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When the Darkness Comes
Cold. He was cold. He reached out…her place beside him in the bed was empty. Third night in a row, now. He pushed back the blankets and sat up, straining to hear her talking to the baby. Silence. He crawled out of bed, headed into the hallway. No, the light wasn’t shining underneath the bathroom door. Through the kitchen, into the living room. He turned on the small lamp on the sofa table. Empty. His heart began to pound. A quick check of Emily’s room revealed his daughter sleeping soundly, but alone. His heart in his throat, he tried the handle, then opened the door to the guest bedroom. The bed was still perfectly made up, everything in place. By now he was beginning to fight panic. The den! She had to be in there! He opened the double French doors, the etched glass reflecting the bright moonlight that filtered through the blinds at the windows. He nearly dropped to his knees. Where was she?
He sank down into the chair at his desk. It had been two months since that damned mission. He closed his eyes. He could still see the look in her green eyes when he had stood in that throne room, his arms around that Goa’uld. It still cut him like a knife to think about the agony that had been etched on her delicate features by his 'betrayal'…the pain, the disbelief. It had taken every ounce of strength in him not to go after her as the Jaffa had led her, Jack, and Teal'c to the Stargate. The only thing that had kept him at Neferteri’s side was the fact if he were to move it would have resulted in the death of all of them. When he had finally contacted her, in that special way that they had only recently discovered, he had been overcome with relief that she responded, told him that she still loved him. Then there was the return to Gamma, her furious rage at him, and the others involved in deceiving her. He had been terrified at that moment that he had lost her forever, the terror magnified when she found out the…details…of that mission.
Everything had been fine…until three nights ago. He woke up, and found her sitting in the living room crying. She'd refused to tell him what was wrong. They had always been able to talk to each other, about anything. Now, it seemed, that was lost to them. She'd told him to go back to bed. When he tried to refuse, tried to stay with her, she had simply gone into the guest bedroom and locked the door.
He rubbed his hands over his face, got up and stumbled to the kitchen. He turned on the light, started a pot of coffee. No way was he going to be able to go back to sleep now. He glanced at the clock. 3 a.m. On a hunch, he opened the wide French doors that led to the patio, hoping that she would be sitting there, looking at the stars. No such luck.
"Casey? Babe, where are you?" He waited, but received no reply. "Case, Angel, I love you! Please tell me where you are." Again, only silence. She was ignoring him.
He went to the bedroom, found a pair of jeans and pulled a sweatshirt over his head. He grabbed the phone. "Aaron? Yeah, it’s me…Yes, I know what time it is. She’s gone. I can’t find her anywhere around the house. Could you or Erin come sit with Emmie?…I don’t know…she won’t talk to me…yeah, thanks." He hung up, his mind numb, his heart breaking, his body shaking.
It was only a matter of minutes before his mother-in-law was knocking quietly on the door. She hugged him tightly.
"I knew something was wrong the other day when she refused to tell me where she had been all afternoon." Erin said. "Daniel, find my daughter, please."
He hugged the woman who looked so much like Casey. "I will, Erin, I promise."
The jeep was still sitting in the driveway. Wherever she'd gone, she'd walked. Hope was a small town. It didn’t take long for him to drive each street. Feeling lost…scared…alone…he went to the base. It was the only place he hadn't looked. The guards were surprised to see him at this hour, but they didn’t say anything as he signed in.
The light in his office was on. She was sitting at his desk, reading from a stack of reports. She looked up when he walked in, but said nothing. Her eyes flashed with a dozen emotions: frustration, fear, anger…love.
"Hey, gorgeous," he said softly.
"Hey, handsome," she replied, just the hint of a smile lifting her lips. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you."
She frowned slightly. "You found me."
He tried to smile, looked down at the floor. Saw the packed duffel bag beside her. His heart lurched, dropped into his stomach. "So, what are you doing here?"
He tried to keep his voice from echoing the frustration he was beginning to feel. "Very funny. I can see that. What are you reading?"
"Your mission report."
He didn’t have to ask what mission. "And?"
Tears welled up in her eyes. She shrugged.
He leaned against the desk beside her, reached out to touch her, nearly died a thousand deaths when she pulled away. "Case, please talk to me. What’s going on?"
She shook her head again. "I can’t. Please, don’t make me." She went back to reading the report. After a few minutes she put it down, closed her eyes briefly, a single tear made it’s way down her cheek.
He frowned. Something was definitely wrong. More than just anger, and hurt, over that damn mission. "Babe, would you show me?"
"Close your eyes, babe. Give me your hand."
She studied him for a moment, then nodded slowly. She leaned back in the chair, and closed her eyes. Tears began to roll down her cheeks. He braced himself, and took her hand. And then cried out at what he saw.
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