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Where Love Resides
It was a beautiful day, and Casey had decided that she was going to wash the windows. Daniel was mowing the lawn. He was shirtless, a do-rag on his head, his jeans riding low on his hips. She watched him for a few minutes, noticed that the two young women who were renting the house across the street were also watching him. Actually, watching their expressions, they were gawking at her Husband. She couldn’t help but smile. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but from the looks on their faces they were definitely enjoying the view. It is a damn fine view, she thought, a grin on her face. And that damn fine view belonged to her…a thought that made her heart skip a beat or two.
She went back to washing the windows. This would probably be the only chance before the barbecue to get the chore done. She was standing on the ladder, washing the side window of their bedroom, when Emma came through the gate.
The old woman watched Daniel for a few minutes, smiled at him when he waved, then looked up at Casey. "There should be a law against a man looking that good," she said.
Casey giggled. "Yeah, there should be. But I’m glad there’s not."
Emma laughed. "So how are you two doing?"
"We’re fine, Emma. How are you? Are you over that cold?"
"Oh, I’m doing great, honey. Wasn’t much of a cold."
"Well, it was bad enough. Did the hot toddies work?"
The old woman giggled. "Don’t know if they worked or not, but I damned sure didn’t care! Made me sleep like the dead," she declared.
"Well, then, they worked. They’re supposed to help you sleep. Should have made you sweat some of the cold out of your system as well."
"They did that, for sure." She watched Casey for a minute. "Well, hun, just wanted to come over and say hi. Caroline will be here shortly, and I still have to put my hunting face on."
Casey looked down at the elderly woman. "Hunting face?"
"Yep. The face I wear when I’m hunting a man. She’s taking me to O’Malleys for dinner," Emma explained.
"I want to be just like you when I get old," Casey said giggling.
Emma grinned up at her. "No chance of that happening, honey. And that’s a good thing. You’re too pretty to get all wrinkled like me. Well, if I don’t see you before, I’ll see you at your barbecue."
"Okay, Emma. Happy hunting!"
"Thanks, sweetie. Tell that Stud Muffin of yours I said hello."
"Okay, I will."
Emma disappeared into her own yard, leaving Casey giggling as she finished the window. She had just climbed off of the ladder, had it folded and was taking it back into the garage when she heard the phone ring. She made a dash for the house, found that Daniel had beat her inside and answered.
"Are you sure?" he was saying, a frown on his face. "Okay. We’ll be there in an hour…no, I agree with Duncan, this is something that I think the three of us need to handle alone…right… okay." He replaced the receiver, then turned to look at his wife.
"Daniel?" The look in his eyes worried her.
"The Tok’ra located Framone. They gave the information to Duncan. We’re going to ‘gate to Gamma, then on to where that bastard is hiding."
Casey shivered, folded her arms around her waist, hugged herself tightly. She closed her eyes. "I won’t be taken away," she whispered. "Oma promised, I won’t be taken away." She jumped when Daniel pulled her into his embrace.
"We’re taking the fight to him, babe. This time, I promise you, I’m going to kill that bastard." He held her tightly.
She looked up at him. "I’ll hold you to that," she said, smiling.
He smiled, then kissed her. "Come on. Let’s get cleaned up. Duncan is waiting."
A A A A A A
Aaron and Erin were waiting beside Duncan when they walked through the ‘gate to Gamma. Casey couldn’t help but smile when Erin held out her arms, waiting to hug her daughter.
"Hi, Mom," she said, hugging the blonde woman who looked so much like her. She turned to her father, hugged him as well. "Hi, Dad."
"You look thin. Have you been eating?" Erin asked, holding her by the shoulders. "You’re not eating enough."
Casey rolled her eyes. "I’m fine. Dr. Williams says I’m right where I should be."
"Hmmph," was Erin’s only reply.
"Don’t listen to her, darling daughter. She’ll worry no matter what. Let her fuss. Less hassle than trying to fight it," Aaron said, his blue eyes twinkling.
"I am not fussing," Erin replied. "But I can tell when my daughter needs to eat more. She’s skin and bones! Look at her!"
"I am, my love. She looks the same as she did the last time we saw her, and the time before that. She’s fine," Aaron replied.
"Hmmph!" Erin said again. She hugged Daniel, held him at arms length, and looked him over as well.
Casey shook her head, and went over to hug Duncan. "Now you know why I won’t live here," she whispered in his ear.
Duncan laughed. "I know," he whispered back.
She pulled away from the Scot. "Okay, where is the bastard? When do we leave? Daniel promised me that he’d kill him."
"Let’s gear up, and we’ll head out," Duncan replied.
Thirty minutes later they were waiting for the last two chevrons to lock and encode, packs on their backs, weapons ready. Duncan and Daniel exchanged a grim look. They had agreed that they were not coming back until the Immortal Goa’uld who continued to threaten them, continued to haunt Casey, was dead. And they were going to make sure that she saw his dead body. It was the only way the fear he generated in her would leave her in peace.
When the event horizon opened, they walked through. Casey gasped as she looked around. The ‘gate was in the middle of a small meadow, surrounded by dense forest. A wide road led away from the gate and up a small hill. On the top of the hill stood a castle, complete with turrets and tall round towers.
"Good grief, we’ve landed in a fairytale," she murmured. "If I see any dwarfs or Munchkins, I am so out of here!"
"What about a tin man or a scare crow?" Daniel teased.
"I’ll be running for the 'gate so fast I’ll create my own wormhole!" she declared. The men beside her laughed softly.
They moved slowly away from the gate, weapons ready, eyes moving. They never saw who shot at them. They only heard the whisper of the darts as they moved through the air.
She clutched at the dart that had embedded itself into her chest. She turned to Daniel, saw that he too, had been hit. She reached out to him; terror filled her mind, and her eyes. Through a haze she saw him reach for her, then darkness overwhelmed her.
A A A A A A
Casey opened her eyes slowly. She was in a large room, lying on a wide, canopied bed. The coverlet under her cheek was satin. She tried to sit up, moaned slightly as the movement brought a wave of pain to her head and nausea to her stomach. She waited, feeling the Quickening in her overtake both discomforts. She sat up, and looked around. Her weapons and backpack were gone. No big surprise there. The fire in the hearth on the wall opposite the bed crackled merrily. The room was opulently furnished, large pieces with ornately carved designs and satin and velvet covers. The wide, leaded-glass window was open, letting in the sun and the cool breeze that moved the sheer curtains. A room fit for a queen, she thought, unaware of how prophetic the thought was. She pushed herself to her feet. The double doors were the same height as the gold-leafed ceiling, and that was considerable. Fifteen feet at least. And both were locked tight. She looked at the table that sat adjacent to the fireplace. A crystal pitcher full of water sat beside a bowl of fruit. Framone! She knew it! That bastard! She kicked at the door, venting her rage in the physical action.
She ran to the window, prepared to climb out. One look down had her pulling her leg back inside. The ground was several stories below her. She might be Immortal, but a fall from this height would require more time to regenerate than she had to spare. She’d be caught again before she could get away.
Where was Daniel? And Duncan, had he been hit with a dart, too? Oma had promised that she would never again be taken from Daniel’s side. So…that meant he had to be somewhere nearby. Please, she thought, beseeching the gods, let him be nearby, and let him be safe!
She looked around the room again. She smiled when her eyes came to rest on the bed. She jerked the satin coverlet back. The white sheets seemed to be made of cotton, or something similar. She pulled them from the bed, and began to knot them. She couldn’t jump out of the window, it was too high. But if she could somehow get closer to the ground…
She jerked when the doors opened. Two women, dressed in medieval style garments came into the room. They were carrying what looked like a gown of deep green silk, with gold on the cuffs and the neckline.
"Lord Framone awaits, my lady," one of the women said, curtseying. She was speaking Goa’uld. It was heavily accented, but understandable. She looked with surprise at the disheveled bed, the sheets that lay on the floor, knotted, and in the midst of being tied together.
"Yeah, he can wait ‘til hell freezes over," Casey snarled. Her hands never stilled in their task. "Tell that sorry bastard I want to talk to him!"
The two women exchanged frightened glances. In an instant she knew that to thwart these women would do nothing more than bring Framone’s anger down on them. Probably her as well.
"Okay. Let’s get this show on the road." She pulled her jacket off of her shoulders, tossed it onto a nearby chair. Faces flooding with relief, the two women began to dress their new Mistress.
The gown was beautiful, Casey had to admit. It hugged her body all the way to her hips, where it fell into draped folds around her legs. The bodice was low, and revealed an extraordinary amount of her round breasts, it barely covered her dusky pink nipples. The sleeves were long, and the cuffs fell into long lengths of fabric. It wouldn’t be the easiest outfit to fight in, she thought with dismay. But she would do what she had to do.
Her hair was brushed, and piled on top of her head, a few soft tendrils were left hanging down to her shoulders. A crown was placed around the carefully arranged curls, the weight of it surprising.
The women bowed, and then led her into the hallway. The two goons who had chased her through the streets of Silver Springs were waiting outside the door, and fell into step behind them.
Definitely a castle, she thought, looking around as she followed the women. They led her down a flight of stone steps into a long, wide hallway. At the end was a set of tall doors. She followed them, the heels on the shoes she wore clicking against the marble floor. They opened the doors, waited for her to enter the room, then closed the doors behind her. Surprisingly, Goons One and Two also waited outside.
She looked around, stifled a giggle. What an over-the-top throne room! Heavy tapestries covered the walls. Shields with brightly colored crests, as well as swords, crossbows, lances, and every other type of medieval weapon imaginable covered what parts of the walls were left bare of tapestries. Benches with wide, thick cushions circled the room. The floor was a mosaic, the scene depicted unknown to her. It was a battle of some sort. On a dais at the end of the long room was an ornate throne covered with what looked like gold and precious jewels. Sitting there, waiting for her, a crown on his head, was Framone. One step lower was a second, smaller throne. She didn’t need anyone to tell her who would be sitting on it.
Casey studied her captor for a moment. His dark hair curled around his collar, his dark eyes flashed with approval as he watched her. He was a handsome man, she thought suddenly. She recoiled from the unexpected thought. His looks didn’t matter. This was still Framone. The enemy.
Her enemy held his hand out.
She hesitated. She needed to find out where Daniel and Duncan were. The only one who could tell her anything was sitting there with delusions of kinghood. She didn’t smile, but she did walk forward, let her fingers rest against his.
"You are breathtaking, my love," he said softly. "You are the most beautiful queen a kingdom could have."
He’s gone right over the edge, she thought. Stark, raving, babbling mad. "And you’re still an asshole," she replied.
His eyes flashed, then he smiled. "Your fire is what continues to plague me. It is what has made me decide to keep you for myself, rather than breed you with the Highlander."
"Still going on about that breeding crap?" she said. She hoped that Oma’s ‘gift’ wouldn’t decide to kick in if this man raped her.
"You have experienced the Ceremony of Fire. You will conceive. But it shall be a son for me, an heir to my throne."
Yep, he's nutty as a fruitcake. "Sorry to piss in your Wheaties, cupcake, but the Ancient ceremony doesn’t work on Immortals."
He pulled her closer. "Let us not argue, my love. Take your place at my side," he said, nodding toward the empty throne.
She stood a moment longer. "Where is my Husband? Where is Daniel? Where is Duncan?"
He smiled, but the action held no warmth. "Sit. You shall see. Behold the power of your King, your Lord and Master."
"Oh, puhleeze," she muttered. His fingers tightened painfully around hers; she knew it was a silent warning.
"So long as you please me, no harm shall come to them," he said. His eyes flashed again.
Casey didn’t believe him for one minute. But right now her options were limited at best, non-existent at worst. She settled herself on the throne.
Framone raised his hands and clapped loudly. Four men, dressed in armor like that of the Knights of the Round Table, carrying Jaffa staff weapons, entered the room. "Bring the prisoners."
She held her breath, waiting. Time seemed to stand still as she waited. She heard the clanking of chains, then the door opened. She gave a cry when she saw him.
His dark blonde hair was matted with blood and mud, his clothes were bloody and torn. He had been beaten…to death, from the looks of it. Duncan was in no better condition. Daniel’s eyes widened when their blue depths settled on her. "Are you okay, babe?"
"Silence!" Framone roared. "How dare you speak to the Consort of your King?"
In that moment Daniel came to the same conclusion that Casey had - Framone was completely insane. His eyes moved back to her; he could see the fear in her beautiful eyes.
"I’m fine, my heart," she replied softly. She glanced at Framone. He was looking at her, his eyes glowing.
"Do not test my feelings for you, Casey. I will kill him if you anger me," the Immortal Goa’uld said.
She began to tremble. Daniel’s life rested within her hands. One false move, and the madman beside her would kill him. Framone was Immortal. He knew exactly how to end the life of another such as he. She lowered her eyes, tears falling onto her cheeks.
"I will offer you one chance to leave here. Return through the Chappa'ai. Once you are gone, it will be destroyed," Framone said.
"Not without my Wife," Daniel said calmly.
"She is no longer your wife!" Framone shouted, jumping to his feet. "She is the Royal Consort. The Queen. She belongs to me!"
It was on the tip of her tongue to tell the bastard that she didn't 'belong' to anyone, but her fear for Daniel's safety kept her from speaking.
Daniel shook his head. "Remember the Ceremony of Fire? She burns for no one but me. Loves no one but me. Belongs to no one but me."
Framone signaled the guards, and Daniel was struck with such force it dropped him to his knees.
Casey cried out, on her feet, moving to run to him.
"Leave my side, and he dies, now," Framone growled.
Tears fell freely now, as she watched Daniel jerked roughly to his feet. She glanced at Duncan. His eyes were trying to convey a message. She stared at him for a minute, then saw a small smile at the corners of his mouth. Suddenly she understood. Choose the time and place for each battle. Choose wisely. She remembered the day he had taught her that. She bowed her head slightly, let him know that she had received his message. She slowly lowered herself back onto the throne.
Framone smiled. "Good. Take them away."
Casey watched, her heart in her throat, her cheeks wet, as Daniel was dragged from the room. She had to bide her time. It wouldn’t be easy. But she could do it. She had no choice.
"Come, my love. A feast has been prepared in honor of our marriage. Let us join our loyal subjects." He was still standing, holding out his hand to her.
She shuddered, but stood and placed her hand in his. As they left the throne room, the goons fell into step behind them. She knew that they were there to guard her. She’d have to take them out if she were to have a chance to get to Daniel. And she didn’t have a clue how she was going to accomplish that. As they entered the banquet room, Casey almost cried out in anguish. The room had two windows, too high to escape through, and was filled wall-to-wall with men clad in armor. She could find no options. And she needed some, desperately.
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