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This Thing Called Love
Even though the MALP had shown nothing, experience had taught the SG teams that a watch at night was not something to be disregarded. Daniel and Casey were sitting together near the fire, her back against his chest, his arms and legs around her, taking their turn at sentry duty. They watched as the sun came over the horizon.
It was a breath-taking sunrise, and as Casey sat watching…wrapped in the arms of the man she loved, burned for…a thought began poking at the back of her head. When Jack and Sam came walking up the path not more than thirty minutes later from the opposite direction, that thought poked harder.
"Jack?" Daniel said, making it both a greeting and a question.
"Found out a few things about Ms. Roberts that you should know," Jack replied.
"Her professors at UCLA don’t have much of anything good to say about her. Two of them didn’t even remember her, and have no records of her ever doing any of the work in their classes. Both having to do with archaeology, too. Further investigation, boy, Methos has some friends in really low places, or high places, depending on your point of view…anyway, seems that Ms. Roberts was sent here as…punishment…for killing a civilian. Now, what’s really interesting is this - according to Methos’ source, the NID wants to declare Immortals as enemies of Earth. To that end, enter one Ms. Sheila Roberts. Known far and near for setting her sights on married men, wrecking homes, then leaving after she gets what she wants. Several marriages have hit the skids because of her…several of them high ranking, if you get my drift," Jack said.
Casey shivered slightly. She leaned back against Daniel when he tightened his arms around her.
"I don’t get it, what does that have to do with her being here?" Daniel asked, a frown on his handsome face.
"Ms. Roberts was given a complete dossier on you before she got here. Nothing but a few lines on one page for the rest of us. This was, our informant thinks, to ‘whet her appetite’ for you. Now, every mission, everything that has gone on in the SGC for the past eight years is common knowledge for the NID. Including Doria Olmstead’s demise."
"How in the hell do they know about that?" Daniel demanded to know.
"We figure that there's a mole somewhere on base feeding reports back to the NID brass. Duncan is setting a trap to deal with that problem right now, with the help of General Hammond and General Monroe. We think that the NID boys are hoping that Sheila will go after you, make Casey snap and kill her, and then they can start screaming about what a threat Immortals are," Jack concluded.
"She’s sacrificial bait," Sam said softly.
Inside her tent, listening to the quiet exchange, Sheila Roberts began to shake. How could they do this to her? She was the best agent they'd ever had, her father had told her so!
"I had already decided to send her back to Gamma," Daniel said quietly.
"Any special reason?"
Jack nodded when Daniel didn’t elaborate. He knew exactly what was wrong. When would that damned mission quit haunting her?
"I have a feeling Duncan wants her back on Earth ASAP anyway. The sooner we get rid of her, the better."
"We should keep a guard on her," Casey said. "Otherwise, the NID mole on the base could get to her. All they need is her death, they can fill in the blanks anyway they want. If she arrives safe and sound back at Earth’s SGC, that will be impossible to do."
Sam and Jack nodded. "We’ll take her back. Soon as she wakes up."
Sheila shivered in her sleeping bag. She would arrive back on Earth alive and well, but how long would she stay that way? Frustration began to battle the fear. Damn it, she had just come up with the perfect plan to get Daniel to make love to her! She got up, peeked out of the tent flap at the four people beside the fire. She didn’t have a chance. As soon as she stepped out of this tent she was on her way back to Gamma, and then Earth. She pulled on her clothes. Her father would protect her, she thought wildly. All she had to do was call him as soon as she arrived Earth-side. Yes, that’s what she would do. A phone call to her father would take care of everything. She still had that unfinished business with Susan…she sighed. Well, the wall was ready to come down. Maybe it would fall on the meddlesome bitch on its own.
When the team and the archaeologists woke up, they all had breakfast, then Jack and Sam took Sheila back to Gamma. She didn’t even try to argue, confirming to Jack that she had been eavesdropping on their conversation. He waited until she had walked through the ‘gate to Earth, then sent a message to the waiting Major Parker. After letting Duncan know that the NID agent was no longer on Gamma, Jack and Sam went back through the 'gate to rejoin their friends. None of them would ever know that Sheila Roberts never left Colorado Springs alive.
A A A A A A
Casey and Daniel were working in the remains of the building, carefully examining every inch of the walls for any clues that might be hidden in the otherwise innocuous frescoes that adorned them.
Daniel was kneeling in front of the wall, carefully brushing dirt away from what looked like glyphs. He put his hand against it to adjust his position slightly. With a soft groan, the wall collapsed on him, burying him under the plaster and stone and dust.
"Daniel! No! No! Daniel!" Casey raced through the ensuing dust cloud, began to claw her way through the rubble.
Everyone in the camp was alerted by her screams. Jack and Sam were the closest. They pulled the frantic woman away from the heap. One boot could be seen from beneath the rubble.
"Oh, god," Jack breathed. "Come on, we have to get him out of there!"
Casey was sobbing hysterically in Sam’s arms. The fact that Daniel was Immortal didn’t penetrate the fear and grief that had inundated her.
It took almost twenty minutes to get to him. He had several large gashes on his head, it appeared for the most part, however, that asphyxia was what had killed him.
She rushed to his side, pulled his lifeless body into her arms, cuddled his head against her breasts, brushing his dusty, bloodied hair from his face. "Wake up, Sweetheart, please," she whispered.
They all waited, holding their own breath, so it seemed, until his back arched and he took a deep breath.
He looked up into tear-filled green eyes. "It’s okay, babe," he said softly. He barely remembered the wall falling on him. Remembered all too well struggling to breathe under the heavy weight of the broken masonry. "I’m okay."
Her trembling fingers went over his face again and again. "You need a bath," she said at last, bringing a smile to his lips, and quiet laughter from the relieved onlookers.
"Yeah? You’re looking a bit dirty yourself, Mrs. Jackson," he replied, his blue eyes laughing.
He stood up, waited a few seconds for the Quickening to make the world stop spinning. "You all look like you could use a bath too," he said, grinning at his rescuers.
Work stopped in the camp while they took a break and played in the river that ran near the remains of the village.
"That wall wasn’t unstable yesterday," Mike said quietly to Daniel as the group walked back toward camp, all cleaner and certainly more relaxed.
"I was thinking the same thing," Daniel replied.
"Yeah, well I mentioned it to the general, and he and I and Terry and Major Parker did a little looking. That wall was weakened at some point between the time we walked out of there until it fell on you."
"Wonder who her intended target was," Daniel said, shivering slightly. Had it been one of the SG-6 members in the way when it collapsed…he pushed that thought away. He didn’t think she had even interacted with any of them.
"We’ll probably never know," Mike said, shaking his head. "What a piece of work…a rotten piece of work."
A A A A A A
Once again they were sitting around the fire, laughing and joking. They had done a little more work in the afternoon, but so far they weren’t even finding pottery shards.
Casey watched as the sun went down, Daniel was lying with his head in her lap, her fingers gently moving through his hair. She glanced over her shoulder, looking in the direction in which the sun had risen that morning. East…advanced to the east…advanced to the west…"The ‘gate!" she cried out.
Daniel had been nearly asleep. He jerked at her sudden outburst. "What? What are you talking about?"
"What about the ‘gate?" Jack asked nervously.
She was grinning, and shaking her head. "The ‘gate is the key! ‘They advanced to the east. They advanced to the west’. We couldn’t find the…point of origin…for it to make sense. It’s the ‘gate!"
Daniel sat up, looked at her, a slight frown on his face. "Which would explain the two different styles near the end of the tablet…whoever wrote it…had to be more than one person, and they were from two similar, yet different groups!"
"So it had to be the progeny of whoever came through the gate originally," Casey said, getting caught up in his excitement. "Which means…"
"There are other villages east and west of here. This was probably a meeting place of some kind…which would explain the lack of artifacts. It wasn’t inhabited all the time," Daniel said.
"They probably met here at a certain time of the year, or certain times of the year, perhaps for no longer than a day or so," she said.
"Possibly for trade, or just to simply ‘catch up’ with what was going on in the other village, or villages. There hasn’t been anything remotely ceremonial, so they didn’t hold any relevant ceremonies here," he said.
"What about near the ‘gate? We should look around there to see if there is anything ceremonial located near the gate, couldn’t the gate itself be sacred to them?" she asked.
"Could be, since the ‘origin’ seemed to be taken for granted," he agreed. "Whoever wrote that tablet assumed that anyone reading it would understand that the Stargate was the ‘starting point.’"
Jack watched the two, looking from one face to the other as they spoke. "Ever feel like you’re at a tennis match?" he asked the others good-naturedly.
Laughter filled the air, although the archaeologists, particularly Arlen and Susan, were becoming more and more enthused about their ‘find’. They all quickly agreed that they would break camp in the morning, and would split up, one group going east, the other going west. They would all go to the gate, then directly east or west from there. SG-1, with the addition of Mike, would go west; the Whitmans, Terry, and SG-6 would go east.
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