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The Blonde, the Redhead and the Archaeologist(s)

Chapter 9

Casey smiled. "Okay, Stud Muffin, our turn."

Daniel grinned. "Anxious to get home?"

She glanced over her shoulder at him as she stepped toward the device, waiting for the 'gate to close so that they could 'dial' home on the stone keys. "No more than you are."

He slid is arms around her waist, nuzzled her cheek. "Wanna fool around?"

The giggle that erupted echoed softly around them. "Yeah, at home."

"Well shit!" a familiar feminine voice exclaimed.

The two standing by the device whirled to face the Stargate. Annika and Daniel were walking back down the steps, disappointment and bewilderment on their faces. "Something didn't work right," ADaniel said quietly.

"Apparently," CDaniel said slowly. He frowned, stared at the device. That just wasn't possible! How in the hell could the wormhole have brought them back to their point of entry? It had to be...

"The wormhole looped...it had to have looped," ADaniel said, his frown matching that of his counterpart. Both men were staring daggers at the device.

"I don't understand why it didn't work."

"Well, look on the bright side," Casey said, her voice strained with emotion at the unexpected turn of events, "at least you're not in another alternate reality."

"Not helpful," Annika grumbled.

For several tense minutes the four stared daggers at the stone device. The hope, the excitement that had filled them at the prospect of finally returning to their rightful place in the universe had been dashed.

"Now what?" Casey asked.

Both men were frowning at the device. Everything they had found in the text told them that the arrangement of the keys should have worked. Before either could comment, however, the wails of the sensors filled the air.

"I am so not in the mood for this shit right now!" Casey spat. She grabbed her P-90, stomped toward the doorway. When she stepped into the outer chamber, she felt a slight tingle. Which became painful. Everything around her began to blur. Well, she thought moodily, I'm alive in this freaking reality! The pain hit suddenly, and she let out a cry of anguish.

"Oh, hell!" CDaniel was running toward the door, determined to get his wife and return her to safety, forgetting for the moment that he would suffer the same fate as soon as he passed the inner chamber door.

Like his counterpart had done for him, ADaniel grabbed the man, held him back, every ounce of strength he possessed being called upon to restrain the man determined to get to His Chosen. "You'll kill yourself if you go out there! Annika, get her in here!"

Eyes wide, knowing that the four of them were well and truly trapped now, Annika made a snatching motion with her hand, and yanked the convulsing body back into the protection of the inner chamber.

CDaniel was at her side in an instant, pulling Casey into his arms, her body still shuddering with the after affects of the entropic cascade failure that had wreaked havoc on her. Worried fingers caressed her face. "Case?"

A soft moan let all know that she was alive. "That hurt like hell!"

He grinned. "Yeah, I know."

"We can't let them get in here," Annika said, watching the approach of Sha're and her band of thieves. They hadn't witnessed Casey's episode, and that was probably a good thing.

"I have an idea," ADaniel said. One look at his twin let him know that their thoughts were running along the same path.

"It's worth a try," CDaniel agreed softly.

ADaniel went to the doorway, stood in plain view of those encroaching the boundaries of the temple. "Sha're, there is nothing for you here. You must leave this place."

Annika bit her lip at the feeling of hope, of worry, that she felt through their bond. The trickle of...love...for the Abydonian woman was there as well. She struggled to ignore it. Daniel loved her. They were bonded together. No need to be jealous. Yeah, her heart said. So why does it hurt so damned badly?

CDaniel held Casey tightly in his arms. "Sha're," he called out, "Kasuf would be most disappointed in you."

The dark haired woman had stopped, her eyes wide. How did the man with the light hair know her name? And the voice from deep inside the inner chamber, the same voice, although it must have been another man, for the one in the door had not spoken the second time, how did he...it...know of her father? She took another step closer.

Certain that she was all right, Daniel helped Casey to sit up, then joined his counterpart in the doorway. "Why do you do this, Sha're?"

The two men were the same. They looked the same...their voices...the same...It was a trick. Just like the woman with the fiery hair had become a spirit, it was a trick. She would have the treasure that lay within that temple. It would save her people, it would make them all rich beyond their wildest dreams. She couldn't let fear stop her. She glanced at her brother. His eyes were wide, she could see the terror in them. "It is a trick. Do not be deceived, little brother," she whispered.

Skaara managed to nod his understanding. If it was a trick, it was a very good one!

On her feet now, Casey went to stand beside Daniel. Ached to reach for him. To know that he still belonged to her. That she still held his heart, his love.

He felt the warmth of her body beside him. He looked down, smiled at her, put his arm around her shoulders and drew her close to his side, felt her hesitation, knew the reason for it. "You're my Destiny, Casey. My Heart. And that's a forever thing, Angel."

She let the sound of his voice echoing in her mind comfort her, wrapped herself in the love that he sent, and responded by sending her love to him.

Annika's movements had mirrored those of the slender blonde, her own need for reassurance just as strong.

"My Angel," Daniel whispered, pulling her close. "Forever."

The band of thieves had moved closer. CDaniel flipped the safety off of his P-90. "Don't make us do it, Sha're," he whispered.


A   A   A   A   A   A


Jack was pacing the floor. Fifteen hours. Daniel and Casey had been missing for fifteen hours. It had been at least six hours before that redheaded ghost had shown up, Casey in tow, to tell them that they were trapped in another reality. Everyone on the base had been alerted to watch for the woman, to...escort...her to the briefing room immediately if she appeared again. So far, nothing. He hated feeling so helpless...so damned useless.

Sam stood at the window, her arms wrapped around her waist, staring at the Stargate, willing it to activate, and Daniel and Casey to step out of it. Until they returned, using the Ancient device was going to be impossible. They were still unable to dial out. Which left her feeling vulnerable. And helpless. There was nothing she could do to help her best friends. And that was the hardest thing of all to deal with.

Duncan was sitting at the head of the table, his arms crossed over his chest. He had spent way too damned many hours sitting in this room, just like this, waiting to hear from one team or another who had run into trouble. How often was it SG-1? At least twice as many times as any of the other teams. Of course, the other teams didn't pull the missions that SG-1 did. And every time Casey was involved, her life hanging in the balance, he fought an onslaught of emotions. And struggled with the knowledge that he could do nothing to bring her home safely.

Teal'c was sitting on the floor, cross-legged, meditating. All conscious thought was focused on the safe return of his friends. If will alone would bring them home, they would have walked through the 'gate and into the 'gate room hours ago.


A   A   A   A   A   A


Casey knew that it would tear Daniel apart if he had to shoot at the woman he had once loved. Okay, maybe that woman wasn't exactly the Sha're he had known and loved. But then again, she was. This Sha're was very much alive. And snake free. She shook herself mentally. She would cope with the emotional threat the woman posed later. Right now, the physical threat was more than enough to deal with.

The thieves continued to advance. Their sheer numbers would overpower the four of them rather quickly. Dying here was not an option! Casey took a deep breath. She was His Heart. She had to do what she had to do in order to protect him. She stepped in front of him, her weapon in her hands, and opened fire. Four of the young men to Sha're's left went down, screaming in pain, wounds on their legs bleeding profusely. "Tell her she's next, Daniel," she said calmly.

"Casey!" Daniel hissed, reaching for her. Winced when his hand was roughly shrugged away.

"Tell her, Daniel. I'll give her one last warning." The blonde Immortal's voice was cold, hard. Her heart was breaking, knowing that if he watched her kill Sha're, he would never forgive her. But at this point in time she had no choice. Those thieves would kill them, a hard truth whether either Daniel wanted to face it or not. And she really, really wanted to get home to her babies.

"Sha're, you will die if you do not leave here. Please, leave this place, never return," Daniel pleaded.

ADaniel watched, his heart in his throat. "There isn't anything here, Sha're," he said softly, knowing that she, and her companions, hoped to rob the temple of anything of value. "It's empty, except for a stone altar."

"You lie!" Sha're hissed. She held that wicked looking dagger in her hand, waving it menacingly back and forth. "I will have the treasure that you hide!"


A   A   A   A   A   A


General Hammond frowned. His mind wasn't on the report he was trying to read. He glanced into the briefing room. The members of SG-1 who hadn't been sucked into an alternate reality were waiting impatiently. He had heard Colonel O'Neill mumbling under his breath, ordering 'Casper' to appear and give them a sit-rep. He smiled. It was amazing how quickly they had come to depend on Annika Murdoch's special...talents. That she had been able to make it back to let them know what had happened was a miracle unto itself, he was certain.

Jack tapped the face of his watch, convinced the damned thing was broken. He’d swear the minute hand hadn’t moved since the last time he’d checked it. "For cryin’ out loud, what’s taking them so long? Shouldn't two Daniel's have been able to have that thing figured out by now?"

Sam smiled. "It depends." Jack’s growling was a welcome distraction from her rotating glares at the powerless Stargate and the clock on the wall. "If there are two of them, then they're twice as likely to get side-tracked by something they find immensely fascinating."

"Remind me to order him to keep his mind on the business at hand when he's on a mission," the colonel muttered. "And he...they...better not have touched some rock that made the whole thing worse!"

"Jack, when has that order ever been effective when dealing with Daniel, or Annika for that matter?"

"Yeah, well, this time I’m going to put my foot down." The team leader started circling the long table with taught long legged strides..

"It there were anything amiss, Annika Murdoch would have told us," Teal'c said quietly confident.

"Yeah, if she could get back here," Jack retorted. He stared at the Stargate. "Come on, Casper. Let us know something!"


A   A   A   A   A   A


A look at her lover’s twin and Annika wasn’t sure he could cope with watching the dark haired woman die, not again. Expecting the same look on her Daniel she was shocked to see a different set of emotions. She probed their bond. There was a protective determination pulsing back as he raised his P-90, and it made her heart guiltily soar that it wasn’t for the Abydonian woman. In that split second Annika laid to rest any lingering doubts that Daniel was still grieving for his first wife. Like he’d told her on Christmas Eve and again less than an hour ago, he’d made his peace with Sha’re when she died. If he had to kill this woman, though identical in thoughts and appearance to the woman he had loved, the reluctance he felt to do so was no different to any other life he’d been forced to take. Still, she couldn’t let Daniel make the kill shot, and having the other man do it was just as unacceptable. As for Casey…shit, she didn’t even want to go there…

Suddenly, Casey cocked her head sideways.

"Babe?" Something was coming 'through', hopefully something that would stop this entire freaking mess. He couldn't kill Sha're, and he sure as hell didn't want to watch Casey kill her!

"They're desperate, Daniel. They need money for food and water, and medicine. It seems that there's a man who controls the oasis. If they can't pay, then they do without. If she fails at this, her only choice..." she closed her eyes. A single tear made its way down her cheek. Daniel would risk himself to save the dark haired woman, there was no doubt about that. And she couldn't live without him! "She'll sell herself into slavery to that man."

Both men started at the words. "There has to be a way to help them," ADaniel muttered, his eyes moving around the inner chamber desperately. The few statuettes by the far wall weren't going to be worth enough to buy much, if anything.

Annika and Casey looked at each other. "The ship!" they said in unison.

"Daniel, tell Sha're there's a crashed Goa'uld ship a few miles...that way," Casey said excitedly, pointing in the direction where the ha'tak she and Annika had sabotaged had crashed. "There has to be something there that would help them. Maybe even give them the upper hand. Like working staff weapons."

With a grin, Daniel crushed his wife against his chest, planted a kiss in the middle of her forehead. He glanced to where Sha're was now standing. The tribal woman was trembling visibly. He carefully explained about the ship. Told her to hurry before other scavengers could take what was valuable and escape across the desert.

Do it, Annika thought, her fingers wrapped in Daniel's. Go, now, hurry!

"Go, Sha're," ADaniel said softly. "Take Skaara and Nabeth and Porro and hurry."

Several young men inched forward slowly, grabbed the arms of their wounded, dragged them outside. Sha're watched them, nodded at them, giving them permission to flee. If what these...strangers...said was true..."How do I know you speak the truth?"

ADaniel shook his head. "She always was stubborn as hell."

"Always had to see for herself," CDaniel muttered.

"Then let her see," Annika said.

"What?" the two men said in stereo.

Annika watched in horror as Casey raised her weapon. If she took that shot, it would put a wedge between Casey and her Daniel that might never be breached. And they needed each other! Although she didn't understand it, each had an impressive...power. But together...the light that had shone from them as Daniel had sent that stream of light into the device had been blinding, and there had been a rainbow that surrounded them. She had never seen anything like it before in her life! Couldn’t let that power be jeopardized… She flicked out a hand, and tossed the advancing Abydonian woman unceremoniously onto her ass. Picked her up and threw completely out of the outer chamber, and into the sand. For good measure she latched onto the long dagger, embedding it to the hilt into the wall. She could keep that trick up all day if need be and the important thing was that nobody had to fire their guns.

Shaking, Casey lowered her gun. Her eyes never left Sha're. She pointedly refused to look at or acknowledge the presence of her companions. She had one thought, and only one thought on her mind...protect Him. No matter the cost, He had to be protected. He had to get Annika and her Daniel back to their own reality. He had to...they...had to return to theirs. He was The Chosen, and his work wasn't finished, not by a long shot.

"Let her come in here and see that there isn't anything to take," the redhead said.

The Daniels looked at one another. "It might be the only way to prove that we're telling the truth," CDaniel admitted.

"It will at least get her away from here, so there isn't any chance of her messing with that thing," ADaniel added, nodding at the device.

"We need to destroy it," Casey said softly.

CDaniel nodded. "I agree. Or this could happen again, and those...sucked through...might not have the advantage of seers and the ability to read archaic Ancient."

"Come look for yourself, see that there isn't anything to take," ADaniel said gently.

Sha're hesitated, her eyes flickering from the redhead to the blonde and back again. Neither woman liked her, she could sense that.

"It's all right, you won't be harmed, I give you my word," CDaniel said, smiling at her.

Her heart fluttered beneath her breast. Never had she seen eyes so blue! His smile was warm, and made his face most pleasing. Another glance at the two women had her forcing thoughts of soft kisses and tender caresses from her mind. She had no choice. If what these two men, who looked like the same man, and the powerful witches with them said was true...if she could find weapons, and perhaps food and water...if this...ship...was large enough, perhaps the entire tribe could take shelter in it...the days of sandstorms were quickly approaching. She took a deep breath, and stepped forward. She concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, her eyes moving from one pair of blue eyes to the other, seeing only kindness.

When she was close enough, he could smell the sweet aroma of the bathing oil she always used. He wasn't even aware of taking a deep breath, the scent familiar, and raising memories long buried to the forefront of his mind.

Casey watched him, watched his eyes. Flinched visibly at the love that had flashed there for just a brief second.

CDaniel smiled at Sha're, unaware of the love that had flickered in his eyes. Memories danced through his mind; meeting her for the first time...the night they had spent talking, when she had been given to him. The way she smiled at him. The way she laughed at him each time he tried to do a simple task. The way she felt in his arms...

Annika had also seen the love on both men’s faces, but identified it as a love of a memory. A happy remembrance of what had been, not something she need fear now. She wondered if Casey realized this too. A glance at the blonde's shuttered face and she knew that that distinction had not been made. And Annika telling her wouldn’t help. It was something that Casey had to see for herself to believe.

Sha're was puzzled. The blue eyes of the men had filled with love, one more than the other, yet their eyes reflected deep affection, as if...as if they knew her. As if she was somehow significant in their lives. But that was not possible. She had never seen them before. By now she was at the door of the inner chamber. She glanced around. Both women had retreated, were standing together near an altar of stone. She could see bags of personal belongings. But nothing else. "There is nothing?"

"Nothing," ADaniel confirmed softly.

With a sharp nod of her head, content that the words the men spoke, all of their words, were truth, she turned away. Only to have the redhead spirit woman call her back.


There was a brief conversation with one of the men, she didn’t understand the words, yet it was clear the woman wanted him to translate what she said. Those blue eyes were startled, but his voice echoed out to her.

"We’re providing you with the means to fight the tyrant of the oasis, we ask that you do something for us."

Sha’re’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. What could she do that these people with their mystical powers could not?

"If you find a man with the color of our skin and brown eyes, ravaged by lack of food, wandering the sands, take him in and when he is strong enough take him to the Chappa’ai."

The Abydonian woman frowned. It was a truly odd request, but if the downed ship did exist, then Sha’re and her people would indeed be in their debt. It was a small price to pay. She considered how the redhead with the violet eyes had magically bounced her around like a ball, and hid a shudder. "If the ship is as you say, I give you my word that we shall care for this man should we cross paths." Sha’re didn’t need the man’s translation to know the meaning of the two words that came out the woman’s lips.

"Thank you."

She gave a nod of farewell and hurried back to gather her companions. They had a lot of walking to do before the twin suns rose in the sky again.

CDaniel sagged with relief as he watched this reality's Sha're walk away. Her head was held high, her back was straight. She was in total control of her emotions. And determined as hell to find that ship. He turned around. Was confronted by green eyes full of fear... accusation...deep hurt. "Casey..." he started, cringed when she turned away from him, but not before he caught the glimmer of tears. Glanced at the other Daniel. "What the fuck did I just do?"

"You gave Sha're a chance to survive," ADaniel replied quietly.

"And broke my Wife's heart at the same time." He was desperately searching his memory of the preceding moments, trying to determine what he had said or done that had hurt Casey so deeply, that would put such pain in those amazing green eyes.

Casey had moved away, waving off Annika's attempts to comfort her. The demons were her own to battle, and battle them she must. Alone, this time. Daniel's love for Sha're was too close to the surface, he was still moving through those memories, holding them, treasuring them. She pushed her shoulders against the adjoining walls in a far corner, slid to the floor, pulled her knees to her chin, rested her cheek on them. When she closed her eyes, she could see those beautiful blue eyes as they filled with love...for Sha're.

She took a deep breath. Wandered that sunny meadow for a few moments. It had been a long time since she had come to this place alone. She glanced at the shadows that clung to the forest that surrounded her. Could she find solace there, or would she become lost, unable to find her way back? The only thing that kept her feet from running toward the tall pines was the thought of her babies. She couldn't...she wouldn't abandon them!

Suddenly Daniel was striding toward her. Damn it! She hadn't blocked him! She had been so hurt...so...confused that she had neglected to shut herself off from him.

She turned her back on him, not willing to let him see her tears.

Oh, she's pissed, he thought, approaching her slowly, mistaking her action for one of anger, rather than the pain that was the true cause. "I love you, Angel. Only you, always you, forever," he said softly.

"No, Daniel, not only me," she replied.


A   A   A   A   A   A


In the chamber, Daniel and Annika watched as Daniel sat in front of Casey. Their eyes were closed, and his hands reached for hers, wrapped around her slender fingers. The young redhead knew instinctively that Casey's Daniel had one chance to make the slender blonde understand...to see reason, before she closed herself off from him...forever. She leaned back into the comforting embrace of the love of her life, eternally grateful that her own insecurities had been banished.

"Are you okay?" Daniel asked softly, not wanting to disturb the other couple. "No…um…doubts?" Annika and Casey were such similar souls…he couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her violet eyes filled with the anguish reflected in the other woman’s.

Annika tilted her head, placing a tender kiss to the base of his neck. "No, doubts."

"You’re sure?"

He could feel her smile against his skin. "Can’t you tell?"

There was a gentle tickle through their bond, but she didn’t send her emotions to him. Instead, she opened herself fully letting him delve into her heart, knowing he needed to find the reassurance for himself.

Daniel tightened his hold around her, content that the demon of Sha’re’s memory would not cause a rift between Annika and himself, not now, not ever. He cast a worried glance at his double. "I hope they can work it out."

Annika sighed, "Me too."

"Who was the man you asked Sha’re to care for?" He had a pretty good idea of what her answer would be from the description he relayed and the hitch of pain that had been in her voice.


It was barely a whisper and her body trembled within his arms. It told him all he needed to know and he searched for a way to relieve the tension. "Our Jack is back at the SGC, annoying the shit out of Sam and everyone else with his grumbling about errant archaeologists and psychics."

Annika giggled and relaxed against him. "He’s probably going to blame us for missing the new Simpsons episode."

"Undoubtedly," Daniel chuckled. "You’d think after all these years he’d have learned to preprogram his VCR. It’s not like this sort of thing is an uncommon occurrence."

"Well, you know Jack and his aptitude with electronic gizmos."

"He’s had a video recorder since before I met him," Daniel felt obliged to mention.

"And your point is what exactly?" Annika raised an innocent eyebrow.

A snort of laughter escaped. "When we get back, we’ll give him a few lessons."

With a shared smile, the couple waited for Daniel and Casey to come back to them from the astral plane. Though talk of home had made them anxious to work out the final mystery of the ancient device, they understood that the pair needed to sort out their private issue first.


A   A   A   A   A   A


"Only you," Daniel repeated firmly. "I won't deny that seeing that woman...that Sha're, brought back memories of my first wife. But she wasn't my Sha're. She died long before I met you, Case. Left me alone, filled with so much pain and darkness that I never thought I'd be able to feel anything again. Until you came. Filled my heart, my life, with your love, with your sunshine. I love you, only you, always and forever," he said softly.

"I'm acting like an idiot," she said, hastily wiping her cheeks.

He smiled. "You're acting like a woman in love. I have to admit, it's a boost to my ego to know that you love me so much that the ghost of my first wife bothers you." He frowned. "That didn't come out the way I intended for it to."

She turned to face him. Smiled shyly. "I know what you mean."

"Good. Because when I'm with you, words fail me. I can't think, I can't breath, all I can do is feel when I'm near you...with you. Words haven't been created to describe the way I feel...the wonder of the emotions that flood my heart when I'm with you. I love you so much, Angel, and I don' t know how to tell you, what to do to prove to you that no woman, not even Sha're, is a threat. You're my Heart, Angel. You fill me with so much love, and life, and laughter. I can't wait to get home, so I can hold you, show you how much I need you." He reached for her, pulled her into his embrace.

"You have the soul of a poet, you know that, don't you?" she asked, his beautiful words reaching her, calming her, soothing the ache that had filled her heart.

"So you say," he smiled. "Come on, Angel, we need..." he broke off suddenly.


"Oh, god, how stupid could I be?" he muttered. He wreathed her face with his hands. Kissed her gently. "We saw the keys in the position they were in when we arrived."

"I know, for all the good it did."

"Babe, think 'gate address. You dial where you want to go. Not where you are."

Her eyes widened. "Can you find the right sequence?"

"It shouldn't be too hard. The entire thing is actually fairly easy." He pulled her close, ran his hand up and down her back. "I love you. Don't doubt it. Don't ever doubt it."

"It's not easy, sometimes," she admitted. Her insecurities ran deep. Scars left on her heart and soul by the woman who had raised her. The darkest of the memories were... subdued, the darkness pushed back and powerless. But the scars, those would take much longer to conquer.

He closed his eyes. He had battered her heart so often, he though morosely. Her fears, her doubts about his love were his own damned fault. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

"You have nothing to be sorry for," she whispered in reply.

He struggled to find the words, gave up with a small smile. For a linguist, he was pretty damned bad at communicating...especially when it came to her. "I love you," he murmured, just before his lips descended on hers, pouring his love into the movement of his tongue against hers.


A   A   A   A   A   A


ADaniel had been staring at the device. Why hadn't the damned thing worked? They had the precise order that the stone keys had been arranged in on their arrival...he groaned. How freaking stupid could they have been?

"Daniel?" Annika asked, frowning at the flood of frustration she had felt from him.

"We 'dialed' ourselves right back here!" he muttered.

Casey and her Daniel opened their eyes. "Backwards," CDaniel said immediately.

"Huh?" Annika asked, totally confused.

ADaniel nodded. "It makes sense."

CDaniel was on his feet, the two men hurrying across the room toward the stone device. "Let's see what happens if we 'dial' in reverse."

"Should send us back to where we came from," ADaniel agreed.

Casey scurried to her pack. Pulled out two bricks of C-4. She had learned that the explosive was useful at the oddest times. She hadn't understood why she thought she needed it when she had packed her knapsack, but she was damned glad now that she had listened to herself!

"Do you always carry that stuff?" Annika asked, recognizing the plastic explosives.

"Only when I tell myself to," Casey replied with a smile.

"Um...are you...is everything okay?" the young redhead asked, her eyes flickering to where the two men stood carefully adjusting the stone 'keys'.

"It's fine. Though how Daniel keeps from going bonkers dealing with me and my...insecurities...amazes me."

Annika said nothing, although she smiled at her friend. Understood where some of those 'insecurities' rose from. She had seen the devastation Casey had felt when Daniel had cheated on her. Well, she frowned mentally, sort of cheated on her. His heart had never been involved, she had sensed that. It had been a physical act, nothing more...but still. She shivered. With the bond she shared with her Daniel, even that would be absolutely dreadful to endure.

"I think we have it," CDaniel announced. "Ready to try again?"

"It will work this time," ADaniel said confidently. "Come on, My Angel. Let's go home."

Casey stepped behind her husband. Put her hands on his waist. "Remember, don't blow the damned thing up."

He grinned, twisted and dropped a kiss on the tip of her nose. "Got it. Send me your Fire, Angel."

For the second time the other couple watched in awe as Daniel lifted his hand and sent a steady stream of energy into the stone device. Once again the symbols began to glow, and the Stargate came to life.

Annika looked at Casey. "We never did find out who that bitch was," she grinned.

"Purple People Eater," Casey intoned, referring to the gaudy purple cape the Goa'uld had worn.

"In dire need of some fashion advice," Annika giggled.

"Very much so!" Casey's eyes flickered to her husband, and then to his twin. Made the decision in an instant. "You...well, the Daniel of this reality, is still teaching in Chicago. I guess Doctor Langford was able to decipher enough to open the 'gate. But I don't think they understand what they have," she said softly. "Sam must have been brought into the project at the beginning. She and Jack..." her voice caught, she turned her head.

"Something must have gone horribly wrong," Annika said softly, picking up the narrative. "We...we couldn't leave her like that, with a snake in her head..."

Both men had paled drastically as they listened to what their wives had learned of the reality they were standing in.

"Casey made certain that snake couldn't infest anyone else," Annika reported.

"Annika freed Jack while I was looking for you," Casey added. "We don't know if he made it to the escape pods in time."

"Freed?" CDaniel croaked. Well, that clarified Annika’s cryptic request to Sha’re. At the time he’d been more concerned about Casey than worried about an explanation.

"He was a slave," Casey said softly. "More dead than alive."

"Oh, god!" he muttered. ADaniel had paled even further beside him. "This is one fucked up place!"

"Let's get out of here," ADaniel hissed. He gathered his pack, handed Annika's to her, wrapped his fingers around hers. Led her toward the 'gate. "Will you two be all right?"

CDaniel smiled, pulled Casey close to his side, his arm around her shoulders. "We'll be just fine." He had seen the explosives that she had laid on the floor beside the device. "We'll set the timer for an hour, just in case. If we wind up back here, we can disable the detonator

ADaniel nodded. "It will work," he said confidently.

Annika paused before the shimmering mass and turned back with a grin. "No offence, but I hope I never see either of you again."

"The feeling’s mutual," Casey giggled.

With a wave, they took a deep breath, and with their hands clasped together, disappeared into the event horizon.

The two who remained stared at the shimmering circle, hearts pounding with anticipation, and trepidation. If the other couple re-emerged, then hope for escape would be totally destroyed. There were no other 'variables' to try. They didn't dare risk 'dialing' at random, they could wind up anywhere!

Five minutes passed. Then ten. Casey gave a sigh of relief when the event horizon collapsed, and the 'gate hissed to a close. "They made it," she said softly.

"You're sure?"

She closed her eyes. Reached out, tried to move past the barriers that prevented her from seeing clearly. Finally shook her head. "As sure as I can be."

"Okay, Angel, let's get this reset." Daniel turned back to the device. Pushed and adjusted the 'keys' until they were 'backwards' from what they had been when he and Casey had been flung into the room. "Ready?"

She smiled up at him, her hands going to his waist. "Ready. It won't need much," she said softly.

He nodded his understanding. For the final time he sent energy into the Ancient device. Watched the inner ring of the 'gate begin to spin. "Set the C-4," he said quietly.

With a nod, she pressed the putty like explosives against the base of the stone device on two sides, pushed the detonators into place. Set the timer for sixty minutes. "Done." For a moment her vision blurred, and an unseen force had slender fingers resetting the device, altering the timer from one hour to twenty-four. With a shake of her head, the blonde rose, totally unaware that she had once again been used as a conduit, the Ascended of this reality using her in the same manner as those of her own reality were wont to do.

The 'gate opened with its customary splendor. Casey pulled her pack onto her shoulders. Gave one last look around the temple. It was almost a shame to destroy the beautiful walls...there was no doubt that the explosion of the C-4 would send the stone flying in all directions, and the text and glyphs on the walls would be marred forever. The Ancients never should have built the damned thing, she thought briefly.

"Ready to go home, babe?" he asked softly.

"Oh, yeah!" she smiled. She let him lock his fingers around hers. Together they walked up the steps, and into the event horizon.

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