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Whispers in the Dark
Three days later they came back through the ‘gate, boxes full of artifacts to be catalogued, studied and stored. Several of the Immortal archaeologists were waiting for them, hardly waiting until the crates were clear of the ‘gate to open them and exclaim over the contents. Duncan had already decided that a building dedicated to just the archaeological finds being made was needed. Daniel was ecstatic about the fact that the finds wouldn’t just collect dust, but would actually be on display. With luck, the new building would be completed soon.
Casey walked into the house to see Emily crawling across the floor. Tears filled her eyes. "Hi, Baby! Look at you!"
Emily stopped, pulled herself into a sitting position and started smiling. As soon as Daniel stepped into the house, the baby was on her way, crawling toward him. He grabbed her up and hugged her.
"Look at my little Princess," he exclaimed, nuzzling her soft cheek. Casey leaned up to kiss the baby as well.
Erin greeted them with a smile. "She is definitely mobile now," she laughed. "Your father bought a play pen for her, just for times when you need a break, or when you need to get something done."
Casey hugged her mother. "Thanks, Mom. Thank Dad for us, too."
"I will," Erin said. She patted Daniel’s arm. "Now, I’m going to let the three of you have some time alone together. I’ll talk to you later, my darling daughter," she said, hugging Casey one more time. "Bye, Emily, my Precious." With a smile, she closed the door behind her.
With a sigh Casey walked into the kitchen and searched the freezer for one of the casseroles she had made on their last ‘down’ day. She found a chicken potpie and set it in the oven, turned it on. "I’ll run to the store and get veggies for a salad, you just sit down with Emmie," she said softly.
"It's no big deal. Don’t worry about a salad," Daniel replied.
She shook her head. "No, I’ll be right back." She grabbed the keys to the jeep and disappeared out the door before he could protest further.
"Emily, something is definitely wrong with Mommy," Daniel said softly. He put his daughter in her highchair and picked up the phone, hit speed dial. "Hey Sam! Congratulations! How’s the baby?…glad to hear it! Hey, I think Casey might stop by in a few minutes, if she does, when she leaves, let me know…no, of course not!…I don’t know, Sam. We came in and Emmie was crawling…yeah, it is…no, she crawled right up to me…yeah, thanks. I’m going to call Tessa too, just in case. Okay, take care. Say hi to Jack for me." He looked at his daughter. "I think you need to start paying more attention to your Mommy, Princess," he said with a smile. The baby smiled back at him.
He hit speed dial again. "Hey, Tessa…about two hours ago, just walked into the house a few minutes ago…no, that’s what I’m calling about. Something’s wrong, and I haven’t got a clue what it is…well, when we came in, Emmie was crawling…yeah, she is…well, she crawled right up to me…I don’t know, it could be…all I know is that she left in a hurry, said she was going to the grocery store, but I know I saw tears in her eyes…thanks, Tessa, I appreciate it…okay, later. Bye."
A A A A A A
Casey drove to the grocery store and sat in the parking lot for a few minutes, her head on the steering wheel. Emily was crawling. She hadn’t been there for that, either. And Emily resented it, she just knew it. What kind of a mother wasn’t around for her baby’s milestones? What kind of mother missed seeing her baby roll over for the first time…crawl for the first time…see that first tooth come through? A bad one, that’s what kind. She never should have had a baby. Which meant she never should have married Daniel, because he certainly deserved to have a family. That thought brought black panic and blinding pain to her heart and soul. The tears came, and she began to cry, her shoulders shaking with the sobs.
Soft tapping on the window startled her. She looked up to see Teal'c looking at her. She rolled the window down. "Hey, Teal'c. How’s Rya’c?" The Jaffa had been to visit his son and daughter-in-law.
"He is well, Casey Jackson. Why are you crying?"
Casey sighed. She motioned for him to get into the jeep, and waited until he was settled in the passenger seat before she spoke. "I’m a horrible mother, T," she whispered.
"I find that difficult to believe," Teal'c replied. "I have observed you with Emily Rose Jackson, and I believe you are a very fit mother."
His words brought more tears. She shook her head. "I wasn’t there when she rolled over for the first time, I wasn’t there when she started crawling, and did you know she has a tooth now? I wasn’t there for that either!"
Teal'c looked at her. "To observe these things, would you not need to watch her every moment?"
"That’s what I’m saying, T, I wasn’t there for those moments!"
"What if you had been preparing a meal for Daniel Jackson the first time she rolled over. Would that not also mean that you 'missed' this event?"
She sniffed, wiped her eyes with her fingers. "I suppose so."
"And if you were otherwise engaged in domestic activities the first time she crawled, would you not have 'missed' that event?"
"I guess so."
"How do you know exactly when the tooth first appeared? Did you observe her mouth at all times?"
Casey giggled. "Not possible to do that."
"Exactly, Casey Jackson. Therefore, you are not a horrible mother."
Casey leaned over and hugged the Jaffa. "Thanks, T. I really needed to hear that."
Teal'c inclined his head. "Is there something specific you are here for?" he asked, nodding at the store.
"Yeah, there is. Guess I should get what I need and get home, huh?"
"Teal'c, you’re a great friend, and I love you," Casey said softly.
For just one second the Jaffa’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. "And I care deeply for you as well, Casey Jackson. You are also a ‘great friend’." He wiped the last of the tears from her face.
"Well, I’ll let you get going. On your way to see Carly?"
"I am indeed. She is preparing a meal for me. I was sent to pick up a ‘lemon’."
Casey laughed. "Come on, I’ll help you find a good one."
A A A A A A
When she walked back into her little house, Daniel was on the floor crawling beside their daughter. She laughed at the sight, and dropped the groceries on the counter and joined them on the floor.
Daniel reached over and put his palm against her cheek. "Babe, what’s wrong?"
She put her hand against his, held it to her face for just a moment. "Nothing, sweetheart. At least, not now. Teal'c and I had a chat. He helped me sort some things out."
"You went to see Teal'c?"
"No, he found me cr-;... we met up in the parking lot at Murphy’s Market," she said.
"Casey." The tone of his voice let her know that he would take no hedging from her.
She lowered her eyes. "Okay, he found me crying."
"Why, babe? What did I do?" His voice and eyes reflected his confusion and hurt.
She reached out and grabbed his hand. "Oh, sweetheart, you didn’t do anything! It’s me! I was…I felt…"
He pulled her into his embrace. "You felt what, babe?"
"I missed the first time she rolled over. I wasn’t here when that tooth popped through. Now I missed seeing her crawl for the first time. I was feeling like a horrible mother."
"You're a wonderful mother, Casey!"
"Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But at least I’m not horrible."
"How did Teal'c convince you of that?"
She recounted her conversation with the Jaffa.
"I could have, would have told you the same thing, Angel, if you would have just talked to me," Daniel said softly, obviously hurt that she hadn’t.
"Sometimes, my love, the words I need to hear have to come from somebody who is a little more objective."
He smiled. "Are you saying I’m not objective when it comes to you?"
"That’s what I’m saying," she smiled back at him. She kissed him lightly. "Where is your daughter?"
They looked around, found Emily in the living room, sitting by the bookcase, her little fingers reaching for one of the books on the bottom shelf. She looked up and smiled angelically at her parents.
Daniel grinned, picked her up and kissed her, then put her in the playpen. "Stay put, you, while Mommy and I get dinner put together." He helped Casey fix the salad, it was finished at the same time the potpie was heated and ready to eat. He mixed Emily’s cereal while Casey took the casserole out of the oven. Dinner was full of joy and talk and laughter…and jabber, from Emily.
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