<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
When Two Hearts Collide
Jack was the first to open his eyes. He groaned, tried to sit up, pressed a hand to his head as it throbbed.
"O'Neill, are you uninjured?" Teal'c asked quietly, sitting up slowly.
"Did anybody get the number of that truck?" Jack groaned.
"Truck, sir?" Sam's voice asked weakly.
"Yeah, the one that hit me," he clarified.
"Must have hit me too," Daniel said quietly.
They sat up slowly. Looked around. The white room was softly lit. The cold marble slabs on which they had been laying were close enough to the floor for them to swing their legs over and stand up.
"Casey?" Daniel looked around frantically. Found her on a slab on the other side of Sam. He staggered toward her. "Wake up, Case," he said, his voice taking on an edge of panic.
"If this isn't a pizza induced nightmare, leave me alone," that soft voice grumped.
He grinned. "Sorry, babe. Have no idea what's going on."
"We died," Jack said, shaking his head slightly. The excruciating pain he'd felt moments earlier seemed to be fading.
Sam had already discovered that their gear, and their weapons, were sitting at the foot of each marble slab. She searched her pack for the small device that was based on Goa'uld technology, and gave readings based on energy levels. It wasn't working. Neither was her watch. It was possible that the high doses of radiation that they'd been exposed to had rendered the equipment useless. "I wonder how long we were there," she said softly.
"Well, obviously we're still dead," Jack said, motioning to their surroundings with one arm.
"That is not exactly true, Colonel O'Neill," a soft voice said. As if from nowhere a woman appeared, her face barely visible beneath the hood of her white robe. It was difficult to see her amid the sea of white around her.
"Oma Desala?" Daniel asked hesitantly.
The woman smiled. "Yes, Daniel."
"What's going on here?" Jack demanded to know.
The Being looked at Casey. "You are beginning to understand."
Casey frowned. "I am?"
Oma smiled. "Yes."
The poking that had been annoying her for nearly three days was almost unbearable. Her frown deepened as the pain increased. She pressed her palms to the sides of her head, cried out.
Daniel raced to her side, pulled her into his arms. Looked at the Being who stood watching. "Stop it! Please, you're hurting her!"
"Pain is only what the mind perceives it to be," Oma said.
"She hasn't done anything to deserve this," Daniel said, his agitation growing by the second. "God, hasn't she suffered enough? Stop it!"
Casey had nestled her head against Daniel's shoulder, breathed in his familiar masculine scent. Tried to focus on the…thought …that kept bouncing around in her head. "It's all right, Daniel, I'm starting to feel better."
"Those who seek, do not always find. Those who give all willingly, seek," Oma said.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Daniel, tell me you know what she's talking about."
"When the gift is given, it must be received." the Being continued.
Daniel was trying frantically to put meaning to the words, the phrases. Was coming up with a total blank. "I don't understand," he said softly.
"Hearts entwined, souls unseverable. The Separate become as One."
"Angel, you have to help me out here," he said, brushing the hair from her face.
"The four of you are as close as any human beings can get. Your hearts…" Casey murmured.
"Are entwined!" Daniel said excitedly. He turned to Oma. "That's what you mean…you're talking about us?"
The Being smiled benevolently.
Seeking…those who sacrificed willingly were seeking, but not all who were seeking would find …"What we seek, we'll find, because we made the ultimate sacrifice, willingly died to save those people," he said.
Again the Being known as Oma smiled.
"Gift…the gift has to be received…what gift?" he asked.
"The gift must be received."
"Shouldn't it also be accepted?" he asked. Within seconds the team was on the floor, unconscious.
A A A A A A
"Oy," Jack groaned, sitting up. Taking note that he didn't feel as bad this time. And that for some reason his knees had stopped hurting. One by one the rest of the team stood to their feet.
"Where are those who seek?"
The voice seemed to come from all around them, resonated in the air. Jack looked at Daniel. "What did…uh…he…say?"
"Asked where those who seek are," Daniel replied.
"Are we talking to…God?" Jack asked.
"I have no idea," Daniel murmured. "There are several planes of existence, each one a more…enlightened plane…if you will. I'm not sure that there's a single Entity that would fit the description of God. But I think that whoever is talking to us, is probably as close to…God…as we're ever gonna get."
"Danny - short, easy answers…yes…no…no idea," Jack grumped.
"Where are those who seek?"
Daniel stood up. Held Casey close to his side. Felt Teal'c move in to stand directly behind him. Jack was on the other side, Sam close to him. He took a deep breath, hoping that the 'language of the gods' would suffice. While he could understand what was being asked, he had no idea how to speak the odd dialect of Ancient. "We are those who seek, and we stand…um…here."
"I told him we're the ones who seek, and that we're here."
"Because I think that's why we're here."
"This is the test to…uh…get into heaven?" Jack asked. He knew that if it came down to brass tacks, there was no way he'd 'qualify' for the place with the Pearly Gates. He'd seen too much, done too much... too many dark things, to ever pass muster. He wasn't sure Teal'c would make it either. But Sam, and Casey, and Daniel - they were good and kind and young, and Daniel and Casey had suffered hell on Earth, they deserved to get the good place now.
"I have no idea."
"Step forward, into the light."
The room was already bright, but a blinding light appeared directly in front of them. Daniel stepped forward, taking Casey with him. Again his teammates closed in around him. Trusting him. Believing that he understood enough, would get them through whatever it was that they faced.
"Only once before has there been one worthy of being Chosen. Behold, The Chosen One."
The light became so intense around Daniel that he cried out from the heat, closed his eyes against light so bright that it was painful.
"Stop it!" Casey cried out.
"That's enough!" Jack yelled at almost the same time. "He's a good man, a damned good man. You need to pick on someone, you pick on me!"
"Worthy are those who walk the path with Him."
All five of the humans now writhed beneath a light all-consuming.
"Accept the Gift. It has been well earned."
A A A A A A
Walter Harriman and two other techs were running routine diagnostics on the control room equipment. Master Sergeant Siler was in the 'gate room, putting new light bulbs in two of the fixtures, also new, that had been destroyed when SG-7 had returned under heavy fire, and the staff blasts had knocked them out. The four people were left speechless when five simultaneous beams of light penetrated the room. Walter immediately sounded the alarm.
"Wow," Siler mumbled, staring down from the ladder at the unconscious forms of SG-1. "Better get a medical team in here!"
General Hammond raced into the room. Dropped to his knees to check the pulse of the body closest to him, Jack O'Neill. Couldn't hold back the grin that crossed his face. Carefully checked each one. Major Carter. Teal'c. Dr. Jackson. Casey Webster. "They're alive! Get a medical team in here stat!"
Janet ran into the room. Saw the bodies lying on the floor. "Get 'em onto the gurneys! Now, people, move it!"
By the time that the five members of SG-1 were in the infirmary, word was already spreading of the miraculous return of the luckiest team in the SGC. There was no doubt in any mind that once again the team had defeated the odds to walk away victorious. SG-1 was already legendary, and this would only add to that mystique.
The corridor leading to the infirmary was lined with SG team members, support staff, two teams who were on down time were waiting with their colleagues. Waiting for word about SG-1. It had been two hours, and still nothing had happened.
Janet had run every test she could think of. They were all breathing. All had normal brain function. But they were still unconscious, and she couldn't find a reason for it. Blood samples had been taken, she was waiting for the results.
"Doctor Fraiser, have any of them stirred at all?" General Hammond asked.
"No, sir. They're all fine. Just…unconscious," the diminutive doctor replied. She smiled when Cassie ran through the door. She'd called her daughter the minute she'd had a chance, letting her know that the people who were family to her had returned.
"That's her?" the teenager asked, staring at the beautiful woman in the bed beside Daniel's.
"Yes," Janet said softly.
"Wow. She's…she's gorgeous."
"Yes, she is. And she's as sweet, as kind, as she is pretty," the doctor informed her daughter.
Cassie considered this comment. But didn't reply. As far as she was concerned, that woman was her competition.
"Doctor Fraiser," one of the med lab techs came into the room, carrying the report from the blood toxicology tests. "We might need to run another test."
"What kind of test?"
Janet quickly scanned the report. "Do it," she whispered.
"Doctor?" Gen. Hammond asked nervously.
"Until I get a DNA match, I'm not admitting that these people are our SG-1," she replied shakily.
"Because their blood work is perfect. And it shouldn't be perfect." She glanced at Teal'c. She hadn't run as many tests on him, assuming that his symbiote was taking care of whatever was wrong with him, just as it always did. Junior did its thing while she took care of the rest of SG-1. Something about the way his stomach looked beneath his tee shirt…She lifted it, ready to check on Junior's status. And screamed. The opening for the pouch was gone. Smooth, warm, firm ebony muscle greeted her.
"Get a security team in here now!" the general ordered.
A A A A A A
Janet and the three techs exchanged shocked looks. "Let's run it again."
"Ma'am, we've already run the tests three times, and General Hammond is getting rather…unhappy…about the delays," one of the lieutenants said quietly.
She shook her head. The five people lying in the infirmary, still unconscious, were indeed Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Teal'c of Chulak, and Casey Webster. Their DNA matched exactly. Except that every…'flaw'…in the human genome had been corrected. They were not only perfectly healthy, according to these tests, aging had been stopped completely. Their immune systems were like nothing she had ever seen before. "You're right."
General Hammond was pacing just outside of the lab. Stopped and turned to face her when the doctor approached, her eyes wide with a mixture of fear and disbelief. "Well?"
"They're the real deal. And they're so healthy…" she broke off, shook her head. "Whatever happened to them has made them perfect. Physically, anyway. There are no signs of arthritis in Colonel O'Neill's knees, his back injury is…gone. The signs of carpal tunnel syndrome in Sam's hands and arms…gone. Daniel's allergies as well as the inflammation in the shoulder that bothered him is gone. I don't know what problems Casey might have had, I never had a chance to really examine her. I had her blood work and DNA samples on file, but that was as far as I had gotten. Anyway, she's in perfect health as well. All the signs of broken bones, gone. They don't even have scars. All of them had scars…but now their skin is perfectly unblemished."
The general stared at her. "What does this mean?"
"It means, sir, that whoever…saved…SG-1, did one hell of a good job fixing them up," the doctor replied.
"Why aren't they awake?"
"Doctor Fraiser, Colonel O'Neill is demanding to know why he's being held in the infirmary, Major Carter is insisting on seeing you as well. And Teal'c wants to know where Junior is," one of the nurses called, running down the hallway from the infirmary.
A A A A A A
"I feel fine!" Jack insisted, trying to pull away from Janet as she flashed her penlight in his eyes, took note of the reaction.
"No photosensitivity today, Colonel?" she asked calmly.
"Nope. Not today," he replied.
Casey was sitting on the bed, her legs pulled up, resting her cheek on her knee. Daniel was in the bed next to hers, scribbling away in the journal he'd managed to have one of the Airman bring in to him. She was watching him, wishing that the poking in her head would stop. It had been bothering her for days now. It was giving her a headache. She was Immortal now…they were all Immortal now. She wasn't supposed to get…Her head flew up. "Oh, hell!"
All eyes focused on the young blonde. Janet hurried to her side. "Casey?"
"Immortal!" she hissed.
Daniel sat upright on the bed. Teal'c, who had been lying on his bed, his hands on his stomach, confused as to where his symbiote had gone, and why his pouch was missing, sat up as well. Jack and Sam were on their feet, were standing at the foot of Casey's bed. "That was the gift!" Daniel declared.
"So…that whole glowy woman in the white room thing…wasn't a dream?" Jack asked.
"Nope," Daniel replied. "For some reason the Ascended intervened. We died, I know we died in that clean room. But…they…they must have taken us from there, repaired the damage-"
"I'll say," Janet muttered dryly.
"-and then," he looked at his teammates. "They must have decided we had 'earned' Immortality."
"They want you…us…to continue the fight…fight the battle…against…against evil," Casey said softly.
A slight frown on his face, Daniel crawled off of the bed, crossed the room, sorted through the various medical equipment until he found what he was looking for. He walked back to stand by Jack, a scalpel in his hand. He carefully cut his arm. The wound bled for several seconds, he was beginning to feel the 'sting' of the cut, when suddenly tiny blue-white sparks moved over his skin.
Janet grabbed a stack of gauze four-by-fours, wiped the blood from his skin. There was no wound, no sign that he had ever been cut.
Jack cut his arm, as did Sam, and Teal'c and Casey. The result was exactly the same. "Sweet!" Jack exclaimed.
Casey giggled. "This is really going to piss off the Goa'uld."
Daniel snickered. "I like the sound of that."
Sam shook her head. "We have to make sure they don't find out. Who knows what they would do to us if they knew."
Teal'c nodded his agreement. "It would be to our benefit to keep this…ability…from the enemy."
"Might be a good idea to keep the NID from finding out as well," Jack added.
"I agree, sir," Sam said.
Janet looked at each face. They had willingly sacrificed themselves for an entire planet. SG-1 had risked their lives again and again and again for one another, and for those oppressed by the Goa'uld. Those risks, that sacrifice, had been rewarded with the gift of Immortality. She couldn't think of another group that deserved it more.
Cassie came hesitantly into the room. "Is it okay to be here?" she asked softly.
The doctor smiled. "Of course it is."
Sam grinned. "Hi, kid," she said, holding her arms out.
The teenager returned the grin and hurried to hug the woman who was like a second mother to her. She tossed curious looks in Casey's direction.
"Cassie, you haven't met Casey yet, have you?" Sam asked, having seen the looks.
"Casey, this is Janet's daughter, Cassie," Sam said. "Cassie, this is Daniel's fiancée, Casey Webster." She'd been aware for some time that the teenage girl had a serious crush on the archaeologist. Some of the comments the girl had made worried her. She was afraid that Cassie was reading things into simple comments that Daniel made.
"It's nice to meet you, Cassie," Casey said, smiling and offering her hand.
She's so beautiful! Cassie thought. She glanced at Daniel. Nearly cried out at the look of love in his eyes as he looked…no…he was staring at the blonde. Her mouth hardened into a firm line. She stepped closer to Daniel. "I'm glad you're all right," she said softly. With a glance over her shoulder at the woman who was still on the bed, her cheeks a bit pale, her hand in her lap now, she slipped her arms around Daniel's waist.
Daniel frowned, even though he hugged her back. "You're being rude," he whispered.
Cassie's head flew up. Again she looked over her shoulder at Casey. It was now or never. Mind made up, she stood on her tiptoes, pressed her lips against Daniel's. She'd kissed a few boys from school, knew the basics, and tried to slip her tongue into his mouth. His reaction devastated her.
He gasped with surprise, felt her tongue try to move into his mouth. Daniel grabbed her by the arms, thrust her away from him. "Cassie!"
"Cassie, stop it!" Janet said at the same time.
"I know you love me," she whined, her eyes pleading with the man she loved.
"Yes, I do love you, Cassie. You're like…you're like a daughter to me," Daniel said gently. "I'm in love with Casey. I'm going to marry her."
The words cut deeper, hurt worse than his reaction to her kiss. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she whirled to face Casey. "I hate you! He loved me before you came! I hate you!" She ran from the room.
"Oh, hell," Casey whispered, her cheeks pale, her eyes wide.
Daniel hurried to her side, pulled her into his arms. "Don't do it, Case," he said softly, seeing the guilt that had settled in her eyes. "I had no idea she felt that way, or I would have done something, set things straight before now."
Janet and Sam had hurried after Cassie.
Jack stood staring at the door. "When the hell did all of…this…happen?"
The young archaeologist shook his head. "I have no idea."
"She's just a kid, for crying out loud! What does she know about love?" Jack asked, shaking his head.
"She's a young woman," Casey replied softly. "And young women know a great deal about love. They certainly fall in love, and they love deeply, with all of their hearts."
It was several minutes before Sam and Janet returned. Janet's eyes showed the signs of tears. "I'm so sorry, to both of you," Janet said.
"I should have said something," Sam berated herself. "I knew she had a crush on Daniel. I just didn't think it had gone this far."
"Would have been nice if you had told me," Daniel said. "I could have done something…said something to her."
Janet shook her head. "She wouldn't have listened. Right now, she's not listening to anyone."
"Where is she?" Casey asked.
"She's in the lab," Janet replied.
Before anyone could object, Casey had slipped away from Daniel and out the door.
She pushed the door open slowly. The young woman was sitting on the floor in the corner. It was obvious that she'd been crying, but the sobs had subsided for the moment. She sat down in the opposite corner.
"What do you want?" Cassie asked coldly.
"It's hard not to love him, isn't it?" Casey said softly. "He's so kind, and good looking…his eyes are so beautiful…and he has that sexy half-shy smile…"
The teenager frowned. "I don't think I've ever seen him smile like…that."
"Oh. It turns my knees to mush," Casey admitted.
"He loved me first."
"Yes, he did."
She started. Had expected to hear the same things that her mother and Sam had told her. That he didn't love her 'like that'. That she was 'too young'. That it was just a crush. It wasn’t! She loved him! "We would have been together if you hadn't come along!"
"Maybe. I don't know that he ever could have moved past the fact that you're Janet's daughter. I think Daniel would have felt as if he were betraying her trust to look at you…like that. To see you as the woman you are, and not the little girl you were when they found you."
Cassie frowned. She hadn't thought of that. "Daniel hates to hurt people, or let them down."
"I know. Which is what keeps him from doing or saying things sometimes. Even when it would be kinder. He should have talked to you before now, he should have seen how you felt." Casey pulled her legs up, rested her cheek against them. "It hurts to be rejected."
"How would you know?"
"I've been rejected all of my life," Casey replied so softly that Cassie could barely hear her. "Except for my Grandma Rose, when I was a kid, I had no one. Then…I fell in love. He was handsome…not as good looking as Daniel, but he was handsome. Brown hair. Hazel eyes. This crooked, bad boy kind of smile."
"What was his name?"
"Dean. Dean Colter. God, I loved him," Casey replied, sighing softly. "I…I'd never been to bed with a man, never really kissed a man…"
"My adoptive mother told me I was a slut…a whore. I thought if I just…avoided sex…then I couldn't be that. Even if she called me that, I'd know in my heart that I wasn't," Casey said truthfully.
Cassie thought about this for a moment. Couldn't even begin to imagine Janet saying such hateful things. "Why would she call you those names?"
"I don't know, Cassie. She never liked me. I have no idea why she and my adoptive father even bothered adopting me."
"So what happened with Dean?"
"He told me that I either went to bed with him, to prove my love, or he was leaving. I just…I tried, I really did…but when he started to undress me…I panicked. Ran out of the motel room. I never saw him again," Casey said.
"That is so cold! I mean, if you were scared, he should have waited!"
Casey smiled. "That's what my best friend told me."
"Were you…were you still a virgin when you met Daniel?"
"Yes, I was. And then, when I met him, I knew why I had waited. He's the only man who touched my heart, my soul. Before he touched my body. He was gentle and loving and kind, and he made the experience so beautiful, so…special. He's my Destiny, Cassie, and I'm his. I have never in my life been loved…been protected…been…wanted, like Daniel loves me, protects me…wants me. When he holds me in his arms, I feel safe and warm, and I've never felt that way before."
Cassie had grown up with so much love that she couldn't wrap her mind around the concept of not having it. "Wow," she said softly.
"So tell me about the guys you know," Casey said quietly.
"Well, there isn't anyone I feel about like I do Daniel," Cassie said immediately.
"I understand. Boys can be so immature."
"Oh, that is so true! Although Robert Anderson isn't an immature creep. He's a year older than me, he's a sophomore," she added.
"You're a freshman?"
Cassie nodded. "He talks to me all the time. We have a study hall together, and it's open seating, and he always tries to sit by me."
"Maybe he likes you," Casey suggested gently.
"I don't know. Dominic sort of freaked out when I went through that whole 'mind fire' thing. I don't know what he's told the other guys at school," Cassie admitted.
"Mind fire? Tell me about it."
Forty-five minutes later Janet opened the door to find the young blonde woman and her daughter giggling hysterically.
"…so then, he looks at me, and I'm dying like a thousand deaths because I'm so embarrassed," Casey was saying, "and says, so, should I bring a roll of TP the next time, so you don't have to steal it from the bathroom?"
Cassie squealed with laughter, rolling on her side. "That was really kind of sweet in a way," she managed to gasp, when she had stopped laughing.
"Yeah, it was. I was devastated when he decided that Becky Plummer was more 'his type'. She was his type," Casey added dryly, "because she put out like the town pump!"
"We have a Becky in our class who's the same way!" Cassie declared.
"You know, it seems that every Becky I've ever known was a real slut," Casey observed. "Wonder if it's the name?"
"I'll never name any of my daughters Becky, just in case," Cassie said.
"Good idea. No Becky's. Think we should avoid any derivatives as well?"
"Probably a good idea, to be on the safe side. That's what Mom always says," Cassie replied.
Janet grinned. "Do you think the two of you could join the rest of us for lunch, or is this a private conversation?"
"Actually, we're talking about men and boys and how totally oblivious they can be," Casey smiled.
"Mom, did you ever have a crush on a guy who didn't like you back? Or have your heart broken?"
Janet sat down on the floor beside her daughter, tugged slightly at her skirt. "Oh, boy, did I! There was this absolutely dreamy guy in my history class…"
When Sam poked her head into the room a few minutes later, she was drawn by the sound of laughter. And she too was pulled into the conversation of unrequited love. Another thirty minutes passed, until hunger drove them from the lab to the commissary. Where they continued talking, ignoring the looks of amusement when their peals of laughter filled the room.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>