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Whom the Gods Created
"...But the angels are older
They can see that the sun's setting fast
They look over my shoulder
At the vision of paradise contained in the light of the past
And they lay down behind me
To sleep beside the road till the morning has come
Where they know they will find me
With my maps and my faith in the distance
Moving farther on"
by Jackson Browne
"Casey, I can take care of my kids," Daniel replied, rolling his eyes. Why did they have to have this discussion every time he babysat?
She began to giggle. "Uh huh. Just don't take them to the Center."
Someday, he'd be able to find that day as amusing as she seemed to. Someday. Maybe. If she'd quit reminding him of it. "Ha ha. I keep telling you, it was just a bad day for both of us. I've taken care of them since then and we haven't suffered any disasters."
"True. But you've never tried to keep track of a five year old, a three year old and an infant before," Casey argued. He had taken care of Emmie and Nicholas, and had done a fine job. The house had been a disaster when she came home, nothing out of the ordinary mind you. Just dishes in the sink from the meals he'd prepared, toys everywhere. Usually at least one copy of the Hope Sentinel spread around the living room. Proof that he couldn't keep an eye on the kids and accomplish anything else.
"Would you just go, already? It's not like you're going to be gone that long, and you're not even going off-world!" he exclaimed, more than a little exasperated. Sometimes the woman treated him like he didn't have a brain in his head! Sort of like you treat her when she forgets to put gas in the Blazer? his mind asked. Oh, shut up, he snapped. Why couldn't he just once get good and pissed at her and stay that way for longer than thirty seconds? Why did his brain continue to point out his faults in comparison to hers? Because, his brain replied, you love her. Yeah, well that was pretty straight forward, he mused. Loved her more than life itself. Needed her on every level he could think of.
Casey leaned up and kissed his lips. "Thank you for watching the kids," she whispered.
He smiled, locked his arms around her waist. "My pleasure."
"We won't be gone long."
"Take your time, Angel. You haven't had a chance to get together with your friends like this for awhile. Have a good time. And remember, Teal'c will be there to pick you up."
"I'll remember." The Jaffa had agreed that, as the only husband in the group of friends who didn't have babysitting duty, he was the obvious choice to pick the women up from Esteban's at closing time. No doubt he would be collecting four very drunk women. Casey never intended to get totally wrecked when she went out with her friends. But when the booze flowed as easily as the conversation…well, she usually came home plenty crocked.
"Have a good time, babe," he said softly, kissing her again. Debated with himself one last time on whether to ask her to change her clothes. The black skirt was short. Barely covered the lacy tops of her sheer black thigh-high stockings. The black leather bustier revealed more of those beautiful breasts than he remembered, and that little red jacket wasn't doing a thing to cover her. And those red ankle-strapped pumps with the three and a half inch heels…oh, god! What they did for that fine ass and those incredible legs was unbelievable!
She could feel him becoming aroused. Bit back a triumphant smile. She'd actually dressed for him. Had every intention of doing a bit of a strip tease for him when she came home. Wanted him thinking about her, and the way she was dressed, all evening; she wanted him hot and waiting…needing. "I will. Love you."
"Love you too, Angel." He watched her walk out the front door. Sam was driving the women to the club. He and Jack would pick up their Bronco sometime before noon tomorrow. Or so went the plan. That soft sway was enough to make him hard in an instant. He took a moment to appreciate the beautiful, sexy woman who just happened, by some miracle, to be his Wife. Then tried to force the images of her naked and writhing beneath him from his mind.
Emily's voice broke through his reverie, brought him back to reality. "Hmm?"
"Will you color with us now? Mommy said you would color with us, and play games with us while she's with Auntie Sam and Auntie Tessa and Auntie Carly," Emily said, tugging at his hand.
That gentle tug pulled at his heart as well. "Yep, she's right. Tonight is just for you and me and Nicholas and Ethan. Let's color!" The bright smile on his daughter's face, so like the smiles her mother flashed at him, made his heart do flip flops. For just a few seconds he marveled at the deep love that swelled inside him, looking into blue eyes so much like his own. Children. Three children. Part of him. So much a part of him that they had his eyes. Or, in Ethan's case, his nose and chin and ears. But when anyone looked at his kids, there was no denying that he was their father. Like he had so many times before, he wondered if his parents were able to see, were - looking down - on him and the children he and the most incredible woman in the universe had created…together.
Stretched out on the floor, lying on his stomach, Nicholas beside him on one side, Emily on the other, and Ethan in his Moses basket within arms reach in front of him, Daniel carefully colored the dragon in his daughter's coloring book, all the while telling them a story about beautiful princesses and brave knights and poor, misunderstood dragons, who really only wanted to be friends with everyone. He had no idea if dragons had ever really existed. Casey certainly believed that they had. He couldn't help but smile. She believed in unicorns as well. Her sweet, loving heart would see only the good, hold tightly to the mythical creatures that had brought magic and love into the world.
"Go on, Daddy," Emily prompted.
"You stopped talking. You said that the princess believed in the best kind of magic. What kind is the best kind?"
He grinned. "The best kind of magic is the magic that brings love into your heart."
"Like Mommy did?"
"Just like that, Princess."
"Your heart was all sad and broke-ded and empty, and Mommy fixed it right up, and made you all happy," the little girl said. She knew the story of how her parents had come to be together. She didn't know all of it, of course. There was no need for a five year old to be told that her mother had been a Goa'uld slave. That she had been beaten, and repeatedly raped by that Goa'uld. Or that she had killed that Goa'uld during her escape. But she knew about the love. That Daniel had fallen in love with Casey the moment the slender blonde had fallen into his arms.
"Yes, she did," he replied softly.
"Mommy said you take-ded all the bad things away, and made her so happy that it hurts. How can being happy hurt, Daddy?"
"Well, sometimes, you just feel so good, that it…hurts. A good kind of hurt. It's a bit hard to explain," he said.
Emily nodded her blonde head. "That's what Mommy said."
"Well, she's right," he smiled.
"Daddy, who's Sherry?"
His heart stopped beating. "Sherry?"
"The lady that you liked before you met Mommy," his daughter explained.
Well, it was bound to happen, he thought. Was surprised that Emily hadn't asked the question sooner. He knew that his daughter heard much more that she should, certainly more than he and Casey wanted her to. Without a doubt she'd heard someone in the family talking about Sha're. "Do you mean Sha're?"
The little head bobbed up and down.
"Sha're was my first Wife," he said carefully.
A frown creased the small forehead. "Like Mommy is?"
"Just like that."
"Is she still your wife?"
"I suppose in a way she is. And always will be." Daniel sat up. Immediately Emily crawled into his lap. Never one to be left out, Nicholas did the same. It took a bit of adjusting, but soon he had both of his children settled comfortably in his arms. "The very first time I went through the Stargate, I was with your Uncle Jack, and about five other men."
"Auntie Sam and Uncle Teal'c too?"
Daniel smiled. "No, we didn't know Auntie Sam or Uncle Teal'c yet."
Emily nodded her understanding.
"We went to a place called Abydos…" He thought about his journal, the very first diary of his off world experiences. He'd moved it to a drawer in his desk. Had made certain that Casey knew it was there, anytime she wanted to read it. He had no idea if she'd ever done so. "Let me up, and I'll get something to show you."
Both tots were fascinated when Daniel opened the red book he had taken out of his desk. The things in Daddy's desk were off limits to them, and to actually be allowed to see something that was kept there was a very special treat, in their young minds.
Skaara had been a talented young man. Daniel had watched him draw sketches and pictures on the walls of the ruins that the people had uncovered, using bits of charcoal from fires allowed to go cold. The young Abydonian had been delighted when the archaeologist had offered him the pencil and the book. And had created sketch of Sha're that still took Daniel's breath away. He opened the journal to that particular page. "This is a drawing of Sha're. Her brother drew it for me."
"She's pretty Daddy," Emily said after a few moments of silence. "But not as pretty as Mommy."
Daniel grinned, kissed the top of her blonde head. Emily adored her mother, and stubborn loyalty alone would force her to make that declaration. "She's very pretty, in a different way from Mommy."
"Did you love her?"
"What happened? Where is she? Do you still love her?"
"Let's see if I can answer all of those questions," he said. "After Uncle Jack and I walked through the Stargate for the very first time, we were scared. We didn't know how to get back home. We thought we would be there forever. And we didn't want to leave our homes." The mission had been a one-way trip, although Daniel hadn't been aware that the purpose of that mission was to destroy whatever they found on the other side, and most importantly see to it that the Stargate there was rendered unusable. At that time, they hadn't realized that there were literally thousands of Stargates. "We met Kasuf, he was the leader of the people on Abydos, and Sha're and Skaara's father. He thought we were gods, because of an amulet I was wearing."
"That one!" Emily squealed, pointing to the amulet that Catherine Langford had worn, and had given him for good luck just before he stepped through the 'gate for the first time. Daniel had told her the story of how he had received the amulet several times. It was in a shadow box frame, sitting on one of the open, built-in shelves.
"That's it," he grinned. "Well, Kasuf thought we were gods. And because I could understand a few words of their language, Sha're was…well, she was given to me."
"Like a present?" Emily asked.
"Exactly like that," Daniel replied. And what a wonderful gift she had been! It had been the first time he'd experienced such love. "Well, a mean, nasty snake named Ra was going to hurt the people of Abydos. So your Uncle Jack and his men taught the boys how to fight. And we defeated Ra. When Uncle Jack came home, I stayed on Abydos with Sha're." The two men had discussed the battle against Ra many times, and had agreed that sheer dumb luck had helped them to defeat the first Goa’uld they had met.
"Then what happened?"
"A year later Uncle Jack came back. He had Auntie Sam with him. But they weren't married yet. I had made a very important discovery-"
"'Cause you're an Ark'lo'gist!"
He chuckled. "Yeah, because I'm an archaeologist." It had been his training…his boundless curiosity…his insatiable need to know that had driven him to investigate that lost city. Building after building, until he discovered the Temple. And the Cartouche that contained over ten thousand Stargate addresses. He'd spent so much time exploring that it had caused friction between him and his bride; which had always made him feel guilty. That guilt had intensified when she'd been taken from him. Many times over the years he'd regretted the nights he'd sat trying to translate one wall or another, when he should have been spending the time with her. "While I was showing them what I'd found, Apophis, another mean, nasty snake, came through the 'gate and took Sha're and Skaara."
Emily's eyes went wide. As young as she was, she had personal experience with having someone she loved taken away, having watched Betsy Harris force her Daddy at gunpoint into a van. "The mean snake take-ded her away?"
"Yes, he did, Princess."
"Was you sad, Daddy?"
Emotions long buried surged forward. He could feel the anger, the fear, the overwhelming sense of loss as if it had just happened. He nearly gasped out loud as the feelings rushed through him. "I was very sad. That's when my heart broke," he admitted softly. "Uncle Jack and Auntie Sam and I and the others went back to Earth, and General Hammond, he was in charge of the SGC, only it wasn't the SGC just yet, told me that I could go with Uncle Jack to look for Sha're. That's how we started going through the Stargate. That was the very beginning of Stargate Command."
When she was older, he would explain that his reason for going through the 'gate had been to search for Sha're…for Jack and Sam, it had been to gather information about the Goa'uld, and look for anything of military value. He had been the one to push for exploration on a purely scientific level, and had won numerous arguments based on that belief.
"Did you finds Sherry?"
"Not for a long time." He debated on whether or not Emily needed to know about Shifu. Decided that it would be difficult for her to understand that Sha're had born the child of a Goa'uld, and that her child now lived among The Others. "Sha're had a snake put inside her. She wasn't the same as she had been when we were together. When we found her, the snake tried to kill me. Uncle Teal'c had to kill Amaunet, that was the name of the snake inside Sha're. It killed Sha're as well."
"Did you cry?"
"For a very long time," he replied. "I didn't think I would ever love again, didn't think my heart would ever stop hurting."
"Then you met Mommy!"
"Mommy!" Nicholas laughed. "Daddy meet-ed Mommy!"
"Then I met Mommy," Daniel grinned. One day they would be old enough to know all of the story, his 'death' due to radiation poisoning, the fact that Oma had helped him to Ascend… and then managed to protect him even when he had chosen to leave the ranks of those Beings. How he'd been mourning Sha're's loss all over again as his memories returned, only a few short months before a beautiful, slender blonde with big green eyes fell into his arms.
"Mommy told Auntie Sam that Sherry watches out for you."
He smiled. "I'm glad that she does."
Emily studied her father for a moment. It wasn't easy to understand how her father could have loved another woman, even if her mother hadn't been a part of his life as yet. "Do you still love Sherry?"
"Yes, Princess. A part of me will always love Sha're."
"But you loves Mommy!"
"I love your Mommy with all that I am, Emily. I will always love your Mommy."
"Do you love Mommy better?"
He smiled. "Yes, Princess, I love Mommy better." It had taken years for him to be able to admit that to himself. He'd never totally given his heart, his very soul, to a woman before he met Casey. The love he felt for his first wife had been…was…pure and sweet and strong. But it couldn't compare to the love for Casey that filled him. Perhaps if he and Sha're had been granted more time together…he shook his head mentally. Acknowledged what he already knew as fact. What Sha're herself had told him. Casey was his Destiny, and no other woman would ever measure up to her, his love would never be as strong for any other woman.
"I'm glad," Emily told him, snuggling against his chest. "Did Sherry have babies like Mommy did?"
Oh, hell. How was he going to answer this one? He contemplated talking to Casey in that special way, asking her for advice. Discarded the idea. She was with her friends. She was supposed to be having fun. If she found out this conversation was happening, she would want to be here. Try to focus attention elsewhere. Worked with alien diplomats. Worked when the kids were fussy. Maybe it would work now. When in doubt…stall. "How about we get something to eat?"
Emily was a very smart little girl. And if Daddy didn't want to talk about Sherry anymore, it meant that it hurt to think about. Just like it hurt to think about when Mommy had been dead-ded, and when that mean lady had taken Daddy, and when that mean man had taken her and Nicholas from the house. Even though Auntie Sam was there with the M'rines to stop the bad man, it still hurt to think about. Maybe Sherry did have babies, and they were dead-ded too, and that hurt Daddy's heart. "Okay, Daddy."
With a mental sigh of relief, Daniel put the kids on their feet, climbed to his own. He put the journal back in the drawer, then gently picked up the basket where Ethan continued to sleep, and carried it to the conversation room. He tucked the basket onto one of the chairs, then went back into the kitchen. "Okay, what shall we have?"
"Chick'n inch'lada's," Emily replied, bouncing beside him.
"Chick'n p'pie!" Nicholas yelled.
Daniel grinned. Each of them had favorites. Casey's casserole's were always a big hit. His personal favorite was her lasagna. He could eat his weight of that rich, cheesy dish. He didn't know what she did, but it was the best he'd ever tasted. Hell, it had warranted mention in a Time magazine article about them! There was a note on the refrigerator. He opened it and grinned. "Look what Mommy left for us!"
Emily looked. "Tater tots cass'role!"
Nicholas had to take a peek as well. "Ta' tots!"
He turned on the oven. Filled two cups with milk, put a sipper seal on one. Poured himself a cup of coffee. From the freshly brewed pot. Took the salad from the 'fridge and put some into bowls. She hadn't forgotten anything!
The casserole was in the oven, the kids munching away on salad when the doorbell rang. Jack and his daughters were standing there.
"Hey, Danny. I brought beer and cookies," Jack grinned, holding up a paper grocery bag.
With a grin in return, Daniel waved the man and the two little girls into the house. Good thing the casserole was one of the big ones! "I just put dinner in the oven. Come on and have some salad."
With all of the kids busy eating at the breakfast bar, Daniel and Jack stood and leaned against the kitchen counter as they ate. Filled glasses with more milk. Stopped a squabble between Nicholas and Amber over the green peppers that Evvie was meticulously taking out of her salad.
As luck would have it, and as normally happens when a baby is anywhere nearby, Ethan woke, demanding his dinner just as the timer for the casserole dinged. Jack took oven duty, and saw to it that the kids were given a share of the meaty, saucy dish. Daniel poured formula into a glass measuring cup to warm it in the microwave, changed a very wet diaper, then settled into a chair in the conversation room to feed his youngest son.
Twenty minutes later, Ethan was tucked into his carrier seat, sitting on the counter, watching the commotion around him.
"So how's it going with three of them?" Jack asked.
"To be honest, I don't know how Case does it. She gets all three of them fed and dressed before we leave for the base every morning," Daniel replied, taking a bite of his reheated dinner.
He grinned. "Yep. Every morning, every night."
"Damn, Space Monkey!"
Daniel shrugged. "I'm just lucky that she seems to be as…needy…as I am. I can't explain it, Jack. All I know is that I have to touch her, hold her, as often as I can."
"Think it has anything to do with those pheromones of hers?"
Again broad shoulders moved up and down. "I dunno. I suppose it could. I do know that I love her so much…sometimes I look at her, and I can't move, I can't think…I can't even breathe. Then she'll look over at me, and smile, and I swear to god I'm going to drop dead because my heart is beating so hard and fast," the young archaeologist admitted.
"I think that's called love, Danny," Jack said quietly, smiling at his best friend.
"Yeah, so I hear," Daniel replied, smiling shyly in return. "How are things at your house?"
"Noisy. Very noisy,' Jack said. "It seems that Amber has learned all the tricks to pestering Evvie, and does so with relish. Which sets Evvie off. Who then retaliates. Which sets Amber off. Which totally sets Sam off. Whoever said little girls were quiet and sweet never raised any."
He chuckled. "Nicholas teases Emmie, but they don't fight too often. Casey sat them down one day and talked to them. I wasn't here, Erin told me about it. I guess they had been bickering all day, and Casey'd had enough. Erin said she didn't know what Case said, but they haven't seemed to fight as much since. Nicholas still likes to follow Emmie around, just to irritate her, but she's learned that if she just ignores him, he gets bored and finds something else to do."
Jack grinned. "Wait until Ethan is older. They'll drive her nuts!"
"Maybe. Right now both kids seem to think he's the neatest thing we've brought home yet. Nicholas is so impressed he brought Wilbur into the house to meet Ethan. Erin said she heard him talking to someone, came into the room in time to see Wilbur licking Ethan's face and hands. Then he licked Nicholas. Dog got tossed out. Boys got bathed," Daniel said, chuckling again.
"Grandmothers just don't seem to understand the bonds between dogs and boys, I guess," Jack laughed.
"I guess not. Movie?"
Daniel put away the leftovers while Jack rinsed the plates clean and put them into the dishwasher. The men stopped and stared at one another when they realized what they were doing…and doing automatically.
"We are so whipped," Jack muttered.
"Trained," Daniel quipped.
The older man grinned. "Gotta love the perks, though!"
Chuckling, the men cleaned up the kids and the kitchen. Put on a movie that kept the little ones happy for over an hour. By the end of which time they were asleep. And the men were able to watch something more to their taste.
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