make me pissy, and they don't want me to get pissy."
Daniel snickered. Jack snorted. Duncan chortled. Teal'c grinned. Sam and Carly giggled. Aaron laughed out loud, even as he glanced around. He didn't feel them. They were cloaking themselves. Even hidden, his daughter could sense them. Her gifts were indeed strong.
The First allowed herself to laugh. "I will pass this along. You have done well, Casey. The Chosen is indeed blessed to have you at his side."
"I'm the one who is blessed," Casey replied. "Thanks."
The First bowed her head slightly, even though the young Immortal couldn't see her. She turned to her companions. "Come. There are other tasks that require our attention."
Casey felt the slight breeze that signaled that the Triad had left. She snuggled against the strong, warm chest of the man she loved. "When I thought it was real…" she shook her head, shivered slightly. "Just let me know if you ever have dream about a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. If you do, I have some asses to kick."
He grinned. "Nobody but you, Angel. You're the only woman my eyes will ever see."
Jack, Teal'c, and Duncan exchanged grinning glances. Sam and Carly thought it had to do with blondes, brunettes and redheads. Daniel knew that it had to do with Casey's other 'gift'. He kissed her forehead.
Duncan clapped his hands together. "Okay, one order of Tyrone's Authentic nachos. Beef, right?"
Casey nodded. "And a big Coke. I'm so thirsty!"
"Got it. Shouldn't take me long. Jack, how long to get a mission together to get this asshole?" Duncan asked.
"Not more than an hour," the general replied.
"Do it. Sam, we'll see about using the ATV's, if the gate isn't close enough. Check that out," the Highlander said on his way out the door.
"Right," Sam replied.
"Let us leave them alone for now," Carly suggested quietly, wrapping her fingers around Teal'c's large hand.
"Indeed," Teal'c replied.
With smiles and waves, the team left the room. Daniel put his finger beneath her chin, and turned her face towards his. "I was scared, Case. Every…physical…wound that you suffered, your body really suffered. Your back…" he broke off, closed his eyes, forcing that horrible memory to the back of his mind. "Are you all right?"
"I'm in your arms, Daniel. I'm fine," she replied softly.
"When I was finally able to reach you…why did you make me take my shirt off?"
Her eyes grew troubled. "When Nergal first started torturing me, he made me think that you had been captured also. He infected you…that Daniel…with a nanovirus. He brought three slave girls in-"
"Blonde, brunette and redhead?"
She nodded. "The brunette looked like Sha're, the redhead looked like Ishtar, and the blonde looked like the nurse here that has the hots for you. He…he forced me to watch you…him… and them. It hurt so badly! More than the physical torture."
"When did you realize it wasn't really me?"
Her fingers moved over his chest. "When I didn't see the tattoo."
"Then what happened?"
"Well, I escaped, or thought I did, made it back to Gamma, only to have Duncan and Jack and Sam and T tell me that you had 'flipped your lid', as Sam put it, and went Goa'uld. That you took over a planet, used the Fire to kill two hundred innocents, and set yourself up as a god and an arms dealer. I confronted you there…but it wasn't you. This time there was a tattoo, but it was on your arm. And I just…knew. That's when I started thinking about what I was absolutely certain was real. The last thing I remembered for sure was making love in the conference room, and hearing Nergal in my head. That's when I figured it out, and confronted him." She laid her head on his shoulder. "Did you…did you try to reach me?"
"Over and over. I was getting so frustrated. I wanted to help you, needed to help you. I was thrilled…relieved…when I heard you calling me."
"I don't know why, or how you were blocked. I don't think I was doing it, but anything is possible, I guess."
"So making me take my shirt off let you know that it was really me?"
She nodded. "I would have checked your…uh…anaconda…but I didn't have time to get distracted."
He laughed. "You can check it when we get home. He wants to check and make sure you're okay," he teased.
"Really? Missed me, huh big boy?" she asked, her hand caressing him.
"Casey, knock it off," Daniel hissed, glancing toward the camera in the corner of the room.
"When we get home, you have to finish what we started. On the conference table. In the conference room. If I remember correctly, you have a…report…that needs some…attention."
Daniel laughed again. "I'll be more than happy to check out that report. Take whatever action is necessary."
She giggled. "Love you, Daniel."
"Love you, Casey."
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