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The Power of Love
Casey flitted around the room, checking that the table was perfect, lit the candles that waited in their crystal holders. The timer on the oven dinged, letting her know that it was time turn it off. She looked over the tray of hors d'oeuvres, rearranging several of the crackers and their tasty tidbits. Daniel watched her from the hallway, smiling as she fussed over every little detail. This was their first formal dinner party. He still wasn’t sure how she had talked him into it. He tugged at his tie impatiently. A man should be able to be comfortable in his own home, for crying out loud. And now I sound like Jack, he grumped silently.
She looked up, saw him and smiled. "You look fantastic. That suit makes you look so…"
"Scholarly? Maybe like a CEO?" he supplied.
She shook her head, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Hunky."
Daniel laughed. "Hunky? That isn’t even a word!"
"It is now. Look it up in the dictionary. A picture of you in that suit will be right beside it!"
He laughed again, pulled her close. He pressed his face against her hair, which was curled and carefully pulled off of her neck. "You look pretty fantastic yourself," he murmured. He always loved seeing her in this dress, the one she had been wearing the night he had proposed. He pulled away from her. The earrings he had given her their first Christmas sparkled in her ears. The gold half-heart pendant with his name on it flashed in the light against her breasts. "You’re beautiful, babe," he whispered.
Casey smiled up at him. "Don’t start this Daniel Jackson. It took me an hour to get ready."
"Start what?" he asked innocently, kissing her neck, her throat.
"This. You make me crazy when you do-" she started as he began to plant tiny kisses just behind her ear. She shivered. "That!"
He grinned against the softness of her neck. "I know. Later. I promise. I’ll make you pay for making me watch you in that dress all night."
She shivered again at the images his proclamation conjured. "I’ll hold you to that promise," she whispered.
The doorbell rang, and Daniel reluctantly let her go. She adjusted her dress, patted her hair, then hurried to the door to greet their guests. He wandered into the kitchen, opened the oven door to peek at the lasagna that bubbled within. She had worried that it wasn’t an appropriate dish to serve at a formal dinner. With Jack and Teal'c’s help, he was able to convince her that her lasagna would be appropriate for state dinners. He listened as she greeted Jack and Sam, heard her laughing at something Teal'c had said. He turned around to greet his friends.
Sam was wearing a little black dress that was…well…little. It was every bit as short as the one Casey was wearing. It had tiny little straps to hold it up, and from the glances Jack was giving her, they wouldn’t do much to keep it on later. He was surprised to see Jack in a regular suit instead of his uniform. Teal'c was wearing the robes of a Jaffa master.
"Hey, guys," Daniel said in way of greeting. He kissed Sam’s cheek. "You look great, Sam!"
"Thanks, Daniel. Jack doesn’t think so," she said with a grin.
The older man frowned. "I never said you don’t look good in that dress. I said I don’t think it’s a dress you should be wearing in public…there’s not enough there!"
Daniel grinned. "So what should she have worn?"
"That long velvet thing, the one with the high collar and long sleeves."
Sam and Daniel looked at each other and laughed. Remembering his duties as host, Daniel offered them all something to drink, then led them into the living room to sit down.
Casey came in, grabbed the tray of hors d'oeuvres and offered them around. She handed it to Daniel when the doorbell rang again. She caught the frown that crossed his face. She was hoping that this evening would put to rest any doubts that still lingered in his mind about her and Duncan. She had told him about the encounter on the ship, telling him that it had been the only way to stop the burning in Duncan, and that under the circumstances, she could give willingly, or have waited until he could no longer control himself. Daniel understood that there had been no choice. He just didn’t like it.
Duncan stood beside Tessa, looking incredible in his dark blue suit. He grinned at her, and bent down to kiss her cheek. If his lips lingered a second too long, if he held her hand a bit too tightly, neither woman deigned to notice.
"Duncan! Wow, you clean up good," she teased. She turned to the elegant woman beside him. "Hello, Tessa. I’m so glad you’ve come."
"Hello, Casey. Thank you for inviting us," Tessa replied.
"Please, come in! The others arrived just a few minutes ago," she said, leading them down the hallway.
Duncan looked around, seeing Casey’s touch everywhere. The colors were expected, he knew that yellow and blue were her favorites. There were botanical prints on the walls, braided rag rugs on the hardwood floors. There were plants on various surfaces, and candles, lots of candles. He didn’t miss the collection of framed photographs on the mantel, even from here he could see they were mostly of her and Daniel. Everywhere he looked were the touches of a woman’s hand. Her hand. She had made a home for Daniel. Something she had never done for him. In the two years they had lived in the house in Vancouver, not once had she attempted to change anything. The house had remained as it had been when he first bought it. The walls were still white, the only furniture was what he had bought the same day he signed the papers on the house, thinking that Casey would want to purchase the rest. She never had. His heart contracted sharply for just a moment.
Tessa was also taking stock of her surroundings. She could see the love in every touch. She smiled. She had already started redecorating the house she shared with Duncan. Casey hadn’t left so much as a photograph behind. It was as if she had never been there.
"Hey, guys, you remember Tessa, right?" Casey was saying. Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c stood to their feet, acknowledging the introduction. "Tessa, this is General Jack O’Neill, Teal'c, and Colonel Samantha Carter. And the really cute guy over there is Daniel, my Husband."
The lovely French woman smiled and greeted the others. She didn’t miss the look that passed between Casey and Daniel. A look that said for a brief second, no one existed in that room but them. Her smile widened.
"You all know Duncan, of course," Casey went on. "The boy-scout Immortal," she grinned.
"You have got to stop hanging around with Methos," Duncan groaned.
"Why? He has some of the greatest stories. Like the time you and he went to Brazil-"
"Casey, don’t make me come over there," Duncan growled, although he was smiling.
"Sounds interesting," Jack commented, munching on a cracker, his eyes twinkling.
"Oh, it is," Casey giggled. "Let’s see, there were bad guys who were drug dealers, and some hookers, an old friend of Duncan’s and a couple of senorita’s in distress. Oh, and the horse. The horse is really important."
Duncan looked over at Daniel. "She can really be annoying when she does this."
Daniel nodded. "Yep. She can be."
"Only one way shut her up at this point," the dark haired Immortal said.
"Yeah. It usually distracts her long enough to get the subject changed."
The others were listening carefully, watching the by-play between the two men.
"Sometimes it doesn’t work long enough." Duncan was saying.
Daniel sighed. "Yeah, she can be like a pit bull sometimes, won’t let go of things."
"As I was saying," Casey interrupted, frowning at the two men, "Methos said they went to Brazil looking for some guy that Duncan knew, who had gotten himself into trouble. You know Methos, he didn’t really want to go, but Duncan talked him into it-"
"You want me to shut her up, Duncan?"
"Please. Before I have to wring her pretty neck," Duncan replied.
Daniel walked over to where Casey stood. He slipped his hands around her neck, his thumbs caressing her jaw. "Casey," he said softly. "Duncan says shut up." He glanced over at Duncan. "Better change the subject while you can." With that, he lowered his head and claimed her lips with his own.
Duncan was grinning. He looked down at Tessa. She had a slight frown on her face. He lifted her hand to his lips. "I don’t think I want you around Casey," he said, putting his arm around her shoulders.
"Oh?" Tessa was surprised.
"She’s been hanging around Methos. She’ll fill your head with all sorts of misconceptions about me," he grinned.
"Duncan, I know you very well," the French woman replied. "I’m well aware of the…trouble…you can get yourself into."
The Scot groaned. "I give up. I’m beat," he grinned. The others in the room laughed.
"Hey, you two by the fireplace! Come up for air!" Jack demanded, a wide grin on his face. "Sheesh! Can’t let them get within five feet of each other, or this starts up," he said, pointing to where the two now stood, arms around one another.
"I believe, O’Neill, that this is typical behavior for Tau’ri who are in love. I have observed that you and Colonel Carter also behave in this manner," Teal'c replied, fighting to keep his face impassive. His time with the Tau’ri had brought many new things to his life. Humor was one of them.
"Gotcha, Jack," Daniel grinned.
The timer on the oven went off, and Casey went to pull the casserole out and get it ready to serve. The salad and salad dressing were already waiting in the refrigerator. She quickly served up the colorful salad, and called everyone to the table. All of the men eyed the carefully decorated chocolate cake as they walked to the table. She put garlic bread into a basket while Daniel opened the wine.
When they were seated, Casey and Daniel at either end of the rectangular table, and Jack, Sam, and Teal'c on one side, Duncan and Tessa on the other, Casey lifted her glass of Merlot. "To old friends, may we remain just as we are, our hearts entwined. To new friends," she said, smiling at Duncan and nodding at `Tessa, "may our quirks not scare her away before she becomes a part of our circle."
"Hear, hear," Daniel smiled.
Dinner was over, the men happily stuffed and sitting in the living room, all rid of their ties now. Sam and Tessa were helping Casey in the kitchen. Sam caught Casey’s eye and nodded. Casey nodded in return, and took a deep breath. "Tessa, I’m really glad you came tonight," she said.
Tessa smiled. "I’m glad I did, too." Her comment confirmed to the other women that she had almost declined the invitation.
"I just wanted you to see how things are," Casey went on, glancing into the living room to make sure the men were still engaged in conversation of their own.
"I know. I’m glad you did. I can see that for you, there is only one. Your eyes light up whenever you look at him," Tessa said softly.
"Tessa, I don’t know if you noticed, but Duncan looks that way at you," Casey smiled, hoping that Tessa would believe the little white lie.
The French woman shook her head. "Once, maybe. Oh, there is a chance we will find our way back to one another. Duncan really is trying. But, we shall see."
Casey looked down, pulling her lower lip between her teeth. She was surprised when Tessa put her arm around her waist.
"What you have given me this evening is very special, Casey. I know that if things don’t work out between us," Tessa glanced at Duncan, pain visible in her blue eyes, "that you had nothing to do with it. At least, not directly."
"I just thought that seeing Daniel and I together would help Duncan…move on…as well," Casey said softly.
"Perhaps it will."
"Time," Sam said softly. "He just needs time. And a lot of love."
"Hey, what are you three whispering about in there?" Jack called out.
The women giggled.
"Just exchanging recipes," Casey replied, a grin on her face.
"Uh huh," Jack said skeptically.
"So anyway," Casey said loudly, winking, Tessa and Sam grinning in return, "you just add the cinnamon oil to it, cook it slow, and there you go…edible body lotion."
"Casey Renee Jackson, you are such a hussy," Daniel moaned.
"You love me any way," she grinned.
Daniel made his way into the kitchen, put down his glass of wine, and pulled his wife into his arms. "I damn well do love you," he said.
Tessa watched Duncan’s eyes. She could see the hurt and the want in their brown depths. She didn’t know if he would ever be over Casey. At times, she wasn’t sure she even cared anymore. But for Casey, there was only Daniel. And that thought eased her mind.
A A A A A A
The house was quiet, she and Daniel were alone. She sat on the bed cross-legged, brushing out her hair. "Do you really think it went well?"
Daniel looked up at her from where he lay, reading Oliver Twist. "Yeah, babe, it did."
Casey hummed for a few moments, then tossed the hairbrush onto the nightstand. "Daniel?"
"Did you get what I was trying to tell you?"
"Sure, babe." He turned the page.
She grinned, and slipped out of the teddy she was wearing. She straddled his waist, and pulled the book out of his hands, closed it gently and set it on the table beside him.
"I take it you want to talk?" His hands were already on her breasts.
"Not exactly," she smiled down at him.
"Good. I don’t either." He pulled her toward him, kissing her deeply. "I do get it, babe," he whispered. "You’re mine, and there’s nobody between us."
"You were listening!"
"Yeah, I’ve learned that when you start talking, I’d better pay attention to what you say. Never know what you’re going to try and sneak by me," he grinned.
"Daniel Jackson, I love you."
"Casey Jackson, I love you."
She slid down, pulled his boxers off his hips, and began kissing the erection that waited for her there. Daniel put his hands on her head, the silky strands of her hair slipping through his fingers. She opened her mouth and took him in, tasting him, teasing him, pleasuring him. She looked into his eyes, watching him as she began to suck on the tip of his shaft, her hands working the length of him that she could never accommodate orally.
Daniel let his eyes drift shut as he gave himself up to her touch. How he loved this woman, loved what she did to him, for him. His body began to tremble from her caresses. The need to taste her, to move inside her body became overwhelming. "My turn," he whispered.
She obediently slipped up to lie beside him. He ran his hand over her, watching her eyes as he touched her. She smiled up at him, then pulled his head toward her body, offering her breasts to his mouth. He made love to each of them in turn. The taste of her, the smell of her fanned the flames that burned in him. He moved down, breathing deeply of her sweet, musky scent. He didn’t think he could get much harder, but every breath seemed to accomplish just that. He moved her leg, opened her to his touch, his kiss. He lapped at the honey that flowed from her, teased the bud that made her cry out in ecstasy. He couldn’t help but smile when he heard the soft whimpering sounds in her throat. She was ready. One more touch and she would be there. He slid his body up, until his throbbing manhood was between her thighs. He rubbed back and forth, the sensation nearly making him lose all control. He held still for a minute, kissing her, their mouths locked together. When at last he could wait no longer, he slid into her, sank deep into her warm, wet well.
"Oh, Daniel," she whispered, her arms locked around his neck. She wrapped her legs around him, pulling him deeper still into the warmth of her body.
"I know, babe. I feel it too," he replied softly. It felt so familiar. So good. So right. It only took a few strokes before she was whimpering again. "Come for me, babe. Give it to me. Make it good," he whispered in her ear.
She cried out, arching beneath him, her body wrapping itself around him. She held him prisoner with her arms and legs, and he never wanted to escape her embrace. She was grinding against him now, panting, another orgasm building. "Now, Daniel. Now. Come for me…throb inside me," she whispered.
He let out a moan as his body shattered into millions of pieces of sensation. He jerked with the force of his release. Before he had finished, Casey cried out again. He rolled to his back, staying inside her. "What you do to me, woman," he said softly, kissing her temple.
"I love the way you love me," she replied, a contented smile on her face.
Daniel pulled her tighter. "Case, can I ask you something?"
Alerted by the tone of his voice, Casey raised her head to look at him. "Of course."
"Babe, when we make love, do you feel…the…"
"Oh, yes. I felt it the first time you kissed me. But since the Ceremony of Fire, I burn for you, with every touch. It’s so hot, sometimes it scares me. But then, when we’ve…finished…all I feel is…wonderful. Do you feel the fire?"
"Every time you touch me."
"Guess we’re stuck with each other, then," she said playfully. "We’ll never be able to be with anyone else. Without the fire, well, it would just be mediocre sex at best."
Daniel laughed out loud. "Wouldn’t want to have to live with that. Guess I’ll just keep you."
She smiled. "No, My Love. I get to keep you."
"How about we keep each other?"
She nodded, then laid her head on his chest, her eyelids getting heavy. "That’s the best idea yet." Yes, they would keep each other. Safe. Warm. Loved.
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