Little Victories

Daughter of the Gods: Little Victories
Lisa Beth Darling

Chapter One

You know you can’t fool me
I’ve been lovin’ you too long

Lost in Love
Air Supply

In the small hours of a late October day, everything was still and quiet on Mockingbird Lane. Daniel Jackson slipped his key into the lock and entered the dark house. Punching in the code to disarm and then rearm the alarm system, he began creeping around the first floor like a mouse, stopping to remove his boots and lay his pack on the couch. Making his way up the stairs to the bedroom he shared with Calla, Daniel Jackson found his wife firmly in the arms of another man.

“Hey,” Daniel whispered as he knelt by the bed.

Nicholas’ eyes rolled open and his thumb popped out of his mouth, his widened with recognition. “Daddy!” He cried.

“Shhh,” Daniel held his finger to his lips, “don’t wake mommy.”

Nicholas wrapped his arms around his father’s neck and gave him a big squeeze. “Mommy will be happy when she wakes up.” His little boy’s voice whispered. The boy felt himself being lifted from the bed by the strong loving arms of his daddy.

“I’ll take you back to bed,” Daniel whispered, “did you have a bad dream? Is that why you’re sleeping with mommy?”

Nicholas rubbed his sleepy happy eyes. “Nah, mommy did.” His heavy head lay down on Daniel’s shoulder.

With one hand, Daniel opened the door to the twins’ room; the light from the hallway woke Colleen. “Nicky, shut that off.” She complained as she rubbed her eyes and tossed the covers back. “Oh, Daddy!” The little girl cried, climbing out of the bed and running over to him.

“Hey,” Daniel hugged her tight. “We have….”

“Gotta be quiet”, Nicholas said in a hushed voice with a stern face, “mommy’s s’eeping.” Wiggling down under the covers he gave his dad another hug. “Did ya bring us anything?”

“Maybe,” Daniel teased. He always brought something home for them when he’d been gone an extent time. This mission he’d been gone just over two weeks. It was always nice to come home to their happy faces. “You’ll have to wait until morning. Go back to sleep, both of you.” He turned around and tucked his daughter back into her bed.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, my little princess?” Daniel asked as he brought the covers up to her chin, it was chilly tonight.

“When can I have my own room?”

The Age Old Question, he remembered asking it to his parents on several occasions. Unlike him and David, these two were brother and sister and the older they got the more important separate rooms became. While they were three, according to human years, they looked and acted much older. Mentally and physically, the doctors put them at five. “I don’t know, pumpkin. I’ll talk to mommy about it.”

Leaving the room, he closed the door and shut out the hallway light as he made his way down the bathroom. Daniel stripped off the uniform and tossed the dirty clothes into the hamper, then jumped in for a quick shower. He didn’t want to crawl into bed next to Calla smelling like this, he hadn’t had a good washing since he left. The water hot, he reached up and turned the dial on the shower head to massage and stood under the blessedly warm jets letting them pound away on his aching muscles. A few moments later, the soil and sweat washed from him, Daniel wrapped a towel around his waist and made his way the rest of the way down the hall to where his wife was sleeping.

Locking the door behind him, Daniel dropped the towel, slid the covers back and eased into bed next to her. In her sleep, Calla sensed his weight and his warmth she moved toward it. At first it seemed part of her dream, the soft hands sliding up and down her back. Soft kisses at the top of her head. The smooth warm skin beneath her cheek.

“Oh,” Realizing it was no dream and someone was in the bed with her, Calla was startled to wakefulness.

“It’s all right, it’s me.” Daniel whispered in the dark, his arms flexing instantly with her anticipated jolt and keeping her next to him. “I’m home.”

“Daniel. You’re early.” She cooed and laid her head back down to listen to his heart beat. “I missed you.” Calla’s body curled around him and then melted into his side.

“I missed you too.” His fingers continued to roam the back of the shirt she was wearing. If he didn’t miss his guess, she had one of his old flannel shirts and little else. A slender and bare leg found its way over his.

“You’re naked,” she remarked in the dark.

“I am. That means you’re overdressed.” Daniel began to tug lightly at the shirt.

“Daniel,” she said light, “Nicky’s….”

“In bed.” His voice was soft as he rolled her over onto her back… “I kissed my kids,” one button came undone. “Took a shower,” another button out of the way. “I even locked the bedroom door.” One more button gone. She hated the thought of the kids walking in on them and always insisted that the door be locked.

“You did all of that?” There was tantalizing warmth to her voice.

“I did.” The last button slid free of its hole and the shirt parted.

“You’re a very good Daddy.” Around him the dozen or so scented candles Calla kept in the bedroom sprang to life. “Hello, beautiful.” She whispered to her husband as his face came into view, Calla reached out to touch his bare skin.

“You took the words right out of my mouth.” Daniel stared down at her with want in his eyes. “I love it when you do that.” He looked around at the softly burning candles. “It means you want me.”

“Always.” She sighed.

To his ears that sigh sounded just a little tired, a little sad and perhaps a little frustrated. “What’s wrong? Too tired? Nicky said you had a bad dream.”

Calla let out a huff of air as she looked down at him. “They’re horrible.” She said with a frown and wrinkled nose. “They never listen to me.”

“Oh, poor Kitty,” Daniel eased himself toward her. Kitty, it was a term of endearment that she both loved and hated. After their trip to find Ares’ crown and scepter, she had told him that she thought it ridiculous that her Father was a ferocious and wild wolf, her mother a grand and beautiful owl, and she was domesticated house cat. Daniel thought she felt let down by that but, still, he thought it was a perfect fit—not only because of the way she loved to be stroked, but she was a bit sneaky, a little aloof and very good at keeping secrets. Because of all that he often called her ‘Kitty’ when they were alone here in their bedroom, but didn’t dare try to get away with it in public. “My kitty’s fur is all ruffled.” He soothed. “What did they do this time?” When he was away, his children had the habit of running their mother ragged.

Wrapping her arms around his back, Calla pulled herself upward to nuzzle her head against his chest. “They’re always bickering, arguing, fighting.” Her hair tussled against his skin as she shook her head. She pulled away from him to look up at him with a stern eye. “They steal things from each other!” Now she flopped backward out of despair. “Always pushing, shoving, marking on the walls…” Calla’s hands reached up to the sides of her own head and she began to tugging at her hair. “They gang up on me!”

“Stop, stop, breathe, Kitty.” Daniel said in a soft voice as he took her hands away. “We’ve been over this.”

“It doesn’t make any sense!” She cried out and beat her fists against the mattress, Daniel laughed. “I must be a terrible mother to have my children behave this way.”

“You’re a great mother; you just don’t have any experience with kids.” Daniel reached out and traced her cheek with his fingers. “Your only brother,” her eyes flashed anger, “we won’t say his name,” he added quickly. Long ago, Calla had banished Eros’ name from her presence. She believed that, even dead, if you said someone’s name enough times it gave them power, she was afraid he would come back again one day. “He was four thousand years older than you. You didn’t have any friends your age when you were growing up. You didn’t have any other children to raise.”

“I know all of that. I’ve read all of the books.” Calla sat up in the bed and tossed her hair over her shoulder. Daniel reached out and caught her hand.

“You cut it.” He stammered with disbelief in his eyes. Here it was, plain as day, the hair which once slid down her waist to wisp about that area between her legs which was so completely smooth, was now barely covering her breasts. He did so love to play with it when his face was buried between those thighs of hers. “Why? Did you really cut it?” His fingers played with the ends of her shortened tresses. “Can you put it back?”

“If you want me to,” she sighed, “yes, I really cut it. Nicholas is always reaching up behind me and pulling on it to get my attention.” Calla huffed and drew her hair into her hand. “It’s annoying. I thought that if it was out of his reach, then at least, perhaps, my neck wouldn’t hurt so much from him yanking on it.”

“You let them get away with too much.” Daniel chided while his brow wrinkled while he held on to that handful of soft auburn hair. “You’re the mom that means that you don’t let your son get away with pulling your hair, you make him stop. You’re in charge here, Kitty, not the other way around.” Her hair wasn’t too bad; by anyone else’s standards it was still long and beautiful. To him she might as well have cut it into a ‘Dorothy Hamill’. “I know they fight, but they don’t mean it, they’re not going to really hurt each other. If they did, they would be very upset. They’re siblings, Kitty, that’s how siblings behave especially twins.”

“It scares me.” She admitted and curled up on his side. “When they argue, they seem so serious and so angry and…..” her voice trailed off.

And it reminded her of less happier times when someone else was seriously angry and yelling. Being In Charge was not a concept with which she was very comfortable. She could be In Charge; he knew that as well as he knew his own name. However, like her lovely little daughter, Calla preferred to allow others to make the big decisions and do whatever work may be involved that she found distasteful. As a result, just about every time he was away for an extended period, the twins rode rough-shot over her.

“It’s normal.” His arms wrapped around her in the dark, her body sank against him. “It’s just gonna get worse as they get older.”

“So you keep telling me.” Calla sighed and began to dance her fingertips across the bare skin of his chest. “I know you’re right, the books all say you’re right. You told me that one day I would regret this but I didn’t believe you.”

Yes, he had told her that there would be days when she was pulling her hair out (like now) wondering how she’d ever gotten herself into this (like now) and trying to find a way out (like now). Calla didn’t really want ‘out’, she just wanted some peace and quiet. Daniel found himself wondering how many nights his father laid like this with his mother after him and David had done some thing particularly nasty.

Surely his mother had felt like giving up on more than one occasion. Although they hadn’t had her (or him) long, Daniel and David had not made life easy on their mother. Nope, not any easier than Nicholas and Colleen were making life for their own mother. “My poor pretty Kitty,” he said in a low voice, “let’s see what I can about unruffling that fur and relieving some of that….tension.” Daniel’s lips closed down over hers. They were not met by tired frustration, but warm desire. “That’s more like it, Kitty.” Daniel cooed with soft eyes, “you just lay there and let Daddy take care of everything.”

“No, come.” She held her arms out to her husband as he began to play with the moist folds of skin between her legs.

Daniel shook his head, he’d been without the taste of her for two weeks and she was going to deny it to him. That was nothing new. Calla always wanted to just ‘get down to business’ when he first came home. Tomorrow night their love making would last until dawn but tonight she just wanted him inside of her with no frills. A soft scent arose from those dampening folds. Cocoa butter oil. “Been thinkin’ about me?” He asked as his body covered hers. That was her code; ‘I’ve been thinking about you’.

“Yes,” she sighed as he weight settled on her.

“Nicky interrupted you?” His smile was undeniable as it broke over his face. “No wonder you’re so worked up, Kitty. Where is it?”

“Um, Daniel….” she began to protest.

“Where?” He asked again and watched as she slipped a hand beneath the pillow. “I see.” Daniel commented as she pulled the big blue dildo out from under the pillow. It was the only toy she kept after David. Everything else went straight into the trash bin when she came home from the infirmary; which was only a few hours after her surgery. Calla wanted no part of staying in Dr. O’Gara’s infirmary for the night. “I think I can do better than that.”

“I know you can.” She cooed with expectation. “Come and show me.” His eyes did not leave the toy. “You can play with it tomorrow.” Calla told him.

“You played with it tonight.” Daniel countered. “I want my turn.”

“Tomorrow.” Calla said again and kissed him. “I love you.”

Another code. Always he had to say the secret code before she let him in. “I love you.” Under him her legs spread wide to give him entry. Daniel slid into home for the first time in two weeks. Never one for complaining about his sex life, Daniel Jackson realized what a lucky man he was in that respect, still he would like to play with her first. It had been a long time after all. Even though he’d test fired that thing before coming home, their lovemaking didn’t last long enough for his liking.

**********************************

Morning came and Calla awoke in her husband’s arms for the first time in weeks, she looked up at him with lazy sleep eyes. “Hello…”

“…Beautiful.” Daniel finished for her. Reaching down he picked up her arm and let it fall back to the bed. “I see my Kitty’s a bit more relaxed today.” Daniel smiled and kissed her sweetly.

“Hum,” she cooed and snuggled against the warmth of his skin in a move that just cried out; pet me! Stroke me! “Much.”

“Glad to be of service.” Daniel said with a smile.

“You can do that anytime.”

“You know,” he pushed her a little bit away from him so that he could see her face, “I always hate leaving you but you do always make coming home such a divine experience.”

“Oh, why thank you.” She replied with a nod of her head and happy grin.

“Daddy! Daddy! Wake up!” Nicholas and Colleen called from the other side of the bedroom door while they banged their little fists upon it. “We want our something!”

Inside the warmth of the bed they both began to laugh. “Ready?” Daniel asked as he rose from the bed and slipped into his robe. “I’m gonna let them in.” He warned with a serious face but happy voice.

Calla pulled the covers up around her. “Ready.” She agreed with a sigh. Their peace and quiet was over for now.

Chapter Two

All in all it was a quiet morning once Daniel handed over the fossils he’d found on Planet P3X887. The planet had a bustling and technologically advanced society, the Mohun, whom Daniel had begun negotiations with while he was away. Their Ambassador was coming to visit Planet Earth in the next few weeks and he would lead more negotiations at that time.

Nicholas and Colleen sat on the bed, one on either side of their mother, each with a glass of milk and listening intently while their father told of his latest adventure. Daniel never told them that he left this planet, but he was on the whole, honest about everything else.

“So, that’s it.” He finished up and crawled into the bed with his family. “Why don’t you two take these and put them in your room?”

“Daddy?” Colleen looked up at him with wide blue eyes and from under a mane of auburn tangles. “About that room?”

“Ah, yes,” he agreed quickly, “I haven’t forgotten about that, pumpkin.”

“You asked mommy?” She turned the rock over in her hands.

“Not yet but I will.” Daniel kissed the top of his daughter’s head. “Go on, go put them away.” The twins left the bedroom.

“Ask me what?” Calla said as she swung her legs over the side of the bed.

“No, wait, come here you.” Daniel said as he reached out for her and came away with nothing the shirt she’d been wearing. He brought it to his nose and breathed deep of her scent. “Oh. Come back here. I’m not done with you.” Looking up at her back, which was now plainly visible past the bra line he uttered. “What happened to you?” Daniel was out of the bed in no time. “Calla your back.”

Calla didn’t hesitate. “Oh,” she said lightly and tossed a sweater over her head. “I fell.”

“On what? Concrete?” He asked harshly and picked up the back of the sweater. Up and down the entire length of her back were bruises. “Why didn’t you tell me last night?” If she had told him, he’d been a bit easier on her.

“It’s nothing, Daniel, I just fell down.” She tried to pull the material away from his hand but he wouldn’t let it go. “It’s fine, really it is.”

The thick black and purple bruises didn’t look ‘fine’ to him. No, sir they did not. They looked fresh. Quietly he slipped the sweater away from her body. Opening his robe, he stood behind her with his bare front pressed to her bare back. Years ago he discovered his ability to heal her had little to do with his hands. He had only to know there was a problem and want to heal it. Arms wrapped around the front of her while they stood facing the mirror the heat from the blue energy rose in his body. “I love you,” Daniel whispered. The purple bruises faded from her alabaster skin as they were enveloped by that wondrous blue light. In the mirror, her eyes closed as she slumped back against him, her knees weak. “Now, tell me what happened.”

“I slipped,” she began, her voice faded and distant while the last energy move about inside of her. “It’s nothing, really.”

There were several catch phrases of hers that he didn’t care for. However’

I’m fine

If you wish

And

It’s nothing, really

Were certainly in the top five. Surpassed only by Lord Daniel and Master Daniel. “Hum-um.” He agreed. “So tell me, if it’s nothing, then you won’t mind, right?”

Inside his arms she turned around to look at him. “I was carrying the laundry and I slipped on the stairs.”

“Those stairs?” He asked while he pointed in the direction of the second story hallway.

“Yes.” Calla admitted.

“How many did you miss, for christssake?”

Her eyes lowered and rose before answering. “All of them.”

“You fell down fifteen steps! All the way to the bottom?” Daniel ran his hand through his short hair. “Are you all right?”

“Much better now, thank you Daniel.”

“When did this happen?”

“Two days ago.” Calla took the sweater from his hand and slipped it on again.

“They left their toys on the stairs again, didn’t they? That’s how you slipped.” Daniel accused.

“It was just an accident,” Calla stammered politely.

“Nicholas! Colleen! Come here right now!” Daniel bellowed. The twins came running into the room just as their mother jumped into a pair of blue jeans. “Did you leave your toys on the stairs?” The twins just looked at each other. “Answer me. Did you leave your toys on the stairs?”

“Mommy, you said you wouldn’t tell.” Colleen’s voice like her eyes was sad as she looked up at her mother.

“Oh really?” Daniel asked quickly as he turned his attention to his wife. “What else is going on around here that I don’t know about?”

“Nothing,” Calla told him.

Daniel shook his head and turned his focus back to the kids. “I’ve told you a hundred times to keep your toys off the stairs, haven’t I?” They nodded their agreement. “You didn’t and your mother got hurt, didn’t she?” Again they nodded their response. Jesus H. Christ, if Calla was a normal mortal woman they could have killed her! “What’s this I heard about you two misbehaving while I was away? Not minding your mother. Is this true?” In front of him the two reached out for each other, Nicholas wrapping his arm around his sister’s shoulders.

“Yeah,” Nicholas said as he looked down at his feet. “Aw, Dad….”

“Don’t ‘aw Dad’ me.” Daniel told them. “Go and get dressed. We’re going out for the day; give your mother some peace. And we’re going to have a very long talk about toys and where they belong.”

“Yes, Daddy.” They echoed in unison and made their way to the bedroom door. The two stopped and turned back. “Sorry, mommy.” They said before leaving.

“Where are you going?” Calla asked as she began to make the bed. “Where are you going to take them?”

Daniel’s practiced ears heard her voice rising and his keen eyes watched her hands shake as she pulled the covers over the mattress. “Sit down, Kitty.” He took her hands in his own. “We’ll go to the park or the zoo or the museum, whatever. Did I scare you?”

“Yes,” she confessed. “You’re not…..”

“No, I’m not going to hurt them.” He was a little insulted by the insinuation. “I’m just going to get them out of your hair for a while. OK? I’m a big boy, I can spend the entire day with my kids.”

“You don’t know what you’re getting in to.” She warned.

“I think I can handle it.” Daniel reassured her. “Listen to me, while we’re out I don’t want you cooking anything, baking anything, cleaning anything. They’re going to pick up their own messes before we go.”

“What should I do?”

“Relax, Kitty. That’s all. Lounge around on the couch, watch your movies and eat chocolate.” He teased her but it didn’t make her smile. “I’ll tell you what, if you promise to buy things only for yourself, I’ll give you the credit card and you can go shopping while we’re out.” Every time he tried to get her to go out and do just that, she always came home with an armload of things for them and nothing for her. “Does that sound good?”

“I don’t need anything.”

“OK, so isn’t there anything you want?” Daniel prodded. “Don’t worry about money, Cal, we’ve got plenty.” Since rejoining SG-1 and taking the pay-cut that went with it, Calla always worried about finances no matter how many times he told her not to. Over a year ago he finally sold the house in Chicago and they had plenty of money which, now was just sitting around in CDs and investments doing nothing but making more money. Their portfolio didn’t add up to a King’s Ransom or anything but still, it was comfortable and they didn’t have to scrip and save to make ends meet.

“I already have everything I want.” Calla slipped her arms around him and kissed his cheek. “What else could I ask for?”

“A little downtime? I think you could use it.” Rising from the bed, Daniel got dressed. “Hey! I’ve got an idea!” He turned around to look at her with a deep sparkle in his eyes. “Why don’t you take a long hot bath and then run around the house naked like a wild woman? Hum, get ready for me.” A soft pink tongue poked from his lips as he smiled at her.

“Have her scrubbed and sent to my tent, huh?” Calla laughed. “Well, I could use the scrubbing. You have made me all filthy.” Came her soft sigh.

“Um, I did.” Daniel agreed warmly. “I’m gonna do it again, so why don’t you have that bath?”

“And the running around the house, shall I do that inside or outside?”

“Inside.” Daniel smiled at her. “Yeah, well, it wouldn’t hurt if you’re naked when I get back.”

Chapter Three

“Daddy! Daddy! Are we there yet?” The twins cried from the back seat.

“Pipe down, you two, we just left the driveway five minutes ago.”

“Where we goin’?” Nicholas wanted to know.

“Out, away from your poor mother for the day.” The light turned red and he turned around to look at them strapped into their car seats. “You really drive her nuts.”

“We know.” They chimed.

“Not funny.” Daniel admonished. Yes, they were so like he and David. Oh, how many times had they riled each other up just so they could get their mother’s dander up? Daniel didn’t think he could count that high. The two of them had been great at Tag Team. One of them would run into wherever their mother was with a problem, she’d get that taken care and the next one would run in. They’d keep that up for forty minutes or so before she started looking haggard and her voice was pitched. Eventually she’d catch on and tell them to find something more constructive to do with their time. “Where does mommy take you?” He asked when the light turned green. Three days a week she took them to a local community center for a scheduled play date with about twenty other three to five years-olds. Sometimes they went over to their friend Kenny’s house or Kenny came to their house. Other than that he really wasn’t sure what they did with their time when he was off-world.

“Park.” Nicky said.

“Flowers.” Coley piped in.

“Flowers?” Daniel asked. “Where?”

“No, Cole, dun wanna see stupid flowers.” Nicky grumbled.

“Park.” Coley said without a fuss. “Swings!” She cried as she thought about it.

The first hour of their day out was spent at the park where Daniel swung his children on the swings and caught them as they came down the slide. Busy little legs made their way through the obstacle course made of old tires and grimy little fingers gripped monkey bars as they went hand over hand. Each turn they competed for which one could swing higher, slide faster, or go across the monkey bars better.

The late autumn day was chilly and their cheeks were turning red with cold. “Come on, guys, we’ll go get some hot chocolate and warm up.” Daniel packed his kids back into the car. “It’s just about time to get some lunch anyway.”

“Dad?” Nicholas asked while the strap was placed around him.

“Yes.” Daniel answered.

“You gonna be home for Hal’ween?”

His sons’ words echoed in his head for a few moments; was it really that late in the year already? Looking around at the turned and fallen leaves, he took in the sight of houses with ghosties and ghoulies hanging about in their front yards. “Yes.” He said. Halloween was in a few days and SG-1 wasn’t scheduled to go off-world for another week. Driving down the road toward the nearest restaurant, the conversation was filled with talk of costumes and candy.

Inside the coffee shop, over cups of chicken noodle soup, of hot chocolate and powdered donuts, Daniel gently reminded his children that they had to pick up after themselves and at the very least they were not leave anything on the stairs or in front of doors where people would trip and get hurt.

“It was awful.” Coley muttered with wide eyes. “Mommy got hurt.”

“You saw her fall?”

“Yep.” Nicholas said, his nose tipped with whipped cream. “Boom, she went down.”

“I was scared.” The little girl admitted. “She wouldn’t get up.” Always the proper little lady, Colleen wiped her mouth with the napkin to remove the powdered sugar. Nicky nodded his head in agreement.

“Well, mommy’s all right now. You think about that the next time you’re going to leave something on the floor, even for a minute, ok?” Daniel warned and soothed her hair. It was clear the image of their mother falling down the stairs and then not getting up right away had left a mark on both of them; Daniel didn’t see the point in going over it anymore. “Where should we go now?”

“Dunno,” Nicky returned and popped the last of his donut into his mouth.

“Do you have any ideas?” Daniel asked his daughter and handed his son a napkin.

“Dun say it, Coley.” Nicky warned as he wiped his mouth.

“Nicky doesn’t like flowers.” Coley told her father.

“Where are the flowers?” That was the second time this subject came up today and his curiosity was peaked. Nicky shot his sister a dirty look. “That’s enough.”

“Retum,” Nicky groused with a grand flourishing eye-roll.

Now it was Coley’s turn to roll her eyes. “Ar-bor-eeee-tum,” she said to her brother. “He don’t talk right,” she complained to dad.

Colleen had a gift for stating the obvious. Her vocabulary skills were remarkable and her brother’s, while still impressive for a three year-old, were light years behind hers. The last few nights had been very cold and whatever flowers remained up at the old arboretum had surely gone by the by. “Maybe mommy will take you back there in the spring, the flowers are all…..”

“Dead!” Nicky interjected. “All dead!” He reached out and shoved his sister.

“I know,” Coley grumbled and pushed back. Nicky reached out and snatched the last half of the donut from her hand. “Giveitback!” She cried and stretched her hands out for the sweet treat. “Gimmie, Nicky!” Coley shouted. “Daddy!” Before Daniel could interject his opinion, Nicky squished the donut in his palm and then stuffed it into his mouth. He smiled at her with white powdered sugar all over his face. “Daddy!”

“Nicholas, stop it,” Daniel warned. “We’re in public, none of that. Apologize to your sister. I’ll get you another one on the way out, Coley.”

“Sorry.” Came Nicky’s feeble reply as he wiped his mouth and hands with the napkin his father gave him. Grudgingly, instead of shoving each other they settled for civilly shooting icicles from their eyes at one another.

“No wonder your mother is going insane.” He said in a slightly irritated voice.

“What?” Colleen replied worriedly.

“Just a bad dream.” Nicholas told his father.

“I’m kidding,” he soothed. Bad dream. Another subject which raised itself for a second time. Daniel dropped his voice so the others around couldn’t hear him. “What was it about?”

“Dunno.” He said shyly and finished the last of the cocoa in his cup.

“But you saw it?” Again Nicholas nodded. “What did you see?” Having had his own experiences with Callas’ dream, Daniel did not doubt his son. Sometimes when he slept next to his wife he could see what she was dreaming just as clearly as if it was in his own head. Many times Daniel woke up at night only to have the dream still playing in his mind while his open eyes searched in the dark.

Nicky sat back and thought about it for a few minutes. “Lady. A man.” Small shoulders shrugged up.

“What did they look like?” Daniel prodded.

Little lips pursed as he searched for the right words. “The lady,” he moved his hand around his own hair, “dark hair, dark eyes.” Looking around coyly for a second he leaned over the table, holding his hands cupped inward toward his chest, “big…” the hands and his eyes expanded for emphasis. “The man, tall, very tall.” He shook his head sternly. “His hair was funny.”

At first it was the description of the woman that caught his attention, immediately he told himself it was so vague it could be any woman. Now it was his son’s description of the man which caused him to speak. “What about his hair?” Daniel asked. “Did you see his skin? Was it dark?”

“Black,” Nicky agreed immediately. “Had girls’ hair, all braids and junk.”

“Did you see it too, Coley?”

“No, I only see mommy’s good dreams. The ones with you in them.” With concern she reached out for her brother’s hand as she took in the look on his face. “Nicky sees the bad ones.”

“Only the dreams with me in them, huh?“ Daniel asked absently and realized he might be having The Talk with his daughter a lot sooner than he anticipated. He had intimate knowledge of those dreams. Well, maybe not those dreams but that dream. It seemed to be only one which repeated itself on a regular basis. In it, she and Daniel were both naked and soaking wet, as though they’d just been swimming. Overhead the summer sun was bright and warm, a few clouds skipped by in the bright blue sky while he made love to her in a field of wild flowers. “What else did you see in mommy’s dream, Nicky?” Daniel also caught the expression on the boys face and reached out to tussle his hair. “You can tell me.”

“Can’t. I dunno,” he huffed but he was trying very hard to remember. “I got in bed with mommy, she woke up. She went to sleep, the dream didn’t come back. But she was scared, they scare her.”

Calla told him last night that Nicky had ‘interrupted’ her time ‘thinking about’ her husband. Nicky said she was asleep when he came into the room. “Ok, that’s enough, you don’t have to remember.” Daniel told the boy. “I see we’re all done here. Come on, pick up your stuff and throw it out.” Walking back to the Explorer the bright sunshine belied the chill of the day. He was thinking about taking them to the zoo for an hour or so but maybe they would go somewhere else. “Does mommy ever take you guys to the museum?”

“No,” Colleen told him. “She said you would.”

“She was right.”

About an hour into their visit to the museum, Daniel’s cell phone began ringing. Looking at the screen, he saw it was his wife. “Hello.”

“Hi,” she said on the other end. “Where are you?”

“We’re at the museum. Something wrong?” The tone of her voice was small to his ears.

“No, I was just wondering when you were coming home.”

She missed them. “In a while. What have you been doing?”

“I had a bath,” she said coyly, “I ran around the house.” Though she could not see it, on the other end of the phone line, Calla felt the smile on her husband’s face. “Now, I’m just waiting for you.”

“I’ll be home soon.” Daniel turned away from his children who were looking at the Aztec artifacts. “No ‘thinking about me’ until I get there.” Wishing they had more family so that there would be someone to leave the kids with overnight now and then, he said good-bye to her and hung up the phone. Thinking about it, Daniel realized that Calla had not had an entire day or night away from the kids since Christmas almost three years ago. He really should spend more time at home and less time wandering the Universe. Sam left for a motorcycle convention in Texas and would be gone the next week, Jack was away on military business at the Pentagon and Teal’c was off with Braytak organizing a new rebel colony.

However, there was still one person he could call upon. Daniel never tried this particular trick before and he felt a little like “Darren” from Bewitched as he walked around the corner, keeping one eye on the kids but hidden from view. “Ares?” He whispered. “Ares? Can you hear me?” Feeling ridiculous but willing to give it one more shot he called out for his father in-law again. “Ares?” This was stupid; of course Ares couldn’t hear him. Daniel walked out from his small hiding spot and stood next to his children who had wandered off to look at a suit of armor. Coming up from behind them he said “Do you like it? It’s Persian armor…..”

“Actually, it’s Mongolian.” A deep voice said from behind them.

“Umpa!” Nicky called out as his grandfather came into sight.

“Oh! Umpa!” Colleen cried excited and held her arms out to him.

Ares bent way down and swooped them up in his arms and gave each a kiss. “How are my darling grandchildren today?” He asked. “Have you missed me?”

“Yes!” They cried and wrapped their little arms around his thick neck.

“You called.” Ares said to Daniel.

Looking at him standing there in the museum with his grandchildren, Daniel was impressed. Not only had the God of War heard his call and come to him but he was not standing there in full battle regalia as he so often liked to do. Rather, Ares looked very, well, very normal—other than his extreme height and physique—standing there in faded blue jeans and a dark blue pullover, his long hair pulled back in a pony tail. “Yes,” Daniel said finally and then began to regret his earlier impulse.

“What do you want?” Ares asked with a smile. “Where’s my daughter?”

“She’s home, she needs a break from the kids.” Daniel raised a finger to his lips and then bit down on the lower one for a second. “How would you feel about taking them for the night?”

Ares’ onyx eyes grew wide with surprise. “Me? You are going to let me take my grandchildren for the night?” The surprise in his voice turned to suspicion. “What’s going on, Jackson?”

“Can we, Umpa?” Nicky said.

“Oh, please, Daddy!” Coley begged.

“I just want a night alone with my wife.” Daniel explained. “Surely you can understand that.”

“I can.” Ares agreed and settled the children back on the floor. He wouldn’t mind the same. “Look, over there.” He pointed across the room as he sank on his knees to their level. “There’s entire glass case of sharp things, go have a look. I want to talk to your father.” The twins ran off in the direction their grandfather suggested to look at the display of swords, daggers, knives, axes and halberds. “Have you discussed this with her? You know she doesn’t want them spending time on the island.” A fact that Ares detested: Why shouldn’t his grandchildren spend time on what was their ancestral home? Ares was shocked to find that Daniel felt the same way.

“You’re their grandfather, whether I like that or not it doesn’t matter.” He said in a low voice. “They should spend time with you, they should stay overnight with you. You’re the only grandparent they have.”

“And the island? Do you want them to see my cave?”

“Keep the harem away from them and they’ll be fine.” Daniel returned with a sly smile. “They won’t understand that and Calla will not want to explain it later.” Upon giving it a second thought, Daniel added; “And no, no, no…war stuff. No weapons, knives, hunting.”

“Agreed.” They’re children, Jackson; they’re not ready for such things.” Ares held out his large hand to his son in-law and they shook. “Come with me,” he said in a deep cheery voice while clasping his hands together, “my grandchildren, we’re going to Umpa’s house.” Clearly, Lord Ares God of War was just as delighted as his grandchildren in this moment.

“Can we see mommy first?” Coley asked.

“Yes, we will stop and see your mother before we go. Now, give your father a hug and a kiss, I will take you home to get your things.”

The children ran forward and wrapped their arms around their daddy. “Be good for Umpa, ok? No fighting.” Daniel kissed each one. “You’ll bring them back in the morning?”

“No, how about in the late afternoon? Unless you have better plans?” Ares asked.

A few more hours couldn’t hurt. Daniel nodded his agreement. “Tell mommy I’ll be home soon.”

Looking around and noting that the room was empty except for themselves, Ares gathered the children up in his arms. “Say bye-bye to daddy,” he said in a voice which was both light and full of under current. The children said ‘good-bye’ and disappeared with him.

Whether it was because this was the twins’ first overnight stay outside the house or something else, Daniel didn’t know, all he did know was he had a terrible sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Before he could get to the parking lot, his cell phone was ringing again.

“Did you really tell Father he could take the children?” Calla demanded to know before Daniel had the chance to say ‘hello’.

“Yes, now don’t be angry…..”

“I’m not, I’m amazed!” Calla returned. “I know you don’t trust him.”

“You do, don’t you?” Daniel climbed into the Explorer.

“Of course, he’s my Father.”

“And they seemed pretty happy to go with him.” He stuck the key in the ignition.

“They’re ecstatic!” Calla cried. “Even Father! Can’t you hear them?”

Indeed he could hear all of them in the background clamoring about going to Umpa’s house. That sinking feeling began to rise and turn into something more pleasurable than dread. “Now, about you being naked when I get there…………..” Daniel pulled out of the parking lot and headed home.

Chapter Four

In the mid-afternoon hour, Daniel Jackson’s house was quiet as he arrived home. In the hearth a fire burned brightly, at his feet a fluffy white cat meowed and intertwined between his legs. “Hello, Kitty.”

“Meow,” The reply came as the cat trotted toward the kitchen. She stopped and looked back to be sure he was following her.

“Where are we going, Kitty?” Daniel tossed his keys onto the coffee table as he followed behind.

“Meow.” Through the kitchen and up the stairs to the second floor the Persian cat stopped at the bathroom door. She rubbed herself up against it until it opened. “Meow,” she said again and pushed through the door.

Inside there were brightly burning candles and dragon’s blood incense filled the steamy air. A hot bath waited for him. “I had a shower last night,” he told her. The cat meowed once more before turning into the very sensual and naked form of his wife. “I see you took my advice.”

“I made you all filthy after that.” She cooed and slid the glasses from his face and the sweater over his head. “You need to be bathed.” Calla knelt before him, untied and removed each shoe and each sock. Still down her knees, delicate fingers unbuckled his belt, slid the button free, and unzipped the khakis at his waist. A soft warm tongue wound seductively over the tip of his waking cock as she pulled the pants down to the floor and freed him from their grasp.

“I thought you wanted me clean.”

“I’ll take you anyway I can get you,” Gracefully she rose to her feet, “anytime, anywhere I can get you.” The warm palm of her hand slid over his bare chest. “But since it’s here, you might as well use it.” Calla directed him into the tub filled with warm salted water. Kneeling beside him, she began bathing at the top of his head and worked her way down to his toes. With a small brass cup she poured bath water over his head and worked Daniel’s short hair into a frothy lather. Her long strong fingers massaged his scalp and sides of his head, making his body feel relaxed and light. Flowing warm water washed over the top of his head and flowed down his back as she rinsed the soap from his hair. In the tub Daniel stretched his long body, feeling himself being surrounded by the water’s warm touch and Calla’s. The last two weeks away from her washed with what was left of the dirt.

While she gently kissed the top of his wet head, Calla reached for the soap and wash puff and began to swab his neck with it. Daniel’s eyes closed as he settled back against her further. The soaped puff worked its way from the nape of his neck, down to his shoulders and over his chest, (where Calla worked it longer than necessary, she always did love to lay her head there). Down his torso, over his arms and to each finger. Hips, legs, feet and each toe were soaped and rinsed clean.

The warm water washed over him, small waves created by the movement of Calla’s naked body over him, Daniel felt himself relax further still and tried to pull himself back from the haze he was falling into.

A large breath exhaled itself from his lungs as he felt the water begin to carry his body to weightlessness. The aromatic mixture in the air, the warm water enveloping him and Calla so delicately and diligently working her way down his body the past two weeks away from home seemed a lifetime ago. Daniel always felt this way when he was with her, it wasn’t just here in the bath, it was as though he never had a care in the world and he never would. He could just stay right here with her forever, allowing the rest of the world to pass them by unnoticed.

“I think you forgot something.” Daniel said with a smile.

“Save the best for last.” Calla returned and added more of the honey almond soap to the puff. “You’ll have to raise your hips.” Watching them rise out of the water a skilled and gentle hand took hold of his half-flaccid cock, moved it aside and began moving the slippery puff over his balls.

Usually, Daniel only indulged in this particular activity in the shower, when he was alone. The slickness of the soap and her hand made his cock spring to life. With a fine graceful motion, Calla skillfully worked the puff up and down the hardening shaft. If he had known she would be so appreciative, he would have left the kids with Ares a long time ago. Dropping the puff into the water, she cleaned him with her velvety hand. Leaning over him, her hair fell across his face and dipped into the bathwater, Daniel moved it aside so he could see her face while she washed him. Soft little breasts hung mere inches from his hardness; she looked over at him and smiled. If she kept this up she was going to make him cum right here in the tub. “I think it’s clean,” he said through labored breath.

“You don’t like?” She teased.

“Why don’t you get in this tub with me, I’ll show you what I like.”

Calla laughed and began to rinse the soap away from him. “It’s too small.” She commented. “If you’re all clean then you can come with me.” With that she rose to her feet and held out a clean towel for him. “Did they behave for you?” Wrapping the towel around her husband she dried him.

“Yes,” Daniel replied. For the most part that was true, they had their little tiff but it was soon over and they did show genuine and open affection for one another and their mother. “You’re really doing a wonderful job with them. I know you don’t see it sometimes.”

Calla sighed and looked up as she wrapped the towel around his waist. “Thank you.” Stretching up to her tip toes, she planted a soft kiss on his cheek. “Come with me.” She bid as she lead him out of the bathroom and to the bedroom.

The bedroom was filled with fresh flowers, incense and more burning candles. On the nightstand was a paper bag that had a red and white slip of paper attached to it; Chinese food had been delivered. “You told me not to cook.” Calla said as she followed his gaze. “I thought you might get hungry.”

It was clear that she wanted to keep him fueled throughout the night and that was just fine with him. “Yeah, I think I might.” On the other nightstand were three bottles; wine, massage oil and cocoa butter oil. “What have you got in mind, Kitty?” Out of force of habit, Daniel began to shut the door.

“Leave it open.” Calla told him. “We’re alone. I have lots of things in mind, my husband.” She led him to the bed. “You don’t know how much I miss you when you’re gone.”

“I think I have an idea,” Daniel replied as he reached out to cup her face and kiss her. “If it’s anywhere near as much as I miss you, it’s absolute torture.”

“It is,” she sighed and rested the top of her head against his beating heart. “Lay down.”

She whispered as she left his side and returned with a small bottle of lavender/chamomile oil. Her eyes smiled as they took in the sight of him lying naked on the bed in front of her. Quietly she sat on the bed by his side and began to rub the back of his neck with her small strong hands.

Daniel began to relax and to lose himself to the soft scents of the room and her touch. Agile oily hands slid across his shoulders and down his arms in a gentle effleurage movement, they slid back up his arms, met at the middle of his shoulder blades and then moved to caress his entire back in a satiny caress. Daniel had to admit that he did love it when she did this for him, her hands slithering over his tired muscles while were locked away in their bedroom, was nothing short of heavenly. It wasn’t long before Daniel’s mind drifted back to the relaxed peaceful state it had achieved in the bathtub.

Calla watched as his muscles relaxed and listened as his breathing came in long slow shallow breaths. His blue eyes were closed as his head rested on the pillow. She thought of how handsome he was as her hands to explore the small of his back. Her fingertips slid over a knotted muscle and Daniel moaned lightly, she stopped there and kneaded it until once again it lay flat and relaxed inside his body. Tenderly, Calla’s fingers worked their way down to his tight buttocks. Daniel’s back arched slightly as she touched upon it and then began to knead the large muscles there in her hands. Calla decided not to linger to long there, she did not want him aroused just yet, she moved her hands to below his buttocks and to the tops of his thighs. Skillfully her hands massaged the thick muscles there and then moved on to the rest of his legs, all the way down to his feet and to massage each toe individually.

Tired aching toes that had been locked away inside stiff combat boots for two weeks cried out as relief washed over them. “You spoil me, Kitty.” Daniel let out a guttural moan. “You always treat me like a king.”

“If not me, then who will do these things for you? Did any of the women you met on your latest adventure do this for you?” Calla asked and massaged the instep of his right foot with her thumb.

“No,” he wanted to turn around and look at her but he didn’t want the massage to stop, he did have another foot to go. David and Rowan MacNeal were three years behind them and sometimes she still needed reassurance that he wasn’t screwing around. Daniel supposed he couldn’t blame her; he was gone so often and so long. She was always here alone with the children. Life must get lonely here at home with lots of time to just sit and think and wonder what he was doing. That was all right, he had the same amount of time to sit and wonder if someone…

…(Ares perhaps)….

Was keeping her warm while he was away. Other than Ares, Jack came to visit frequently when he was gone. Jack always said he was just checking on her and the kids, making sure they had everything they needed; in other words he was being a good friend to both of them. Daniel had no reason to doubt him or to believe she had gone back to Ares ever. “No one ever does this for me, just you.” Now she was moving on to the left foot. Her thumbs moved along his instep causing the muscles there to cry out; Yes! Yes! “Why are you so good to me?” Behind him he heard her giggle.

“Don’t you like it?” She began as she continued to massage him, “Actually, I’m being very selfish right now.”

“You are?” Well, you couldn’t tell that by him. Nope, no way Jose.

“Yes, I love you to touch you, Daniel. The feel of your skin beneath my hand is very powerful. Very intoxicating.” Done with the foot now, she began to make her way back up his body, starting with the ankles. “As long as you want to lay there I will do this for you.” With growing desire Calla made her way back up the muscular body which she loved so much and invoked such longing in her. Lightly her fingers danced over his slick skin.

Drawing in a deep breath, she reached his shoulders once again, they were knotted and tight. Calla took thick handfuls of his flesh in her hands as she kneaded the area between his shoulders. Daniel’s skin slid through her oiled hands to rest once again in its rightful place, she picked them up again and again, feeling the energy rise between them. The energy which, just a moment ago, had been like a soft kiss in the rain was beginning to turn in on itself. Beginning to feed off itself and to grow. Between her fingers small misty blue strands escaped and eased their way into his flesh. Daniel’s chest expanded as he drew in a deep breath and his head shifted on the pillow. Calla bent over him to nuzzle her cheek against his head.

Quietly she rolled him over onto his back. She poured a small amount of the oil into the palm of her hands and rubbed them together to warm it before she touched them to his neck, the strong muscles there tightened for a moment and then relaxed under the soft touch of her fingers. Shrewdly they glided from his neck down to the broad chest which she adored so much, it held his heart and hers. Daniel’s eyes rolled open as her hands moved over his heart. He gazed up at her through hazy tranquil eyes. Calla smiled down at him.

“What are you doing?” Daniel asked with some effort. He felt like a helium filled balloon, all someone had to do was cut the string and he’d float off into the great beyond.

“Showing you that I love you.” Calla whispered as she descended over him, her bare breasts touched upon his oiled chest, she teased the nipples across his warm flesh. “That I missed you.”

“I think you’re trying to seduce me.” He whispered back as he encircled his arms around her. The gentle caress of her small firm breasts against him made him hard again.

“I can do better than this.” Her lips closed around the nape of his neck, small exotically scented hands rose and ran through his hair. Gently they pushed his head further to the side so that her mouth could get a better hold. Calla laid her naked body down on him. Daniel let his hands begin explore her.

Daniel’s touch on the small of her back caused Calla to breathe harder and cuddle against him further. “Touch me,” she pleaded in a soft whisper. More addictive than any drug, she craved him, to be close to him, near him in anyway that he would allow. Strong hands on the curve of her buttocks now, “Yes,” she whispered, “please, touch me. Ha’nok re, Daniel.” Blistering passion rose swiftly inside of him at the sound of her words, the sinewy muscles of his fingers open and closed around the soft flesh of Calla’s tight buttocks. “Touch me,” she whispered softly in his ear, her breath hot against his neck.

Daniel’s more than willing hands bent to her will and ran voraciously over her soft white skin as she continued to suckle his neck.

To the feel of his skin upon hers, her body ground into his hardness which lay against the flat of her stomach. Calla slid a small oiled hand between his stomach and hardness. She cupped it in the palm of her hand and held it closer against the smooth warmth of her belly. Gentle kisses began to descend from the nape of his neck to his shoulders, down his chest, to the flat of his stomach. “I missed you,” she whispered and laid a kiss on the tip of his hard cock. “So much,” she took him into her mouth. Daniel’s hand gripped the sheets as he drew in a hard breath and slowly let it out. One hand cupping and gently kneading his balls, the other began to work his shaft as her tongue danced round the tip and then wrapped around his swollen cock. Calla didn’t give head with her just her mouth, her whole body was involved in the act. Between his legs, perched on her knees, she arced forward with each upward movement and swayed back as her mouth and hands retreated.

Daniel reached out for a handful of her hair. The last time she did this, and every time she did this for him he loved to bury his face in the softness of his hair even though her head was so far away. Tonight and for many nights to come it only covered up to his chest. “Come up here,” Daniel’s voice was hushed and heavy as his arms reached out for her. Calla looked up him with questioning eyes, his cock still in her mouth. “You’re doing it just fine, you always do. Now come here.” One long last lick and he slid out of her mouth. Calla slinked her way up his body and over him. Daniel waited patiently but breathlessly for her to lower her hips over him. She didn’t.

“What’s the magick word?” She asked quietly.

Like Ali Baba standing in front of his hideout with his band of 40 Thieves…

“I love you,” Daniel whispered.

Open Sesame.

Calla lowered herself down over his wet and waiting cock. Her thighs gripped his flanks as she began to gyrate above him.

“Come here,” he said for the last time. Daniel was unable to shake the feeling that she was just too far away from him right now, he reached out and pulled her down to him. For two weeks he’d been a billion miles away from her and with all that distance between them he felt closer to her then than he did in this moment. “I want you close to me.” His arms wrapped round her back and he thrust from below her. Both of his hands reached down for her hips. Calla began to sit up on him again, with one hand on her hip and the other on her upper back, Daniel kept her where he wanted her. “Stay here.”

At his request, Calla slid both arms under him and wrapped them around him. Her face buried in the side of his neck, she suckled on it again. In truth it was one of her favorite parts of her husband’s body, the muscle that ran down the nape of his neck. When the flat of her tongue licked across it, his skin broke out in goose bumps. With a hint of oil on his chest there was heat but no friction between them.

The bed springs began to creak and for once in three years neither of them had to care who heard them. Keeping her body snug to his, Daniel reached one hand up for the head board, just to gain a little more leverage, as he thrust fervently below her. Two weeks away from her and even though they’d made love last night, Daniel knew he wasn’t going to hold out for long. Still she was here but she was not with him. In the pit of his stomach the fire ignited to a roaring flame, the hand at the head board did not want to let go, did not want to give up what leverage it held, but soon wrapped tightly around her. Daniels’ legs clamped down over hers, his entire torso heaved and thrust below her. Breathless and unable to hold back, Daniels’ is toes curled, his whole body stiffed below her as his pulsing cock dropped its hot load.

Calla shifted her weight to roll off of him but Daniel wouldn’t let her go. “What’s wrong, Kitty?” He moved the hair away from the face that was pressed to his neck. The question returned nothing but silence. Daniel kissed the top of her head and realized she hadn’t kissed him at all. That was so unlike Calla who loved to kiss and touch even more than she enjoyed the act of making love. Had not even told him that she loved him. The bath, the massage, the food, the ambience, all very conducive to lovemaking.

Or to pleasing him.

Daniel got a terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach where the fire burned hot just a few moments ago. “You know,” he began, “Nicky said you had a bad dream last night.” Daniel’s smooth strong hand slid down her back as though he were petting a cat. “Is that what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, Daniel.” Calla murmured against his skin and tried to roll away from him again.

“Don’t do that to me, I know you better than that.” Daniel kissed her head again. “You can’t fool me anymore so stop trying.” His arms relaxed and he let her go. “Nicky said you dreamed about Kanan last night.”

How many times had she drawn him a bath? Massaged him? And at least gave the appearance of making love to him? Kissing was not an activity good ol’ Kanan encouraged, was it? No, it was not.

“Nicky called Naganti Kanan by name?”

Naganti Kanan. It had been a while since he’d heard those words come from her lips. On the very rare occasion she spoke of him he was just Kanan. “No, Nicky described the man in the dream to me.” Daniel told her and watched her wiggle under the covers. “No body else fits that description, Cal.”

“I guess not.” She agreed. “You know, I really do try to shield when I sleep.” She said looking blankly at her own hands. “I don’t like that you and the children can see my dreams. But, sometimes I’m just so tired.” Her weak voice offered. Soft slender hands reached out for his. “Nothing’s wrong, I promise. It was just a dream, Daniel. Nothing more than that.”

“So, he didn’t come in here and interrupt you last night, did he? You lied to me, why?” She just shrugged her shoulders and turned her head away.

“It’s stupid,” she muttered, “it’s just…..”

“A dream, I know.” Daniel turned her head to face him. “But it’s upset you and you don’t want to tell me, hum? You went to all this trouble…” his other hand gestured around the room, “the bath, the massage….very nice, by the way. My back thanks you.” He smiled at her and she gave a small smile in return.

“I just wanted to welcome you home, let you know you’re loved and missed.” Calla cuddled against him. “It was…mediocre at best, I know.” She said softly. “I’m sorry, Daniel. We have all night. I will do better next time.”

I will do better next time.

More warning signals. Yep, the railroad crossing lights were flashing brightly in his mind now, followed by a robotic voice calling out; Danger Will Robinson, Danger, Danger. “Yes, we have all tonight and all of tomorrow, so why don’t you tell me about that dream?”

Calla moved away from him, Daniel watched her reach for the bottle of strawberry wine—no stuffy Pussy Fussy wine for her, Calla liked her wine light and sweet, not heavy and dry. She opened it and poured two glasses, she handed one to him. “Really, I don’t remember it anymore.” She took down half the glass in one drink. “It’s silly, let’s talk about something else.” The rest of it went down her throat. “Did you save the universe again?”

“Nothing so grand this time.” Daniel returned. “Just scouting out a new planet. It was boring and tiring.” He took down a sip of wine. “And you’re lying to me again.” If she wanted to play this way, fine. Daniel picked up the bottle and refilled her glass. “You do remember it. I see it in your eyes.”

With a big sigh she took down more of the wine and offered up; “I don’t remember enough of it to make any sense, is that better?”

“Maybe. What do you remember?”

Calla ignored his question and reached for the bag. “Why don’t we eat before it’s stone cold?”

“That’s why we have a microwave.” He took the bag and set it back down on the table. “I can keep this up all night if you want.”

Blood ran into her cheeks making her face red as Callas’ free hand rose into the air. “I don’t know!” She said in frustration. “It’s stupid! Ridiculous! Childish! They’re just dreams!”

Reaching up into the air, he took her hand in his own. “Calm down, Kitty. It’s just you and me here.” He said in a reassuring voice. “They? There’s more than one dream?”

“Yes,” she admitted and swallowed down the rest of her wine.

Well, an honest answer. Maybe they were getting somewhere. Daniel picked up the bottle and filled the glass again. The wine she drank had a light alcohol content, he’d let her drink the whole bottle if she wanted it. “Tell me about them.”

“No,” she shot him a harsh look.

“Why not? And don’t say ‘because they’re just dreams.’”

“He’s dead, right?”

“As far as we know, yes.” He said with trepidation.

“Maeve said he was dead, she wouldn’t lie about that.” Calla insisted.

“Ok.” As far as Daniel knew Maeve hadn’t seen a body and he wasn’t altogether sure how she had come across her information to begin with. He did not like where this was going.

“So then, they’re just dreams and they don’t mean anything.” Calla sounded more like she was trying to convince herself than convince him. “They don’t mean anything.” She said again and swallowed down the last of the wine. Daniel went to refill it. “No, I know what you’re doing.”

“I wasn’t trying to hide it.” Daniel put the bottle down. “If these dreams don’t mean anything, then what’s the harm in telling me?”

“Shhh,” Calla hissed with her finger to her lips, her eyes wandered around the room as though she were looking for something or someone. “Mustn’t say such things,” she mumbled, “must not say them or……” her hand clamped down around her mouth.

“Or they might come true.” Daniel took her hand away from her lips. “That it? You don’t want to give them voice because then they’ll have power. Look at you, whatever it is; it’s already got power, Kitty.” Still she shook her head refusing to say anything more. “All right, if you won’t tell me, will you show me?” He pointed to his own head. “Can you do that?” Before he knew it there was full color image in his head; Naganti Kanan big, bad, dirty, dirty and pissed the hell off. In the image, Naganti Kanan was pulling his massive body from a coffin. In Daniel’s mind his wife’s small frightened voice echoed; He’s looking for me.

“I told you, it’s ridiculous.” She muttered beside him. “Go on laugh at me.”

“I would never do that, Kitty.” Daniel wrapped his strong arms around her. “If you want me to go back to Tiberia and find his rotting corpse, I will. I’ll prove to you that he’s dead…..” or not….”and that he’ll never touch you again.”

“Please, don’t go anywhere near there.” Calla told him. Her arms wound around him as she let out a heavy sigh. The warmth of his body next to hers finally began to sink in. “I love you, Daniel. Promise you won’t go there.” Calla turned her face upward seeking a kiss. Daniel did not deny it to her, his lips brushed down over hers sweeter than the wine she’d been drinking. “I think sometimes, I don’t know,” her voice trailed off for a moment, “there’s always someone clamoring for me and sometimes it feels like I can’t breathe, like….”

“The walls are closing in.” Daniel finished and now there was a different female voice echoing in his head; Daddy when can I have my own room? “The house is getting too small for us.” Yeah, if he had to stay here with the kids, alone, for weeks on end, well, sure, he’d probably start to feel like he was going bonkers too.

“Now you’re being ridiculous.” Calla cuddled deeper against him. “The house is the same size it’s always been. I’ve never seen the walls move.” Under her cheek his chest heaved and relaxed as he let out a laugh.

“Yeah, ok,” he said slowly. Ya gotta love Calla Logic. “Put it another way, our family is out growing this house. Maybe we should look for a new one.” Daniel proposed.

“You can’t afford…..”

“We, Kitty, we.” Daniel ran a hand across the side of his head, “and we can afford a new house.”

“I love our house.” She protested.

“I know you do.” Still there were a lot of bad memories here for both of them. A lot of ghosts hanging around in the corners just waiting to pop up and say ‘boo’ at any time. A change, a new house, would do everyone good. “Colleen’s been asking about a room of her own,” he soothed, “I’m sure Nicky would like that too. This way when you send them to their rooms they won’t be trashing each others stuff. What about you, wouldn’t you like to have a room that’s just yours? Some place you can go and shut them out when they’re driving you crazy?” Not to mention the more practical aspect which was that his three year-old twins looked and acted more like five year-old twins. So far they’d been lucky and the neighbors hadn’t said anything but sooner or later that luck would run out. Seeing as he had no idea how long this growth spurt of theirs would last or how far it would go, having new neighbors might not be such a bad idea.

Well, that did sound like a right fine idea. “The money, Daniel….”

Oh, Christ! Daniel let out a big sigh. “Listen to me; I’m tired of hearing you worry about money. I’m sick of watching you hem and haw over coupons and whether or not you’re going to buy yourself a new pair of jeans. That damn robe of yours is in tatters.” Daniel admonished. God, he was so sick of that. If she went out to buy clothes for him or the kids, she came back with armloads of bags from the GAP, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and a dozen other well known stores. On the very rare occasion she came home with clothes for herself, they were from a local thrift shop. When he bitched about that she would tell him it was the only place she could find clothing in her small size. Bullshit. “We have plenty of money. I haven’t done anything with the money from the sale of the Chicago house and we’ll get more money for selling this house.” He explained. “We can afford to move to a bigger house if we want to.” Her lips parted. “Don’t you dare ask me if I’m sure.” He scolded. Calla’s mouth closed again. “Kitty, you worry over everything else, let me worry over the money, ok? I promise we won’t go broke. Now, do you want to look for a new house or not?”

A new house. Some place where the dreams might not follow. Some place where I don’t have to be afraid to walk into the basement. Nor see Michael Blood standing in my living room. Or see David in Daniel’s body in the kitchen. “Yes.” At first she looked very apprehensive but then she smiled brightly at him. “I can move the big things.” She winked. “You won’t have to bother with them.”

Daniel snickered and in a thoughtful voice said; “That could be very helpful, yes, it really could.”

“Well, when we moved in here I had nothing at all and all of your stuff was in storage and came delivered to the door.” She explained. “Now we have all of this…..this, shit.” She dropped her eyes, “Sorry. We have all of this stuff, moving it is going to be a big job.” Calla looked up at him again. “But I can help, really, I can be a big help with this.” She encouraged.

Always so willing to jump in and lend a hand, do whatever had to be done. His wife was a very special woman. “I’m going to take you up on that.” Daniel told her. “Tomorrow morning we’ll look in the paper and see what’s out there. We can take our time, we don’t have to rush into anything.” This would be a big adjustment for her and the kids. David and he never had separate rooms, although they both wished for such a luxury a hundred times over. Thinking back on it, Daniel really wasn’t sure if, in the end, he would have liked being separated from his brother in that way. Quickly he reminded himself that he had one son and one daughter, not two sons as his parents did. The kids needed their own rooms.

“All right, if you’re sure…..” She looked at him with questioning eyes.

“Very sure.” Daniel was surprised that the idea appealed to her so much. Calla was not the type of person who always liked to try something new or give up something she’d come to like. “You?”

“Yes,” she agreed without hesitation. Maybe Kanan won’t follow me to the new house. “Kiss?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Chapter Five

“Hey, Daniel!” Jack called from the other end of the corridor. Daniel stopped and waited for him to catch up. “How’s the house hunting going?”

“Slow,” he grumbled. “You should see some of the crap that’s out there and what they want for it.” Over the last three weeks they must have looked at fifteen houses.

“Ew, sorry.” Jack offered. “Isn’t your agent any help?”

“It’s Calla, she won’t look at a house that’s over two hundred grand.”

“Huh? Why not?” Jack asked as they began walking down the hall. “Out there that’s not a lot for a house.”

“Because that’s the asking price on our house.” He huffed. “She doesn’t want to spend more than that. Ya know, the way she handles money, you’d think we were going to starve to death at any second!”

“Need a raise? I am the guy to ask.” Jack grinned. “Just say the word, I’ll give ya bump.”

“Thanks, and anytime you want to do that I won’t complain.” Daniel returned in kind. “Of course, what we can find for around two hundred grand………..”

“Isn’t much bigger than your house.” Jack said. “Or smaller even.”

“You got it. Think you could explain it to her for me because I’m having problems getting through to her.”

“So, she wants to move up but she doesn’t want to pay extra for it?” Jack watched as Daniel gave a grudging nod and then laughed. “Hey, it could be worse.” Jack told him.

“How’s that?”

“You could have married a woman who was interested in spending all your dough as fast she could.”

“By now…. that would make me… divorced, wouldn’t it?”

“Probably.” Jack smiled and clapped Daniel on the back. “See, you are lucky. Ya gotta give her a break on the money thing. She never had any, I doubt tall dark and gruesome gave her any walking around change, know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I know. Still, it’s been almost four years.”

“Old habits die hard, my friend, especially bad ones.”

“Well, we’re going to look at another house tonight, wish me luck.”

“Good luck. Where’s the house?” Jack asked as they reached the door to Daniels’ office.

“Not sure, exactly, Greenbrier. I gotta go over to mapquest and get directions.”

“Humph!” Jack snorted. “Got the best damn GPS in the whole world right here and you’re gonna use mapquest? Figures. Oh, well, Greenbrier’s nice; it’s closer to the base than Silver Springs.”

Daniel laughed and shook his head. “I hope we find a place soon, this is starting to get on my nerves.”

“And you haven’t packed anything yet.” Jack warned. “Oh, Daniel,”

“Yes.”

“With all the house hunting and everything, don’t forget we’ve got the Mohun Ambassador coming in tomorrow.”

“I’m all set, don’t worry about it.” Daniel told him. “Give him the fifty cent tour and get trade negotiations up and going, no problem.” Daniel turned toward the door and then back again. “Jack…”

“Daniel.”

“Thanks for the extended time here on planet Earth. These last three weeks at home have been really great.” Daniel pushed his glasses up on his nose. Taking them around for Trick or Treat two weeks ago had been an experience Daniel wouldn’t trade for all the Naquada in the universe. Nicky went out as Thomas the Tank Engine in a costume his mother made him. PJ’s on his body, little conductors’ cap on his head and Calla fashioned a cow catcher and caboose from cardboard which she attached to the front and rear of the footed pajamas. Coley wanted to be a witch, she wore a black dress—once again made by her mother—pointed hat and green face make up. Pumpkin bags in hands they excitedly went door to door saying “trick or treat” and holding up their loot bags. Each one holding on to his hands between houses and telling him how good it was to have their daddy with them. “My wife and kids miss me, who knew?”

“I did. You know, I addded it up.” Jack nudged him with his arm.

“Added what up?”

“Did you know you spent six months of last year offworld?” Jack asked with a sad look.

“No,” Daniel stammered, “I didn’t spend that much time…..” the more he thought about it the more he knew Jack was right. When you had a wife and two small children, six months was a long time. “Thanks.” He muttered again.

“No problem, Danny-boy. Glad I could help.” Jack walked off down the hall.

************************************

Daniel and Calla wound their way through Greenbrier looking for 1 North Cemetery Drive. Unlike Silver Springs which was typical bustling small town America, Greenbrier was lazy little town whose streets closed up at 6 o’clock sharp and didn’t reopen until 8 the next morning. It was rural and spread out in all directions. Daniel wasn’t crazy about the address but as it turned out the cemetery was almost five miles away from house number 1.

North Cemetery Drive was an almost deserted dirt road that wound for miles through the hills and mountains. Though they were looking for the first house on the street, that first house didn’t appear until they were almost a mile down the road. The driveway to the house was almost a quarter mile long and went up a long slow hill that ended at a two car garage.

“Oh, Daniel.” Calla said as she took in the sight of the house. It was gray and white, three stories high and had a full wrap around porch. The sun was beginning to set over the mountains behind the house igniting the coming night sky in glorious hues of purple and amber.

“Doctor and Mrs. Jackson,” Nancy Wildes the real estate agent said as they came into her view. “I thought you had gotten lost. I know, it’s a bit off the beaten path, isn’t it? Shall we have a look inside?” Before they could answer she was trotting toward the front door fumbling for the key inside her pocket.

“What do you think?” He whispered in her ear as they followed.

“I’ll let you know when we get inside.” She slipped her hand into his.

Six steps up to the wrap around porch and to a set of heavy oak double-doors, the glass of which was etched with welcoming doves and flowers. The door opened onto a large mud/coat room and to a second set of identical double doors. “Just stay right there and I’ll find the light switch.” Nancy told them. Not that she had any problems finding the switch; she’d shown this house two dozen times over the last three years. “There we go.” She said as the lights in the living room came on. In the light they saw the house was almost completely furnished.

Daniel felt Calla’s hand close in his and took in what she saw. A huge fieldstone hearth stood in the living room. By it was a baby grand piano. On the first floor, one walked through the front door into the large living area. To the immediate right was a staircase leading to the second floor, under that set of stairs was another set which lead down to the basement. Standing in the living room facing the fireplace, off to the left was another room. It was rectangular and had floor to ceiling bookcases on three walls. It also had a fire place. Exiting that room and through the living room again, one came to the kitchen and another fire place. Though this one appeared to be geared more toward cooking than heat, heavy cast iron pots hung from hooks near it and could be hung on the hooks over the fire as well. The kitchen was very large and even had a big pantry area along with all of the modern conveniences one would hope to find in a kitchen. Through the kitchen, to the right were the dining room and another fire place. The dining room was completely furnished; there was a table ready to sit at least ten people, a hutch, service butler and two matching cabinets. They looked absolutely perfect in this room, their dark mahogany against deep red walls. Daniel just knew that when they got home later tonight, she was going to tell him that she wanted this house. The dining room and kitchen windows faced the mountain behind the house and the lake below them.

“I thought you said no one lived here.” She whispered to him as they walked around.

That was a good point. “Does someone still live here?” Daniel asked Nancy.

“No, no one has lived here in years.” She told them. “This house is part of an estate. If you purchase it, you can have your pick of the furniture.”

“Even the piano?” Calla asked.

“Oh, honey, especially that.” The real estate agent returned. “The beneficiaries of the estate don’t want anything to do with this house or its contents.”

“Why not?” She asked.

“Beats me, they just want to sell it and get the cash.”

“Hum, sounds like someone else I know.” She muttered in his ear.

“I know it needs a few coats of paint and lord knows it could use a good cleaning.” Nancy was telling them. “But the owners have already had an inspection done, you can take a copy of the report with you. You’ll see the house is extremely structurally sound. If you’ll come with me, I’ll take you upstairs.” She turned her rather round body around and led them back through the kitchen to the stairs.

Upstairs were four bedrooms, an extra smaller room and most of all three bathrooms. “With the kids getting bigger it sure would be nice to have more than one bathroom in the house.” Daniel remarked.

The master bedroom had a master bathroom. Both rooms over looked the mountains and lake. Like the other rooms, it was furnished with a king sized sleigh bed, a chaise lounge, two chairs with a small table between them, one floor to ceiling book case and best of all, the master bedroom had a massive hearth—by which the chaise lounge sat– and a large walk-out porch that they could sit on and watch the sun set in the evenings. The master bath had a tub big enough for three never mind two and it was a Jacuzzi no less. It also had two side by side sinks, a stand up shower and built in vanity with matching cabinetry. Calla thought the master bed and bath to be larger than entire second floor of their house.

The two bedrooms the children would use were all the way down the hall and on the other side of the house. That had its advantages. Each room had its own bathroom with shower/tub, sink and toilet. Not to mention the walk-in closets. Each had its own furniture. The smaller spare room was quite cozy and would do well for a guest room. Ares did like to come and stay from time to time, Calla hated having her Father sleep on that bed in the basement.

“Last but not least,” Nancy was saying as she opened a door at the end of the hall. “The attic.”

“We don’t need to go up there, do we?” Daniel asked.

“You’re going to want to see this Doctor Jackson.” Nancy encouraged. The attic was not really an attic at all. It was one huge fully refurbished room and in it was a wood stove.

Daniel thought the room would be perfect for his wife. She could play her guitars and write her music or do her computer work. A few months ago Calla started to paint, and an easel would look nice up here. Looking down at her, Daniel saw the excitement in her eyes. Yes, she was going to ask for this house. Well, if the price wasn’t too high. So far, he was inclined to let her have it.

“I know we haven’t been down there yet but the basement is also a full room, you said you had kids, it’s a perfect rec room for them and their friends.” Nancy said. “There’s another wood stove down there.” Leading them back down the stairs and still giving her pitch she added; “There’s also a barn on the property, it’s set way back, it’s dark now but you could come back and see it tomorrow.” Looking back over her shoulder, she saw Mrs. Jackson looking around at the second floor as they passed through it on their way to the first. Mr. Jackson also seemed interested. “The garage is in top shape, the roof was replaced last year and so was the furnace.” Her tone was very hopeful, if she could unload this freakin’ house she’d be a hero back at the office. As they reached the first floor she turned and asked; “Well, what do you think?”

“How much…” Calla began.

“How much square footage?” Daniel interrupted.

“Between the first and second floors there’s five thousand square feet. Once you add in the space in the attic and the basement, it’s more like seven.”

At five thousand square feet, it was more than twice the size of their house. “You say the furniture is included?”

“All you want. You want it all, take it all. You don’t want it any of it, the estate will have it hauled away at no cost to you.” Nancy told him. “Don’t forget to take home a copy of the inspection.” She handed him a six page report. “You’ll see there really isn’t anything wrong with this house. Of course if you want to have your own inspection done before closing that’s fine as well.”

“How much property?” Daniel asked as he took the papers he was being offered.

“Actually there seven and a half acres. Only about three of it is useable at the moment, the rest would have to be cleared if you wanted to use it for anything.”

Seven and half acres were a lot of property, three of it useable and the other four and half woods. Another good thing, with all the fire places and wood stoves in the house, all that free wood would come in handy. “Thank you for your time, Ms. Wildes. We’ll talk about it when we get home and call you tomorrow to let you know.” Daniel smiled and took his wife by the arm, he lead her through the first floor one more time and then to the car.

“We wouldn’t have to worry about the train anymore.” She said as she slid onto the seat of the Explorer. “You know I worry about the children.”

“I know.” He did, she was always concerned they would wander too close to the tracks and get hit by an oncoming train. Here that problem didn’t exist. “So, what do you think of the house?” Daniel put the key in the ignition and backed out of the driveway.

Calla finally asked the question he had squashed earlier. “How much is it?”

“Two hundred.” He lied. The asking price of the house was two ninety-five but even at that price with that much space and that much land–even if it was in need of minor to fairly major repair which it wasn’t– it was a steal. Cheap at twice the price, as his father used to say.

“We will pay for it with the money we make from selling our house?”

“Yes.”

Before he could back all the way down the driveway she said it. “I want it.”

Finally. “Good, I like it too.”

“The furniture, what do we do with it?”

“You heard her, take what you want and leave what you don’t.”

“But if we take it, what will do with our furniture?”

“We’ll have a yard sale.” He suggested.

“Yard sale? Who’s going to want to buy our old junk?”

“I dunno, you love to buy other people’s old junk, don’t you?” That was true enough, in nice weather she always had him running around to one yard sale or flea market or another. “Someone will want our stuff too.” He remarked with a laugh. “You really like it, don’t you Kitty?”

“We’re not home now.” She reminded him.

“Sorry.” Daniel turned to look at her. “Kitty.”

“Yes, I really like it. You?”

“I think it’s just what we’re looking for. Lots of room, we won’t be stumbling over each other anymore and we won’t outgrow it.”

Lying in bed after they picked up the children from Sam’s house, they went over the inspectors report on the house. There were no bugs. The electrical was all up to modern code. The water pressure and quality were all within normal range. The structure of the house was sound as could be. “Daniel.”

“Yes.”

“Isn’t two hundred cheap for a house like that?” She asked.

“Yeah, it is.” He agreed with a sigh and like her tried to find the catch—other than the last ninety-five grand which he was keeping from her.

“Why are they selling it so cheap and with all the furniture?”

“I dunno, Cal. It’s part of an estate, the owners probably just want to finish everything up and settle with probate.”

“Oh joy,” she mumbled. “That wasn’t any fun as I recall.”

“Sorry about that.” Daniel smiled and kissed her. “I think before we make a final decision we should have our own inspection done.”

“Don’t trust this person….” She looked at the sheet, “McGarrety?”

“I’d just feel better if someone we pay looks at it, ok?”

“Ok.”

“Come on let’s get some sleep.” Daniel reached up and turned off the light. “I’ve got an early day tomorrow, come cuddle with me.”

Chapter Six

Standing in the Gateroom with Sam, General O’Neill and Teal’c next to him, the wormhole opened and through it stepped Steffen Omar, the Mohun Ambassador and his entourage. Three weeks ago, Daniel and his team had been scouting out the Ambassador’s home world, Polotomy, where he’d found the fossils for the twins and starting up relations with this new world. Today he was supposed to begin trade negotiations.

Down the ramp walked Steffen Omar, an older man with graying hair and wise green eyes. His skin tone and the raise of his eyebrows gave an eerie perception of talking with Sa’Rek, Mr. Spock’s father on the old Star Trek television show. “Doctor Jackson, how good to see you again.” He said in a warm tone and held out his hand.

“Ambassador Steffen Omar, I’d like you to meet General Jack O’Neill.” Jack shook hands with the Ambassador. “This is Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter,” Sam shook hands. “And you’ve met Teal’c.”

“It is indeed good to see you again, Ambassador.” Teal’c told him as they shook hands.

“General O’Neill is in charge here.” Daniel said. “How was your trip?” They began to exit the Gateroom.

“I’ve never traveled through that device,” the Ambassador said in a low tone, “I must admit I’m not looking forward to the return trip. It’s very…..disorienting.” Steffen complained in a very diplomatic manner.

“You’ll get used to it,” Sam offered, “well, if you do it enough times.”

Steffen grimaced; he had no intention of traveling through that thing so many times that he should become accustomed to it. “I am anxious to see your world, Doctor Jackson.”

“I will be happy to show it to you, or at least part of it. Let me take you around here first.” Daniel offered. “Jack, we’ll meet up with you later.”

“Gonna take Teal’c with you?” Jack asked.

“I have seen this base.” Teal’c replied.

“So you have. No, I think we’ll be all right.” He turned to the Ambassador and his entourage as Jack walked away. “If you’ll follow me, Ambassador.”

For the next hour and a half he lead them around the non-secured sections of SG-1 pointing out different bits of technology and other things of interest that the USAF was willing to share with the Ambassador and his people, for the right price of course. All in all it was a very polite and unadventurous bit of time.

“I would like to see where you work.” The Ambassador said.

“Oh,” Daniel said caught a bit off guard but then figured the Ambassador was just trying to get a better feel for the new people he was dealing with. It was obvious to him that Steffen liked him and seemed to prefer his company over the others, even the members of SG-3 who had accompanied him on the earlier mission. Perhaps Steffen thought that if he saw where Daniel worked he would gain a better perspective on his situation. “Sure, follow me.” Down the corridor and the elevator they rode. “This way.” Daniel led them down another corridor to his office door. He slid the key inside and opened it, turning on the overhead light as he went. “Well, it’s not much but this is it.”

“Wait outside.” Steffen told the people accompanying him. “After you, Doctor Jackson.” He bid.

Daniel walked into his comfy but messy lab and thought he would have been wise to clean it up a bit before accepting company. Watching the Ambassador gaze around, the look on his face seemed to be please. “This is where you work?” He asked.

“Yep, this is it.” Daniel agreed and sat down behind the desk. “I know it’s a mess right now, it’s the maid’s day off.” He quipped.

Steffen was looking at the photograph of Calla and the kids that sat next to Daniel’s computer on the desk. “Who are they?” He asked.

“That’s my wife, Calla and our children.” Daniel told him.

“Wife? Your mate?” Steffen inquired.

“Yes.”

“Calla,” the name rolled off his tongue in a dark mist, “she’s lovely Doctor Jackson. The children, what are their names?”

“Nicholas and Colleen, they’re twins.” Daniel explained and moved the picture away from Steffen. Something in the man’s eyes bothered him.

“I understand that humans mate for life.” Steffen said but it was more question than statement.

“We try,” Daniel agreed, “we don’t always succeed but we try.”

Steffen looked over at him. “How long has she been your mate?”

“Almost four years.”

“Is that long?”

“Um, well,” Daniel scratched at his head, “no, I guess not, as far as marriages are supposed to go anyway, we’re still near the beginning.”

“The good part,” Steffen said with a smile. “Wait a while, she’ll be on your nerves and you’ll be arguing over nothing.” He warned.

Daniel laughed. “How long have you been with your mate?”

“Fourteen of your years before she left me.” He said in a low voice. “We do not mate for life, not normally anyhow. Still, I became accustomed to her presence.” Steffen explained. Then he decided to change the subject. “Onto our agreement, Doctor Jackson. You say you will show us how to use the Stargate and give us coordinates to other worlds with which we can trade?”

“Yes.” Daniel agreed.

“What do you want from us?”

“Why don’t we go and talk in the briefing room? I think we’ll be more comfortable in there.” Daniel suggested and then led the Ambassador out of his office.

Almost five hours later they had a tentative agreement. Ambassador Steffen and his crew left Earth with the offer and would return in no less than two weeks with a reply. In that time, he left orders that they were not to be disturbed while their government made their decision.

“Nice work, Daniel.” Jack said after the Ambassador left.

“Yea, I think it’s going to work.” Daniel said with a happy sigh. “Did I tell you? I think we found a house.”

“Really?” Sam asked.

“That is good news indeed, Daniel Jackson. I am very happy for you and your family.” Teal’c said.

“Yeah, me too.” Jack added. “So come on, tell us about this new place.”

The members of SG-1 made their way down to the commissary for a very late lunch and conversation regarding Daniel’s (possibly) new home.

Chapter Seven

Over the following week Daniel put down a deposit on the house on the condition that he be allowed to have his own inspection done and if the report was bad he could have his money back. The sellers had no problem. The home inspectors’ report on the house was just about identical to the one the sellers had available at the house. The house was perfectly sound and there was nothing wrong with it, the out buildings or the land. All five chimneys were in perfect working order as were the wood stoves and the new furnace. The electrical was just dandy, all up to code and all outlets were properly installed and working. Water pressure and water quality were excellent and that was something they’d have to keep an eye on as the property had a well and was not hooked up to public water or sewer. To that Calla pointed out those were two less bills they had to pay.

Daniel even had a title search done and it came back clean. No liens against the property, no outstanding debts. He even went so far as to research the house’s background and nothing worth note came up. By law the real estate agent had to disclose to them if a murder was ever committed in the house, she hadn’t said anything and his research didn’t turn up anything remotely like that. Everything it seemed, was on the up and up. The only drawback he could see was the fact that it was so damn isolated. Their nearest neighbor was almost a full mile down the road. The road wasn’t really a road; it was more like a dirt trail. Time to the highway for work wasn’t bad, it was just about fifteen minutes but time to the grocery store or anything remotely resembling civilization was at least twenty miles away. The neighbor thing could work to their advantage, the less any neighbors saw them and the longer the twins’ growth spurt continued, the less suspicion would be raised. However, he didn’t like the idea of having his family so far from, from, well…everything.

After Daniel satisfied himself that there was nothing wrong with the house or property, Calla and Daniel had their agent start pushing to sell their house and a closing date was set for the new house. A mortgage in Daniels’ name was obtained—if he put her on it they would snoop into her background and she’d know the price of the house, his plan was to quit claim half of the house to her after the deal went through. A very long detailed list of the furnishings currently in the house was presented to them and they went over it, crossing out the items they didn’t want and marking a star next to the ones they did. On the whole the living furniture went, except for two Tiffany lamps, a red and gold Oriental rug and the baby grand piano stayed. In the office, the books went, the desk, chair, blue and gold Oriental rug and antique Grandfather clock stayed. Just about everything in the kitchen stayed, Calla really liked the open cooking hearth and heavy cast iron pots. The dining furniture stayed as did the sterling silver flatware and crystal glasses—both were surprised to find those on the list. Upstairs Calla got rid of just about everything other than the chaise lounge, two comfy high-back chairs and the beveled mirror in the master bed room. That was too bad, while he liked their bed, Daniel was interested in the sleigh bed’s footboard, which would certainly get him more than just a little bit more leverage when they were making love.

“Are you sure you don’t want the living room furniture?” Daniel asked over cups of coffee one evening.

“It’s ugly.” Calla said with a wrinkled nose.

It was a heavy dark wood set that looked to be old and he thought she’d want it on that basis alone but it was sort of hideous. “I don’t think our set is going to fit right in that living room.” He pondered aloud. “What?” She was looking at him with particularly bright eyes.

“Well,” Calla began slowly, “we could sell it at our yard sale and buy a new set.” Was her suggestion. If that damn couch was gone then I could really get rid of Michael Blood once and for all. Was what she was actually thinking.

“We could do that.” Daniel agreed, he looked at his wife a few more seconds knowing that there was a deeper reason for her suggestion and how reasonably she’d offered it to him. Something in him didn’t want to know what it was and he went back to looking at the list. “I don’t want to sell the dining room set, Cal, it was my grandmothers’.”

“I know,” she said quietly. “I thought we would put it away for when Colleen gets married.”

“Married?” He dropped the list to the kitchen table.

“Yes, Daniel. She is going to grow up and move out, get married and have child….”

“Ah-ah-ah, don’t say it.” He waved a hand in the air as his eyes closed. “I don’t even want to think about that thank-you-very-much.”

“Oh, my poor husband” Calla said lightly, “she has to grow up, they both do. The sooner you become accustomed to that the better off you’re going to be.” She kissed her husband on the cheek. “There’s more packing to do in the kids’ room, I’m going to do some of it while they’re over at Kenny’s house for their play date.”

“All right,” he told her. “I still don’t like the idea of them growing up.” He went back to the list. “Get married. Have children, geez. She’s only 3.” Daniel grumbled and then looked up at his wife who was shaking her head at him. “Fine. It’s inevitable, I know.” He held up a hand. “I still don’t want to talk about it. I’ll be up in a bit to get some more things from our room.”

A short while later, with the list having been gone over for the fourth time, Daniel put it away and went up to their bedroom. Empty boxes were waiting to be packed. “Don’t bother with the heavy things,” he heard Calla calling from the next room, “I’ll get them when we’re ready.”

“Right.” Daniel called back. He’d start with his own stuff. There had to be a ton of things he didn’t want or need, Calla had a yard sale pile in the hallway. Going through his closet he found a bunch of clothes he didn’t wear anymore and tossed them in the ‘to go’ pile in the hall. Shirts, shoes, a few pairs of pants. Daniel dug all the way to the bottom of the closet where he came upon a shoe box. Dr. Jackson wasn’t one for keeping his shoes in the box; he thought they must belong to Calla and that they had been misplaced. Opening the top and expecting to find a pair of women’s shoes, he was unpleasantly surprised to find the box full of….other things.

David’s stash box had some very interesting contents. Five homemade DVD’s in plastic cases. A pair of Police Issue handcuffs with key. A bandanna which had been knotted heavily in the middle—didn’t take a genius to figure out that it was gag-rag. Lastly there was an overstuffed envelope, underneath which lay several photographs of Calla in various poses. In all of them she was naked, in some of them she was with men he didn’t know. As his fist closed around the envelope, his eyes shut tight. This box had been hiding down there all these years, just as their father’s Playboy Collection had done back in Chicago. It was just sitting here waiting for anyone to stumble upon it.

Numbly sitting down on the edge of the bed with the box in his trembling hands, he opened the envelope. Inside was over $1500.00 in twenties, fifties and hundreds. The image of the black man stuffing the hundred dollar bill into his hand, payment for being allowed to fuck his wife, came to him. A hundred dollars a pop, this represented somewhere around fifteen of the men David brought home to her.

“Daniel?” She was standing in the doorway.

He dumped the envelope into the box and shut the lid. “What?”

“Something wrong?” Calla was coming into the room now.

“No,” Daniel said quickly, “everything’s fine. Just go back to packing the kids’ stuff.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yeah. We’ll have some dinner in a little while, ok?”

“All right,” she left him alone in their bedroom.

Drawing his hand over his face, Daniel drew in a deep breath. He shut and locked the bedroom door before opening the box. Taking the photographs in his hand he ripped them to shreds and tossed the pieces back in the box. Next he opened each plastic case and took out each DVD, he broke each one in half and then quarters, shiny bits of broken digital disc flashed a prism at him from their place on the cardboard. Putting everything back into the box, he crept down the stairs and to the garbage cans outside where he buried it at the bottom of one of them—cash and all.

Moving out of this house was a wonderful idea…for all of them. The house had a lot of good and even great memories but, in the end, it would be best for the whole family to start over somewhere else. Some place where there were no bad memories, no ghosts in the halls, a place where they could make only happy memories together.

An hour or so later he heard her calling for him. “I’m in here.” Daniel hadn’t been able to go back up to the bedroom, he was afraid he might find more of David’s things laying around up there but hoped he had discovered and disposed of the worst of it. Now he was in his office, going through the desk and moving things around.

“There you are. It’s just about time to pick up the kids, I thought you were…..” her voice trailed off as she took in the sad look on his face. “Now I know there’s something wrong, what is it?” Calla asked as she came over to him and put her arms around his shoulders. “Oh my Gods! Where did you get that?” She asked and reached for the photograph in his hand. “Give it to me!”

“No, Kitty, it’s mine. I found it and it’s mine.” Daniel told her in a small dreamy voice and refused to let go of the picture. It was so much better than the ones he’d found in their bedroom earlier. Not only did she have all of her clothes on in this photograph, she was smiling happily though there was a hint of sadness in her eyes. Daniel thought the picture must have been taken at Sam’s house sometime in the late spring.

“It’s horrible!” She cried. “Burn it, tear it up, and throw it out!” Calla demanded.

“Throw it out?” Daniel asked with wonder. “Why would I do that?”

“Because it’s horrible! Oh, I look soooo fat!”

With one hand he reached out for hers. “You weren’t fat, you were pregnant.” He explained. “And I missed it, Kitty.”

“Missed what?” Calla was no longer concerned about the ugly photograph in his hand but with the sadness in Daniel’s eyes and his voice.

“Everything,” he whispered. “I missed holding your hair back when you were sick in the morning.”

“Oh, now there’s something not to be missed.”

“Running out at two in the morning to get you ice cream or hamburgers, whatever you wanted. Missed watching you get bigger. Rubbing your back, your feet. Hearing their hearts beat and seeing them on the sonogram. Feeling them kick inside you. Worrying if they were going to have ten fingers and ten toes and if you were going to be all right.” He turned and looked up at her with moist eyes. “I missed everything.” Daniel didn’t know which hurt worse; finding this photograph and being reminded of everything he had missed out and which would never come to him again or finding David’s stash box not more than an hour before.

Calla knelt beside him. “You were there when it was important.” She told him and smoothed the hair on his head. “You brought them into this world they wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for you.” Calla wanted to remind that he had been there for some of it, had felt them kicking inside of her and then thought better of it. Daniel wasn’t himself at the time so maybe he would think that didn’t count. Maybe it was best not to remind him of that at all. “Do you love them any less because of it?”

“Of course I don’t.”

“Me?”

“Never.”

“Then you missed nothing.” She laid her head in his lap. “Everything that is important is here and now, the past is over you can’t change it and neither can I.” Her arms wrapped around his waist. “What’s the sense in this, Daniel?”

“I’m not throwing it out. In fact,” he reached down and brought up to her feet and then settled her on his lap. “I think I’ll have it blown up, what’d ya say? 11×14 or 16×20? I’ll have it framed. We’ll put it in the new living room.”

“Oh no we won’t!” She protested. “You can keep it if you like.” Calla snuggled against the warmth of Daniel’s body. “I’m sorry you feel so blue. What can I do to make you smile?”

“That’s ok,” Daniel wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her tight. “You always make everything better.”

“Oh!” Calla said suddenly. “I do have something.” Daniel let her go as she climbed off his lap. “Come with me.” Calla took him out into the living room and rummaged through her own DVD collection for a few moments before pulling one off of the shelf. Popping it into the player she turned to him. “I think you’ll like this.”

On the screen a dark image appeared, at first Daniel couldn’t make out what it was until she turned up the sound and he heard two hearts beating. The black and white image began to move and he could make out little arms and little legs. “It’s an ultrasound of Nicky and Coley.” He remarked.

“Yes, Janet gave this to me after one of her infamous tests one day. I forgot I had it.” Looking over at him with wide wondering eyes she asked. “Does it make you feel better?”

Daniel leaned forward to get a better view of his digitally recorded unborn twins. “Yes.”

“Good!” Calla was pleased with herself as she rose from the couch. “Then you can stay here and watch this, I’ll pick up the children from Kenny’s house.”

“Cal? Why did you keep this?” He asked as she gathered up her car keys. “I mean, you thought I was dead, who were you saving it for?”

“Them.” She pointed to the screen. “I was going to leave it with Samantha in hopes that she would show it to them one day…..after…”

“After you were gone too.” Daniel stood up and hugged his wife again. “Hurry back, we’ve still got lots to do.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.” Resuming his place on the couch as she walked out the door, Daniel watched the ten minute recording three times before they returned.

Chapter Eight

Moving Day

Calla didn’t lie when she said she would help with the big stuff. The main way she did that was to sell it at their yard sale, which, by the way, was very popular given the fact that it was late November and yard sales were hard to come by. She sold the kitchen set, the kids’ bedroom furnishings, their old baby things (not the cribs, those she put away for when they had their own children) the living room set and anything and everything else that they didn’t want to pack and move. All in all, when it was done, she raked in nearly two thousand dollars at the end of the day and was very very proud of herself. She should be the yard sale was a lot of work. Later that night she would complain that going to a yard sale was much more fun than having a yard sale.

However, when it was over, and everyone went home, Calla took to doing her thing with the rest of it. One by one, all the heavy objects disappeared from their home and reappeared exactly where she wanted them in the new house. The dining table, chairs, hutch and butler…poof….gone before his eyes. The same thing happened with their bedroom set, the big screen television, the small televisions in their room and the one in the kids’ room, the La-Z-Boy, his desk (with all its crap still in the drawers) and several other large bulky items.

Along with a new living room set, the twins were getting new bedroom sets. Calla took them out shopping and let them pick out whatever they wanted for their rooms. Coley picked a very nice canopy bed with matching dresser, desk and chest of drawers. She wanted her room painted purple with white trim and lacy curtain. (Such a girl!) Nicky picked a race car bed also with matching accoutrements. He wanted his room to be blue, he didn’t care about the trim but he wanted blinds instead of curtains, they were too frilly for him. Tomorrow those items were to be delivered to the new house; tonight they would have to sleep on mattresses on the floors of their new rooms. The children were whole-heartedly excited to know they would have their own space and no longer have to be pestered 24/7 by each other.

“Hey, Daniel?”

“Yes, Jack.”

“The next time I move, can I borrow your wife?” Jack asked happily as he stowed a box into the U-Haul van.

“Sure, I’ll be glad to loan her to you.”

“This is a lot easier with her around.” Samantha said. “Mind if I borrow her too?”

Truer words had probably never been spoken. All the big stuff sold or already over at the new house all the five of them had to do was load and unload small boxes of clothes, breakables, books, DVDs and the like. A job which should have probably taken two days or more was done in less than five hours, start to finish.

1313 Mockingbird Lane stood empty and waiting for its new owners. The closing wasn’t for another week and a half but, no matter, it was ready now. Daniel and Calla even agreed to let the new owners begin moving their stuff in before the paperwork was signed.

A loaded truck stood ready and waiting while Calla stood in front of the white gate staring at the red house behind it. “Going to miss this place, Cal?” Daniel asked as he came and stood beside her.

“It’s the first real home I had in a very long time, Daniel.” Her voice was heavy and sad.

“Me too.” He told her. “We have a bigger house and in no time, we’ll make it a home just like this one.” Well, hopefully not just like this one.

“I will miss my gardens.”

“I’ll dig you new gardens in the spring. There’s a whole lot of space for them and besides, digging in the dirt happens to be one of my specialties.” He kissed the side of her head. “Come on, honey, our friends are waiting.”

“So it is.” She said with a light laugh and took one long last look at the house they shared for so long before climbing into the Jetta and driving off toward their new home. Daniel was taking the Explorer, Coley was riding with him and she had Nicky with her. Jack was driving the van with Teal’c and Sam was to follow in her own car.

“It’s kind of a long drive,” Daniel told them as pulled ahead of the convoy. “Just follow me.”

“I can’t wait to see this new house,” Jack told him as he hung out of the drivers’ window. “From what you’ve said it sounds like a palace or something.”

“Compared to this place, it is.”

Off they went.

**************************

1 North Cemetery Drive
Greenbrier, Colorado

With armloads of boxes, the members of SG-1 made their way through the front door of the new Jackson home. “Holy moley!” Jack exclaimed as they put the boxes down and had their first look around. “What did you pay for this place?”

“Two hundred.” Daniel said in a loud voice as Calla passed by on her way to the kitchen. “And ninety-five,” his voice dropped low.

“Keeping that last bit from the wife, hey?” Jack looked around again. “Good deal. Why so cheap?”

“It’s part of an estate.” Daniel told him.

“Yeah, so,” said Sam as she made her way to the kitchen with a big box in her arms. “It’s still, what, a five or even six hundred thousand dollar house.” She said to Daniel. “You see all that land?” The question was directed to Jack who nodded his response and raised his eyebrows. Samantha made her way to the kitchen.

Calla was standing by the open hearth moving a box of dishes into place for later unpacking when Sam entered the room. “It’s a beautiful house.”

“Thank you.” Calla turned to her. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” Sam set the box of flatware down on the center island.

“Are you still seeing my Father?”

“Ah, um,” came the flustered reply as Samantha reddened. “Sometimes.”

“Hum.”

“Why?” This was the first time Calla had ever broached the subject with her. “What has Ares told you?”

“Nothing, we don’t discuss your relationship.” Her tone was pensive. “I don’t want you wasting a lot of time on him, Sam.” Calla said as she walked closer to the other woman. “There’s a reason my Father’s never married. He can’t be faithful. If you’re waiting for him to ask you, it isn’t going to happen.” Reaching down, she took Samantha’s hand in her own. “I like you; I wouldn’t want you to get hurt. My Father is a very…passionate…man, he is very handsome. But he is very volatile. Often he does and says things without thinking. I love my Father, Sam, don’t misunderstand me. I think you deserve someone better.” Calla let go of her hand.

Whoa, that took Sam by surprise. Calla was always very nice to her and they often got together for a girls night out or a movie or something but this was the first time she had shown her any genuine concern. “Thanks for the, ah, words of wisdom.” Sam said. “I know you’re right but I’m not looking to marry your father. I’m not looking to marry anyone for that matter.”

Calla nodded her head and gave a small smile. “Just so long as you understand.” She left the kitchen to retrieve another box.

As the sun went down and the last of the boxes was stowed away in its proper room, everyone sat down on the living room floor by a roaring fire with beer and pizza. The pizza they had to go and get, delivery was not to be had out here. “Thanks for all your help.” Daniel said.

“No problem, besides, Calla made it easy.” Jack said as he picked up a slice of pepperoni. “This really is a fantastic house.”

“Um, it is.” Sam agreed. “It’s so big. You guys will never have to move again.”

“From your lips to Gods’ ears.” Daniel remarked. “Say, Jack, you hear anything from the Mohun yet?”

“Yeah, they sent a message through today.” The General told the doctor.

“And?”

“Ambassador Steffen is coming in three days to let us know their decision.”

“Did it sound promising?” Daniel asked.

“Dunno.”

“Daddy! Daddy!” Colleen said as her little legs ran down the stairs. At first he thought something was wrong until he saw the bright smile on her face.

“What?”

“I LOVE my new room!” She tossed her arms around him almost knocking him to the floor as she covered his face with kisses. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“Me too.” Nicky said from behind her. “Don’t haveta listen to you snore no more.”

“I don’t snore.” Coley said indignantly.

“Yeah, pumpkin, you do.” Daniel teased.

“Wanna come see, Sam?” The little girl asked.

“Sure I do.” Sam rose and followed her upstairs.

“We’re going to have a dinner for the Ambassador,” Jack started as he looked at Calla and then at Daniel. “You know how I hate planning these things. I was wondering if you,” he looked back at Calla, “wouldn’t mind helping me out?”

“Me?” She asked.

“Yeah, you’re good at parties and decorating and food, which fork goes with what. What do you say? Lend me a hand?”

“It’ll be a lot of work,” Daniel warned, “you’ve got a lot to do with the house and you don’t have much time to put this together.”

“I’d be happy to.”

“Good, I’ll get you a list of people and the stuff we need.” Jack eased back on the floor. “Thanks Calla, that’s a load off my mind. I hate these things.”

*********************

The children were tucked away in their new rooms and Daniel had a fire burning in the master bedroom.

“It was very nice of you to volunteer to help Jack.”

“Help Jack?” Calla asked as she climbed into the bed. “Daniel we both know I’m going to do the whole thing.”

Daniel laughed and left the fire to come to her side. “You sure it’s not too much?”

“I used to….” He voice trailed off as she looked up at him.

“Use to what?” Daniel asked and sat down next to her.

It took her a moment to gather her thoughts but finally she looked up at him. “In the absence of a Queen, the Cha’Dech did more than just satisfy Naganti Kanan.” She began to explain. “I have planned, overseen and attended many important gatherings. State Dinners I guess would be the right term. Greeted and entertained many Heads of State of other worlds. I can do this.” Not wanting to go down this road any further, she gathered the covers around her. “What a long day.” Calla remarked with a heavy sigh.

Having other things on his mind Daniel decided not to pursue the subject of Kanan anymore tonight. “Yeah, I guess it was.” Daniel slid in next to her. “Was it too long?” He bit on his bottom lip while he gazed at her with wanton eyes. “I was sort of hoping we could break in our new room. Hum, what do you say? The chaise looks warm and toasty over there by the fire. Wanna try out that Jacuzzi?”

“Daniel, you’re wicked!” She chided. “You have to work tomorrow.”

“Nah-uh.” He shook his head and traced his index finger along her lips. “I told Jack I was taking the day off to help you around here.”

“You did?”

“I did.”

“Well, in that case, the tub does sound heavenly.”

“Good, cause I got it ready for you.”

“You did?”

“I did. You’ve done a lot of hard work these past few weeks, why don’t you let me take care of you tonight, Kitty?” Holding his hand out to her, Daniel led his wife into the master bathroom. “If you’re a really good girl, I’ll get in there with you.” Pulling the nightgown over her head and dropping it to the floor, he took her hand and helped her into the warm bath. The water was still but not for long, he pushed the button and the jets below her started up.

Calla jumped and looked around then she let out a laugh. “This is nice.” She sighed as she lay back against the porcelain. The bubbling jets of warm water massaged her back and neck.

“I thought you’d like it.” Looking around him he said, “I think we’ve picked a good house, Mrs. Jackson.”

“Yes, I think we are going to be very happy here.” She agreed. “Mrs. Jackson, I still can’t get used to that, you know.”

“Well, you’re the only Mrs. Jackson I have so you’ll just have to do your best to get used to it.” Daniel poured a cupful of water over her head.

“It’s late, don’t wash my hair,” she protested lightly, “it will never dry.”

“Sure it will, in a while when we’re by the fire.” He invited and poured another cup over her.

“Have I thanked you yet?”

“For what?”

“This house, our children, wanting me.” Calla held her arms out to him. “Come in with me? The water is very warm.”

“Actually, you haven’t. Not today.” Daniel dropped the cup into the water as he stood up and dropped the gray linen PJ bottoms to the bathroom floor.

“Ummm, Beautiful.” She cooed as he came to her.

Beautiful, he thought looking down at her, why does she always call me that? On the basis of looks alone, Daniel thought Ares and even Kanan to be much better specimens of masculine beauty than he was.

“I love you, my husband. You are most handsome.”

“Reading my thoughts again?” Daniel slid into the water next to her; she didn’t wait for him to say anything to her before she wrapped herself up in his arms and kissed him long and deep.

“Let’s not wait ‘til we’re by the fire.” She reached down between his legs and massaged the growing area.

“You wanna christen the tub?” He asked with a smile. “Now who’s wicked?” The idea of getting her dirty and clean at the same time was appealing. He could have his cake and eat too, literally. Yes, she wouldn’t argue with him about that when he did get her down by the fire. “My pretty Kitty come here, kiss me again.”

“Want to see how long I can hold my breath?” She invited with sparkling eyes.

“You are wicked.” Daniel remarked in a whisper as he brought her closer to him.

“Only with you.”

“Aren’t I the lucky boy?” His lips closed down over hers.

Calla broke the embrace and cuddled the top of her head against his cheek. “No, I am.” Small arms wrapped around his wet taut body.

“Really?” He asked and settled her back in the water. Daniel’s hand found the smooth space between her legs. “Cause, last I looked,” he teased, “you were a girl.” One finger slid inside her. “Yeah, you are a girl.”

Calla let out a low moan as she bit down on her lower lip and looked up at him with smoky eyes. “Why do you still do this with me?”

“What do you tell me when I ask you silly questions? Hum?” his lips brushed over hers once more, “Because I love you, isn’t that what you always say?” She nodded and massaged the hard part of him in the palm of her hand. “I can never get enough of making love with you, I always want more of you.”

“Then that does make me the lucky one.” Pushing him back against the side of the tub, she straddled him. “Very lucky.”

The tip of his penis was at her entrance when Daniel pulled away. “Ah, stop. What’s the magick word?”

“I love you.”

“Yeah, that’s it.” When she lowered herself again he didn’t pull away. With her on his lap working him deeper and deeper into her, he reached out and cupped her breasts. “I like these, did you know that?” Calla laughed a bit as she leaned in to nuzzle the nape of his neck. “No,” he whispered, “I mean, I really like these.” In the warm bubbling water he sat her up again. Moving her wet hair out of his way, he took one nipple into his mouth. All at once, the nipple in his mouth hardened, her back arched while she clasped her hands to the back of his head and he slipped fully inside. With the side of his head against her chest, Daniel heard her heart beating wildly. She was right here with him, flying side by side. Kanan, David, Eros, Rowan, Sha’re, not even Ares, was between them now. In this house, in this place, those ghosts did not exist. Daniel realized it had been a long time since he’d felt this Connected to her. Sex was always great but maybe lately it had lacked a certain higher level, that wasn’t a problem now. Her hips moved in the most excruciatingly pleasurable slow pace he could imagine, fully up and all the way down in one long leisurely motion she moved.

Taking his mouth away from her breast so he could kiss her lips, their eyes caught. So much love filled light in those gleaming emeralds staring at him as though he were the only man she’d ever seen in her entire life and the only one she wanted to. The Power of the Connection overwhelmed him, Daniel slouched back in the warm water.

Calla’s slow pace did not increase as she followed him down. “Stay with you?” She asked.

“Always, stay with me.” Reaching up to grab the back of her head so that he could bring her down and kiss her he whispered “don’t you ever leave me.”

“Never.” Her tongue slid parted his lips briefly. “I always want to be with you.” She confessed before kissing him again.

Daniel couldn’t hold it back any longer. No, those eyes, her heart and her mind so open to him and those hips pressing down on him, her sweet confessions. He broke the kiss only long enough to beg her; “Cum with me.” Below him her hips pitched more demanding as they drew in the warm bath water, it surged over him and rushed back out again with each thrust. The muscles surrounding him began to expand and contract, he felt the sting of her nails biting into the back of his neck. “Don’t stop.” Under her he rocked in a matching motion until she lay breathless on top of him and he satisfied below her. Holding her close in the warm water while he lay half-flaccid inside of her but on the verge of waking the Connection between them only grew brighter while she cuddled in his arms. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“I can say the same.”

Later, sitting on the chaise lounge, Daniel brushed her hair while Calla stretched out by the fire in their bedroom. “We’ve beat them, haven’t we, Daniel?” She asked as she turned her naked body to look at him.

“Who?”

“All of them.”

Daniel knew what she meant. There was no doubt in his mind that when they made love tonight she felt the same way he did. No one and nothing was between them any more and with any luck at all nothing and no one would ever come between them again. “Yeah, I think we did, Kitty.” And, with any luck at all, they would both feel it again before the night was over.

Chapter Nine

Wednesday Night

Reception for Ambassador Steffen Omar

Cheyenne Mountain Base

“You’ve really pulled this off, Calla. I can’t thank you enough.” General O’Neill beamed at her as he looked around at the event going on around him. The room was decorated in red, white and blue streamers, fresh flowers graced each table, the serving staff in sharp black and white were passing around assorted hors’dourves. She’d even pulled together a live band out of the SGC personnel. Jack wanted piped in music but Calla insisted that nothing brought a gathering together like live music and she was right. She’d gone and sought out personnel that she knew played one instrument or another, put them together and in two and half days had a decent band. Amazing. All around him Generals, Admirals, Heads of State and more were laughing, drinking, eating and dancing.

“Thank you, Jack, I am very glad you’re pleased.” Pulling the event together hadn’t been a difficult task, not since she had entire staff to work with and every item she could want or need at her disposal. While everything seemed to be going very well she was still a bit nervous as she stood there talking with him.

“There you are.” Said a voice from behind and Daniel’s arms wrapped tightly around her. “Wonderful party Mrs. Jackson.” He said while he planted a kiss on her cheek.

“I was just saying that.” Jack returned and cleared his throat at the very public display of affection.

Daniel pouted and dropped his arms. “I want you to meet someone.” He turned to the man standing behind him. “Ambassador Steffen Omar I would like you to meet my wife, Calla.”

Daintily she held out her hand and gave a slight curtsey. “It is an honor to meet you, sir.”

“The honor is mine.” The Ambassador brushed his lips across the top of her hand. “I recognize you from the photograph in Doctor Jackson’s office. In person you are even more ravishing.”

“Thank you, Ambassador.” Calla’s voice was kind but curt as she took her hand away from him.

“He’s right, you know. You do look spectacular tonight.” Daniel complimented and then stood back to look at her. The emerald dress matched her eyes and set off her fiery tresses while the black lined stockings accentuated those lovely legs, her tiny feet in a pair of black stilettos with Aphrodite’s jewels around her ankle. This beauty was going to go home with him tonight? “Ambassador, Calla is the one who put this event together tonight.”

“I am most grateful for you hard work, this festivity is indeed very enchanting as are you.”

From behind Jack someone was clearing their throat. Daniel looked up to see four star General Raddock standing there.

“Good evening General O’Neill,” Raddock said and shook hands, “Doctor Jackson,” another hand shake. General O’Neill introduced him to the Ambassador and one more handshake took place.

“This lovely lady would be….” General Radddok inquired.

“My wife,” Daniel said and put his arm around her shoulder. “Calla this is General Raddock, he’s the commander Jack answers to and a personal advisor to the President.”

“I am honored.” Calla again put out a dainty hand and gave a slight curtsey.

“If I may be so bold, “Raddock began, “Doctor Jackson, would you mind if I ask you wife to dance?”

Bold. That was a good word. What could he say? “No, go ahead.”

“Mrs. Jackson, may I have this dance?” The General held out his arm to her.

Calla gave a hesitant look up at her husband before taking it and being led off to the dance floor.

“Well, what do ya think, Daniel?” Jack asked as they stood back watching Calla and the General dance.

“About what?” The General was taking her hand in his and sliding his arm around her waist while the band played Against All Odds in the background.

“This little swaray. I think she did a great job, I’m, ah, I’m thinking about offering her a job.”

“A what?”

“Job.” Jack repeated. “I hate doing this stuff and she’s so good at it. Do you know she even made sure there weren’t color restrictions, can you beat that, color restrictions.” The idea that certain colors might be banned or considered to be offensive in some cultures never occurred to General O’Neill. “It wouldn’t be full time or anything, just when one of these damn dinners comes up. Do you think she’d do it?”

Now General Raddock was pulling her closer and letting her hair fall across his face. “I dunno, you’d have to ask her. What’s she gonna do with the kids?” In his chest he felt his heart start to race while she watched her sway back and forth in the commanding officers’ arms.

“Well we do have a state of the art daycare center, ya know? She’ll leave ‘em there while she’s busy with menus and decorations.” Jack suggested and took in the look on Daniels’ face. “Hey, are you even listening to me?” His gaze drifted off in the direction Daniel was staring and to Jack it seemed the General was holding her just a little too close. The Generals’ fingers were flexing and relaxing just a little too heatedly in the curve of her waist.

“Excuse me,” Daniel left Jack and made his way to the dance floor where he tapped the General on the shoulder. “Cutting in.” He said with a smile and held out his hands for his wife. Calla let go of the General and came to him. With a look of dismay the General walked off.

You’re the only one

Who really knew me at all

“We were just dancing,” she said in a soft voice as she began to sway with him.

“I know.” Daniel pulled her in closer and kissed the top of her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t like seeing you in the arms of another man.”

Take a look at me now

The music stopped and Jack called for everyone’s attention; the Ambassador had an announcement he wanted to make.

“I am very honored and overjoyed to be among you tonight,” Ambassador Steffen Omar began his speech and all eyes turned to him. “This occasion is made even more special by the fact that I have come to tell you that my people have accepted your trade agreement.” A round of applause was heard and the Ambassador waited for it to die down. “We would like to extend an invitation to General O’Neill, Colonel Carter, Teal’c, and Doctor Jackson to come to our world and sign this agreement. We would like to return your hospitality and honor our new friendship.” Another round of applause as those present indicated their agreement. After that round died away the Ambassadors’ voice turned from cheerily diplomatic to soft and low as his eyes changed direction. “We would be most honored if your wife would accompany you to our world, Doctor Jackson. Calla, you have done so much for me tonight it is only fair that I repay your hospitality.” Ambassador Omar invited.

All eyes turned to Calla. “General O’Neill, I think that would be up to you.”

Daniel knew she was tossing the ball to Jack in the hopes that he would say ‘no’ but…..

“Sure, it’s fine with me. I think you’ll like it.” General O’Neill turned to Ambassador Omar. “When do you want us there?”

“Two days?”

“Great.” Jack looked back at Daniel and Calla. “We’ll all be there.”

In front of his eyes the beautiful lady seemed to deflate a bit. “It’ll bit ok.” Daniel encouraged. “You’ll go, they’ll wait on you, show you around. It’ll be fun.”

“I hate that thing.” She said of the Stargate.

“I know,” his voice dropped low. “Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this to you, Kitty, but there’s a lot riding on this agreement.”

Calla nodded and tried to smile as she looked up at the Ambassador across the room. “Thank you, sir, for your very thoughtful invitation. I would be delighted to see your world.”

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