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When Two Hearts Collide

Chapter 4

Casey had curled up on the bed, and was asleep before Sam even closed the door. The major watched her for a few minutes. It had taken a hell of a lot of courage to do what she'd done. To blindly follow the advice, the warning of her…spirit guide; leave her home, drive halfway across the country; and then hope that the instructions she'd been given would get her where she needed to be. Sam had faced herself, thanks to the Quantum Mirror. She understood how mind boggling it could be. And she knew about the Stargate, and wormholes, and other planets and Goa'uld…this woman knew nothing of the sort. She shook her head slightly. This woman named Casey Webster was someone she'd like to get to know. She nodded at the SF who had accompanied her and their guest, leaving him to stand guard at the door. When the young woman awoke, he would alert her, and General Hammond as well.

Teal'c had greeted her on his way to the gym, so she knew that the meeting had been adjourned. She hurried down to Daniel's office. He was sitting at his desk, staring at the monitor of his computer, a frown on his face. "Can't figure it out?" she teased lightly.

"Huh?" He looked up, blinked twice. "Oh, no. To be honest, I wasn't even trying."

"What's wrong?"

"It can't be true," he said hoarsely, his voice just barely above a whisper.

"What can't be true?"

"How can a woman that beautiful be attracted to me? I mean, I'm no toad or anything…but, geez, Sam, you saw her! She could be a model, or an actress! How do we even know she's not? Women who look like that don't even notice geeks like me!"

Sam leaned against his desk. "First off, you're not a geek. You haven't been a geek since…well, for a long time now. I never thought you were a geek," she said gently. "You're a wonderful man Daniel; gentle, kind, smart, and you are good looking. Very good looking. You're sexy in this shy, quiet way. She'd be lucky to have you in her life."

"Your letter told you about her…and me?"

She nodded. "Yep."

His frown deepened. "There's always the possibility that this is one of the realities where she doesn't like me."

He sounded like a little boy, afraid he wouldn't make friends. "Daniel, I can't give you a one hundred percent guarantee that she's going to fall in love with you. I can't give you a guarantee that you're going to fall in love with her. But don't walk away from the chance. Don't let your fear of being hurt rob you of the opportunity to be happy."

"She's so damned beautiful," he whispered. And it wasn't his fear of being hurt that was all that was bothering him. There was the greater fear of her being hurt because of him.

"And you're damned good looking," Sam replied. "Don't sell yourself short."

"Not easy."

"Just try."

"Guess I should get back to work."

"Me, too. Talk to you later."

He watched his best friend leave the room. Held the letter that his…counterpart…had written. Hoped that what was in the cuneiform lines would be true for him. He shook himself mentally. Allowed that cold resolve to settle back into his heart. Tried to tell himself it was for the best. Forced his attention back to the images on the screen. SG-7 needed this translation. And he didn't need any…complications…in his life.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

General Hammond had spent two hours on the telephone. The president had been a friend of his; the two men had flown together over Vietnam. It hadn't been difficult to persuade him to allow this young woman to work at the SGC. His counterpart had given him just the…leverage…to accomplish the task. The president wanted proof of her psychic abilities before she was to be told anything about the Stargate or the Stargate Program. The general had been more than willing to agree to the terms.  He was fairly sure that if she didn't already know about the Stargate, she suspected. As soon as she was awake, he would see to it that she ate; from the rumbling of her stomach, it had been awhile since she had last done so. Then he wanted Dr. Fraiser to give her any 'standard' tests she could think of that would give them an idea of the scope of her psychic skills.

"General, do you have a minute?"

"Come in, Colonel," he said, waving the man in. "What can I do for you?"

"It's about P5X 729."

"Refresh my memory," the general said.

"Planet with lots of rocks and sand and possibly a big honkin' gun," Jack said. He'd re-read the report. Twice. The possibility of finding something to use against the snakes was a chance that should be taken, as far as he was concerned.

"And sandstorms, if I remember the briefing," General Hammond said.

"Yes, sir. It's just that with the proper clothing and equipment, we could still take a look around. Just a couple of hours, that's all I'm asking for."

The older man frowned. Like the colonel, the thought of a weapon that could aid them in the war against the Goa'uld was tempting. Another thought occurred to him. The ultimate test, so to speak. "We'll discuss it at 0800."

Jack grinned. "Yes, sir." He tossed off a sloppy salute, shoved his hands back into his pockets, and hurried out of the room before even being dismissed.

Hammond grinned and watched him go. Protocol at the SGC was relaxed most of the time; the intensity of the missions that were taken on, the fact that the two hundred people who were assigned to the secret project worked together closely, much more so than any other base, of any branch of the military, was no doubt responsible for the laid-back attitude. These people weren't just colleagues; they were friends…family. Proper respect for rank and authority was something that he demanded, however. Sometimes, though, it just wasn't worth getting pissy about.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

Daniel Jackson was hiding. Their visitor, one gorgeous blonde with beautiful green eyes, was awake; and Sam was going to take her to the commissary to get something to eat. She'd called him, and wanted him to meet them there. He couldn't do it. No way could he sit there with that incredibly beautiful woman. She'd see what a geek he really was. Women like her didn't give men like him the time of day! So, he was hiding. And Jack's office was the perfect place, because Jack rarely used it, and Sam would never think to look for him here.

He was sitting in the colonel's chair, feet up on the desk, hands behind his head. Daydreaming about big green eyes and full pink lips, and what lay beneath that rust-colored sweater and those faded blue jeans. God! He had to get a grip on himself! His throbbing cock agreed with him, twitched expectantly. How freaking sad, he thought. Jerking off was the closest he'd come to sex in…well, at least a year! He shifted, trying to find more room in his fatigues for his aching hard-on. When was the last time just looking at a woman, smelling her, could make him so damned hard? He was certain he'd never before looked at a woman and felt as if all of the air had been sucked out of the room, felt as if his heart was struggling to crawl out of his chest and straight into her slender hands. Which looked soft. Her neck was long and elegant and he could spend hours just licking and kissing…

Goddamn it!

Jumping to his feet, he wrapped his arms around his midsection as if trying to protect himself from the thoughts that ran rampant through his mind…images of her in his bed, holding him, touching him…loving him. He began to pace. What if the letter was right? What if she was his Destiny, and he was hers? What if they were meant to be together? He ran his hands through his hair. Yeah, what if we are, and the first time out on a mission she's taken hostage, and has a goddamned snake put inside her? He shuddered at the thought. Better to just leave well enough alone.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Daniel turned around and faced the intruder. "I'm hiding."

"Hiding?"

"From Sam."

"From Carter?"

"She wants me to meet her in the commissary."

"Carter does? Meet you? In the commissary."

"Jack, are you going to repeat everything I say?"

"I hadn't planned on it, no. Why does Carter want you to meet her in the commissary?"

"Because…well, she's awake."

"Ah."

"So you understand."

"Nope."

"Jack, I can't do it! I can't sit there with a woman that beautiful! I'll spill my coffee or something equally stupid and embarrassing."

"You sat right beside her in the briefing, and you didn't spill any coffee."

"Because I didn't drink any."

"You had a cup there."

"But I didn't drink it."

"You got coffee for Ms. Webster and didn’t spill it."

He stopped his furious pacing. He hadn't spilled it, had he?

"Daniel, I don’t know what your letter said. I do know that the…me…from the other reality was tickled pink that his best friend had found happiness. With an incredibly beautiful blonde seer with big green eyes."

"They're the most amazing eyes I've ever seen. Everything she thinks, everything she feels…that gentleness, her sweetness…it's all right there," Daniel sighed. He stood ramrod straight. "And I don't want her looking at me with her eyes full of pity for the poor geek, or…distaste…or dislike." His voice had gotten softer with each word.

"Won't happen."

"How do you know?"

"Just know."

"SG-1 to the briefing room."

"Saved by the intercom," Jack grinned. He put a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Don't be afraid to get to know her. To let her into your life. For all you know, Danny, she might need you as much as you need her," he said softly.

He nodded. "I'll…think about it," he said quietly. He followed his best friend to the briefing room.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

Sam glared at him when he finally walked in and dropped into his customary seat. Which he immediately wished he hadn't done. Because she…Ms. Casey Webster of the amazing green eyes…was sitting beside his teammate. Directly across from him. He did the only thing he could do. He refused to look at either of them.

She watched him studiously ignore her. How could he be her Destiny, and she his, if he wouldn't acknowledge her presence…couldn't even look at her? She knew she was a far cry from pretty…but geez, did he have to be so obvious about his disgust? She jerked when she realized that General Hammond had just asked her a question. "I'm sorry," she said softly.

The general smiled. "I was just asking if you'd be willing to return tomorrow for a few…tests, since it's now close to four-thirty. We'd like to see just how strong your psychic abilities are."

Tomorrow? Well, she'd slept in the car before, and if she could find a gas station that opened early enough, she could wash up in the rest room. It would have to do. "Sure."

"You say you left your car on the side of the road?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'll have someone take you to it. And you can show them this tree that you climbed. It will need to be removed," the general said with a smile, and a twinkle in his blue eyes.

She smiled. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. I believe this takes care of matters for now. Ms. Webster, I'll see you here at eight a.m.  Doctor Jackson, would you be willing-"

Daniel was already on his feet. "I have a translation that I have to finish…sir."

General Hammond frowned. "This won't take-"

"Very important, General." He was out the door before any more could be said.

"I'll be happy to take her, sir," Sam said.

"Very good, Major. Until tomorrow, Ms. Webster."

She tried to hide the hurt that she felt from Dr. Jackson's obvious…dislike…of her. Apparently this was one reality where she and Dr. Daniel Jackson would not live happily ever after.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A 

 

Sam led her through the corridors and hallways, past the security checkpoints, and eventually to the parking lot. She apologized for Daniel's behavior the entire time. And silently fumed at the man. She was going smack him upside the head as soon as she got back!

"Major Carter, it's all right. It's not like I'm anything special, and I know I'm not much to look at," Casey said quietly. She continued to push down the disappointment that had tears lurking just beneath the surface.

"Not much to-" she bit off her comment when she saw the misery that filled those green eyes. Someone had hurt this woman deeply, left her scarred and her self-confidence in tatters. And hearing that she was pretty from another woman wasn't what she needed. She needed to hear it from a man who meant it. From Daniel! "I disagree. I think you're very special, and I think you're a beautiful woman."

Casey shook her head.

"Did you take a good look at the woman who was waiting for you in front of the mirror?"

"I suppose so."

"What did you think of her?"

"Kinda skinny. But pretty."

Sam smiled. "You just described yourself, you know."

She stopped, examined this new twist in things. Shrugged slightly. "I guess. Maybe."

They had reached the battered little Toyota. Sam marveled that the thing had made it all the way from Tacoma. "Okay, when you come in tomorrow, just stop at the first gate. There will be a pass waiting for you. Then you find a place to park, wait for the bus like we did coming out, and show your pass to get on, and then again at the two check points."

Casey nodded. "Thanks."

"Anytime. See you tomorrow!" Sam took note of the tree, wrote down the mile marker so that General Hammond could see to its removal. She shook her head. Casey had to have been determined…climbing it couldn't have been easy!

She watched as the silver Volvo disappeared back down the road. Leaned against her car for a few minutes, trying to absorb all that had happened to her in the course of a few hours. "Well, Miss Eloise, it seems that you've struck a first. You were totally wrong about the Destiny and happiness thing." Refusing to give in to her tears, she crawled into the driver's seat. She needed to find a safe place to park for the night.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

Silver Springs was an attractive town, and when she stumbled upon Grant Park, she couldn't resist stopping. Even in the dead of winter, and early evening, the park was appealing. She walked along the brick pathways, took note of all of the flowerbeds, tucked beneath the blanket of snow. It must be beautiful in the spring, she thought. There were benches scattered along the walkway. She sat down on one. Shoved her hands into her coat pockets. Her fingers encountered the last of her money. She counted it carefully. Six dollars and twenty-nine cents. That wasn't going to last long! She'd have to see if she could get an advance on her pay…paycheck…job…oh hell! She needed to call Jan, and explain…how would she ever explain this? She'd remembered to leave a note for Kelley, but had completely forgotten about her job! Which she hated anyway. She'd have to rent a post office box, or maybe she could just have her last paycheck sent General Delivery. How the hell she was supposed to get her things from Tacoma to here she hadn't a clue. Except for her stereo and CD's, her candles and the clothes in the closet of the apartment, everything she owned, and everything from Grandma Rose, was packed and in storage. Well, she'd need some place to bring it to before she needed to worry about getting it here!

She glanced at her watch. Not quite five-thirty. And she was freezing again. She made her way back to her car. Drove around for a few minutes, just trying to warm up. Found a Piggly-Wiggly supermarket with a nice big parking lot, and nice bright lights. She went inside and wandered around for awhile, bought a bottle of water and an orange. Major Carter had taken her to the commissary, and she'd had a sandwich and a salad and a piece of cake. And coffee. God, she'd kill for a cup of coffee!

Back in her battered little car, Casey pushed the seat back, tried to get comfortable. It was going to get damned cold. Maybe she could slip inside the store once or twice to warm up. The sign claimed that it was open twenty-four hours.

She wrapped her arms around her waist. So damned cold! If she could just hang on for another hour, she'd go inside. Just for a few minutes. She let her head fall back against the headrest, tried to think about anything other than how cold she was. Or how brusquely Dr. Jackson had rejected her.


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