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Stargate SG1: Second Chances

By Shirley Pauli

Romance / Scifi

Chapter 1

It was a rainy, early Fall day in Colorado Springs as Caitlin O’Brien grabbed her umbrella from the front seat of her car and hurried into the local grocery store.  Stupid Monday, she thought to herself as she ran toward the store, stood in the entrance and shook the water off her wet umbrella.  As she started to walk from the entryway into the store, she accidentally bumped into someone. 

  “Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologized.  “I didn’t see you coming.”

  “No, it’s my fault,” the man replied, shaking water from his coat.  “I was in too much of a hurry to get out of the rain.”  Daniel looked into her eyes, and all he could do was stare.  He had never seen such blue eyes before.  “By the way, I’m Daniel.  Daniel Jackson.”

  Caitlin moved off to the side of the entryway and looked up at him.  “Hi.  I’m Caitlin O’Brien.  It’s nice to meet you.” 

  “Forgive me,” he said with a sheepish grin, running his hand through his wet hair.  “It’s just, your eyes.  I’ve never seen such brilliant blue eyes like yours.”

  Caitlin smiled.  “Thank you, Mr. Jackson.  Most people tell me that.  It’s usually the first thing they notice about me.”

  “Please, call me Daniel.  Your eyes are so beautiful.  Are they a family trait?”

  “Yes,” she replied.  “I got them from my mother’s side of the family.”

  “I see.  So do you live here in Colorado Springs with your family, Miss O’Brien?” he asked. 

“Please,” she replied.  “Call me Caitlin, and actually, I live in an apartment in town here.  My parents are deceased.” 

“Oh, I’m sorry.”  Daniel quickly glanced at his watch.  “Well, it was nice meeting you, Caitlin.  I’ve got to run.  I need to get back to work soon, so I’d better get my shopping done.  I hope I'll see you around town more.”

“I’m sure you will,” Caitlin replied warmly.  “Have a good day.”

The two went their separate ways, Caitlin grabbing a shopping cart and thinking about the man she had just met.  She was very intrigued by his smile and his polite manner.  She walked up to the checkout, and there was Daniel in front of her. “Hello again, Daniel.”

He looked up from signing his receipt, and smiled at her.  “Hello.” 

“I guess neither of us needed many groceries, did we?”

“No, I guess we didn’t.” 

“You said you were headed back to work.  Where do you work, Daniel?”

“I’m an archaeologist, and I do contract work for the Air Force.”

“I see,” she replied, putting her few groceries on the conveyor belt.  “Being an archaeologist must be really exciting.”

“Yes, it is.  What do you do?”

“I work at a little health food shop here in town.  I use my knowledge of different supplements, herbs and healthy foods to heal the body.”  Caitlin paid for her groceries, and the two of them walked out into the entrance together.  “It finally quit raining.  Now I won’t have to run to my car.”  Looking up into the sky, she saw a brilliant rainbow stretched before them.  “Well, I’d better let you get back to work, Daniel,” she said, turning toward her car.  “Have a good afternoon.”

Daniel watched as she started to walk to her car, then called after her.  “Wait!”  He ran up to her.  “I realize we’ve only just met, but, um, would you like to get together sometime for coffee or something?”

  “I’d like that,” she replied, smiling at him.  She set her groceries in her car, then took out a piece of paper and a pen from her purse.  “Here’s my phone number,” she said, handing it to him.  “You can reach me at any time.”

  Daniel took the piece of paper, folded it, and put it in his pocket.  “Thank you.  Well, I’d better go myself.  Have a good afternoon, Caitlin.”

  “You, too, Daniel,” she called out to him as she got in her car and closed the door.  All Caitlin could do as she drove out of the parking lot and down the road was think of Daniel.  Once home, she was putting away her groceries when her two cats, Tinkerbell and Patches, came running into the kitchen.  She bent down and pet each one.  “I suppose you two are hungry.  Okay, I’ll feed you.”  She set the bowls down and Tinkerbell and Patches meowed and purred loudly, rubbing against her legs.  They immediately began to devour the food. 

Caitlin walked back into the kitchen, and pulled out a frozen dinner for her supper.  As she waited for it to cook, she couldn’t stop thinking about Daniel.  I wonder what he’s doing right now, she thought to herself as she sat down to eat.   

 

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

At Stargate Command, everyone was eating their evening meals in the mess hall when Daniel walked in. 

 “Hey, Daniel,” Lt. Col. Samantha “Sam” Carter called out. 

  Grabbing his own dinner, Daniel walked over to the table, pulled out a chair, and sat down. 

  “We just got a message from Master Bra’tac,” Sam told him.  “He has new intel for us, and he’s coming tomorrow morning.”

  Col. Cameron “Cam” Mitchell noticed Daniel wasn’t eating.  “Hey, Jackson, what’s up?  Something bugging you tonight?”

  Daniel put his fork down, and looked up at the others.  “I went to the grocery store this afternoon to get a few groceries, and I met the most amazing woman.”

Teal’c turned to look at Daniel, and raised one eyebrow. 

   “Gee, Jackson,” Cam teased.  “You went to pick up groceries and picked up a woman instead.”

  Daniel shook his head.  “No, no.  It wasn’t like that.  It was raining, and she was standing in the entryway shaking water off her umbrella when I accidentally bumped into her.”

  “Accidentally, huh,” Sam chuckled.

  “Yeah.  I apologized to her and when she looked up at me, the first thing I noticed were her eyes.  I’ve never seen eyes so blue.”

  “Ooh, Daniel’s got a crush,” Sam teased.  The others laughed. 

  “It’s not a crush, Sam,” Daniel replied.  “It’s just that her eyes were a very unusual shade of blue.”

   Cam was still chuckling.  “Daniel, millions of people have blue eyes.  So what?”
    “Not like hers.” 

  “If you say so,” Cam said, eating a spoonful of pudding.  “Sam, did Bra’tac say when he’d be coming?”

  “He said it would be early in the morning.” 

“Well, I guess that means an early night for all of us.”

  Sam and Cam said their goodnights and went to their quarters.  Teal’c was still sitting at the table and noticed Daniel was just absentmindedly playing with his food. 

  “Daniel Jackson, you have not eaten anything.  Are you ill?”

  “No,” Daniel said, putting down his fork and looking at him.  “It’s just that I can’t get that woman’s blue eyes out of my mind.”

  “Maybe you should ask her how they became so blue.”

  “I did.  She said they came from her mother's side of the family.”

  “Then for the time being, I would suggest that you remove her from your thoughts and begin focusing on our meeting with Master Bra’tac tomorrow morning.”

  “It’s not that easy, Teal’c.  There was something else about her that intrigues me.  I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s definitely something there.”

  “Do you wish to see her again?”

  Daniel thought about that for a minute, then nodded.  “Yes.”

  “Then I suggest you find a way to see her again,” Teal’c replied. 

  Daniel reached into his pocket and pulled out the little slip of paper Caitlin had given him.  “Well, before we parted, she gave me her phone number.  I’ll call it and see if she’s home.  Maybe I can find out more about her.  Thanks, Teal’c.”

  “You are welcome, Daniel Jackson.  May I wish you luck.”  Teal’c stood up with his tray, and, putting it near the kitchen, he walked out. 

  Daniel decided that he wasn’t very hungry after all, so he put his tray near the kitchen and walked down the corridors to his office.  He put the scrap of paper on the table and picked up his phone, dialing Caitlin’s number. 

  “Hello,” Caitlin answered. 

  “Caitlin, this is Daniel Jackson.  We met earlier today.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“I have some free time tonight, and I was wondering if we could get together for some coffee.”

“I’d like that, Daniel.  Where should we meet?”

Daniel thought for a minute.  “How about Jazzed on Java, say around seven pm?  It’s on St. Paul drive.”

“I know where that is.”

“Great.  I’ll see you then.”

“See you there, Daniel,” Caitlin replied. 

Daniel hung up the phone and nervously ran his hand through his hair.  He was just about to walk out when Teal’c walked in. 

“Have you called her, Daniel Jackson?”

“I just got off the phone with her.  I’m meeting her downtown at Jazzed on Java in an hour, so I’m going home to change.”

“Very well.  However, you must remember that Mater Bra’tac is coming tomorrow morning.”

“I know.  I’ll be back later tonight.”  Daniel straightened up his work on the table, and got ready to leave.  “I’ll have my cell phone with me in case you need anything.”  As he walked out the door, he turned back toward Teal’c.  “Wish me luck, Teal’c.” 

Teal’c looked at him intently, the hint of a smile on his face.  “Indeed.”

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

(last post to gateworld)

Caitlin hung up her phone and hurried into the bathroom to take a quick shower.  “Well, girls,” she said, looking at her clothes after she had finished her shower, her hair and body wrapped in towels.  “What should I wear tonight?”  She pulled out a floral skirt and matching shirt.  Both Patches and Tinkerbell sat cleaning their faces. 

“Okay, so that outfit’s a ‘no’.”  Caitlin put the skirt and shirt back in the closet and pulled out a pair of khaki pants and a sweater.  Patches and Tinkerbell ignored her.  “Okay, no pants or sweater.  Gee, I wish you girls would make up your minds.”  Not finding anything in her closet for pants that she wanted to wear, she walked over to her dresser and pulled out a pair of jeans.  She laid them on the bed and walked back to her closet, finding a white tank top and a long-sleeved shirt to go over it.  She laid them both on the bed. 

“Well, how about this?”  Both Tinkerbell and Patches meowed their approval loudly.  “Finally!  Now I can get dressed.”  Her hair pulled into a ponytail, and her make-up applied, she was ready to go.

Caitlin grabbed her coat and purse, then reached for her keys.  Both Tinkerbell and Patches meowed their disappointment at being left at home.  She reached down and pet them both.  “It’s okay, girls.  Mommy will be back soon.  Now you girls behave while I’m gone.”  Locking the door, she walked outside, got into her car, and drove out of the parking lot.

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

Daniel pulled his car into a parking space near the door of the coffee shop and got out.  He locked it, and walked inside.  It wasn’t busy, and not seeing the woman with those unusual blue eyes, he found a table in the corner and sat down to wait for her. 

Caitlin was nervous as she drove to the coffee shop, so she popped in her favorite Celtic CD to calm her nerves.  She let the music wash over her, calming her fears as she parked her car.  When she walked in the door, she noticed Daniel waving to her from a corner table.  She walked over to him and smiled. 

 “Hi, Caitlin,” he said warmly. 

“Hi, Daniel.”

Daniel got up and reached out to pull out her chair.  Caitlin sat down, then Daniel returned to his chair as a waitress came up to them. 

“Welcome to Jazzed on Java,” she replied as she handed them menus and set two glasses of ice water on the table.  “My name is Beth and I'll be your server tonight.  Can I get you anything right away?”

“I’d like a cinnamon cappuccino, and a chocolate chip cookie,” replied Caitlin. 

“Just a cup of coffee with cream for me, and a caramel cinnamon roll.”

“Thank you.”  The waitress took their menus.  “I’ll be back in a few minutes with your order.” 

Once the waitress left, Caitlin turned back toward Daniel.  “Thanks for asking me to meet you here.  It would have been a boring night at home just watching a movie or something with my two girls.”

Daniel looked puzzled.  “Your girls?” he asked.

She laughed.  “Yes.  My two cats, Tinkerbell and Patches.  I’ve had both of them since they were kittens.  They’re my roommates.”

Daniel breathed a sigh of relief.  “For a minute there, I was thinking…”

“I know.  I call them my girls because they’re both females.  Sometimes I even think they’re human.”

The waitress reappeared with their drinks and food.  As she left, Caitlin noticed Daniel gazing at her.  “What?  Do I have something on my shirt?”

“No, it’s just your eyes.  They’re so blue.  I can’t figure out how they got so blue.  I mean, I have blue eyes and even mine aren’t that blue.”

Caitlin took another sip of her cappuccino.  “I know,” she replied, putting her cup down.  “When I was growing up and had to see the eye doctor, she always said the same thing.  She thought they were unique just like you do.”

  “You said you got your brilliant eye color from your mom’s side of the family.  Were your mother’s eyes just as blue?”

“They were even bluer than mine are.  I can still picture them now.  They would really sparkle when she laughed.”

“So, when did you lose your parents, Caitlin?”

“I was around nine years old or so when my dad died in a freak car accident.  I was just ten when my mom died.” 

“I know what that is like,” Daniel said.  “I lost my parents when I was young, too.  They were archaeologists themselves.  Unfortunately, they were killed in an accident at a museum they were working in.  I got my interest in archeology from them.” 

“Before my mom died, she was always working with different herbs and other things to help other people stay healthy.  That’s why I work in a health food store.  I got most of my interest from her.”  Caitlin put the last bite of cookie into her mouth just as the waitress came over to check on them.

“How are we doing, folks?”

“Just fine,” said Caitlin. 

“Can I refill your coffee, sir?”

Daniel nodded, and the waitress poured more coffee into his cup.  “So when your parents died, who raised you?” Daniel asked as he stirred in the new creamer. 

“My paternal grandmother.  I went to live with her in Maine.  However, I missed the mountains, so when I was twenty-six, I came back to live here.  There’s always been something about the mountains for me.  Still, I’ve never been able to come to terms with my mother’s death.  This may sound silly, but I don’t think she’s dead.”

“What makes you think that?” Daniel asked just before he took a sip of his coffee.  

“First of all, the police could never find her body, and they never did solve her death.  They just declared her missing, and after a year of searching, we had a funeral and made her death ‘final’.  However, I’ve always had a strange connection to my mother, ever since I can remember.  It was like we had this weird psychic connection or something.  I never felt like that with my dad, just my mom.  So even though Grandma told me that she had ‘died’, I still felt connected to her somehow.” Caitlin closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.  “Even now I can still feel her with me, but it’s not as strong as it was when I was little.” 

Taking another sip of his coffee and finishing his roll, Daniel noticed tears forming in Caitlin’s eyes.  He watched as one of them slipped down her cheek before Caitlin brushed it away. 

“I’m sorry,” she said, reaching for a tissue from her purse.  She wiped her eyes, then set the tissue on the table near her plate.  “It’s just that I really miss her a lot, so I try to hold onto that feeling as much as I can.”

“I know what that feels like,” Daniel said, wiping his mouth with his napkin.  “I felt the same way when my parents died.”

Caitlin shook her head.  “It’s different for me, somehow.  I’m not sure how though, but it is.”

“Well maybe someday you’ll figure it out.”  He took the last sip of his coffee, then set his cup back down. 

Daniel decided to change the subject.  “I noticed a little bit ago that when you had that tear running down your cheek, it was blue like your eyes.” 

“Yes.  I’ve always been like that, as was my mom.  The doctors never could figure it out.  They ran all the usual tests, but they still couldn’t figure it out.  They did tell me that it wasn’t hurting my eyes any, so it was okay.  Now I’m so used to it that I don’t even notice it anymore.”  Taking the last sip of her cappuccino, she wiped her mouth with her napkin and stood up.  “If you’ll excuse me, I need to go and freshen up.”

He stood up as she went to the restroom.  While she was gone, he took her used tissue and carefully examined it.  It had blue marks on it where Caitlin had wiped away her tears.  He carefully put it into his coat pocket, then sat down again.  A few minutes later, Caitlin came back, and Daniel helped her with her chair. 

“Thank you,” she replied, smiling warmly at him.

Daniel smiled back, then glanced at his watch.  It read nine-thirty.  The waitress came back and asked if they wanted anything more.

“Not for me, thanks,” Daniel replied.  “I need to be going soon anyway.  I have an early morning tomorrow at work.”

Caitlin shook her head in agreement.  “Me neither.  I need to be going as well.” 

“Here's your check, and have a nice evening, folks.”

“Thank, you,” Caitlin replied.  She reached into her purse for her checkbook, but Daniel stopped her. 

“No.  This is my treat.  Think of it as my way of apologizing for bumping into you at the grocery store this afternoon.”

“Oh, no, that’s alright, really.  I’m glad we bumped into each other.  I had a nice time tonight.”

Daniel smiled at her.  “So did I, Caitlin.”  He stood up, and helped her with her chair one last time.  He walked her over to her car, and waited until she had unlocked it. 

“I’m glad you could come on such short notice, Caitlin.  I really had a good time.”

“Me, too,” Caitlin said.  “Though my ‘girls’ will be happy to see me when I get home.”

   Daniel chuckled.  He nervously put his hands in his pockets.  “Say, um, before you go,” he said, running one hand through his hair, “Would you like to go out with me this week sometime for dinner?”

  She smiled shyly at him.  “I’d like that very much, Daniel.”

  “How about on Wednesday evening?  I’ll pick you up around six-thirty.”

   She opened the car door, and got in.  “That’s sounds great,” she replied, smiling at him. “I’m already looking forward to it.  Well, see you Wednesday.”

  “Bye, Caitlin,” Daniel said as he watched her drive away, then walked to his own car and got in.  He sat there thinking about her for a minute or two, then started his car and headed back to Stargate Command.

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

It was after ten when Daniel returned to his quarters at Stargate Command.  He laid his coat on his bed and carefully removed the tissue he had taken from the restaurant.  Walking out into the hall, he wandered his way down to Sam’s office. 

“Hey, Daniel,” she said teasingly as he walked in.  “I hear you had a date tonight with the lady you bumped into at the grocery store.”

“We just met for coffee, that’s all.  I wanted to know more about her eyes.”

“Sure you did,” she ribbed, grinning at him. 

Daniel threw her a dirty look. 

Sam threw her hands up.  “Okay, okay.  So, what did she say?”

“She told me that her mother’s eyes were the same way, and that the eye doctor she saw when she was younger couldn’t figure out why they were that blue, either.  There was something even more strange.”

What was that,” Sam asked.

  “She told me that soon after her father died, her mom died as well, but she doesn’t believe she’s dead.”

  What makes her think that?”

“Well, she told me that the police couldn’t find her mother’s body.  They looked for a year, then declared her legally ‘dead’ and had a funeral for her.”

“Daniel, you know the police have cases like this all the time.  What makes her think this one’s any different?

“Well, she told me that as far back as she could remember, she’d always had a special ‘connection’ to her mom, like some kind of ‘psychic link’ or something.  She said that she still felt that connection, even though they said she was dead.  She told me it’s faded since then, but once in a while she still feels it.  As we talked, she got tears in her eyes.  I didn’t think too much about it until she wiped her eyes with a tissue.”  Daniel put the tissue on the table in front of Sam.  “I noticed that her tears were also blue.  I asked her about it, and she told me she could remember her mother’s tears were like that as well.”

Immediately intrigued, Sam picked up the tissue and examined it closely.  “This is strange.  Have you shown this to Dr. Lam yet?”

“No.  I was just about to head down there, but I wanted to stop here first.”

Sam handed the tissue back to Daniel.  “I’ll go with you.  I’d like to see what she says about it.”

Dr. Lam was at her desk, and she looked up as they walked in.  “Hi, Dr. Jackson, Col. Carter.  What can I do for you?”

Daniel briefly told her about Caitlin and her eyes.  He told her about the tears he had seen earlier that night.  Then he handed her the tissue.

She examined it for a second.  “This is strange,” the doctor said.  “I’ll run some tests on this and get back to you.”

“Thanks, Dr. Lam,” replied Daniel. 

Dr. Lam left for her lab, and Sam turned toward Daniel. 

“Better get some sleep, Daniel,” she said to him as they walked out.  “We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” he replied.  “See you in the morning.”

Daniel wandered down the corridors to his quarters and went inside.  As he got ready for bed, his mind was on Caitlin and their earlier conversation.  He could picture her brilliant blue eyes and her sweet smile, and he could still hear her infectious laughter.  He smiled to himself as he drifted off to sleep, knowing that he would see her again in a few days. 

 

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

Early the next morning, General Hank Landry walked into the control room and noted that SG-1 was already there. 

Walter called out, “Incoming wormhole, Sir.  I’m receiving Master Bra’tac’s code now.”

“Open the iris,” the general ordered as the team headed to the gateroom. 

 A few seconds later, Bra'tac was walking down the ramp.

Teal’c approached him and, clasping his arm, greeted him warmly. 

“Tek matte, Bra'tac.”

“It is good to see you again, my friend.”

“How are matters on the council?”

“Unfortunately they are the same as always.”

Bra’tac and Teal’c walked off the ramp and stood in front of the general. 

“Welcome back to Earth, Master Bra’tac,” General Landry said, smiling at him.

“Thank you,” he said with a concerned look on his face.  “I had hoped to come under better circumstances, but I have learned some disturbing news from one of our spies on a planet that is held by the Ori.”

“You can tell us all about it in the briefing room,” the general gestured with his hand.  “This way.”  He led them into the main conference room. 

 When everyone was seated, he addressed the group.  “Master Bra’tac has come here to give us some new information concerning the Ori.  Master Bra’tac?”

“Three days ago one of our spies on a planet known to be controlled by the Ori came back badly injured.  He told of hearing several Ori priors talking about seven possible words in which they would next attack, though he did not hear them say how soon.  He told us that he tried to find out more information and discovered the addresses for these worlds.” 

“Unfortunately he was discovered and while trying to flee was badly injured.  He was able to make it back through the Chappa-ai and give us the information he had gotten before he succumbed to his injuries.”  Bra’tac passed Col. Mitchell a piece of paper with two sets of seven glyphs written on it.  Mitchell then passed it on to Gen. Landry, who glanced at it. 

“Bra’tac, there are only two gate addresses on here,” General Landry said, frowning. 

“We were able to dial all but two of the Chappa-ai addresses before council matters became more important.  However, I suggested to the council that they give them to you in the hopes that you may be able to try them.”

Teal’c nodded in agreement.  “It is true that the different factions in the council have been arguing lately.  It is causing great tension among our people.”

Landry nodded and passed the piece of paper to Daniel.  “Dr. Jackson, would you pass this on to Col. Carter?”  Daniel took the piece of paper and handed it to Sam, who studied it a moment. 

“Do you think the computer will accept them, Colonel?”

“I believe so, Sir,” she replied. 

“General,” said Bra’tac with concern in his voice, “From the way our spy spoke about what he had heard from the Ori priors, it sounded as though the attacks would be happening in a few of your months.  I suggest you take immediate action to stop them.  Unfortunately, the Jaffa Council cannot help.  There is turmoil in our ranks, and we must deal with it swiftly to prevent anything further from taking place.”

“Do you require my presence at the Council, Master Bra’tac?” Teal’c asked, turning toward him. 

“No, my friend.  You must stay here and help your friends fight these false gods.  We must not let them spread their lies and deceptions, or enslave others as the Goa’uld once did.”

Teal’c nodded, but before everyone else could get up to leave the room, Daniel stopped them. 

“General, I have something else to tell you about.  It’s about someone I met yesterday.”

Sam, leaned over and whispered, “Not now, Daniel,” but he ignored her. 

“What is it, Dr. Jackson?”
  “I was buying groceries the other day and bumped into the most amazing and intriguing woman I have ever met.  Her name is Caitlin O’Brien.”

“Go on.” 

“Well, when I looked at her, I noticed the bluest eyes I have ever seen.  They were so brilliantly blue.”

Cam stopped him.  “Jackson, I told you before.  Millions of people have blue eyes.”

“I know, but there’s more to it than just her eyes.”

“Like what?”

“Well, last night we met for coffee, and I asked her about her eyes.  Caitlin said her mother had bluer eyes than she did.  I asked her about her parents, and she told me that she was around nine years old when her dad died in a freak car accident.  She told me she was ten when her mom died, but she doesn’t believe she’s dead.  Caitlin told me the police couldn’t find her mom’s body.”

“Dr. Jackson, there are always a few police cases where they can’t find the body,” replied General Landry. 

“I know, but there’s more.  As we were talking, the memory of her mom brought tears to her eyes.”

Teal’c spoke up.  “Everyone sheds tears in their life at one time or another, Daniel Jackson.”

“Yes, but blue tears?”

“Blue tears?” asked the General, now clearly intrigued.

“Yes.  She pulled out a tissue and wiped them away, and when she left for the restroom, I took the tissue and put it into my coat pocket.  When I got back here, I showed it to Sam.”

Sam spoke up.  “I took a look at it, General, and it was just a plain white tissue, but parts of it had in fact turned blue.”

“When she came back, I asked her about her tears.  Caitlin told me that her eye doctor had run tests, but didn’t find anything unusual or harmful about her tears.  She also told me that she could remember her mother’s tears were like that as well.”

“Could it be some kind of trick?” the general asked.

“I don’t think so, sir,” Sam replied.  “I saw the tissue myself last night when Daniel came back, and parts of it had definitely turned blue.”

Daniel continued.  “Sam and I took the tissue down to Dr. Lamb, who also thought it was strange.  She’s running a few tests on it now to see what she can find out.”

“How soon will you know the results?” the general asked.

“She said she’d let us know if she found anything.”

“Okay.  In the meantime let’s check out these gate addresses.  Col. Carter, go work with Walter and prepare to put the addresses into the computer.  Everyone else meet up in ten minutes in the control room.”

“Forgive me, General,” Bra'tac told him as Sam left the room.  “I must return to Dakara and my work there.”

“Of course,” said Gen. Landry.  “We can send you home now.”

Bra'tac nodded, and the rest of the group headed down to the gateroom. 

“Walter, dial up Dakara,” the general shouted out. 

In a few moments, the gate whooshed open, and Master Bra'tac moved toward the ramp. 

“Good luck, Master Bra'tac,” the general told him.

“Good bye, General,” he replied, bowing his head in return. 

Teal’c walked up to Bra’tac and gripped his right forearm.  “Take care, old friend,” He told his friend with a small smile.

“As should you, Teal’c,” Bra’tac replied in return.  He turned toward the shimmering pool of light, then turned his head and looked back at Teal’c.  “Farewell, my friends, and good luck.”   

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

It was nine-thirty am, and Caitlin was at work at the Nature’s Best Health Food Store when the postman walked in.

“Hello, Caitlin,” he said with a smile as he walked up to the registers where Caitlin was standing. 

“Hi, Mr. Duncan,” she smiled back.  “How are you doing today?”

“Just fine, young lady.”  He dug into his bag and pulled out a small bundle of letters and three small packages.  “I have a certified letter for you, Caitlin.  Will you sign for it?”

A certified letter, she thought, puzzled.  “Sure, Mr. Duncan.”  She took the pen and signed the paper he gave her.  “There you go,” she replied handing the paper and pen back to him. 

“Thank you, Caitlin,” he said, handing her the letter.  “I guess that’s all for today.”

Caitlin handed him two letters and a peppermint candy.  “Thanks, Mr. Duncan.  See you tomorrow, and please tell your wife I said hello.”

“Will do,” he answered as he walked out of the store.

Caitlin grabbed the mail, flipping through the letters as a customer came in to the store.  She noticed her best friend and owner of the store, Lacey, going over to help the customer.  Turning her attention back to the letters, she saw that most were bills, and one letter was addressed to her.  Another letter asking for advice, she thought to herself.  I’ll read this one later.  She glanced over at the three small packages, but instead picked up the certified letter.  It was a small but thick manila envelope.  She noticed that the return address showed that the letter was from a law firm. 

Shelby, Landers, and Flynn.  Who are they? she thought.  She picked up a letter opener and slit open the envelope.  Reaching into it, she pulled out a letter and some old photos. 

Dear Miss O’Brien, the letter started.  My name is Keith Flynn.  I am the executor of your Aunt Patty Lawrence’s estate.  I am sorry to inform you that recently she died of a massive heart attack.

 In the past few years, her health had deteriorated.  She decided to make out her will, and she instructed me to give these old photos to you upon her death.

I offer my deepest condolences for your loss, Miss O’Brien. 

Sincerely,

Keith Flynn,

Attorney-at-law

Lacey left the customer to browse the shelves, and came over to the registers.  “I see the mail came,” she said to Caitlin. 

“Yes,” answered Caitlin absentmindedly.

Lacey picked up the letters and quickly shuffled through them, then glanced over at the packages. 

“Oh, good!  The oils came today,” she said as she opened one of the small boxes.  “This will make Mrs. Jacobs very happy.  Would you call her?”

Caitlin was looking at the pictures. 

When she didn’t answer her question, Lacey turned and saw that Caitlin’s face was as white as a sheet.  “Caitlin, what is it?  What’s wrong?” 

Caitlin showed her the letter. 

“Oh, Caitlin,” she said after reading the letter.  “I’m sorry.  Were you and your aunt close?” Again her friend didn’t answer.  Lacey became more worried.  “What is it?” she asked again.

She turned toward Lacey, tears streaming down her face.  She showed her the pictures.  “These are pictures of my mother and me before she died.  I was about eight years old when these were taken.  Aunt Patty had them all this time and didn’t tell me.”

“Were you two close?” Lacey asked again. 

Caitlin shook her head, grabbing a tissue and wiping her eyes.  “No.  She was Dad’s sister, and we were never close because she lived in Oregon.  But still, if she had these photographs, she should have told me.”

“Well, you have them now.  Why don’t you go take a break for a little while?  You’re due for one anyway, so go sit and take some time to yourself.” 

She nodded, blew her nose, and wiped away the last of her tears.  She took the photos, walked into the back of the store and sat down at the break table.  She looked up as Lacey sat down at the table.  “Who’s watching the registers?” she asked. 

“I pulled Melinda out of the office to watch them for a while,” Lacey replied.  “Are you feeling any better?”

Caitlin nodded and blew her nose one last time.  “A little.  I just can’t believe Aunt Patty had these photos all these years and didn’t tell me until now.”

“I know, but at least you have them now.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”  She wiped her eyes and nose one last time, then smiled.  “You’ll never guess what happened to me yesterday.”

“What happened?”

“I was going to the grocery store to buy some groceries, and it was raining when I got there.  Well, I ran into the entrance of the store and as I was shaking the water off my umbrella, I bumped into the most intriguing man I’ve ever met. 

Lacey’s eyes grew big, and her mouth gaped open.  “You’re kidding!  Who is he?”

“His name is Daniel Jackson.  He’s an archaeologist here in Colorado Springs.”

“Well, it’s about time you met someone.  Is he single?”

Caitlin playfully smacked Lacey’s arm.  “Is that all you can think about?”

Lacey laughed.  “Well, you’re one of the last ones I know to get married, so yeah, I guess so.”

“Well, I think he is.  I mean, I didn’t see a ring on his finger last night.”

“Last night? What about last night?”  Lacey looked very surprised.  “You had a date with him, and you didn’t tell me?”

Caitlin tried to calm her friend down.  “Lacey, all we did was go out for coffee.  We met at Jazzed on Java and talked a little, that’s all.  It really wasn’t a date.”

“If you met a single guy at a coffee shop, even if you just ‘talked’, it’s still a date.”

“It wasn’t a date at all.  He wanted to know more about my eyes.  He kept asking me about my eyes and why they’re so blue.”

Lacey gave her a skeptical look.  “If you ask me, it sounds like the guy’s a bit of a creep.”

“Not at all!  He was really nice, and we had a good time.  As a matter of fact, I’m meeting him again.  He asked me to dinner on Wednesday night.”

“That’s great!  Now you can find out if he really is single.”

Caitlin playfully smacked Lacey’s arm, laughing. 

“Well, if you’re feeling better now, I guess we should get back to work.  Why don’t you put those photos back in the envelope and I’ll put them into the office for safekeeping while we’re working.  You can get them before you leave.”

“Thanks,” Caitlin replied, smiling at her. “You know, I’m really looking forward to seeing Daniel again.”

Lacey smiled mischievously at Caitlin.  “See, we’ll have you married yet.”

Caitlin gave her a dirty look, then they both broke out into laughter. 

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

As soon as the Stargate had shut down, they all walked back up to the control room.  Walter got up and let Sam sit at the main computer controls, while he sat down next to her. 

“All ready, Sir,” she told Gen. Landry. 

“Proceed, Colonel.”

Sam took the first of the two addresses they had gotten and typed the glyphs into the computer.  “It’s searching our database of all the known gate addresses for anything similar.  It should take only a few moments.  If it doesn’t find anything, it will start the dialing process.”

  The computer stopped, then started up again, this time activating the gate itself.  Sam kept a close watch on the computer and called each chevron.  “Chevron one engaged,” she called out.  “Chevron two engaged.  Chevrons three and four engaged, sir.  Chevron five engaged, chevron six engaged.”  The inner ring of the gate rotated to the last chevron. 

“Chevron seven won’t lock, General. 

“Try the address again,” suggested Col. Mitchell.

Sam typed the address back into the computer.  The inner circle of the gate rotated, but the seventh chevron wouldn’t light up. 

Walter turned and looked up at the General.  “The seventh chevron still won’t lock, Sir.” 

“What’s your opinion, Col. Carter?” the general asked her. 

“The addresses may have been incorrect, sir,” she suggested, turning to look at him and the others. 

“That is a possibility, Col. Carter,” added Teal’c.  “Though Bra’tac and the Jaffa Council may not have known that.” 

Landry nodded in agreement.  “Well, let’s try the other address.”

Sam turned back towards the computer and typed in the next address that Bra’tac had given them.  The computer searched the database for any possible matches.  “No matches found in the database, Sir. The computer will try the dialing process.” The inner circle of the gate began to rotate.  Sam called out each chevron in succession as it locked into place.  When the last chevron came up on the computer screen, she called it out.  “Chevron seven engaged.”  The gate rotated to its final position, the final chevron lighting up.

“Chevron seven locked, Sir.”  They all watched as the gate whooshed open, and the familiar pool of the event horizon appeared.  “We have a valid address, General,” Sam replied. 

“Well done, Colonel,” Gen. Landry said, smiling.  “Prepare a MALP to send through. 

“Yes, Sir.”  The team watched as a MALP was rolled into the gate room and technicians began working on it.  Within a few minutes, they were finished. 

“Sending the MALP through, Sir.”  They all waited anxiously for it to reach its destination.  “MALP has reached the other side, sir.  Sending telemetry through now.”

 Everyone turned to look at the monitors above their heads.  The image being shown was of a lush green planet filled with trees, sunshine, and snow-capped mountains.  In front of the gate was a small meadow.

“Readings indicate a breathable atmosphere, and a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit,” Col. Carter said.  “It looks good, General.”

“What's that in the background,” Cam asked, looking intently at the video monitors. 

“It appears to be mountains, Colonel Mitchell,” replied Teal’c.

“It looks okay by the gate,” Daniel said. 

The General had a satisfied smile on his face.  “SG-1, you have a go for standard recon.”

Everyone got up and headed down the stairs to get ready.  When they were all ready, they walked into the gateroom and looked toward the General in the control room. 

“Good luck SG-1, and Godspeed.” 

The four of them walked up the ramp and into the gate.  They emerged from the other end of the wormhole into the small mountain meadow they had seen on the monitors in the control room.  What they hadn’t seen were the two suns shining down on the planet.  They all put on their sunglasses and took a look around.  The air smelled heavily of pine trees and fresh air, and they could see the mountains off in the near-distance were thick with snow.  As they looked around the immediate area of the gate, Teal’c noticed a path leading off in one direction. 

“Col. Mitchel, Col. Carter, I have found what appears to be a path of some kind.  Where it leads to, I am unsure.”

The others all walked over to where Teal’c was standing, and Col. Mitchell smiled at him. 

“Good work, T.  Let’s just see where this trail leads, shall we?”  He led the way as the others followed behind him.  As they were walking, Sam commented on how clean the air smelled. 

“I know,” added Daniel.  “It’s the pine trees and being so close to those mountains, I think.  I can even breathe better here.”

Cam and Sam smiled at him, while Teal’c just raised an eyebrow.  As they walked down the path, they took in the beautiful scenery around them. After about five minutes of walking, they came to a small village.  As they walked in, the people stopped what they were doing and stared at them, pointed, or whispered to each other.  They walked into what looked like the village square and were met by a small group of men and women.

Fáilte strainséirs,” one of the men said, smiling at Cam as he opened his arms out in welcome and bowed slightly.  “Fáilte chuig ár sráidbhaile.”

Cam turned to Daniel.  “Jackson, what’s he saying?  I don’t understand him.”

“I think he’s speaking Gaelic,” Daniel replied.  He took a moment to remember the Gaelic he had learned.  “He said, ‘Welcome strangers’, and ‘Welcome to our village’.”

Cam turned back toward the man who had spoken to him.  “Are you the leader of these people,” he asked him. 

“Forgive me,” the man replied back in a thick Irish accent.  “I be Master Aedan O’Malley, Village Manager.  Welcome 't our village.”

Daniel stepped forward.  “Beannachta,” he said.  “My name is Daniel Jackson.  This,” he said pointing to Sam, “is Col. Samantha Carter.  This is Col. Cameron Mitchell, and this,” Daniel said, pointing in Teal’c’s direction, “is Teal’c. We come from a planet called Earth.”

Aedan’s eyes lit up.  “Séan Talamh?  Auld Aerth?  'Tis incredible!  Our ancestors came from Auld Aerth many centuries ago.”

“Aedan, your manners,” a woman next to him piped up. 

  “Ah, yes. Forgive me,” he said, gesturing toward the woman standing next to him. “This be me wife, Mistress Shannon O'Malley.”

“Aye.  Now get on wi' ya,” she said.

“Come this way,” he said, gesturing toward the end of the village square.  “We c'n adjourn 't Tierney’s pub and have some refreshments.”

“Aedan O’Malley,” the woman said with her hands on her hips.  “It be only mornin’ and ya wantin’ 't go 't the pub?  I won’t hear of it!”

“But Darlin’,” Aedan started, turning toward her.  “I was only goin' 't have a wee nip.”

“Don’t 'cha ‘Darlin’ me, ya big ox,” she said in mock anger, her eyes twinkling at him as she turned to go back to their cottage.  “Ya just be taking them over 't the village hall and talk wi’ ‘em there.  The ale c'n wait.”

“Aye, dear,” he replied with a sad look on his face.  He leaned in toward Daniel and whispered, “She never be lettin’ me have a wee nip in the mornin'.”

 “I heard that,” his wife said, turning back to look at him, a scowl on her face.  The team laughed as Aedan looked a little embarrassed that his wife had heard him.  He turned and started walking down the street, motioning for the others to follow him.

Daniel saw some of the villagers glancing at them, then whispering and pointing out of sheer curiosity, he guessed.  He also saw several small two-wheeled carts being drawn, by what appeared to be at first glance a horse, down the cobblestone street, heard the blow of a hammer from the blacksmith, a baker calling for his assistant to bring more flour, and the chatter from the people along the street. 

“What do you make of them, Daniel?” asked Sam as they walked. 

“At a glance I would say the buildings seem to be similar to the buildings of the Medieval Era on Earth, as are their clothes.”

“Do you think they possess any advanced technology?” Cam inquired of Daniel.

 “I don’t think so, though a more thorough look around would tell us more.” 

Aedan led them down the cobblestone street until he stood in front of a small stone building.  Beside it was a small bell.  Its roof was thick golden-brown grass, and the stones that built it had weathered to a polished gray color.  The wooden door was medium-sized and ornately carved with Celtic designs.  Aedan pushed down on the thumb latch and pushed open the door. 

He walked inside and led them past two rooms, one on either side of the hallway, and into the large meeting room.  Walking to the end of the room, he took out a match, bent down, and started a fire in the fireplace.  He took a small stick from near the fireplace and put the end into the fire.  Once it was lit, he walked over to the huge meeting table and lit the lamp sitting in the middle.  When he was done, he blew out the flame on the stick and tossed it back into the fire. 

As he lit the fire, Daniel and the others admired the ornate carvings on the ceiling and the beautiful woven wall hangings that hung between the windows.  Next to the wall hangings were large lamps.  The floor was all wooden, but smooth.  The huge table in the center of the room was also ornately carved with Celtic designs and sayings, though only around the edges.  The chairs were also wooden, and there were 10 of them, with one at the head of the table near the fireplace. 

Aedan went to each window and opened the shutters to let in the sunlight.  “Please, sit down,” he urged them, returning to the head of the table near the fireplace. 

Everyone pulled out a chair and sat down while Aedan went to his office and returned a moment later with five mugs and a container of what appeared to be a brownish liquid.  Aedan stood at the table beside his chair and gave each one a mug.  Opening the container, he poured a generous portion of the brownish liquid into their mugs and finally into his own. 

“Don’t be tellin’ me wife about this,” he said with a mischievous smile.  “She not be knowin’ that I be keepin’ a wee bit o’ refreshment here fer occasions such as this.”

Everyone chuckled and Cam took a drink of the liquid in their mug.  He smiled, knowing what the drink was.  “Ale.  I’ve had this back on Earth before.  It’s good.”

“Each village makes their own kind.  We call this one hainnochen.” Aedan took a long, slow drink.  “Ah, now that hits the spot,” he said with a contented smile on his face.  As he sat down he asked how they had come to their village. 

“We came through the Stargate,” Cam answered him. 

“Would you be talkin’ ‘bout that big stone circle a ways outside the village,” Aedan asked him.

“Yes.”

“Ah.  Now I be understandin’ ya.”

“Your people are of Irish decent,” Daniel said turning toward him.  “So how did you get to this planet?”

“Stories and legends passed down from generation 't generation say we came 't this planet a thousand years ago.  An evil bein' had made us her slaves.”

“What did this ‘evil being’ look like?” Cam asked. 

“The stories say that she be lookin’ like you and me, but she had gold eyes, and flew in a grand ship.”

Cam looked at the others, and then, directly into Teal’c’s eyes.  “The Goa’uld.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c answered back.

  Daniel turned back toward Aedan.  “Do you know anything about the evil being that enslaved your people?”

  “No, but we have our historical room over there,” and Aedan pointed to the room directly across from his small office.  “It be holdin' all our history.  I c'n show it 't ya later if ya be wantin’ 't see it.”

Daniel smiled and nodded at him. 

Sam asked, “What do you call your planet, Master O’Malley?”

“Please, call me Aedan.  We call this planet Danu.”

Cam, Sam, and Teal’c looked questioningly at Daniel.  He cocked his head to one side thoughtfully.  “Uh, Danu is considered the mother of the race of the Tuatha Dé Danann.  She’s also considered the Mother Goddess.  In Irish and Gaelic mythology she was the goddess of fertility and the earth. The Tuatha Dé Danann were descendants of the goddess Danu. Her son Dagda was their most powerful leader.”  He stopped, took a sip of his ale, and pushed up his glasses.  “The Tuatha Dé Dananns were one of the mythical races who settled in Ireland before the arrival of the Milesians, the ancestors of modern Gaels.  They were a race of deities as well as race of heroes.”  He scratched his head thoughtfully.  “The Dananns were skilled in art and science, poetry and magic.  Uh, legends say that the Tuatha Dé Danann…”

“We’ll have more time for your history lesson later, Jackson.  For now let’s concentrate on the present,” Cam said, interrupting him. 

Aedan looked at Daniel, a smile on his face.  “I be surprised, young man, that ya be knowin’ who Danu was.” 

“Archeology and learning different languages are what Daniel’s best at,” replied Sam.

Aedan took a drink of his ale, then wiped his mouth with his sleeve.  “I see.  Well, as the legends go, there was a beautiful woman wi’ glowing eyes who made us her slaves.  She be called Mórrígan.” 

Cam and Sam knew of her only vaguely, but Daniel had seen her face-to-face when he had been sent by the Tok'ra to poison the Goa'uld System Lords at their summit.  The three of them looked expectantly at Teal’c to provide more information. 

“Do you know anything else about her, T?” Cam asked him.

“I do not.  As she was a System Lord, she was at the summit of the other System Lords four years ago.  After Daniel Jackson’s attempt at capturing Osiris disrupted the summit, she disappeared and no Jaffa have heard of her since that time.”

“Well, that explains who enslaved these people,” Daniel said.  “However, it doesn’t explain how these people got here.”

“Fer sure I'll show ya our historical library, in time.  Fer now I would like ya 't meet others that be important in our village.”  Aedan walked down the short hallway to the door and went outside.  He pulled the short string attached to the bell, and it started to ring loudly.  Everyone in the street stopped what they were doing and looked toward the village hall.  Several men and women started walking toward the building and stopped in front of him.

“What is it Master Aedan?” asked Seamus MacGuire.

“We have visitors.  They have come from Séan Talamh.  They came through the Cloch Ciorcal in the meadow near the village.”

“Ya’ve been 't the pub too many times, Aedan,” Seamus said, as he and the crowd around him laughed.

“May I be struck dead,” Aedan said as he made the sign of the cross on his chest.  “As The Faether is my witness, they be in the village hall now.”

Glói bí go Gia!  I beliaeve he’s tellin’ us the truth” Seamus said in disbelief. 

“If ya don't beliaeve me, then go inside and see fer yerself,” Aedan said, waving in the direction of the village hall.  “I be wantin’ them 't meet wi' the other council members and our healer.”

“That be fine, Aedan,” Seamus said.  “I'll go find the healer and bring her with me.” 

Aedan turned toward the hall door and the other three members of the council followed him inside.  When they got to the main meeting room, the three stopped and stared in amazement.  Aedan walked to his seat near the fireplace and stood there, waiting for Seamus to return.  In a few minutes Seamus returned and behind him walked the healer. 

“Friends, these be the four council members of our village.  Master Seamus MacGuire,” Aedan pointed to each one in turn, “Master Eirnin Killigan, Master Colum Brennigan, and Master Finn Adair.  “And this be our Healer, Mistress Siobhan O’Brien.”

 Daniel immediately perked his head up when he heard the healer’s last name.  He looked over at Sam, who also had the same puzzled but curious look on her face.  The four council members and the healer all opened their arms and bowed slightly to SG-1, saying, “Danu Go Bragh.”  Then they pulled out some chairs and sat down. 

“Aedan tells us ya came from Auld Aerth,” Eirnin Killigan said. 

“Yes,” Sam answered him. 

“We've not seen anyone come through the cloch ciorcal, the Stone Circle, fer many generations,” Eirnin told her. 

“Master Aedan told us that an evil being named Mórrígan enslaved your planet many generations ago,” Daniel asked him. 

She made us do unspeakable things in her service, and made us worship her,” Column Brennigan answered. 

“She was what we call a Goa’uld,” Sam said. 

Teal’c spoke up.  “She was a false god.”

Cam stopped Teal’c with a wave of his hand.  “So how did you get her to stop coming here?”

“Fer some time our people were of use 't her,” Aedan said.  “When we were not useful anymore, she stopped comin' here.”

The others were talking, but Daniel wasn’t listening.  All he could do was stare at the Healer.  He noticed that even though she sat at a distance across the table from him, he could see her eyes.  They were the same brilliant blue that Caitlin’s were.  Could it be?  Could she be Caitlin’s mother?  He was still pondering that when his thoughts were interrupted.

“Daniel,” Cam called out.  “You still with us?”

He turned to him and asked what had just been said.  “Master Aedan and his friends asked if we would like a tour of the village.  I told him that Sam and I would go, and you and T can stay here with Aedan and go over their history.”

“Sure,” Daniel replied.  “Sounds fine.” 

“Good,” Aedan told them.  “I'll have Master Eirnin show ya around.  As fer yer friends, I'll show them our library.” 

  Eirnin and the other councilors got up and started toward the door, Cam following behind, but Sam hesitated. 

  “Something wrong, Sam?” asked Cam. 

  “Can we talk?” she asked. 

“Sure.”  Cam turned toward Aedan.

“Of course.  We be waitin’ fer ya outside.”

Once everyone had gone outside, Cam, Sam, Teal’c and Daniel gathered together before the fireplace.  “Okay, Sam.  What’s up?”

“I was just going to ask Daniel the same thing.” 

“Jackson?”  Cam looked at him curiously. 

Daniel cleared his throat nervously.  “Uh, well, did you notice the Healer?  Her eyes were blue.  The same blue that Caitlin’s eyes were.  And Caitlin’s last name is O’Brien.  So is the Healer’s.” 

“Daniel, you can’t be serious,” Cam said a little disturbed.  “You need to focus here, man.  All you noticed are coincidences.”

Daniel shook his head.  “I know.  It just seems so strange, though.”

Sam turned toward him.  “I know, Daniel, but you need to put Caitlin out of your mind for now.  Why don’t you and Teal’c go check out their history and try to find out how the Goa’uld brought them here.”

“Okay.  Maybe I can talk to her later.  If she’s the Healer, she might have some medicines that we could use back on Earth, and I can find out more about her then.”

“Fine,” answered Cam a little impatiently.  “Can we go now?”

Daniel nodded again, and the four of them walked toward the door.  Aedan took Daniel and Teal’c into the small library, and as Cam and Sam walked outside, they put their sunglasses back on. 

Sam walked up beside Eirnin.  “Master Eirnin, I noticed when we came through the gate that you planet has two suns.  Since it is so bright outside, how do your eyes adjust to all the sunlight?  We have to wear sunglasses that help to protect our eyes a little.”

Eirnin turned toward her.  “It be written in the historical books that when our ancestors came here, it took them time 't adjust 't the light.  After a few generations, the children that were born were no longer sensitive 't the light.”

As they continued down the cobblestone street, Cameron turned to Eirnin and asked what the name of their village was. 

“It be called Fluairíd Robáil.  That be meanin’ ‘Flowing River’.  See the river down the hill there?”  Eirnin stopped and pointed down the hill and through the trees to the river.  “That be why our village is so named.  The river be called ‘Deoir Dar Dáta an Athair’.  It be meanin’ ‘Tears of the Faether’, fer our Faether God in Heaven.”

“Are all the villages near a river?” Sam asked Eirnin. 

“No.  We be so close 't the mountains that one 'o the rivers flows by here.  Other villages have had 't dig wells fer their water.”

“Do you have a well, or are you able to get your water from the river?” Cam asked him. 

“We be getting’ it from the river.  The water be so clear and clean that we c'n just go and get all we want.”  They started walking again, and Eirnin led them to the blacksmith shop.  “We be startin’ here with our ‘gabha’, our blacksmith.  Later I be takin’ ya 't the inn fer lunch.” 

They walked inside, and as Eirnin introduced them to the blacksmith, Sam and Cam wondered what Daniel and Teal’c were finding out in their research. 

Back in the village hall library, Daniel, Teal’c, and Aedan were going over some books.  Daniel was sitting at the small table reading a book about the early years of the village. 

“This is incredible!” Daniel exclaimed. 

“Did you discover something, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked, looking at him. 

“Yes.  In this book it talks about how the Danuans got here.”  He pointed to a certain spot in it and showed it to Teal’c.  “Uh, it says here that the Goa’uld called Mórrígan came to earth over a thousand years ago.  The Irish people were shocked to see what looked like a strange pyramid standing among their fields and homes.”

“She must have used an ha’tak,” Teal’c remarked.  “However, does it does not show up in your planet’s history?”

“Not that I know of.  However, there may be more about the Goa’uld coming to Earth, but we just haven’t found it all yet.”

“Indeed,” stated Teal’c.  “What else does their writing say?”

Daniel read a few paragraphs to himself, then shared it with the others.  “It says here that the Irish people were so curious about the strange building that they went inside to check it out.  Once inside, Mórrígan captured them.  When she saw that they were hard workers, she decided to take more as her slaves.  When the first Irish people didn’t return to the village, more came out in search of them. Mórrígan captured those as well.  She also noticed how the people lived and worked.  She made them bring her food and clothing, and she liked what they brought her so much that she took everything in the village, and even in the nearby villages.  Grain, food, material for clothing, everything they had.  She brainwashed all the people in the different villages into believing that she was their god, and they began to worship her.  Once she had taken everyone and everything from all the villages, she left Earth and must have journeyed to this planet.”

“Was this planet inhabited at that time?” Teal’c asked. 

“I don’t think so.  Mórrígan set her ship down somewhere on this planet, and made her new slaves produce the same food, clothing, and other things that she had discovered on Earth.”  Daniel flipped to the last few pages of the book, looking for other clues.  “It doesn’t say what happened after that, at least not in this book.  Just a minute.”  Daniel picked up the next book, opened it, and started reading again.  “Uh, here we go,” he said, pushing up his glasses.  “It says here that after about five to six hundred years, Mórrígan lost interest in these people, and suddenly left.  Since then they've been completely on their own.”

“Aye,” Aedan said, nodding.  “But we be doin’ fine, as ya saw when ya came here.  We be takin’ care of ourselves pretty good since she left.” 

“You mean the Goa’uld haven’t come back?” Daniel asked, surprised. 

“Say me nay.  They haven't come back fer generations now.”

“Wow.  I would have thought another Goa’uld would have come to take Mórrígan’s place.”

“It may be,” Teal’c replied to Daniel, “that they found planets that were more important to them at that time.”

“Okay, I guess that’s possible.”  He turned back toward the books in front of him, and read some more.  “I can’t find anything else right now, Teal'c,  so maybe we should meet up with Sam and Cam.”

“Agreed.  Aedan O’Malley, can you lead us to where our friends are?”

“Aye,” he said, smiling.  “If I know Eirnin Killigan, yer friends be at the inn havin’ a wee nip and a bite 't eat.  Tis’ almost mealtime here.”

At that moment, Daniel’s stomach growled loudly.  Aedan looked at him puzzled.

“What be that noise?  It be soundin’ like a ‘lionn’, a lion roarin’.  You must be hungry, lad.”

Teal’c looked at Daniel.  “Daniel Jackson, when did you last eat?”

Daniel sheepishly looked at him.  “Not since before lunch yesterday.  I’ve had a lot on my mind since then.”

“Well, lad,” Aedan said, clapping Daniel on the shoulder.  “Where we be goin’ they serve the finest meals this side of Neamh(Heaven).  It’ll stick 't yer ribs and fill ya up I guarantee ya that.”

“I guess I should eat something,” Daniel admitted.  “That sounds great.”

“You two just go on outside and wait there.  I’ll just be lockin’ things up again.”

Daniel and Teal’c walked out of the room and out the front entrance.  Putting on their sunglasses, they stood by the door and waited.  As Aedan walked out, he pulled the main door shut behind him and locked it. 

“Get ready fer the best meal in town,” Aedan said as he turned toward Daniel and Teal’c.  Turning down a side street, Aedan led them to a medium-sized, two story building.  The sign above the front door read “Finnegan’s Inn”.  Aedan pushed open the door, and motioned for Daniel and Teal’c to come inside.  They walked in and they took off their sunglasses.  As their eyes adjusted to the darker light inside the inn, they noticed Sam and Cam with Eirnin sitting at a table in the dining room off the front entrance. The three of them walked over and sat down at the table. 

A tall young woman came over to their table.  “Danu Go Bragh, Aedan.  ‘Tis a glorious day, is it not?” she asked, smiling at them all. 

“That it 'tis, Kathleen.  That it 'tis.”

“Who be yer friends here?” 

“Forgive me manners, Mistress Kathleen,” he said, a little embarrassed.  “These be the paeople that came through the cloch ciorcal from Auld Aerth.”  He pointed to each one as he introduced them to her.  “Folks,” Aedan said smiling, “This be Mistress Kathleen Finnegan, the best cook in the village, other than me own wife, God bless her.”

“So he says every time he comes in here, he does.  Now what would ya all be havin’?  The menu is posted there on the small board fer everyone 't see.”  She pointed to it, and the others looked at it. 

Daniel’s stomach chose that moment to growl again. This time everyone heard it. 

“Bless me,” Kathleen said to Daniel, frowning, her hands on her hips.  “Ya be lookin’ like a thin branch ya are.  Ya need meat on yer bones.”  She turned toward Cam.  “What might ya be feedin’ him where ya come from?”

“Well,” Cam answered her.  “Lately he’s had a lot on his mind, and when he gets preoccupied, he doesn’t eat.”

“Kathleen, darlin’,” Aedan chimed in.  “What do ya have that’ll put some meat on his bones and stay his stomach from soundin’ like a lion.”

Kathleen smiled and clasped her hands together.  “I be havin’ just the thing.  Irish lamb stew.  I made a batch fresh just this mornin’, but it still be hot.  A cold glass of milk and some arán be fillin’ him up quick as a blink.”

Sam smiled at Kathleen.  “What do you put in it, besides the lamb meat?”

“I be puttin’ in cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and herbs.”

“It sounds good.  I’ll try that, too.”

Cam and Teal’c both agreed to have the stew, and Kathleen made a mental note of their orders.  Then she turned back toward Aedan.  “And I suppose ya be havin’ a wee dram of lager with yer meal, Aedan.”

“Don’t be daft!  Me wife would skin me alive, she would,” he said, winking at her. 

Kathleen put her hands back on her hips and gave Aedan a playful look.  “May God have mercy on ya, fer lyin’ 't him, Aedan O’Malley.  I be knowin’ ya better than that.”

“Surein ya do, that I know.  I was only havin’ a wee bit 'o fun with ya.”

Everyone laughed.  Kathleen asked the others what they wanted to drink with their meals, and everyone except Eirnin and Aedan ordered milk.  Kathleen left and soon returned with two large mugs of lager for Aedan and Eirnin, and smaller glasses of water for the others.  She waited while Aedan took a large swig of his lager. 

“Ahh,” he said after a minute, smiling at Kathleen.  “That hits the spot, me dear.”

“Aedan O’Malley,” she said, lightly hitting him with her dish towel, “you say that every time ya come here.  Now I’ll see 't yer food.” 

“Master Eirnin, what does ‘Danu Go Bragh’ mean?” Sam asked after she left.

“It be meanin’ ‘Danu Forever’.”

Cam turned toward Daniel.  “So Jackson, what did you find out?” 

Daniel took a sip of his water and pushed up his glasses.  “Uh, it turns out their records are quite detailed.  According to the first villagers, Mórrígan landed her ship, which Teal’c thinks was a Goa’uld mothership, in Ireland among the villages and farms.  The people got curious and went to investigate the strange building they saw.  When they went inside, they were captured by her, and she made them her slaves.”

He took another sip of water, and continued.  “Now, the stories and legends in the books tell that when the first villagers didn’t return, more villagers went looking for them.  Once they were inside Mórrígan’s ship, they were also captured.  She had them bring her their food, clothing, etc., and she liked everything that they brought her.  So before she left Earth, she made them bring as much as they could.  Animals, seeds, everything they needed to recreate it all on a world she controlled.  That’s how these people ended up here.”

“Wow,” said Sam surprised.  “What else did you find out?”

“Well, the books tell that she brainwashed everyone into believing she was their god so they would remain loyal to her once they came to this planet.  However, about five or six hundred years ago Mórrígan lost interest in this planet and the people here, so she left.  They’ve been on their own ever since.”

“So everything they’ve done since has been done on their own,” Cam asked. 

Daniel nodded his head.  “Yes.  Aedan told us that no other Goa’uld has come here since she left.”

Teal’c turned toward Eirnin.  “Eirnin Killigan, how were you able to keep your Irish heritage and culture after Mórrígan took you from Earth?”

  “Good question, T,” Cam said. 

  “The stories passed down from generation 't generation say that it 'twasn't hard fer our ancestors 't be keepin’ the old ways.  They say that our ancestors kept doin’ things the way we always did them.  Other stories say that once the dreaded evil one be leavin’ our planet, we discovered old writings that the first ancestors be bringin’ wi' 'em from Auld Aerth.”

“However, we beliaeve that the Good Faether gave us Healers instead of dhochtúirí, what you call doctors.  They be healin’ like doctors, but with natural herbs, vitamins, and minerals from Máthair Danu.  Every village has at least one.  But in everything else, we be keepin’ true 't the heritage our ancestors be bringin’ with themselves from Auld Aerth.  Ya be seein’ what I mean after lunch.”

Aedan stopped and everyone turned to see Kathleen and another woman bringing their food.  Kathleen set large bowls of steaming stew before everyone and asked if anyone needed more to drink. 

 “Surein’ I be knowin’ that you two be wantin’ more lager, I does,” Kathleen asked, turning toward Eirnin and Aedan. 

Eirnin shook his head, but Aedan took the last swig of his beer, wiped his mouth with his sleeve and smiled at her. 

“Ya be knowin’ me too well, Kathleen Finnegan.”

“Yes, and I be knownin’ yer wife just as well, God bless her,” she said with her hands on her hips and a frown on her face.  “She be me best friend and skinnin’ me alive if I be lettin’ ya get drunk again.”

“Now Kathleen, “Aedan began.

“Don’t you ‘Kathleen me’, Aedan O’Malley,” she said, interrupting him.  “I’ll not be persuaded otherwise, not by the likes of you.  I be bringin’ ya milk from now until ya leave.  That way I be keepin’ me best friend, and ya be keepin’ yer wife.”

Everyone laughed at their exchange, and Eirnin slapped Aedan on the shoulder. 

“Aedan, ya be knowin’ that the last time yer wife saw ya drunk, she yelled at ya and threw ya out.  Ya had 't be stayin’ at my cottage, don’t 'cha know.”

“Aye, I remember.  I guess it be better that I not drink t'day anyway, what with our visitors here from Auld Aerth.  I be needin’ 't tend 't business wi' 'em here.”

“That’s the way, Aedan me friend.”  Eirnin leaned over toward Cam, and smiled.  “Besides,” he whispered.  “That way I not be getting’ into trouble, and he won’t be stoppin’ at my house 't stay the night and get me into trouble with me own wife,” he finished, winking at Cam.

Cam laughed, and everyone began to eat their stew. 

“So, my friends, would ya be up 't talkin’ 't other managers from the nearby villages?” Aedan asked.

“Sure,” Cam replied, wiping his mouth and setting down his napkin.  “When do you want us to meet them?”

“Let us be finishin’ our lunch, and then I’ll send word 't the other villages.”

“Aedan, I can be doin’ that,” Eirnin replied, standing up from the table.  “I be finished with me lunch anyway.”

“Fine, but ya be watchin’ out fer the little paeople now,” Aedan said jokingly.

“Get away with ya, Aedan O’Malley,” Eirnin exclaimed as he batted Aedan’s shoulder.  “Ya know they don’t come out ‘til nightfall.”

Aedan made the sign of the cross on his chest.  “May God and the good paeople have mercy on ya, Eirnin Killigan, fer sayin’ that.  Ya know they be here all the time, not just at night.”

“Now just a minute, Aedan O’Malley,” Eirnin started in as he sat back down to argue with Aedan.  Everyone laughed, except Teal’c.  Cam noticed Tealc’s look of confusion. 

“What’s up, T?” he asked. 

“I do not understand the phrase ‘good people’.”

Aedan stopped laughing and became serious.  “Glóir bí go Gia!” he exclaimed in Gaelic.  “Ya not be knowin’ ‘bout the ‘good paeople’?  Everyone here be knowin’ them.  They always be causin’ mischief and playin’ practical jokes on paeople.”

“Good people?” Teal’c asked Daniel.

“That's what they call leprechauns and fairies,” Daniel replied.  “So it looks like you kept the old superstitions and folklore from your ancestors in Ireland, even the tales about the leprechauns, fairies and the like. 

“’Tis a risk ya be takin’ callin’ them that, Master Daniel,” Master Aedan said with a worried look on his face.

“Why?”

“They don’t like 't be called that, fer it be makin’ them angry.”

Understanding registered on Daniel face.  “Master Eirnin, do your people still believe in All Hallows Eve?”

Eirnin turned toward Aedan with a shocked expression on his face, then turned back toward Daniel, making the sign of the cross across his chest.  “Don’t  yer paeople beliaeve in All Hallows Eve?”

“Well, where we come from on Earth, we call it Halloween.  It’s a night when kids all go out dressed up in a costume and go house-to-house trick-or-treating.”

Eirnin turned toward Aedan, then back at Daniel, a shocked look on his face, “Don’t be telling us ya not be belivin’ in the true meanin' of All Hallows Eve, me friend.  ‘Tis a night when the souls of the dead be comin’ back 't the living.  But,” Eirnin added with a more serious look on his face, “Not all the spirits be friendly.  So that night we be settin’ out gifts and treats by our doors 't please the evil beins’ and 't guarantee that our crops be good and plentiful next year.”

“That’s how we got the tradition of trick-or-treating,” Daniel told everyone. 

“Maybe so, Master Daniel,” Aedan added, “But it be more serious fer us than that, sure it ‘tis.”

Everyone had finished their meals and their drinks, so Kathleen and Fiona came and cleared away the dishes.  Kathleen came back and asked if anyone wanted dessert. 

“Nay, Kathleen,” Aedan replied.  “It be getting late and me wantin’ these paeople 't meet the other village managers soon, so we best be goin’ now.”  Everyone stood up when Aedan and Eirnin did, and Aedan turned toward Kathleen.  “What do I be owin’ ya fer the meals, Kathleen me dear?”

Kathleen put up her hand.  “Nay, ya be owin’ me nothin' in trade, Aedan, nor you, Eirnin.  ‘Tis on the house, as ya had these fine paople from Auld Aerth.  But,” she said with a mischievous smile on her face, “Ya better watch yerself, as I might be chargin’ ya double next time ya come in here.”

Aedan laughed at her.  “Get away with ya and yer blarney, Kathleen Finnegan.  I know ya better than that.”

  “That ya do, Aedan.  That ya do.”  SG-1 stopped and put on their sunglasses before following Aedan and Eirnin outside.  Once outside, Aedan noticed a young man standing at the butcher’s shop next door. 

“Colin,” Aedan called out him.  “Please come here.”

Colin ran over to the group, stopping in front of Aedan.  “Danu Go Bragh, Master Aedan,” he said.

“Friends,” Aedan said to SG-1, “this be Colin Faden, a right good lad here abouts.  Colin, this be some friends from Auld Aerth come through the cloch ciorcal.” 

Danu Go Bragh,” Colin said as he held out his hands and bowed his head slightly to the team.  “What can I be doin’ fer ya, Mr. O’Malley?”

“Son, I be needin’ ya 't go 't Céad Titim Sneachta (First Snowfall) and Go Leor Bláthanna (Many Flowers)and give their village managers a message.  Can ya be doin’ that fer me? 

“Aye, that I can.  What be the message?”

“Just tell them that visitors from Auld Aerth have come and they wish 't talk.  We be meetin’ at our village hall later this afternoon.  That be all ya need 't tell them.”

“Surein’ it be all right with me, Master Aedan, but let me just be tellin’ me da’ where I’m goin’, so he not be worryin’ ‘bout me.”  Colin ran back to the butcher’s shop and went inside.  Daniel could see him talking to a man behind the counter.  A few moments later he came back out with a smile on his face. 

“Me da’ says that I c'n go, as long as I be back before the suns set.  I’ll get me parents’ cart, then leave at once.”

“Thank ya, lad,” Aedan said, patting Colin on the shoulder.  “Be much appreciated.” 

“Well,” Aedan said turning back toward the rest of the group.  “We need 't be headin’ back 't the village hall.  We be meetin’ the other managers there soon.”

Everyone started walking back to the hall.  They had just turned onto the main street and were headed back to the hall when Daniel stopped Aedan. 

“Aedan, do you think I could meet the Healer?  I’d like to learn about how she helps take care of your people when you’re ill or hurt.”

Cam leaned toward Daniel and whispered, “Daniel we need you at the meeting with the other village managers.  We need to warn them about the threat of the Ori coming here.”

“I know, but I really want to meet their Healer.  I need to find out something.  Besides, she might have some new medicines we could trade for.”

Cam gave Daniel an “I give up” look, and said he could go.  “But be prepared to come back if we need you at the meeting.” 

Daniel nodded, and asked Aedan again about meeting the healer.

“Aye.  I c'n have Eirnin take ya and make the introductions.  We be seein’ ya when ya get done.”

“Just meet us back at the village hall when you’re done, Jackson,” Cam added.  “We’ll be there.”

“I’ll go with him,” Sam offered.  “We won’t be long.” 

“Thank you,” Daniel replied.  Eirnin pointed down another side street, and he, Sam and Daniel started walking in that direction. 

“Eirnin, can you tell me a little about this Healer?  How did her eyes get so bright blue?”

“Every Healer's eyes be that brightly colored.  No one be knowin’ why, but they are.”

“I see.  How do they become a Healer?”

“Well, they be possessin’ the knowledge that the Faether be givin’ them long ago.  That knowledge be passed down 't each generation through their kin.  However, not all children be possessin’ the knowledge 't be a Healer.  Only the ones possessin’ the knowledge are trained.” 

Eirnin stopped and walked up to the door of a medium-sized cottage and knocked.  A few moments later, the door opened and a woman in a beautiful flowing dress walked out.

Danu Go Bragh, Eirnin Killigan,” she said, opening her arms and bowing her head slightly to him.  “I see ya brought the visitors here with ya.”

Eirnin responded in return.  “That I did, Healer.  Master Daniel, this be our Healer, Mistress Siobhan O’Brien.” (shee-van.)

Danu Go Bragh,” Daniel said, imitating the open-armed gesture to her.  This is my friend, Col. Samantha Carter.” Daniel gestured toward Sam, and she repeated the greeting to Siobhan.

“So ya be from Auld Aerth, are ya now?”

“Yes, my friends and I are from Earth.”

  And what would ya be wantin’ with me?”

“We came in friendship, and to possibly exchange knowledge between our people.”  Daniel nodded at the plants all around the healer’s cottage.  “I see you have many plants growing here.  I would like to learn about them, if I could, and maybe we can share something with you in return.”

“'Twould be dependin’ on what ya might be havin’, it would.”

“Well, do you have anything that would help for allergies?  Allergies are things people are allergic to, such as food, or things in the air, etc.  As for me, I’m usually allergic to pollen floating around in the air.”

Sam rolled her eyes at Daniel and chuckled softly. 

“Aye, I be knowin’ what allergies are, Daniel Jackson.  We be havin’ them here as well.”  She waved her hand toward her door.  “Please come in.”

The three of them walked in and Siobhan walked in behind them.  She went to her fireplace and taking a long, thin stick near the hearth, put one end in the fire until it lit up.  Then she walked over to a table in the corner and lit the lamp. 

She took a quick look at Daniel.  “I be seein no allergies with ya.”

“Believe me, I have them.  One of the worst for me is pollen.  However, for some reason, I don’t seem to notice them at all right now.”

“Well, I c'n be checkin’ ya out like ya ask.”  Siobhan walked up and stood directly in front of Daniel, and she laid her hands on either side of his head.  She closed her eyes, and too a few deep breaths.  A few moments later, she opened her eyes and asked Daniel to raise his arms slightly.  She placed one of her hands on Daniel’s chest over his heart, and another on his side over his ribcage.  “Would ya breathe deep fer me?”  Daniel complied, and she closed her eyes and studied his deep breathing.  After a minute, she took her hands off of Daniel and asked him to look at her.  She stared deeply into his eyes, and she nodded to herself. 

“I agree about ya havin’ allergies,” she finally told him.  She turned back toward her table.  “These be some herbs I’ll give ya," she said as she placed a few of them into a small pouch and handed it to him.  “They be helpin’ with yer allergies, that they will.  And there be no ill effects from the herbs, I guarantee ya.  All ya need 't do is make a tea out of ‘em.  Do ya have any mil?”

“You mean honey?  Yes, we have honey.”

“Good.  When yer tea is hot, mix five drops of honey in with yer tea.  ‘Tis part of the remedy I be givin’ ya, and it be makin’ it taste sweet as well.”

“Is that what you do with everyone who comes here seeking your healing, Healer Siobhan?” Sam asked her.  “Do you always lay your hands on them?”

“Aye.  It be the way I tell what ails them.”

“If this remedy works for Daniel, would you be willing to teach us about other remedies in exchange for something you might need or want that we can provide?”

Siobhan looked at Sam skeptically.  “I not be knowin’ what ya have that I c'n use or be needin’.”

“We can show you or tell you about things we might have if you are interested, as a show of good faith between our people and yours.”

Siobhan thought about that for a minute, then extended her arms, bowing slightly toward Sam.  “Aye.  That be agreeable 't me.”

“Good.”  Just then, Sam’s radio clicked, and Cam’s voice came over the speaker. 

“Sam what’s your ETA?”

Sam moved a few steps away from Eirnin, Daniel and Siobhan.  “We’re talking to the Healer right now.  You need us?”

“The other village managers are here, and we need to warn them about the Ori.  Can you two head back to the village hall?”

“Sure thing.  Carter out.”  Sam turned toward Daniel and walked up to him.  She touched his shoulder. 

“Daniel, Cam said the other village managers are here and he wants us at that meeting.  We need to go.” 

He looked a little disappointed, but he thanked Siobhan for her information. 

“Thank you, Healer Siobhan.  We must be going now.  Our friends want us to meet managers from other villages.”

“I be glad 't have met ya.”  She turned toward Daniel.  “Now remember, young man, those herbs be needin’ hot water before steepin’ ’em.  And don’t be forgettin’ the honey.”

“I won’t, Healer Siobhan,” Daniel smiled at her. 

Siobhan opened her arms and slightly bowed her head at the three of them.  “Danu Go Bragh, friends.”

The three of them repeated the gesture, and left her cottage, headed for the village hall. 

At the village hall, Cam and Teal’c were sitting at the table with three other village managers; Master Aedan stood at the head of the table.  The fire was lit, and everyone was visiting amongst themselves when Eirnin, Sam, and Daniel walked inside. 

“Ah, they be finally here.  Please, sit,” Master Aedan gestured toward the chairs. 

“Please forgive me, friend, but I be needed elsewhere.”  Eirnin gestured toward everyone saying, “Danu Go Bragh.” 

“Friends from Auld Aerth, this be Pádraig Mac Bradaigh (Patrick Brady) from the village Céad Titim Sneachta, Rónán Caomhanach (Ronan Kavanagh) from the village Go Leor Bláthanna, and Peadar Mag Uidhir (Peter Maguire) from the village Snoí Sliabh (Snowy Mountains).  Friends, this be the paeople that came through the cloch ciorcal (stone circle).”  Pointing to each one, he said, “This be Colonel Mitchell, Colonel Carter, Teal’c, and Daniel Jackson.”

Each member bowed their heads slightly toward SG-1, and the team returned the gesture.  Then Master Aedan spoke again. 

“They be havin’ questions fer us, and somethin’ 't be telling us.”  Aedan gestured toward Cam, then sat down. 

Cam looked at the others, then started in.  “We've come from Earth to tell you about a new threat to your people.  They’re called the Ori.  They’re a powerful and deadly enemy.”  He looked over at Daniel, who took up the next part. 

“I have seen them first-hand, and we have all seen what their Priors can do.  Basically, the Ori are a group of "ascended" beings who created a religion, called ‘Origin’ which they force on all non-ascended beings for the purpose of total control. The Ori destroy anyone who rejects their religion.  This means that whole planets have been destroyed and thousands of people killed and slaughtered because they wouldn’t bow down to the Ori.”

“We have gotten word from our allies that your planet might be next.  You need to warn all the other villages to prepare for them.  ‘Origin’ is a false religion, and their religion is based on the false promise of ascension to a higher plane of existence.  All this is done to drain power from their followers for themselves.  When initial calls to worship the Ori fail, a Prior has been known to unleash devastating plagues, then heal the people and raise the dead in order to seal a world's devotion to the Ori.”

Glóir bí go Gia!” someone exclaimed. 

“Glory be!” another exclaimed. 

Aedan looked at Daniel with a shocked expression on his face.  “Do ya really think they be comin’ here Daniel?” he asked in a frightened voice. 

“Yes.  We’ve seen it happen to other planets and people before.”

“’Tis there no way of protectin’ ourselves from this foe?” asked Pádraig Mac Bradaigh.

Teal’c spoke up.  “No.  They are determined to conquer the galaxy and force the people to follow their false religion.  It is highly unlikely that you can defend against them.”

“Even if we helped you, you might not be able to defend your planet against the Ori,” Sam added.  “We would like to form an alliance with you in the hopes that we can all benefit from exchanging knowledge, technology, and any goods that might be beneficial.  Most importantly, we want to help you fight the Ori, as they are our enemies, too.” 

Aedan and the other three managers talked somewhat heatedly between themselves for a few moments.  Finally they separated, and Rónán Caomhanach  spoke.

“We be believin’ ya ‘bout the threat of the Ori, but we be hardly knowin’ ya.”

  “I be tellin’ ya, Rónán, that they come from Auld Aerth like our ancestors, God rest their blessed souls.  We be havin’ no reason not 't trust ‘em.”

Rónán looked irritated.  “I be knowin’ they come from Auld Aerth, Aedan O’Malley, but that don’t mean we c'n trustin’ ‘em so easily.”

“Why not,” asked Peadar Mat Uidhir.  “They be like cousins to us.”

“What exactly bothers you about us,” Cam asked Rónán.

“We have been here many a tousand years we have, and you just now be comin’ 't greet us?  Why did ya wait 't come?”

“We didn’t know anything about the Irish people from Earth being taken by the Goa’uld,” Daniel told him.  “We didn’t even know about the Stargate, the cloch ciorcal, until just recently.

“Rónán,” Aedan pleaded, “They may be our only hope of savin’ our paeople from these terrible bein’s.  We can’t be doin' it ourselves.” 

Rónán became quiet and thought about this for a minute.  He sighed.  “Yer right as usual, Aedan.  I must have had a wee bit too much ale t'day, me friend.”  He turned toward the team, asking them to forgive him. 

“It’s alright,” Daniel said.  “I can understand where you’re coming from Master Rónán.  I’d be wary too, if I were in your shoes.” 

“Saints be praised that we worked that out,” Aedan said.  “Now, Daniel, do you or yer friends be havin’ any questions fer us?”

  “Do you have any weapons, or maybe a safe place you go to in times of trouble,” Cam asked. 

“We be usin' bows and arrows fer the huntin' and defendin' that need be done,” Aedan told them. 

“As fer the paeople in my village,” Peadar Mag Uidhir said, “We have caves in the mountains we be usin' in times of trouble.  What about you, Pádraig?” Peadar asked, turning toward him.

“Since we also be close 't the mountains, we be usin’ natural caves there as well.”

“The caves would not work, Col. Mitchell,” Teal’c said.  “The Ori would still find them there, and would eventually destroy these people if they did not follow them.”

“You’re right T,” Cam replied.  “So what can we do?”

“I do not know, Col. Mitchell.”

“Well, for now we can let the other managers warn their people, and they can spread the word to all the other villages,” Sam suggested. 

“While they go and tell their people, we can look around some more,” Cam replied.

Aedan smiled at him, and everyone rose from their chairs.  “Since ya be stoppin’ wi' us a while longer, might I take ya back 't the inn?  Kathleen not only be a good cook, but an excellent innkeeper as well, bless her soul.  There ya kin rest yer weary bones, and she can set ya up with rooms fer the night.  She kin give ya a change of clothes as well.”

  “Thank you, Master Aedan,” Cam said.  “T, why don't you go to the Stargate and inform them that we’ll be staying here for the night.”

“Understood,” Teal’c said with a slight nod of his head.

“Master Pádraig, do you have a historical library in your village like they do here?” Daniel asked him. 

“Aye.  Every village has one, since each village be started different.  If ya like, I c'n bring some of our books 't the inn tonight for you 't be readin’.”

Daniel shook his head.  “Master Pádraig, please don’t make a special trip on our account.”

“Say me nay, it be no special trip.  Aedan and his wife asked my wife and me 't sup with them, so I be comin’ here anyhow.  I just be droppin’ ‘em off at the inn, and you c'n give ‘em back 't Aedan in the mornin’.  That sound fair?”

“Yes,” Daniel said, smiling.  “That sounds very fair.”

Everyone walked outside, and the team put on their sunglasses again.  Rónán leaned over and whispered something to the other two managers, then chuckled softly.

“What’s so funny, Rónán?” Cam asked him.

“It be just that yer puttin’ on dark glasses 't protect yer eyes.  We not be needin’ things like that since our paeople came here.”

“Our eyes haven’t adjusted to the brightness of your two suns, that’s all,” Sam told him.  “Once our eyes adjust to the light, we won’t need them as much.”

Aedan walked over to the group and asked if the team was ready to go back to the inn.  Everyone nodded that they were.

“Master Pádraig,” Aedan said, turning toward his friend.  “You be ready fer a fine meal tonight?”

“If yer wife be cookin’ it, I am,” Pádraig told him with a mischievous smile.  “But I warn ya 't stay out o’ the kitchen, Aedan O’Malley.  I not be trustin’ yer cookin’.”

Aedan gave him a dirty look.  “Get away with ya, Pádraig Mac Bradaigh!  I be knowin’ yer cookin’ ‘tis not all that grand, either.”

Pádraig quickly looked up to the sky and made the sign of the cross across his head and chest.  “May God have mercy on ya’ Aedan O’Malley, fer tellin’ lies.”

“I not be lyin’, or may God strike me down here and now.  'Tis yer wife that told me yer cookin’ was bad, she did.”

 “Well at any rate, I be joinin’ ya later tonight.  For now I be returnin’ 't my village and gather some of our historical books 't show our new friends here.”

Everyone laughed at the exchange.  Finally, Rónán, Pádraig, and Peadar made their goodbyes to everyone, and walked out of the village. 

“Shall we be headin’ 't the inn now?” Aedan asked them when the other managers had disappeared into the forest. 

“Sure,” Cam replied.  “The sooner we get our rooms, the sooner we can start looking around more.”

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

Back at Stargate Command, Gen. Landry was reading a report in his office when there was a knock on the door. 

“Enter,” he called out. 

Dr. Lam opened the door and walked in carrying a vanilla-colored folder. 

“What have you got, Doctor,” he asked her. 

“I have those test results on the liquid in the tissue Dr. Jackson gave me.”  She handed him the folder and he opened it, glancing at the report inside.  “Dr. Jackson was right.  The liquid contains genetic material consistent with human tears.  However, there are two other types of genetic material that is alien in their makeup.  One of them seems vaguely familiar to genetic material that Earth’s Irish people carry.  I’m not sure what type of alien material the other is, though.  It’s something I’ve never seen before.”

“So she’s not entirely human.  Do you have any thought on how that’s possible?”

“None so far, Sir.  But we’re working on theories right now.”

“Very well.  Keep me updated if you learn everything more.”

  “Yes, sir.” 

“Dismissed.”  Gen. Landry was reading her report when the alarm klaxons went off, and the announcement, “Unscheduled off-world activation,” came over the intercoms.

He put the report down, and walked into the control room. 

“What have we got, Walter,” he asked. 

“Receiving SG-1’s IDC, Sir.  It’s Teal’c.”

Gen. Landry glanced up at the monitors and saw Teal’c’s face being projected by the M.A.L.P.  “Teal’c good to hear from you.  How are things going?”

“They are going relatively well, General.  The Jaffa spy was correct.  There are people here, and we have met them.  We have begun to tell them about the threat of the Ori.”

“Good.  What’s your ETA?”

“We have been invited to stay the night and meet more of these people tomorrow.”

“I see.  What else have you learned?”

Teal’c told the general what Daniel had learned about these people being of Earth’s Irish ancestry, and fact that their ancestors were taken to the planet by Mórrígan. 

“What made her lose interest in the Danuan people?”

“That is uncertain, general.  We may yet learn the answers tomorrow when we talk with more of these people.”

“Understood,” Gen. Landry replied, then remembered what Dr. Lam had told her about the tests.  “Teal’c, tell Dr. Jackson he was right about Miss O’Brien.  The tissue with her tears on it turned up some very interesting results.”  He told Teal’c all that Dr. Lam had told him, and asked him to relay the message to Daniel. 

Gen. Landry saw Teal’c nod his head in agreement.  “Is there anything else General?”

“Not at this time.  Check in again tomorrow, and good luck. Landry out.”

Teal’c watched as the Stargate’s wormhole closed.  He walked into the village and was heading toward the inn when he saw Master Pádraig walking towards the inn as well. 

“Master Pádraig,” Teal’c said as he stopped and slightly bowed his head toward him.  “It is good to see you again.”

“Likewise, me boy, likewise.  Might ya be headin’ toward the inn?”

“I am.”

“Then would ya give these 't yer friend Daniel?  I be runnin’ late fer supper at Master Aedan’s cottage, and his wife be skinnin’ me alive she will, if I let her good food get cold.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c replied, taking the three books from Pádraig’s hands. 

“Thank ya, Master Teal'c.  It be much appreciated.”

“It is no trouble.”

“Well, just tell Master Daniel that he c'n give the books back 't Master Aedan when he be done wi' 'em.  I c'n get them then.”

“I will tell him.”

Danu Go Bragh then, me friend.”

Danu Go Bragh, Master Pádraig.”

It was late in the afternoon when Aedan had taken them back to the Inn.  Kathleen was delighted they were staying and showed each one of them a room. 

When it was Sam’s turn, Kathleen led Sam to a medium-sized room, leaving to show the others to their rooms.  Sam went inside her room and found to the right was a beautifully carved bedstead, it’s headboard against the back wall of the room.  Adjacent to the bed was a clothing armoire, and a small table with a lamp and a chair sat in the corner.  Along with the armoire was a three-panel screen for changing.  In front of the window was a big comfy chair and footstool in pretty green patterned fabric, and across the room from the bed was a big fireplace, with a small pile of wood next to the hearth.

Above the fireplace on the mantle was a small container of long matches. In the fireplace, she saw a small starter pile of wood and scraps of paper.  Sam was taking her vest off and laying it on the bed when she heard a knock at the door. 

“Come in,” she called out. 

Kathleen opened the door and came in carrying two dresses and undergarments across her arms.  “How do ya like yer room, Col. Carter,” she asked as she laid the garments on the bed next to Sam’s vest. 

“Please, call me Sam,” she urged Kathleen, “and it’s really beautiful.  Are all the rooms like this one?”

“Aye.  Each room be havin’ the same furniture that this one does.”  Seeing Sam shiver, she went to the fireplace, starting a fire.  Once the fire was going well, she stood up.  She looked at Sam and gestured toward the bed.  “This be an outfit fer ya 't change into.  If ya like, I c'n stay and help ya change.”

Sam smiled appreciatively.  “Thank you, Kathleen.  Yes, I would appreciate the help.”  Sam picked up the simple green peasant dress with its flowing sleeves.  She took the dress and undergarments behind the screen and began to change her clothes.  As she did, she asked Kathleen how long she’d been an innkeeper. 

“Me own Seanathair, me Grandda’, started this place, many-a-year ago, and me own parents took up its keep.  They were taught by me grandda’, and I be taught by me own parents, God bless ‘em.  Me own mum taught me how 't cook and bake as well.” 

“I see.  Do a lot of people stay here?”

“Sometimes.  It be dependin’ on the day o’ the week, or the holiday that be goin’ on here.  Right now you and yer friends be the only ones stoppin’ here.”

Sam walked out from behind the screen holding her dress on at the shoulders.  She turned around so that Kathleen could button and lace her up in the back.  Once Kathleen was done, Sam turned around so Kathleen could see how she looked. 

Kathleen looked at her, then looked down at her feet.  She noticed that Sam was still wearing her boots, so she told Sam to take them off. 

“Here be a pair of me own shoes.  I think they be fittin’ ya since yer feet look about me own size.”  Kathleen handed her a pair of shoes that were made from leather, and pointed at the toes.  The shoes were embroidered all along the top, sides and back. 

“Thank you, Kathleen,” Sam replied putting on the slippers, and noticed that they fit perfectly.  Sam stood up and slowly turned around in front of Kathleen.  “Well, how do I look,” Sam asked her.

“Like a grand lass, that ya do,” Kathleen replied with a smile.  She looked out the window, and saw that the first sun had gone down.  “Would ya look at that?  I be up here jabberin’ away when there be a supper to get on downstairs.  You finish up, and I’ll get meself 't the kitchen and prepare the evening meal fer everyone.”

“What’s for supper, Kathleen?”

Kathleen turned around in the doorway.  “We be havin’ coddle with mixed vegetables and arán.  Ya call it bread.”

“Coddle?” Sam asked puzzled.  “What’s that?”

“It be a dish that has ham, pork bangers, what we be callin’ a mix 'o sausages, onions, potatoes, herbs and seasonings.  It be another one of my dishes that the paeople like.”

Sam’s mouth watered.  “It sounds really good,” she said smiling.  “I can’t wait.”

“Supper will be ready in a while, so ya have time 't rest before then, if ya like.”

“Yes, that does sound good,” Sam said with a sigh. 

  “Well then, I’ll be callin’ ya soon,” Kathleen said as she walked out. 

Sam hung her uniform in the armoire, and put her vest over the back of the chair by the small table.  She went to the bed and sat down, sinking into the mattress.  As she laid down and rested while waiting for Kathleen to call her for supper, she went over the day’s events in her mind until she fell asleep. 

Kathleen and Fiona were making supper when Teal’c walked in carrying the historical books that Master Pádraig had given him.  Kathleen heard the front door latch shut, and came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on a towel. 

“’Tis good 't see ya, Master Teal’c.  I see ya brought some readin’ material with ya.”

“These are the historical books that Master Pádraig is allowing Dr. Jackson to read.”

“I see.  Well, ya c'n leave those here with me, and I be makin' sure Daniel gets them.  Right now I be showin’ ya 't yer room.”

Kathleen led Teal’c up the stairs to his room, and left a change of clothes for him on the bed. 

Teal’c bowed slightly to her.  “Thank you, Mistress Kathleen.”

 “Ya c'n rest fer a little while.  I be callin’ ya when supper is ready.”  Kathleen walked out of Teal’s room, shutting the door behind her and going back to the kitchen.

A while later, people started to come in for the evening meal, and Kathleen came up and knocked on everyone’s door and told them supper was ready. 

As she closed the door to her room, she saw Cam coming out of his room across the hall from hers.  He was dressed in light gray tight-fitting pants, and he had on a white long-sleeved shirt and colorful red jacket.  Cinched around his waist was a belt, and he was also wearing a boot-like shoe made out of leather.  In his hands was a colorful printed scarf.  She turned back when she heard two more doors opening behind her.  Daniel walked out wearing clothes similar to Cam’s, but in shades of blue. 

Sam had to stifle a laugh when she saw Cam in his outfit.

“Watch it, Sam,” he said giving her a dirty look.

“Sorry, Colonel,” she replied, choking back a chuckle.  “It’s just that you look so handsome in your outfit.  Besides, you know the old saying ‘When in Rome,’ well, ‘When in Flowing River.’

“I look stupid,” Cam said with a frown on his face.  “I don’t even know what to do with this stupid scarf thing,” he said waving it around.  “Besides, what if we need to defend ourselves?  We can't do it in this getup.” 

“But wearing these outfits will help us to become better friends with these people” Daniel told him.  “It will show them that we respect their culture.”

Sam smiled at Cam.  “Well, I’m sure Kathleen can help you with the scarf, and as for defending ourselves, the Ori aren't coming here tonight.  Besides Cam,” she replied with a mischievous grin on her face, “I saw Kathleen casting glances at you during lunch today.  I think she likes you.”

“Very funny,” Cam said, a frown on his face. 

Teal’c raised one eyebrow.  “I did not notice any such actions on the part of Mistress Kathleen, Col. Carter.”

That made Daniel and Sam burst into laughter, while Teal’c just gave them another one of his ‘I am not amused’ looks.  Sam finally stopped laughing, and told them they should head down for supper. 

“That’s sounds good,” Daniel replied, finally able to stop laughing.  “I didn’t realize that I was so hungry.  I guess having a really good meal makes you take notice of things like that.”

“Or it could be the smell of the food coming from downstairs,” Cam added, sniffing the air.  “Whatever it is, it sure smells good.” 

“Kathleen told me what she was making for supper,” Sam said as they all walked down the stairs to the dining room.  She told them about the special on the menu and explained what coddle was. 

When they got into the dining room, the suns had gone down.  Daniel saw Fiona lighting lamps around the room and saw that the fireplace was already going.  He noticed there were already a few people seated at a couple of the tables, and they were talking quietly to themselves. 

Cam gestured toward a table near the fireplace, and they all went and sat down.  Fiona came over to their table and set a glass of cold water in front of each person. 

“Welcome, friends,” she replied in her thick Gaelic accent.  “I be glad yer stoppin’ a few days wi' us in our fair village.”

“Thank you, Fiona,” Sam replied.  “We’re excited to learn more about your people and your village.”

“Aye.  We have a grand place here, and we be a daecent lot o’ paeople.  You’ll be findin’ that our fer yerselves soon enough, that ya will.”

Fiona went back to the kitchen to get Kathleen, and she came out to greet them.  She gave them each a menu, and a minute to look it over. 

“Well, what might ya be havin’ fer supper tonight?  As I told Mistress Sam, earlier, the main dish be coddle, with fresh garden vegetables and fresh bread.  I have other menu items if that not be what yer wantin’.”  She wrote down their orders, and walked back to the kitchen to help Fiona start cooking.  She came back out a few moments later carrying their drinks and silverware, and she gave them to each person.  When Cam got his mug of ale, he took a sip and wiped the foam off his mouth.  “This is good, Kathleen.  Do you make it yourself?”

“Say me nay.  We be havin’ a man who makes it and brings it in barrels.  But I be glad yer likin’ it.”

“Kathleen, we were given these scarves to wear with our outfits.  How are you supposed to wear them?” he asked.

“Well, since ya be strangers here and not be knowin’ of our ways, I can show ya how it’s worn.  First,” she said, taking the scarf into her hands, “ya gently wrap it 'round the front of yer neck 't the back, then 'round back 't the front.”  She wrapped the scarf around Cam’s neck.  “Finally, ya tie it into a grand bow, like this,” and she demonstrated a nice bow.  “Make sure ya leave a little tail 't the bow, and yer done.  That be all 't that.”  She stepped back and looked him over.  “There now,” she said smiling.  “Ya be lookin’ mighty grand, that ya are.”

“Thank you, Kathleen,” Cam said, blushing a little while the others chucked at him. 

She was just about to walk back to the kitchen when she remembered the historical books.  She went to get them.  “Here ya be, Master Daniel,” she said when she returned.  “Yer friend Teal’c brought these books with him.  He said they came from Master Pádraig.”  She handed them to him then excused herself to go to another table to get their order. 

“See, Colonel, I told you she has a thing for you,” Sam said with a smile.

“Cut it out, Sam,” he told her.  She was just admiring my outfit.”

“Yeah, right,” Daniel replied with a sly grin on his face.  “You know she thought you were hot.”

That made Sam laugh, and Teal’c just raised an eyebrow at Daniel. 

“Cut it out you guys.  Let’s just focus on our mission, huh?”

When Daniel had stopped laughing, he turned toward Teal’c.  “So what did Master Pádraig say,” Daniel asked him. 

“He told me to tell you that you may return them to Aedan O’Malley tomorrow, and he would retrieve them from there.”

“Good.  I’ll start reading them now.”  Daniel picked one of the books, setting the other two on the floor by his chair.  He had just opened the book when Cam interrupted him.

“You’d better put that away Jackson.  I see Kathleen and Fiona coming with our meals.”

Daniel looked disappointed, but put the book on top of the others.  Kathleen and Fiona came up with plates in their hands, and set the meals down in front of each person. 

“Master Teal’c, Mistress Sam, here is your coddle.  And fer you Master Daniel, here is yer coddle as well.  As fer yer friend...”

“Our apologies, Mistress Fiona,” Daniel replied.  “This is Lt. Colonel Cam Mitchell.”

“Well, Master Cameron, how is your steak?”

Cam took a bite, and smiled.  “This is the best steak I’ve had in a long time.  And the potatoes are really good, too.”

Kathleen blushed, and thanked him for his kind words.  “Well if ya be needin’ anything, just let Fiona or me know.  For now we'd better be headin’ back 't the kitchen.”

Fiona and Kathleen left, and the group enjoyed their suppers.  They talked about the day’s events, and a couple of times Fiona or Kathleen came over to refresh their drinks or ask if they needed anything. 

Just before they were all finished, Kathleen came over one last time and ask how everything was.

“It was really delicious, Mistress Kathleen,” Sam told her after wiping her mouth with her napkin. 

“I be glad ya liked it.”

“My compliments to the chef,” Cam said, smiling.

“Thank ya kindly, sir.  Now can I interest anyone in dessert?  Maybe a slice of Fiona’s delicious pie perhaps?”

Everyone told her they were full, and Daniel asked her if there was a quiet place to read the history books. 

“Aye.  Ya just be goin’ into that room over there, and there be some comfy chairs and a warm fireplace where ya can read.  If ya like, I can bring ya a glass of cool water 't drink while yer readin’.”

“Thank you, Mistress Kathleen, but I think I would like something a little hot instead.” 

“Would ya like 't try a cup o’ tea?  Warm you right up, that it will.”

“Yes, that sounds nice.” 

Kathleen left to go get his tea, and Daniel excused himself to go into the other room and read as the others went up to their rooms.  He found a comfy chair with an ottoman in front of it and a small table beside it.  He sat down and put his feet up.  He was starting to read when Kathleen brought in a small tray.  She set the tray down on the table beside him.

“Thanks Mistress Kathleen.”

“Surein’ yer welcome, Master Daniel,” she said as she poured his tea.  She handed him the cup, and he took a sip.  “How do ya like yer tea?”

“It’s really delicious, Mistress Kathleen.  How do you make it?”

“It’s just a special mix of dried herbs and plants, but what they are I canna be tellin’ ya ‘cause that be a family secret.”  She turned to walk out of the room, but stopped and looked back at him.  “Now if ya be needin’ anything else, just let Fiona or me know.”

“Thank you, Mistress Kathleen.” 

Kathleen walked out and headed back to the kitchen, while Daniel took another sip of his tea, then started to read.  As he read about the beginnings of the village Céad Titim Sneachta, he found references to the Goa’uld Mórrígan and the capture of the Ancient Irish people from earth.  He tried to keep reading, but his mind kept wandering back to Caitlin.  He put the book down, picked up his cup of tea, and held it between his hands. 

He couldn’t get her face out of his mind.  He thought about her brilliant blue eyes and how they had sparkled at him, and how her smile lit up her whole face.  He smiled as he remembered her infectious laugh, and how she loved talking about her two cats.  Daniel was excited about the prospect of their date on Wednesday evening.  He was thinking of appropriate first-date places in Colorado Springs that he could take her, when he realized he needed to get back to reading the history books in front of him.  Trying to clear his mind, Daniel set his cup of tea back on the tray, and picked up the first book again. 

Done reading it, he picked up another book and started to read.  He was just about to take another sip of tea when he found a reference to when Mórrígan left the planet.  Growing excited, he forgot about the tea, and began earnestly reading.  Suddenly, he stopped, stood up, and picking up all the books, he hurried up the stairs to share his findings with the others.   

“Come in!” Cam called out when he heard the knock on his door. 

Daniel opened the door and quickly went over to the table in Cam’s room.  He set his books down, and opened the one he’d been reading. 

Cam could tell something was making his teammate excited.  “What’s up, Daniel?”

“I think I’ve found something important.  Sam and Teal’c should hear this, too.” 

“Okay, I’ll go get them.”  Cam walked out of his room and down the hall, knocking on Teal’c’s door, then on Sam’s.

“Is there a problem, Colonel Mitchell?” Teal’c asked him after he and Sam had come out of their rooms into the hallway. 

“I don’t know.  Jackson’s been reading those historical books from Master Pádraig, and I think he’s found something he wants to share with us.  He’s in my room.”

The three of them walked back into Cam’s room.  Cam sat on the bed, Sam in the other chair, and Teal’c stood by the fireplace, hands clasped behind his back. 

They all looked at Daniel expectantly.

Daniel stood by the table and began.  “Um, we learned through Flowing River’s historical books that the Goa’uld Mórrígan had landed on Earth and brought the Earth Irish people here as her slaves.  The books told that around five to six hundred years ago Mórrígan lost interest in these people and this planet, but their historical books didn’t tell why.  When I started to read the historical books Master Pádraig gave me from his village, it basically said the same things as the books here, but with a major difference.  They talked about a ‘being’ that would come from time to time to their villages.”

“What sort of ‘being’?” Sam asked him.

“Well, at first it didn’t say, but I kept reading and found a reference to a ‘glowing being of light’.”  Daniel picked up the open book and started reading.  He pointed to the exact spot of the reference in the book.  “Uh, it says here that the date is about five hundred and twenty five years ago when Mórrígan came here for the last time.  The people saw that she was being harder and more cruel than ever before, until a ‘being of light’ came down from the sky and fought her.  When the battle was over, Mórrígan had been defeated, and she was told to never come back again, nor any others like her.  Since then the Danuan people have lived in peace, and the Go’auld have never come back.

As Daniel sat down, Cam turned toward Teal’c standing by the fireplace.  “Teal’c, have you heard of any ‘glowing beings’ before?”

“I have not, Colonel Mitchell.  I do not recall any references to such a person in my people’s history, either.”

“Sam, what about you?”

“I’ve got nothing either.”

Cam turned back toward Daniel.  “How far have you gotten into those books, Daniel?”

“I’m only on the second book.  Hang on a minute.”  Daniel stopped and began reading again in earnest.  He stood again and got a shocked expression on his face.  He couldn’t believe what he was reading. 

Cam noticed his expression.  “Whoa, there, Jackson.  What’s that look for?”

Daniel looked up and pushed up his glasses.  “I think I found out who the ‘glowing being’ is.”

“You mean was,” Sam corrected him.

“No, I mean is.  Towards the back of the book there's an obscure reference by a villager of a ‘beam of light with a head and no body’.  The other villagers dismissed it as nonsense and laughed at the villager.”

Cam was confused.  “A beam of light with just a head?”

“Yes.  What does that make you think of?”

Sam looked at Daniel, stunned.  “An Ascended being!”

“That would be correct, Col. Carter,” added Teal’c. 

“Are you sure, Jackson?” Cam asked him, still not quite convinced.  “I thought they weren’t into that sort of thing ‘cause they weren’t allowed.”

“I thought so, too, but I guess this one can, though I don’t know how or why yet.”

“Does it say if any other villagers saw the ‘beam of light with no head’,” Sam asked him. 

He skimmed the last pages of the book, and closed it.  “No.  No one else saw what the one villager saw.”

“Have there been any reports since then?”

“I don’t know yet.  I have one more book to read.”

“What of their healers, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked.  “Have you found any references on how they came to be?”

“Not so far.  In the books Master Aedan let me read, all it ever said was that they've had healers since soon after they got here.”

Cam looked confused.  “You said the books talk about having healers since soon after they got here.  How many years had they been here before they had their first healer, Daniel?”

“Uh, their books didn’t say,” Daniel replied pushing up his glasses again.  “All it said was they’ve had them for that long of time.”

“Maybe the last book you have there will tell you more about that,” Sam told him. 

“Good thinking, Sam.  Daniel, why don’t you read that last book and see what else you can find out.  If there’s anything more, just save it until tomorrow morning.  Until then, let’s all get some shuteye.” 

“Forgive me, Col. Mitchell,” Teal’s said before everyone had left.  “Gen. Landry gave me a message for Daniel Jackson, and I believe that you should hear it as well.”

“Okay, T.  Shoot.  What’d he say?”

“He said to tell Daniel Jackson that Dr. Lam finished testing the tear sample.  She found some strange results.”

“Like what, Teal’c?” Sam asked him. 

“Dr. Lam found that it had human DNA, but there were also two pieces of genetic material that were not human.”

“Did she say what they were?”

“Not entirely.  The first piece of genetic material seemed to be similar to the Irish people of your planet, but not entirely.”

 “'Seemed to be'?  What does that mean?” Cam asked.

“I do not know, Col. Mitchell.”

Daniel was thinking about what Teal'c had said, and a crazy idea came to him.  “What if that piece was Danuan?”

“Are you suggesting that she’s from this planet?” Sam asked him.  “Daniel, that’s not possible.  How would someone from this planet get to Earth?  They couldn’t have used the Stargate, as it was buried at Giza already.  If they had come in a ship, someone would have seen the ship.  So it can’t be that she’s part Danuan.  It has to be something else.”

“Then how do you explain Dr. Lam finding genetic material that only 'seems' to be Irish?”  

“I don’t know, Daniel, but I’m sure Dr. Lam will figure it out.”

“Yeah, Jackson,” Cam said.  “Let her do the heavy thinking.  We need to figure out how these people saw an Ascended being when they have that ‘we do not interfere’ policy of theirs.  So let’s focus on that, huh?”

Sam and Teal’c agreed, but Daniel was thinking of how he could prove his theory that she had Danuan DNA in her blood.  He soon came up with an idea. 

“I might know of a way we can find out if the DNA in her blood is Danuan or not.”

“How?” Cam asked him.

“What if we ask one of the Danuan to come back to the SGC to meet Gen. Landry?  We want to form an alliance with these people, and having one of them talk to the general is a good way to do that.  Besides, everyone that comes through the Stargate has to go through a routine medical exam anyway.  That means Dr. Lam has to draw some blood samples.  She could use those to see if their DNA matches Caitlin’s.”

Cam and Sam smiled.  “Good thinking, Daniel.  Who’d you have in mind to ask to come with us?”
  “Aedan O’Malley.”

Cam thought about that for a moment, then nodded his head.  “All right.  We’ll talk to him tomorrow.  For now, let’s all get some shuteye.”

Daniel nodded, and he, Sam, and Teal’c said their goodnights, and walked out to their individual rooms. 

He went to the armoire and found another white long-sleeved shirt, similar to what he was wearing, but a little longer.  He took it out and put it on, hanging his clothes back in the armoire.  He went to the fireplace and found what looked like a poker stick, and poked at the fire a little.  Picking out a couple of larger logs from the small pile near the fireplace, he put one of them on the fire. 

As he warmed his hands while waiting for the new log to start burning, his thoughts wandered back to Caitlin.  He wondered what she was doing right now.  Was she thinking of him as he was of her?  He looked at the fire, noticed the new log was burning nicely, and stood to go read the last of the books Master Pádraig had brought him. 

He grabbed the book, and sat down in the big comfy chair to read.  He started reading, and only got a few pages read when his mind started to wander back toward Caitlin.  He was remembering things about her like the twinkle in her eyes when she smiled, the way she laughed, and he realized he couldn’t stop thinking about her.  He went to the armoire and pulled out his pants.  He put them back on and walked out of his room toward Sam’s. 

He gently knocked on her door and quietly asked if he could come in for a moment.  Sam opened the door and let him in. 

“Did you find anything new, Daniel?” she asked him. 

He sat down in the chair by the table, and sighed.  “I can’t seem to think right now, Sam.  I just can’t get Caitlin O’Brien out of my mind.  I’ve never met anyone like her before.  She's really incredible.  I mean, I’ve only known her a few days, but I can’t wait to see her again.  Do I sound crazy?”

She went to sit on the corner of the bed near him.  “No, I don’t think you’re crazy, but I do think you’re lonely, and that’s natural, Daniel.  Even I get lonely sometimes.”

“I know,” he said standing and going to the window and looking out.  “But I just can’t get her face out of my mind, Sam.”

“That’s what happens when you first meet someone.  You know that.”

“I know, but it’s more than that.  I don’t want her to get hurt.  Look at what happened to Sha’re.  She was kidnapped by Apophis, used as a host, and eventually killed.”

“The Goa’uld are no longer a threat, Daniel.”

He turned away from the window to face Sam.  “I know, but the Ori are a threat, and they’re worse than the Goa’uld.  They kill everyone who doesn’t follow them.  What if we started going out, and the Ori decide to attack Earth?  There’s a possibility she could be killed.  I lost Sha’re; I don’t want to lose anyone else.”

Sam stood and wend to him.  “Daniel, life is about taking risks.  Love is about taking a risk, too.  I took a risk with Pete.  Granted, it didn’t work out, but who knows?  It might work out for you this time.  The only way you’ll know is if you’re willing to take the risk.  But before you can do that you have to remember what Teal’c told us about the test results.  She’s not entirely human.  There’s some alien DNA in her, too.  We need to find out what’s going on with that first.”

Daniel sighed again, and she saw a determined look on his face before he turned back toward the window again. 

“No,” he told her.  “I just can’t take the risk.  The Ori are too great a threat, and I can’t risk losing someone I care about to them.”

“Well then, Daniel, I don’t know what to tell you.  Have you made any plans to see her again?”

He turned back from the window again and looked at Sam.  “We have our first real ‘date’ Wednesday night.  I’ve been trying to think of where to take her, but so far I haven’t come up with anything.”

She thought for a moment.  “What about Giuseppe's Depot Restaurant?  They have good food.  Or you could go to O’Malley’s.

He shook his head.  “No, I was thinking someplace more intimate. Someplace I can take her where we can talk and get to know one another better.”

She thought again, then smiled.  “I know.  You could take her to the Stagecoach Inn.  They’re intimate, have a great menu, and you could sit overlooking a beautiful mountain creek or by their one of their fireplaces.”

Daniel smiled back at her.  “Thanks, Sam.  I’ll make the reservations when we get back.  For now I’d better go and read that last book.”  He started walking toward the door, when Sam stopped him. 

“You know, Daniel,” she said with a mischievous smile, “For someone who doesn’t want to get too close to her, you’re taking her to a place that’s pretty romantic.” 

He smiled slightly as he walked out and shut the door behind him.  He padded down the hall to his room, shutting the door behind him.  Walking over to the table where he had put the historical book, he picked it up, and settled himself in the chair to read.  As he started to read, his mind stopped thinking about Caitlin and began to focus on the history he was reading.  He found several passages that were of interest, so he marked them with a scrap of paper and kept reading.

 He was almost done reading the last book when he felt the room growing a little colder.  He glanced over at the fireplace and noticed that the fire was way down.  He stood up and stretched, and went over to the pile of logs.  He chose out three medium-sized logs and put them near the hearth.  Grabbing the poker, he stirred the embers so they glowed a little more, and placed the logs into the fire.  He blew gently on the embers so they would flare up more, and soon the fire was going strong again and producing more heat.  After warming his hands a little, he returned to his chair and finished reading the last few pages. 

Putting the book with the others, he stood, stretched again, and went to the bed to turn down the covers.  He hung his pants back in the armoire and went back to the table, blowing out the lamp so that the only light came from the fireplace.  He walked to the bed and climbed in under the covers.  He lay there trying to sleep, but thoughts of Sha’re kept him from it.  He could still picture every detail of her face, the smell of her hair, and the smile on her face. 

He remembered the day that she was captured by Apophis, and the day she was killed on Abydos.  Daniel knew that even though the Goa’uld had been defeated, the Ori were even more dangerous.  He had not been there to protect Sha’re, had not been there to stop Apophis.  He couldn’t let another person he truly cared about get captured or killed like Sha’re had.  But he could not get Caitlin O’Brien out of his mind, either.  He could see her face as clearly as if it was right in front of him.  He could see her intense blue eyes, the way her eyes lit up when she smiled, and he felt something stirring in his heart, but he tried to ignore it and closed his eyes.  Images of Sha’re and Caitlin kept swimming in his mind until sleep finally overtook him. 

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

It was chilly Tuesday night when Caitlin returned home from work.  She parked her car and grabbed her purse, keys, and the manila envelope with the pictures in it.  She stopped in the main entry and checked her mailbox.  Finding nothing, she headed down the hall to her apartment. 

She was greeted by loud meows and purring from her two cats as she walked inside.  Tinkerbell and Patches walked over to her and began rubbing her ankles as she hung up her jacket and put her purse on the counter. 

“Hey there, girls,” she said, reaching down and petting them both.  “How are we doing tonight?”  They both meowed and purred back at her and followed her as she walked to her kitchen table and sat down.  She opened up the envelope and pulled out the pictures and letter and read the letter again.  She spread out the pictures in front of her and picked up each one, looking at it and remembering.  She felt tears coming to her eyes and reached over to the counter to grab some tissues. 

As she began to put the pictures back into the envelope, something stopped her.  She closed her eyes, and heard a faint voice in her mind.  The voice sounded so much like her mother that it made her weep even more.  It called to her, willing her to remember and focus on the pictures in front of her. 

Don’t give up on me, the voice called out.  I’m still here for you. 

Tinkerbell noticed her crying, jumped up into her lap and meowed mournfully. She put her front paws on Caitlin’s chest, and began to lick her face.  Caitlin pulled the cat close as the voice faded away and let Tinkerbell lick the tears away, wiping the last of them with the tissue and blowing her nose. 

“Well, that’s enough remembering for today,” she told them, putting Tinkerbell down and standing up to stretch.  “How about some supper?  Are you two hungry?”

The two cats meowed and purred their hungry approval loudly, and Caitlin laughed.  She picked up their food dishes and was about to put some food into each bowl when there was a knock on the door. 

“Just a second,” she called out.  She put the spoon down and went to the door, peeking out her peephole.  She saw that it was Lacey, and unlocked the door and opened it. 

“Hi, Lacey,” she said, gesturing for her to come in, shutting the door behind her.  “I was just feeding my girls.  Sit down.” 

“Thanks,” Lacey said as she reached down to pet the two cats.  “How are you girls doing tonight,” she asked them as they both purred for her.  She watched as Caitlin fed her cats, then sat down at the kitchen table. 

“What’s up?” Caitlin asked.

“I just wanted to make sure you were okay after what happened this afternoon at the store.”

“Yeah, I’m fine.  I just never expected to get those pictures, that’s all.”

“So what will you do with them?”

“I think I’ll put them with the other photos I have of my mom,” Caitlin replied as she felt something rubbing her legs.  She looked down and it was Patches.  She picked her up and settled her in her lap, petting her. 

“So what are your plans for tonight, Caitlin?” 

“I haven’t thought about that, yet.  Why?”

“Well, Jason’s at home with Sabrina, so I thought we could get a bite to eat and see a movie.  You up for that?”

“Sure.  Just give me a few minutes to change and freshen up, and I’ll be ready to go.”  Caitlin stood up, let Patches down, and walked into her bedroom, followed by her cats.  She opened up her closet and pulled out a fresh outfit.  After changing her clothes, she walked into her bathroom and began combing her hair.  She braided her hair as Lacey walked to the door and stood there watching her. 

“So, what do you feel like tonight?  Maybe a little Chinese?”

Caitlin thought about it while she was finishing up.  “No,” she replied as she put a band around the end of the braid.  “I’m in the mood for some good Irish food.  How about Jack Quinn’s Pub?”

Lacey laughed.  “You always like going there.  I think they consider you a regular.  Okay, Jack Quinn’s it is.  Now, there are several good movies out in the theaters.”  She went to her purse and pulled out a page from a newspaper and folded it to show the list of movies that were playing.  “What about Freedom Writers?  That one sounds good.”

Caitlin put her hair brush away, and took the paper from Lacey, examining the list of movies.  “How about Dreamgirls?  That one sounds really good.” 

“Okay, Dreamgirls it is.  Well, if you’re ready to go, we should get going.  The late show starts at nine, and it’s already six-thirty now.”

“Okay.  Just let me grab my purse and jacket.”  Caitlin walked over to where she’d put her purse and jacket earlier, and her two cats followed her all the way, meowing their disapproval at being left at home alone.  After putting her jacket on, she reached down and pet them both, reassuring them of her love. 

“I promise I’ll be back later, and I’ll play with you then.”  Caitlin stood, grabbed her purse, and followed Lacey to the door.  “Now be good girls while I’m gone,” she told them before closing the door behind her. 

“You sure love your cats, Caitlin,” Lacey told her as they walked to her car.  “If Jason weren’t so allergic to cat hair, we would have a few ourselves.  He loves cats, but is allergic to them.”

“Well, it makes coming home a little easier knowing I have them to come home to.”

“I know what you mean,” Lacey replied as they both got in the car and started down the street.  “Before I married Jason, I had a cat myself.  Unfortunately she had to go live with my parents when we got married.”

“Well, I hope I marry a guy who isn’t allergic to cats, because I couldn’t give my girls up for anything.  They mean too much to me.”

“Speaking about guys, what about this Daniel Jackson you told me about earlier today?  Maybe he’s the one you’ve been waiting for.”

“Lacey, I barely know the man.  Our first real “date” is tomorrow.  How do I know if he’s “the one” or not?”

“What does your heart tell you?”

“My instincts tell me he’s a nice, decent man I would like to get to know better.”

Five minutes later, Lacey turned onto Tejon Street and into the pub’s parking lot.  She found a spot to park near the entrance, and shut off the engine.  “I didn’t ask about your instincts, Caitlin.  I asked you what your heart tells you.”

Caitlin stared at her.  “You know the answer to that, Lacey.  Ever since the death of my parents, it’s been hard for me to love someone.  I can’t take the chance that I might love someone and then lose that person like I did my parents.”

“You love my daughter Sabrina,” Lacey countered.

“That’s different.  I love her like I love my cats.  Loving someone like you love Jason is different for me.”

Lacey and Caitlin got out of the car and walked into the restaurant.  The host came and took them to a booth near a window, and they sat down.  After giving them their menus, the server told them who their waitress would be, and walked away. 

A few seconds later, a young woman came over to their booth and asked if they wanted anything to drink.

“I would like a Diet Coke, please,” Lacey told her. 

“I would like a small glass of Irish ale,” Caitlin said. 

“Thank you.  I’ll let you look over your menus while I get your drinks.  If you need anything, my name is Mandy, and I’ll be your server tonight.”  Mandy walked away, leaving Lacey and Caitlin alone. 

“Caitlin, I’ve been hurt before in love.  I came out of a very painful relationship right before I met Jason.  I swore I would never let anyone into my heart again.  Then Jason came.  I learned that if I wanted to be happy, I had to take the risk of getting hurt again in love.  I took that risk, and we’ve been married six years as of this year, and we have a beautiful daughter, Sabrina.  I wouldn’t have all of this if I hadn’t taken the risk of letting Jason into my heart.”

“I know,” Caitlin told her, “but for me it’s different.  You didn’t lose your parents one right after another.  Your mother wasn’t declared dead even though they couldn’t find a body.”  She sighed, and stared out the window at the traffic going by. 

“I know your parents are gone, and that it still hurts. But you deserve some happiness in your life, Caitlin.  Your parents wouldn’t want you to put your happiness on hold because of their death, would they?”

Caitlin took a deep breath and thought about this for a moment.  Then she opened her menu and tried to decide what she was in the mood for.  Lacey opened hers and they each thought about what they wanted until their waitress came with their drinks.  She set them down, and pulled out her pen and order pad. 

Mandy wrote their orders down and took their menus.  “If you need anything, just ask,” she told them and then left to take their orders to the kitchen.

Once she had gone, Lacey took a sip of her pop and turned back toward Caitlin.  “Your parents would want you to be happy, Caitlin.” 

Caitlin sighed.  “I know, Lacey.  However there’s more than just the death of my parents.  Remember Brian?  He was the first and only boyfriend I ever had.  He told me he loved me, but in the end he left me for someone else.  He really broke my heart, Lacey.”

“I know, but remember I said I was hurt, too.  I took a chance with Jason, and it all worked out.  Granted, it doesn’t always work out.  But I’m one of the lucky ones.  Maybe you will be, too.”

  Caitlin took a sip of her ale and wiped her mouth.  “I hear what you’re saying, Lacey, but I’m just scared, that’s all.  Maybe someday in the future I’ll find a man worth taking a chance on, but not right now.”

“What about this Daniel Jackson?  What do you think of him?”

“He seems like a really nice, guy, Lacey.”

Lacey sighed.  “No!  I mean tell me about your date at Jazzed on Java.  What’s he really like?”

Caitlin was about to tell Lacey about Daniel when the waitress came over with their food.  She set their food down, and asked if there was anything else they needed.

“No thanks,” Caitlin told her. 

“If you do, just let me know,” Mandy replied, and then left.

Caitlin picked up her fork and took a bite of her shepherd’s pie.  She took a drink of her ale, then wiped her mouth with her napkin. 

“Lacey don’t you ever give up?” she asked with a smile on her face.

Lacey laughed.  “You should know the answer to that by now, Caitlin.  So dish already!”

“Well, we met at the coffee shop, and Daniel wanted to know why my eyes were so blue.  He asked me about my parents, and when I told them he had died, he told me he lost his parents, too.  I told him my grandmother had raised me, and he said that his grandfather had raised him.  He told me his parents were archaeologists, and that’s where he got the idea to become one himself.”  She stopped here and took a few bites of her food and a few sips of her ale.

“So you have a few things in common,” Lacey commented after taking a sip of her pop. 

“Yes.  He told me how he lost his parents, and I told him how I lost mine.  When I told him they couldn’t find her body, he was a little surprised.  Then I told him about those strange feelings I’ve had since them about my mom not really being dead.  You know, Lacey, the strange ‘connection’ I still have with her.”

“Yes, I remember.  So what did he say?”

“He said that it would take time, but that the feeling would probably go away.  I told him I still feel it, even now.”

Mandy came back over to their table to check on them, and she brought a new glass of pop for Lacey.  “Can I get you anything,” she asked Caitlin. 

 “Can I just have a refill on my water?”

“Sure,” Mandy replied, and came back with a pitcher and refilled her glass.  “Anything else, ladies?”

Lacey checked her watch, and shook her head. 

“When you’re ready, I’ll bring your check,” Mandy told them, and left for the kitchen. 

“What were your first impressions of him, Caitlin?” Lacey asked.

“Well, he seemed really nice, was a perfect gentleman, and was really interested in everything I had to say.  He also paid for my cookie and drink.  He told me it was to say he was sorry for bumping into me in the grocery store.”

“Wow,” Lacey replied, finishing up her sandwich and fries.  “He really sounds like a great guy.”  Lacey drank the last of her pop, then smiled mischievously.  “So is he handsome?”

Caitlin playfully smacked Lacey’s arm with her napkin.  “Hey!  There’s more to a guy than looks, you know.”

“That isn’t what I asked you.  Is he handsome?”

Caitlin pictured Daniel’s face in her mind, and smiled.  “He is, Lacey.  He’s really handsome, but that’s not as important to me.  I look for more than how handsome a guy is.”

“I know, but I can tell you’re attracted to him, Caitlin.  Maybe he is the one you’ve been looking for.  Just give him a chance, that’s all I’m asking.  Look, I know you’ve been hurt, but maybe he’s different.”

Caitlin thought about what Lacey had said as she finished up her meal and her ale.  Daniel is handsome, she thought to herself.  And I really would like to get to know him better.  But I won’t let anyone hurt me again.  Ever.

“Maybe you’re right, Lacey, but for now I’ll just take it slow and get to know him better.  I barely know him, and he barely knows me.  Besides, I’ll know more tomorrow night.  He’s taking me out for dinner.  I’ll have a great chance to get to know him better then.”

“Okay, but promise me one thing.  Don’t lock your heart away forever.  Keep an open mind about Daniel.  From what you’ve told me so far, he seems like a guy worth keeping.”

Caitlin nodded and glanced at her watch.  “Well, if we want to make the show, we’d better get going.”  Caitlin and Lacey stood up and walked over to the register to pay for their meals. 

“How was everything,” Mandy asked.

“It was delicious,” Lacey replied.  “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, ladies, and please come back again.”

 “We will,” Caitlin told her.  She and Lacey walked outside to Lacey’s car and got inside.  They left the parking lot and drove to the theater.  After buying their tickets and snacks, they went inside and enjoyed a good movie. 

After the movie was finished, Lacey and Caitlin talked about the movie as she took Caitlin home.  A few moments later, she pulled into Caitlin’s parking lot and parked her car.  Lacey turned toward Caitlin.

“Please promise me that tomorrow night you’ll keep an open heart about Daniel.  That’s all I’m asking.”

Caitlin smiled at Lacey.  “Don’t you mean an ‘open mind’?”

Lacey nodded.  “Yes, that too.  But please don’t make any rash decisions about him.  Get to know him first.” 

“I promise,” Caitlin said, hugging Lacey.  “And thanks for a fun evening.  I needed to get my mind off of my troubles for once.”

“No problem,” Lacey said as Caitlin grabbed her purse and got out of the car.  “Just be sure you tell me everything about tomorrow night, you hear?”

Caitlin laughed at her, and shut the car door.  Lacey drove off, and Caitlin walked back into her apartment building.  She unlocked her door and walked inside, finding her cats waiting for her by the door.  They both meowed and purred their happiness at her being home. 

“Did you girls miss me?” she asked them as she hung up her coat in the closet.  She walked to the kitchen, putting her purse down on the counter, and went to the small pantry and pulled out a package of kitty treats.  She walked over to their pet stands, and gave each one a few pieces, then put the package back in the pantry.

As Tinkerbell and Patches ate their treats, Caitlin walked into her bedroom and got undressed and ready for bed.  She went into the bathroom, washed her face and brushed her teeth.  She unbraided her hair and combed it until all the tangles were out.  Then she turned off the bathroom light and walked into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water.  She took the bottle and went into her bedroom and sat on her bed.  She turned on her beside lamp and grabbed a small bottle of hand lotion. 

Tinkerbell and Patches jumped on the bed and walked over to watch her put some lotion on her hands.  When she was done, she put the bottle away and pulled down the bedcovers.  She climbed into bed, reaching up to turn off her lamp, then settled down under the warm covers, trying to sleep.  Her cats came up to her and snuggled down on the quilt beside her.  She slowly and gently pet each one for a few minutes trying to clear her mind so she could fall asleep.

 As she pet Patches, her mind wandered to what Lacey had asked of her earlier. 

“Don’t lock your hear away forever,” Lacey had told her.  “He seems like a guy worth keeping."

  Daniel’s face came into her mind as she thought about that last part, and she smiled.  Patches noticed, and purred her contentment.

Finished petting her cats, she pulled up the covers and snuggled under them, waiting for sleep to come.  As she started to drift off, the voice in her head changed.  This time the voice was more insistent.  Don’t forget about me!  Don’t forget about me!

 

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

It was early in the morning in Fluairíd Robáil (Flowing River), and something woke Daniel up.  He stretched, feeling the chilly air, and discovered that it was the cold that woke him.  He glanced at the fireplace and noticed that it was almost out.  He got up, walked over to the fireplace and grabbed a poker.  Stirring the embers, he blew on them a little to get them hot again, and put a couple of big logs on the fire.  He found some scraps of paper and placed a few around the logs to start them ablaze.  Once the fire was going again, he climbed back into bed and tried to go back to sleep.  He was laying there thinking about Caitlin when he heard a knock on the door. 

“Come in,” he called out. 

Teal’c opened the door and walked inside.  He saw Daniel lying there with his eyes closed and came by the bed, slightly bowing his head.  “Good morning, Daniel Jackson,” he replied with a small smile.  “Did you sleep well?”

Daniel stretched again, then sat up.  “I did.  How about you?”

 “I slept reasonably well.  Did you finish the historical books Master Pádraig (Patrick) gave you last night?”

Daniel nodded.  “I found some more interesting stuff, and I marked it with some scraps of paper.  I’ll tell the others at breakfast.”  Daniel noticed that Teal’c was wearing his uniform and not the outfit Kathleen had given him. 

“How come you’re not wearing the outfit Kathleen gave you?” he asked Teal’c as he got out of bed.

“I feel that we should be prepared for whatever encounters we come up against, and we cannot do that effectively without our uniforms, Daniel Jackson.”

“These people aren’t a threat, Teal’c,” Daniel told him as he walked over to the armoire.  He opened it and found another change of Danuan clothing inside, so he pulled it out and began to get dressed.  “Remember what Master Bra’tac said yesterday,” he said as he pulled off his sleeping shirt and put on the new, clean, white shirt.  “He told us that the spy overheard the Ori priors talking about attacking several worlds, one of which we now know is this planet, but that the attacks wouldn't happen for a few months yet.  So we’re safe for the time being.  Besides,” Daniel added while putting on his pants and belt.  “I know that it would make the people happy to see us wanting to fit in with them, and we need to make as many friends here as we can if we want them to be our allies in the fight against the Ori.”

Teal’c thought about what Daniel had said, and his stern face returned.  “I believe you are right once again, Daniel Jackson,” he conceded. 

Daniel smiled and reached for the boots, pulling them on.  Once he was dressed, he sat back down on the bed and his thoughts immediately wandered to Caitlin.  I wonder what she’s doing now, he thought to himself. 

Teal’c interrupted his thoughts.  “Are you thinking about Caitlin O’Brien again,” he asked Daniel. 

“Yes.  I can’t stop thinking about her, Teal’c.  I’ve never met anyone like her before.  I want to get to know her better, but I can’t go through losing someone else like I did with Sha’re.  I know the Goa’uld are no longer a threat, but I’ve seen the Ori and what they can do.  We all have.  How can I put anyone at risk again like that?” 

“In my experience, you need to remount the equine or you will never be able to try again.”

Daniel looked puzzled, then he smiled as the words Teal’c had said became clear.  “Oh, you mean I need to get back on the horse.”

“Yes.  A warrior must face many battles.  How he chooses to fight those battles determines whether or not he will win.”

“I understand that, Teal’c,” Daniel said, getting up off the bed and going to the window.  “It’s just that I know how deadly the Ori can be.  I’ve seen it first-hand.  I just don’t want to put another person I care about in harm’s way.”

Teal’c turned toward Daniel.  “That is true, Daniel Jackson, but life does not come without risks.  Nevertheless, you must also remember that it would be her decision to make.  You cannot choose for her.”

Daniel sighed, and turned away from the window.  “You’re right, Teal’c.  I don’t know why I’m worried about it anyway.  Right now I don’t even know her that well.”

“Then you would do well to ‘get to know her’ better.” 

Daniel smiled a little.  “I plan to.  I’m planning to take her out for dinner tomorrow night.  I talked to Sam last night, and she suggested I take her to the Stagecoach Inn in Manitou Springs.”

“That is a good choice, Daniel Jackson.  For now I believe that we should focus on our mission here.  As you suggested, I will go and change my clothing to better ‘foster relations’ with the Danuan people.” 

Teal’c walked toward the door and opened it, finding Sam and Cam standing there getting ready to knock.  They were surprised when Teal’c opened the door. 

“Hey,” Sam said.  “You guys ready to go down to breakfast?”

Cam looked at Teal’c, a frown on his face.  “T, why aren’t you dressed in the clothes you got last night?  If I have to wear this getup, so do you.”

“Daniel Jackson has already pointed that out to me, Col. Mitchell.  He told me it would help us make friends with these people, so I am going to my room to change now.  I will be back shortly.” 

Teal’c walked back to his room to change, and Daniel picked up the historical books and followed Cam and Sam downstairs to a table.  There were already a few customers at some of the tables, so Cameron found a table off in the corner where it was quieter.  The three of them sat down and waited for Teal’c to come downstairs.  Kathleen came from out of the kitchen, and brought them some menus. 

“Good mornin’ to ya,” she said as Teal’c came downstairs and sat down.  “How are ya on this fine day?”

“Good,” Sam said smiling at her.  “How about you, Mistress Kathleen?”

“I be well enough, if it weren’t fer all this bakin’ I be havin’ 't do.  ‘Tis bakin’ day, and everyone in town be wantin’ my baked goods, don’t ‘cha know.  Now what’ll ya have 't drink this mornin’?”

“What do you have for juice?” Cam asked her.

“Well, we have apple and tarra juice.”

“I’ll have some apple juice,” Cam told her. 

 “What is tarra juice?’ Sam asked her.

Tarra juice be made from the tarra fruit.  It be havin’ a nutty, warm flavor.  Personally, it be me own favorite drink.”

 “I will have the same,” Teal’c told her. 

“I’ll try the tarra juice, please,” Sam said. 

“And what might you be havin’, Master Daniel,” Kathleen asked him.

“Daniel doesn’t eat breakfast, Mistress Kathleen,” Sam told her.

Kathleen looked shocked.  “Not eat breakfast?!  Why it be the most important meal of the day.  Without a proper breakfast, ya can’t hope 't do a good day’s work.”

Daniel looked at her.  “I just never got into eating breakfast.”

“Well, ya can’t go out of me inn without eatin’ breakfast t'day.”

“But I…,” Daniel tried to tell her again that he didn’t want any breakfast, but she stopped him.

“Ya might as well not try and argue with me, Master Daniel,” she said scowling, her hands on her hips.  “I be as stubborn as a mule, so ya can’t win.  Now what would ya like to drink?”

Daniel sighed, and knew he wouldn’t win.  “Do you have any tea?”

“Aye. I’ll bring ya a pot.”

“Mistress Kathleen,” Fiona called from the kitchen, “I be needin’ yer help,”

“Please excuse me.  I’ll have Fiona bring out yer drinks while you look at our menu.”  She handed them each a menu.  Then she hurried back to the kitchen, and the four of them were left alone for a moment. 

“Did you sleep well, Col. Mitchell?” Teal’c asked him.

“I slept pretty well last night, thanks T.  I just wish we didn’t have to wear this getup,” he replied, pulling at the collar of his shirt

Sam shook her head.  “I agree with Daniel, Cam.  If we want to forge an alliance with these people, we need them to trust us.  Even doing little things like wearing their clothing shows them that they can trust us.  Letting one of them come back with us to the SGC will also help.”

As Sam finished speaking, Fiona came over carrying a small tray.  She set it down between Daniel and Teal’c and passed out everyone’s juice.  When she came to Daniel, she set a mug down in front of him and poured the tea into it.

“Is it to yer likin’ Master Daniel,” she asked him setting down a small container of milk beside the teapot.

Daniel took a sip, and was pleasantly surprised by how strong it was.  “Wow, Mistress Fiona.  This tea is much different than what I had last night.  It’s so strong.”

“Aye.  It be what we call Danuan breakfast tea.  It be strong 't help a body through the mornin’.  If ya like, ya can put some milk in the tea 't make it less strong.”

“I think I will.  Thank you.”  Daniel grabbed the container of milk and poured a little into his mug of tea.  He tried it again, and this time it wasn’t so strong. 

“That be better fer ya, Master Daniel?” Fiona asked him. 

“Yes, thank you.  It’s good tea, Mistress Fiona.  Do you grow it here?”

“Say me nay.  It be brought here from Go Leor Bláthanna.  It be one of the things besides flowers they grow over there.”

“I see,” Sam replied.  “Do they grow other things besides flowers and tea?”

“Aye, that they do.  Each village be growin’ their own plants and herbs 't make medicines, and what we don’t have, we trade with other villages.”

“Is that how you get all your goods from other villages, by trading?” Daniel asked her.”

“Aye.  We give them what we have in exchange fer what we need.  It be done that way fer generations now.”

Fiona reached for her paper and quill pen and asked them if they were ready to order.

“Can we have a few minutes yet,” Sam asked her.

“Aye.  Just let me know when you be ready.”  Fiona walked back to the kitchen as another couple walked into the inn and sat down at a far table.  She walked over to them and greeted them, giving them menus.  Daniel watched for a moment, then turned back toward the others and checked out the menu choices. 

Daniel scanned the menu and found Robáil Gilidín (River fry).  He decided to order that, since it sounded like a small breakfast.  He was just about to lay his menu down in front of him when he felt someone tap his shoulder.  It was Cam. 

“Hey, Jackson, can you help us with these menus?  They’re in Gaelic.  How are we supposed to order something when the menus are like this?”

“Well, I guess they didn’t expect visitors from another planet who spoke a different language than they do, to come here.  Their main language is Gaelic, with their second language being English.”

“Can you just translate this for us or not?”

Daniel chuckled.  “Sure.  Which ones do you want to know about?” 

“For starters,” Cam said, “Do they have any pancakes?”

Daniel scanned the breakfast side of the menu, and couldn’t find any.  “I think you’ll have to ask Mistress Kathleen about that, Col. Mitchell.”

Teal’c turned toward Daniel.  “Is there anything here with a lot of meat, Daniel Jackson,” he asked. 

Daniel scanned the menu again.  “Well, there’s BricfeastaFeoil Trinsiúr (breakfast meat platter).  It has sausages, bacon, white pudding, and eggs.”

Sam gave Daniel a puzzled look.  “Pudding, Daniel?  With breakfast?”

“It’s not what you think. White Pudding is made by mixing meat, fat, suet, bread crumbs, barley, and oatmeal, and then stuffing it like a sausage.”

“I believe I will have that,” Teal’c told them. 

Sam turned toward Daniel.  “What is this one, Daniel?” she asked, pointing to a menu item.

“It's called Robáil Brabach, or River Boxty.  Boxty is a potato pancake made from grated raw potatoes, mashed potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes an egg or two.  In this case,” he said, looking at the menu, “They make two with eggs and also add some herbs to flavor them.  They including toast or a muffin with them.”

 “Good.  I think I’ll have that.” 

When they all had decided what to eat, Daniel signaled to Kathleen, and she came over with a piece of paper and her quill pen. 

“Now what will ya all be havin’?”  They all told her, and she began to write their orders down.

“Do you have any pancakes,” Cam asked her when she came to him.

Kathleen looked at Daniel, puzzled by his request.  “I am sorry, but I not be  understandin’ that word.”

Daniel thought for a moment.  “I believe you would call them pancóg, Mistress Kathleen.”

“Aye, now I be understandin’ ya.  That we do, Master Cameron.  It be made with wheat that we grow here near the village.  We make our own syrup fer them as well.”

“I’ll have that, and two eggs, scrambled please.”

“Fine choice, Master Cameron.”  She wrote it down.  “There.  Now I’ll take this back to me kitchen and fix this right up.  Could any of ya use another glass of juice?”

Everyone shook their heads, and Kathleen walked back to the kitchen to start their orders.  Once she had left, Cam turned to Daniel and asked him what else he had found in the historical books. Daniel picked up the top book from the three books beside his feet.  He opened it to where he had put the first slip of paper. 

“When we were talking last night, you asked if there was any reference to how long the Danuan people have had healers.  There’s a reference in here that about 20 years after Mórrígan brought the Terran Irish people here, a baby was born with unusually bright green eyes.  As the child grew, it began to show unusually remarkable talents for herbs, plants, and such.”

Daniel turned the page in the book, and kept reading.  “Then one day someone in the village became badly hurt in an accident.  The young girl heard about it and went to the injured person.  She started to sing, and the other villagers found that she had an unusually beautiful voice.  She also began to cry when she saw his wounds, and her tears fell on the wounds, slowly healing them.  At first, the rest of the villagers were afraid of her, but as she grew up, they soon came to trust her and recognize her special gifts.  They started going to her when they were sick or injured.”

“Word of her healing abilities spread to all the villages, and soon everyone was coming to her for healing.  It says here that she was about eighteen years old when she met a young man and they got married.  They had a child, and the child had the same unusual healing talents that her mother had.  In a few generations, all the villages had healers of their own.”

“So now we know how they got their healers,” Cam replied.  “But does it say how the first child got those abilities?”

Daniel shook his head.  “No.  I couldn’t find any reference to how she got her talents.”

  “I thought the healer’s eyes were blue,” Teal’c asked. 

Sam answered him.  “Well, it would stand to reason that since eye color is chosen by our genes passed to us from our parents, they could be any eye color.  But they would show the characteristics such as colored tears and brighter colors than everyone else.”

“Even if one parent does not have the traits of the healer?”

“Yes.”

Daniel looked back down at the book.  “It says here that only females are born with the characteristics and traits of the healer.”

“But we still don’t know how the child got those traits,” Cam said.

“No, but maybe one of the other villages has a reference in their historical books that would provide the answer to that.”

Cam frowned.  “Daniel, we can’t stay.  We have to be back to the SGC this afternoon.”

“I know, but if we come back …” Daniel began before being interrupted by Kathleen and Fiona.  Kathleen took the first plate, and set it down in front of Daniel. 

“I be sorry fer interruptin’ ya, Mater Daniel.”

“It’s okay, Mistress Kathleen.” 

Kathleen then took her last plate and set it in front of Cameron.  Fiona took her two plates and set them before Sam and Teal’c. 

Fiona left for the kitchen while Kathleen stayed for a moment.  “Now, if ya be needin’ anythin’ else, just let one of us know,” she told them.  She glanced at Daniel and asked him if he wanted any more tea. 

“Yes, please, and thank you Mistress Kathleen.  It is good tea.”

Kathleen left to bring Daniel more tea, and everyone started in on their breakfasts.  Kathleen returned to bring Daniel more tea, and she asked everyone how the food was.

“It’s delicious, Mistress Kathleen.  Thank you,” Sam told her.  Everyone else nodded in agreement. 

“Well, if ya be needin’ anythin’, just let us know,” she told them and left for the kitchen. 

While they ate, they chatted about what could have caused the powers of the healers.  They hadn’t figured it out before finishing their meals.  As they all got up to leave, Mistress Kathleen came back over to their table. 

“What do we owe you for the breakfast, Mistress Kathleen,” Can asked her.

“Nothin’ a’tal,” she told them, beaming.  “It be a pleasure 't have such fine folks in my inn, and you bein’ from Auld Aerth, ‘tis a real pleasure indeed.”  She opened her arms out, palms up, and bowed her head slightly. 

Danu Go Bragh,” she told them. 

Danu Go Bragh,” they all repeated to her.  They turned and walked toward the inn door, and before going outside, they all put on their sunglasses.  Daniel was the last one to walk out, so he shut the door behind him.  Then they walked to the meeting hall where Aedan had said they were to meet right after breakfast.  When they got there, they found Aedan already there.

“Good mornin’ 't ya,” Aedan exclaimed.  “How might ya be on this fine mornin’?”

“We’re fine, Master Aedan,” Daniel told him.  “How about you?”

  Aedan leaned in close, a mischievous smile on his lips.  “I be ready for a wee dram, but ya know me Shannon.  She be skinnin’ me alive, if she were ‘t find out.”

Everyone but Teal’c laughed at his comment, but Aedan became more serious.  “Besides, right now we be havin’ other matters ‘t discuss, so please come inside, my friends.”  He opened the door for them, and they went inside and found the other three managers they had met the night before already there, plus a few others. 

Aedan walked in behind them as SG-1 sat down at the far end of the table closest to the entrance.  Aedan went to the head of the table and stood, introducing everyone. 

“Welcome one and all to Fluairíd Robáil (Flowing River).   Before going on, I want to introduce our friends here.”  He pointed to each team member as he introduced them.  “These be the members of SG1, and they came through the cloch ciorcal from Auld Aerth yesterday.”  He turned and looked at Cameron. 

“I have asked the other village managers to come and hear what you told us last eve ‘bout the Ori.”  Aedan pointed to each of the village managers. 

“This be Cian (see-ayn) O’Brian from Céad Fliuchras (First Rainfall), Liam Ó Daire from Grianmhar Móinéar (Sunny Meadow), and Colin Mag Uidhir (Maguire) fromSráidbhaile le an Farraige (Village by the Sea).

Danu Go Bragh(Danu Forever),” the men all said to SG1.

Danu Go Bragh,” the team responded in return. 

“Master Aedan tells us that you be here to warn us 'bout these ‘Ori’ that be comin’ here,” Colin said. 

“Yes,” Cam replied.  “The Ori are a real threat to you and your people.  We have seen firsthand what they can do.  They started a plague on our planet that killed over three thousand people.”

The village managers all gasped.  “Naomh caomhnaigh (Saints preserved)!” Liam exclaimed in horror.  

“Dia ár gcumhdach (God preserve us),” Cian cried. 

  “How did you stop it?” Colin asked. 

  Sam answered him.  “We had help from a friend.  He stopped the plague on our planet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come here and unleash the plague on Danu.”

“There’s more,” Cam continued.  “They come in really big ships that can land on planets.  They carry lots of Ori warriors.  One of those ships could come here.”

“What must we do to stop them?” Pádraig (Patrick) asked. 

“There isn’t much anyone can do,” Daniel said, “But we would like to help you all we can.  We would like to form an alliance between your people and ours.  We ask that one of you come back to Earth with us to meet with our leaders.”

All the village managers murmured and began talking all at the same time until Aedan quieted them down. 

“Who would we be meetin’ with?” Aedan asked Cam. 

“General Landry.  He’s the leader of our base.”

“Which one of us would be goin’ with ya?” Liam Ó Daire (Liam Adair) asked the team. 

  “We would like Master Aedan to come with us,” Daniel answered him, “But the choice is entirely up to you.”

Aedan nodded.  “We be needin’ to talk a few moments between ourselves.  Would ya please wait outside?”

“Sure,” Cam replied.  “We’ll just go outside.”  He and the others stood up and walked outside to let the village managers talk amongst themselves.  As Teal’c closed the door to the village hall behind him, the rest of the team went into the shade near the big bell to talk. 

In her cottage, Healer Siobhan (shee-van) had not been able to get the image of the archaeologist’s eyes out of her mind.  She had seen something there that she had never expected to see again.  She knew that she needed to talk to this man again, so she got up and walked to the village meeting hall. 

The group was talking amongst themselves, when Daniel noticed the healer walking toward them out of the cornier of his eye.  He turned toward her when she walked up to him.

Danu Go Bragh, Healer Siobhan,” he said to her, opening his arms and slightly bowing to her.  “I would like to introduce you to the other members of our group.  This is Col. Cameron Mitchell,” he said, pointing to Cam, as Cam imitated Daniel’s greeting.  “And this,” he said, pointing to Teal’c, “is Teal’c.”  Teal’c bowed his head slightly to her. 

Danu Go Bragh.  Master Daniel, may I speak with you a moment in private?”

“Of course, Healer.”  He followed her into the shade of a tree a little ways away from the others. 

“When I examined you earlier, I be leavin’ out somethin’ important.  'Tis another test.  May I ?”

“Of course.  Healer Siobhan,” Daniel replied.  He stood there as she placed her left hand on his heart and closed her eyes, feeling the rhythm of his breathing and the beat of his heart.  After a moment, she opened her eyes, and looked into his eyes.  She stared at them intently, and he began to feel as if someone else was inside him, inside his soul. 

He became afraid, until Siobhan placed her right hand on his shoulders.  “Do not be afraid, Master Daniel,” she whispered to him.  “I will not harm ya.”

She reached out with her mind and opened the door into Daniel’s soul.  She reached out and explored the inner reaches of his soul, until suddenly, a fresh memory came into sharp focus.  She jumped at the memory, and a stunned look came over her face.  It can’t be, her mind cried out in shock as the realization overcame her.  But she is dead.  My daughter is dead!

Cam and the others were done talking and looked over toward where Daniel and the healer were.  They saw the m both begin to sway slightly, and Cam immediately became concerned, walking over to where they were, Sam and Teal’c following behind him.  He saw the shocked expression on the Healer’s face, and was just about to pull Daniel away from the Healer when they both stopped swaying and the healer took her hands off of him. 

“Thank ya, Master Daniel,” she told him as she stood there still shaking from the revelation she had just learned.  “I have all that I needed to know now.”

“What did you learn?” he asked her after he finally found his voice again. 

She decided not to tell him about what she had really discovered.  “I wasn’t sure ‘bout you havin’ as many allergies as ya said ya have,” Healer Siobhan (shee-van) lied, “But you were right ‘bout ya havin’ many allergies.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes.  Thank ya kindly, Master Daniel.  I must get back to my cottage now,” she said, and hurried away.  Daniel watched her go in confusion, until Cam spoke. 

“Hey, Jackson.  What’d she do to you?”

Daniel looked at the other three, and tried to describe what she had done. 

“She put her hand over my heart like she had earlier, and she stared intently into my eyes.  Only this time something different happened.  It was as if she opened a door into my soul.  It felt like a warm ray of sunshine throughout my whole body.  I was afraid at first, but she reassured me it was okay.”

Cam continued.  “There was a shocked expression on the Healer’s face.  You know anything about that?” 

“No, but I did sense something was wrong just before she took her hands off of me.  And did you see how quickly she left?  She must have sensed something that she didn’t want to tell me.”

“I wonder what it is?’ Sam asked him.  But before Daniel could reply, they all heard Aedan calling them back into the village hall. 

The team walked back into the main room of the village hall and sat down at the table.  Aedan stood by the fireplace, a smile on his face. 

“The other village managers and I talked about who should be goin’ with ya, and they all agreed that since I be the first one ya set eyes on, I should go with ya.  They be goin’ back 't their own villages and warnin’ their paeople about the Ori.  Bein’ that Master Colin is the closest 't the other five villages that could not come t'day, he be the one that be tellin’ their village managers ‘bout you and our meetin’ t'day.”

“Will he tell them about the Ori threat?’ Daniel asked him.

“Aye, that he will.  He be also tellin’ them that I be goin’ with ya 't Auld Aerth.”

“Good,” Cameron replied.  “When can you be ready to leave?”

“It be takin’ me a few minutes 't get everythin’ ready.”

“Okay.  We’ll meet back here in fifteen minutes.”

Everyone nodded, and after saying their goodbyes, the team helped Aedan prepare to go with them. 

Aedan closed all the window shutters and put out the lamps.  He then closed his office door and walked outside the village hall.  Walking over to the bell, he took a hold of the small rope and began to ring the bell. 

Soon many of the villagers had arrived near the village hall, including the Healer, and as the bell stopped ringing, Aedan held up his hands for the crowd to quiet down. 

Séamus Mag Uidhir (Maguire) spoke first.  “What be the trouble, Master Aedan?”

“There be no trouble, my friend,’ Aedan said, then began to talk louder so the crowd of people could hear him. 

“Friends and neighbors of Fluairíd Robáil (Flowing River), I've been asked by our cousins from Auld Aerth 't return with them through the cloch ciorcal.  I go 't be formin’ a friendship with the paeople from our ancestral home.  Séamus, me friend, come here,” he said to his friend, and Séamus came to stand beside him.  “I am leaving Master Séamus in charge of our village.  May the Faether bless you all while I be gone.”  He opened his arms and gestured to the small crowd of villagers.  “Danu Go Bragh, me friends.”

Everyone murmured the same greeting in return as they left and returned to what they were doing.  Master Aedan had turned to the team and was talking when the healer tapped him on the shoulder. 

“Forgive me, Master Aedan, but may I speak with ya?”

“Aye, Healer.”  He excused himself from the team, and went a little distance from the group under the shade of a tree.  “Now, what can I do fer ya, Healer Siobhan (shee-van)?”

“It be ‘bout going back with these paeople,” she said a look of fear on her face.  “I don't trust them.  I be sensin’ somethin’ from one of them that I know ’tis not true.”

Aedan took her hand and patted it gently.  “Healer, these strainséirs (strangers), these paeople, came from our ancestral home 't warn us ‘bout a deadly threat 't all the paeople of Danu.  From what they be tellin’ us, these creatures, they called them the Ori, be dangerous and deadly paeople.  We cannot hope 't defend ourselves from them.  They be our best chance t’ fight them.  I have t’ go.”

“Master Aedan, you know that I not be talkin’ 't ya without a reason.  Please trust me.  Somethin’ not be right here.”

 “What do you mean?”

“You remember me tellin’ ya ‘bout me daughter?” Siobhan whispered to him. 

Aedan became more serious.  “Yes, I remember.”

“Do ya remember that I said she be dead?”

Aedan nodded.  “Aye.  I remember ya tellin’ me that.”

“Well, Master Daniel and his female friend came 't see me yesterday,” she told him.  “Told me he was lookin’ fer help with his allergies.  So I performed me usual test fer somethin’ like that, but when I looked into his eyes, I felt me daughter, saw her face.”

“Ya be sure ‘bout that?”

“Sure as I’m born, ‘tis true.  How can that be possible unless they be deceivin’ us?  She be dead.”

“Well, I cannot tell ya the answer 't that, but I be knowin’ this much.  We be needin’ their help 't fight the Ori.  But while I be there, I promise to keep me eyes and ears open fer mention of her.  Now don’t ya be worrin’ ‘bout me.  I will be fine wi' our new friends.”

Healer Siobhan nodded, and knew that Aedan would be true to his word.  She knew that if their planet had any hope of surviving an attack from these Ori, he had to go with these strangers.  But she couldn’t get rid of the feelings that Daniel Jackson had seen her daughter, alive.  Her mind wandered to the day that she had been on another planet, had watched her young daughter playing in their yard.  Oh, my Little One, her mind cried out, my heart aches for you.  If only you had not been taken from me. 

But as she focused on the image of her daughter, another voice in her mind came into focus.  I’m here mother.  I’m alive!  Please don’t forget about me!  As the last of the words echoed in the healer’s mind, she suddenly felt lightheaded.  She tried to steady herself against the tree, but Aedan noticed her first and brought his arms around her to steady her. 

“You be alright, Healer?” he asked her, a worried look on his face. 

“Yes,” she said, rubbing her temples.  “I be fine now.  Just a touch of the Sickness, I suppose.  Been up many a night lately with the Finnegan baby.  I just be needin' a good rest.”

“Aye.  Well, I be goin’ with our new friends now.  Danu Go Bragh, Healer Siobhan,” he said, bowing slightly to her with open arms. 

“May the Faether God watch over yer head, Master Aedan,” she said to him as he turned to go with SG1.  “Danu Go Bragh.

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

It was still dark out when Caitlin woke up with a start, startling her two cats at the foot of the bed.  She had woken up in a cold sweat from another nightmare.  Was it another nightmare? she thought to herself.  As she sat up, Tinkerbell, the older of the two, noticed that she was awake, and meowed her disapproval at being woken up.  Patches meowed slightly, stood up and stretched, then walked up toward Caitlin.  She went into Caitlin’s lap, sat down, and reached up to put her paws on Caitlin’s chest, meowing at her.  She slowly pet her as the memory of the nightmare slowly faded away. 

“What’s the matter with me?” Caitlin asked Patches as she pet the pretty calico cat.  “I haven’t had a nightmare about Mom’s death in years.”  Caitlin slowly rubbed her temples for a moment, then reached over to her nightstand and grabbed her bottle of water.  She looked over at her alarm clock and noticed it said five-thirty am, and she knew that she had to get up in a few hours to go to work.  So after taking a drink, she put the cap back on and set the bottle back on the nightstand.  Finally, she lifted Patches out of her lap and set her down beside Tinkerbell.  “What do you think, Tink?” she asked the tortoiseshell cat as she slowly pet her.  “What would make me have a nightmare about my mother after this much time has gone by?”

Tinkerbell meowed her confusion, and she started to lick Caitlin’s hand.  Patches turned around and snuggled down next to Caitlin’s hip, meowing at her.  “All right, girls.  I get it.  You’re telling me just to go back to sleep, huh?”  Caitlin snuggled down under the covers, laying on her right side.  She rested her head against the pillow as an ear-splitting yawn overtook her.  As she pet each cat in return, she began to feel sleepy again.  Just before she fell asleep, she heard a voice in her head.  The voice called out, “Little One, I wish you had not been taken from me!” 

Little One?  She hadn’t heard that nickname since she was a little girl.  It was what her mother had called her.  She thought about the day that she had been playing in the front yard, her mother watching her out the kitchen window.  A tear escaped her closed eyes, and she thought, “I wish you were here, Mom.  I miss you so much.”  Tinkerbell noticed her tears and reached out to lick them away.  As Caitlin started to drift to sleep again, another face popped into her head.  This time it was of a man with light brown hair and blue eyes.  She smiled when she recognized Daniel face, and she fell asleep with thoughts of him in her dreams. 

It was eight forty-five when Caitlin pulled up to the back of the health food store.  She was just getting out of her car when Lacey pulled up next to her. 

“Morning, Caitlin,” Lacey called out as she got out of her car and locked the doors.

“Morning,” Caitlin replied as she went up to the back door and unlocked it.  “How are you this morning?” She walked inside and unlocked the back office as Lacey followed her inside. 

“I’m fine,” Lacey replied, hanging up her coat and putting her purse in the bottom drawer of the desk.  “Sabrina’s got a slight cold, but Jason’s with her since he has today off.”

Caitlin put her purse in with Lacey’s and grabbed an apron, tying it on.  “I hope she feels better, Lacey.”  

Lacey grabbed another apron, and put hers on while she and Caitlin walked out into the main part of the store. Lacey walked up to a shelf with different lotions on it, and started rearranging it.  “She will be. But right now I want to know what’s up with you? You look like you didn’t sleep very well last night.”  

Caitlin yawned.  “No, I didn’t.  Not at first.  I had a nightmare about my mother.”

Lacey frowned and stopped for a moment.  “Your mother?  I didn’t think you had those anymore.  What do you think made you have one now after all these years?”

“It could have been the pictures I got yesterday. They brought back a lot of memories of my mom.”

“That’s certainly possible,” Lacey replied, beginning again on the shelf.  “When you left here yesterday, you were pretty shaken up about getting those old photos.”

“Hang on a minute, Lacey,” Caitlin told her as she went into the back room and brought out a small box.  She set the box on the counter near the shelf of essential oils and walked up to the front registers, pulling a pair of scissors out from under the counter.  Walking back to the box, she opened up the scissors and cut the tape holding the flaps of the box down.  Setting the scissors on the counter, she opened the flaps and began putting the new bottles on the shelves. 

Lacey finished rearranging the shelf, and came over to stand near her.  “Caitlin, what was the dream about?”

Caitlin closed her eyes and tried to remember the dream.  “Well, I dreamt I was a little girl out in the front yard of our house playing, and I look back and see my mom standing in the kitchen window.  I wave at her and go back to playing.  A few minutes later, I look back again, but she’s gone.  I run into the house, calling for her, but she isn’t there.  I go into every room looking for her, but she’s not there.  Then I go back outside, and call for her, but I hear nothing.  Then I hear a voice telling me that she’s dead, and laughing cruelly.  I start to cry, and suddenly I hear a new voice.  It’s my mom.  I can’t see her but her voice cries out for me, calling me Little One like she used to.  That’s when I woke up.” 

“Wow,” Lacey replied.  “Sounds pretty bad. What’d you do then?”

 “Well, my girls helped a lot. Tink was upset that I had woken her, but Patches sensed that something was wrong.  She came into my lap and let me pet her until the memory of the nightmare had faded away. When I laid back down, I tried to think of other things, and, for some reason, I started thinking about Daniel Jackson. I slept better after that.” 

“I should say so,” Lacey said to her, a mischievous smile on her lips.  “So are you ready for your date tonight?”

“Yes.  I’ve been ready ever since he asked me.”  Caitlin finished putting the oils on the shelf, and went to the back room to get another box.  Walking out into the main store area, she grabbed the scissors and opened the box, walked over to the shelf with the hair care products and started placing the new shampoo bottles on the shelf. 

Lacey walked into the back room and grabbed a box with conditioners, opening the box and putting them on the shelf near the shampoos.  “What are you going to wear, Caitlin?”

“Well, I haven’t thought too much about that yet.  You know my girls always help me pick something out.”

“I know.  But tonight is special.  It’s your first real ‘date’ with him.  You should wear something special, but not too special.  You know?”

A sound in the back made them turn their heads to look, and they discovered that it was just Melinda coming into the store.  “Morning, Melinda,” Caitlin called out to her. 

“Morning,” she replied.  “It’s nine am, Lacey.  You want me to unlock the front doors now?”

“Sure, and make sure to flip the sign.  After that, would you check to see if Mackenzie’s sent out our order yet?  I was expecting it yesterday.”

“Sure thing, Lacey,” she said as she unlocked the front doors and flipped the sign, then walked back into the office.

Lacey turned back toward Caitlin and began putting the rest of the conditioner bottles on the shelf. “I was thinking.  You could wear your dark flowered skirt and your peasant long-sleeved blouse.  You look really great in that outfit.”

“Or I could wear my dark blue pants and matching sweater, Lacey,” Caitlin replied as she finished putting the last of the shampoo bottles on the shelf and broke down the box. 

Lacey finished putting the bottles of conditioner on the shelf and broke down the box.  “Yes, but you want something that will impress him.  Your pants outfit is nice, but this is your first date for Pete’s sake.  As I always say, 'Dress to impress'”. 

Caitlin laughed.  “Is this your way of trying to get me married off?”

Lacey laughed at her.  “Who me?” she asked as she and Caitlin both broke into laughter at that. 

“Seriously though, Caitlin, you look really great in your skirt outfit.  You should wear that one.”

“We’ll see.  Hey, would you come over tonight and help me with my hair?  I know what I want to do with it, but it takes more than two hands to do it.”

Lacey turned towards her, and smiled.  “No problem.  I’ll call Jason and tell him what’s going on, and then I can just follow you home after work.”

“Sounds good.  Now let’s get to work.”

 

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

The alarm klaxons were going off in the SGC, and Walter had just announced that there was an incoming traveler.  General Landry walked into the control room and stood behind Walter. 

“What have we got, Sergeant?” he asked Walter. 

“Incoming traveler, Sir,” he told the General.  After a few moments, a new signal came in.  “It’s SG1’s IDC.”

“Open the iris.”

The iris opened, and out of the shimmering pool of light walked SG1 with Master Aedan O’Malley among them. 

The soldiers all lowered their weapons as General Landry walked into the gate room to greet the team. 

“Welcome back, SG1.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Cam replied.  “Things went really well.” 

“I see you’ve brought back a guest,” Gen. Landry said, inclining his head at Aedan. 

Daniel stepped forward.  “Sir, I would like to introduce you to Master Aedan O’Malley.  He is here representing his people.  Master Aedan, this is General Landry.  He is the commander of this facility.”

Danu Go Bragh,” Aedan said, opening his arms and slightly bowing his head at the general.  “It be a pleasure to be here on Auld Aerth.”

Danu Go Bragh,” the general replied in kind.  “Welcome to Stargate Command.”  Turning his attention to Cameron, he asked how things went. 

“They went well, Sir,” Cameron replied.  “The intel we got from Master Bra’tac was dead on about this one.”

“Understood.  Go get yourselves checked out in the infirmary.”

“Yes Sir,” Cam told him. “Let’s go boys and girls.”

“Excuse me, Master Daniel,” Aedan said, stopping Daniel. “But what be an ‘in-firmry’?”

Daniel turned toward him. “Don’t worry, Master Aedan.  It’s a place that we take people to get checked out to make sure they aren’t sick. It’s just routine.”

“Then it be like the regular checks the Healer be doin’ fer us?

“Yes. “

“Aye. Then you c’n lead the way.”

The team and Master Aedan walked out of the gate room and down to the infirmary. Once there, the team was thoroughly checked out by Dr. Lam. Once they were all cleared, she began on Aedan.

“Now what would a pretty lass like yerself be needin’ from me?” he asked her with a smile.

“Don’t worry, Mr. O’Malley. I just want a small sample of your blood and to check your vital signs. Nothing too serious.”

“Please, call me Aedan, and I not be worried with a healer ‘tis pretty as you.” He winked at her and held out his arm, and she tied a rubber band around his upper arm and soon had the needle inserted into his arm. As she took the sample of blood, Daniel came up behind her and quietly told her what his proper title was.

“Thank you, Master Aedan, and thank you for your comments.” She took the vial, labeled it, and turned toward the general.  “I should know something in an hour or so.”

“Good.  Until then SG1, you can relax.  Show our visitor around.  We’ll meet in the briefing room in an hour.” 

“Thank you, Sir,” Sam replied as General Landry and Dr. Lam walked out of the infirmary. 

Daniel came to stand beside Aedan.  “Master Aedan, it’s almost lunchtime here.  Would you like something to eat?”

“Aye,” Aedan told him.  “My stomach be growlin’ like a renatha, ‘tis that.”

Cam looked confused.  “What’s a renatha?”

“A renatha be a big creature on Danu that has four legs, fur, and claws.  It has a large head and sharp teeth, but it be only eatin’ lanéiren, a type of fish,and plants.  But it be havin’ a loud growl.”

“Sounds like a bear, to me.”

Aedan looked confused, so Daniel translated for him.  “He means a béar, Master Aedan.” 

“Aye.  Now I be understandin’ ya.”

“Well,” Cam said.  “Let’s head down to the commissary then, shall we?”  He led the way for the group down the corridors to the commissary and walked inside.  Once inside, Daniel helped Aedan to get a tray, and told him about the many food choices he had. 

“What would you like, Master Aedan?” Daniel asked him.  “They can make almost anything here that you might want, but if you would like, I can suggest something off the menu for you.”

“That’d be fine, me boy,” Aedan said, patting Daniel on the shoulder.  He turned toward Cameron, leaned in close and whispered to “Master Cameron, might ya be havin’ anythin’ like a wee nip of ale?” he asked.  “Now that me wife Shannon can't see me take a nip, I be wantin’ 't take advantage o’ the situation.”

Cam laughed.  “I think we might have something, but it won’t be like what you’re used to.” 

Aedan winked at him.  “I be game to try anythin’, Master Cameron, so long as me wife don’t find out.”

Everyone except Teal’c laughed at that, and they continued on down the line.  Daniel helped Aedan pick out some food, and the five of them took their trays and sat down at a large table. 

  As everyone else started to eat, Daniel waited and watched as Aedan took his first bite of Earth food.  He chuckled when Aedan’s eyes grew round at the taste of the food. 

“I take it you like our food, Master Aedan,” Daniel told him. 

“It be tastin’ better than me wife’s cookin’,” Aedan said, winking at Daniel.  “God bless her.”

  Sam, Cam, and Daniel laughed, but Teal’c just raised one eyebrow.  “Does your wife not cook proficiently, Master Aedan?” he asked. 

Aedan looked at him questioningly, and turned to Daniel, asking him what Teal’c had said.

“What Teal’c meant to ask was if your wife is a good cook, Master Aedan.”

“Aye.  Now I be understandin’ ya, Master Teal’c.  'Tis a fine cook, me Shannon is.  Meals fit fer a king, don’t ya know.  When ya be comin’ back to Danu, I’ll have ta have her cook ya up a meal.  But I was only teasin’ ya ‘bout her cookin’.  This be a good meal, but ‘twould be better if I had a wee nip 't go wi' it.”

Cam finished his last bits of food.  “We might be able to scrounge up something later, Master Aedan, but right now we have a debriefing to get to, so we’d better get going, campers.” 

Sam and Teal’c finished their food and took their trays to the kitchen.  Cam finished his coffee, and took his own tray to the kitchen.  Daniel waited until Aedan was finished and had put away his tray, then they all walked together to the debriefing.

Everyone walked into the conference room where General Landry was waiting for them.  Daniel showed Aedan to a chair next to the general and sat down beside him while Sam, Teal’c and Cam took up their customary positions across the table from them.

 “Well, let’s get down to business.  Master Aedan, did SG1 tell you about the Ori?”

Aedan nodded his head.  “Yes,” he said, seriously.  “They told many of the other village managers as well.  We not be believin’ that there be a group o' craeatures that be that evil, ‘til your paeople told us about them.  They sound truly evil, they do.”

“Yes.  We’ve seen what they can do first hand,” Gel. Landry replied.  “I almost died as a result of a plague they used on us.  That’s why we try and warn as many new civilizations that we come across as we can, like your people.”

“We be grateful, General.  “'Tis like I told our paeople.  We be cousins of sorts.  Our ancestors come from Auld Aerth.”

“Yes, and that is why we would like to form an alliance with you and your people.  We would be able to share technology and ideas, and be able to help you if the Ori come to your planet.”

“I meself ‘twould be glad of that, but I would have to be discussin' this wi' all the village managers, ya understand.  When a decision need be made, we vote t’gether.”

“I understand perfectly,” the general replied.  “We would be willing to send something back with you to help convince your people that we are trustworthy.”

“Say me nay, General Landry.  “Tis not necessary.”

“Consider it a ‘gesture of good will’ then.  What can we send back with him?”

Everyone thought for a moment, and Daniel finally came up with the answer. 

“Sir, I noticed that when we were in Fluairíd Robáil, some of the village managers couldn’t make it to the meeting.  Maybe we could show them a few ideas on how to establish a new form of government that would help them govern their people better.”

“Master Aedan, what do you think?” General Landry asked him.

Aedan thought about that for a moment.  “’Twould be a grand idea 't have all the village managers be in one place, that it would.  ‘Tis hard to meet with them all when there be decision that affects all the villages.  But it nay be a decision I be able 't make all by meself, ya understand.”

“We understand,” General Landry said sympathetically.  “We can send along a few ideas on different types of government and let you show them to the other village managers.  Then you and your people can make your own decision.”

Aedan thought about that for a moment.  “Aye,” he said finally.  “That sounds like a good plan, that it does.”

“And if you need any help,” Daniel added, “we can help you set up whatever government your people decide.”

Aedan nodded.  “Thank ya, Master Daniel.  Do ya have any suggestions on what type of government be the best fer our people?”

“Well, Ireland, the country here on Earth where your ancestors came from, is ruled by auachtarán, or president, a taioseach, or prime minister, and a tithe an oireachtais, or house of parliament.  The parliament would be made up of representatives from all the villages.  They would meet in once place that would probably be centrally located, and would make decisions on what they think is best for the people of their village and for Danu.  The Prime Minister would oversee everyone on the parliament and report directly to the president.  The president would be the head of all the government and decide whether or not to act on the decisions that the parliament had made.”

“In your case, Master Aedan, you could have just the parliament and the prime minister. The people would vote on who they wanted to have from their village on the parliament, and then vote on who would be the best person for the job of Prime Minister. You could choose what village to have your parliament in, but it would probably be best if it was in one place that was centrally located to all the villages. Your prime minister would be the head of the government, and the prime minister and parliament would make decisions on what they think is best for the people of each village and for Danu.“

Aedan thought about this for a minute. “What about the village managers?  Would we still be keeping’ them?”

“You could. The people would go to them with any local issues, and the village managers would go to the parliament with those issues.” Daniel stopped, pushing up his glasses.  “Master Aedan, I know that this all sounds complicated right now, but we would be willing to help you set up your new government and get it going. What we want you to do is take this information back to your people and discuss it with them.”

“And you would be willin’ 't help us get this new government up and runnin’?”

General Landry nodded. “Yes. We could send experts to your planet trained specifically for this. They would be able to help you set up your new government in any way you and your people decided on. It’s all up to you and your people.

Teal’c spoke up. “My people are ruled by the High Council, much like these Irish people Daniel Jackson has told you about.  Both men and women have a voice in our government.  It is most agreeable to all in our nation.”

“General, I can have a few ideas on different types of governments ready for Master Aedan to take back with him to Danu,” Daniel added.

“Good. Get that done as soon as possible. Col. Carter, we’ll also want to send Master Aedan back with a GDO so that he and his people can contact us if the Ori come to their planet.

Aedan looked puzzled. “What be a 'GDO'?”

Sam answered his question. “A GDO or what we call a ‘garage door opener’ is a hand-held device that sends a code to open our iris. The one we give you would be unique to you and your people. That way, when you use it, we would know it’s you.”

General Landry agreed.  “Col. Carter, please have a GDO ready for Master Aedan when he leaves.  In the meantime, if you like, Master Aedan, I can have someone show you around the base while you wait for Dr. Jackson to get that list of different governments ready for you.”

Aedan shook his head and smiled mischievously.  “Say me nay, General, but I beliaeve someone promised 't give me a taste of yer planet's fine ale.” He turned toward Cam and winked at him.

Cam noticed the general’s confused expression.  “I promised Master Aedan that I would give him a taste of our ale before he left.”

General Landry nodded, and smiled a little.  “Master Aedan, I think that you will find that we have some pretty good ales and stouts on Earth.”

Aedan perked his head up.  “That so?  Might you be knowin’ a thing or two ‘bout beer then?”

“I have a drink now and then, Master Aedan,” the general told him. 

Aedan laughed.  “Well then, next time I be comin’ here, you and I will have 't get together fer a wee nip.  Just don’t tell me Shannon, or she’ll be yellin’ at me ‘til me dyin’ day.”

Everyone laughed at Aedan’s comment, and Teal’c gave his own small smile.  When everyone was through laughing, Cam spoke up.  “General, before we came up here I asked Sergeant McKendricks if he would go to O’Malley’s and bring back a bottle of their ale.  He should be back by now.  While Sam and Daniel are busy, I can have him bring in that bottle and four glasses.”

“Hey!” Daniel and Sam both exclaimed. 

“Have Sgt. McKendricks bring up the ale and six glasses, Colonel.  Then we’ll wait for Dr. Jackson and Col. Carter.  It shouldn’t take them too long.”  He glanced around at everyone in the room.  “Dismissed.”

Sam left for her lab to get a GDO ready, and Daniel left for his office to compile a list of a few types of governments for Master Aedan to take back with him.  Walking into his office, he sat down at his computer and pulled up a few types of governments that he knew were successful, including articles about the Irish government, and printed them off.  He picked them up, and walked out of his office headed toward Sam’s lab.

Sam was working on the GDO when he walked in.  “How’s it coming?” he asked her. 

“Wow.  You finished already?” she asked in return.  “Well, I’m just about finished here.  I’m giving them a specific code so we’ll know that it’s them when they dial in.”

“Good.  I printed off some stuff about the Irish government and the US government.  I’ve also included the Spanish government, the government of Germany, and of Mexico.”

Sam nodded as she finished the last of the programming.  “There,” she said, putting the GDO back together.  “All done.  Let’s get back to the conference room.”

“What are we designating the planet?”

“It’s being labeled as P3X-468,” Sam said as they walked toward the conference room.  “However, I’m also going to add in its proper name, Danu, beside it.”

“Good,” replied Daniel.  He and Sam climbed the steps to the conference room, and found the general standing at the table with the bottle of ale and six glasses around it in front of him. 

“Oh, good.  You’re here.  Sgt. McKendricks just brought this up a few moments ago.”

Sam and Daniel took their seats, and she passed the reprogrammed GDO to Cam, who passed it to General Landry. 

“Master Aedan, this is your GDO.”  He handed the GDO to Aedan and asked Daniel to show him how it works.  Daniel carefully explained how to activate it once they had dialed Earth’s gate address, and Sam gave him the specific code that would signal to the SGC to open up the iris. 

Aedan looked around the room and smiled at everyone.  “This be a grand day fer both our paeople.  A grand day, that it ‘tis.  Now we will always be friends, and our friendship only be growin’ stronger.”

General Landry stood and poured a small amount of the ale into each glass, passing them out as he did so.  Once everyone had a glass of ale, he asked them all to stand.  “I’d like to propose a toast,” he said as everyone raised their glasses.  “We have made a new friend and ally against the Ori today. Here is to new friendships and allies.”

 “To new friendships and allies,” everyone said, lifting and clinking their glasses together.  They all took a drink, and Master Aedan took a generous drink of his ale.  He wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and smiled broadly.

“Ahh,” he said, sighing.  “Now that be good ale.  Might I be able 't take the rest home with me?”

Teal’c looked at Aedan.  “I do not believe it would be prudent for you to take that bottle home, Master Aedan.  I doubt your wife would be pleased if you did.”

Everyone laughed.  “Master Teal’c, now why did ya have 't ruin all the fun by bringin’ me wife into this?” Master Aedan asked, teasing Teal’c. 

Teal’c frowned in his usual Jaffa manner.  “I did not mean to bring you discomfort, Master Aedan.  I only meant…”

“’Tis alright, Master Teal’c,” Aedan said laughing.  “I be only pullin’ yer leg.  Me wife would be skinnin’ me alive if I came home with that bottle.  Say me nay, ‘tis best that ya keep it here and share it with yer friends.”

The general smiled at everyone.  “Well, I think that just about does it.  Master Aedan, if you’re ready, we can send you home now.”

“Aye,” Aedan nodded.  “I need 't get back and share all ya told me with the other villages.”

  “Col. Carter, have Walter dial up Master Aedan’s planet and record its designation and name on the dialing program.”

“Yes, sir,” Sam replied.  She left for the control room, and Daniel handed Aedan some papers. 

“If you need any help understanding these, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  When you and your people have made a decision about this, let us know and we can help you set up your new government.”

Aedan nodded, smiling.  “Thank ya, Master Daniel.  ‘Tis most kind of ya.  Ya have all been kind, and I be glad that we’re friends and allies.  If ya ever need a vacation, ya be welcome among our paeople.”  Aedan leaned in toward the general and smiled mischievously.  “And if ya ever be needin’ a wee nip o' some good ale, just let us know.”

Everyone laughed as they all walked down to the control room.  The general walked up to Sam and told her to dial up Danu.  As soon as she finished making the necessary changes in the computer, Walter started the dialing process.  While the stargate was moving, everyone including Sam walked down into the gate room. 

“Chevron seven locked,” Walter called out from the control room.  The last chevron locked into place and the gate whooshed open. 

“Do you remember how to work the GDO, Master Aedan,” Sam asked him.

“Aye.”  He showed Sam exactly what Daniel had shown him earlier, including the code, and she smiled at him.

“Good.  When you get back and tell your people about the GDO, please let all your village managers know the same procedure and code we showed you.  Then they can use it if they need to.”

Aedan smiled at her and patted her hand.  “Aye, that I will, lass.  I’ll tell them when we get together 't discuss the new government.”  He looked all around at his new friends, and shook their hands, kissing Sam’s. 

Danu Go Bragh,” he said, opening his arms and slightly bowing his head.

 “Danu Go Bragh,” everyone replied in return.  Daniel and the others stood there watching and smiling as Aedan walked through the gate, knowing that they had a new ally in their war against the Ori. 

The gate shut down, and everyone began to walk out of the gate room.  Sam turned toward Daniel and asked if he had made the reservations yet. 

“Reservations?” Cam asked as the others stopped and looked at him.  “What reservations?”

Daniel blushed a little.  “For dinner at the Stagecoach Inn.  I’m taking Caitlin there for dinner tonight.”

“You mean Miss O’Brien?” the general queried. 

“Yes.”

“Geeze, Jackson, that was fast work,” Cam teased.

Daniel blushed as Sam and Cam chuckled and Teal’c gave him a small smile.  They were still chuckling when Walter interrupted them. 

“Dr. Lam is finished with her report, General,” he said over the speakers in the gate room.  “She’s in the lab.”

“Okay everyone,” the general told them.  “Let’s go see what she’s found.”

Everyone walked down the corridors to the Infirmary, and walked into the lab where Dr, Lam was checking her results on the computer. 

“What have you found?” the general asked her as they gathered around her. 

Dr. Lam handed them all a cream file folder with the test results in it.  They all glanced at it while she continued.  “I ran tests on Master Aedan’s blood, and his DNA is similar to ours, but not quite.  Over the thousand years that those Irish people have been on that planet, there have been some evolutionary changes.  That’s to be expected, and that explains why Master Aedan’s DNA is similar to ours but not exact.”

“I broke his DNA down to get to the main genetic material, and I discovered something rather interesting.  I found something in his genetic makeup that I had seen before.  So I re-tested the sample of fluids that Dr. Jackson had given me from Miss O’Brien, and her genetic material and Master Aedan’s are very similar.  Here, take a look.”  Dr. Lam pulled up an image on the computer screen.  It showed the samples of material from Master Aedan and Caitlin O’Brien.  She pointed to them as she continued. 

“This is a sample of Miss O’Brien’s genetic material taken from her DNA.”  She pointed to the top image.  “This is a sample of Master Aedan’s genetic material,” she said as she pointed to the bottom image.  “The two are very similar.  If I didn’t know that Miss O’Brien was from Earth, I wouldn’t have known there was any difference between her and Master Aedan.”

General Landry looked at the doctor, a serious expression etched onto his face.  “So what you’re telling us, Doctor, is that she's Danuan?”

Dr. Lam turned to look at them all.  “For all intense purposes, yes.  However, she’s only part Danuan.  Part of her genetic material is Terran.  But there’s still that third piece of genetic material that I can’t figure out yet.”

Everyone was shocked, especially Daniel.  “So,” he said, still shocked, “one of her parents had to be human, I mean, from Earth.”

“Yes,” Dr. Lam nodded.  “I’m not sure whether it was her mother or father, but one of them had to have been from Earth.”

Cam looked at her, a little confused.  “Okay, so she’s not exactly from Earth.  So what does that mean?”

Dr. Lam turned toward him.  “She's from Earth, Colonel, but one of her parents wasn’t.  Which one, and how he or she got here in the first place is anyone’s guess at this point.  What I do know is that part of her is alien, and she herself may not even know.”

Daniel looked at the general.  “So the question is, do we tell her or not?  She does have a right to know.”

Sam looked at Daniel.  “Of course, but you have to think of the bigger picture here, Daniel.  First we have to find out which of her parents is Danuan, and second, how they got here.”

Gen. Landry nodded.  “We also have to consider the security risk here, Dr. Jackson.  If we told her that she wasn’t entirely human, it would frighten her and we would run the risk of exposing the whole stargate program.”

“General, she isn’t a security risk,” Daniel objected.  “How could she be?  She knows nothing of the stargate program, and the only thing I’ve told her is that I’m an archaeologist doing contract work for the Air Force.”

“I understand that, Dr. Jackson, but she’s not entirely human.  One of her parents is from another world, and we need to find out the details.  That alone makes her a security risk.”

“I understand that, General,” Daniel said, frustrated and talking a little faster now.  “But she doesn’t know that.  She doesn’t know that one of her parents didn’t come from Earth.”

“Then how does she explain the color of her or her mother’s eyes or that both them have blue tears?” Sam asked him. 

“Wait,” Dr. Lam interjected.  “Did you say her mother has blue tears, too?”

Daniel turned toward the doctor.  “Had,” he corrected her.  “Her mother is dead.  However when I talked with Caitlin, she told me that she remembered her mother had blue eyes and tears like hers.”

“Then it had to be her mother who was from Danu,” Dr. Lam replied.  “You said her mother was dead.  When did she die?”

“Caitlin told me her mother died when she was ten.  That would be about twenty-two years ago.”

“If she was alien, then why didn’t the authorities pick up on that? Even in nineteen eighty-five they would have found the anomalies in her blood at the autopsy.”

“Caitlin said that the authorities looked for a year, but finally gave up because they couldn’t find a body.  So the family had a memorial and declared her legally ‘dead’.”

The general held up his hands to stop the conversation.  “Okay.  So we know that her mom had blue eyes and tears, but she died twenty-two years ago.  Not to mention that the authorities couldn’t find her body.  Something is definitely going on here, folks, and we need to find out what.”  He turned toward Daniel.  “Dr. Jackson, since you and Miss O’Brien seem to be friends, find out as much as you can from her.  For now we’ll put this on hold until we hear from Master Aedan about their decision on a new government.  Dismissed.”

The general left, and everyone slowly began to file out of the infirmary.  Cam was headed to his quarters, and Sam was headed to the lab.  Daniel and Teal’c were the last ones to leave.  Daniel glanced at his watch and saw that it was two-thirty in the afternoon. 

“Have you made the reservations at the Stagecoach Inn yet, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked him as they walked down the corridors to Daniel’s office.

Daniel shook his head.  “No.  I was just going to do that now, then head home.”

“I wish you luck,” Teal’c replied. 

“Thanks, Teal’c,” Daniel said as they came to his office. 

Teal’c bowed his head slightly, and left Daniel alone.  Daniel went over to his phone and dialed the restaurant.

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

Caitlin glanced at the clock hanging on the north wall and noted that it was almost five pm, and she began to get more nervous.

“Would you relax?” Lacey said as she closed up the registers.  “It’s not even six-thirty yet.”

“I know, Lacey,” Caitlin replied, straightening up the bath oils.  “I’m just really nervous about tonight.”

“For someone who doesn’t want to risk falling in love again, I’d say you’re awfully concerned about this.”

Caitlin finished straightening the shelf, then came over to the registers.  “Daniel is really nice, kind, and funny, not to mention handsome.  I can’t help but be nervous, Lacey.”

“Okay,” Lacey said, and checked the clock.  “Well, lets just shut everything down up here, and we’ll get Melinda to close up tonight.”  Lacey called out for Melinda, and she came out from the back office. 

“What’s up, boss?” Melinda asked her. 

“Caitlin and I are leaving now, so would you lock up?”

Melinda smiled.  “Sure, Lacey.  See you tomorrow.”  Melinda went to the front entrance and flipped the sign to ‘Closed’ and locked the door.  She went around to the front registers and went to work as Lacey and Caitlin walked to the office and grabbed their purses and coats. 

As they walked toward the back door, Lacey stopped and went to the bath area and pulled down a bottle of rose oil body wash, lotion, and lilac oil body spray.  Walking up to the registers, she told Melinda to charge this to her account.  Melinda took down the numbers and price on the back of each bottle as Lacey grabbed a small bag with handles, opened it, and put the three bottles inside.

“Here,” Lacey said, going over to Caitlin and handing the bag and its contents to her. 

Caitlin looked surprised.  “What’s this for?” she asked as they resumed walking toward the back door. 

“Well, you’ve been working hard here for the last few weeks when that really big shipment came in, and you deserve it.  Besides,” Lacey smiled at her.  “You want to smell nice tonight, don’t you?”

“Well, yes,” Caitlin replied stammering a little as they walked into the back room.  “But I have stuff at home I can use.”

“I know.  However, I also know that you’ve had your eyes on those three products since they came in two months ago.”

Caitlin grinned.  “You know me too well, Lacey.” 

They had reached the back door and were putting on their coats.  As they walked out into the cloudy autumn afternoon, she grabbed her car keys from her purse. 

“You want to meet me at my apartment?” Caitlin asked Lacey. 

“Sure.”

Caitlin unlocked her car and got in.  She started the car and backed out of the parking lot, turning onto the nearby street and heading home.  As she drove, she popped another Celtic CD into the CD player and let the music wash over her and calm her fears.  She turned down her street and into her parking lot as the last few notes of the song ended, and she shut the stereo off as she pulled into her parking spot.  She grabbed her purse, pulled her keys out of the ignition, and got out of her car, locking it.  She was almost ready to walk inside the building when she saw Lacey pull into the parking lot and park right beside her car. 

“So have you decided what to wear, or are you going to let your girls decide again?” Lacey asked as they walked into Caitlin’s apartment building, her eyes twinkling. 

“Well, they get to have a say, but I have the final deciding vote.”

They both laughed as she unlocked her apartment door.  The two of them walked in and as Caitlin took her coat off, putting it over a chair in her kitchen and set her purse and bag on the counter, she was greeted by a chorus of loud meows from both Tinkerbell and Patches.  Caitlin smiled and bent down to pet them.  After a few minutes she stood up and took the bag of bath products Lacey had given her and went into the bathroom. 

“Lacey, you want anything to drink while I’m taking my shower?” Caitlin asked her as she prepared to take her shower. 

“Sure,” Lacey replied, taking her coat off and putting it over another chair, her purse already on the counter beside Caitlin’s.  She went over to the fridge and pulled out a can of Diet Coke, and sat down at the table.  Tinkerbell jumped up into her lap, and Lacey stroked her soft fur, bring forth a loud rumbling purr from the tortoiseshell cat.  She sat there while Caitlin took her shower, petting Tinkerbell and Patches and drinking her pop.  When she heard the shower turn off, she got up and walked into Caitlin’s bedroom to wait for her there. 

As Caitlin took her shower, her thoughts were on Daniel.  She was nervous about their date, but excited at the same time.  She used the rose-scented body wash, and washed her hair with the rose-scented shampoo and conditioner she’d made for herself, with help from Melinda and Lacey.  She rinsed off, shut off the shower, and grabbed a big towel and wrapped her hair in it.  She grabbed another towel and dried off, wrapping her body in the towel.  She opened the door and walked down the short hallway into her bedroom, finding Lacey and her two cats already there. 

Caitlin walked over to her closet and opened the doors.  “Okay, Lacey,” she told her best friend.  “What do you think I should wear?”

“What about a nice pair of pants and a pretty loose-knit sweater, like that blue one that matches your eyes?”

Caitlin pulled them both out, and held them up to her body.  Her cats looked at her and started cleaning themselves. 

“Well,” Caitlin said, smiling, “I guess that’s a no from the girls.  What about you, Lacey?”

Lacey looked at her for a moment.  “I agree,” she said, finally.  “Not the pants. What about your long dark blue floral skirt instead of the pants?” she suggested. 

Caitlin put away the pants and pulled out the long skirt, holding it and the sweater up to her body.  Tinkerbell meowed her approval, but Patches ignored her. 

“Okay, so what does that mean?” Lacey asked, looking from the cats back to Caitlin. 

“That means that Tink likes it, but Patches doesn’t.  You know, maybe the outfit is missing something.  What if I wore a tank top under the sweater?  The sweater is a little see through, you know.”  Caitlin reached back into her closet and pulled out the white tank top and placed it behind the sweater, holding all three garments up to her body.  This time both her cats meowed their approval, making Lacey and Caitlin laugh.

“I guess that means that they approve,” Lacey said, still chuckling. 

“Yep.  Now should I wear my black flats with this, or something else?”

“I like the white flats better, even though it is after Labor Day.  You know, I never have followed that rule about not wearing white after Labor Day.  I believe that you should be able to wear whatever color you want to.”

“I know,” Caitlin replied, putting the outfit on the bed and grabbing a bra and panties from her dresser.  “I feel the same way.”  She went back into the bathroom to put on her underthings and put her towel away.  Walking back into the bedroom, she grabbed a pair of nylons from her dresser along with a slip, putting them on.  She picked up the tank top and slipped it on over her towel-wrapped hair, pulling it down and readjusting the straps. 

“So where do you think he’ll take you tonight?” Lacey asked her as she handed Caitlin the skirt. 

“I’m not sure,” came her muffled reply as she put the skirt on over her head.  She pulled it down, placing it in the right position and tucking in the tank top. “I just hope it’s a nice place,” she said as Lacey held out the blue sweater.  Caitlin took the sweater from Lacey, and she put it on.  Finally, she pulled out her shoes from the closet, slipping them on her feet. 

“So far so good,” Lacey commented with a smile.  “You grab your hair stuff, and I’ll meet you at the kitchen table.”

“Sure.”  Caitlin walked back into the bathroom, took off the towel from her head and hung it back on the towel rack.  She sprayed a detangling spray in her hair, grabbed her hairbrush, a comb, hair band, and curling iron, and she walked back out into the kitchen.  Caitlin set her stuff down on the table and grabbed her hair brush, going over to her garbage can to brushing her hair. 

“You know, Lacey,” she said as she pulled out long strands of hair from her hairbrush and threw them in the garbage, “what I hate the most is the hair I shed.  I think I shed worse than Tinkerbell and Patches together.”

“I know,” Lacey said, nodding in agreement.  “My hair isn’t as long as yours, but  it sheds, too.”

Caitlin brushed her hair until all the tangles were out, then cleaned out her hairbrush.  She walked back to the chair, turning it around so the back of the chair was at her side.  She plugged in the curling iron, setting it on the table as she sat down.  Lacey grabbed the comb and asked Caitlin what kind of style she wanted.

“You remember the style Drew Barrymore wore as ‘Danielle’?” she asked Lacey.

“From the movie Ever After?”

“Yes.  You did it once before in your niece’s hair, and I liked it.  Maybe you could do that with mine, but connect the two in the back and braid it all the way down.  Don’t do the back, though, just the sides.”

“Sure.”  Lacey took the comb and started parting Caitlin’s hair on the left side.  Pulling out a few small strands of hair, she handed the comb to Caitlin, and began to twist and braid the section of hair.  “So when are you going to see him again?”

 “Lacey,” Caitlin said, sounding shocked.  “I haven’t even seen him yet tonight, and you’re asking when I’ll see him again?  At least let me get through tonight.”

“You know you want to see him again, Caitlin.  I can see it in your eyes whenever we’re together.  There’s something about him that really intrigues you.”

“Yes there is, but so what?  Nothing other than friendship can come of it.  You know that.”

Lacey was finishing up the first braid, and asked Caitlin to hang on to it while she braided the other side.  Grabbing the comb from the table, she separated a section of Caitlin’s hair on the right side, pulled out a few strands, and started to braid again.  “No, I don’t know that, Caitlin.  You’ve been alone too long, and you need someone in your life.”

Caitlin harrumphed loudly.  “No I don’t.  What if I did find someone but I lost him like I lost my parents?  And you know what happened with Brian, how badly he hurt me.  I don’t ever want that to happen again.” 

“I know,” Lacey said finishing up the second braid.  She took the first braid from Caitlin and began to connect the two in back.  “You remember what I told you the other day about the bad relationship I had with Steve just before I met Jason?  That guy really threw me for a loop and hut me badly, too.  So when I first met Jason, I swore that I would never let him into my heart, but I gave him a chance.” 

“I discovered that he was different, that he was nothing like Steve, and eventually I let him into my heart.  If I hadn’t at least given him a chance, he and I wouldn’t be married now, and we wouldn’t have our precious Sabrina.”  Lacey got to the end of the braid, and asked Caitlin to hand her a brown hair band.  She wrapped the end of the braid with the band, then stepped back to admire her work.  “Hand me the curling iron, please,” she said as she took the curling iron and curled the rest of Caitlin's hair in back.  Finally, she took the curling iron and gently curled the small strands of hair she had pulled out before braiding her hair. 

“All finished,” Lacey said as she turned off the curling iron and put it back on the table to cool. 

Caitlin stood up and put the chair back in its place.  Grabbing her hairbrush and comb, she headed back into the bathroom to finish getting ready.  As she finished up, Lacey walked in, put down the lid of the toilet, and sat down. 

“Caitlin, all I’m saying is give the guy a chance.  You can’t just assume he’s like Brian.  Take Monday night, for example.  You went to Jazzed On Java, didn’t you?  So did you have to pay your own way, or did he offer to pay for you?”

“He paid,” Caitlin said, looking at her reflection in the mirror.  “He said it was to make up for accidentally bumping into me in the grocery store.”

“Did Brian ever do that for you?”

Caitlin, thought for a moment, then sighed.  She turned to face Lacey.  “No he didn’t,” she admitted.  “So what?”

“Well it seems to me that if he was willing to do that for you, he must be a decent guy.”

“I’ve heard of decent guys like that still trampling on a woman’ heart though, Lacey,” Caitlin retorted, turning back toward the mirror and finishing her eye shadow. 

“But when you two talked, did he sound like the kind of guy that would hurt a woman?”

“No,” she admitted, putting blush on her cheeks.  “He didn’t.”

“So what honestly makes you think he’s going to hurt you?  Besides, I know you were hurt when your parents died, but we can’t choose our time of death.  Only God knows when we’re going to die.”

Caitlin stopped for a moment and thought about everything that Lacey had said.  She turned toward her best friend.  “I know, Lacey,” she said in a small voice.  “I just don’t want to get hurt again.”

Lacey could see the pain in Caitlin’s eyes, and got up and hugged her friend.  “I know you don’t,” she said pulling away from her.  “But love means taking a risk, a big risk.  Even you know that.  Besides, I know that you are very interested in this guy.  I can see it in your eyes every time you talk about him.”

“I am,” she confessed to Lacey, a small smile playing on her lips.  “It’s just so hard, taking that risk.” 

“I know, but if you take that risk and it works out like it did with Jason and me, the rewards are beyond imagining.  Look, all I ask is that you don’t jump to conclusions with him.  Wait until you get to know him better before you decide anything.  Can you at least do that?”

“I’ll try,” she said putting her makeup away and washing her hands.  She checked the mirror and was pleased at what she saw.  She checked the clock on the wall and saw that it was nearly six.  She checked herself in the mirror one last time, applying her lipstick and lip gloss, and walked back out into the kitchen.

 “Well, how do I look,” Caitlin said, turning around slowly and letting Lacey look at her. 

“Wow, Caitlin!  You look really pretty.  That blue makes your eyes really stand out.”

Tinkerbell and Patches, who had been lying on a couple of kitchen chairs, jumped down and came over to her, sniffing her.  After a moment, they walked away, and turned back to look at her. 

“So what does that mean?” Lacey asked, puzzled. 

“It means there’s something I’m still missing.”  Caitlin thought about it for a moment, then she thought of something.  She walked into her bathroom and grabbed her bottle of rose perfume, dabbing a little behind her knees, wrists and ears.  Caitlin walked back out into the kitchen near her cats, and they came up to her and sniffed again, but only Patches meowed her approval. 

“Okay, I must still be missing something,” Caitlin replied. 

Lacey thought about it for a moment.  Then she smiled.  She went into Caitlin’s bathroom and pulled out a flower hair comb from one of the drawers.  She walked back into the kitchen, and told Caitlin to lean her head down.  She placed the hair comb directly behind the right braid. 

“Okay, girls, how’s that?” Lacey asked Tink and Patches. 

 Both cats loudly meowed their approval.  Caitlin bent down and pet each one lovingly before putting on her watch and coat and grabbing her purse.  “Which comb did you grab?” she asked Lacey.

“I chose the one that has the blue and white flowers that match your skirt.  Is that okay?”

Caitlin nodded.  “It’s fine.”  She reached down and pet Tink and Patches once last time.  “Could you feed them before you leave?” she asked Lacey as she grabbed her car keys. 

“Sure.  I’ll lock up when I’m done.  Have fun Caitlin, and keep an open mind about him.”

Caitlin turned and smiled at her best friend.  “I will,” she said as she grabbed the door handle.  “You girls be good while I’m gone,” she called out to her cats.  They meowed back at her, making Lacey and Caitlin laugh as she walked out the door to wait for Daniel in her apartment’s common area. 

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

It was five o’clock, and Daniel was still at the SGC writing comments for his report on their mission to Danu.  He was putting his things away when Teal’c and Sam walked in to his office. 

“Hi, Daniel,” Sam called out.  “When are you going to get ready for your date?”

Daniel shut his desk drawer.  “I wanted to finish my report on our mission to Danu first,” he said, picking up the report and walking over to them.  I’m headed up to Gen. Landry’s office to turn this in, then I’m headed home.”

Sam stopped him.  “Why don't you give me the report, Daniel, and I’ll give it to the general.  That way you can just head home and get ready.”

“Are you nervous, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked him. 

“No, Teal’c,” he replied, running his hands through his hair.  “I’m just fine.  I’ve been thinking of things to talk about, and I figured I’d ask her about her childhood with her mom and dad, how she became a healer…”

“Daniel,” Sam said, interrupting him.  “We know you’re nervous.”

“Sam, I told you I’m not nervous.”

“Daniel, I can tell when you’re nervous because you start talking faster and you also run your hands through your hair a lot.”

He smiled sheepishly.  “I guess I am a little nervous.” 

“Don’t worry,” she said, patting his shoulder and smiling at him.  You’ll do fine.  Just be yourself.”

Daniel handed the report to Sam.  “Thanks, Sam.”  He glanced at his watch.  It was five-fifteen.  “Well, I’d better get home and get ready.  Hey Teal’c,” he said, looking at the big Jaffa warrior.  “Come with me.  I could use the company and advice.”

“I would be happy to do so, Daniel Jackson,” he said bowing slightly.  “Shall we leave?”

Daniel grabbed his coat and car keys, and the three of them walked out of his office.  “See you tomorrow, Sam,” he said.

“Good luck, Daniel,” Sam replied, then turned and headed toward the general’s office. 

“I must stop by my quarters and retrieve my jacket, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c told him as they walked down the corridors. 

“Sure.”  They continued down the corridor a little farther until they reached Teal’c’s quarters.  He grabbed his jacket from a chair, and pulled his car keys out of the pocket.  Then he and Daniel walked down to the elevators and began the long ride up to the surface. 

“Have you given any thought about what you might wish to wear tonight, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked him. 

“Well, I figure something nice, but not to dressy.  Other than that, I don’t know.”

“Is it customary for all Tau’ri men to be so nervous on one’s first date with a woman?”

“Yes.  Most men are.  We don’t know what the woman will think or feel about us, or how they will act.  Besides, we’re trying to impress them somehow.  Think of it like this.  Male animals make displays to try and impress a female into mating with them.  For us it’s more complicated, but the end result is still the same.”

Teal’c looked at him, confused.  “So you wish to mate with Caitlin O’Brien?” he asked Daniel as they walked out the front gates and into the chilly autumn evening.

Daniel’s eyes opened wide, a shocked expression on his face.  “What?!  No!  No, I just meant that this is one of many steps every man takes in finding the right mate.  Didn’t you spend time with other women before you met Drey’auc?”

“I did not, Daniel Jackson,” he said as they came to their cars.  “We had an arranged marriage.”

“Well, even though there are cultures here on Earth that still have arranged marriages, in America things don’t usually work like that for us.  We usually take our time to get to know the person first to see if we have the same likes, dislikes, values and such.  If we have things in common and if there’s chemistry, then we seriously consider that person for a mate.”

“It is the same for us as well, Daniel Jackson.  However, I believe that you will not make a good impression if you are late.  I will meet you at your house.”

Daniel glanced at his watch.  “I guess you’re right, Teal’c.  Let’s go.”  Daniel got into his car and drove out of the SGC parking lot toward his house, with Teal’c behind him.

As Daniel drove down the street towards his house, his thoughts turned toward Caitlin.  He could picture her sparkling deep blue eyes, her long brown hair, and that wonderful smile that lit up her whole face.  He smiled at the thought of seeing her in an hour. 

A few seconds later Daniel passed a billboard advertising a new Egyptian exhibit at the local museum, and his thoughts turned toward Sha’re.  He could still picture her face as clearly as if he had just seen it.  He could remember her brown eyes, her wonderful smile, and the scent of her hair.  He also remembered the look on her face and the glowing eyes when she was made a host to Amaunet.  Daniel also remembered the look on her face as she lay on the mat of the tent, dying from a staff blast.  I won’t ever let that happen again, he vowed to himself.  But for right now I’ll just enjoy the evening and make a new friend. 

Daniel turned down the street, and, pressing the button on a remote attached to his sun visor, pulled into his garage.  Teal’c parked his car in front of the house along the street and walked into the garage to meet up with him.  He got out and unlocked the back door, holding it open for Teal’c.  Once inside, he tossed his keys on the kitchen counter and put his jacket on a chair. 

“You want anything to drink, Teal’c?” Daniel asked him as he walked towards his bedroom.

“If it is of no inconvenience, a glass of water would be fine.”

“You know where the glasses are,” Daniel called out from the bedroom.

Teal’c went to the cupboards and grabbed a glass, filling it with water.  He took the glass and walked into the bedroom where Daniel was standing in front of his closet. 

Daniel pulled a pair of navy blue casual dress pants and a white short-sleeved shirt out of the closet, laying them on the bed.  “What do you think?” he asked Teal’c. 

“I believe that will be sufficient, Daniel Jackson, though I would choose a sweater as well.  It is somewhat chilly outside tonight.”

Daniel went back to his closet and pulled out a light blue fleece pullover sweater and laid it with the pants and shirt.  “I’m going to take a shower now.  If you want, you can watch TV in the living room for a while.”

Teal'c bowed his head slightly.  “I believe I will.  Thank you.” 

Daniel walked out and into his bathroom, while Teal’c went out into the living room and turned on the television, trying to find something good to watch. 

Daniel quickly got his shower, washing his hair as he did.  Turning off the water, he grabbed his towel and dried off.  He walked back into his bedroom and changed into the clothes he had laid out on the bed.  He glanced at the clock near his bed and it read five forty-five.  Good, Daniel thought to himself.  I still have a little time.  He went out into the living room and told Teal’c he was done, then went back into his bathroom to finish getting ready. 

Teal’c came to the bathroom and stood in the doorway with his hands clasped behind his back.  He stood there as Daniel combed his hair and brushed his teeth.  Checking himself in the mirror one last time, Daniel walked out of the bathroom, turning out the light.  He went into the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water, taking it to the kitchen table and sitting down.  Teal’c joined him.

“Have you thought about what you wish to talk about with Caitlin O’Brien?” he asked Daniel. 

Daniel took a drink of his water.  “Well, since Gen. Landry wants me to find out as much as I can about her, I plan to ask her more about her parents, specifically her mom.”

“I agree.  There may be details that she can tell you that would be helpful in learning about when her mother came to Earth, if she even knows such things.” 

Daniel glanced at his watch, and saw that it was a little after six.  ‘Well Teal'c, I’d better get going.”  He stood up and put his glass and Teal'c’s in the sink.  “I’ll walk you out.”

Grabbing his coat and car keys, he walked out behind Teal’c, locking his door.  “Wish me luck,” he said to Teal’c as he got inside his car.

“Indeed, Daniel Jackson.  I wish you success on your date with Caitlin O’Brien.”

“Thanks.”  Daniel started his car, waiting for it to warm and for Teal’c to drive away.  Soon Daniel was headed down the street to pick up Caitlin.  As he drove, he silently prayed to any god that was out there that tonight would go well. 

Caitlin was standing in front the windows when Lacey walked in. 

“Is he here yet?” she asked. 

“No.  Did you lock my door?”

“Yes.  I fed your girls before I left, too.”

“Thanks, Lacey.  I’ll see you tomorrow at work.”

“Okay.  Have a good time, Caitlin,” Lacey said as she walked out of the rec. room. 

Caitlin stood by the windows a few more moments until she saw Daniel’s vehicle pull up in front.  She buttoned up her coat and walked out of the building as Daniel was walking up. 

“Hi, Caitlin,” he said, smiling at her and offering his arm to her.  “Are you ready for a fun evening?”

She smiled back warmly, taking his arm.  “I am.  I’ve really been looking forward to tonight.”

“I’m glad.”  They had stopped at his car, and he opened the door for her.  Pulling out of the parking lot, Caitlin asked him where they were going.

“How does the Stagecoach Inn sound to you?” 

“Great.  I haven’t been there in a long time.”

“Good.  So how has work been?”

“We’ve been getting busier,” she told him as they drove to the restaurant.  “When winter comes, that’s our busy season.  It’s a time when many people get sick easier, so people like to come in and find natural remedies instead of going to the doctor all the time.  What about you?”

“Well, being an archaeologist does keep me busy sometimes.  Lately I’ve been working on a new project.  We’ve uncovered some new artifacts, and I’ve been busy cataloging them.”

“That sounds really interesting, Daniel,” Caitlin replied as they pulled up to the restaurant and parked. 

He got out and opened her door, helping her out of the car.  He offered her his arm again as they walked into the restaurant.  Inside the entryway, he took off his jacket hanging it on a hanger.  He turned to help her with her coat, and his eyes widened when he turned back and saw her.  “Wow.  You look beautiful!”

Caitlin blushed.  “Thank you, Daniel.  You look pretty handsome yourself.”

He gave her his arm again, and they walked up to the host’s stand. 

“Right this way,” the host said as he led them to their table.  He took them to a corner of the restaurant to a table near one of the fireplaces. 

He let her arm go, and pulled out her chair for her.  Then he went to sit down.  Once he had sat down, the host handed them two menus and gave them a wine list.  Daniel opened the list, and asked Caitlin what she wanted. 

 She turned to the host.  “Do you have any sparkling cider, by any chance?”

“Yes, we do.  We have apple or peach.”

“What do you think, Daniel?” she asked him. 

“Whatever you want Caitlin, is fine with me.”

“I’d like to try a bit of sparkling peach please,” she told the host. 

“We’ll take a bottle,” Daniel said to him. 

“Very good choice,” the host told them.  “Your server will be here in a few minutes with your selection and to take your order.”

The host left, and Caitlin looked around the room and noted that there weren’t very many people at the restaurant.  Soft music was playing in the background, and the fire going in the fireplace cast a warm glow along with the candle on the table.  Turning her attention back toward Daniel, she noticed him staring at her. 

“What it is?” she asked him. 

“I’m sorry,” he said, blushing a little.  “It’s just that you’re so beautiful tonight.  The blue in your outfit really brings out the blue in your eyes.”

She shyly smiled at him.  “Thank you.  I like your blue sweater.  It brings out the blue in your eyes.”

“I also like the flowers in your hair.”

“Thank you.  I made the comb myself.”  She carefully pulled out the flower comb from her hair and handed it to him. 

He took it from her and looked at it.  “This is really pretty,” he said, handing it back to her.  “You did such a good job.  Do you like to make things?”

She took the comb back from him and placed it into her hair where it had been.  “Thank you.  Yes.  I like to make lots of things.  I like to make my own bath products, and recently I made a scrapbook for my friend Lacey and her husband about their daughter, Sabrina.”

“Is Lacey a good friend?”

“She’s my best friend, and she owns the health food store where I work.  I’ve known her ever since I came back to Colorado.  I’m also Sabrina’s godmother.”

Daniel smiled as he picked up his menu, trying to decide what to order.  Caitlin also picked up her menu, glancing at the Off the Range section.  She and Daniel both chose what they wanted just as the server came over to their table.  She brought their bottle of sparkling peach cider and poured a little into each of their glasses.  Then she grabbed her pen and paper to take their order. 

“Thank you,” she replied with a smile. 

After the server left, Daniel picked up his glass of sparkling cider and took a sip.  “So what do you do at the health food store?”

“I help Lacey sell the different products we offer,” she said taking a sip of her cider as the server came over carrying a basket of fresh rolls and a small bowl containing pats of butter.  She set them down and left, and Caitlin continued.  “I also help customers that come in looking for homeopathic remedies to common ailments.  For example, if someone came in looking for help in relieving a cold, I would suggest Echinaccea, Zinc pills, and Vitamin C.  I would also suggest eating lots of foods rich in Vitamin C and also to drink lots of fluids.”

“What would you suggest for someone suffering from allergies?”

“It would depend on the allergies the person had,” Caitlin replied. 

“Take me for an example.  I have a lot of allergies, and I take antihistamines for them.  However, they don’t always work.  One of my worst allergies is ragweed.  So what would you recommend?”

“It would be better if we were at the store to do this, but I can try.”  She closed her eyes for a moment, centering her thoughts.  When she opened her eyes, she looked intently at him, studying him for a few moments.  “Are your allergies always the same, or do they get worse?”

“It usually depends on the seasons,” Daniel told her. 

She thought for a moment.  “Well, first I would suggest making a tea with some Dandelion and Red Clover leaves for the coughing that comes with allergies, although I would add a little honey as a sweetener.  I would also suggest some ginseng and licorice pills.”  As she finished, the server brought over their salads. 

Daniel thanked her as she left.  “So is there anything else you can tell me?”

“Yes, but I suggest you come into the store as soon as you can.  That way I can properly test you and recommend the right kinds of herbs and foods.”

“Sure.  I’ll try and come in sometime later this week,” he said, clearly impressed with her answer.  “You must really like what you do.”

Caitlin finished her bite of salad and wiped her mouth with her napkin.  “Yes, I do.  It makes me happy to help others who are suffering or just want to relax.  However, if I sense that their ailment or situation is more serious than I can help them with, I suggest to them to see a medical doctor.  I remember one patient we had that came in with angina pain.  I was reluctant to suggest any herbal remedies, so I suggested she make an appointment with her medical doctor.  A few months later she came in and thanked me for suggesting she see her doctor.  It turned out that she had some blockages in the small blood vessels near her heart, and she required bypass surgery.  So it all turned out okay in the end.”

He took another sip of his sparkling cider.  “Does Lacey have the same talent for healing people that you do?”

“Yes and no.  She’s been doing this for a long time, so she can recommend different things if it’s not that difficult.  But if it’s a really complicated problem, she sends them to me.” 

“Are you and Lacey the only ones that work there?”

She took a sip of her cider, wiping her hands on the napkin in her lap.  “No.  There’s another woman, Melinda Bates, who mainly works in the office.  She only comes out when one of us takes a break or it gets busy.”

“Well, lots of people are trying to find natural remedies that fit into their healthier lifestyles,” Daniel commented as he finished up his salad.  “So what you do is becoming more important.”

“I like to think so,” Caitlin replied.  “At least I hope so.”  Caitlin was finishing up her salad when she heard a new song start to play over the restaurant’s speakers.  It was the love song from one of her favorite eighties movies, ‘Top Gun’.  She listened to it a moment while she took a sip of her cider. 

“Watching in slow motion as you turn to me and say, ‘My love.  Take my breath away.  Take my breath away.’ ”

“Watching I keep waiting still anticipating love.  Never hesitating to become the fated ones.  Turning and returning to some secret place to cry.  Watching in slow motion as you turn to me and say, ‘Take my breath away.  Take my breath away.’ ”

  Caitlin looked up and saw that Daniel was smiling at her again. 

“What?” she asked him. 

“If only your mom could see how beautiful you look tonight.” 

She blushed, and shyly told him ‘thank you’ as their server came and brought their meals and took their salad plates.  Daniel asked her if she wanted more sparkling cider, and she nodded, holding out her glass as he poured. 

They ate in quiet silence as the song changed and the voice of Selena came over the speakers.  She reached into the bread basket for a roll at the same time Daniel’s had reached in.  Their hands touched, and she felt a spark of electricity in her hands.  Then they both looked up at each other as the second verse of Selena’s song played over the speakers.

“I can only wonder how touching you would make me feel.  But if I take that chance right now, tomorrow will you want me still.  So I should keep this to myself,
and never let you know.  I could fall in love with you; I could fall in love with you.”

Daniel smiled at Caitlin, and she blushed, pulling her hand away and grabbing her wine glass.  She took a sip as the server came over to their table. 

“How is everything tonight?” she asked them. 

“Just fine,” Daniel replied.  “The food is great.  Thanks.”

The server nodded and left.  “So tell me a little more about yourself, Caitlin.  Besides doing crafts, what else do you like to do in your spare time?”

She finished her bite of her potato and wiped her mouth.  “Well, I like to read, ride my bike in the summer, listen to music, and study history, specifically Irish history.  I’m also a big Star Trek fan,” she replied with a sheepish grin.

“Which series?”

“I like both The Next Generation and Voyager.” 

  He sighed a little as he ate the last of his food.  “I guess I never really got into them.”  He wiped his mouth, and took another sip of his cider.  “So, what about music?  What do you like to listen to most?”

“I like lots of different kinds of music, though I’m kind of partial to eighties music, since that’s when I grew up.  But my absolute favorite type of music is Irish Celtic and Gaelic music.”

“Do you have any favorite artists then?” he asked.

“Yes.  I love The Corrs, Paul Casey, The Irish Weavers, and others.  I also like to watch the group Riverdance when they have shows on TV.  That’s the group of Irish dancers.”

“Do you know how to dance like that?”

She sighed.  “No, but I wish I did.  I think it’s really beautiful and unique.”  She finished the last of her food, taking a sip of her cider to wash it down. 

At that moment the server returned.  “So how was everything?” she asked. 

“Delicious,” Caitlin replied. 

“So would you care for some desert tonight?”

“What do you recommend?”

“Well, we have a dreamy chocolate cake with fresh strawberries, or we have some delicious pies you can choose from.”

“What do you think, Daniel?” Caitlin asked him. 

“I don’t think I want anything, Caitlin, but if you want to go ahead.”

She turned back toward the server.  “Do you have any cheesecake?”

“Yes we do.  It comes with your choice of cherry or strawberry topping.”

“I would like a piece of cheesecake, but no topping please.”

Their server wrote it down on their check, picked up their empty plates, and left to get her dessert. 

Caitlin turned back toward Daniel and smiled.  “You haven’t told me anything about you yet.  What do you do in your spare time?”

“Well, to tell you the truth, my work is my hobby.  My friends complain that I work too much.  When I’m on an archaeological dig, I like to journal everything I’m doing and seeing so I can remember it later.  I also like to play chess.  I guess I’m pretty good at it.  Have you ever played chess before?”

She shook her head as the server came over and brought her dessert.  “Thank you,” she replied as the server smiled and left.  She took a bite, and smiled.  “Mmm.  This is good.  Would you like a bite, Daniel?  I don’t mind sharing.”  She put the plate in the middle of the table so Daniel could reach it. 

He took a bite.  “You’re right this is good.  Thank you for sharing this with me.”

She smiled and sipped her cider.  “What else do you like to do for fun?” she asked him. 

“I like to read, too, and I have lots of books on ancient civilizations.  I also like to watch The History Channel when I’m at home.  I guess I’m just a big history buff.”

“What do you like for music?”

“I like all different kinds of music.  But usually when I’m working I don’t listen to music much.  I guess it’s because I really get focused on what I’m working on.”

“Sounds like you’re a bit of a workaholic,” Caitlin said.  “Oh, don’t feel bad,” she added, smiling at him.  “Lacey accuses me of working too much, too.”

Daniel chuckled, finishing the last of the sparkling cider in his wine glass.  She ate the last bite of the dessert, and finished her glass of cider. 

“Would you like more?” he asked her. 

“Yes, thank you.  However, if you’ll excuse me, I need to visit the powder room.  I’ll be right back.”

As Caitlin got up and left the table, Daniel poured the rest of the sparkling cider into their two glasses.  He thought about how the evening was going so far.  God she’s beautiful tonight, he thought to himself.  It’s amazing how much we have in common.  She really is a wonderful person, but I can’t allow it to go any further than friendship.  The Ori are too dangerous.  He took a sip of his cider, holding the glass as he stared into the fire in the fireplace.  I lost one love.  I won’t lose another one.  I just can’t take that chance.

Daniel was lost in thought when she returned.  She sat down and took a sip of her cider.  “Daniel?”

Startled, he turned toward her, his wine glass still in his hand.  “Sorry.  I was just thinking.”

“What were you thinking about?” she asked him. 

“I was just thinking about my late-wife, Sha’re.”

Caitlin was stunned, then saddened when the realization that his wife had died hit her.  “What happened?  Oh, I’m sorry,” she rushed to apologize.  “I don’t mean to pry.”

“No, it’s okay.  Sha’re was a beautiful woman.  She was giving, caring, and loving.”

She could see the sadness in his eyes.  “What happened?”

“Sha’re was kidnapped and eventually killed.”

“I’m so sorry, Daniel.  You miss her a lot, don’t you?”

“Sometimes.  I still keep a picture of her on my desk at work.”

“I know.  It’s the same with my parents.  I have pictures of both of them at my apartment.  That way they are always watching over me.”

Daniel decided to change the subject a little to see if he could find out more about Caitlin’s mother.  “So what was your mom like?”

Caitlin smiled, thinking about her mother.  “My mom was the kind of person you could talk to about anything.  She was like my best friend.  From early on she taught me the different plants, herbs and foods that were good for keeping a person healthy.  She was always helping someone who was sick and needed healing, but she always had time for me.”

“What about your dad?” Daniel asked. 

She sipped her cider and smiled.  “Dad was the mechanical genius in our family.  He could fix anything.  But his job was working on a big ranch.  He worked with lots of cattle and horses on the ranch, so he always came home smelling ‘like a rose’, as they say.”  Daniel chuckled, but Caitlin smile faded as she continued. 

“He was on his way home on a rainy night when out of nowhere a small herd of deer crossed the road in front of him.  He tried to stop, but because of the wet roads, he couldn’t.  He ended up hitting one of the deer head on.  It was a young buck.  As the car struck the deer, it flew over the hood and straight into the windshield.  One of the buck’s antlers pierced his chest and heart, and he bled to death before anyone could get there.”

Daniel was shocked.  “Wow.  That sounds awful!  It must have been hard for you and your mom.”

She sighed.  “Yeah, it was, but we got through it together with the help of our neighbor, Mrs. Feeney.  She’d also lost her husband, and she was there for mom and me.  She really spent a lot of time with me, helping me to understand and to feel better.” 

“Was she able to help you help you when your mom died?” He asked her. 

“She tried, bless her, but I was inconsolable when they told me she was gone.  I was so close to my mom, and the thought of not having her with me was unbearable.  Even a year later when we had her ‘funeral’, I still refused to believe that she was gone.  Something inside me told me she wasn’t dead.” 

Her mind wandered to the day of the funeral.  She saw the image of the casket, but the coffin was open.  There was nothing inside.  I’m not dead! the voice shouted in her mind.  I’m alive!  Don’t forget about me!

Daniel noticed a far-away look on Caitlin’s face.  “Caitlin?” he asked, concerned.  “Are you okay?”

She blinked a few times, then shook her head lightly.  “What?  Oh, sorry.  I didn’t mean to space out on you.”  Should I tell him about the voice, she thought to herself.  No, not yet, she decided.  “I was just thinking of my mom.  I really miss her.”

He nodded.  “I know. 

I miss my parents, too.”

“Did you get your interest of archeology from them?” she asked, changing the subject. 

“Some, but mostly I got it from my grandfather.  He was a really good archaeologist, until he disappeared on an archaeological dig.”

“I’m sorry,” she replied with a sad expression on her face. 

“It’s okay.  I think that's the way he would have liked to go anyway.  It’s what he loved to do.  But I’m not just an archaeologist.  I have Ph D's in anthropology and philology, too.  I can also speak at least twenty-three languages, including Gaelic.”

She looked puzzled.  “Philology?” she asked him. 

“That’s the study of language changes over time.” 

 Caitlin was impressed.  “Wow!  Three Ph D's.  You don’t seem old enough.”  She blushed, embarrassed at what she had just said.  “I'm sorry.  It…it’s just that most people with two or more Ph D's are usually older.”

He smiled at her.  “I know.  I was young when I got them.”

“That’s pretty impressive. So what are some of the languages you speak?”

“Well, I speak Gaelic, of course, but I can also speak Ancient Egyptian, Phoenician, Spanish, and many others.”

She smiled.  “Try this one,” she asked him.  She began to move her hands, forming letters and pictures with them.  “What did I say?”

He had a puzzled look on his face.  “I’m not sure.  Was that sign language?”

She nodded.  “Yes.  I said ‘Hello’ and introduced myself.  I also asked you how you were doing tonight.” 

He was impressed.  “Wow.  I didn’t know you knew sign language.  How long have you known how to sign?”

“Well, I’ve known for a few years now.  We have a few customers come in from time-to-time that are deaf, and I learned how to sign so I could speak to them.  That way I can help them better.”

“You surprise me, Caitlin.  The more I learn about you, the more I’m impressed.”

She blushed furiously at his comment.  “Thank you,” she replied shyly.  “I can also speak a little Spanish, though Melinda, who works in the office, is more fluent in it than I am.  If we ever get someone in the store that can’t speak English, we usually ask her to help out.”

As the evening went on, Daniel and Caitlin talked and laughed.  Soon they saw the servers starting to clean up the restaurant.  Daniel glanced at his watch, and noticed that it was after nine. 

“Wow.  It’s after nine o’clock.  It looks like they’re getting ready to close up.”

She nodded, and he pushed back his chair.  He went over to her and helped her up from the table.  Offering her his arm again, they walked out into the entrance.  She took her coat off the hangar and he helped her put it on.  Once he had his coat, they walked out together into the chilly fall evening towards his car. 

“It sure is a nice evening,” Caitlin commented.  “All the stars are out.”

“What’s your favorite star?”

She pointed to the northern sky.  “Polaris.  I’ve always liked it.  I really like it in the winter when the northern lights are out.”

“That’s my favorite too,” Daniel replied as he opened the car door for her.  Once she was safely inside, he got in and pulled out of the parking lot.  Pulling onto the street, they talked all the way back to her apartment building.  Entering the parking lot, Daniel pulled into a space near Caitlin’s car. 

She got out and unlocked her car, reaching in for her CD collection.  She pulled out her favorite CD and locked her car back up. 

He walked over to her as she held out the CD to him. “What’s this?”

“It’s my favorite CD.  I made it myself.  It has lots of Celtic music on there from some of my favorite artists, including Enya, The Coors, and others.  I use it to relax and unwind as I’m coming home from work.  I thought you’d like to borrow it to listen to.”

He was surprised.  “Are you sure?  You might need this more than me.”

Caitlin smiled.  “From what you’ve told me, I think you could use this more.  Besides, it might help you to learn more about how beautiful Celtic music can be.”

He took the CD from her and carefully put it into his CD case in his jeep.  “How soon do you want it back?”

“Take your time.  I have others I can listen to for a while.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you, Caitlin.  I’ll try and get it back to you as soon as I can.”  Daniel offered her his arm, and he walked her up to the front door of her apartment building.  Standing there, Daniel became more nervous than he had been since meeting Sha’re.

Caitlin was nervous, too.  “I had a really good time tonight, Daniel,” she quietly told him. 

He ran his hand through his hair.  “I did too, Caitlin.  Maybe we can do this again sometime soon.  I don’t know what my schedule is like, but I can call you.”

“I’d like that,” she said, smiling at him.  She was totally unprepared for what happened next. 

He leaned in and gently kissed her cheek.  “Have a good night, Caitlin.” 

“You too,” she said as she touched her cheek where he had kissed it.  “Drive safely.”

Caitlin stood by the front door and watched him drive away, still surprised that Daniel had kissed her.  He kissed me! she thought to herself.  She was still on cloud nine when she walked into the building and into her apartment. 

Daniel turned and walked toward his jeep.  He got in and drove out of her parking lot, headed home.  He didn’t know it yet, but his heart had just fallen in love with Caitlin O’Brien. 

As the weeks flew by, Daniel tried to spend as much time with Caitlin as his schedule allowed.  His schedule prevented him from being with her as often as he would have liked to, but every moment he was not on the base, he spent with her.  He found out that she liked to bowl.  Whenever he wasn’t on a mission, they spent their time bowling, going to movies and museums, and he took her to his favorite pub, O’Malley’s.  The weeks flew by, and before they knew it, it was a week before Halloween. 

Sunday night he had asked her if she would like to go out for dinner on Monday night, and she’d said yes.  She figured this would be a good time to bring up Jason and Lacey’s Halloween party.  She tried to go every year since she’d been in Colorado, and she planned to go again this year. 

On Monday night Daniel picked up Caitlin, and as they talked, she suggested they try her favorite pub, Jack Quinn’s.  Once they got there and found a table, the waitress came over and asked them if they wanted anything. 

“Hi, my name is Cindy.  Can I get you anything right away?”

“Could I have a glass of English Ale please?” Caitlin asked her. 

“And for you sir?”

“I’ll have a Heineken,” Daniel told the waitress, but Caitlin stopped him. 

“Have you ever tried a lager, Daniel?”

He thought for a moment, and shook his head.  “No, I don’t think I have.  Is it good?”

She nodded.  “They make a great light lager here.”

“Okay, I’ll try it.”  He turned toward the waitress.  “I’ll try your light lager instead.”

“I think you’ll like it.  Most of our customers do.”  She set two napkins down and left them each a menu.  “I’ll be back in a few minutes with your drinks and to get your order.” 

“Thank you,” Caitlin replied and the waitress nodded and left. 

“So how was your weekend?” Daniel asked her. 

“It was okay, but Sabrina, was sick with an ear infection.  So I went over to help Jason and Lacey.  She gets a lot of ear infections, and unfortunately most of the traditional medicines don’t work.  Jason and Lacey don’t want to do the surgery, either, so they asked me if I knew of any natural remedies that would help.  So I took over some golden seal, lavender and garlic oils, and some dried chamomile.”

“What did you do?” Daniel asked. 

“Well, I got some hot water in two cups and steeped the chamomile in one for her to sip at, and I warmed the oils in the other one.  Once she had sipped some of the tea, she calmed down enough to let me put in the oils I had warmed.  I put a few drops of golden seal and garlic in her ear, then I put a few drops of the lavender oil on a cotton ball and placed that in her ear.  She finally calmed down enough to go back to sleep.  Jason told me that they were taking her to the doctor to get it checked out.  They haven’t told me how things went yet.”

“So did you work alone today?”

“No.  Melinda helped me today.  Anyway, it was a slow day.”  She was just finishing up when the waitress came over with their drinks and to take their orders. 

“Have you decided yet, folks?”

“Yes,” Daniel told her.  “I’d like a cheeseburger and fries.”

“Ooh, that sounds good.  Make mine the same, only I want onion rings instead of fries.”

Cindy wrote it all down.  “Okay,” she told them as she took their menus.  “Your food will be ready in a few minutes.”  She turned and left them, and Caitlin took a sip of her ale. 

“How’s your lager?” she asked Daniel.

Daniel took a sip of his lager, and smiled.  “You were right.  This is good.  Thanks for the suggestion.”

“You’re welcome.”  She took another sip of her ale.  “You know, Daniel, Halloween is this weekend.  Do you have any plans?”

“No.  Why do you ask?”

“Well, Lacey and Jason host a Halloween party every year, and she told me that they’re still going through with the party.  So I was wondering if you would like to go with me.  You could finally meet Jason and Lacey, and they can meet you.  Lacey’s been dying to meet you.”

Daniel thought about it for a moment, and realized that he didn’t have anything going on at the SCG.  “Sure.  I’d love to go,” he said smiling at her.  “Is this a costume party?”

“It always is.  Jason and Lacey think it’s unfair that the kids get to have all the fun.”

“I agree.  So have you got any thoughts on what would be good costumes?”

“I was thinking we could go as a couple from Irish history, since that’s one of my favorite subjects.  I did a little research, and I thought you could be Dagda, the leader of the Tuatha De Dannan, and I could be Danu, the matriarch of the Tuatha De Dannan, and Mother of Earth.”

“What do you know about them?” he asked her.

She thought for a moment.  “Well, not much is actually known about the pagan goddess Danu herself, other than that she was the leader of the Tuatha De Dannan.  They invaded Ireland, only to be replaced by the mortal Milesians.  Danu is considered to be the goddess of fertility and plenty.  People believe there is evidence that the river Danube is named for her.  Now she is considered to be the mother of the faeries and is close to the land and the waters.”

The waitress brought over their food and asked if they needed anything else. 

“No, I think we’re fine,” Daniel told her.  “Thank you.”

“No problem,” Cindy told them.  “If you need anything, just ask.”

 “Thanks,” Caitlin told her before she left.  Once they were alone again, she grabbed the bottle of ketchup and poured some on her burger, putting some on her plate for the onion rings. 

Daniel was surprised at her choice of characters.  If only she knew, he thought to himself.  “You seem to know a lot about this.  Do you know anything about Dagda?”

“Well, not much is known about him, either.  He is considered the father of the Tuatha De Dannan and all the gods and goddesses of Ireland.  He’s considered the god of life, death, war, banquets and magic. He’s also known in Celtic circles as ‘Da Good One’.”

 “How do you know so much about them?” he asked her, stunned that she knew so much about Irish mythology. 

“Well, I am half-Irish, thanks to my mom, and I became interested in the culture and everything.  I even have some musical instruments hanging in my apartment.  On one wall I have a bodhran drum and beater hanging next to some Irish Celtic knotwork pictures.  The drum has a picture of a Celtic cross on it, and the Gaelic words ‘The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit’ on it.  Lacey got it for me and had that painted on it.  I can even play the English Tin Penny Whistle, though I’m not all that great at it.”

“I’d like to hear you play sometime and also see your instrument collection,” Daniel told her.  “As for Halloween, that’s sounds fine.  Do you have any idea where I can find a costume?”

She finished the last bite of her burger.  “Well, I would try Repeat Performance on Union Boulevard, or Saunders Costumes on El Paso boulevard.  They might have something.”

“I’ll go tomorrow.  What about you?”

“I have something special in mind, and I know someone who can make it.  I’ll go talk to her tomorrow.”  She finished her onion rings, and pushed back her plates.  “Well, I’m done.  Care for a game of pool, or are you afraid of getting beaten by me?”

Daniel finished his food and smiled mischievously.  “Oh, so it’s like that huh?  You might just get beaten, you know.  My friend Jack has taught me a lot.”

She stood up and grabbed her glass of ale.  “You sure about that?” she playfully bantered back.  “I’ve been learning from Jason, and he plays in tournaments.  I might give you a run for your money. 

“Only one way to tell,” He said as he stood up and grabbed his glass of lager.  “Let’s grab a table and see.”

They walked over to one of the pool tables and set their glasses down.  The pub wasn’t too busy, so they had plenty of room to move.  Caitlin told Daniel he could set up, and Daniel let her break.  As the night wore on, they played three games, Caitlin beating him twice.  As they left the pub a few hours later, he couldn’t believe she’d beaten him. 

“Jason taught you all that?” he asked her as they drove down the street. 

“Well, I knew some before he helped me.  The rest was just luck.”

Daniel chuckled.  “I should introduce you to Jack.  I’d love to see you play against him.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s really hard to beat him.  Besides, he’s a really good friend of mine.”

“I hope it’s soon.  I’d like to meet your friends.  As for mine, you’ll get to meet them next week on Tuesday.  Their party starts at seven pm.”

Daniel nodded as he pulled into the parking lot of her apartment building.  “I’ll go to the costume shops tomorrow and let you know what I find.”

“Okay.”  Caitlin turned in her seat toward him.  “Will I see you again this week?”

“I’m not sure,” Daniel told her.  Things are kind of hectic right now, so we’ll see.”

“No problem,” Caitlin said as she opened the door.  “Just call me.”

“I will.  Have a good week, Caitlin,” he told her as she got out. 

“Drive safely, Daniel.  I’ll talk to you later.  Bye.”

Caitlin waved at Daniel as he backed out.  She walked into her apartment and made a note to get her costume made before Halloween.  inkitt.com

During work the next day, Caitlin and Lacey were stocking some shelves when Caitlin brought up the costume party.  “So how are the plans for the party coming, Lacey?”

“Okay so far.  My mom is going to take Sabrina for the night, but everyone will get to see her in her costume before she goes.  She’s going as Minnie Mouse this year.”

“Aw!  She’ll look so cute.  By the way, how is she feeling?"

"Better," Lacey replied. "The oils helped her enough so we could take her to the doctor yesterday. He gave her some medicine, and she's doing a lot better now."

Caitlin smiled. "That's good. So what about you and Jason? What are your costumes like?"

 “Well, we’re dressing as the king and queen of hearts.  We’ve already got our costumes.  Speaking of costumes,” Lacey said as she finished unpacking a small box.  “What about you?  Are you bringing Daniel?”

“Yes.  I asked him last night.  We’re coming as a couple from Irish history.  He’s coming dressed as Dagda, the father of the Irish gods, and I’m coming as Danu, the mother of all the gods and goddesses.”

“That’s sounds great, Caitlin.  I can’t wait to see your costumes.”

“That reminds me, Lacey.  I need to take the afternoon off.  I’m having my costume made, and I need to go see the lady who’s making it for me.  Can you and Melinda handle things?”

“Sure.  Tuesday s are a bit slow anyway, so go ahead and go.  See you tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Lacey,” Caitlin told her with a smile.  “See you tomorrow.”

Caitlin grabbed her purse from the office, and told Melinda where she was going.  Walking back into the break room, she grabbed her coat and headed out.  She drove to Manitou Springs, and pulled up in front of the shop that her friend Becky London owned. 

“Hi, Caitlin,” Becky said as Caitlin walked in.  “How are you today?”

“I’m doing alright.  You keeping busy?”

Becky nodded.  “Yes, but I always have time for you.  So what can I do for you today?”

She explained about the Irish goddess Danu.  “I was thinking about what type of costume to get, and I know you made a costume like the ones Liv Tyler wore in The Lord of the Rings.”

“I have,” she told her as she pulled out a big photo album.  She opened it and flipped to the middle of the book.  “Here are a few I’ve made.  Take a look at these and see if there’s anything here you like.”

Caitlin looked at each picture until she found the one she was looking for.  “This one would be perfect, Becky,” she said, pointing to one of the pictures. 

“I’ve make that one a lot as it’s one of the most popular ones I do.”  She looked at Caitlin for a moment.  “I think that one will look really great on you.”

“Can you have it done before Halloween?” Caitlin asked her.

“Yep.  Shouldn’t be a problem.  Let’s go over and chose the color and fabric.”

They both walked over to the selections of fabrics, and Becky pulled out a few different choices, all in shades of blue.  “What do you think of these?”

Caitlin looked at them, and frowned.  “They’re nice, Becky, and Danu was considered to be the goddess of water.  On the other hand, I was thinking that since Danu was considered to be close to the land that maybe green would work better.”

Becky thought about what she had said for a moment.  Then she had an idea.  “What about this?  The dress is in two parts, and I could make the under dress in one color, and the over dress in the other one.”  She pulled out a light, filmy, sea green fabric and placed it on top of a piece of light blue fabric.

Caitlin smiled brightly.  “Oh, Becky.  That would look fantastic!  Do you also make the cloak to go with it?”

“I do, and it won’t take too much longer to make.  So the colors are okay.  Now how do you want the fabric?”

Caitlin and Becky talked for another few minutes, choosing the fabric for the dress.  Once they had chosen the fabric, Becky pulled out a measuring tape and took Caitlin’s measurements. 

“Okay.  I think I’ve got everything I need,” Becky told her as she finished writing.  “Is there anything else I should know?”

“Would it be possible to do some Celtic knotwork around the collar?” Caitlin asked her.

“Do you want that in place of the beading or along with?  I can do both if you want it that way.”

“Along with, if you can, Becky.  Thank you.”

“Sure no problem,” she replied as she wrote it down on the paper.  “I’ll call you and let you know when it’s ready.”

Caitlin put her purse on the counter, and asked how much the dress would cost. 

“Don’t worry about it,” Becky told her, waving her hand.  “Think of it as a gift.”

Caitlin was shocked.  “Oh Becky, I can’t do that!  Those patterns and fabrics are expensive.”

“I know, but I insist.  You saved my life last year when you told me to go see my doctor about those chest pains I was having.  He told me I could have died if I had waited any longer.  Now I’m healthy again, and it’s all thanks to you.  So please, let me do this.”

Caitlin tried to object again, but the look on Becky’s face made her keep it to herself.  “Okay, Becky, but the next one I pay for.  Deal?”

“Deal,” Becky told her, smiling.  “Like I said before, I’ll call you when it’s ready.”

Caitlin nodded, and left her shop, heading home for the day. 

Daniel walked into the SGC and headed for the mess hall to grab a cup of coffee.  As he walked in he saw Sam and Cameron sitting at one of the tables.

“Hey, Jackson,” Cam called out to him.  “Come join us.”

Daniel grabbed some coffee and a cookie, and went to sit with his friends.  “Good morning.”

“Hey Daniel,” Sam said, eating a piece of fruit.  “How was your date with Caitlin last night?”

“It was good.  She took me to a place called Jack Quinn’s Pub.  Ever heard of it?”

Cam nodded.  “Yeah.  I go there from time-to-time.  Nice place and they make good ale.”

“Yeah, they do.  She had me try one of their light lagers, though.  It was surprisingly good.”

“So what did you two talk about?” Sam asked him. 

Daniel took a sip of his coffee.  “She told me that her friends Jason and Lacey have a Halloween party every year, and asked me if I wanted to go.  I told her I’d love to go, and we talked about the costumes we should wear.”

“What’d you decide?”

“She’s going as Danu, the matriarch of the Tuatha De Dannan and goddess of the land and water, and I’m going as her partner Dagda, the leader of the Tuatha De Dannan

Sam had taken a drink of her juice and nearly spit it out.  “Did... did you say Danu?” she asked Daniel, stunned.  “You didn’t tell her anything did you?”

“Jackson,” Cam grumbled.  “If you told her anything…”

Daniel looked shocked.  “No, I didn’t tell her anything.  It was pure coincidence.  She told me that she’s really interested in the Irish culture and history because of her mom.  So she’s been studying it.  She even told me she learned to play the tin penny whistle.”

“I see.  Well it sounds to me like you’ve got it bad for her, Jackson,” Cam teased. 

Daniel frowned.  “No I don’t.  I just enjoy her company is all.  Besides, we have a lot in common.”

Cam turned toward Sam and winked at her.  “Whatever you say, Jackson.”  Cam stood up, grabbing his tray from the table.  “If you two will excuse me, I’m working out with T this morning.  Catch you two later.”

Sam and Daniel were the only ones in the mess hall now, and Sam smiled at Daniel.  “I’m glad you and Caitlin are becoming such good friends, Daniel.  It’s good to see you making friends outside of Stargate Command.”  She took another sip of her juice, and continued.  “So have you found your costume yet?  You should get it as soon as you can so you can be sure it fits.”

“I plan to go out this afternoon and get it.  Caitlin suggested a couple of places I can try.”

“Okay.  I’m sure Gen. Landry won’t mind, seeing as it’s going to be a light work day.  Just let him know though.”

“Sure,” Daniel replied, taking a bite of his cookie. 

“I know that you said you didn’t want to take the chance of falling in love again, but is it possible that that might be happening?  I mean, when I see you after you’ve had a date with her, you’re happier, more cheerful.”

“No, Sam.  She is just a good friend that I like spending time with, that’s all.”

“Daniel, I understand how you feel.  Really I do.  But it’s not good for you to be alone.”

“What about the threat of the Ori?  I don’t think I’d be able to live if someone I loved were captured or killed by them the way Sha’re was by Apophis.  It’s just too risky.”

Sam finished her juice.  “I know, but that’s what love is all about – taking risks.”

“In this case the risk is too great, Sam,” he told her as he took a sip of his coffee.  “It’s just not worth it.”

“Okay,” she conceded, getting up from the table.  “Well, I’d better get to my lab and get working.  Just think about what I said, please Daniel?”

He nodded, and she left him to think about what she had said.  He knew that the Ori were dangerous, but being alone these last few years was wearing thin on him.  He decided that, for now, all he was going to worry about was finding the right costume for Halloween.  He walked out of the mess hall and down to the general’s office.  General Landry gave him his okay about having the afternoon off,  so he decided to work on some translations in his office until lunch. 

As lunchtime came, Daniel finished up what he was working on and cleaned up his desk.  He headed for his quarters to chance into civilian clothes, then, grabbing his coat and car keys, he made his way up out of the mountain and to his car.  He drove into Colorado Springs to find the store Repeat Performances, and went inside. 

“Good afternoon, Sir,” called out a man from behind the counter.  “Can I help you find anything?”

“Hi.  I’m looking for a medieval-style man’s costume and cloak.  What do you have?

The clerk took him towards the back of the store and pulled out a couple of different costumes for Daniel to look at. 

Daniel picked one and looked closely at it.  “Does this one come with a cloak?” he asked the clerk. 

The clerk looked at the tag, and shook his head.  “I’m sorry, but this one does not.  The other one does.” 

Daniel put the first costume back on the rack, and picked up the second one.  It was an outfit in different shades of brown, and the cloak was in black.  He thought it looked a bit depressing.  “Do you have anything else?” he asked the clerk. 

“No.  I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t.”

“Okay.  Thank you anyway,” Daniel told him and walked out of the store towards his jeep.  He decided to check out the next place that Caitlin had told him.  He remembered that she had told him that Saunders Costumes was on El Paso boulevard.  As he drove, he decided to pop in the Celtic CD that Caitlin had lent to him.  He let the music wash over him, filling his mind and his soul with the beautiful, lilting melody, and he decided that Caitlin was right.  It did make him feel more calm and relaxed. 

Finally he pulled down El Paso boulevard and parked in front of Saunders Costumes.  Locking his car, he walked inside the store.  He looked around, and walked over to the men’s section.  He was browsing the rack when a clerk came over. 

“Welcome to Saunders Costumes.” she told Daniel.  “Can I help you find anything today?”

“I’m looking for a medieval-style man’s costume with the cloak.”

The clerk pulled out a costume that had everything he needed, but it was in brown again. 

“Do you have anything in blue or green?” he asked her. 

She thought for a moment, and went to the end of the rack and pulled out a long, smoky blue shirt and black belt, and the same color pants.  She handed them to Daniel and he went to try them on.  As he did, she found a smoky green cloak and black boots. 

Daniel walked out of the changing room and over to the mirrors nearby.  He checked out the costume as the clerk came back with the cloak and boots. 

“Here, sir,” she said, handing him the boots.  He pulled them on, and was surprised that they fit so well.  He took the cloak that she handed him, and tied it on around his neck.  He turned from side to side; admiring the way the costume looked and fit.

“That looks really great on you, sir,” the clerk replied, smiling at him. 

“Thank you,” Daniel told her.  “I’ll take it all.”  He untied the cloak and took off the boots, handing it to her.  Going back into the changing room he got back into his regular clothes and picked up the rest of the costume.  He headed up to the counter with his new costume where she was waiting for him.

“Will this be cash or charge?” she asked him politely. 

“Charge, please,” he told her, handing her his credit card. 

She rung up the purchase, and placed it all in two bags.  “I hope you enjoy your costume, sir, and please remember our store for your next costume purchase.”

“Thank you,” Daniel said, smiling.  He walked out of the store and towards his jeep, unlocking it and tossing the bags on the passenger seat.  She’s going to love my costume, he thought to himself as he drove home.  I wonder what hers will look like.  Well, I guess I’ll find out next Tuesday. 

As the week went on, Caitlin went over to Becky’s shop for fittings and to see how the dress was coming.  By the end of the week, Caitlin was getting anxious about the costume.  Finally, on Saturday she got the call.  She was working at the health food store when Becky called to tell her that the dress and cloak were done.  Lacey noticed her excited expression, and went over to her. 

“So what’s up?” she asked Caitlin.

Caitlin put her hand over the receiver, and mouthed, “Just a minute,” and went back to her conversation with Becky.  “Okay.  Thanks Becky, I really appreciate this.  I’ll come by later and pick it up.  Thanks again.  Bye.”

“Who was that?” Lacey asked her after she had hung up the phone. 

“That was Becky London.  You remember her; she the lady that came in last year with chest pains and ended up needing a triple-bypass.  She also owns the fabric shop on Whitmore Avenue.  Anyway, she’s making my costume, and she just called to tell me it was finished.”

“So what does it look like?”

Caitlin smiled mischievously.  “You’ll just have to wait and see.  And since you’re closing the shop at noon, I’m having my hair and makeup done that afternoon, too.”

Lacey groaned.  “Okay, go on and get out of here, Caitlin.  I can see you’re way too excited about your costume to focus on work.”

Caitlin looked shocked.  “Lacey, you know I would never put anything above my work here.”

Lacey put up her hands to try and calm her.  “I know, Caitlin.  Don’t worry about it.  Besides, it’s been slow all day today, and I think Melinda and I can handle things here.  So go and get your costume.  Okay?”

Caitlin smiled at her friend, and gave her a hug.  “Thanks, Lacey.  I’ll see you both on Monday.”  Caitlin fairly ran into the office, quickly grabbing her purse and running into the back room to grab her coat.  Soon she was driving down the street, headed towards Becky’s shop. 

She pulled into the parking lot in front of the fabric store, grabbed her purse and walked inside. 

Becky was at the register helping a customer when she saw Caitlin walk inside.  “Let me know how your pattern turns out,” she told the customer, handing them a bag with thier purchase inside.  “Thanks again.”  She shut the till, and walked over to Caitlin.  “Hi, Caitlin.  I wasn’t expecting you so soon after I called.”

“It’s been really slow all day at the health food store, so Lacey let me leave early.  I guess she could tell how excited I am about the costume being finished.”

“Well, here it is.”  Becky took Caitlin over to a small rack, and handed the dress and cloak to her.

Caitlin gasped when she looked at it.  The underdress was made of smoky green satin with silver brocade trumpet-style sleeves capped by more of the green satin, while the sleeveless overdress was made of smoky blue crushed velvet.  Around the collar of the underdress there was some intricate green and silver beadwork in Celtic designs, the green beads matching the green of the fabric.  Becky had done the same on the collar of the overdress, but the beads were blue and silver.  Around the short sleeves and cuffs of the under dress, designed into the intricate beadwork, were more Celtic designs.

The cloak was made from more of the smoky blue crushed velvet.  It had a large hood, and the cloak went all the way to the floor.  She couldn’t see any kind of tie or fastener for the cloak, though.  I might have something for that at home, she thought to herself. 

“It’s beautiful,” she breathed to Becky, hugging her.  “You did a wonderful job.”

“There’s more.  A customer came in earlier this week and saw that I was making this.  She told me about a pair of shoes that she thought would look great with the dress.  I went out and got them, and dyed them the same color as the cloak.  Here,” she said, pulling the shoes out from under the counter near the dress.  She gave them to Caitlin. 

Caitlin was stunned.  In her hands was a pair of ballet-style shoes that had been dyed to match the smoky blue of her cloak.  Around the top and side edges of the shoes were beads in the same blue, green, and silver colors as the dress.  Caitlin couldn’t believe it. 

“They’re for you, Caitlin,” Becky told her when Caitlin looked at her. 

Caitlin frowned.  “I can’t accept these, Becky.  I mean, after all, you gave me this exquisite dress and cloak.” 

“Nonsense,” Becky told her.  “I want you to have them.  As for the shoes, the lady who told me about them saw the shoes at a nearby thrift store, so they hardly cost me anything.  Besides, you know I like to do the extra little things like this for all my other customers.”

“Are you sure?” Caitlin asked her in a small voice. 

“Yes I am.  Remember, my grandkids still have their grandma around because of you.  For that alone I can’t thank you enough.”

Caitlin hugged Becky tightly.  “Thank you so much,” she told Becky with tears in her eyes.  “I don’t know what to say.”

Becky let her go.  “I do.  Take that dress in the dressing room and try it on.  I want to make sure everything fits properly.  You can put on the underdress, and I’ll help you get the overdress on.”

Caitlin obeyed her and walked into the back dressing room, hanging the hangar on a hook.  She carefully took off the overdress, laying it on a chair.  Changing out of her clothes, she unzipped the underdress and put it on.  “Can you zip this up for me, Becky?” she asked Becky as she walked out of the dressing room. 

“Sure.”  Becky said.  Once Caitlin had turned around, Becky zipped up the underdress and grabbed the overdress, helping Caitlin to put it on.

Caitlin went back into the dressing room, slipped on the shoes, and walked out toward the nearby mirror.  She couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked into the mirror.  The dress was gorgeous, and fit her like a glove.  The tips of the shoes peeked out from underneath the skirt of the dress, and she got tears in her eyes. 

“Just beautiful,” Becky commented warmly.  “You’re going to knock the socks off the young man you’ll be going with.  Everyone at the party will be looking at you.”

Caitlin blushed.  “Thank you,” she replied in a quiet voice.  She stood there a moment before she felt Becky putting the cloak around her shoulders and the hood on her head. 

“Now I suggest you wear the hood like this.”  Becky stood in front of her and showed her how to arrange the hood.  “Will you be wearing your hair up or down?”

“I plan on having part of it put up.”

“Well, I don’t think the hood will hurt your hairdo at all.  However, do you have anything to fasten the cloak at your throat with?”

“I’ve been thinking about that, and I think I have a Celtic knotwork-style heart brooch at home that would be perfect.”

“Good.  So how does it feel?”

Caitlin walked around and moved a little bit.  “It fits just perfectly, Becky.  I can’t thank you enough.  And how did you know what size of shoe I wear?”

“Well, when that lady told me about those shoes, I called the health food store and talked to Lacey.  She told me.”

I’ll have to remember to thank Lacey, she thought.  “I just can’t believe this,” she said looking into the mirror again.  “Thank you so much Becky.”

“It was my pleasure.  Now I’ll help you take this off, and if you put it back on the hangar, I’ll get a clear plastic bag to put over it for you.”  Becky helped Caitlin take off the overdress and unzipped the underdress, handing her the overdress before she walked back into the dressing room. 

Caitlin carefully slipped out of the underdress, and hung both pieces back on the hangar, handing them to Becky.  As Becky took the dress to cover it with a bag, Caitlin slipped out of the special shoes and got dressed. 

“Here you go,” Becky said, laying the dress carefully on the counter near the register.  “Now I sometimes save shoe boxes for odds-and-ends here in the store, and I happen to have an extra one here you can use for your shoes.”

After Becky had put the shoe box on the counter, Caitlin gently put the shoes inside and closed the lid.  “Thanks again, Becky,” she replied, zipping up her jacket.  “I’ll let you know how the party went next week.”

“Please do, Caitlin, and have fun.”

Caitlin picked up her purse and settled the shoulder strap on her right shoulder.  She picked up the dress and shoes, and walked outside.  She carefully hung the dress on a hook in the back seat of her car, laid the shoe box on the seat, and headed home for the day. 

The weekend wore on for both of them.  Daniel didn’t think Tuesday could get here fast enough.  He was driving everyone crazy at the SGC, and they all knew that it was because of Caitlin.

“He’s got it bad for this woman,” Cameron commented at lunch on Monday. 

“Indeed, Colonel Mitchell,” Teal’c added. 

“But you know he would never admit that to anyone, not even himself, not after what has happened in the past.  He told me that he didn’t want to take the chance of getting hurt again, and that the threat of the Ori was too great to risk losing someone the way he did with Sha’re.”

“Hi, guys, what are we talking about?” Daniel asked as he carried his lunch tray up to their table in the mess hall and sat down. 

“We were just talking about Caitlin O’Brien,” Cam told him.

“Yes,” Sam replied quickly, not wanting Daniel to know they had been talking about him.  “We got her background check back from General O’Neill this morning.”  She handed the folder to Daniel. 

He began to read, and found that everything was as she had told him. He handed the folder back to Sam.  “Now do you believe me when I say that she’s not a security risk?  Jack would have found something in his background check if she was.”

“We’re sorry, Daniel, but with her alien genetic make-up, General Landry thought it best to be cautious.  Now we don’t have to worry about that.  We just have to find out why she has alien genetic material in her body, and where it came from.”

“I agree with you there Sam.  Maybe tomorrow night I can try talking to her more about her past.”

Cameron had a frown on his face.  “Jackson, when’s the last time you went to a Halloween party with a gorgeous woman?”

“I have no idea, Mitchell.  Why do you ask?”

“You’re going to a Halloween party with a gorgeous woman and you’re planning to talk to her about her past.  Does anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture?”

“Sam just said…”

“I know what she just said,” Cam interrupted him.  “My point is you need to go and have fun and forget about her past for one evening.  Man!  You just don’t know when to let your hair down, do you, Jackson?”

“Daniel Jackson does not have sufficiently long enough hair to let down, Col. Mitchell,” Teal’c commented. 

Cam rolled his eyes, and Sam let out a chuckle.  “It’s a figure of speech, Teal’c,” she told him.  “It means that he doesn’t know how to have fun.”

“Indeed.  I have also noticed this about Daniel Jackson.”  Teal’c turned toward Daniel.  “I agree with Col. Mitchell.  You should ‘let your hair down’ and not worry about Caitlin O’Brien.”

“Thanks for your concern, everyone,” Daniel said a little sarcastically.  “I’ll take your advice into consideration.”

Teal’c and Cam finished their lunch and left to get back to work.  Sam slid over into the chair across from Daniel.  “Daniel, we just want you to be happy, that’s all.  We care about you.  Lately since you’ve started seeing Caitlin you’ve been coming back with a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eyes that hasn’t been there in a long time.”

Daniel finished a bite of his food.  “I know, Sam, but we need to find out that information, and the only way we’ll find out is if I talk to her.”

Sam took a sip of her coffee and put her hand on Daniel’s.  “Yes, we want to know, but that’s not as important as you being happy.  Listen.  What about this.  Go to the party, and if she brings up her parents and her past, then you can talk to her about it.  If not, then you can ask her another day.  How does that sound?”

Daniel thought about that for a moment as he finished his coffee.  “I guess I can do that.  Thanks, Sam,” he told her, smiling at her. 

“No problem, Daniel.  Just have a good time okay?”

Daniel nodded, and Sam left him to finish his meal and think about what they had all said. 

Tuesday finally came, and Caitlin and Daniel were both excited for the evening to come.  Caitlin and Lacey chatted all through the morning, and when noon came around, Lacey began to shut the store down. 

“I can’t wait to see your costume tonight, Caitlin,” Lacey told her. 

“I know you’re going to love it.”

“By the way, how are you doing your hair?”

“I have an appointment at Hair Expressions today,” she told Lacey as she closed out the till.  “They’re also doing my makeup, too.”

“That’s good.”  Lacey took the money drawer from Caitlin and placed it into the safe in the office, bringing both her purse and Caitlin’s as she came back.  She handed it to Caitlin as they walked into the back room to grab their coats. 

“I’m going to go get something to eat first, then head to my appointment.  I’ll see you tonight, Lacey.”

“What time is Dr. Jackson picking you up tonight?”

“We never really discussed it.  I guess around six-thirty or so.  If you want, we can come earlier and help you set up.”

“You don’t have to.  That’s why Jason and I both took the afternoon off.  This way we can have everything set up before tonight.”

“Okay,” Caitlin told her as she unlocked her car.  “Well, we’ll see you tonight, Lacey.”

“See you tonight.”  Lacey left, and Caitlin got in her car and headed out to find lunch.  After lunch, she headed first to a flower shop, picking up a small bunch of baby’s breath, then headed for a craft store to get the ribbon she wanted.  Finally she headed toward the salon to get her hair done.  She pulled into the parking lot, grabbed the flowers, ribbon and the box with her shoes in it, and locked her car before going inside. 

“Welcome to Hair Expressions,” a woman behind the counter told her.  “Do you have an appointment today?”

“Yes.  I’m here to see Tina.”

Tina heard her name called and came out to the desk.  “Hi, girlfriend,” she told Caitlin.  “Come on back.”  Tina led Caitlin to the back and had her sit down in a chair, putting her flowers and the box on the counter in front of them.  “I hear you’re going to Jason and Lacey’s Halloween party tonight.”

“Yep.  What about you?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Now, we’re doing both your hair and makeup today, right?”

Caitlin nodded.  “I brought a small part of my costume with me so that you can match colors with my makeup, and I brought some baby’s breath for you to put into my hair.”

  Tina smiled.  “Good.  So, who are you going as?”

  “I’m going as Danu, the Irish goddess of land and water, and the matriarch of the Tuatha De Dannan.”

“I’ve never heard of them,” Tina told her. 

“Well, just to make it easier, picture a dress similar to the one Liv Tyler wore as Lady Arwen in The Lord of the Rings movies.  A medieval-style dress.”

“Okay.  Now, do you want all of your hair up, all of it down, or some of both?”

“Well, I was thinking some of it up in a braid and some of it down.”

Tina thought for a moment.  “I can do a Dutch Cascade and add in some ribbons that match your dress if you have them.” 

Caitlin looked puzzled.  “A Dutch Cascade?  What’s that?”

Tina went to her counter and pulled out a book from underneath.  She opened it to the ‘Braids’ section, and handed it to Caitlin.

Caitlin gasped.  “That’s perfect, Tina!  It’ll go great with my costume.”

“Okay.  Let’s go wash your hair.  I do all my braids with wet hair.  It makes them stay in tighter.  Besides, I’m going to give you a quick trim.  I see some split ends here.”

Caitlin smiled and nodded her head in agreement as Tina went to her rolling cart and pulled out an apron.  She put it around Caitlin’s neck, and took her in the back and washed her hair. 

After Tina washed Caitlin’s hair, she took her back to the chair and put the apron around her and the chair.  She trimmed Caitlin’s split ends, and after cleaning up the hair on the floor, worked in some added leave-in conditioner to Caitlin’s hair and began the Dutch Crown braid.  As she braided Caitlin’s hair, the two women talked about the upcoming party.  When she was almost done, Tina asked if Caitlin was bringing anyone to the party. 

“Yes.  His name is Daniel Jackson.  He’s an archaeologist working for a private company here in Colorado Springs.”

Tina looked surprised.  “Where did you meet him?” she asked Caitlin.

“I was buying groceries last month and he and I bumped into each other at the grocery store.”

“Man, I need to get myself to the grocery store more often,” Tina told her. 

Caitlin laughed.  “It was just pure coincidence, that’s all, Tina.”

Tina rolled her eyes at Caitlin, and they both laughed.  “I can see that he makes you happy, Caitlin,” Tina told her as she finished up the braid.  “I can see the sparkle in your eyes.”

“I do like him, and we have fun together, but he’s just a friend.”

“Only a friend?” Tina asked as she combed out the hair under the braid.  “Okay, Caitlin.  I’m going to dry the rest of your hair so we can do whatever you want with it.  How do you want me to do it?”

“What do you think?”

“How about I surprise you?”

“Sure,” Caitlin told her. As Tina dried her hair, Caitlin thought about what Tina had said.  Only a friend?  Sure, she liked Daniel, and liked spending time with Daniel, but that was all.  Or was it?  She pictured Daniel’s face, his sparkling blue eyes, his warm smile and that infectious laugh.  She smiled to herself.  He is handsome, she thought, and I’ve never met such a perfect gentleman.  And he’s so funny.  But I can’t let myself feel anything more than friendship for him.  If I do, I’ll either lose him just like I lost my parents, or he’ll eventually hurt me like Brian did. 

Tina noticed Caitlin’s frown as she finished drying her hair.  “What’s wrong Caitlin?”

“Huh?  Oh, nothing.  I was just thinking.  You asked if Daniel was just a friend.”

“Yeah I did,” she said as she grabbed a curling iron and started curling Caitlin’s  hair.  “You know, if I were you, I’d grab him before someone else does.  You’ve been single too long now.”

“Have you been talking to Lacey again, Tina?” Caitlin accused Tina in mock anger. 

Tina chuckled.  “Nope, just a personal observation.  I’ve been married for fifteen years now, and I’ve never been happier.”

“I don’t know if I want to get married, Tina.  You know I lost my parents.  I don’t want to lose anyone else I care about.”

“Love is about risk, you know that,” Tina told her as she finished curling Caitlin’s hair.  She shut off the curling iron, setting it down and grabbing a can of hairspray.  She lightly sprayed the curls, and asked Caitlin to hand her the ribbon.  Tina took the ribbon and cut into four equal lengths, tying them in four places around the bottom of the braid.  She took the baby’s breath, and picked out the best of the tiny white flowers, using bobby pins to secure them in and around the braid.  When she was all done, she turned the chair so that Caitlin could see what she had done. 

Caitlin gasped at what she saw.  She couldn’t believe how beautiful her hair was.  “Oh, Tina, it’s gorgeous,” she gushed.  “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  Well, let’s get to your makeup.  I see that the colors in your dress must be a smoky blue and a light sea green.”

Caitlin reached for the box on the counter and opened it, pulling out one of her shoes.  She showed it to Tina. 

Tina was amazed.  “Wow!  That’s gorgeous.  Where did you find them?”

Caitlin told her all about Becky’s fabric shop on Whitmore, and that Becky had dyed them and done the beading on them for her. 

Tina picked out the colors she needed from her supply of makeup, and started applying it to Caitlin’s face as Caitlin told her the story about Becky London.

“She came in to our store last year suffering from chest pains, but she didn’t think they were bad enough to warrant going to the doctor.  I convinced her to go anyway, and the doctor told her it was a good thing she did.  She ended up needing a triple-bypass.  A month later she came back into the store and thanked me for being instrumental in helping to save her life.”

“Well I’m sure that if it weren’t for you, I would have ended up in the hospital in May.  You have a real gift, a talent for helping people, healing them.”

“I just do what I can, Tina, but as you know, I always ask them if they’ve seen their regular doctor or plan to.  I never treat anyone without asking that first.  If they tell me they haven’t, then I usually suggest they do that first, unless it’s something as minor as a cold or something.”

“Close your eyes, please,” Tina told her.  Once Caitlin had closed her eyes, Tina started putting eye shadow on them.  “I agree with you there.  For example, what if you had treated that woman for her chest pains instead of sending her to her doctor, and she had died?  If it were me, I would feel horrible about it.”

“That’s the reason I usually either ask if they’ve been to their doctor yet or suggest they go their first, and if their doctor agrees, then they can come back.”

Tina applied the final touches of makeup to Caitlin’s face, and as the last bit of makeup, she brushed on some silvery glitter to highlight her face.  Once she was done, she turned the chair toward the mirror again and let Caitlin see what she had done. 

Caitlin admired Tina’s work.  “You did a really beautiful job, Tina.  I especially like the silvery sparkle you put on my face.”

“Thank you.  It was my pleasure.  I figured you’d eat some supper before the party, so I left the lipstick off.”  She smiled at Caitlin.  “Now you make sure you take a picture for me, Okay?  I want to be able to show my other customers the whole effect.”

“I will.”  Caitlin put the shoe back in the box, and gave the rest of the baby’s breath to Tina.  She grabbed her purse and reached in, pulling out a plastic rain hood being careful to get all the curls inside, and carefully tied it over her hairdo.  “What do I owe you, Tina?” Caitlin asked as she walked up to the reception desk.

Tina rang it up on the register.  “That’s fifteen dollars even, Caitlin.”

Caitlin pulled out some money from her purse and gave it to Tina.  “Please keep the change.”

“Thanks, Caitlin, and we'll see you at the party.”

“I will,” Caitlin told her as she carefully put on her coat and a plastic rain hood. “Thanks.”  With that, Caitlin walked out of the salon and headed home to get ready for the party. 

When Caitlin got home, she took her costume and shoes into her apartment, hanging them in the bathroom and closing the door so her cats couldn’t get them dirty.  Tinkerbell and Patches mowed and purred, rubbing against her legs.  “Not now, girls.  I have a phone call to make.”  Just as Caitlin was about to pick up her phone, the phone rang and she answered it.  “Hello.”

Hi, Caitlin.  It’s Daniel.

“Hi, Daniel.  Gee what a coincidence.  I was just about to call you.”

Oh?  What about?

“You first,” Caitlin told him. 

Well, I realized earlier today that when you and I had agreed to go to your friends’ party tonight, I didn’t ask you what time you wanted me to pick you up.

 “You’re kidding.  That’s what I was going to call and talk to you about.”

I guess great minds think alike.  So, what time should I come and get you? Daniel asked her. 

“I was thinking around six-fifteen.  That way you would get a chance to meet Jason and Lacey before all their other guests arrive, and we can be there if they need any help setting up.”

Sure.  That sounds fine.  I’ll see you at six-fifteen then.  By the way, I’m really looking forward to the party tonight, Caitlin.

“Me too, Daniel.  See you soon.”  Caitlin hung up the phone and went over to one of her kitchen chairs and sat down.  She called Tinkerbell into her lap, and the tortoiseshell cat jumped up into her lap.  Patches meowed her disapproval. 

“Be patient, Patches.  You’ll get your turn in a minute.”  Caitlin pet the older cat and was pleased to hear a loud rumbling sound come from deep within.  “That’s a good girl, Tink,” she told the cat.  She continued to pet Tinkerbell for a few more moments until Patches sat up on her hind legs and began pawing the chair.  “Well, Tink, I think Patches wants a turn.  Hop down now.”  Tink obeyed and jumped down, her spot in Caitlin’s lap immediately replaced by Patches. 

“You sure are impatient, Patches.  I wonder where you got that from.”  Caitlin knew that Patches had gotten it from her.  Still she began petting the younger calico cat and happily heard the same rumbling coming from it as well. 

After a few minutes, she glanced at the clock and saw that it was getting close to five o’clock.  She let Patches down and got up to prepare her supper.  After she had eaten, she went into her bedroom and carefully got changed out of her clothes.  She padded into the bathroom and took the underdress off the hangar and carefully put it on, zipping it up.  Next she put on the overdress and her special shoes.  Once she had put on the whole dress, she carefully took off the rain hood she had worn to protect her hairdo, and finished getting ready. 

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

Daniel had left the base just before supper, and now he was getting dressed.  He was just pulling on his costume boots when his doorbell rang.  “Just a minute,” he called out.  He pulled on the last boot, grabbed his cloak, and walked to the front door.  Opening it, he saw Sam standing there. 

“Hi, Daniel.  I just came over to see your costume.”

Daniel let her in, and set the cloak on the back of a chair.  He held out his arms and turned so she could see the whole effect. 

“Wow.  You look great, Daniel.”

“Thanks, Sam.  I hope Caitlin likes it.”

“Daniel, I wanted to talk to you for a minute about Caitlin.  Since you’ve been seeing her, you’ve had sparkles in your eyes, a bounce in your step, and you’ve been happier than I’ve seen you in a long time.”

“Thanks, Sam.  Caitlin is turning out to be a good friend.  I can’t wait for you to meet her, and for her to meet you.  You’ll really like her.”

“If you like her, then I know I will like her.  But do you think she could ever be more than a friend?  It seems to me that you two have a lot in common, not to mention that you enjoy each other’s company.  This last month it seems like whenever we came back from a mission or had free time for ourselves, you called Caitlin and spent as much time with her as you could.  You even told me once that you were excited to spend time with her.”

Daniel sighed.  He’d been thinking a lot about this lately.  “I know, Sam, but you know why I can’t love her.  I can’t afford to lose anyone else like I lost Sha’re.  Besides that, what if the Ori found out about her and captured her?  What then?”

“Wouldn’t that be her decision to make, not yours?” Sam asked him.

“Right now it isn’t, because she doesn’t even know they exist.”

Sam knew that she wasn’t going to get through to him right now, so she decided to change the subject.  “So where is the party at?”

“Caitlin’s best friend and her husband put this on every year, so Caitlin tells me.  So it’s at their house.”  Daniel glanced at his watch and noticed it was almost six.  “Sorry, Sam, but I need to get going.  I’m picking Caitlin up at six-fifteen.  She wants to go early so I have a chance to meet her friends before the rest of the guests get there.  So I’ll walk you out.”

Daniel grabbed his cloak and tied it on around his neck.  He walked into the kitchen, with Sam following him, and grabbed his regular coat and car keys.  He and Sam walked out into his garage, and he opened the door. 

“Daniel, I’m just glad she makes you happy.”

“She does, Sam, and thanks.  I’ll let you know how the party goes when I see you tomorrow.”

“Okay.  See you tomorrow.”  Sam walked out of the garage and left, and Daniel jumped into his jeep, closing the garage door as he left to pick up Caitlin. 

After Caitlin was all dressed, she went into her bedroom carrying her cloak and looked in her jewelry box for the large knotwork brooch she wanted.  She found it and put on her cloak, pinning the two sides together near her throat.  She was finally ready for the party, but she took time to feed her cats.  “Now you be good girls while Mommy’s gone,” she told them.  She grabbed her purse and put a pair of mittens in the outside pocket and, grabbing her keys, walked out and locked the door behind her.  She walked down to the common room to wait for Daniel. 

Caitlin was nervous, but she took a few deep breaths to calm her nerves.  She soon saw Daniel pull up into the parking lot and get out, so she carefully pulled the hood on her cloak up over her hairdo. 

Daniel entered the common room, and he couldn’t believe his eyes at what he saw.  She was absolutely stunning in her costume.  He just stood there, his eyes filled with surprise and wonder. 

“Daniel? Are you okay?” Caitlin asked him. 

With that question, Daniel’s tongue became loose again, and he was finally able to speak.  “Wow, Caitlin.  You look beautiful!” 

Caitlin blushed furiously, and gave him a shy “thank you”.  “You look handsome yourself, Daniel.”

Daniel glanced at the clock on the wall, and saw that it was six-o-five.  He smiled.  “Erin Go Bragh, milady,” he said in his best Gaelic accent, bowing low to her.  “My name be Dagda, leader of the Tuatha De Danna.  I be here 't escort ya t’ the party.”

Caitlin giggled, and answered him in kind.  “Erin Go Bragh, kind sir.  My name be Danu, matriarch of the Tuatha De Dannan, goddess of land and water.  ’Twould be me pleasure 't go with ya.” 

Daniel offered her his arm, and together they left for the Halloween Party. 

It was six fifteen and Jason and Lacey were setting up chairs around their living room when their doorbell rang.  “That will be Caitlin and Dr. Jackson,” Lacey told her husband. 

Jason went to the door and opened it.  All he could do was stare.  “Can I help you, ma’am?” he asked. 

Caitlin giggled.  “Jason, it’s me, Caitlin.” 

Jason mentally kicked himself for not recognizing her.  “I’m sorry, Caitlin.  I didn’t recognize you there at first.  Please come in.”

“It’s okay,” she told him as she and Daniel walked inside.  “Where’s Lacey?”

Lacey heard her name being called, and she came into the front entry.  She stopped when she saw Caitlin and Daniel. 

“Not you too,” Caitlin told her, rolling her eyes at Lacey. 

“Wow, Caitlin.  You told me you wanted to surprise me, and you sure have.  You look gorgeous!”

“Thank, Lacey.  I love your costumes, too.  Jason, Lacey, this is my friend, Dr. Daniel Jackson.”

Jason and Lacey both shook Daniel’s hand.  “An MD?” Jason asked.

Daniel shook his head.  “No, I’m a Doctor of Archeology.”

Caitlin turned toward Lacey.  “Is there somewhere I can hang my cloak?  It’s part of the costume, but I know I’ll get too warm with it on.” 

“Sure,” Lacey told her.  “You know where our bedroom is.  You can lay it on the bed.”

“Thank you.  Daniel, do you want to take off your cloak?”

“Sure.”  He untied the strings at his neck, and handed it to her. 

“We’ll be in the living room, Caitlin,” Lacey called out after her.

Caitlin walked back into Jason and Lacey’s bedroom and laid Daniel's cloak on the bed.  She reached up and carefully lifted the hood of her own cloak off her hair, unfastened the brooch, re-pinning it to one side of her cloak, and laid it on the bed beside Daniel’s.  She took her purse and walked over to the mirror above the dresser, pulling out her lipstick and gloss and putting some on.  She checked her reflection, making sure none of the flowers or the braid were out of place.  She carefully ran her fingers through the curls, fluffing them out a bit, and smoothed down her dress.  When she felt that she was ready, she left the bedroom and walked into the living room. 

Jason, Lacey, and Daniel were sitting and talking when she entered the room.  Everyone stopped talking and stared.  Daniel was stunned.  If he thought she was beautiful with her cloak on, she was even more gorgeous now that he could see the whole effect.  His heart did a little flip-flop.  “Wow, Caitlin,” Daniel finally said when he could talk again.  “Your costume is beautiful.  Where did you find it?”

“I had it made last week,” she admitted, going to stand near the couch where Daniel sat.  “Do you remember the woman I told you about who had come in looking for something for her heart?”

“You mean the woman who ended up needing bypass surgery?  Yes, I remember you told me about her.”

“Well, her name is Becky London, and she owns a fabric store on Whitmore Avenue.  She also makes clothing and costumes for people.  She even did my shoes,” and Caitlin lifted up the skirt of her dress to show them her beaded shoes. 

“Wow, Caitlin.  They’re so beautiful,” Lacey commented.  “Your costume must have been expensive.”

Caitlin shook her head.  “No.  Becky gave it to me, along with the shoes, too.  She said that it was her way of thanking me for saving her life last year.  I told her that all I did was suggest to her that she see her regular doctor.  As for the shoes, she said another customer saw her making my costume and told her about these shoes.  The customer had seen them at the nearby thrift store, so Becky bought them, dyed them to match my dress, and put the beads on them.”

Daniel was amazed at Caitlin.  She’s so humble, he thought to himself.  She saved that woman’s life, but she won’t accept any of the praise for herself.  Without realizing it, he fell even more in love with her at that moment. 

At that moment, Sabrina came running into the room wearing her costume.  “Auntie Cat!  Auntie Cat!” she screamed. 

Caitlin bent down and scooped up the three-year-old little girl in her arms and hugged her tightly.  “Hi, Brina,” she told her, smiling. 

Sabrina spotted Daniel, and eyed him carefully.  “Auntie Cat, who dat?” she asked, pointing to him. 

“Sabrina, it’s not nice to point,” Lacey gently scolded.

Caitlin smiled.  “Brina, this is Auntie’s new friend, Daniel.”  She set Sabrina down and taking her hand, walked over to Daniel.  “Daniel, this is Jason and Lacey’s daughter, my goddaughter, Sabrina.”

“Hi, there,” Daniel said, smiling at her.  “I like your costume, Sabrina.  Can you tell me who you’re supposed to be?”

“Me Ninnie Mouse,” she said proudly, showing off her costume. 

“You mean Minnie Mouse,” Caitlin corrected her. 

“Yeah!”

“So are you going to go trick-or-treating tonight, Sabrina?” Daniel asked her.

“Me an Gwamma go twick-orw-tweating!”

“We plan to let everyone see her in her costume before she goes out with my mom for the night,” Lacey explained to Daniel.

“Well, you look really pretty, Sabrina,” Daniel told her. 

Sabrina walked over to Daniel, leaning in to him.  “You kin call me Brina if want to,” she loudly whispered in his hear.

“Thank you, Brina.”

Sabrina ran back to Caitlin and asked to be held again.  “I like Daniel,” she whispered into Caitlin’s ear.  “He youw fwiend?”

 “Yes, Brina, he’s my friend.”

“You and Daniel like Mommee and Daddee?”

Caitlin blushed.  “No, Brina.  We’re just good friends?”

“Why?  Daniel nice man.”

Caitlin didn’t know quite what to say to Sabrina, but Lacey could see Caitlin’s discomfort.  “Brina honey, say goodbye to Auntie Cat and her friend.  You need to go play in your room for a while.”

“Okay, Mommee.”  Caitlin put down Sabrina, and she tottered over to Daniel.  “Bye, Unca Daniel!  Bye Auntie Cat!” she said, tottering off towards her bedroom.

Caitlin was surprised, as were Jason and Lacey.  “Well, Daniel, you’ve just been blessed by a three year-old,” Lacey told him.  “She doesn’t let just anyone into her little world.”

“She’s right, Uncle Daniel,” Caitlin added, smiling at him. 

Daniel blushed a little, and she giggled. 

“Well, before our guests arrive, would you like anything to drink, Dr. Jackson?” Lacey asked him. 

“Please, call me Daniel, and yes, thank you.”

“Caitlin, could you help me?”  Lacey gave her a pleading look.

“Sure, Lacey,” she replied, confusion on her face.  She got up and followed Lacey back into the kitchen.  “What’s up, Lacey?”

Lacey turned toward her best friend.” You told me he was handsome, Caitlin, but you didn’t tell me he was gorgeous.”

Caitlin blushed a little.  “Sorry.”

“Well, I can tell you’re happy.  I mean, I’ve never seen you this happy.”

“I am happy,” Caitlin admitted. 

“Every time he calls to ask you out you’re so excited you can hardly concentrate on anything.  You can’t wait to see him, and when you can’t see him, you’re like a puppy missing its master.”

Caitlin groaned.  “Am I really that obvious, Lacey?”

Lacey chuckled.  “Not all the time.”  She hugged Caitlin.  “I am happy for you, though.  I can see it in your eyes that he makes you happy, and that makes me happy.” 

“I like being with him, Lacey, and he does make me happy.  We have a lot in common, and he and I have done a lot of things together.”

“I’m glad.  I can tell he likes you, too.  How do you feel about him?”

“Lacey, I already told you that I like being with him and spending time with him.  But I also told you it can’t go any further than that.  I won’t let it.”

Lacey sighed.  “I know, Caitlin, but he makes you so happy.  Don’t you think if he were going to hurt you, he would have done that by now?”

“He may not hurt me intentionally, but what if…”

“You can’t see the future, Caitlin,” Lacey interrupted.  “And you can’t worry about the ‘what ifs’.  If we all did that then nothing exciting would ever happen.  Just remember that I told you love is about taking a chance.”

“I know, Lacey,” Caitlin replied.  “I just don’t know if I can take the chance and let my heart get hurt again.”

“That’s the risk everyone takes in love, Caitlin,” Lacey told her as Jason called out from the living room. 

Lacey grabbed a glass of punch for Daniel, and she and Caitlin returned to the living room.  Soon more guests were arriving, and after a while the party was in full swing.  Jason turned on some Halloween music, and a few people started to dance.  Most of the guests just mingled and chatted.  Caitlin noticed that Tina and her husband had arrived, and took Daniel over to meet them. 

“Tina, hi.”

Tina looked at Caitlin, and whistled low.  “Wow, Caitlin.  You sure weren’t kidding about your costume.  You look amazing.  Especially the hair.”

They both laughed.  “Tina,” Caitlin said, turning toward Daniel, “This is Dr. Daniel Jackson.  He’s an archaeologist doing contract work for the Air Force here in Colorado Springs.  Daniel, this is Tina Lambert and her husband Joe.”  Hands were shook all around.  “Tina is a cosmetologist at Hair Expressions, and Joe works for the city.  Tina did my hair for tonight.”

“You did a beautiful job, Tina,” Daniel said warmly.  “It just makes Caitlin even more beautiful.”

Caitlin blushed, and Tina smiled at Daniel.  “Thank you, Daniel.”

“So how long have you known Caitlin, Mrs. Lambert?” 

“Please, call me Tina, and I’ve known her for a couple of years now.  But in May she saved me from having to take a trip to the hospital.”

“She did?” Daniel asked with curiosity.

Caitlin blushed again.  “Oh, Tina.  All I did was suggest some medicinal herbs and plants for you.”

“Don’t be so modest, girlfriend! If I hadn’t come to you, I would have eventually ended up going to the ER with my pneumonia.”

“What happened?” Daniel asked her.

“Well, I wasn’t feeling too well, and Joe told me to go to our regular doctor.  I was coughing a lot and a little feverish, but I figured I could handle it.  I told him it wasn’t all that bad, so I didn’t go.  However, it kept getting worse.  Finally on Saturday afternoon Joe told me either I made the call to the hospital or he would.”

“Now, I hate going to any doctors or hospitals, and Joe knows that.  So we compromised.  I knew that Caitlin worked at a health food store, and that she knew a lot about different herbs and such.  However, it was a Saturday night, and the store was closed.  I had Caitlin’s number at home, so I told him to call her and talk to her.  He called Caitlin and explained the situation to her.  All my symptoms, everything.  She took time out of her busy night and ran over to the store to pick up the herbs, teas, and other things she needed, and brought them straight over to our house.  She stayed with Joe and me all night long, making sure the treatments went okay.”

“By morning, I was feeling a lot better, and I wasn’t coughing as much as the night before.  I had also gotten some pretty decent sleep, too.  Then Caitlin left, but she left strict instructions to Joe as to keep up the treatments until Monday morning when he could get me in to see our doctor.  So on Monday morning, Joe made an emergency appointment with our family doctor.  The doctor checked me out, and told me that whatever Caitlin had done had saved my life.  If she hadn’t given me the herbal treatments when she had, I would have landed in the hospital for a week.  He told me I should keep up the treatments she had started, to take it easy for a week, and that I would be just fine.  I was back to work feeling good-as-new the next week.”

“If our positions had been switched, Tina, you would have done the same for me,” Caitlin told her, blushing furiously. 

Daniel looked at Caitlin, amazed by her humbleness.  He had never met anyone like her.  Yes, Sha’re had been very kind and caring, he thought to himself, but Caitlin is even more so. But even if he wanted to fall in love with her, he didn’t think he deserved someone like her. 

“So, Daniel, how long have you known Caitlin?” Joe asked him, bringing Daniel out of his thoughts. 

Daniel and Joe stepped away from the two women to talk, so Tina pulled Caitlin off to the side.  “You sure weren’t kidding when you said he was handsome.  So is he treating you right?”

“He’s a perfect gentleman every time we get together, Tina.”

“So what’s the problem then?  I can see that he likes you, and you like him.  Besides you can’t take your eyes off each other.”

“You know it’s more complicated than that, Tina.”

“All I know is what I can see between you,” Tina told her.  “Caitlin, it’s not good for you to be alone.  Trust me, I know.  Besides, if you mother were here, what would she tell you?”  She took Caitlin’s hands into hers.  “Please just think about it.”

Tina left and walked back to where Joe and Daniel were talking.  Caitlin went into the corner of the living room, thinking about what Tina had said.  What would my mother tell me? she thought to herself.  Suddenly, the voice was back in Caitlin’s mind, stronger and more insistent than ever before. 

I’m here, Caitlin! the voice screamed.  I’m alive!  Caitlin shook her head, trying to get the voice out of her mind, but she couldn’t.  I need to find you!  Where are you?!

Daniel looked over to where Caitlin was and noticed the look of pain on her face.  “Excuse me,” he told Tina and Joe.  He hurried over to where she was.  “Caitlin, what’s wrong?” he asked her, worry etched on his face and in his voice. 

Caitlin couldn’t answer him.  All she heard was the voice inside her mind. 

Daniel took Caitlin by the shoulders and gently shook her.  “Caitlin, are you all right?”

His voice cut through the fog in her mind, and she shook her head to clear her thoughts.  “I'm sorry.  What did you say?” she asked him.

“I asked if you were all right.  For a minute there you had spaced out on me like you did the night of our first date.”

Caitlin rubbed her temples.  I’m sorry, Daniel.  I’m fine now.”  I’ll tell him about the voice later tonight, she decided.  “I’ll tell you about it later.  Let’s just enjoy the party.”

Daniel was still concerned about Caitlin, but he heard Jason and Lacey gathering all the guests into the spacious living room.  So he offered Caitlin his arm to steady her, and they joined the rest of the guests. 

“We want to welcome you all to our annual Halloween Party,” Jason told everyone.  “We hope you enjoy yourselves and have fun tonight.  Now before Lacey explains the contests, we want to give you a chance to see our daughter in her costume before she goes with her grandma tonight.”  Lacey had gone to get Sabrina, and they were walking out into the living room and getting oohs and ahhs from many of the guests.

“Sabrina, who are you dressed up as?” Lacey asked her daughter. 

Sabrina looked a little timid, but she smiled and said, “Ninnie Mouse.”

Everyone laughed, and Lacey explained that it was really Minnie Mouse.  “Say goodbye to everyone now, Brina.  Grandma is here to take you to her house.”

Sabrina waved her little hand.  “Bye bye!” she said, and ran over to where her grandmother was waiting for her.  Jason handed his mother-in-law Sabrina’s little overnight bag, thanked her and walked them out.  When he had shut the door, he came back beside Lacey.  “Now that you’ve seen our daughter in her costume, Lacey will explain the contests.”

“Thank you, honey.  As you know, every year we have contests for the most original costume, the best home-made costume, and so on.  Take your time and look at everyone’s costumes.  On the dining room table we have slips of paper for you to write your choices.  When you’re done, just put it into the large pail.  Once everyone’s done voting, Jason and I will tally up the votes and announce the winners.”

  Everyone started talking and mingling again, and Daniel asked Caitlin if she wanted some punch. 

She nodded, and he left to get them some punch.  She looked for Tina, and walked over to where she and her husband were.  “Tina, I have a question for you.  It’s about my hairdo.”

“Sure, Caitlin.  What do you want to know?”

“Is there a way I can keep the braid in for a few days, even if I sleep on it?”

“Yeah.  Do you have that rain bonnet you used before?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Well, just put your hair carefully in there.  You might have to curl the unbraided part again tomorrow, but other than that, you should be okay.”

“Thanks, Tina.  I figured since this is such a pretty hairdo that took you a while to do, I thought I’d wear it for a few days.”

“Good idea.  Just do what I suggested, and it should be fine.”

“Thanks again, Tina.”  Caitlin walked back to where she’d been before, and met up with Daniel who had their punch. 

“I saw you talking to Tina again.  What was it about?”

Caitlin took a sip of her punch.  “I just asked her if there was a way I could wear this hairdo for a few days since it’s so pretty, and she told me how.”

“That’s good.  Your hair really is beautiful, Caitlin.  You look beautiful.”

Caitlin blushed again.  “Thank you, Daniel.  So have you decided who you want to vote for in the contests?”

“I believe so.  How about you?”

“Yes.  Let’s go vote.”

They walked into the dining room and set their glasses down.  Caitlin quickly glanced around the room, mentally noting the costumes she wanted to vote for.  She wrote her answers down, folded the piece of paper in half, and put it into the pail. 

Daniel knew there was only one person he wanted to vote for.  For each category, he wrote down Caitlin’s name and smiled as he folded his paper and put it into the bucket.  Then giving Caitlin his arm and picking up his glass, they walked back into the living room.  A few minutes later, Jason and Lacey again quieted the guests.

 “We’ve tallied up the votes for each category,” Lacey told them.  “We’re ready to announce the winners.”  Jason handed her a piece of paper.  “For the best home-made costume, the ribbon goes to Sally North for her hobo costume.” 

Everyone clapped as Sally came forward and accepted the ribbon, smiled, and went back to her husband. 

“The ribbon for the best original costume goes to Steve Parker for his costume as Oscar the Grouch.”

Again everyone clapped as Steve got his ribbon.  Jason asked him how he made his costume.

“Well, I just took one of my old trash cans, scuffed it up with a sander and painted it dark gray.  I also cut out the bottom for my legs, and cut arm holes in the sides.  Finally, I put small holes in the lid so I could put some string through to tie the lid onto my head.”

“That’s pretty ingenious, Steve,” Jason commented.  “Where’d you get the idea?”

Steve chuckled.  “From my four year-old son who likes Sesame Street.  Oscar the Grouch is one of his favorite characters.”

People chuckled and laughed, and Steve smiled as he went back to his place in the crowd. 

“Okay, that leaves two more categories,” Jason continued.  “The next category is for the best couple in costume.  Now as you know, since Lacey and I host this party, we take our names out of the running.  However, every once in a while someone writes our names in, but this year, out of everyone here, there were only two people chosen.  The winner of the best couple in costume is Daniel Jackson and his date, Caitlin O’Brien.”

Daniel was shocked, as was Caitlin.  She couldn’t believe it.  They had won the award for best couple in costume.  She dimly heard the people clapping and whistling, but she blushed again and took Daniel’s arm.  Together they walked up beside Jason and Lacey. 

“Congratulations, Daniel and Caitlin,” Lacey said as she and Jason handed them their ribbons.  “You both deserve it.”

“Thank you,” Daniel and Caitlin both said.  Before they accepted their ribbons, they posed for a picture that Lacey took with her digital camera.  Then they accepted the ribbons and walked back to where they had been standing.

“Finally, we come to the award for the best overall costume,” Lacey said.  “This one is usually a tough one to award, since everyone comes in such great costumes.  However, this year everyone was in complete agreement on their choice.  The winner for the best overall costume goes to Caitlin O’Brien.”

Caitlin couldn’t believe it.  She’d won for the best costume.  “No, Daniel.  It must be a mistake,” she whispered to him as people clapped and cheered around her. 

“It’s not a mistake, Caitlin,” Daniel said sincerely.  “Everyone voted for you because your costume is the most beautiful one here.  Now go and accept your award.”

Caitlin felt her face flush red again, and she walked up to Jason and Lacey. 

Lacey handed her the ribbon, took her picture, and hugged her tightly.  “Congratulations, Caitlin, you really deserve this.  Your costume is just beautiful.”

“Congratulations, Caitlin,” Jason told her as he hugged her.  “You really do look beautiful tonight.”

Caitlin’s face flushed red hot as she walked back to Daniel amid the clapping.  Daniel smiled at her and offered her his arm again, as Jason and Lacey quieted the crowd one last time. 

“Again, we want to thank you all for coming and making this year’s party a memorable one.  We hope that you will all be able to come back next year.  For those who won awards, if you will please wait a minute, Lacey will have copies of the photographs for you.  I hope you all have a safe trip home.  Goodnight everyone.”

The guests all clapped, and began to leave the party, thanking Jason and Lacey as they left.  Caitlin excused herself from Daniel and went into the bedroom to get their cloaks.  She brought them out and Daniel took his, tying it around his neck.  Caitlin began to put hers on, but Daniel stopped her.  He took it from her hands and put it around her shoulders, pinning on the brooch. 

Caitlin smiled at him.  “Thank, ya, kind sir,” she told him in her best Irish accent.  “Would ya care t’ escort a lady home?”

Daniel smiled back, and offered her his arm again.  “Aye, milady.  ‘T'would be an honor.”  Daniel and Caitlin were one of the last ones to leave, and they stopped and thanked Jason and Lacey for a really fun evening. 

“I’m glad you could come,” Lacey told them warmly, handing them each a copy of the photographs she had taken.  “It was also nice to finally meet you Daniel.  Please don’t be a stranger.”

“I’ll try not to,” he told Lacey.  “And it was nice to meet you too.  Have a good evening.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow at the store, Lacey.” Caitlin told her best friend. 

“See you tomorrow.  Have a safe drive home, you two.”

Daniel and Caitlin walked out into the crisp, chilly Halloween evening and he helped Caitlin into his Jeep.  As they drove back to her apartment, they talked about the party and the award they had won.  Daniel then asked her what her plans were for the next evening. 

“Nothing at the moment.  What do you have in mind, Daniel?”

“Well, I met your friends tonight, and I thought you’d like to meet mine tomorrow night.  My friend General O’Neill will be in town for a few days, and he really wants to meet you.”

“I’d like that,” Caitlin told him, smiling at him. 

“How about O’Malley’s at six–thirty?”

“Why don’t we meet at Jack Quinn’s Pub,” Caitlin suggested.  “You said that only one of your friends has been there, and I think they might like it.”

Daniel nodded his head in agreement.  “Okay, Jack Quinn’s it is.  Maybe you can even scare up a game of pool with Jack.”

“We’ll see,” Caitlin told him. 

Daniel’s voice became a little more serious with the next question he asked her.  “Caitlin, what happened at the party?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean what happened to you?  I saw you standing in the corner with a look of pain on your face, and I had to shake you to bring you out of it.”

Caitlin wanted to tell Daniel about the voice, but she wasn’t sure he would believe her.  She decided to take the chance that he would.  “About a month ago,” she began, “I received word that my aunt, Patty Lawrence, had passed away.  She was my dad’s oldest sister.  The lawyer handling her estate had found four old photos taken of my mom and me when I was eight.  I never knew that Aunt Patty had taken these photos.  When I got home, I took the picture out and looked at them again.  That’s when I first heard it.”

“Heard what Caitlin?” Daniel asked.

“The voice, or more specifically, a voice sounding a lot like my mom, saying ‘Don’t forget about me!', and ‘I’m still alive!’, among other things.  Tinkerbell noticed me crying, so she came up in my lap to comfort me.”

“Later that evening, I had a bad nightmare about my mom.  I haven’t had a nightmare about my mom in years, Daniel.  When I got to work the next day, I told Lacey that I thought the nightmare might have been brought on by those pictures.  However, since then, the voice inside my mind has been getting stronger.  Tonight was the strongest I’ve ever heard it.”

“What did the voice say?”

“’I’m here’, and ‘I need to find you’.  Besides the fact that the voice sounds a lot like my mom, it also called me ‘Little One’.  That’s what my mom used to call me before she supposedly died.  No one else knows about that, except for Lacey and now you.”

Daniel turned into Caitlin’s parking lot and parked his jeep.  “I don’t know what to tell you, Caitlin, but if something like that ever happens again, please tell me sooner so that I can be there for you.”

Caitlin smiled.  “Thanks, Daniel.  Would you like to come in?  I can show you those pictures, and you can meet my girls.”

“I’d love too,” he said as he got out.  He helped Caitlin out of the jeep, and together they walked into her building. 

Caitlin unlocked her door.  “I’m home,” she called out as she and Daniel walked inside.  Tinkerbell and Patches came running, meowing all the way, until they saw Daniel.  Caitlin bent down and pet each one reassuringly.  “Daniel, I’d like you to meet my girls.  The tortoiseshell one is Tinkerbell.  She’s the oldest.  The calico one is Patches.”

Tinkerbell and Patches walked over to Daniel and began sniffing his pants, boots, and the bottom of his cloak.  “What are they doing?” Daniel asked Caitlin. 

“They’re sniffing you to see if they like you or not.  Most of the time they don’t like strangers, though.”

Suddenly Tinkerbell stopped sniffing Daniel and began to purr and meow, rubbing his legs.  Soon Patches followed suit. 

Caitlin laughed.  “Well, what do you know.  They like you.” 

Daniel bent down and carefully pet each cat in turn.  The cats each begged for more until Daniel stood back up. 

“Well, welcome to my humble abode, Dr. Jackson.  Please come in and make yourself comfortable.  Before I get those photographs, is there anything you’d like to drink?”

“A glass of water would be great,” Daniel told her. 

Caitlin went to her cupboards and got down a glass, filling it with cold water from her fridge.  She handed it to Daniel, then walked into her bedroom to take off her cloak and find the pictures for Daniel.

As Daniel waited for Caitlin, he walked around her apartment.  He walked into the living room, and he found a bodhran drum with a Celtic knotwork cross painted on it hanging on the wall.  The beater was hanging next to it.  On her coffee table he found different books and magazines about Ireland, and on the opposite wall he found a couple of photographs depicting the Irish countryside.  He was looking at the pictures when Caitlin walked in. 

“You like my pictures?” she asked him. 

“Yes, I do.  Where did you find them?”

“I found them in a little shop in Maine once when I was visiting my Aunt Patty.  I was able to get them home safely, and I had them framed.  What do you think of my bodhran on the other wall?”

Daniel walked over to it.  “It’s really great, especially the Celtic cross on it.”

“Thanks.  The words say ‘The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit’ in Gaelic.  Lacey bought the drum and the beater, and she had that all put on there for me.”

Daniel took a sip of his water.  “You really have a nice apartment, Caitlin,” he told her as they walked back into the kitchen.  Caitlin sat down, and as Daniel was sitting down, Patches jumped up into his lap and began to purr. 

“See, I told you they like you,” Caitlin said smiling broadly. 

Daniel started petting the calico cat, making it purr even louder.  He smiled at Caitlin until he noticed that Tinkerbell was sitting at his feet, meowing forlornly. 

Caitlin laughed at Daniel’s bewildered look.  “She’s just jealous that Patches got to your lap before she did.”  Caitlin set the photos on the table and bent down, picking up the cat and setting her in her lap.  “Here are those pictures I told you about, Daniel,” and she slid them over to him. 

Daniel picked up the first picture and nearly fell out of his chair.  There, in the picture with a much younger Caitlin, was Healer Siobhan from Danu.  “Is this your mom?” he asked, pointing to the older woman in the picture. 

“Yes.  That was taken when I was about eight or so.  Isn’t she pretty?”

“Yes, I… well, I…,” Daniel stammered, not believing his eyes.  Now he knew exactly where Caitlin had gotten the Danuan genetic material, and from whom.  He took a look at the rest of the pictures, seeing her mom in each one.  Here was the proof that he needed to convince the others on the team that the healer was in fact Caitlin’s mom.

Caitlin noticed the shocked expression on his face as he looked at the photographs.  “What’s the matter, Daniel?  You look like you’ve see a ghost or something.”

Daniel knew that he couldn’t tell Caitlin about seeing her mom, so he wracked his brain, trying desperately to think of an answer.  “Oh, I’m sorry.  It’s nothing, really.  It’s just that for a moment I thought she looked a lot like one of my aunts.  Now what did you ask me?”

Caitlin sensed that Daniel wasn’t telling her the truth, but she let it go for now. “I asked you if you thought she was pretty.”

“Yes,” Daniel said, looking at the picture in his hand again.  “She’s almost as beautiful as her daughter.”

Caitlin blushed, talking the picture from him and gathering them all together.  She put Tinkerbell down, got up, and was about to take the pictures back into her bedroom when Daniel stopped her. 

“Could I borrow one of those photos, Caitlin?  I want to show it to my friends.”

Caitlin seemed a little confused and even more worried.  “You want to borrow one of my photos?  I'm not sure, Daniel.  I just got them and I would feel horrible if they got lost or damaged.”

“I promise that I won’t let it out of my sight, Caitlin,” he reassured her.  “Besides, you can get it back tomorrow night.”

“You promise you won’t lose it or let it get damaged?”

 “Cross my heart,” Daniel said, making the motion with his hand. 

Caitlin handed him one of the photos.  “Okay,” she told him, biting her lower lip.  “But I would really like it back tomorrow.”

“I promise I’ll give it to you when I see you tomorrow night.”  Daniel finished his glass of water and stood up. 

“Okay,” Caitlin said, still feeling uneasy about it.  She walked Daniel to the door. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow night at six-fifteen.  Then we can meet up with the others at the pub.”

Caitlin opened her door.  “That sounds great, Daniel,” she told him, smiling again.  “I can’t wait to meet your friends.”

“Until tomorrow then,” he told her as he leaned in and kissed her cheek.  She sighed and closed the door after him. 

Daniel headed back to the SGC with the picture, knowing that he had to show the others as soon as possible.  He pulled into the base, parked his jeep, and hurried into the base.  He went to his quarters, quickly changed out of his costume into a uniform, and worked his way down the corridors to General Landry’s office.  He knocked on the door, and heard the general call him in.

“What can I do for you, Dr. Jackson?” he asked as Daniel entered his office. 

“Sir, I just found out something very important about Caitlin O’Brien.”

Gen. Landry looked up from his paperwork.  “What is it?”

“It’s a photograph.  Sir, I think you’d better call the rest of the team and Dr. Lam in on this.”

Gen. Landry made a few phone calls, and soon everyone was sitting at the conference table. 

“Couldn’t this have waited till tomorrow, Jackson,” Cam said a little grumpy. 

“No.  Now, we’ve been trying to find out which parent was Danuan.  Correct?”

Everyone nodded. 

“Well, I have the answer.”  Daniel pulled out the photograph and handed it to the general.  “That’s a picture of her mother.  Sam and I met her on Danu.”

 Sam looked stunned.  “You mean Healer Siobhan really is her mother?”  She took the photo from the general, and looked at it intently.  “Oh my God.  You’re right!  That is the healer!”  She passed the photo on to Cameron. 

He glanced at it.  “Okay, so now we know that it was her mother who came from Danu.  But how’d she get here?  That’s what I want to know.”

“Did you ask Miss O’Brien?” Gen. Landry asked Daniel.

 “No, but I don’t think she knows her mom is from another planet.  I don’t think her mom ever told her.”

Dr. Lam had been studying the photo.  “How old was she when this was taken?” she asked, sending the photo back to Daniel.  “Did she tell you?”

Daniel turned toward her.  “She said she was about eight years old when that photo was taken.  She had two others like them.  Apparently an aunt of hers passed away recently and had the photos in her possession.  When she passed away, her will dictated that Caitlin be given the pictures.”

“Okay,” the general said, gathering everyone’s attention.  “Now that we know which parent came from Danu, we have to figure out what to do next.  Any suggestions?”

Cameron spoke up.  “Sir, I recommend that we go to Danu and talk to Healer Siobhan as soon as possible to find out how she came to Earth, and even more importantly, how she got back to Danu.  If she came here in a ship, someone in that time period would have noticed.”

“I, too, am in agreement with Col. Mitchell,” Teal’c said. 

Daniel shook his head.  “I don’t think we should do that just yet.  Our alliance with them is still new and fragile, and we would risk alienating them.  I think we should wait a little longer.”

“I want to know the details just as much as you do, sir,” Sam said to Cameron.  “But, I agree with Daniel.  Let’s wait a few days until we’ve had a chance to find out any more information from Caitlin herself.”

The General nodded.  “Agreed.  Dr. Jackson can hang on to the photograph until we decide to go to the healer on Danu about it.  Dismissed.”

‘”Sir,” Daniel said quickly, “I promised Caitlin that I would give the photo back to her right away since she has so few pictures of her mom.”

“Col. Carter, can you make a copy of the photo?” 

Sam nodded. 

“Very well.  Make a copy for our files so Dr. Jackson can give the original back to Miss O’Brien.”

Everyone got up from the table, and the team walked back down headed for their quarters.

Cam pulled up beside Daniel.  “I’m hungry,” he said.  “Why don’t we all head down to the mess hall and grab a snack?”

So everyone headed down to the mess hall and Sam and Teal’c grabbed a table.  Cameron went up to the cooler and grabbed a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk, while Daniel grabbed a banana and a glass of water. 

“So how was the Halloween party you went to tonight?” Cam asked as they sat down. 

“It was really fun.  We went early so I could meet Caitlin’s best friend Lacey, her husband, and their daughter, Caitlin’s goddaughter.  Her name is Sabrina, and she’s only two.  She was dressed up as Minnie Mouse.  She calls Caitlin ‘Auntie Cat’.  She asked Caitlin if she and I were like her mom and dad.”

Sam and Cam chuckled, but Teal’c raised an eyebrow.  “I do not understand, Daniel Jackson.”

“Sabrina wanted to know if Caitlin and I were married like her parents.”

“Was it not obvious to her that you and Caitlin O’Brien were not like her parents?”

“It wouldn’t be that obvious to a three year-old child, Teal’c,” Sam said. 

Teal’c thought about this for a moment.  “Indeed.”

Cam finished a bite of cake.  “So what did you do at the party?” he asked, taking a drink of his milk. 

“We just mingled with the other guests, and toward the end they had contests for the best costume, most original and so on.  Caitlin and I won for the best couple in costume, and Caitlin won for the best overall costume.”

Everyone offered their congratulations, and Daniel pulled out the ribbon, showing it to them.  “We also got our pictures taken.  Here,” and he handed Sam the picture of him and Caitlin in their costumes. 

Sam gasped.  “Oh, Daniel.  She’s beautiful!  And I love her costume.”

Teal’c took the photo from Sam, looked at it, and passed it to Cam.  “Indeed.  You are a very lucky man, Daniel Jackson.”

“Thanks, Teal’c,” Daniel told him as he took a couple of bites of his banana and Teal’c passed the picture to Cameron.

Cam whistled.  “Wow, Jackson, you sure picked a beauty.”

“So when do you see her again,” Sam asked. 

“Um, that’s what I wanted to talk to you all about.  I see her tomorrow night, and I was wondering if you all would like to meet her.  Jack’s coming in from Washington tomorrow morning, and I plan to ask him, too.”

“Sure, Jackson,” Cam said.  “Where do you want to meet?”

“Caitlin suggested that we all meet at Jack Quinn’s Pub.  She knows that you’re the only one that’s been there, Cam, so she wanted the rest of you to try it.  I told her we’d meet you there around six-thirty or so.”

“That sounds good, Daniel,” Sam told him.

“Indeed, Daniel Jackson.  I am looking forward to meeting the woman who has made you happy again.”

Daniel blushed a little, then yawned.  “Well, I guess I guess I’d better get some sleep.”  He took the picture of Caitlin and him back from Cam.  “See you all tomorrow.”  Daniel got up, took his banana and walked down to his quarters leaving his friends to talk amongst themselves. 

Caitlin woke up the next morning with a tail swishing in her face.  It was Patches, who had snuggled up near her during the night.  She pushed her tail away, and sat up, grabbing her glasses and putting them on.  She stretched, and caught a glance of the picture on her nightstand beside her bed.  “What do you think of mommy’s new friend, girls?” she asked Patches and Tinkerbell as she picked up the picture.  Caitlin gazed at it, and smiled, remembering how much fun she had had during the party.  “I still can’t believe I won for the best costume,” she told the cats.  She sighed, and put the picture back on her nightstand, and got up, the cats jumping down from her bed as she straightened it. 

Caitlin padded into the bathroom and did her usual morning routine.  Finally she put in her contacts and walked back into her bedroom to get dressed.  Once she was dressed, she went back into the bathroom to fix her hair.  She carefully took it out of the hair bonnet that she had worn to bed, and she ran her fingers through the curls in the back.  Looks like I’ll just have to touch up the curls a little is all, she thought to herself.  She plugged in her curling iron, and soon she had curled her hair and was ready to leave for work. 

Caitlin pulled up into parking lot behind the store and went inside.  She hung up her coat, grabbed and apron, and walked into the office and put her purse in Lacey’s desk.  Putting on her apron, she walked into the main part of the store. 

Lacey was already there stocking some shelves.  “Morning, Caitlin.”

“Good morning.  Did you and Jason survive your party last night?”

“I think so.  I see you and Daniel had fun.”

“We did.”

“I think Sabrina liked him as well.”

Caitlin nodded as she opened a box of perfumes and started putting them on a shelf.  “I was really surprised when she called him ‘Uncle’.  She doesn’t just do that for anyone.  I don’t think he was expecting that.”

  Lacey laughed.  “Did you see the look on his face after she said that to him?”

Caitlin smiled at the memory.  “Yeah.  It was priceless.  So how did Sabrina do when she went trick-or-treating last night?”

“She got a whole bag full.  Jason’s mom checked it all out then split it into two piles.  She kept some and gave us the rest.  During the year we give her a piece every now-and-then, and it lasts her a few months.”

Caitlin turned toward Lacey, a suspicious look on her face.  “All that candy, even half of it, should last her at least six months.  Though it probably doesn’t last that long because you and Jason can’t stay out of it.”

Lacey turned to Caitlin, a sheepish grin on her face, and they both broke out into laughter.  “So what are your plans for tonight, Caitlin?”

Caitlin put the last bottle of perfume on the shelf, broke down the box, and walked over to where Lacey was working.  “Daniel asked me last night if I wanted to meet his friends, and I said yes.  We’re meeting them at Jack Quinn’s Pub at six-thirty.”

“Sounds like fun,” Lacey said as she finished the shelf she was stocking and broke down the box. 

“I can’t wait to meet them.  It will be nice to finally put some faces to the names he’s told me so much about.”

Lacey handed Caitlin her box, and as she took them to the dumpster, Lacey opened the store.  Even thought it was a Wednesday, it was unusually slow.  A few customers came and went, but soon it was lunchtime.  Melina came out of the office and took over the registers while Caitlin and Lacey walked into the back room and grabbed their lunches. 

“So have you thought about what we talked about?” Lacey asked Caitlin as she sat down and opened her small carton of milk.

“What’d we talk about?”

“About the possibility of letting love back into your life and your heart.”

“Oh, that,” Caitlin said as she poured her vinaigrette dressing over her chef salad.  “No, not really.”

“Why not?”

Caitlin scowled at Lacey.  “Now, don’t start, Lacey.  You know perfectly well why not.”

Lacey sighed.  “Caitlin, I know you’re scared, but last night with Daniel you seemed so happy.”

“I was,” Caitlin finally admitted.  “You know, he kissed me last night on the cheek just before he left my apartment.”

Lacey nearly choked on her bite of linguine.  “He kissed you?!  Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because you didn’t ask,” Caitlin told her, taking a sip of her juice. 

“Since when so I ever need to ask about something that important?” Lacey demanded.  “So tell me everything.  I want all the details.”

Caitlin finished a bite of her salad and took a drink of her apple juice.  “While we were at the party, that voice I’ve been getting lately came to me again.  Only this time it was stronger and more insistent than ever.  Daniel saw me in pain and was concerned, so he asked me about it.  I told him I would tell him later.”

“Well, when he took me home, I invited him in to my apartment to show him the pictures of my mom and tell him about the voice.  He even got to meet Tinkerbell and Patches, and they liked him right away.”

“So what did he say about the voice?”

“He didn’t say anything, but he sure reacted funny when I showed him the pictures of my mom and me.  It was like he had seen a ghost or something, Lacey.  So I asked him about it.  He gave me some lame excuse that he thought that it looked like one of his aunts or something.”

“You don’t believe him?”

“Not entirely.  Anyway, he asked if he could take one of the photos to show his friends.  So I gave him one with the strict instructions that I get it back soon.  He promised to take good care of it and he’s going to give it back to me tonight.”

“Well, that’s good.  So what about the kiss?”

Caitlin took a sip of her juice to wet her throat.  “Well, as I walked him to my front door, we talked a little, and just before he left, he leaned in and kissed my cheek again.”

Lacey was dumbfounded.  “Again?  You mean he’s kissed you before and you didn’t tell me?”

“It was at the end of our first official date at the Stagecoach Inn.”

Lacey sighed again.  “Caitlin what are we going to do with you?  You have to tell me these things so I can keep up.”

Caitlin laughed and they finished their meals, chatting about the party as they went back to work.  They only had a few customers all afternoon, and finally it was closing time. 

“So have you thought about what you’re going to wear tonight, Caitlin,” Lacey asked her as she locked the front door and went to the registers to shut them down.

“Yep.  I have it all planned out.  When I get home I just have to touch up my makeup and stuff, and I’ll be ready to go.”

“Okay, well, we’ll see you tomorrow then.  Have fun, and tomorrow I want all the details.”

Caitlin chuckled.  “Okay, and this time I won’t leave anything out.  I promise.”

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

It was morning at the SCG, and Daniel was working on a translation for SG-5 when there was a knock at his office door.  “Come in,” he said. 

“Hard at work I see,” Jack commented.

Daniel stopped his translating and got up, hugging Jack.  “It’s good to see you, Jack.  How are things in Washington these days?”

“Oh, you know.  Just peachy.  So, how are you and Miss O’Brien doing?” 

Daniel smiled.  “Just fine, thanks, Jack.  As a matter of fact, I’m picking her up tonight so she can meet the rest of the team.  We’re all going to Jack Quinn’s Pub, and I’d really like you to come and meet her.”

“I wouldn’t miss it, Space Monkey.  What time?”

“Six-thirty.”

“Okay.  See you then,” and Jack left Daniel to work while he went to Gen. Landry’s office. 

Gen. Landry was in his office when there was a knock on the door.  “Enter,” he said. 

“Well, I see things are going smoothly here,” Jacks said as he walked in. 

Gen. Landry stood up.  “Gen. O’Neill,” he said, shaking Jack’s hand.  “Good to see you again.  Please, sit.  What brings you to our little corner of the galaxy?”

Jack sat down.  “Hank, I wanted to talk to you about Daniel and Caitlin O’Brien.  I’ve been talking to Sam, Cam, and Teal’c, and they all tell me that Daniel is so happy.  I’ve checked her out thoroughly; you read my report.  I just wanted your opinion on this.”

Gen. Landry smiled at Jack.  “I’ve seen Dr. Jackson, and you’re right in the fact that he's happier since meeting Miss O’Brien.”

“Have you had a chance to find out any more information on why she’s only half-human?  You said you thought it was one of her parents.”

Gen. Landry took out a copy of the photo Daniel had gotten from Caitlin, and passed it to Jack.  “This is a picture of Caitlin when she was eight years old, and the woman near her in the picture is her mother.  Did you read the report SG-1 wrote after returning from Danu?”

“Yes.  Daniel and Sam both wrote about meeting someone named Healer Siobhan.  Daniel suspected that she was Miss O’Brien’s mother.  I also heard that Miss O’Brien thinks her mother is dead.  What’s up with that, Hank?”

Gen. Landry told him everything that Daniel had learned about the ‘death’ of Caitlin’s mom.  “Miss O’Brien doesn’t know anything about the ‘death’ of her mother, according to what she told Daniel.”

Jack looked at the picture of Caitlin and her mother again.  “So the healer on Danu really is Caitlin’s mother, huh?  Do we know how she got back to Danu, much less got to Earth in the first place?”

“Not yet, but hopefully we’ll find out some new information soon.  In the meantime, I’ve asked Daniel to try and find out as much as he can from her.”

“Well, I’m meeting the team at Jack Quinn’s Pub tonight, and I’ll get to meet her.  Maybe I can find out some information.”  Jack thought about Daniel for a moment.  “Daniel’s been really happy since meeting Caitlin, hasn’t he?’

General Landry nodded.  “Yes he has.  I’ve never seen him happier.”

“Good,” Jack said, standing up.  “Well, you kids are doing a great job here, so I’ll be going.  Keep up the good work, Hank,” he told Gen. Landry, shaking his hand. 

“Thanks, Jack.  I will.”

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

Caitlin grabbed her purse from her office, and took off her apron, putting on her coat.  She walked out into the snowy November afternoon and drove to the grocery store.  She only had a few things to get, so she found what she wanted and paid for them, and finally headed home.  Once she got home, she checked her mailbox and found a couple of bills.  She heard meowing as she unlocked her door and walked inside.  Tinkerbell and Patches were standing by the door, meowing and purring their delight that she was home as she set her purse and the bills on the counter.  She took off her coat and walked to the refrigerator, grabbing the can of cat food. 

“Are you girls hungry?” she asked her two cats.  They meowed loudly, and she laughed, grabbing their food bowls and giving them each a big spoonful.  “Here you go,” she said as she set their food bowls down.  She put the can back into the fridge and the spoon in the sink, and she walked into her bedroom. 

She opened up her closet doors and pulled out a plain white shirt and her favorite colorful and casual suit jacket.  She closed the doors and went over to her dresser, pulling out an almost new pair of blue jeans.  She changed out of her work clothes, trying not to disturb her hairdo.  She put on the jeans and shirt, and went to brush her teeth and freshen up her makeup before she put on her jacket.  Once she was done, she put on her jacket and slouch boots, and checked herself in her bathroom mirror. 

“Well, what do you thing, girls,” she asked them as she walked into the kitchen.  Tink meowed her approval, but Patches was still licking her face clean, making Caitlin laugh.  She checked her watch and found that it was already six pm.  Daniel wasn’t there yet, so she grabbed her purse and the bills, and sat down to make out a couple of checks.  She noticed she needed a couple of stamps, so she got up and was just about to get them when there was a knock at her front door. 

Caitlin went to answer it, finding it was Daniel.  “Hi, Daniel.  Come in.  You’re early.  I was just getting some bills ready to put in the mailbox.”

He walked inside and closed the door behind him.  She sure looks pretty tonight, he thought to himself.  And she’s still wearing that beautiful hairdo.  “I hope it’s okay.  I wanted to return your photo to you.”  He handed the picture to her.  “My friends think your mom was really beautiful.”  Daniel took off his coat and put it over the back of a kitchen chair. 

Caitlin noticed that he was dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a nice shirt, and a casual jacket.  He looks really handsome tonight, she thought wistfully.  “Thanks, Daniel,” she told him, taking the photo from him.  “Please sit down.  Just let me finish up here and we can go.  You want anything to drink while you’re waiting?”

“No thanks,” he told her as he sat down next to her at the kitchen table.  He let her continue getting her bills ready, and Tinkerbell jumped up into his lap, settling herself down.  He pet her gently, watching Caitlin finish up.  Finally she was ready to go. 

 “Let me just grab my coat, and we can leave.  On the way out I’ll put these in the outgoing mail.”

“Sure,” Daniel replied picking up Tinkerbell and putting her down on the floor.  He stood and put on his coat again.  “You know, you were right when you said that petting a cat or dog has a calming effect.  I was feeling a little nervous about tonight when I came in, but after petting Tinkerbell, I feel better.”

Caitlin smiled.  “I know what you mean, and I think she enjoyed it, too.  Remember how disappointed she was last night when Patches got into your lap first?”

He chuckled.  “I remember.  Tinkerbell looked so sad.”

She grabbed her jacket, zipping it up.  “Well, now she feels better, and I can tell you feel better, too.”  She grabbed her purse from the counter, and made sure all the lights except for the entry were off.  “Now you two be good girls while mommy is gone tonight,” she told them, petting each one in turn.  She grabbed the two letters and her keys, and turned off the entry light.  Walking out of her apartment with Daniel, she locked her door and put the letters in the mailbox as they left. 

“I see it’s still snowing a little bit,” Caitlin commented as they walked to his jeep.  “It was snowing when I left work.”

“Yeah, but the meteorologists said that it won’t be anything but a nuisance snow.”

“I know, but it’s still pretty.  Did you know, if you listen carefully, you can actually hear the snow falling?”

Daniel helped her into the jeep, then got in and pulled out of the parking lot.  Soon they were driving toward the pub.  “No, I didn’t know that.  What does it sound like?”

Caitlin frowned a little.  “I can’t describe it, really.  All I can say is that it’s really quiet.  I guess you just have to experience it yourself.  It’s also pretty to look at, especially when the sun is shining on fresh, new snow.  It reminds me of sparkling glitter or millions of tiny diamonds.”

“I know.  I think it’s pretty, too, except when there’s too much of it, and I have to drive through it to work.”

“I agree with you there,” she told him.  She decided to change the subject and see if she could find out if Daniel really was holding something back from her.  “So what did your friends actually say about the photo?”

“They thought you looked cute as an eight year-old, and they thought your mom was really pretty.”  At least that’s the truth, he thought to himself. 

“So why did you react to it like you did last night?  And don’t tell me it was because you thought my mom looked like an aunt of yours.  I know there’s more to it than that.”

Daniel knew he couldn’t tell her the truth, but he knew that she wanted a real explanation.  “Really, Caitlin, I was just shocked at how pretty your mom looked.  That’s all.”

Now Caitlin was sure that Daniel was hiding something.  “Come on, Daniel.  I know there’s more to this than that.  Why won’t you tell me?”

“Because that’s really all there is to it,” he said, hating himself for having to lie to her. 

“Okay, if you won’t tell me, I guess I have to respect that.  So is your friend Jack meeting us there?”

 “Yep.  He’s really looking forward to meeting you.  So are the others.  Are you nervous?”

“A little,” she admitted.  “Do you still have that Celtic CD I let you borrow?”

“Sure.  “My CD case is there between the seats.”

Caitlin looked inside and found the CD, putting it into the jeep’s CD player.  The first song started to play, and Caitlin closed her eyes and let the music wash over her, calming her fears and nervousness. 

Daniel glanced over at her and noticed that her eyes were closed and she was breathing deeply.  He remained quiet for a few minutes until they reached the pub.  “Caitlin, we’re here.”

She opened her eyes and turned off the music.  She grabbed her purse, and got out of the jeep.  “Hey, it quit snowing,” she replied.  “Unfortunately, it’s getting colder.”

Daniel pulled his coat up tighter and locked his jeep.  “I know.  I hope it doesn’t stay cold for too long.”

“I hope so, too.”

He stopped her for a moment.  “Caitlin, do you always do that, what you were doing in the car with the music?”

“You mean close my eyes?  Sometimes, especially when I’m really nervous or afraid.  It helps me to center my thoughts and feelings.  Why?”

“I was just wondering is all.  I’ve never seen anyone but Teal’c do that when he meditates.  Besides, you don’t have to be nervous or afraid tonight.  I’m sure they’ll like you.”

Finally Daniel and Caitlin walked into the pub, and noticed that they were a little early.  Daniel went up to the bar as Caitlin found a big table near the back and sat down.  Soon Daniel joined her.  “I asked them to bring over a pitcher of ice water and some glasses.”

“Good.  I hope this table is big enough.” 

“I think so,” Daniel told her.  He heard the door open, and saw Sam and Cameron come inside.  He stood up and waved at them, and they came over to the table. 

“Where are Jack and Teal’c?” Daniel asked them.

“Jack picked up Teal’c, and he’s parking his truck now,” Sam said.  “There he is.”  She waved at them, and they walked over to the table. 

Daniel motioned for Caitlin to stand beside him.  “Caitlin I would like you to meet my friends.  This is General Jack O’Neill, Teal’c, Col. Samantha Carter, and Col. Cameron Mitchell.”  He pointed to each one as they were introduced, Teal’c bowing his head slightly and smiling at Caitlin.  Guys, this, is Caitlin O’Brien.”

Everyone said their hello’s and took a seat.  The waitress came over and set down a pitcher of ice water and six glasses.  “Hi, everyone, and welcome to Jack Quinn’s,” she told them as she handed them each a menu.  “Can I get you anything to drink right away?”

“Could you give us a few minutes please?” Caitlin asked her.

“Sure.  My name is Sandy, so whenever you’re ready for me just let me know.”

The waitress walked away, and Sam turned toward Caitlin.  “So, Daniel tells us you come here often.”

“It’s one of my favorite places in Colorado Springs, Col. Carter,” Caitlin told her, smiling. 

“Please, call me Sam.  That’s what everyone calls me.  So is there a special reason why you like this place?”

“I love the Irish atmosphere and the Irish music they always have playing here.  They also have good food, and they make great ales.”

Cam smiled broadly.  “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  I like her already, Jackson.”

Everyone laughed, and the tense mood lightened.  “So Daniel tells me that you’re the only one that’s been here before, Col. Mitchell,” Caitlin commented.

“You can call me Cam,” he told her, “and yeah, I’ve been here before.”

“So what do you suggest, Caitlin?” Sam told her as she looked over the list of the many beers, ales and other drinks available. 

“Well, I’ve had some of their ales and stouts, and my best friend has had some others, so I have a few ideas for you.  Personally, I like the Newcastle Brown Ale, the Murphy’s Stout, and Jack Quinn’s Pub Ale.  Lacey and Jason like the Smithwicks Ale and Bass Ale.”

Jack was impressed.  “Wow, Daniel.  I think she’s a keeper.”

Caitlin blushed, and Daniel rolled his eyes at Jack. 

“So what are you gong to have, Caitlin?” Daniel asked her. 

“I’m having a glass of Jack Quinn’s Ale.  What about you, Daniel?”

“I think I’ll have the same thing you’re having.  Sam?”

“I think I’ll try the Smithwicks Ale,” she said. 

“I like the sound of the Newcastle Brown Ale,” Cam replied. 

“What about you Teal’c?” Caitlin asked. 

“I do not know which one to choose.  Do you have any suggestions?”

Caitlin thought for a moment.  “You should try the Bass Ale.  I think you’ll like it.”

“Then that is what I will have.  Thank you.”

“I’m glad they have Heineken here,” Jack replied.

“It’s his favorite beer,” Daniel told Caitlin.  “Oh, come on, Jack.  Live a little.  Everyone else is trying something different.”

“Yeah, Jack,” Sam said, teasing him. 

Jack sighed.  He knew that he was beaten.  “Well, then I guess I’ll try the stout.”

“Good choice, General,” Caitlin told him.  “That’s my friend Jason’s favorite.”

“Please, Caitlin, call me Jack.”

Daniel called the waitress over, and they all gave her their drink orders.  They went back to looking at the menu, trying to decide what to have. 

Caitlin decided to have the Shepherd’s Pie, and asked what Daniel was going to have. 

“I think I’ll have the Smoked Pork Loin, Caitlin,” he told her. 

A few minutes later the waitress came with their drinks and passed them around.  Once everyone had their drinks, she took their orders, writing them all on separate tickets, all but Daniel and Caitlin’s order. 

“I’d like the Shepherd’s Pie and a side salad, please,” Caitlin told the waitress. 

Sandy wrote it down.  “What kind of dressing?”

“French, please.”

  Sandy turned toward Daniel.  “And for you, sir?” she asked him.

“I’ll have the Smoked Pork Loin, please, but no side salad.”

Sandy wrote it down.  “Is there anything else I can get you folks tonight?” she asked. 

Everyone shook their heads, and Sandy left with their orders.  Caitlin looked at Teal’c, noticing his golden tattoo on his forehead.  “So tell me, Teal’c, where are you from?”

Teal’c knew what to tell her.  He had used this explanation many times before.  “I come from a remote tribe in Africa.”

“I see.  So what does ‘Teal’c’ mean?”

“It means ‘strength’,” Teal’c told her

“Is that where you got your tattoo?”

“No.  I got it from people who enslaved me and my people for many years.”

“I see.  So how long have you known Daniel?”

“I have known Daniel Jackson for more than nine years.  In that time he has become a good friend.”

“So how did you all become friends with Daniel?” Caitlin asked.

Jack answered her.  “Sometimes the military goes to a location and accidentally find ancient ruins or ancient artifacts and the like, and we ask for archaeologists to come in and handle them.  About nine years ago we stumbled across an ancient ruin, and Daniel came in as one of the archaeologists to study it.”

“I see.  So you’ve all known him for nine years?”

“I haven’t,” Cam told her.  “I got to know him only a couple of years ago.”

Jack took a sip of his stout, and was pleasantly surprised.  “Wow, Caitlin.  You were right.  This stout is good.”

“Does that mean you have a new favorite?” Sam asked him.

“No, but if I ever come here again, I’ll make sure to get this, too.”

Everyone laughed.  “What about yours, Teal’c?” Caitlin asked him.

He took a drink.  “It is quite good.  Thank you for the suggestion, Caitlin O’Brien.”

“You can just call me, Caitlin, Teal’c,” she told him with a smile as she finished her salad.

“Don’t mind T here,” Jack piped up.  “He does that with everyone.”

“Caitlin, this ale is really good,” Sam told her.  “I’m surprised.”

Caitlin finished her bite of salad.  “They always make great food and drinks here, but I really come for the Irish atmosphere, especially when they have Irish bands playing.”

“Who’s your favorite?” Sam asked her. 

“I like The Corrs, Paul Casey, The Weavers, and many others, but my absolute favorite is Enya.  I also like Riverdance.  I’ve seen them on TV once or twice, but never in person.  They're going to be performing here at the end of November at the Pike’s Peak Center for Performing Arts.  I wanted to go, but all the tickets were sold out already.”

Teal’c looked confused.  “I do not understand.  You watch a river dancing?”

Caitlin laughed.  “No, Teal’c.  It’s pronounced Riverdance, and it’s the name of a group of Irish dancers and musicians.  They’re really good.”  Caitlin turned to Cameron.  “How’s your ale, Cam?”

“It’s good,” he told her, taking another sip.  “So you like Irish music.  What about movies and TV shows?”

“For movies I like a lot of different movies.  However, there are a few I’m really fond of.  One of them is The Wizard of Oz.”

“Sweet!” Jack exclaimed.  “I really like this woman, Daniel.”

Caitlin blushed a little.  “When I was growing up it would come on at the same time every Spring, and I would never miss it.”

“What else, Caitlin?” Daniel asked her. 

“Well, I liked the movie Titanic, and I’m also a big science fiction fan.  My favorite is Star Trek.”

Cam’s face lit up when he heard that.  “Wicked!  Which series?”

Sam and Daniel groaned.  “Uh-oh.  Here we go,” she teased.

“What?” Caitlin asked. 

“Cam is a huge fan of Star Trek,” Daniel explained.

“Cool.  New or old?”

“Totally old school.”

“You mean Captain Kirk and his crew?  No way!  Captain Picard could kick his butt all the way around Vulcan and back with one hand tied behind his back.”

“Man, you don’t know what you’re talkin’ about!  Captain Kirk…” Cam and Caitlin kept discussing the finer points of Star Trek until their waitress came over with their food.  She passed everyone their plates, and took Caitlin’s salad plate away.  “Is there anything else I can get you right now?”

“I’d like another glass of the stout, please,” Jack told her.

Caitlin looked at Jack.  “Uh, Jack, if you’re driving tonight, maybe you should switch to something non-alcoholic.  You too, Daniel and Cam.  I hate to be a party-pooper here, but I’ve known too many people who’ve gotten into trouble drinking and driving.”

Jack, thought about it, and decided she was right.  “Okay.  Just give me a Pepsi, then,” he told Sandy. 

“Anything else?” she asked the others.  

“Just water for me,” Sam and Daniel both replied. 

“I’ll take a Pepsi, too,” Cam told the waitress.

“I’ll take another glass of ale, please,” Caitlin told her as she finished the first glass. 

Sandy wrote it all down, and left the table. 

Daniel looked at Caitlin, surprise on his face.  “Another glass?  Won’t you get tipsy, too?”

“No.  I don’t get drunk that easily.  I don’t know why, but I can have at lease three glasses of their ale here before I start to notice anything.”

Everyone around the table was very surprised at that bit of information.  Sam leaned into Jack and whispered, “It must be because of her unique genetic makeup.”

Jack nodded.  “I agree,” he whispered back.  “If I get a chance to talk to her later, I’ll try and work that into the conversation.”

The group ate their meals and talked, and Daniel noticed that they had a pool table in the corner.  “You know, Jack plays a mean game of pool,” he told Caitlin as he was finishing his meal. 

“He does?” Caitlin asked.  ‘Maybe we can play a game when you’re finished.”

“Be careful, Caitlin,” Sam warned her.  “Jack’s pretty wicked with that pool stick.  He’s beaten me a few times.”

“Don’t underestimate her, Sam,” Daniel told her with a twinkle in his eyes.  “You might be surprised.”

Jack finished his meal quickly.  “Ya sure you betcha, Caitlin.  Are you ready?”

Caitlin finished her food, and wiped her mouth.  “Sure, Jack.  Let’s go.”  She grabbed her ale and followed Jack to the pool table.  She didn’t notice the man at the bar eying her intently as he drank his whiskey. 

“I can’t wait to see this,” Daniel said.  “This should be good!”

“Hey, Jackson,” Cam said, stopping him.  “You know something we don’t here?”

Daniel had a mischievous smile on his face.  “Let’s just say that I have some ‘inside information’ here.”

“What does that mean?”

“Just come and watch.”  Daniel grabbed his glass of water and walked over to the pool table, grabbing a bar stool.  Sam, Cam and Teal’c soon followed suit. 

Jack was racking up the balls while Caitlin chose a pool cue.  She was putting chalk on the tip when Jack offered her the chance to break. 

“Thank you,” she told him, taking the white ball from his hands.  She set it down on the table where she wanted it, and aimed at it with her pool stick.  “Is this how you do it?” she asked him.  Jack showed her how to properly hold the pool cue, and finally Caitlin pulled back her stick and hit the ball, but not hard enough to break the balls fully apart. 

She shouldn’t be too hard to beat, Jack thought to himself.  He took his turn, knocking a few of the solid ones in until he missed.  When Caitlin’s turn came up, she went for a more difficult shot, knowing she would miss. 

Daniel saw what she was doing, and was totally confused.  When her turn was over, he called her over to him.  “What are you doing, Caitlin?” he whispered to her.  “I know you can play better than this.  I’ve seen you.”

“Just trust me,” she whispered back.  She turned her attention back to the table and noticed that it was her turn again. 

“So Caitlin,” Jack said as he went for a shot, “are you into any sports?”

“Jack’s a big hockey fan,” Sam told her.

“Which team?” she asked him. 

Jack made his next shot.  “The Minnesota Wild, of course.  You like hockey?”

“No.  I’m a big baseball fan myself.  Been cheering for the Minnesota Twins for years.  Never been to a game, though.”

“Excellent!” He exclaimed.  “You and I'll have to get together sometime and talk about that.”

Caitlin smiled, and tried to make another shot, an easy one, but missed on purpose. “Oops!  I’ll just have to try harder, I guess,” she said looking at Daniel, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Jack to beat Caitlin.  He felt a little bad that he had beaten her so easily, and he told her so. 

“Oh, don’t worry about it Jack,” she told him.  “I guess I’m just not as good a player as you are.  I am having fun though, so let’s play again.”

“Sure.  I’ll even let you break again.”  Jack racked up the balls, and handed her the white ball.  This time, she expertly placed the ball where she wanted it on the table, and with a swift strike of the cue, broke apart the balls, sending two striped ones into the pockets. 

Jack just stared.  “I thought you didn’t know how to play pool very well.”

Caitlin aimed for a difficult shot, and easily got it in.  When she was done, she turned to Jack and smiled broadly.  “I lied.”  Everyone laughed, and Teal’c smiled at her.

“I guess she sure showed you, huh, Jack?” Daniel said, laughing. 

Jack turned and gave him a dirty look, which made the others laugh all the harder. 

Finally Caitlin missed a shot, and it was Jack’s turn.  Trying to impress her, he went for a difficult shot and missed. 

“Don’t feel bad, Jack,” she told him.  “It was the same way here last week with Daniel.”  By the end of the night, she had soundly beaten him in two more games. 

Jack wanted to know where she had learned so much about pool, so she told him. 

“My best friend’s husband plays in lots of tournaments, and he’s really good.  So he’s been teaching me some of his tricks.  I don’t always get the chance to practice what he teaches me, though.”

“Well, you sure showed me.  Maybe I should have him teach me some of those tricks.” 

Caitlin laughed, and excused herself, saying she needed to use the little girls’ room.  Sam went with her. 

“You must really like Daniel,” she asked Caitlin. 

“I do.  He’s funny, smart, caring, sensitive, has a great sense of humor, and he’s really handsome.”

“I can tell he likes you, too.  You’ve made him really happy these last couple of months.”

“He makes me happy, too,” Caitlin finally admitted.

“So do you think there’s anything in the future for you two?”

Caitlin shook her head.  “No.  We’re just good friends, and that’s all it can ever be for me.  I’ve been hurt too much in the past.  First my Dad died, then the ‘death’ of my mom, and an old boyfriend who hurt me really badly.  I just don’t want to take that chance again.”

“I understand where you’re coming from,” Sam told her sympathetically.  “I recently lost my dad, too.  I think it’s harder, though when you lose them at the age you lost yours.  But you shouldn’t let that stop you from finding happiness.”

“I’m pretty happy right now, though my friend Lacey would like to see me get married soon.  She says I’m one of the last single friends she has, so she figures it’s time for me to settle down.  I told her that I don’t ever want to lose someone or get hurt by someone again, so I just have friends.  Lots and lots of friends.  Oh, and two cats.”

“Really?” Sam, said, surprised.  “I love cats.  What are their names?”

Caitlin smiled.  “Tinkerbell, my tortoiseshell cat, is the oldest.  Patches, my calico, is a couple of years younger than her, and Tinkerbell reminds her of that every chance she gets.”

Sam laughed.  “I’d love to see them sometime, but Caitlin, please don’t stop loving anyone because of what’s happened to you in the past.  I know it’s tough.  It was for me, too, but everyone needs love in their life.”

“I know,” Caitlin said washing her hands and refreshing her lip gloss.  “I love Lacey and her husband as friends, and I love their daughter Sabrina as my goddaughter.  I just don’t want to love anyone like I loved my parents and like I loved my boyfriend.  If I love someone like that, I know I’ll just end up losing them in some way, or they’ll end up hurting me.”

Wow, she sounds just like Daniel, Sam thought.  Daniel’s afraid to love anyone because of what happened to Sha’re, and she’s afraid to love someone because of her parents.  Guess I’ll have to talk to the others about this.  “Well, I’m ready.  How about you?”

Caitlin nodded, and they headed out to where the guys were sitting at the table.  Sam sat down, but Caitlin didn’t. 

“I’m going to go get a pop at the bar, Daniel.  I’ll be right back.”  She turned and walked up to the bar, asking the bartender for a Diet Coke.  As the bartender got her drink, the man who had been watching her all night came over to where she was.

“Hey, baby,” he slurred, obviously drunk.  “Howsh about hangin’ wish me tonight?”

“No thanks,” Caitlin told him.  “I’m here with someone.”

“I don’t see you wish anybody right now, darlin’,” he sneered, putting his arm around her shoulders.  “Guess that means you’re all mine tonight.”

Sam noticed what was happening at the bar and quickly alerted the rest of the guys. They all got up, and Daniel quickly went over to Caitlin.  “Are you okay?” he asked her, concern in his voice. 

“I’m fine, but this guy doesn’t seem to take the hint.  I told him I was here with someone.”

“Look, pal,” the guy said menacingly, taking his arm off of Caitlin and pointing at Daniel.  “I wash here firsht, sho shove off!”

Daniel started getting angry.  “Look, I don’t know who you are mister, but Caitlin is here with me tonight.”

“See, I told you I was here with someone,” Caitlin told the man. 

He stared at her.  “You mean you’re here wish thish geek?” he asked her, slurring his words.  He put his arm around her again, and grinned at her.  “Why don’t you shpend shome quality time wish a real man.”

 “Do you see a real man around here anywhere?” Sam asked the guy.

“Why don’t you shtay out of thish?” he growled at Sam, taking his arm off of Caitlin again. 

Sam was about to say something back, when Teal’c spoke up.  “I believe Caitlin O’Brien told you she was already here with someone.”

The man stared at Teal’c, then back at Daniel.  “I thought I told you to get losht, pal, ‘cause she ish with me.”

Jack and Cam were both about to say something when Caitlin stopped them.  “I got it, guys.”  She turned back to the man, an angry look on her face.  “Look, I’ll say it again.  I’m here with my friends, and I don’t think you want to make them mad.  You might not like the consequences.”  She turned back toward Daniel, taking a drink of her pop, but the drunken man grabbed her left arm. 

“I shaid you’re coming with me!”  And what happened next stunned everyone, including Caitlin. 

Pure instinct kicked in.  She quickly spun on her left foot to face him, his hand still on her left arm.  Planting her right foot between his legs, she curled up her right fingers and flattened her palm, and pulling back, she thrust her arm forward and planted the heel of her right hand squarely under his nose.  He quickly released the hold he’d had on her arm and stumbled backwards, blood gushing from his nose.  All the fight drained from him, and Teal’c and Cam quickly grabbed him while Jack asked the stunned bartender to call the police. 

The police arrived, and they took the man into custody, getting statements from everyone, including Caitlin.  After everything had quieted down and Caitlin had washed her hands, the group returned to their table, drinks in hand.  Finally Jack couldn’t stand the wait any longer.

“”How…where did you learn to do that, Caitlin?” he asked her dumbfounded. 

“I guess I’ve been watching too many Walker, Texas Ranger reruns,” she told them all with a sheepish grin.  “I also got some of that from the Karate Kid movies, too.”

“You mean you got all that from TV and movies?” Cam asked her incredulously. 

Caitlin blushed furiously.  “Yep.  Never thought I could do any of it, though.  I’m just glad he’s gone now.”

Teal’c smiled at Daniel.  “I believe Daniel Jackson, that you have found yourself an excellent friend.” 

“Thanks, Teal’c.  That means a lot coming from you.” 

Sam smiled at Daniel. “Well, Daniel, what do you say we go and play some darts?”

“Sure Sam.  You gonna be okay, Caitlin?” Daniel asked her as he got up from the table. 

“She’ll be fine, Daniel,” Jack told him.  “I’ll stay with her.”

Daniel, Sam, Cam and Teal’c left, and Caitlin was left with Jack.

“So tell me a little more about yourself, Caitlin,” Jack queried her.

“What would you like to know?”

“Well, when did you lose your parents, Caitlin?”

“I lost my dad when I was nine, and I lost my mom when I was ten.”

“What was your mom like?”

Caitlin thought about her mom, and images started flooding back into her mind.  “My mom was the greatest.  She baked me these great chocolate chip cookies that melted in your mouth.  And whenever I was feeling sick, she knew just what to do to make me feel better.”

“Did she ever tell you about when she was growing up?” Jack asked, taking a sip of his pop. 

“No, I don’t think so.  Why do you ask?”

“Just curious I guess.  My parents always told me about what it was like when they grew up, and I just wondered if your mom did that with you.”

“No.  As a matter of fact, she never mentioned it.  I would ask her, and she would change the subject.  I tried asking Dad once, but he told me that he didn’t know too much about it, either.  As a child I didn’t think too much about it, but now, thinking back on it, it seems odd that even my Dad didn’t know anything.”

“Maybe she just had a bad childhood and didn’t want to relive it,” Jack offered. 

Caitlin took a sip of her Diet Coke.  “Maybe.  However, when I was older, I went looking through all the old photos trying to find any pictures of Mom when she was a little girl, and I couldn’t.”

Her mom must have come here as a young woman, Jack thought to himself. But how did she get here? 

“Did you mom ever tell you her ancestry?  For example, I’m part Norwegian on my Dad’s side.”

“No.  She never told Dad, either.  Jack, why are you so interested in my mom?”

“Like I said, just curiosity.”

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know,” Caitlin admonished him with a frown.

“Yeah, I know.”  Jack finished off his pop, and continued.  “So how did you become interested in homeopathic remedies?  Did you get your interest from your mom?”

“Yes.  I was always getting sick or getting into scrapes as a child, so she would ‘kiss it and make it better’, so to speak.  Even though I was only ten when she died, I was already sure that I wanted to learn how to become a homeopathic healer.  So I studied hard in school, and learned all I could.  People told me I had a natural ability for it, and when I came back here, I met Lacey and started working for her.”

“Did your mom tell you where she learned her skills?”

Caitlin thought back.  “Now that you mention it, no, she didn’t.”

Caitlin couldn’t understand why Jack was so interested in her mom, but she knew it had something to do with what Daniel knew.  So she decided to ask Jack about it.  “Let me ask you something, Jack.”

“Shoot.”

“Monday night when I showed Daniel the pictures of my mom and me, he seemed shocked, but all he told me was that she looked at first like an old aunt of his.  I know he’s lying and that there’s more to it than that, but he won’t tell me.  Do you know anything?”

Jack knew that he had to tread lightly here.  “No I don’t, but I’ll talk to him about it if you want me to.”

Caitlin didn’t feel reassured by Jack’s answer, but she let it drop.  “Thanks, Jack.”

Sam, Daniel and Teal’c returned, and they sat down.

“So who won?” Jack asked. 

“Teal’c did, though he’s never played darts before in his life,” Sam said, a little annoyed. 

“Aw, Sam, it was probably just ‘beginner’s luck’, that’s all,” Caitlin said.

“Some luck,” Daniel grumbled. 

Jack and Caitlin laughed.  “Well, Daniel,” she told him, “the next time you and I are here, we can play.  Trust me; I’m not good at all.  Even Jason will tell you that.  He’s tried to teach me that, too, but I just can’t seem to catch on.”  Caitlin glanced at her watch and noticed it was after eleven.  “Well, I hate to be a real party-pooper, folks, but I have to get up for work tomorrow.”  She turned toward Daniel.  “Well, Daniel, 'let’s make like a bread truck and haul buns'.”

Daniel and the others laughed, but Teal’c raised an eyebrow.  “I do not understand that particular phrase, Caitlin O’Brien.  What does it mean?”

She laughed.  “It just means that we need to get going.”

“Could you not have just said that?”

Sam was still laughing.  “She could have, Teal’c, but it was more comical to say it the other way.”

“You know, I could have said, ‘let’s make like a banana and ‘split’, or ‘let’s make like Tom and ‘Cruise’, or ‘let’s make like a pair of pantyhose and ‘run’,” Caitlin said, a mischievous smile on her face.

“I do not understand those phrases either,” Teal’c told her amid the laughter of the others. 

“Don’t worry, T”, Jack said, still laughing.  “I’ll explain them to you later.”

Teal’c nodded at Jack, and Daniel and Caitlin got up.  The others also got up, and everyone got their coats on.  As they were walking out, Sam walked alongside Caitlin. 

“So Caitlin, don’t keep up our boy too late tonight,” she said, smiling.  “He needs his beauty sleep, thought he hardly gets any, what with the fact that he’s working all the time.”

“You mean he’s a workaholic?”

“So you’ve noticed that too.”

“Yes.  I noticed because Lacey accuses me of that all the time.”

“Then you and Daniel really are perfect for each other,” Sam told her as she stopped in front of Daniel’s jeep. 

“Sam,” Caitlin protested, but the look on Sam’s face made her laugh instead.  “Drive safely, Sam, Jack.  I hope to see you all again soon.  It was nice meeting all of you.”

“You, too, Caitlin,” Jack told her before getting into his truck with Teal’c.  “Take care of our Danny-boy here, and have him back at a decent hour.”

Daniel rolled his eyes at Jack, and finally he and Caitlin got in his jeep and drove away. 

“I take it you had fun tonight, Caitlin,” Daniel commented as he drove her home.

“I did.  I like your friends, Daniel, especially Teal’c.  And did you see the look on Jack’s face after I beat him twice in pool?”

Daniel laughed at the memory.  “I know.  He couldn’t believe that you were that good.  Even I’m impressed.”

“Thanks.  I really did have fun tonight, though, and your friends seem to really care a lot about you.”

“Yeah, they do.  I guess it’s because most of us have been friends for a long time.”

“I’m glad you have friends like that.”

“Me too,” Daniel said, deciding to change the subject.  “Speaking of friends, what were you and Jack talking so intently about?”

“He was asking questions about my mom.”

“Oh?  What kinds of questions?”

“He wanted to know if she’d ever talked about her past before she met my dad.  He also wanted to know my ancestry on my mom’s side.  I told him I didn’t know, and Mom never talked about it, not even to my dad.”  She turned to look at Daniel.  “Daniel, does this have anything to with the reaction to those photos you saw on Monday?”

Uh-oh, Daniel thought.  Here it comes.  “No.  Why do you ask?”

Caitlin had a serious look on her face.  “It just seems strange that you would react so strangely to that photo of me and my mom, and now your friend Jack is asking all these questions about my mom.  I know there’s something you’re keeping from me.  Now please tell me.”

Daniel tried to think of something he could tell her that she would believe.  “Really, Caitlin, there’s nothing to tell.  Everyone is just interested in how you learned your knowledge of herbs and plants, that’s all.”

Caitlin didn’t buy it.  “Daniel, that’s all well and good, but Jack was also asking about my ancestry and if my mom had told me about her childhood.  Now that has nothing to do with my knowledge of herbs and plants.”

“So he was interested in your mom’s childhood.  So what?”

  “Daniel,” Caitlin raised her voice.  “I can tell when people are lying to me, and I can tell when people are holding things back from me.  I know there’s more to this than you’re letting on.  Why won’t you tell me?”

“I am not keeping something from you, Caitlin,” he told her as he pulled up into the parking lot of her apartment building.  “You’re just imagining things.”

“I am not,” she shouted at him, quickly opening the door and storming out of his vehicle.  “I know you’re lying to me.”

“Caitlin,” Daniel began, but she cut him off. 

She was really angry now.  “Daniel, what are you hiding from me?  Is it something that you think I can’t handle, because believe me, I’m stronger than you think.”

“I know that,” Daniel said trying to calm her down.  “But I’m telling you, there’s nothing to tell.  Jack was just curious.”

“I don’t believe you,” Caitlin told him, her arms crossed and a very angry expression on her face. 

“Well, I don’t know what else to say, then,” he told her.

“I do,” she said icily.  “Good night, Dr. Jackson.”

“Caitlin,” he called out, but it was too late.  She had already stormed off and went inside.  So he got into his Jeep and drove back to the base.

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

Daniel parked his jeep in the base parking lot, and he made his way down through the levels to his quarters.  He changed into a pair of BDU’s and a black shirt, and, lacing up his boots, walked down the corridors to the mess hall.  He grabbed a cup of coffee and found a quiet table where he sat down, feeling miserable and dejected.  He hated lying to Caitlin, but he couldn’t tell her about her mother, not yet.  He didn’t know if he would ever be able to tell her. 

Sam was looking for Daniel, and found him sitting alone in a corner of the mess hall.  Uh-oh, something happened after we left, she thought, looking at him.  She sat down next to him. 

“Daniel, what’s wrong?” she asked him, concern written all over her face.  “You haven’t even touched your coffee.”

“Caitlin and I had an argument.”

“What was it about?”

Daniel didn’t look up at her.  “Caitlin knows that I’m keeping something from her, especially after Jack started asking her questions about her mom tonight.”

“He thought she might know something about how her mom got to Earth.”

He finally looked up at her.  “Well, she knows that I’m keeping something big from her, and she demanded to know what it was.  I know I can’t say anything, but she still wanted to know.  I tried to tell her that it was just Jack’s curiosity, but she didn’t buy it.  Now she’s angry with me.”

Sam put her hands on Daniel’s.  “Don’t worry, Daniel.  I’m sure that if you give her enough time, she’ll calm down and realize that you’re right.”

Daniel shook his head.  “I don’t think so, Sam.  Tonight before she left, she called me Doctor Jackson and not Daniel.”

“She’s just upset, Daniel.  Just give her some time.”

“No, Sam,” Daniel insisted.  “She knows that there’s more to this than just innate curiosity.  Until I tell her, she won’t let this go.”

Sam looked at him.  “You know you can’t tell her anything.”

“When will I be able to tell her about her mom, Sam?”

“That’s up to Gen. Landry and Jack to decide.  Speaking of them, they want us to meet in the briefing room in ten minutes.”

“This late?” Daniel asked her, confused.

“Yep.  So we’d better get going.  Why don’t you leave your coffee?  It’ll just keep you awake.

“I don’t know if I could sleep tonight anyway, Sam,” Daniel said as they both stood up and walked out of the mess hall.  A few minutes later Jack, Sam, Teal’c, Daniel and Cam were seated around the conference room.  Gen. Landry came walking out of his office. 

“Sorry to call you all up here this late,” Gen. Landry said, taking his customary seat at the head of the table.  “But Gen. O’Neill’s learned some interesting things about Miss O’Brien.  Jack?”

“Thank you.  Tonight I had a chance to talk to Caitlin about her parents, specifically about her mother.  I asked her if she knew anything about her mother’s childhood, but she didn’t know anything.  In fact, she told me that her dad didn’t know anything, either.  She also told me that she tried going through old photos to find pictures of her mom as a little girl, but there weren’t any.”

Sam spoke up.  “So that must mean that she came to Earth as a young woman.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Jack said. 

“So if Caitlin can’t tell us anything,” Cam said.  “Then what now?  Go talk to the healer about this?”

Gen. Landry looked over at Daniel.  “What do you think, Dr. Jackson?” he asked, but Daniel didn’t hear him. 

“Earth to Daniel,” Jack called out. 

“Huh?” Daniel replied, a sad look on his face. 

“What’s wrong, Daniel?” Jack asked, concern in his voice.

“Daniel and Caitlin had an argument tonight,” Sam told the others. 

“She knows I’m hiding something, Jack,” Daniel said.  “She demanded that I tell her what I know, but I had to lie to her again.  I hated doing that, Jack.  Please tell me we can tell her about her mother.”

Jack shook his head.  “We can’t tell her anything until we know just how her mom got to Earth in the first place.

“How do we do that?” Sam asked. 

“By going directly to the source.  General,” Daniel said in a rush of words, “I suggest that we go to Danu and talk to Healer Siobhan.  We take the picture to her and ask her directly.”

Gen. Landry shook his head.  “I don’t know, Dr. Jackson.  Our relationship with the Danuans is still quite fragile at this point.”

“I know that, sir, but it’s the only way we’re going to get the answers.  Please,” Daniel turned toward Gen. O'Neill.  “Jack, please.  Let us go.  Once we know something, then I can tell her about her mother.”

“Hold it, Daniel,” Jack told him.  “It’s not that easy.  Remember, she doesn’t know that her mom is from another planet.  She just thinks her mom is like the rest of us.  Besides, it means revealing the existence of the stargate.”

Daniel slammed his fist into the table.  “I don’t care,” he said angrily.  “I don’t like lying to people I care about and hurting them.  She deserves the truth and you know it.”

Sam tried to calm Daniel down.  “We know she does, Daniel, but we have to figure out the right time to tell her.”

“The sooner the better,” he growled. 

“I, too, am in agreement with Daniel Jackson.  We should attempt to find out how the healer came to Earth.”

Jack threw up his hands in defeat.  “It’s up to you, Hank,” he said. 

Gen. Landry thought about it for a moment, then made his decision.  “All right.  At oh-nine hundred tomorrow SG-1 will go to Danu and talk to the healer.  While you’re there, you can find out how the talks about the new government are going as well.  Dismissed.”

Everyone stood up as Gen. Landry went back into his office.  “Well, it’s late,” Jack said.  “I guess you should all hit the sack since you have a long day ahead of you tomorrow.”

Daniel glumly got up and went to his quarters, feeling more miserable and dejected every moment.  He shut his door and tried to sleep, but the sounds and images of the argument with Caitlin haunted him to no end. 

Sam, Cam and the others quietly met in her office to talk about Daniel.  Once there, Jack asked what was really going on. 

“What is going on with Daniel, Carter?” Jack asked her, concern etched into his face.

“I think Daniel’s in love with Caitlin sir, though he refuses to admit it.  All the signs are there; even Cam and Teal’c can see it.”

“I agree with Col. Carter,” Teal’c said.  “I, too, have seen a strong bond growing between Daniel Jackson and Caitlin O’Brien.”

“So why doesn’t he say anything to her?” Jack asked them. 

“Sir, you know the answer to that as well as everyone else here,” Sam told him. “For one thing, he doesn’t want what happened to Sha’re to ever happen again, and now with the threat of the Ori, he’s believes that it could happen again if he took that risk.”

“Love is all about risk, Carter,” Jack told her.

“I know that, and so does Daniel, but he’s still afraid.”

Teal’c turned toward Jack.  “Daniel Jackson believes that if he were to ‘fall in love’ with Caitlin O’Brien and the Ori came to Earth, she would be captured and used to their advantage.  He does not want that to happen.”

“Yeah, well, it’s not his decision to make now, is it?” Jack told him.  “It would be hers.”

“Yeah,” Cam added.  “But he doesn’t want her to have to make that decision, so he’s making it for her.”

Jack groaned.  “So what about Caitlin, Carter?  Did you sense anything tonight on her end?”

“When she and I went to the bathroom earlier, she and I talked about it.  She told me she’d been hurt too much in the past by the death of her dad, then the supposed ‘death’ of her mom.  Then she told me about an old boyfriend who hurt her really badly.  She said she didn’t want to take the chance of losing someone she cared about or the chance of getting hurt again.  I told her I understood where she was coming from, having just recently losing my own dad, but that it shouldn’t stop her from finding happiness.”

“Gen. Landry told me earlier today he’s never seen Daniel so happy before,” Jack told them.  “Granted, he was happy with Sha’re, but when she died I thought he would never be happy again.  So when I saw the two of them together tonight, I knew that Daniel had found happiness again, and it was good to see him that happy.”

“I agree with you there, Gen. O’Neill,” Cam said.  “But I’ve learned in the short time that I’ve been here that Daniel can be pretty damn stubborn and obstinate.”

“Trust me.  You don’t know the half of it, Col. Mitchell,” Jack told him a small smile playing across his lips.  “Just ask Carter and Teal’c here.”

Cam nodded.  “Well, I think the best way for us to help Dr. Jackson is to go to Danu and talk to their healer tomorrow and see what she’s got to say.  The sooner we do that, then the sooner you and Gen. Landry can decide when and how much to tell Caitlin.”

“Depending on what you find out in the next few days, we may not be able to tell her anything at all,” Jack reminded Sam.

“Jack, I agree with Daniel,” Sam said, sounding a little aggravated.  “Caitlin deserves to know the truth about her mom; all the truth.  She also deserves to know about why she’s different from the rest of us.”

Jack frowned at her.  “Carter, I don’t have to tell you what that would mean if we tell her all of this.”

“We all know that, but you said the decision concerning the threat of the Ori was Caitlin’s to make, and so is this.”

Jack knew that she was right.  “Let’s just wait until you get back from Danu in a few days, Sam.  Gen. Landry and I can decide what to do then.”

In his quarters, Daniel had tried to sleep, but he couldn’t.  The look on Caitlin’s face, and the harshness of her words kept haunting his thoughts.  Wonder if Jack’s still up, he thought as he got out of bed and put on a t-shirt and his BDU’s.  He tied on his boots and wandered down the corridors.  As he came near Sam’s office, he heard Jack talking, so he walked inside. 

Everyone stopped talking when Daniel came into the room. 

“Daniel,” Sam said, surprised to see him.  “I thought you had gone back to your quarters to sleep.”

“I can’t sleep, Sam.”  He noticed their serious expressions.  “So what are we all talking about?”

Everyone was quiet for a moment.  “We... we were talking about our mission tomorrow,” Sam quickly told him. 

“Is that true Jack?” Daniel asked him. 

“Yes,” Jack said, following Sam’s lead. 

“I see,” Daniel replied.  He didn’t believe either one of them, but he was too upset to argue about it.

“We were just finishing up anyway, Daniel,” Sam told him as they all got up to leave. 

“Jack, you got a minute?” Daniel asked him before he could leave.

“Sure.  Why don’t we go to the mess hall?”

Sam and the others left for their quarters, and Jack and Daniel made their way up to the mess hall.  It was quiet, so Jack grabbed a table while Daniel got a bottle of water from the cooler. 

“What’s on your mind, Danny-boy?” Jack asked him. 

“It’s about Caitlin, Jack.  She was really angry with me tonight.  She knows I’m keeping something from her, and she told me as much.”

“I know, but you can’t tell her anything without exposing the Stargate program, and as we talked about earlier, we don’t know anything about her mom yet.  So let’s just wait until we know something.”  Jack decided to try and change the subject.  “This is really upsetting you isn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes,” Daniel said simply.  “I deliberately hurt her by lying to her.”

“You must really care about Caitlin then.”

Daniel took a drink of his water.  “Of course!  She’s my friend.”

“You’re in love with her.”

“Am not.”

“You are too.”

 “Don’t start, Jack,” Daniel said, standing up.  “You know I can’t let it become more than friendship.”

“It already is.”

“It can’t be.”

“Why?  Because of what happened to Sha’re?  Because of the threat of the Ori?  Come on, Daniel!”

“Yes!”

“Daniel, Sha’re married you even though Apophis was still a major threat to her people.  Didn’t she?”

Daniel was pacing in front of the table now.  “Yes, she did.”

Jack pressed on.  “And you knew when you married her that there were other Goa’ulds out there that were also a threat, correct?”

Daniel nodded.

“So what makes this any different?  Sha’re knew the risks, but you two got married anyway.”

“Yes, and look at what happened,” Daniel said, continuing to pace the floor.  “I wasn’t there to protect her, and she got captured by Apophis.  I tried to keep him from making her his queen, but I couldn’t.  Then she died.”

“For cryin’ out loud, would you quit pacing and sit down,” Jack said, exasperated. 

Daniel stopped pacing and sat down, taking another drink of his water and trying to calm himself down. 

“First of all, Daniel,” Jack started.  “You couldn’t have known that Apophis was gonna come through the gate.  None of us could have predicted that.  Second, if you had tried to stop that snakehead when he took Sha’re, you would have been killed, and none of what has happened since that time would have been possible.”

Daniel had a forlorn look on his face.  “I know Jack, but I still feel responsible.  I just don’t want to go through that again.”

“Look, I know people have told you this before, and they will again.  Love is about taking an enormous risk.  It’s about putting your heart out on the line and hoping it doesn’t get smashed to bits.”

“What about the Ori, Jack?  They’re even more powerful than that Goa’uld were.  What if Caitlin and I started dating and they found out about her?  I couldn’t handle that again.”

“You’re talking about the future Daniel,” Jack told him.  “No one knows about the future.”  Jack put his hand on Daniel’s shoulder.  “Everyone can see that you really care about her, and that she makes you happy.  That’s all that matters.”

Daniel sighed.  “So do you think I can talk to her about her mom when we get back from Danu?”

“It all depends on what you find out, Daniel.  Look, when you get back Gen. Landry and I will go over what you find out and make a decision after that.  For now, you need to get some sleep so you can be more focused tomorrow.  You’ve got a long day ahead of you, and you need to be at your best.”

“I tried to sleep earlier, Jack, but I just couldn’t.”

“Then go down to Dr. Lam and see if she can give you something.”

Daniel nodded, and they both left the mess hall, Daniel headed down to the Infirmary and Jack to the guest quarters. 

It was morning at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and Sam, Cam, and Teal’c were in the locker room gearing up for their mission to Danu.  Daniel came scurrying in, looking tired and haggard. 

“Hey, Daniel,” Sam said as he hurried into the locker room.  “Is everything okay?”

“I didn’t sleep well last night,” he told her.  “I went to Dr. Lam to get something to help me sleep, but it didn’t help.  I really hurt Caitlin last night.”

“Jackson, you gonna be with us for this or not?” Cam asked him.

“Don’t worry, Cam.  I’m with you.”

“Look, Daniel, let’s focus on finding out as much as we can from Healer Siobhan.  The more we know, the better the chance that Jack and Gen. Landry will let you tell Caitlin about her mom.”  Sam finished putting on her vest.  “Do you have the picture?”

“Yes,” he said, patting his vest on the bench. 

“Good.  Soon as your ready we’ll get going.”

Daniel nodded, putting on his vest and grabbing his weapon.  The four of them made their way down to the gateroom, and Walter called out to Gen. Landry that the team was ready to go. 

Jack and Gen. Landry were talking in his office when Walter had called out.  They walked into the control room, and Gen. Landry ordered him to dial up Danu.

Walter called out the chevrons, and after the seventh chevron had locked, the stargate opened and the team walked to the base of the ramp, turning to look up at the control room. 

“Okay, campers,” Jack called out.  Find out what you can about the healer, and see how they’re coming on their new government.”

Gen. Landry took the mike.  “Just remember that our alliance with them is still very fragile, so tread lightly.”

“Got it, sir,” Sam called out.

Gen. Landry smiled at them.  “SG1, you have a go.  Godspeed.”

“All right boys and girls,” Cam called out as they turned toward the gate.  “Let’s go.”  Sam, Daniel, Teal’c, and Cameron all put on their sunglasses and walked forward into the event horizon of the gate.  Soon they stepped onto the steps near the gate on Danu.  The team easily found the path near the gate, and soon they were walking into the village.  They decided to head to Finnegan’s Inn first to talk to Mistress Kathleen. 

The door to the inn opened, and Mistress Kathleen came out of the kitchen to see who had come in.  She was quite surprised to see who it was.  “Danu Go Bragh, friends from Auld Aerth,” she said, smiling and opening her arms, bowing slightly.  “Welcome back to Fluairíd Robáil (Flowing River).  “Tis good 't see ya again.”

Sam smiled, returning the gesture.  “It’s good to see you again, too. Mistress Kathleen.”

“’Tis a special reason you’ve come, I take it.” 

“Yes,” Cam told her.  “We’re here to see how Master Aedan is coming with his talks about a new government.” 

“Would ya be stayin’ with us for a wee bit, then?” she asked them.

“Yes, if that’s okay with you,” Sam said. 

“Aye, that be fine with me.  I’ll even give ya the same rooms ya had before.”  Kathleen turned toward the kitchen and called out to Fiona. 

 “Mistress Fiona, our friends from Auld Aerth have returned, and I be taking them 't their rooms now.  Can ya watch things fer a few moments?”

“Not to worry, Mistress Kathleen,” she smiled.  “Things be fine here till ya come back.”  She turned to the team.  “Welcome back, friends.”

They all smiled at her as Kathleen led the group up the stairs and showed each one to their rooms.  She took Sam into her room, going to the armoire and opening it.  “I had a feelin’ that ya might be comin’ back fer a visit 't our fair village, so I kept the outfit ya wore when ya were here last time.”

“Thank you, Mistress Kathleen,” Sam said, smiling at her.  “That was very kind of you.”

“It was nothing, Mistress Samantha.  I was happy to do it.”

“Please, Mistress Kathleen,” Sam urged her. “Call me Sam.”

Kathleen looked shocked.  “Say me nay, I can’t be doin’ that.  ‘Tis a young lad’s name that is.”

“It’s what my friends call me, and I would like to consider you a friend.”

“Why thank ya,” she said, surprised.  “I would like that.”  She walked to the door.  “You and yer friends came just in time, Mistress Sam.  T'day is me bakin’ day, and I be havin’ fresh bread comin’ out o’ the oven soon.  If ya like, I can let ya have a piece.”

“That sounds really good, Mistress Kathleen,” she said, her mouth watering.  “I’d like that.”

“I’ll be down in the kitchen when ya be ready.”

“Thank you, Mistress Kathleen,” Sam said warmly.  Kathleen left for the kitchen, and Sam decided to change into the Danuan dress and shoes.  Once she was dressed, she left her room and headed to Cam’s room at the top of the stairs. 

Cam heard a knock on his door and went to open it.  “Hi, Sam.  Come on in.”

He went to the bed and sat down.  “So what’s up?  I see you’ve changed already.”

“I just wanted to fit in while we’re here.  Even the little things may make the difference in our alliance with Danuans.  Besides, I see you’ve changed, too.”

Cam smiled sheepishly, and pulled on the boots that had been with the outfit.  “Have you been to see Daniel and Teal’c yet?” 

Sam shook her head.  “I came here first.”

Cam got up and grabbed the scarf that went with his outfit and handed it to Sam, who tied it on for him.  Then the two of them left his room and headed down the hall to Daniel’s room.  Sam knocked, and they heard a muffled, “Come in!”

Cam opened the door and saw that Daniel was also dressed in his Danuan outfit.  “So Jackson.  What should we do first?”

Daniel looked up at them.  “I think we should go to Heal Siobhan’s cottage as soon as possible.  I want to find out all she knows.”

Sam went over to him.  “Slow down, Daniel.  We just got here.  Maybe we should take some time and reacquaint ourselves with these people.  Mistress Kathleen just invited me into the kitchen for a piece of her fresh baked bread, and I plan to take her up on that offer.  Maybe you could go and see Master Aedan and let him know we’re here.” 

“I, too, agree with Col. Carter.  You must be patient, Daniel Jackson.”

“I know,” Daniel told them.  “It’s just, after that argument with Caitlin last night I want to find out all we can.”

“And we will, Jackson, in time,” Cam told him.

Sam sniffed the air and smelled the heavenly scent of fresh baked bread.  “Well, if you gentlemen will excuse me, I smell some fresh baked bread.  Teal’c, you want to come with me?”

“Indeed.”  Teal’c bowed his head to Cam and Daniel, and walked out with Sam down to the kitchen. 

“C’mon Jackson, let’s go see Master Aedan.  You might even talk him into letting you read some more historical books from another village if you ask him.”

Daniel nodded, and together they left the inn headed for the village hall. 

Master Aedan was working in his office in the village hall when Daniel and Cam knocked on his door.  His face lit up when he saw them.  “Master Daniel, Master Cameron!  ‘Tis fine ‘t see ya!  I didn’t expect t’ see ya back so soon.”

“Well, we hadn’t heard from you in a while,” Daniel told him.  “So we thought we’d come and check and see how things are going.  Have you had a chance to talk to your people and the other villages about a new government yet?”

“Aye, that we have me boy.  That we have.  If ya like, we can go into the main hall and talk.”  He leaned in and whispered, a mischievous smile on his lips.  “Besides, it gives me a break 't have a wee dram o’ refreshment.”  He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a familiar bottle and three glasses.  He motioned for Daniel and Cam to follow him into the main hall.  Once inside, he set the bottle and the glasses down and lit a fire in the fireplace.  He returned to the table and sat down, opening up the bottle and pouring some of the brown liquid in each of the glasses. 

He handed one each to Daniel and to Cam, and took the last one for himself.  “Ahh,” he said after a healthy swig of the ale.  “That hits the spot.  Ya asked about how we be comin’ along with the information you gave us.  I be giving the information ya gave me t’ the other village managers, and we met yesterday t’ talk about it.”

“So how did it go?” Daniel asked him.

“It be a heated discussion, Master Daniel, as some of them think the way we be runnin’ our government is fine the way it ‘tis.  However, I told them ‘bout the threat of the Ori, same as you be telling us before, and those who were against changing our government agreed ‘twould be better in the end.”

Cam looked confused, and turned to Daniel.  “So what he’s saying, Jackson, is that they’ve agreed to change their government?”

“Yes.”  Daniel turned his attention back to Master Aedan.  “So have you chosen a style of government yet?”

“Aye, that we have, me boy, that we have,” he told Daniel as he got up and went into his office.  A moment later he came back with a piece of paper.  “’Twas even one of yer suggestions we chose, Master Daniel.”  He handed Daniel the paper. 

“What’s it say, Jackson?” Cam asked him. 

“It’s the information I printed out on the Irish government.”

“So far we be gettin' as far as deciding the new government.  Since none of us have ever done or seen this before, we not be knowin’ how 't start it.”

“First of all, you need to decide on a central location to put your new Parliament House.”

Master Aedan thought for a moment.  “Well, the village of Go Leor Bláthanna (Many Flowers) ‘twould be a grand place as it be located equally between all the villages.  They also have a grand big building, if I be rememberin’ correctly, ‘twould be fine fer our new government building.”

Daniel smiled.  “Good.  If you want, we can help you set up your new government while we’re here.” 

Master Aedan’s face lit up.  “Ya can?  ‘Twould be grand, it would.  Thank ya, me boy.  I c'n have one of the boys in the village pass the word 't the other villages as well.”  He stood and shook hands with both Daniel and Cam.  “Tis a grand, grand day fer our paeople, lads.”  He winked at them.  “Tis also a fine reason 't celebrate, is it not?”

Cam and Daniel chuckled.  “Master Aedan, I think any day for you is a day to celebrate,” Cam told him. 

Aedan laughed.  “That it ‘tis, me boy!”  He walked to his office, putting the paper back and locking the door.  “Let’s head 't the inn; we can talk there.  ‘Tis lunchtime, and I can see ya still not be eatin' enough to feed a gabhar(goat), Master Daniel.”

“What’s a gabhar?” Cam asked him. 

“It’s a goat.”

After Aedan had locked the door to the village hall, the three of them walked through the village to the inn.  They walked in and found a nice table near the fireplace.  Sam and Teal’c joined them. 

“Hey guys,” Daniel said, smiling.  “How was the fresh bread?”

Sam smiled.  “It was delicious.  I’ve never had better tasting bread.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c added. 

Mistress Kathleen saw the group and came over to their table.  “Danu Go Bragh, friends,” she told them all.  “’Tis good ‘t have ya back.”  She saw Daniel and a frown came across her face.  “Master Daniel,” she said, her hands on her hips.  “Ya still be not eatin’ properly, I see.” 

Aedan smiled at her.  “I told him that he not be eatin’ enough ‘t feed a goat.”

“He be right, Master Daniel.  Might I suggest havin’ the uaineoil t'day.  'Twould fill ya up right.” 

Teal’c looked at Daniel, confused.  “I do not understand that word, Daniel Jackson.”

“It means lamb.”  He thought for a moment.  “That’s actually sounds good, Mistress Kathleen.”

Kathleen took out her quill pen and paper, and she began to write everyone’s orders down.  Once she had written them down, she left for the kitchen to give the orders to Fiona.  She came back a few moments later with a large mug of ale for Master Aedan, glasses and a pitcher of water for their table, and glasses of ale and stout for everyone else. 

Master Aedan took a large swallow of his ale.  “Ahh,” he said, smiling broadly.  “‘Tis a fine ale today, Mistress Kathleen.”

“Get away with ya, Master Aedan,” Kathleen said, teasing him.  “Ya always be tellin’ me that when ya come here.”

“T'wouldn’t be sayin’ it if it weren’t true.”

“Well, if ya all will excuse me, there be more customers that need tendin’ to.”  And with that she left them alone to talk amongst themselves. 

As the group ate their lunch, they talked about the new government and how best to begin to set it up.  Daniel gave Master Aedan some suggestions, but his mind was more on the healer. 

“Danu to Jackson,” Cam called out as he finished his meal.  “You with us?”

Daniel nodded.  “Yeah, I was just thinking, that’s all.”

Master Aedan finished his meal and the last few sips of his ale.  “Well, if ya will excuse me old bones, I’ll be goin’ 't send word to the other villages ‘bout your ideas.”  He wiped his mouth, and stood.  “Mistress Kathleen,” he said to her when she had gotten to their table.  “’Twas a fine meal again as usual.  Any man be proud t’ have you for a wife.”

Kathleen blushed.  “Thank ya kindly, Master Aedan.”

“Take care of our friends, here.  I be going to send word to the other villages now that they be here t’ help us.  And I be settin' things right with me bill later.”

“Ya always do,” Kathleen said, then bowed slightly to him.  “Danu Go Bragh, Master Aedan.”

Aedan left, and Kathleen started clearing their plates away. 

“What can we trade for the dinner, Mistress Kathleen?” Daniel asked her. 

“Say me nay, ya not be tradin’ me anythin’.  Am glad 't be of service 't such fine friends and cousins from Auld Aerth.”

 “We really would like to give you something for the delicious meal,” Sam urged.

Kathleen thought about that for a moment.  “I suppose ‘twould be fine.  What have ya got in mind?”

“I have a recipe for a great lamb dish that my mother always made.  I could share it with you.”

Kathleen’s face lit up.  “Aye.  'Twould be fine, Mistress Sam.”

“I’ll show it to you later.”

“Aye.  “Twould be good, as there’s more bakin’ 't be done this afternoon anyway.”

Kathleen heard Fiona calling to her from the kitchen, and she excused herself from the group. 

Cam spoke up.  “Well, since contacting the other village managers will take a while, I think it’s time we go talk to the healer.”

“Where do we even begin to tell her?” Daniel asked the group. 

“I’ve been thinking about that.  Remember the last day, Jackson, when she wanted to supposedly test you again for your allergies?

Daniel nodded.  “She had a strange look on her face, and when I asked her about it, that’s when she told me she just needed more info on the allergies I have.”

“Yeah, I saw it too,” Sam commented.  “It seemed really strange.”

Cam had a serious look on his face.  “Well I for one don’t believe her.  So Daniel, you can start there.  See if she’ll give you a better explanation.”

Daniel nodded.  He got up and hurried upstairs to his room, grabbing the two photographs he had brought.  He came back downstairs and the team left the inn, headed for the Healer’s cottage.

Healer Siobhan (shee-van) was outside her cottage tending to her garden when the team came.  She stopped and wiped her hands, bowing slightly to them and giving them the traditional greeting. 

Danu Go Bragh, Healer Siobhan,” Daniel said, returning the greeting.  “I believe you remember my friend, Col. Samantha Carter.  These are my friends as well,” he told her, pointing to each one as he introduced them.”  “This is Teal’c, and this is Col. Cameron Mitchell.”

Danu Go Bragh,” she told them.  “How can I help you t'day, Master Daniel?”

“We would like to talk to you,” Daniel told her.  “Could we go into your cottage?”

Siobhan immediately sensed that something was very wrong.  She saw one of the village children walking past her, and called out to her.  “Hannah!  Come here quickly!”

Hannah hurried over to her.  “What be the problem Healer?”

“Run and go get Master Aedan,” she said, fear and urgency in her voice.  “Tell him it be an emergency.  Run fast!”

Hannah ran away to find Master Aedan, and the healer turned back to the group.  “I do not want to talk to ya,” she said firmly.  “Not until Master Aedan comes.”

Soon Master Aedan came hurrying up the cobblestone streets.  “What be the trouble, Healer Siobhan?” he asked, trying to catch his breath. 

“These paeople wish to speak privately to me, but I be afraid of what they have to say.”

Master Aedan looked at the group, confusion on his face.  “’Tis this true?” he asked them.

“Yes, we have something we wish to talk to her about,” Sam told him.  “But we don’t mean to frighten her.  We just want to talk to her.”

“If I agree to talk with ya, can Master Aedan stay and hear what you have to say as well?” Healer Siobhan asked them, fear still etched on her face and in her voice.

“If it would make you feel better,” Daniel said to her, “then yes, of course.”

“Aye, then we can go inside.”  Siobhan led the way into her cottage and closed the door behind them.  She lit the fire and a couple of candles, and went to stand beside Aedan. 

  “Healer Siobhan,” Daniel began.  “I wanted to talk to you about something that happened the last time we were here.  On the last day, we were getting ready to go back to Earth when you wanted to test me for allergies again, or so you told me.  When you tested me the way you did, you had a very strange look on your face.  It was a look of shock and fear.  Why?”

Siobhan gave him the same answer as she had that day.  “That be all there is t’ that, Master Daniel,” she told him, but Daniel didn’t believe her. 

“I think there was more to it.”

Master Aedan stopped him.  “Master Daniel, she gave ya an answer now.  Are ya sayin’ ya not be believin’ her?”

“Yes.  Healer Siobhan, we mean you no harm, but if there was something wrong, then you need to tell me.”

Siobhan went to the fireplace and stood there, staring into the flames.  “’Tis not your concern, Master Daniel,” she said, her voice shaking.  “’Tis something I wish 't forget.”

Master Aedan could see that all this was upsetting her.  He turned toward the team.  “Please, friends,” he pleaded.  “I ask that ya not be upsettin’ the healer.”

“I know this must be upsetting,” Cam said, “but it’s very important.  It might have to deal with the threat of the Ori.”

Healer Siobhan was crying softly now.  “Please, Master Daniel.  It be hurtin’ too much 't remember.”

Master Aedan went to her.  “Healer, if this be dealin’ with the threat 'o the Ori, then maybe we should be tellin’ them.”

She looked at him, tears streaming down her face.  “I can’t talk about my past, Master Aedan.  'Tis too painful 't remember.  Master Daniel understands.”  She turned to look at him.  “Ya've lost loved ones in yer past, have ya not?”

“Yes,” Daniel told her, surprised.  “How did you know?” 

“I felt it that day,” she said as she sat down at her table.  “I felt something else that day, too, but I cannot be talking ‘bout it.  ‘Tis too painful.”

Suddenly the realization hit Daniel.  “Oh God!” he murmured.  The others heard him and gave him puzzled looks.  “Please give us a moment, Master Aedan, Healer Siobhan.”  Daniel motioned for the others to join him in the far corner of the room. 

“What it is, Daniel?” Sam asked him. 

“I think that Healer Siobhan thinks that Caitlin is dead.”

“Oh my God!” Sam exclaimed.  “That would explain her reluctance to talk about her.”

“Yes.”

“Well, we still need to find out about everything she knows,” Cam told them.  “So Daniel, I suggest you show her the picture now.”

Daniel nodded, and the four of them walked back over to where Siobhan and Aedan were.  “Healer Siobhan,” Daniel began again.  “Please understand.  I know this is hard, but we have to ask you if you’ve ever been to Earth before.”

Aedan stepped in.  “Now Master Daniel, ya know that before ya came through the Stone Circle, there be no one other than The Evil One be comin’ here.”

“I think that she’s been to Earth before, Master Aedan, and I have proof.”  Daniel carefully handed the first photo to Healer Siobhan. 

Siobhan looked at the photo and immediately dropped it onto the table as if it were on fire.  She was shaking uncontrollably now, and Aedan immediately went over to her. 

“Healer, what is it?” he asked, alarmed.  She couldn’t answer him, but he picked up the photograph and looked at it intently.  “Where did ya get this, this falsehood?” he asked, anger in his voice.  “How could ya be hurtin’ our healer like this?”

“This is only a copy of the original photograph I got from a good friend I have back on Earth,” Daniel told him.  “She showed the original to me.”

“No!” Siobhan cried out.  “’Tis not possible!  The girl you speak of ‘tis dead!”

“Who is dead?” Daniel asked her. 

Siobhan was crying harder now.  “It cannot be true, Master Daniel!  She has been lost to me for many-a-year now.”

“Who is it, Healer Siobhan?” Daniel gently pressed her again.  “Is it your daughter Caitlin?”

Aedan looked sharply at him.  “How do ya know ‘bout Caitlin?”

“Because she is a good friend of mine, and because I saw her last night.”

Healer Siobhan was rocking back and forth in her chair now, crying and whispering to herself, “Tis’ not true!” 

Aedan narrowed his eyes.  “I do not believe ya, Master Daniel.  It cannot be true.  Caitlin t'was lost 't Healer Siobhan when she be only ten years 'o age.”

“I can prove it’s Caitlin.”  He showed Master Aedan the second picture he had brought with him.  “This is a picture of Caitlin and me at a friends’ Halloween party a week ago.  The next night, my friends here all met her.”

“Yes,” Sam added.  “She was warm, friendly, and very beautiful.”

Master Aedan stared at the picture, then back at the picture of her and Siobhan.  He couldn’t believe his eyes.  She was older, yes, but dear God, it was her.  He went over to Siobhan and knelt beside her chair. 

“Healer,” he said, gently.  “’Tis true.  Your daughter be alive and well on Auld Aerth.” 

“Ya beliaeve their lies, Master Aedan?” she asked him in a whisper, tears staining her face.  “’Tis dead she is, and ya choose 't beliaeve them?”

Aedan showed her the picture of Daniel and Caitlin together, and she took it from him.  She looked at it, and started crying again.  “Glóir bí go Gia!” she exclaimed.  “Glóir bí go Gia!”  She hugged the picture tightly to her, rocking back and forth in her chair.  “'Tis Caitlin!” she exclaimed to Aedan, tears of joy now streaming down her face.  “'Tis my beloved daughter!”  She stood up and hugged Daniel tightly, not wanting to let go.  “Please,” she begged him, letting him go after a few moments.  “Tell me everything!”

Siobhan asked Aedan to put the kettle of tea on again, and asked the group to sit down.  “Please, I must know.  How did my daughter get away?  How did she survive?”

“What do you mean?” Cam asked her, confused.  “Survive what?”

“Maybe you should be startin’ from the beginnin’, Healer,” Aedan suggested as he got mugs for the tea. 

Siobhan wiped her face and eyes with a cloth, and began her story.  “When I be only five years of age, a strange man came 't our village.  We thought he be a trader from another village, but he came from the skies above.  He be an evil man that took some of us as slaves.” 

“What was his name?” Cam asked her as Aedan poured himself and Siobhan a mug of tea, offering it to the others.  They all shook their heads. 

Siobhan tried to remember his name.  “I think his name was Coset Aran.”

Cam and the others looked at Teal’c expectantly.  “You ever hear of someone named Coset Aran, T?” Cam asked him. 

“I believe so.  He was a mercenary working for Camulus, one of the minor Goa’uld system lords.”

“You mean the Goa’uld that asked for asylum a couple of years ago?” Cam asked him, surprised. 

“Yes.  Coset Aran did much for Camulus such as stealing and looting from other system lords and their planets.  It must be that he came here thinking the planet was still under Mórrígan’s rule.”

“What happened when he came here, Healer Siobhan?” Daniel asked her.

 “He asked all sorts 'o strange questions.  He wanted 't know if this Mórrígan still be here.  Since we not be known’ who she was, we could not answer him.  It made him angry.  He made many of our paeople suffer for it.  Many needed my mother’s healing talents after that, and that’s when he saw my mother and me.  After that he be comin’ into our cottage, my mother’s and mine, every day.  Finally, he captured many of us in our village, and we be taken 't his ship as slaves.  There be ten of us in all that had been taken, me own mother included, God bless her rare soul.”  She took a drink of her tea, not wanting to remember but knowing that she had to finally let go of the past.  So she continued her story. 

“Once we were aboard his ship, he separated my mother and me.  I did not know where he took her.  I only knew what others told me.”  She wiped her eyes with the cloth.  “They told me that he took a likin’ 't my mother, so he made her his personal slave.  He never be lettin’ her see me, and he made me work very hard.”

“One day some of the others larned we were t’ stop at a planet called Aerth.  I not be knowin’ how she got away, but she did, and came fer me.  She and I, and a few others of us all found a way down 't yer planet.  When Coset found out, he be as angry as a roarin' lion.  He come after us, and when he caught everyone else, he come after mother and me.  She told me 't be brave, and that she loved me.  She hid me from him and was tryin' to hide herself when he found her.”  Tears were running down the healer’s face again, and Aedan put his arm around her shoulders. 

“He said that because she had run away and others had followed her, she was not fit 't be his slave.  That be when he killed her.  He killed her!  Right in front of me!”  She was openly crying now. 

Aedan hugged her.  “’Tis all right, Healer.  ‘Tis good t’ get this out now.”

“Did he find you?” Daniel asked her. 

Siobhan blew her nose.  “Say me nay.  Me mother had found a safe hiding place fer me, so he never found me.  He took her body and left.  So 'twas stranded on your planet scared and alone I was.”

“What happened after he left?” Sam asked.

“I was found wanderin’ the streets when two men come and took me 't a strange place.  I be so frightened I could not speak.  But a kind woman come and asked my name.  I could tell her that, but I did not tell her anythin’ else.  She helped me find a place 't stay, a warm meal, and new clothes.”

Siobhan finished her tea and got up, walking over to the fireplace.  “She told me that I was an,” she struggled with the word, looking at Daniel, “dílleachta.”

Daniel nodded.  “It means orphan.  Someone without their parents.”

“Yes, that be it.  ‘Twas an orphan, I was, and she be tryin’ to find me a home.  Finally she found me a home with a couple who did not have any children.  They took me in as one of their own and…” she searched for the right word, “adopted me.”

“Could you speak any English at all then?” Daniel inquired.

“Say me nay, I not be speakin’ yer language; I be too young then, so they taught me.”

“How then did you become a healer?” Teal’c asked her. 

“Well, Master Teal’c, I was fortunate to be put with fine paeople who loved me as their own.  My Aerth mother, Sarah was her name, I beliaeve, was a nurse.  She got me interested in healin’ paeople, and my father worked in a greenhouse.  I larned everything I could ‘bout herbs and plants, and when I grew up, I went 't work in a local health food store.  That was where I be meetin’ Tom O'Brien.”  Healer Siobhan smiled at the memory. 

“He be your husband there?” Aedan asked her.

Siobhan came and sat down again.  “Aye.  He be comin’ into the store one day sufferin’ from a cold, and he had a kind smile.  After he got better, he kept comin’ in just t’ see me.  Finally, one day he asked me fer a date.  A year later we were married.  Caitlin was born soon after, God bless her.”

“Caitlin told me about her father,” Daniel commented.  “She said he was the mechanical genius in your family.  She also told me he would always come home dirty and smelling like animal manure because he worked on a ranch.”

“Aye, that he did.  Whenever somethin’ be breakin’ down in our house, he was the one ‘twas always fixin’ it.  And he loved all animals, too.  ‘Twas why he worked at a ranch.”  Siobhan pictured his face in her mind, but soon the image of his death took its place.  “Did she also tell ya how he died?” she asked him, anguish in her voice now.  “Did she tell ya he lay there dyin’, and no one came 't help him?”

Daniel nodded, but Sam, Cam, and Teal’c looked at him in confusion.  Quickly he told them what Caitlin had told him about her father’s death.  His friends cringed. 

“Oh my God!” Sam exclaimed in horror.  “That must have been horrible for you, Healer Siobhan.” 

“Aye, that it was.  But I had Caitlin 't take care of, and a wonderful friend next door that helped us out, God bless her.”

“So how did you get back to Danu?” Cam queried her.

“A year after Tom’s death, God bless his soul, I was taking a walk in a nearby park.  It was late, and there be no moonlight out that night.  As I walked, a man came up behind me.  At first I not be recognizin’ him, so I started walkin’ faster.  He caught up with me and grabbed my arms and gave me somethin’ 't knock me out.  When I woke up, I found myself on a ship.  That be when I looked up into the face of Cosat Aran.  He told me that he returned 't Aerth because Camulus sent him there 't scout out the planet.  Findin’ me was just a bonus.  He also told me he knew ‘bout Caitlin.  He said she wasn’t fit 't be a slave so he, he killed her.”  Siobhan started crying softly again.

“So what did he do once he had you on his ship?” Daniel asked her. 

“He made me his slave, just as he did my mother,” she told them, wiping her eyes as she walked to the table.  “He said it was because my mother had betrayed him.”

“What did he make you do?” Sam inquired. 

Siobhan stood again, walking to the window and looking out.  She turned back to the group, a look of pain on her face.  “He made me his,” she struggled for the words to use, and looked at Daniel again.  “Grá sclábhaí,” she spat out. 

Daniel shuddered, knowing full well what that phrase meant.  His mind drifted back to Sha're and what Apophis had done to her and with her.  He didn't want to translate it, but his friends didn't understand the phrase as well as he did.  “It means love slave,” Daniel finally told his friends. 

“He told me he be wantin’ me because of my eyes.  I could not fight him.  When I was not needed, I was taken 't another room where there be other women he had captured fer Camulus.  Through them I larned we be comin’ back to Danu.”

 “When we finally got here, I made my escape off the ship.  Coset ‘twas very angry; came lookin’ fer me, he did.  But somethin’ stopped him, and I found I was finally free.  I made my way here and been livin’ here ever since.”

“What do you think made him stop looking for you?” Cameron asked her. 

“I remember only a bright light ‘twas more brilliant than our suns, and I just be glad I was free, saints be praised.”

A bright light, Daniel thought to himself as a stray thought crossed his mind.  He thought about it, them brushed it aside.  No, it can’t be, he thought again.  Could it?  He decided to find out.  “Healer Siobhan, this may seem like a very strange question for you, but when you saw the light, did it seem to have any shape to it at all?”

“Where you goin’ with this, Jackson?” Cam asked him.

Daniel turned to his friends.  “Just trust me on this one.”  He turned back to the healer.  “Please think back, Healer.  Did the light have any shape at all?”

Siobhan looked at him, confused.  “I be knowin’ not why yer wantin’ 't know.”  She tried to think about the light she had seen.  “Yes, now that ya mention it, ‘twas was somethin’ odd ‘bout it.  It seemed 't move like water, not like real sunlight.”

Daniel couldn’t believe it.  The answer had been staring them in the face all this time.  “I should have known,” he muttered to himself. 

“What was that, Jackson?” Cam asked.

“Healer Siobhan, Master Aedan, please excuse us again.”  The two of them nodded, and the team moved over to the far corner again. 

“What it is, Daniel?” Sam asked him once they were out of earshot. 

“It was just a hunch I had, but who do we know that comes in the form of a flowing beam of bright light?”

Cam was still a little confused, but the realization of what Daniel was suggesting showed plainly on Sam’s face.

“Oh my God!” Sam exclaimed.  “An Ascended being!”

“Indeed,” Teal’c added. 

“Wait a minute,” Cam replied.  “Just slow down here.  You think the light Healer Siobhan saw was an Ascended being?  That’s not possible, Daniel.  They have this little thing called a ‘non-interference’ policy.  They don’t interfere.”

“I don’t understand it, either, Cam, but look at the clues.  A bright light that flows like water?  Come on!  That’s the only possible explanation for what she told us.  Besides, remember the reference I found earlier in their history books?”

Cam thought about it for a moment.  “Yeah, you might be right, but why did this Ascended being interfere?  I thought they weren’t supposed to do that?”

“I don’t know.  Maybe another village has some historical records that would tell us.  I might be able to go to one of them and find out some more information.  Besides, Master Aedan told us about that building in Go Leor Bláthanna (Many Flowers) that would be good for the new government building.  Maybe while we’re there I can look through their historical books and see what I can find out.”

The others nodded, and they returned to where Aedan and Siobhan were standing.  “Healer Siobhan, does anyone else other than Master Aedan know about this?” Daniel asked her. 

“Say me nay, Master Daniel.  Master Aedan be the only one that knows.  That be the way I wanted it.  ‘Twas too painful to have others knowin’ it.”

“Well, we won’t tell anyone what you’ve told us,” Daniel assured her.  “We’ll keep your secret for you.”

“Thank ya, Master Daniel, but what about me daughter?  Can I see her?”

Daniel went over to Siobhan, and knelt beside her chair.  “Healer, I am so sorry to tell you this, but Caitlin doesn’t know about any of this.  She thinks you’re dead.”

A shocked expression came over Siobhan’s face.  “Dead?  She thinks I’m dead?  Oh no!”  Siobhan started to cry again.  “How can that be, Master Daniel?”

“She told me that when you didn’t come back, the police started looking for you.  They couldn’t find your body, so a year after you were reported missing, they declared you legally dead and had a funeral for you.”

The news of the funeral made Siobhan cry all the harder.  “”Tis not possible,” she cried out.  “My only daughter!”  She reached out to Daniel and hugged him tightly, tears streaming down her face and wetting his shirt. 

Daniel pulled back to look into her face.  “Healer Siobhan, you must remember that Caitlin doesn’t know you’re from another planet.  She thinks you’re from Earth just like anyone else.  So when Coset Aran kidnapped you that night in the park, there wouldn’t be any body for the authorities to find.”

“Master Daniel ‘tis right, Healer,” Aedan told her.  “That be why yer daughter thinks ya be dead.”

Siobhan sank down into the chair.  “Oh, me poor daughter!” she exclaimed, still crying.  “What that must have been like for ya.”

“Master Aedan, on our world the Stargate is a secret.  Very few people know of its existence, or even of aliens on other planets.  So Caitlin doesn’t know that there are other worlds with life on them, much less that her mother comes from one of them.  So for her to find this out would be a huge shock to her.”

“But my daughter is out there on yer planet, and she not be knowin’ I’m alive.  “Please,” Siobhan pleaded with Daniel.  “I must see her.  I need to be seein’ her!”

“Right now our people back at Stargate Command are trying to figure out the best way of telling her.  In the meantime, we can’t say anything.”  He went over to her and knelt in front of her chair.  “I promise you, Healer, I’ll do everything I can to bring Caitlin home to you.  Right now you need to trust me.”

Siobhan closed her eyes and placed her right hand over Daniel’s heart.  She took a few deep breaths, then opened her eyes.  “Aye.  I be trustin’ ya.  But there is more to this than ya be lettin’ on, isn’t there, Master Daniel?  She be tellin’ ya more than what yer lettin’ on, did she not?”

Daniel didn’t know whether or not he should tell the healer about the voice that Caitlin had been hearing, or that she thought her mother really wasn’t dead. 

Cam could see that he was struggling with the decision.  “Hey, Jackson, if you know anything, you’d better tell her.” 

“I know.  It’s just that I don’t know how to tell her.”

“I suggest you start at the beginning,” Teal’c told him. 

Daniel took a deep breath, and pulled a chair out and sat next to the healer.  “Healer Siobhan, there is something that Caitlin told me.  She told me that she didn’t think you were dead.  She said you both had a kind of ‘psychic connection’ to each other, and that she didn’t think you were really gone.” 

“She also told me of a voice she’s been hearing in her mind.  It’s a voice sounding a lot like you, and it calls out to her, saying things like, ‘I’m not dead’ and ‘I’m alive’.”

Siobhan looked shocked.  “She told ya that?  I did not think ‘twas still possible.”

“What was still possible?” he asked her.

She stood again, going over to the fireplace and filling her mug with more tea.  “'The Connection',” she finally told them, turning back towards them.  “That be what we call it here.  All Danuans parents be havin’ a special connection with their children.  Starts when they’re born, it does.  I cannot explain it, but we be feelin’ their presence in our minds and hearts.  Can even sense their emotions sometimes, be they strong enough.  The children be havin’ the same connection 't their parents as well.”

“Can you sense other children?” Sam asked. 

“Say me nay, Mistress Sam,” Aedan answered her.  “'Tis with our own children, and them wi' us.  We not be knowin’ how it works, only that it does.”

“That must be how me daughter can tell I nay be dead.  There cannot be any other explanation.”

“So that explains why she hears your voice.”

“Aye.  The Connection can only be broken by death.  Surein’ I not be dead, so she be  still be feelin’ the connection.”  She walked over to the window, looking out into the bright blue sky.  “If only I could see her, talk 't her,” she said quietly, sadness in her voice. 

Daniel walked over to where she was standing.  “I promise you,” he said again, looking into her eyes.  “I will do everything I can with my people to convince them to let her come and see you.”

Siobhan smiled and took his hand.  “I know ya will, Master Daniel.  I can tell ya care for my daughter very much.”

Daniel nodded, smiling.  “She has become a good friend to me.”

Siobhan leaned in to him.  “I think it be more than that, or me eyes be playin’ tricks on me,” she whispered to him.

Daniel blushed, and the healer smiled brightly.  “Yes, well, um.” Daniel stammered.  “Right now we’re here to help your people set up their new government.”  He turned toward Aedan.  “Master Aedan, if it’s not too late, I would like to go to Go Leor Bláthanna and check out the building you were telling us about.” 

Aedan nodded.  “Aye.  ‘Tis a good idea.  I c'n take ya there myself, though it be a good journey from here. 

“Do you know how long it will take,” Teal’c asked him. 

“’Tis about seventy-five mítte (miles).  Be takin’ two hours 't get there.”

Cameron nodded.  “Okay, Jackson.  It sounds like a plan.  However, I think we should get some of those suit-and-tie guys here to help you.  Setting up governments isn’t one of your strongest suits.  Sam, maybe you should head back to the gate.  Contact the SGC and see if they can send someone to help Jackson.  Teal’c and I will go with Daniel and check out the village.”

“Aye, sir,” Sam replied.  She and the others all walked out of the healer’s cottage.  Master Aedan left to go get his horse and trap, and Sam left for the stargate.

Healer Siobhan smiled at Daniel.  “Master Daniel, I want 't thank ya for telling me ‘bout me daughter, and for helping me let go of me past.  I’ve been holdin’ it inside for many-a-year, and ‘twas time to let it go.”

  “I’m sorry that you were hurt, Healer Siobhan, but I’m glad that things are better now.  And I promise to do everything I can to help you and your people, and your daughter.”

  “Master Daniel, there are some things I cannot heal, one of them being matters of the heart.  I be knowin’ bout your past, and I know you do not want to be hurt again.  What happened in the past ‘twas not your fault, though you still blame yourself.  If I can be lettin’ the past go, so can you.”

Daniel sighed.  “It’s not that easy, Healer Siobhan.  Letting go is only part of it.”

Siobhan nodded.  “I know.  ‘Tis only part of the battle.  Forgiveness bein’ the other part.  I will pray to The Faether that He help ya be able 't forgive yourself.”

“Thank you Healer Siobhan,” Daniel said as Aedan pulled up with his trap.  He, Cam and Teal’c got in and sat down.  “When Mistress Sam comes back with our people, would you help them get to Go Leor Bláthanna?”

“Aye.  ‘Twill be done,” she assured him.  “Safe journey.”

“We’ll see you soon,” Daniel told her. 

“Aye, that ya will, Master Daniel.  May the angels of Heaven watch over your head.”  She opened her arms and bowed slightly.  “Danu Go Bragh, friends.”

Daniel and the others returned the gesture.  Aedan flicked his whip and the four men were off to Go Leor Bláthanna.

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

Back at the SCG, the sirens started sounding, indicating to everyone that there was an incoming wormhole.  The general walked into the control room and stood behind Wally. 

“What have we got, Sergeant?” he asked. 

“It’s a video transmission from Col. Carter, sir.”

“Open the iris.”  Gen. Landry called down to the guards in the gate room to stand down.  “Col. Carter.  We weren’t expecting you to contact us for another few hours yet.  Is there trouble?”

 “No, sir.  Master Aedan and his people have decided on a new government, but Col. Mitchell believes that it would be better to have an expert to help Daniel and the Danuan people set it up.  Is there anyone you can send?”

 “I’ll see who’s available, Colonel.”  Gen. Landry turned to Wally and told him to check on it.  “In the meantime,” he said, turning back towards the monitor.  “How are thing on Danu?  “Have you talked to the healer about her daughter yet?”

Sam nodded, and she briefed him on everything that had happened only a short time ago.  “She really wants to see Caitlin, sir, but I think she understands that the decision is not in our hands, but yours.”

“I know.  Gen. O 'Neill and I will discuss it further in the next few days.  In the meantime, have they decided what village their new government will be in?”

Again Sam nodded, and conveyed to him what Master Aedan had told them.  “He said that the village of Many Flowers is a good choice for the location of their new government building because it’s centrally located and it already has the right size building.  They’ve already gone ahead with Master Aedan to the village to check it and the building out.”

Gen. Landry nodded.  “Understood.”  He turned toward Walter.  “Walter, have you got anything?”

Walter nodded.  “Yes, sir.  Robert Collins is here visiting from Washington.”

“Send him to my office immediately.”  Gen. Landry turned back toward the monitors again as Walter sent for Mr. Collins.  “Col. Carter, I will brief Mr. Collins and send him through as soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir.  I’ll wait for him here.”

“Understood.  Landry out.”  With that the gate shut down, the general turned toward his office.  As he sat down, he pulled up the file on Danu.  He made a quick call to Washington, and just as he was finishing up, Robert Collins walked into his office. 

“You wanted to see me, General?” he asked.  

“Please, Mr. Collins, have a seat.”  He motioned to one of the chairs as he hung up his phone, and Robert sat down.  “We need your help.  The people of Danu have decided to form a new government.  Dr. Jackson is more of an archaeologist and linguist, so I would like you to go and help him and the Danuan people.  I’ve already cleared it with your superiors, and if you agree to go, you can leave immediately.”

Robert was very surprised.  “Wow, sir.  I don’t know what to say.  Thank you for this opportunity.”

“Don’t mention it,” the general said, smiling.  “Your superiors tell me your record is exceptional, and we need your expertise.  Feel up to the job?”

Robert nodded.  “Yes sir.  I’ll do my best.  When would I leave?”

“As soon as you’re geared up.  Have you ever been through the 'gate before?”

Robert shook his head. 

“Don’t worry.  It’s a piece of cake.  Nothing to it.”  The general called Walter into his office.  “Anything you need just let Walter know and he’ll help you.  Col. Carter is waiting for you on Danu.”  Gen. Landry stood.  “Good luck, Mr. Collins,” he said warmly, putting out his hand. 

Robert shook it.  “Thank you, General.  I’ll do my best.”

Walter showed Robert down to the locker rooms, and soon he had everything he needed for Danu.  Walter returned to the control room and at the general’s orders, dialed up Danu.  The gate whooshed open, and Robert stood in awe of it.  He walked up the ramp and waited for the general’s okay to go through. 

“Col. Carter,” he said into the microphone.  “We’re sending someone through the gate now.  He should be there shortly.”

“Understood, sir.”

The general turned his attention to Robert.  “Mr. Collins, you are cleared to go to Danu.  Keep in touch, and good luck.”

“Thank you sir,” Robert called out, and he walked through the gate. 

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

On Danu, Sam was waiting by the gate when Robert came through and stumbled a little, catching himself before he fell. 

“Don’t worry,” Sam said to him as she walked up to him.  “It happened to me on my first trip through the gate, too.  You get used to it after a while.” 

Robert immediately shielded his eyes while he pulled out his sunglasses.  “They told me this place was bright, Colonel, but I didn’t think it was blinding.”  He walked up to Sam and extended his hand.  “Robert Collins.”

Sam shook it.  “Welcome to Danu.  If you’ll follow me,” she said, gesturing toward the nearby bath, “We’ll head into the village.”  She led the way down the path as Robert commented on the beauty of their surroundings. 

“It’s so beautiful here.  Looks a lot like Colorado.  And the pine scent....”

“Yeah, Daniel noticed that too, when we first got here.”  She turned to him.  “Have you got any questions about this?”

“Where will they be setting up their new government?”

“Master Aedan O’Malley is the village manager of Flowing River, and he told us that there’s a suitable building in the village of Many Flowers.  Once we reach the healer’s house, she’ll have someone with a horse and cart to take us there.”

“Will I have time to go over the reports Gen. Landry gave me?”

“I believe so, as it’s two hours to the village from here.”

Robert and Sam waked into the village, and headed for the healer’s house.  Once there, Sam introduced him to the Healer. 

“Healer Siobhan, this is Robert Collins.  He’s here to help your people set up their new government.”

Siobhan opened her arms wide and bowed her head slightly.  “Danu Go Bragh, friend.”

We’re ready to go to Many Flowers now if you have someone that can take us.”

Siobhan nodded.  “Aye.  I talked to Master Seamus, and he agreed 't take ya there.  Said he had some business there anyway, so ‘twould be no trouble 't take ya.”  Siobhan saw little Joseph playing nearby, and asked him to go and get Seamus.  “Tell him our friends be ready 't leave now.”

“Aye, Healer Siobhan,” he said to her and ran off.  A few minutes later, Seamus came driving up to the healer’s house with his horse and cart, and Sam and Robert got inside. 

“We’ll be back in a few days, Healer Siobhan,” Sam told her.  Then she gave the traditional greeting.  “Danu go Bragh, Healer.”

“May The Faether be with ya and yer friends, Mistress Sam.  Danu Go Bragh.”

As Sam and Robert traveled down the road to Many Flowers, Robert went over the file Gen. Landry had given him, and he had asked many questions to Sam and Seamus. By the time they had gotten there and pulled up to the big stone building, he felt he was as ready as he could be to help the Danuan people to get their new government started.

Sam and Robert thanked Seamus for giving them a ride, and he nodded and drove away.  Sam and Robert walked inside the building down the long hall and into the main room where Aedan and the rest of SG1 were already waiting.

Hey, guys," Sam told them as she and Robert walked up to the table. "Daniel, this is Robert Collins.  He's here to help the Danuan people set up their new government.  Mr. Collins, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson.  This," Sam said pointing to the others, "is Teal'c, Col. Mitchell, and Master Aedan O'Malley."  Everyone shook hands all around, then sat back down.

"Well, let's get to business here," Robert began, and soon they were all working hard to prepare the Danuan people for their new government.  As the next couple of days went by, Daniel helped Robert in whatever way he could.  Unfortunately, he just couldn't get the argument with Caitlin out of his mind.  I wish I could tell her everything and make her feel better, he thought sadly as he worked.  If only I knew what she was thinking right now.

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

It was Thursday morning when Caitlin came into the health food store late and looking tired and depressed.  Lacey saw her come in and immediately knew something was wrong.  She pulled Melinda out of the office to watch the registers and went over to her best friend.  “Caitlin, what’s wrong?”

She walked into the office and put her purse in a drawer of Lacey’s desk.  “Nothing, Lacey.  I’m sorry I’m late.  I didn’t sleep very well last night.”

“Was it another bad nightmare?”

“I wish it was,” Caitlin said, putting on her apron.  She saw Lacey’s confused look and shook her head.  “Don’t worry about it, Lacey.  Just forget I mentioned anything.”

Lacey stuck her head out of the office.  “Melinda, can you hold down the fort for a while?  I’m going to be in a meeting with Caitlin, and I don’t know how long it will take.”

“Sure thing, Lacey.  Don’t worry about it.  Just take your time.”

“Thanks,” Lacey told her, then closed the office door and closed the blinds.  “Okay, Caitlin,” she said, a serious look on her face.  “I know something’s up ‘cause you’ve never been late to work since you’ve started here.  Now I’m not letting you leave this office until you tell me what’s bothering you.”

Caitlin knew her best friend would do just that.  Besides, she thought, it might make me feel better to talk about it.  “Okay.  I’ll tell you.”  She sat down in one of the chairs and told Lacey about the argument she'd had the night before with Daniel. 

“So you think he’s hiding something from you and won’t tell you what that ‘something’ is?”

“Yes,” Caitlin replied. 

“I don’t know, Caitlin.  It sounds to me like you’re reading something into this that just isn’t there.”

“Okay, so what about Daniel’s friend Gen. O’Neill?  He sure was asking a lot of questions about my childhood and my mother.  When I asked him why he wanted to know, he said it was just curiosity.  What about that?”

“So he was a little curious.  So what?”

Caitlin was getting angry now.  “Then there was the reaction to the picture of my mom and me.  How do you explain that, Lacey?  All of this just doesn’t add up.”

Lacey tried to calm Caitlin down a little.  “Look, I don’t know whether or not he really was holding something back from you, but it seems to me that you two need to talk about this and work this out.”

“I’ve tried to call him, but he isn’t answering his cell phone.  Besides, maybe it was good to find out about the real Daniel Jackson before things went too far.”

Lacey chuckled.  “I hate to say it, Caitlin, but I think things have already gone too far.  You’re hooked on him.”

“I am not!” Caitlin replied indignantly.

“Yes you are, otherwise this wouldn’t be bothering you so much.  That’s probably why you couldn’t sleep last night, either.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Lacey,” Caitlin told her, getting up from the chair.  “I am not falling for Daniel Jackson.  I can’t, and you know why.”

Lacey went up to her friend.  “I know the excuses you gave me, and they were pretty pathetic, Caitlin.”  Lacey saw the look on Caitlin’s face.  “Oh, don’t give me that look, Caitlin.  You and I both know that you’re just scared to take a chance on love again.  Well, let me tell you something.  Your mind may be totally freaking out about falling in love again, but your heart isn’t.  I think you’re already in love with Daniel, and your mind won’t let you admit it.  You’re just so scared that he might hurt you the same way Brian did, or die like your parents did.  Caitlin,” Lacey said, putting her hands on her friend’s shoulders, “no one knows the future except God.  You can’t plan your life around what might happen, or you’ll miss out on all the other wonderful things that are out there to enjoy, including love.”

Caitlin knew that Lacey was right, but she was still angry with Daniel.  “I know, Lacey, but I still can’t shake the feeling that Daniel is keeping something big from me.”

“So give him a few days and call him again.  Then you two can talk this out.  For now, we need to get back to work.  You gonna to be okay now?”

Caitlin nodded, and the two of them walked back into the main part of store and got to work. 

As the days went by, Caitlin took Lacey’s advice and waited until Saturday before trying to call Daniel.  She finished eating her lunch and went into Lacey’s office to make the call.  Someone answered his cell phone.  Finally, she thought. 

“Hello,” the person on the other end said politely.  “Dr. Jackson’s office.  This is Miss Patterson, his assistant.  How can I help you?”

“Um, hi.  This is Caitlin O’Brien.  Could I speak with Dr. Jackson please?”

“I’m sorry miss.  He’s uh, well, he’s out of the country on an assignment right now and won’t be back for a few days.  Is there something I can help you with, or would you like to leave him a message?”

You can start by telling me the truth, Caitlin thought angrily.  “No,” she said in a huff.  “Thank you anyway.”  She slammed down the phone and walked out of Lacey’s office to get back to work. 

“Well, what did he say?” Lacey asked her. 

“He wasn’t there.  I just got his so-called ‘assistant’.  She says he’s out of town on an archaeological assignment, but I don’t believe her.  Now I know he’s hiding something from me!”

“Okay, Caitlin, now calm down. You’ve been worrying over this all week.  Maybe he is out of town.  Maybe he isn’t.  Right now you need to go home, and get some rest.  I know you haven’t been sleeping well.  Have you been eating decent meals?”

Caitlin lowered her eyes away from Lacey.  “No.  I’ve been too upset and stressed out to eat.”

“Then that settles it.  I want you to come over tonight and eat at our house.  Sabrina would love to see her ‘auntie’, and you could get a decent meal.  I also want you to start taking some Echinacea and drinking some Chamomile tea.  That may help you to sleep.”

Caitlin sighed.  “Thanks, Lacey but I’ve already been trying the Chamomile tea and it’s not helping.  As for supper tonight, thanks, but I think I’ll take a rain check.  I just don’t feel like being with anyone tonight.”

“Well, at least take the rest of the day off and go rest.”

“I can’t.  I have someone coming in at three, and besides, I couldn’t sleep even if I tried.”

Lacey frowned.  “You’re going to wear yourself out if you keep this up, Caitlin.  I’m worried about you.”

“Lacey, don’t start,” Caitlin told her, a serious look on her face. 

Lacey knew that she couldn’t make Caitlin go home and rest, so she dropped the subject.

As the weekend wore on, Caitlin got very little sleep and ate even less, looking even more ragged and tired on Monday morning.  She just couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that she was sure Daniel and his friends were hiding something from her.  She also kept thinking about her argument with Daniel.  If only he had just told me the truth that night, she thought to herself.  Then none of this would be happening.  Tinkerbell and Patches knew there was something wrong with her, and they meowed their opinion. 

“Now don’t you two start,” she told them as she got ready for work.  She didn’t feel like putting her hair into anything fancy, so she just pulled her hair back into a loose ponytail and chose a pair of wind suit pants and a sweatshirt to wear.  Going back out into the kitchen she fed her cats, grabbed a glass of apple juice, and got her coat and purse.  “Be good girls while mommy is at work,” she told them as she got her coat on.  She noticed that they hadn’t touched their food but instead were sitting in front of her door meowing at her.  Tinkerbell came over, raised up, and put her paws on Caitlin’s legs, loudly meowing at her.

Caitlin bent down to pet her and Patches.  “Now girls, I’m fine.  You go eat now while mommy goes to work.”  Tinkerbell and Patches meowed one last time and went to eat, and she left for work. 

At the health food store, Lacey was already there unpacking some boxes of supplements when Caitlin walked into the main part of the store.  Lacey took one look at her, stopped what she was doing, and followed her into the office, shutting the door behind her. 

“Okay, Caitlin,” she said, folding her arms across her chest.  “I’ve never seen you like this before.  Look at yourself!  You look really tired, your hair is a mess, and you have bags and circles under your eyes from the lack of sleep.  You need to take better care of yourself!”

Caitlin put her purse into a drawer.  “No, Lacey.  I told you, I’m fine.  Can we just drop it, please?”

“No.  I’m really worried about you.  You really need to find something to help you sleep.  Maybe you should see your doctor about it.  And have you tried getting a hold of Daniel again?”

“No, and I don’t ever want to talk to that jerk again.  If he doesn’t have the common courtesy to tell me what he’s keeping from me or at least answer his own phone calls, then I don’t need him.”

“Caitlin,” Lacey began, but Caitlin cut her off. 

“Lacey, I’ve had it with him, and I’m fine.  Let’s just get to work.”

Lacey knew that she wouldn’t be able to talk to Caitlin about this anymore, so she dropped the subject and they both went out in to the main floor to greet their customers.

As the day wore on, Lacey was getting more and more worried about Caitlin, but she kept it to herself.  At lunch, Lacey noticed Caitlin eating only half of a sandwich and a small glass of water.  She wanted to say something to her best friend, but she didn’t want to make her angry, either.  So she just watched Caitlin in silence. 

After lunch was over, Caitlin returned to the main floor and was stocking a shelf when a man came in the store.  Lacey noticed that he was coughing loudly and looked very pale when the man came up to the counter and asked for help. 

“Welcome to Nature’s Best Health Food Store,” Lacey told him with a smile.

“My name is Doug Mitchell.  Can you help me?” he said, coughing almost the whole time. 

“What seems to be the problem, other than the coughing?”

He couldn’t answer because of all his coughing, so she waited until he was done and asked him again. 

Caitlin heard the commotion and went over to the front counters.  “Hi, my name is Caitlin O’Brien.  How can I help you today?”

“Caitlin, I’ve got this one,” Lacey told her, but Caitlin gave her a stern look. 

“I haven’t been feeling well, and now this coughing started.  It’s been keeping me up all night the last few nights.”

Caitlin tried to study him, but she couldn’t seem to focus as much as she was used to.  She tried again, and this time she got a better reading on him.  “How long have you been feeling ill, sir?” she asked him.

“About five days now,” he said, coughing again. 

“Have you seen your family doctor first?”

“No, I thought I’d try this instead.  Look,” Mr. Mitchell said, getting a little annoyed.  “I get these same colds all the time.  Same symptoms, too.  Lack of sleep, trouble breathing, stuffy or runny nose, and a sore throat with coughing.  The doctor makes me pay a high price just to tell me to go home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.  So do you have anything that can help me or not?”

Caitlin thought about it for a moment.  “I think so.  Follow me.”  She led the way back to the shelves of supplements and pulled out a few small bags.  “Here are some Anise, German Chamomile, and Lemon Balm leaves.  Brew the water as hot as you can tolerate it, and steep the leaves together for about five minutes.  Drink one cup of tea either in the morning or the evening.  Now the anise and lemon balm will help you bring up all that phlegm from your chest, and the chamomile will help you to relax.  I also suggest using some English Lavender oils either in some bathwater, or you might try a simmering pot that will send some of the scent into your bedroom while you’re sleeping.”

Caitlin went over to another shelf nearby, and pulled down a small bottle.  “Here is some Scotch Pine oil.  Put it into a pot of boiling water on your stove, then cover your head with a towel and breathe the steam for about five to six minutes several times a day or when you’re feeling really congested.” 

Mr. Mitchell coughed even worse than before, but she handed him the three small bags of anise, chamomile, and lemon balm leaves, along with the small bottle of oil.  As she handed them to him, their hands made contact. 

“Is there anything else you can recommend?” he asked her.

“Yes.”  Caitlin took him over to the candy shelves, and handed him a bag of licorice drops.  “I recommend eating a lot of bananas as you use these drops, and don’t use these for more than three weeks.  I also recommend drinking plenty of juice, especially orange or grape juice, as they are both high in vitamin C.”

“Take lots of hot showers, as the steam will help to open up your breathing passages.  You could use peppermint tablets in the shower.  Just place one where the water will hit it, and as it dissolves, it will let out the peppermint smell that will also help your breathing.”  She went to the bath aisle, and picked out a small box of peppermint tablets, handing them to the man.  “Once you get better, I would recommend taking some Echinaccea tablets.  I take them at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms.”

Mr. Mitchell smiled.  “Thank you, Miss O’Brien,” he said gratefully. 

“You’re welcome,” Caitlin told him as she handed him a small basket.  “However, before taking any of these, I would first see your family doctor.  Tell him or her about these remedies I’ve given you to make sure it’s okay to use them.  Sometimes I recommend something to someone, and they have a bad reaction.  So I tell all our customers now to check with their doctor to make sure.”

“I will do that this afternoon,” he told her as he put all the bags and bottles into the basket.  He offered her his hand.  “Thanks again, Miss O’Brien.”

“You’re welcome,” shaking his hand.  “If you go up to the front counter, Lacey will help you check out.  I hope you feel better soon, Mr. Mitchell.”

Mr. Mitchell smiled, and headed up to the front counters.  Caitlin walked back into the bathrooms, blowing her nose and washing her hands.  But the damage had been done, as she would soon find out. 

As the week wore on, Lacey noticed that Caitlin still wasn’t eating or sleeping.  She was really getting worried about her best friend.  So on Thursday she took Caitlin out to lunch at a nearby diner to try and talk to her again. 

“Caitlin,” Lacey said as their waitress brought their food.  “Is that all you’re eating?  A small salad?  I wish you would have more than that.”

“Lacey, please,” Caitlin pleaded with her.  “I don’t feel like arguing with you right now.”  Caitlin started coughing, so she took a drink of her water. 

“When did you start coughing, Caitlin?” Lacey asked her, concern in her voice now. 

 She took another sip of her water.  “Last night.  It kept my girls and me awake.”

“Have you tried any of the licorice drops?”

Caitlin shook her head.  “They’re not helping at all.  I also tried some anise and chamomile tea, but that hasn’t helped either.”  She started coughing again.

“Okay.  When we’re done here, I want you to go home.  We haven’t had many customers today, so Melinda and I can handle things for the rest of the afternoon.  I also don’t want to see you at work until Monday, and before you say anything, I insist on it.  You’re not feeling well, and you don’t need to give this to any of the customers.  Besides, you need to take a break and let your body get better.”

Caitlin knew that she couldn’t argue with Lacey about it, so she nodded her head.  “Okay.  When we get back to the store, I’ll head home.”

“Good.  Have you been able to get in touch with Daniel?”

Caitlin gave her a dirty look.  “Lacey, I told you before that I didn’t want to talk to that jerk.”  Before she could continue, another bout of coughs overtook her, and she took another drink of her water. 

Lacey called over the waitress.  “Could I have a ‘to-go’ box please?”  The waitress nodded, and left to get the box while Lacey put on her coat.  “Okay.  We’re going to head back to the store now so you can get home as soon as possible.”

Caitlin tried to protest, but Lacey put up her hand.  “No.  I can eat my food at the store, and you need to go home and rest.  So let’s go.”

Caitlin got up, but she stopped Lacey.  “Give me a minute.  I need to use the bathroom.” 

As Caitlin went to the bathroom, Lacey dug in Caitlin’s purse and found her cell phone.  She looked up Daniel’s number, and put it into her own cell phone for later.  He may not be there, she thought to herself.  But maybe they can get a message to him somehow.  I need to tell him what’s going on with Caitlin.  She quickly put Caitlin’s phone back in her purse and grabbed her own along with the box with her food in it.  Caitlin came back, looking more pale and sick than ever.  Lacey also noticed a slight wheezing sound when Caitlin took a breath. 

“You ready?” she asked Caitlin, real worry etched into her face.

Caitlin zipped up her coat and grabbed her purse.  “Uh-huh.  Let’s go.”

Lacey and Caitlin walked up to the register and Lacey paid for their meals.  As they walked out, Lacey noticed it was snowing again.  “Well, looks like we might get a few inches out of this one.”

Caitlin nodded, shivering inside her jacket.  Once inside Lacey’s car, she buckled up and curled up into a ball.  She felt a sneeze coming on, so she grabbed a tissue out of her coat pocket, putting it up to her nose just in time. 

As Lacey got in and started the car, she saw how Caitlin was sitting and heard the massive sneeze.  “Will you be all right to drive home, or do you want me to call Jason to take you home?”

“Lacey, I’ll be fine,” Caitlin said testily.  “I just want to get home.”

Lacey drove back to the store and made Caitlin promise to call her the moment she got home.  As she watched Caitlin drive away, she hurried back into the store and into her office to make an important call. 

The phone rang.  “Hello,” the person on the other end said politely.  Dr. Jackson’s office.  This is Miss Patterson, his assistant.  How can I help you?

“Hello.  This is Mrs. Lacey Reynolds, a friend of Dr. Jackson’s.  I’m calling about his friend Caitlin O’Brien.”

Yes.  Well, as I told Miss O’Brien on the phone a few days ago, Dr. Jackson is out of the country, and I don’t know when he’ll be back.

Lacey sighed.  “I know.  She told me.  Look, this is an emergency!  Please tell him that Caitlin is very sick, and that he needs to go talk to her.  Can you give him that message in case he contacts you?  Please?”

The woman wrote it down.  I will give him the message as soon as he gets back, Mrs. Reynolds.

Lacey felt a little better.  “Thank you.”  She hung up the phone and sat there, hoping that Daniel would get the message before it was too late.

 

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

Back on Danu, things had gone really well for SG1 and the Danuan people.  Daniel, working with Robert Collins, had helped Master Aedan get his people ready for a new form of government.  They had helped them make many important decisions, and had helped them to hold their first history-making election for the office of Prime Minister.  Since Master Aedan had been the first one to greet SG1 and had done so well in making an alliance with them, he was unanimously chosen as the first-ever Prime Minister of Danu. 

After Aedan had been elected, Daniel and Robert helped him in deciding what they should do about representatives from each of the twelve villages.  Daniel suggested that each current village manager would be a good choice for the representatives, and they in turn, could choose their successor as village manager.  Aedan agreed, and the word was sent out to all the villages.  By the end of the week, the Danuan government was well on its way. 

On Friday morning in Go Leor Bláthanna (Many Flowers), SG1, Robert Collins, and Prime Minister Aedan were at the local inn sitting around a table enjoying their breakfast.

“Robert will stay with you and help you for as long as you need, Master Aedan,” Daniel told him.  “We have to return to Auld Aerth today.”

“Aye.  But we wouldn’t have gotten this far without yer help, Master Daniel, or yours Master Robert.  Thankful we are.”

“You’re welcome,” Robert replied warmly.  “We’re just glad to help.”

Cam finished his breakfast.  “All right, boys and girls.  It takes two hours by cart to get back to Flowing River, so let’s gear up and head out.  Robert, Daniel, any last minute instructions you have for Prime Minister Aedan, you’d better give it to him now.”

Everyone finished their breakfast, and Daniel gave Prime Minister Aedan a few last-minute tips.  “If you or Robert have any trouble at all, please, don’t hesitate to call us.  I know that it will take time for the people to get used to this new government; there will be bumps along the way.  But don’t lose hope.  Things will smooth out in time.  Besides, this is the best way for you and your people to fight the Ori.”

Prime Minister Aedan smiled and nodded.  “Aye, that it ‘tis, Master Daniel.  ‘Tis that.  And I be agreein’ with ya ‘bout there bein’ bumps along the way.  With any road there be bumps, but eventually they smooth out, and the way becomes easier to travel and more level.  Don’t be worried ‘bout us.  Master Robert be takin’ fine care of us.”

Daniel and the rest of SG1 went to their rooms and changed back into their mission clothes.  Gathering their things, they all went back downstairs and met Prime Minister Aedan outside of the inn. 

Sam turned to Aedan.  “So now that you’ve been elected Prime Minister, will you and your wife be moving to Many Flowers, Minister Aedan?

“Aye, though me wife not be very happy’ bout it.”

“Why is that, Aedan O’Malley?” Teal’c asked. 

“Well,” Aedan answered with a twinkle in his eyes.  “’Cause there be an ale brewery here in the village.”

Everyone laughed as a cart and driver came up to the group. 

“This be Lorcán Mac Cármodeígh (Lorcan Carmody).  He be takin' ya back to Fluairíd Robáil (Flowing River).”

Cam looked over at Robert.  “Now, Collins, if you need anything, just get to the 'gate and call Earth.”

“Understood, Col. Mitchell, but I think we’ll be fine here.  I’ll have Prime Minister Aedan call in when I’m ready to leave.”

The team all acknowledged him, and got into Master Lorcán's cart.  Just before they left, Minister Aedan made his goodbyes.  “Danu Go Bragh, me friends, and Slán agus beannacht leat(Goodbye and blessing with you).”

Later that day, SG1 walked through the gate and down the ramp. 

Gen. Landry was there to greet them.  “Welcome back SG1, and congratulations on a job well done.  I take it that Mr. Collins is staying on Danu?”

“Yes sir, he is,” Sam replied.  “He wanted to make sure that their new government was running smoothly before he came back to Earth.”

“Understood.  So who was elected as their first Prime Minister?”

Cam smiled broadly.  “It was Master Aedan, sir.  They felt that he was the best for the job.”

“That’s good news.  Now go get checked out in the infirmary.  You’re out of the rotation for the rest of the weekend, so relax and have some fun.” 

The team all went to the infirmary and had Dr. Lam check them out.  When everything came back okay, they each went their separate ways.  Daniel headed back to his office to start writing everything down, stopping at the mess hall to grab a cup of coffee.  Once in his office, he grabbed his latest journal and was about to start writing when the Gen. Landry walked in. 

“Sir,” Daniel said in surprise.  “Is there anything I can do for you?”

The general walked up to Daniel desk, a serious look on his face.  “Dr. Jackson, while you were gone, you received two phone calls.  Ensign Patterson took them.  The first one was from Caitlin O’Brien.”

Daniel’s stood up quickly.  “She called?  How is she?  What did she say?” he asked in a hurry.

Gen. Landry put up his hands.  “Slow down, Dr. Jackson.  She didn’t say anything, and she didn’t leave any messages.  As a matter of fact, Ensign Patterson said she sounded quite upset.”

Daniel’s shoulders sunk.  “Sir, I know she’s angry.  She knows I’m keeping something big from her.”

“I know.  However, the second call was not from Miss O’Brien, but a Mrs. Reynolds.”

Daniel nodded.  “That must have been Lacey, her best friend.  She and her husband put on the costume party Caitlin and I went to.”  He seemed confused.  “I wonder how she got my number.  I’ve only given it to Caitlin.  What did she say?”

The general handed him a hand-written note.  Caitlin very sick.  Dr. Jackson needs to talk to her ASAP.  Daniel looked shocked.  “Oh God!  Caitlin is very sick.  Sir, I know that this all has to do with our argument.  Please, general, you must let me tell her about her mother!  She deserves to know!”

Gen. Landry put his arm on Daniel’s shoulder.  “I know, son, but Gen. O’Neill and I haven’t made our decision yet.  Until we do, you can’t say anything to her.”

Daniel threw his hands up in frustration, then realized what he had to do.  “Sir, I need to go.  I need to see if Caitlin is all right.”

The general nodded.  “Be careful son,” he said as Daniel scurried around the room.  “It’s been snowing out, and there’s a good three or four inches of snow on the ground.”

“I will sir, and thank you for telling me this.”  Daniel shut the lamp off on his desk, and raced to his quarters to change.  Soon he was in his car driving down the snowy streets to Caitlin’s house. 

As he drove, he thought about what he was about to do, knowing full well the seriousness of it all, and the consequences that would ultimately come afterwards.  He called Caitlin’s number and let it ring until she answered it. 

“Hello?” she answered, coughing in the background. 

“Caitlin it’s me, Daniel.  I’m on my way to your apartment.  Can we talk?”

“Why?  So you can lie to me again,” she said angrily, coughing loudly.

“Please, Caitlin, I just want to talk to you.  I’m pulling down your street now, and I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“We don’t have anything to talk about, Daniel.  I don’t talk to people who keep secrets from me.”

“Please just let me explain.  I’ll see you in a few seconds.”  Daniel hung up his cell phone and pulled into a parking spot next to her car. He got out of his Jeep and was about to walk up to the building when Caitlin came out.  Daniel took one look at her and stared.  He couldn’t believe his eyes.  Her hair was all messy and pulled back in a hap-hazard ponytail at the back of her neck, and she was wearing a raggedy old sweatshirt and windsuit pants.  She had bags under her eyes from the lack of sleep, and she looked exhausted.  He ran up to her. 

“Caitlin!” he exclaimed, alarm in his voice.  “You look terrible!  How long have you been sick?”

“What do you care anyway?” she said, irritated.  “You obviously don’t care about telling me the truth, so why should you care about this?”

“Because you’re my friend,” Daniel told her honestly, worry showing on his face. 

“Friends would tell each other secrets...” She tried to finish the sentence, but she started coughing instead. 

“Please, Caitlin, let me take you inside,” he said, taking her hand.  It felt cold and clammy, but he could see the sweat running down her face.  “Please!” he pleaded.  “Let me help you!”

She jerked her hand away.  “No!” she shouted, moving away from him toward the building’s front door.  “I don’t want anything from you unless it’s the truth.  If you can’t give me that…” and Caitlin started coughing again, this time even worse. 

His heart ached at what she was going through, and all because of their argument.  “Caitlin wait!” he called out after her.  “I’ll tell you the truth.”  He walked up to her.  “Yes, I’m an archaeologist, but I work for the military at Cheyenne Mountain Complex.  I’m part of a program that discovered a very large stone ring in the desert near Giza years ago.”

He continued.  “It’s called a Stargate, and until recently, no one knew how to operate it.  I was the one that helped to figure it out.”

Caitlin had a disbelieving look on her face.  “A star-gate.”

“Yes.  It lets us travel to many different worlds.  We’ve met alien races that were friendly, evil, and even some in between.  The US Air Force runs the Stargate Program, and I'm a member of SG-1.  I go and help these people translate artifacts, explore and catalog ancient alien ruins, and help them make first contact with other alien races.”

She shook her head, coughing again.  “You expect me to believe that?” she asked him, her voice rising in anger.  “Daniel, that is the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard!  Aliens and other planets.  Next you’ll tell me I’m the Tooth Fairy!”

“I can prove it.  I have journals back in my office and at home that tell everything I’ve been doing the past ten years.  My friends, Sam, Cam, Teal’c, and Jack, they’ve all been through the gate, too.”

“Enough!” She shouted at him.  “I won’t stand here and listen to these...” she started coughing again.  “Lies…”  She was coughing so hard now that she was having trouble even breathing.  She turned around to walk back into her apartment, but only got a few steps before she crumpled onto the snowy parking lot.

 Daniel rushed up to her and gently turned her over onto her back, noticing the blood on her right hand and at the corner of her mouth.  He touched his hand to her forehead and her cheeks.  “My God!” he exclaimed aloud.  “You’re burning up!”  He gently picked her up in his arms, noting that she had lost a lot of weight so she was as light as a feather.  He quickly walked to his Jeep and opened the passenger door, gently putting her in and fastening the seat belt.  He climbed in, and soon he was driving as fast as the snowy streets would allow him back to the base.

He picked up his cell phone, and quickly punched in the number for the SGC.  “Gen. Landry, please.  It’s Dr. Jackson.  Tell him it’s an emergency!”  Daniel waited a few moments until he heard the general’s voice. 

“What seems to be the trouble, Dr. Jackson?”

“Sir, I’m bringing Caitlin O’Brien to the SGC.  She’s very sick.  I was with her at her apartment, and we were talking when she suddenly collapsed.  She’s paler than I’ve ever seen her, she’s burning up with a fever, and she’s starting to cough up blood.”

“Understood.  I’ll have a med team standing by when you get here, and I’ll clear you straight through.”

“Thank you, general.”  He hung up and reached over to touch Caitlin’s face.  “Don’t leave me, Caitlin,” he pleaded, tears beginning to stream down his face.  “Hang on.  We’re almost there!”

Daniel drove down the street leading to the base, and turned into the parking lot.  He parked his Jeep as close to the entrance as he could get, got out, and carefully unbuckled Caitlin and picked her up.  He ran as fast as he could to the entrance where the guards were there to help him open the elevator doors.  He punched the buttons, and as he rode the elevator down to the Infirmary level, he couldn’t think of anything else but making her well again.  Soon the doors opened, and a med team headed by Dr. Lam was waiting there for him. 

Dr. Lam took over, shouting orders to her team.  “Okay, put her on the gurney,” she told Daniel.  “Get those lines hooked up to her!  Saunders, get a central line started and start pumping fluids stat!  Let's get her into quarantine!”  The medical team raced down the corridors to the infirmary where Gen. Landry, Teal’c, Cam, and Sam were all waiting for them. 

“Dr. Jackson, I need you to step aside so I can examine her.”

He refused to leave Caitlin’s side.  “I can’t,” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “This is all my fault.”

Sam came over and finally convinced him to step outside with them so they could let the doctor work and they could talk quietly.

“Daniel,” Sam said, concern for him etched on her face.  “What happened?”

“Her friend Lacey called while we were on Danu.  She left a message that Caitlin was sick, and that I should go talk to her.  When I got to her apartment, she looked like she does now.  I tried to talk to her, but she didn’t want to listen.”

“Okay, so you tried to talk to her,” Cam said.  “Then what happened?”

“I did the only thing I could.  I told her about the Stargate.”

The general groaned.  “Dr. Jackson,” he said with a serious look on his face.  “I specifically remember telling you not to say anything to her until Gen. O’Neill and I had made a decision about that.”

Daniel was angry now.  “With all due respect, general, I had to tell her something or she wouldn’t have talked to me at all.  Then I wouldn’t have found out how sick she really is.  As it is, she doesn’t believe me anyway.  She thinks I’m still lying to her.  She got so angry that she started to walk away, but before she could get anywhere, she started coughing so bad she passed out.  That’s when I brought her here.”

The med team had quickly cut off all her clothes, and Dr. Lam was trying to take her vitals when suddenly Caitlin started to jerk and shake in the bed.  “She’s convulsing!  Get me some Valium, ten cc’s stat!”

He heard the commotion and came running in with the rest of the group right behind him.  “What’s going on?” he cried out. 

“She’s convulsing from the high fever,” Dr. Lam said, looking at him.  “We’ve given her some Valium and it seems to be working...”

“Doctor!” one of the nurses called out. 

Dr. Lam. turned back toward the bed.  The monitor showing her heartbeat and pulse registered a flat line.  “She’s coding!  Get the crash cart in here now!”  The medical team raced into action, immediately pulling a crash cart into place behind Dr. Lam.  She grabbed the paddles as someone squirted some gel on them.  “Charge to two hundred.  Clear!”  She put the paddles on Caitlin’s chest and shocked her, her body jerking. 

Sam noticed Daniel was shaking; she went to him and hugged him tightly. He turned his head into her shoulder, reluctant to cry openly but unable to hold the tears in. "She'll be okay, Daniel," she said soothingly, "Dr. Lam will bring her back."

“She’s still in V-Fib.  Charge to three-sixty.  Clear!”  Dr. Lam shocked her again, and this time Caitlin’s heart responded.  “Okay, we’ve got her back.  Let’s go ahead and intubate her now.”  She put a tube down Caitlin's throat and hooked her up to a ventilator.  Finally, she motioned to Daniel and the others and they all walked out into the corridor to talk. 

“What’s happening?” he asked, wiping his tears away.  “Is she okay?”

The doctor had a serious expression on her face, her arms folded across her chest.  “We’ve stabilized her for now, but she’s still in critical condition.  Dr. Jackson, is there anything you can tell me about Miss O’Brien’s condition before she collapsed?”

He thought for a moment.  “Caitlin looked really pale, and she looked like she hadn’t been eating or sleeping very well.  She was also coughing a lot.”

“Is there anything else you can tell me that would be helpful?”

“No.  Maybe her friend Lacey would know more.  I can talk to her and find out if she knows anything.”

“Okay.  In the meantime, we’ll just try and keep her stable until you can find out any more information.”

“Dr. Lam, is she contagious?” asked the general. 

“I don’t think so, but we’ll know more in time.  Now you’ll have to excuse me.  I need to get back to my patient.”

“Can I stay with her?  Please?” Daniel pleaded to Dr. Lam, terrified that he would lose her if he left her side for even a moment. 

Dr. Lam looked at the general, who nodded.  “I believe so, but because of her high fever she’s gone into a coma, so she may not hear you or know you’re there.”

“She’ll know I’m there,” he said confidently, tears still in his eyes. 

They walked back into the infirmary, leaving the others behind in the corridor. 

Sam turned toward the general.  “Sir, I think you should let Gen. O’Neill know what’s going on.  He might want to be here for Daniel.”

“Agreed.  I’ll make the call immediately.  Let me know if anything changes with Miss O’Brien.”

“Yes sir.”

“Man!  Did you see Daniel’s face?” Cam asked the others after the general had left. 

“Indeed, Col. Mitchell.  It appears that Daniel Jackson is indeed in love with Caitlin O’Brien.”

“Yeah, but will he finally admit it to himself and to her?  That’s the big question.”

“Maybe,” Sam replied.  “I’m gonna go in there and sit with him a while.”

Cam nodded.  “Okay.  Me and T will wait for Gen. O’Neill to get here.”

The three friends parted ways, and Sam went into the infirmary to be with Daniel.  He was sitting by her bed, tears in his eyes, holding her hand.  Sam put her hand on his shoulder, letting him know she was there. 

He stood up, and hugged Sam tightly.  “Sam,” he said, choked up.  “What if... what if she doesn’t make it?  What if she dies, and I don’t get the chance to tell her the truth, or that I’m sorry for our argument?  What if…”

“Daniel,” she said, interrupting him.  “You can’t think that way!  You have to believe that she’ll get better.  She’s in the best place for that now.  What you need to do is talk to her friend Lacey and find out if she knows how Caitlin got sick.”

He wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve.  “I know.  I’ll make the call right now.  Would you stay with her for me?”

She nodded, and he went to the phone by the infirmary entrance.  He called information and found out Lacey’s home phone number, dialing it. 

“Reynolds’ residence,” Lacey answered.

“Lacey, this is Daniel Jackson.  I’m sorry to be calling this late, but I got your message.”

“Hi, Dr. Jackson.  Have you talked to Caitlin yet?”

“Yes, I have.  She thinks I’m hiding something from her, and that made her angry.  However, I’m telling you the truth when I say that I’m not hiding anything from her at all.  So can you tell me what happened since our argument?”

“She came in to work last Saturday looking really tired, and she said you two had argued.  She said it bothered her so badly that she couldn’t sleep or eat.”

He felt horrible, but he continued on.  “What else did she say?”

“She didn’t say much, but when she came back to work on Monday, she looked even worse.  She said she hadn’t been sleeping or eating all weekend.  So I tried to get her to go home, rest and eat, but she wouldn’t leave because we had a lot of customers that day.  By Thursday, she looked so sick that I sent her home, and this time she didn’t argue with me. ”

“Do you have any idea how she got sick, Lacey?” He asked her.

“I think so.  There was a customer that came in on Monday with a bad cold.  With her resistance being down from her lack of sleeping and eating, that’s probably how she got it.  Why do you ask?”

“When I went to Caitlin’s apartment to talk to her, she came outside to the parking lot tell me she didn’t want to talk to me.  I tried to tell her that I wasn’t hiding anything from her, but she still wouldn’t believe me.  She started to walk away from me, but she started coughing and collapsed in front of me.”

 “Oh my God!”  Lacey gasped, horrified.  “Where is she?  How is she?  What happened?” she asked in a rush.

Daniel tried to think of a good excuse that she would accept.  “She’s pretty sick, Lacey.  She went into cardiac arrest once, but they brought her back.  Now they’ve got her on a ventilator.  They’re just trying to figure out how she got sick so they can help her get well again.”  Daniel heard her crying on the other end. 

“Where is she?” she asked Daniel through her tears.  “Will she be okay?  Can I come see her?”

“She’s in the Fort Carson Military Hospital.  My friends in the military suggested I bring her here.  They have her in an isolation unit, so I don’t think they would let you see her.  They’re not even letting me see her.”  Daniel heard her choke back a sob.  “I promise, Lacey, that I will keep you up-to-date on her condition every day, and as soon as she wakes up, I’ll tell her you're thinking of her.  That’s the about the best I can do right now.  I can see if they’ll let you see her, but I doubt it.”  He sighed.  “That’s all I know for certain right now.”

“You promise that you’ll let me know how’s she’s doing every day?” she asked him, worry in her voice. 

“I promise, Lacey.  I will let you know.  By the way, can you take care of her cats for her?  I know that when she gets better she'll be worried about them.”

“I'll take care of them, Daniel,” she promised. 

  He saw Dr. Lam walk back into the room.  “I’ve got to go now, Lacey, but I’ll let you know if anything changes as soon as I can.”

“Thanks for calling, Daniel.  I really appreciate it.  I hope you two can work things out.  I’ve never seen Caitlin happier than when she’s with you.”

He thanked her and hung up.  He walked over to Caitlin’s bedside where Sam was sitting and stood beside her.  “So, Dr. Lam, how is she?”

The doctor crossed her arms over her chest.  “She’s still critical, Dr. Jackson.  Were you able to find out how she first got sick?”

Daniel nodded, a sad look on his face.  “I just got off the phone with her best friend, Lacey.  Last week on Wednesday night, Caitlin got to meet Sam and the others.  After I took her home, we had an argument because she knows I’m hiding something from her.”

“Anyway, Lacey told me that all last weekend she had hardly slept or ate because of our argument.  She said Caitlin came in to work on Monday looking terrible, but she wouldn’t leave.  Then Lacey told me that she had helped a customer that day who had a really bad cold.  She thinks that because her body’s resistance was down, she caught the man’s cold.”

“Since her body's resistance was down and her immune system compromised, it's become severe pneumonia now.”  Dr. Lam said.  “I could use the antibiotics we have for that.  However, I’ve checked and rechecked her blood work, and there’s still something odd about it.  It has the Danuan genetic markers in it and the human markers as well, but there’s still that third genetic marker that I can’t figure out.”

“What are you saying, Dr. Lam?” Sam asked. 

Dr. Lam had a serious look on her face.  “What I’m saying is that if I can’t figure out that third genetic marker, I don’t know if I can treat her.”

Daniel’s legs almost gave out, but Sam helped to steady him and helped him sit in the chair.  “Please do something!” he cried out.  “I can’t lose her!”

“Maybe I can help you figure it out,” Sam offered.  “Two heads are better than one.”

“Sure,” Dr. Lam told her.  “I’ll be in the lab.”  She walked out, and Sam turned toward Daniel.

“Daniel, will you be all right?” Sam asked him, putting her hand on his shoulder. 

He nodded, and Sam left for Dr. Lam’s lab.  He took Caitlin’s right hand in his, tears running down his cheeks.  “Please, Caitlin,” he pleaded to her.  “You have to get better.  I need you to get better!”

Before getting to Dr. Lam's office, she saw Sgt. Siler walking down the corridor and stopped him.

“Sgt. Siler, can you take a cup of coffee to Dr. Jackson in the Infirmary?”

“Yes, ma'am,” he told her.  “I'll do that right away.”

“Thanks,” Sam told him.

In the doctor's lab, Sam was looking through the microscope at a sample of Caitlin’s blood.  “It looks normal to me.”

“I agree, but look at this.”  Dr. Lam pointed to a computer screen.  “Here’s the Danuan marker,” she pointed to the marks on the screen, “and here’s the human one.  But it’s that last one that’s got me stumped.”  She looked at it for a few more minutes, then a strange thought came to her.  She went to a nearby computer and pulled up Daniel’s medical records. 

Sam watched her intently.  What is it?” she asked the doctor.

 “A few years ago when you went to Vis Uban thinking it was the Lost City, you found Daniel among the villagers.  He didn’t remember who he was, correct?”

Sam shook her head.  “No, he didn't.  Why do you ask?  And what does that have to do with Caitlin O’Brien?”

“Dr. Frasier did some blood work on Daniel when they first brought him back.  I think it might have the answer we’re looking for.”

Dr. Lam pulled up the records concerning Daniel’s blood work, and a graph came up on the screen.  “It says here that Dr. Frasier found something slightly odd in Daniel’s blood.  She discovered that it was a genetic marker left over from when he was an Ascended being.”  Dr. Lam quickly typed in a few commands into the computer, and both images appeared on the screen.  “What do you see, Colonel?”

Sam looked intently at the paper showing Caitlin's blood and then at the image of Daniel's blood sample.  “It's a sample of Caitlin's blood and Daniel's blood, but I don't know what I'm looking for.”

Dr. Lam pointed first to Daniel's blood test results.  “This test was taken shortly after you brought him back.  These,” she pointed to a few lines on the first image, “are the genetic markers left from when Daniel was an Ascended being.”  She pointed to the same spot on the computer screen showing Caitlin's blood work results.  “Caitlin O'Brien has the same markers, only she has one more.  I believe that she has Ascended being genetic material in her blood.”

Sam couldn't believe what she was hearing.  She went over to the lab phone and called the general who immediately came down to the lab. 

“What have you got for me Doctor, Colonel?” he asked as Teal'c and Cam walked in behind him. 

“Sir, Dr. Lam thinks she's figured out what that third piece of genetic material is in Caitlin's blood.  It's Ascended.”

“Are you sure?” Gen. Landry asked, completely shocked.

Dr. Lam showed him just what she had shown Sam. 

“Oh man!” Cam exclaimed.  “How is that possible? I thought they had this thing with non-interference. ”

“I'm not sure,” Dr. Lam said.

Sam turned toward the general.  “Sir, the answers are on Danu.  We just haven't found them yet.”

“Then we need to find them soon.  In the meantime, have you been able to find out what Miss O'Brien has and how she got sick?”

Dr. Lam told him everything Daniel had learned from Lacey.  "However, using Caitlin's blood as a template, I believe I'll be able to synthesize the right combination of antibiotics."

“Good.  Get started right away.”  Dr. Lam went back to work, and the general motioned for Sam to walk out with him, Teal'c and Cam.  “How is Dr. Jackson doing, Colonel?” he asked her. 

Sam frowned.  “He's in rough shape, sir.  He blames himself for what's happened to Caitlin.  He won't leave her side.”

“Have you heard anything from Gen. O' Neill?” Cam asked the general. 

“Yes.  He'll be here tomorrow.  He has some business to take care of first.”

“Good,” Sam replied.  “If anyone can get through to him, it's Gen. O’Neill.”

“If anything changes with Miss O'Brien, please let me know.”

Sam nodded, and the three of them went back to the infirmary.  Teal'c went over to Daniel and put a hand on his shoulders. 

He looked up at them, his tear-stained face telling them all they needed to know.  “There hasn't been any change,” he told them, choking back a sob. 

“Daniel, did Sgt. Siler bring you some coffee?”

“He brought some a few minutes ago.”  He turned to the others.  “Isn't there anything the doctor can do?” he cried out softly. 

“Well, it might be easier for Dr. Lam to treat her, now that we've found out what that third piece of genetic material is.”

Daniel was shocked.  “You found out?  When?  How?  What is it?” he demanded.

“Whoa! Slow down there, Jackson,” Cam told him.  “Dr. Lam found something interesting in Caitlin's blood work.  She pulled up your records from when they found you on Vis Uban, and there were similarities.”

Daniel looked confused.  “What do you mean?  What 'similarities'?”

Sam continued.  “Do you remember when we brought you back and Dr. Frasier checked you out?”

Daniel nodded. 

“Well, she found a unique genetic marker in your blood left over from when you had ascended.  Dr. Lam found a similar marker in Caitlin's blood.”

Daniel couldn't believe what he was hearing.  “Are you trying to tell me she has Ascended genetic material in her blood?  That's impossible!”

“We know,” Cam told him.  “What we can't figure out is how it got there.  Sam told the general that she thought the answers were on Danu, but we're not going anywhere until Caitlin is better.  That's our top priority right now.”

Dr. Lam and a nurse came in a few moments later.  She was carrying two clear bags of liquid, and the nurse was carrying a large container filled with ice packs.  The nurse set the container down on the nearby bed, and the doctor gave the nurse the two clear bags and came over to the team. 

“What exactly is wrong with her, Dr. Lam?” Sam asked.

“Well, according to Daniel, he said that her friend told him she came into contact with someone having a bad cold at the health food store where she works.  Now, for you or me, it just means that we might or might not get the same cold.  For her, it means she might not get it, or if she does, it will be relatively minor.  But that's when her body and her immune system are in peak performance.  Unfortunately, since her body's resistances were down, it attacked her with a vengeance and became severe pneumonia.  However, using Caitlin's blood as a template, I believe I was able to synthesize the right combination of antibiotics.”  She went over to Caitlin's IV stand and put up the two bags of antibiotics, hooking them into her IV tube.  Then she came back to the team.

“She's got a lot of fluid in her lungs, so we're helping her to breathe so that her lungs have a chance to clear up.  She's also got a very high fever, so we're going to put lots of ice packs on her to try and cool her down until the antibiotics start to work.” 

“So will these antibiotics you're giving her help?” Daniel asked in a small, frightened voice as two nurses put the ice packs on Caitlin's feverish body. 

“I don't know.  Only time will tell.”  The doctor checked Caitlin's vitals, writing them on her chart. 

Daniel had a sudden thought.  “Hey!  What about a healing device?  You know, the kind the Tok'ra use?  Can't Sam use that to heal Caitlin?”

Sam shook her head.  “I'm sorry Daniel, but it wouldn't work.  I don't have enough control over it for something like this.”

Dr. Lam checked Caitlin one more time before leaving for her lab. 

Daniel slumped back down into the chair next to her bed.  “I just can't lose her, not now that I've found her,” he whispered. 

Cam motioned for the others to follow him out. 

“I believe I will stay with Daniel Jackson,” Teal'c said. 

Cam nodded, and he and Sam left the Infirmary. 

Teal'c found a chair nearby, picked it up, and sat down next to Daniel.  “Daniel Jackson, I have known you for many years now, and even though I only recently met Caitlin O'Brien, I believe that she is one of the strongest women I have ever met.  I also believe you to be one of the strongest men I have ever known.”  He put his hand on Daniel's slumped shoulders.  “I believe that Caitlin O'Brien will get better, and I believe that you will get through this.” 

Daniel looked up at him.  “Do you really think so, Teal'c,” he asked in a soft voice. 

“I believe this to be true, Daniel Jackson.  I would not tell you if I did not believe it to be so.”

He managed a small smile.  “Thank you, Teal'c,” he told his best friend. 

Teal'c nodded, and left the room, leaving the two of them alone. 

All through the weekend, Daniel stayed by Caitlin's side, leaving only long enough to answer nature's call.  He hardly ever slept, and he wouldn't eat unless someone brought him some food.  Even then he only picked at what was on the tray.  The only thing he would eat or drink was his coffee.  His knew his friends were really beginning to worry about him.  Everyone on the base had either stopped by the infirmary or left messages through someone that they were there for him.  He felt a little better knowing that the people on the base cared about him that much. 

It was Sunday evening, and Daniel hadn't shaved or eaten, and he felt incredibly tired.  Even though he had nodded off briefly a few times before, he knew that he needed some real sleep, but he didn't want to take the chance that he would be sleeping and Caitlin would wake up.  So he sat there holding her hand, drinking some coffee, and talking to her about anything that came to his mind.  As he talked he noticed that he was getting really tired, so he decided to rest his head on the bed.  In seconds he was fast asleep.

As he slept, his mind began to dream.  He dreamt that he was standing in the Infirmary looking down at Caitlin, when he heard a voice call out to him. 

“Dan'yel?”

“Yes,” he answered.  “I'm here.  Who's calling me?”

Out of the hazy mist came a very familiar figure.  It was Sha're.  “It is me, Dan'yel.”

Daniel rubbed his eyes, not believing who it was in front of him.  “Sha're?” he asked incredulously. 

“Yes, my love,” Sha're answered him as she came up to him.  She pointed to Caitlin in the bed in front of them.  “I have come to you because you are afraid to love this one called Cate'len.” 

He had a sad look in his eyes.  “I can't.  The Ori are too great a threat.”

“I know, my love,” she said, caressing his cheek.  “They are even more powerful and evil than the Goa'uld.  But you must not let that stop you from loving someone.”

He turned away from her.  “How can I ever love anyone again?  I've seen the Ori kill thousands of people.  What if I fall in love and Caitlin is captured or killed by them?  I can't go through that again like I did with you.”

Sha're walked around to face him, caressing his cheek again.  “Dan'yel, my love, what happened to me was not your doing.  The gods determined that it was my time to go, and I am at peace now.  I know your heart, and I hear what it says, though you refuse.  Listen to your heart now.  What does it tell you?”

He took a deep breath.  “I can't, Sha're.  I can't love her.  I don't want her to suffer the same fate that you did.”

She held his face with her hands.  “My love, you know that Cate'len's fate is not in your hands but in the hands of the gods.” 

“What about the Ori?” he asked her again.

“They will not harm her or her people.  I cannot tell you how I know this; I just know.”

“I'm still afraid,” he said to her, tears beginning to stream down his face. 

“I know that, my love, but it is your turn to find peace, and love.  Do not let her slip away.  There is room enough and more in your heart, if you will let it guide you.”

Daniel smiled at her through his tears and hugged her close.  “I will always love you, Sha're.”

“And I you,” she said. 

Daniel tenderly kissed her one last time and watched as she walked away into the haze and disappeared. 

He awoke with a start to someone touching his shoulder.  It was Jack.  Daniel rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, yawned and stretched.  “How long was I asleep?” he asked, yawning again. 

“Not long enough.  And when was the last time you took a shower, Daniel?”

“I have no idea.  A few days ago, I suppose.”

Jack had a stern look on his face.  “Okay, that's it.  I want you to head down to your quarters, take a shower and get a fresh change of clothes.”

“I can't leave her, Jack.  What if she wakes up while I'm gone?  I just can't.” 

“I can make that an order, you know,” he said getting frustrated with Daniel.  “For cryin' out loud, Daniel.  I'll sit with her myself the whole time you're gone.  If she even twitches a finger, I'll have you notified immediately.  Besides,” he added.  “What happens when she wakes up and she sees you?  You look like death warmed over yourself.”

He had to agree with Jack, though he didn't like leaving Caitlin for even a second.  “You're sure you'll stay with her?”

“Scout's honor,” Jack told him, holding up his hand in the traditional Boy Scout salute.  “I'll stay here until you get back.”

Daniel stood up and really stretched.  “Okay, Jack, you win.  Besides, a shower does sound good.  I'll be back as soon as I can.”  He hurried off to his quarters to shower and change, and Jack took Daniel's seat by Caitlin's bedside. 

“He loves you, you know,” he told Caitlin.  “He just has to admit it to himself first.”

It was after nine pm when Daniel finally came back into the infirmary.  He immediately went over to Caitlin's side and checked on her. 

“She's doing okay,” Jack told him.  “I asked Sam to come in and sit with her so we can go talk.”

“Jack,” Daniel said, giving him a stern look.  “I've been away from her longer than I wanted to already.  I'm not leaving again.”

Jack looked him in the eyes.  “Yes, you are.  You won't do anyone, much less Caitlin, any good if you get sick yourself.  Besides, you need to eat anyway, and I want to talk to you.”

Daniel reluctantly agreed, and as soon as Sam was sitting by Caitlin, he and Jack headed down to the commissary to get some food.  He went up to the kitchen and grabbed a tray, filling it with food, and sat down next to his friend.

Jack had grabbed a cup of coffee, and he took a sip as he sat down.  “Sam told me you were the one who brought Caitlin in.”

Daniel took a few bites of his burger.  “Yeah, I did.  While we were on Danu, I had gotten a message from her best friend Lacey that I should go talk to her.  She had said that Caitlin hadn't been sleeping or eating well, and that I should check up on her.”

  “When I got to her apartment, she came out to tell me she didn't want to talk to me.  Jack,” He looked at Jack, hurt in his eyes.  “She looked horrible.  She tried to tell me to leave, but before she could, she started coughing really hard and collapsed to the ground.  So I brought her here.”

“I also hear that you told her about the Stargate.  For cryin' out loud, Daniel!  I thought we told you to wait until we had made a decision.”

"Damn it, Jack!” Daniel said, slamming his fist down on the table as he stood up.  “I had to tell her something or she wouldn't have talked to me at all.  Don't you understand?!  This is all my fault.  She knows I'm holding something back.  I caused this.  She's here because of me!” 

Jack's heart went out to his friend.  He knew exactly what Daniel was going through, and he stood and went to his friend, hugging him fiercely.  After a moment, he let Daniel go and motioned for him to sit back down.  “Hey,” he said as Daniel sat down.  “This wasn't your fault.  Caitlin was the one that got upset, and she was the one that decided, on her own, not to eat or sleep.”

“Yes, but if I had just been able to tell her about her mother in the first place, this never would have happened.” 

“You don't know that.”

“Yes I do.”

“Do not.”

“Do too.”

“Do not.”

“Don't start, Jack,” Daniel warned him.  “Not now.”  He and Jack sat in silence for a few moments, Sha're's words ringing in his mind.

Finally Jack had had enough.  “Oh for cryin' out loud, Daniel!  When are you ever going to admit to yourself that you're head-over-heels, crazy in love with Caitlin O'Brien?”

Finally Daniel decided to take the advice Sha're had given him and just let his heart guide him.  Suddenly he understood what she had been trying to tell him.  His mind finally knew now what his heart had always known; he was, without a doubt, totally, completely, wonderfully in love with Caitlin O'Brien.  “Jack, I love Caitlin.”

Jack stopped short.  “Wha...?  What did you say?”

“I said I love Caitlin.”

Jack couldn't believe his ears.  He smiled broadly.  “Well it's about time, Space Monkey!  Congratulations.”

Daniel gave him a serious look.  “Don't congratulate me yet, Jack, not until she's well again and she's out of here.”

“Okay, Daniel.  For now it's good to hear you admit to something that all of us could already see.  What made you change your mind?”

Daniel smiled.  “Sha're.”

Jack looked confused.  “Didn't you see T shoot her with a staff weapon?”

Daniel ate some of his fruit.  “I know she's dead, Jack, but she came to me in a dream.  Before you walked in I had been dreaming.  I dreamt that I was in the Infirmary watching over Caitlin, when someone called out to me, and it was Sha're.  She told me that it wasn't my fault that she had been captured and killed.  She also told me that she knew I was afraid to love Caitlin.  I told her that I was afraid of the Ori hurting or killing her, and Sha're told me that they will not harm her or her people.”

“How does she know that?”

He took a drink of his coffee.  “She couldn't tell me that, but she said that she just knew.  She knows I'm still afraid, but she said it was time to let her go and move on.  I told her that I will always love her, and she understands that.  Sha're also told me that she knows there will always be a place for her in my heart, but she said that there's room enough for Caitlin, too.”

Jack patted Daniel on the back.  “That's good, Daniel.  That's really good.”

Unfortunately the sadness returned to Daniel eyes.  “What if she doesn't make it, Jack?  What if I lose her before I ever get the chance to tell her I love her?”

“Don't start thinking that way, Daniel.  You have to stay positive for her sake as well as yours.”

Suddenly, the intercom crackled to life.  “Dr. Lam to the Infirmary, stat!  Dr. Lam to the Infirmary, stat!”  Daniel and Jack jumped up from the table and ran down the halls to the Infirmary. 

Sam was already there, and she stood up as Daniel came in and rushed to Caitlin's bedside with Jack, Teal'c and Cam right behind him.  “Whathappened?!” he demanded.  “What's going on?”

Dr. Lam quickly checked all of Caitlin's vitals, and smiled.  “Her temperature's coming down.  It looks like the antibiotics and ice packs are working.”

He let out a breath, relief in his eyes.  “Thank God!”

Jack slapped Daniel on the back.  “See, I told you not to worry.”

Daniel turned to his friend and smiled.  “Thanks, Jack,” he told him.  He turned toward Sam, thanking her for sitting with Caitlin, and she smiled at him. 

“What happens now?” Jack asked the doctor. 

“We'll let her wake up on her own.  Her lungs have cleared up, so I think we can take out her breathing tube.”  Dr. Lam put on some gloves.  She turned off the ventilator and unplugged the hose from the tube in Caitlin's mouth.  Taking a hold of the tube, she gently and carefully pulled it out as Ensign Tracey waited with a suction tube.  Once the tube was out, Ensign Tracey suctioned out Caitlin's mouth. 

Daniel and the rest of the group were relieved to see Caitlin take a deep breath and start breathing on her own again. 

“She seems to be breathing just fine on her own,” Dr. Lam said after checking her vitals again.  She opened a sterile package and pulled out a clear plastic tube, hooking it up to a nozzle behind Caitlin's bed and turning on the oxygen.  She placed the nose prongs in Caitlin's nostrils, checked to make sure the flow was correct, and turned back toward Daniel.  “Now I know that you'll still be here with her, Dr. Jackson, so if anything changes, call me immediately.”

Daniel nodded, and Dr. Lam and the nurse left.  He turned and smiled at Jack, then at his friends.  “Thanks for standing by me, you guys,” he told them.  “It means a lot to me.”

Sam, Cam, and Teal'c could see the look between Jack and Daniel.  “Okay, you two,” Sam said.  “What's going on here?  What's happened that we don't know about?”

 Jack smiled broadly.  “You wanna tell them or should I?”

Daniel smiled.  “I'm in love with Caitlin.”

Everyone was overjoyed.  “Congratulations, Daniel!”  Sam told him, hugging him warmly. 

“I, too, share her enthusiasm,” Teal'c said smiling. 

“Now that's what I'm talking about!” Cam told him, coming over and slapping him on the back.  “But it sure took you long enough.  We could see it a long time ago.”

Everyone laughed, but Sam was still surprised.  “So what made you change your mind, Daniel?” she asked him. 

Daniel told them about the dream he'd had.  Cam and Sam congratulated him again and then left the room. 

“Teal'c, I just want you to know that even after all these years, I don't hold any anger towards you for what happened to Sha're.  She told me in the dream that the gods had decided it was her time to go.  She also told me that she was at peace, and she wanted me to be at peace, too.” 

“And are you at peace now, Daniel Jackson?”

“Yes.  I just had to 'let my heart guide me', as Sha're put it.”

“Then it pleases me to see you so happy.”  Teal'c put a hand on his best friend's shoulder and walked out.  Only Jack and Daniel were left. 

“I'm so glad that she's getting better,” Daniel said to Jack as he sat down beside Caitlin, picking up her hand and holding it in his own. 

Jack smiled at his friend.  “Yeah, but you won't be if you don't get a decent night's sleep.  You want her to see you like this when she wakes up?”

Daniel started to protest, but Jack cut him off.  “Look, it's well past midnight, and she's out of the woods now.  So unless you want me to call Dr. Lam back in here to give you a sedative, I suggest you get some sleep.  You can even sleep in the bed next to hers.  Just as long as you get some sleep.”

Daniel started to object again, but again Jack cut him off.  “I'm warning you, Daniel.  I can call the Doc back in here.  Besides, you know as well as I do that the doctor'll be in an out of here all night.  So get some shut-eye, would ya?”

Daniel finally agreed and climbed onto the bed near Caitlin's. 

Jack spread a blanket out over Daniel, and watched his friend as he fell asleep.  He smiled at him, and walked over to Caitlin's bed.  “He really does love you, you know,” he whispered into her ear.  “And now he knows it himself.”

It was around eleven am the next morning and Daniel was still sleeping when something woke him.  He quickly looked around and saw that Caitlin had moved.  He threw off the blanket and immediately went over to her bedside, taking her hand.  “Caitlin,” he said, hoping that she would hear him.  “Caitlin, it's Daniel.  Can you hear me?”

Somewhere through a thick fog came a voice that Caitlin knew.  She clung to that voice and followed it into consciousness.  “Where...where am I?” she croaked through a very parched mouth. 

“You're in the infirmary, Caitlin,” Daniel told her, relief flooding through every fiber of his being. 

“What happened?”

“You collapsed.  You've been pretty sick.”

She tried to speak again, but her throat was too dry. 

Daniel immediately went over to the phone on the nearby wall and called Dr. Lam.  After he hung up, he went back to her bedside until the doctor and his friends came in. 

“When did she wake up?” Gen. Landry asked Daniel.

“Just now, sir.”

“Welcome back, Miss O'Brien,” Dr. Lam told her as she checked Caitlin's vitals. 

She opened her eyes to see a strange woman leaning over her.  “Water,” she whispered. 

Dr. Lam poured a glass of water and put a straw in it.  “Just sip it,” she told Caitlin. 

“Daniel?” she asked, fear in her eyes. 

He took her hand.  “I'm here, Caitlin.”

“What happened?  Where am I?”

He looked at her.  What's the last thing you remember?”

She tried hard to think.  “I remember being in my parking lot talking to, no, arguing with you.  Then I can't remember anything.”

He frowned.  “You were about to walk back into your apartment when you collapsed.  You were burning up with a fever, and you could barely breathe.  So I brought you here.”

She asked for another sip of water, and the doctor let her have one.  “Where is 'here'?” she asked Daniel.

He turned to Jack and Gen. Landry, and Jack nodded.  “Do you remember me telling you that I work at Cheyenne Mountain Complex?  You're at Stargate Command, Caitlin.  I brought you to the infirmary here.”

She struggled with this, but she couldn't grasp what he was telling her.  “All lies,” she finally told him, turning her head away from him. 

Daniel looked up at his friends, pleading at them with his eyes. 

“He's not lying, Caitlin,” Sam told her, coming to the foot of her bed.  “He really does work at Stargate Command.”

Caitlin shook her head. “Not possible.  There are no such things as aliens,” she told them, even though something in the back of her mind told her otherwise.  “Why are you all lying to me?” 

Dr. Lam could see that Caitlin's blood pressure was rising, so she turned up Caitlin's oxygen a little more.  “Please, Miss O'Brien.  Try to remain calm, and try to slow down your breathing.”

“Remember I told you I can prove it?” Daniel asked her.  “Well, Teal'c is from a planet called Chulac,” he said, pointing to Teal'c.  “His people are known as Jaffa.”

Teal'c stepped up beside Daniel.  “It is true.  My people were enslaved by the Goa'uld, but now we are free.  It is to the Tau'ri that we owe our freedom.”

Caitlin was still trying to wrap her mind around all that they were telling her, but her body was craving sleep more than proof.  “So tired,” she said finally.

“Okay, that's enough for now,” Dr. Lam told them all.  “She needs to rest, and Dr. Jackson, you need to get some more sleep yourself.  You can all talk to her later.” 

Gen. Landry motioned for Daniel and the others to step outside in the hallway.

He looked at her one more time.  “I'll be right back, Caitlin.”  He watched as Caitlin barely nodded, and was soon fast asleep again.  He walked out and joined the others in the hallway.

“Do you think she believes us?” Daniel asked his friends. 

“I don't know,” Sam told him.  “Only time will tell.”

“Col. Carter, has Gen. O'Neill been brought up to speed on the situation with Caitlin yet?” Gen. Landry asked her.

“What do you mean?” Jack asked Sam.  He turned toward Gen. Landry.  “What's going on?”

Gen. Landry filled him in.  “When Miss O'Brien was brought in a few days ago, Dr. Lam had trouble treating her at first because of her unique genetic makeup.  We know that she has human and Danuan genetic material in her blood, but we were still having trouble figuring out what that third piece to the puzzle was.”

“I know,” Jack told him.  “You've obviously figured it out, so what was it?”

Sam spoke up.  “Well, I was helping Dr. Lam try to figure it out in her lab when she remembered something.  Sir, do you remember when we found Daniel on Vis Uban?”

Jack nodded.

“When we brought him back to the SGC, Janet ran some tests on him.  She found something unusual in his blood that was apparently left over from him being ascended.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Dr. Lam and I found the same thing in Caitlin's blood, but with one extra marker.”

Jack looked confused.  “What are you saying, Carter?  Are you trying to tell me that she's an Ascended being?”

“Not entirely, no, but she does have Ascended being genetic markers in her blood.”

Jack took a moment to absorb this.  “Oh crap!” he exclaimed, a serious look on his face.  “How's that possible?”

“We are not sure, Gen. O'Neill,” Teal'c told him.  “Col. Carter believes that the answers are still on Danu.”

“I told them we should wait until Miss O'Brien gets better,” Gen. Landry added.  “That's our top priority now. Once she's better, then they can go back to Danu to figure out this mystery.”

Daniel had listened to all of this, but there was only one thing he wanted to know.  “Jack, Gen. Landry, please tell me.  When can I tell Caitlin about her mother?  She deserves to know.  It's because I couldn't tell her before that she's sick in the first place.”

“Daniel, we talked about this,” Jack told him.  “It wasn't your fault.  Caitlin made this choice herself.”

“I know, Jack, but she deserves to know that her mother is alive.  I would want to know.”

“I agree with you, Dr. Jackson,” Gen. Landry told him.  “But as you know, it's not that simple.”

Daniel was getting frustrated.  “I think it is.  She already knows about the Stargate, so why is it so difficult to tell her about her mother?”

Jack and Gen. Landry both looked at each other, then back at Daniel.  “All right, Daniel.  We'll talk about it.  In the meantime, go get some sleep.”

Daniel smiled at Jack, and nodded.  The two generals walked back to the conference room to talk, and Sam and the others went their separate ways.  Daniel walked back into the infirmary and went to Caitlin, holding her hand.  This time it didn't feel as cold and clammy as it did the night he had brought her in.  He watched her sleeping for a few moments, his heart swelling with love for this beautiful woman.  “I love you so much, Caitlin,” he whispered into her ear.  “Please get better soon.”  He kissed the back of her hand and laid it back on the bed, covering it with the blankets.  Finally he went back to the bed beside hers and laid down, covering himself up with the blanket.  The last thing he saw before sleep overtook him was Caitlin's face.

Over the next couple of days, Caitlin started to get better.  Daniel was also sleeping and eating better now that she was on the mend.  Unfortunately, she was still having trouble believing what Daniel and the others were telling her about where she was. 

It was late Tuesday afternoon and she was starting to sit up in her bed when Sam walked into the infirmary.  “Hi, Sam,” she told her new friend. 

“Hi, Caitlin,” Sam replied.  “How are you feeling today?”

“A little better.  I can breathe a little easier today, and I'm not feeling as achy as I was yesterday.”

“That's good,” Sam said, sitting down beside Caitlin's bed.  “You really do look a lot better than when you came in last Friday night.”

Caitlin ran her hands over her hair. “I probably look like a fright,” she admitted.  “My hair feels so gross!” 

“If you want, I can help you wash your hair today.”

Caitlin smiled wanly.  “I'd like that.  Do you think that Dr. Lam would let me take a shower?”

“I can ask her later if you want,” Sam said. 

“Thanks.  Sam,” Caitlin said, worry creeping into her voice.  “Do you know anything about my cats?  I'm really worried about them.”

“They're fine,” Sam reassured her.  “Daniel made sure to have Lacey take care of them while you're gone.”

“Does she know where I'm at or what's happened?”

“Yes and no.  Daniel's been calling her every day to let her know how you've been doing.  He said that Lacey cried with relief when she heard you through the worst of it.”

“But does she know I'm here?”

Sam shook her head.  “No Caitlin, she doesn't.  Daniel told her that you were in an isolation unit at the Fort Carson Military Hospital, and that they wouldn't let anyone see you because you were really contagious.”

She looked confused, so Sam tried to help her understand.

“Caitlin, people in Colorado Springs know about this complex, but they don't know what we really do here.  The Stargate Program is a top-secret military program that very few people know about.  Daniel broke the rules when he told you, but he felt that he needed to tell you the truth in order for you to talk to him.  That's what he was hiding from you, Caitlin.”

They both sat in silence for a few moments.  Finally Sam spoke up again.  “Caitlin, I wanted to talk to you about Daniel.  He's not lying to you; we're not lying to you, either.”

 She didn't say anything.  She looked away from Sam. 

“Do you really think we could make something like this up?”

“I know, Sam,” she finally said.  “I believe you.  I still think that there's more that he's hiding, but I believe you.”

“You do?” Sam asked in surprise.  “If you believe us, then why are you still angry at Daniel?  Can't you see that your anger is hurting him?”

Caitlin nodded.  “I know.”

“I don't understand,” Sam said, confused.

Caitlin looked at her hands, tears in her eyes.  “If he believes that I don't care or that I'm still angry with him, then maybe he won't love me.”

“Oh, Caitlin,” Sam began, but Caitlin stopped her. 

“No, Sam,” she said with tears still in her eyes.  “I can't fall in love again.  I won't get hurt again.  I don't want to see anyone I love die again, and I refuse to let myself get hurt again like Brian hurt me.”

“Brian?” Sam asked, and Caitlin quickly told her about Brian and what had happened. 

“Oh, Caitlin,” Sam told her, taking her hands.  “Daniel isn't like that at all!  He's the most loving, giving, caring, and honest man I know.  Did he ever tell you about his late wife, Sha're?”

Caitlin shook her head, so Sam told her.

“Daniel was married to Sha're until a Goa'uld named Apophis came and kidnapped her.  Three years later she was killed.”

Poor Daniel, Caitlin thought.  So he does understand how I feel after all.  “But Sam, I just can't let anyone in,” she said stubbornly.  “I refuse to let anyone hurt me like Brian did.  Ever.”

“Do you know what Daniel has done since he brought you here?  He hasn't left your side unless someone forced him to.  He wouldn't eat unless someone brought it to him, and even then we almost had to force him to eat.  As for sleeping, he hardly slept.  Jack had to finally threaten him with sedation to get him to take a break and get a shower.  What does that tell you, Caitlin?”

Caitlin looked at her in surprise.  “He never left my side?”

Sam shook her head.  “Nope.  He never did.”

Caitlin couldn't believe it.  He must really care about me, she thought to herself.  “Sam, I'm so scared,” she admitted in a small voice.

Sam smiled at her and took her hand again.  “I know you are.  So is Daniel.  He doesn't want anyone he really cares about to suffer the same fate as Sha're, so he's kept his heart locked away.  But you had the key, and you opened it.  Now all you have to do is walk through the door.  It seems terrifying, I know, but at the same time it's really exciting, too.  Love is like that, Caitlin, and love means risking everything in the hopes that it turns into something wonderful.  You and Daniel have the chance to have that something wonderful.  Please don't let your fear control the decision to love him.”

“What about Daniel?  What if he doesn't feel the same way about me as I do about him?”

Sam smiled because she knew that would never happen.  She didn't tell that to Caitlin, but instead told her what Sha're had said to Daniel in his dream.  “Caitlin, a really wonderful person once said, 'Listen to your heart.'  Just listen to it and follow it wherever it leads you.”

Caitlin was growing tired, but she closed her eyes and shut out everything but the constant beating of her heart.  She listened to the gentle thub-thub, thub-thub, and an image floated across her mind.  It was the image of Daniel's face, and it made her heart beat even faster.  She realized that even though her mind hadn't wanted to, her heart was already lost to that caring, sweet, handsome archaeologist she had met in the grocery store entrance.  She opened her eyes, and she smiled at Sam. 

“You're right, Sam,” Caitlin admitted finally.  “I do love him.  I was just letting my fears control my heart.  But not anymore.”

Sam smiled and hugged her friend.  “I'm really happy for you, Caitlin, and I know that you will be really happy with Daniel.  I've known him for almost ten years now, and I can tell you from personal experience that he is a wonderful man.  He's one of my closest friends.”

“So does that mean you know all the juicy details about him?” Caitlin asked, winking at Sam and smiling mischievously. 

Sam laughed.  “I can see we're going to be great friends, Caitlin.” 

An ear-spitting yawn broke up Caitlin's face, and afterwards, she looked around to see if Daniel was nearby.  “Sam do you know when Daniel is coming back?”

“No, why?”

“Well, I'd like to freshen up some, if Dr. Lam will let me.”

“Let me check.”  Sam walked over to the phone and called down into Dr. Lam's office.  In a few minutes, the doctor walked into the infirmary and over to Caitlin's bed. 

“How are we doing this afternoon?” she asked Caitlin, checking her vitals and all the tubes, wires, and pumps. 

“I'm feeling better,” Caitlin said.

“She told me she's feeling pretty grungy, too,” Sam added. 

“I am.  Is there any way I could take a shower or get a bath, or at least get my hair washed?”

“Well, I can't let you take a shower just yet, but I can send one of the nurses in to give you a sponge bath.”

“I offered to wash her hair for her,” Sam said to the doctor.  “Can we set up something so I can do that?”

“No problem.  Just make sure that she has her oxygen prongs in all the time,” the doctor warned Sam.  “She's not quite ready to get off the oxygen just yet.”

Dr. Lam sent in a nurse who gave Caitlin a thorough sponge bath while she and Sam talked.  Once she was done, Sam and the nurse helped her into a fresh hospital gown.  Finally, Sam and the nurse helped her to sit back in a chair next to the bed so that Sam could wash Caitlin's hair. 

“What are you using, Sam?” Caitlin asked as Sam began to wet her hair. 

“Something I use,” she said as she carefully put some shampoo in Caitlin's hair.  “I got it at Wal-Mart.” 

“Sam, did you know those brands from the stores are loaded with things that your hair doesn't need or can actually damage it?  We sell some stuff at our health food store that would be better for you.  You should come check it out.”

Sam smiled.  “I will, just as soon as you get out of here.”  Sam rinsed Caitlin's hair and put some conditioner in it, rinsing it a few minutes later.  Sam grabbed a big, fluffy towel from the bed and wrapped Caitlin's hair in it, towel-drying it as much as she could without disturbing the oxygen hose.  “I need to make a short phone call, and I'll be right back.  Will you be okay sitting here?”

Caitlin nodded, and Sam went to the nearby phone and made a quick call.  A few minutes later, a petite young woman walked into the infirmary. 

“Caitlin, I want you to meet Ensign Robin Bradley. She works in the mess hall helping the cooks to prepare the wonderful meals we have her on the base.”

She smiled, a twinkle in her blue eyes.  “Oh, so you're the one that makes all these people sick?”

Sam laughed.  “Caitlin, I think you're going to fit in just fine around here!”

Ensign Bradley chuckled.  “I think so too, Col. Carter.  Especially when Gen. O'Neill is around.”  The two of them laughed, and Ensign Bradley smiled at Caitlin.  “It’s nice to meet you, Miss O'Brien.  I'm happy to finally meet the woman who's made our favorite archaeologist so happy again.”

Caitlin smiled back at her.  “It's nice to meet you, too, Ensign, and please,” she said just before a big yawn claimed her face.  “Call me Caitlin.”

“Okay, I think we'd better hurry here,” Robin told Sam.

Sam nodded.  “Yeah.  I'm sure all this has worn you out, and we wouldn't want to make Dr. Lam mad at us for wearing out her patient.”  She went to the bed and handed Robin a hairbrush. 

Caitlin looked confused.  “What are you going to do, Ensign, Bradley?”

“Please call me Robin,” she told Caitlin.  “And Col. Carter thought that you might like to have your hair braided up and out of the way instead of having it all down.”

Caitlin sighed.  “Yes,” she said, sighing again.  “I would like that.  Thank you.”  She looked at Sam.  “How did you know?”

“There are a few people on the base that have long hair like yours, and Robin is one of them.  I know that she likes to have her hair up out of the way, even when she's off duty, and I thought you might be the same way.  Besides,” she smiled sheepishly at Caitlin.  “I couldn't French braid someone's hair even if my life depended on it.”

Robin had thoroughly brushed Caitlin's hair, and was already almost done braiding it.  “I also know she asked me because I can braid hair really fast.”  She grabbed a ponytail holder and wrapped it around the end of the braid she had just finished.  “There!  All done.  How does it feel?”

Caitlin slowly put her hand up and carefully felt the braid.  “Wow!  It's even better than what my best friend Lacey can do.  But don't tell Lacey that,” she whispered. 

Before Sam and Robin helped Caitlin get up out of the chair, Sam handed Caitlin a toothbrush and some paste so she could brush her teeth. 

Caitlin grimaced.  “I bet my breath smells like Godzilla's after eating about ten garlic sandwiches.”  She brushed her teeth, and Sam and Robin helped her up and back into bed.  Sam rearranged the covers over her, and Robin gathered up the towel and other items.

“Well, I hope you're feeling a lot better now,” Robin said to her with a smile. 

“I am,” Caitlin admitted.  “Much,” another yawn overtook her.  “Better.  Thank you.”

Robin left, leaving Caitlin and Sam alone in the Infirmary.  “You look much better, too, Caitlin,” Sam commented as she sat down on the nearby bed. 

Caitlin smiled.  “Thanks, Sam.  I feel better, and cleaner.”  She yawned again.  “I'm also pretty tired.”

“I can tell.  So why don't you get some sleep?  I'll have Teal'c come in and stay with you for a while if you want.  Jack told Daniel to get some sleep before the doctor sedates him and puts him in here.”

“I still can't believe that Daniel never left my side,” Caitlin said. 

Sam smiled at her.  “That's just the kind of guy Daniel is.  He's always thinking of others before himself.”  She called Teal'c to come down to the infirmary, and then made sure that Caitlin was comfortable.  A few minutes later, Teal'c walked in to the room.  “Well, I've got a few things to do in my lab, so you get some rest now.  I'll pop in tomorrow.”

“Thanks for everything, Sam,” Caitlin said. 

Sam smiled, and she left for her lab.

Teal'c sat down next to Caitlin's bed.  “Are you feeling better, Caitlin O'Brien?”

“Yes, though I'm pretty tired.”

“I understand.  You may go to sleep if you wish.  I will be here if you wake up and require anything.”

Caitlin nodded.  She closed her eyes and was soon sound asleep. 

Daniel was in his lab trying to work on a translation when Sam walked in.  “Hi, Daniel.  I thought you'd be asleep.”

He looked up from his work.  “Oh hi, Sam.  I thought I'd try and get some work done, now that Caitlin is out of the woods.  Then I'll head back down to sit with her.”

“No you won't.  Teal'c is sitting with her right now, and you need to go to bed, unless you want Jack coming down here and yelling at you again.”

He thought about that for a moment.  “No, you're right,” he admitted.  “I probably should get some sleep.”

“Good.  Caitlin will be sleeping most of the night anyway.”

He thought about Caitlin, and he smiled.  “I love Caitlin so much, Sam,” Daniel said.  “I just wish she could feel the same way about me.  But she's still angry with me.  She still doesn't believe anything I've told her.”

She knew that Caitlin wasn't angry with Daniel anymore, but she figured Caitlin would want to tell him herself, so she didn't say anything.  “I know, Daniel, but right now you need to get some sleep so you can be at your best for Caitlin tomorrow.”

He nodded, stretching.  “You're right, Sam.  I guess this translation can wait until tomorrow.”  He straightened up the papers on his desk, stood up, and turned off the lamp. 

“Good,” she said, walking out with him.  “Get some sleep, and I'll see you tomorrow.  Maybe by then Jack and Gen. Landry will have made a decision.”

“I hope so.  Caitlin deserves to know that her mom is alive, and I don't think I can keep that part of all this a secret for very long.”  Daniel smiled at Sam.  “Thanks for sticking by me and giving me such great advice, Sam.  I really appreciate it.”

“Don't mention it, Daniel,” she said patting his shoulder.  “That's what friends are for.”

Daniel walked down to his quarters and got ready for bed.  As he let sleep overtake him, his last thoughts were of a brilliant, blue-eyed woman named Caitlin.

It was Wednesday morning when Caitlin woke up to find Dr. Lam in the room. 

“Good morning, Miss O'Brien,” Dr. Lam said, smiling.  “How are you feeling today?”

Caitlin smiled back.  “Much better.  Thank you Dr. Lam, and please, call me Caitlin.”

Dr. Lam nodded.  “Okay.  So how is your breathing today, Caitlin?”

“It's much better.  Thanks.”

“Okay.  Let's check your temperature.” Dr. Lam stuck a temperature probe into Caitlin's ear and waited for a few moments until it beeped.  She pulled it out and saw that it was reading normal.  “Good.  You're temp is down to normal.  But I'm still going to keep you on the antibiotics for the rest of the day just to make sure.  I think we can even let you try some solid food today.  Is there anything you'd like?”

Caitlin thought for a moment.  “Could I just have some scrambled eggs, toast, and apple juice?”

“I think that can be arranged,” she smiled.  “In the meantime, I can get you a few things to freshen up if you want.”

Caitlin nodded, and Dr. Lam left the Infirmary.  Caitlin checked to see that her braid was still good, and in a few moments Dr. Lam was back with a few items. 

“Here's a toothbrush and some paste, and a little deodorant.”  She pulled a tray over to the bed with a bowl and a glass of water. 

Caitlin brushed her teeth and washed her face.  “That feels better,” she said, wiping her face on a towel.  “When can I get off the oxygen?”

“Maybe tomorrow, but for today, I want you to stay on it.  Okay?”

“Sure.  Do you think I can get up and walk around a little later?” Caitlin asked Dr. Lam.

“Not yet.  I want you to regain your strength first.”  Dr. Lam walked to the door of the Infirmary.  “For now I'll see about getting you some eggs and letting Dr. Jackson know you're awake.”

Dr. Lam left, and Caitlin was alone in the room.  I just want to walk around the bed a little, she thought to herself.  She sat up in the bed, throwing the covers off her legs.  She swung her legs down on the right side of the bed and stood up, making sure her oxygen and IV lines weren't tangled.  “So far, so good,” she said out loud to herself.  She let go of the bed to try and take a few steps, but before she could take her first step, her legs gave out from underneath her and she crumpled to the floor. 

At that moment, Daniel walked into the Infirmary with a cup of coffee in his hand.  He looked up in time to see Caitlin crumple to the floor.  “Caitlin!” he cried out, rushing to her side and setting his cup down on the tray table.  “What happened?!  You're not supposed to get out of bed yet.”  He gently scooped her up in his arms and put her back in the bed, pulling the covers up over her legs. 

“I'm sorry, Daniel,” Caitlin said as he made sure her tubes and wires were okay.  “I just wanted to see if I could walk around the bed a little.  I've been lying here so long my butt is numb.”

“I know,” Daniel told her.  He grabbed his cup and sat down in the chair beside her bed.  “But you need to take things slowly.  You almost died, and you're body isn't strong enough yet.  But maybe I can convince Dr. Lam to let me take you out of the room in a wheelchair later.  Would you like that?”

Caitlin nodded as Dr. Lam walked back in with a tray of food.  “What are you two talking about?” Dr. Lam asked.

“I was telling Caitlin that her body needs time to get its strength back before she starts walking again.”

Dr. Lam frowned.  “Is there something here that I should know about?” she asked them. 

Caitlin looked at her, embarrassed.  “I tried to walk around the bed, but my legs gave out.  That's when Daniel came in and found me on the floor.  He helped me back into bed.  I told him I only did it because my butt hurts from lying here for so long.”

  “I know how you feel,” Dr. Lam told her, a serious look on her face.  “But if you don't let your body fully recover, then you could have a relapse.”

“Could she go out in a wheelchair later this afternoon or this evening?”  Daniel suggested.  “I could show her around a little.”

Dr. Lam thought about it for a moment.  “Let's wait and see how you're feeling this afternoon.  In the meantime,” she pulled up a tray table with the tray on it.  “Here are your scrambled eggs, toast, and juice.”  She pulled off the cover.  “There's some butter and a little jam, and I have some pills I want you to take for the next few days. They're vitamins and minerals that your body has been without for almost two weeks.”

“I know,” Caitlin told her. 

“So take those vitamins, eat, and stay in bed.  You won't do yourself any good if you get sick again.”

Daniel smiled.  “I assure you she'll stay in bed.  I can guarantee it.”

“Okay.  I'll come back later and see how you're feeling.  If your vitals are better, I'll consider your request to get out of the Infirmary for a little while.”

“Thank you, Dr. Lam,” Caitlin said, smiling.

The doctor left, leaving Daniel and Caitlin alone.

“You'd better take your pills,” Daniel told Caitlin, taking a drink of his coffee. 

“No.  I always take my pills after I eat.  It's better to take them with a full stomach.”

“Okay, then you'd better eat before it gets cold.”

Caitlin ate her breakfast slowly, making sure that her stomach could handle the food.  She took a drink of her juice.  “You're looking better than the last time I saw you.”

He looked at her, running his hand through his hair.  “Yeah, well, um, I was pretty worried about you.”

“That's what Sam told me.”

“You look much better yourself, Caitlin, and I like what you've done with your hair.  It's really pretty.”

She blushed slightly.  “Sam helped me wash it, and an Ensign Bradley came in and braided it for me.”

“Yeah, I know who she is,” he told her. 

An awkward silence filled the room.  She finished the last of her juice, and wiped her hands on the napkin.

Daniel was the first to break the silence.  “Are you still angry with me?”

Caitlin was silent for a few moments.  “No,” she finally said.  “I'm not angry with you anymore.  Sam gave me an idea of why you couldn't tell me about this place or what you do here.”

“So you believe me?”

“Yes, and no.  I believe you about this place and what you said happens here, but I still think that you're hiding something more from me.  Maybe it has to do with what you all do here, so I can understand a little why you're hiding it from me.  But I think that whatever else you're hiding from me has a lot to do with me.  Maybe you'll tell me, maybe you won't, but for now I believe what you said.”

He breathed a sigh of relief.  “I'm glad, Caitlin.”  Daniel stood up and set his cup down on the tray table.  He ran his fingers through his hair, and began pacing.  “Caitlin, did you two talk about anything else?”

“Yes.  Why?”

“What did you talk about?”

“Well, Sam told me that you stayed with me the whole time I was really ill, unless someone made you go shower or something.  She also asked me why I got so angry with you in the first place.”

He grabbed his cup and came to sit down.  “Why did you get so angry?”

She knew that he deserved an answer, but she didn't know if she was ready to give it to him.  Listen to your heart, Sam had told her.  So she let her heart guide her now.  “I got angry partly because I hate it when people keep secrets from me.  Just ask Lacey.  But mostly I did it to keep you away.”

He looked at her, confused.  “Why would you want to keep me away?  I thought we were getting along really well together.”

“We are,” she replied.  “But,” she hesitated, “I've started to feel things I don't want to feel again.  Feelings that I know will get me hurt.”

“Caitlin,” he told her taking her hand in his.  “I would never hurt you!  Surely you know that by now.”

She pulled her hand away, folding her hands in her lap.  “That's just what he said, too.”

“'He' who?”

She stared at her hands, tears in her eyes.  “Brian, my one-and-only boyfriend.”  Soon the whole story about Brian came tumbling out of her mouth.  “I met Brian when I was twenty-six years old and still living in Maine.  He was charming, funny, and really nice to me.  We started talking, and after only four months we started dating.  I thought I had found 'the one'; I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.”

“My friends had all tried to warn me.  They said that he was a pretty popular guy with women, and he always had some supermodel type he was dating.  They also tried to tell me he wasn't the person I thought he was.  My friend Kelsey told me that he was a mean, hurtful, and spiteful person.  I told her she was jealous of what he and I had, and that was the only reason she was saying that.  I didn't believe what she said because of how much I loved him.”

“Then at work there was this one woman, Tiffany Whitman, who was really popular around the office.  She told me that I was right when I thought my friends were jealous.  She and I started talking, and soon we were hanging out together.  I couldn't figure out why she wanted to hang out with me when she had more popular friends to be with.  She told me it was because she liked me and thought I was special.  Well, one day Kelsey was out shopping, and she thought she saw Brian at the mall with Tiffany, kissing her and holding her hand.  I told her she was crazy, and that he would never cheat on me, However, I wasn't so sure anymore.  So when Brian came home later that night, I confronted him about it.  He told me that Kelsey was just jealous of what he and I had, and that he would never hurt me, ever.  I believed him, so I dropped it.”

“Then later when Kelsey tried to warn me about Tiffany, saying that she had hurt other people at work, I got angry.  I told Kelsey I thought she was just jealous of my friendship with Tiffany.  We argued, and she told me that if I believed Tiffany and Brian over her, then our friendship was over.  I felt horrible about losing such a close friend, so I told Tiffany about it.  She said not to worry because Kelsey was just really jealous about what I had.  When I got off of work, Brian picked me up and took me out for a candlelight dinner to make me feel better.  It was really romantic.  After that I felt a lot better about things, so I forgot about the possibility of Brian cheating on me.  Only I shouldn't have.”

“The next day Brian and I talked.  I told him how much I loved him, and that I could see spending the rest of my life with him.  He told me that we had a lot of time to talk about that, and that he wanted to focus on the present instead.  That should have been a big red flag to me, but I couldn't see it.  I was too blind with love for him.  A few days later I tried calling Brian to see if he wanted to spend some time together, but he wasn't home.  At first I didn't think too much about it, but after four days of not being able to reach him, I got worried.  Then I tried calling Tiffany, but she wasn't home, either.”

Caitlin started crying softly.  “I went to work, thinking I'd talk to Tiffany about it over lunch, but she told me she couldn't talk to me because she already had plans.  I decided to go out to lunch anyway, so I went to my favorite restaurant.  When I got there, I found Brian and Tiffany sitting in a booth together, kissing and making out.  I got really angry and confronted them about it.  They just started laughing at me.  I didn't understand what was going on until Brian said that he never really loved me.” 

  “He said that he just saw me as a challenge; that he never really cared about me at all.  He told me he had been seeing Tiffany behind my back almost the whole time.  Tiffany told me that she just became my friend because she wanted Brian for herself.  She told me that she never liked me at all.”  She was crying harder now.  “That's when she showed me her ring.  She was wearing an engagement ring.  Brian had given it to her the night before.  I couldn't believe it!  Then Brian said that the thought of marrying someone like me was absolutely laughable.  By this time the whole restaurant was watching us.  Finally, Tiffany said that if I wanted to, I could be a waitress at their wedding reception.  I felt so humiliated that I just ran out of the restaurant and back to my apartment.  The last thing I remember hearing as I ran out was their laughter.  I decided that I couldn't stay in Maine any longer, so I left and moved out here.”  She shook her head.  “I should have listened to Kelsey.”

Tears were streaming down her face when she finally looked up at Daniel.  “So you see, I thought that if I got angry enough, or let you believe that I don't care anymore, then you wouldn't want to be with me, and I wouldn't get hurt again.”

Daniel's heart went out to her.  “Oh God, Caitlin!” he told her as he set his cup down, grabbed the napkin from the tray table, and gently wiped her tears away.  “I'm so sorry that he hurt you, but not all men are like him.  Take Teal'c for instance, or Jack.  They would never treat a woman like that, ever, especially Teal'c.  Neither would I.  How could you think that I would ever do that to you?”

Tears welled up in her eyes again.  “I don't know, Daniel.  I'm just so afraid that someone will do the same thing that he did, or that I'd wind up losing someone like I lost my parents that I just let the fear take control.”

He wiped her tears away again.  “Have I ever given you cause to believe that I would ever hurt you like that?” he asked her.

“No,” she finally admitted. 

“What did Sam tell you when you told her all of this?”

“She said that you are the most giving, caring, sensitive, and honest man she knows.  Then she told me a little about your wife, Sha're.”

Daniel came to sit on the side of her bed.  “I loved Sha're very much.  We were married almost a year, and it was wonderful.  I had no idea that a Goa'uld named Apophis would kidnap her and take her as a host for his queen, Amaunet.  Neither did I know that she would come back two years later and try to kill me.  She was using a Goa'uld device on me when Teal'c found her and shot her to save me.”  Daniel took her hands in his.  “I understood what he had done, and why.  I forgave him for it, but I couldn't let Sha're go.  I had to learn that it wasn't my fault that she had been kidnapped, tortured, and killed.”

“I felt that if I had only been there to protect her or stop Apophis from taking her as a host, I might have been able to save her.  But if I had tried to stop him, he might have killed me and I wouldn't be here now.  So I had to learn to forgive myself for what happened.  You have to do the same thing.  You have to learn to forgive yourself for what Brian did.  It wasn't your fault; he and Tiffany were the ones at fault.”

He looked into her eyes.  “As for your parents, you had no control over what happened to your father, or your mother.  I know you're scared to lose anyone else you care about like you lost your parents.  But Caitlin, if you think that not loving someone will keep that person from dying, you're wrong.  No one knows when their time will come, and I believe that we should live life every day to the fullest.”

“I know, Daniel,” Caitlin told him looking down at her hands.  “I'm just so scared!”

He hugged her tightly, careful of her tubes and wires.  “I know you're scared,” he told her, pulling away.  “So am I.  I'm afraid every time I go out through the Stargate because I have no idea what's on the other side.  I'm afraid of what might come here through the Stargate.  I'm afraid of what I'm beginning to feel about you, too.”

She looked deep into his eyes, and she felt something stirring inside her.  Could it be that he feels the same way about me that I feel about him? she thought to herself.  “So what do we do with these feelings that we're afraid of?” she asked him.

He had been wondering about that all night.  He had decided that he wanted to do something extra special to tell her how he felt as soon as she got out of the Infirmary.  He just didn't have any ideas yet.  “Well, we could go somewhere special once you're well enough to go home,” he suggested.  “Is there anywhere special you'd like to go or anything you want to do to celebrate your getting well again?”

“About five months ago Lacey told me that Riverdance is coming to Colorado Springs, and it's this weekend.  I tried to get tickets to go, but they were all sold out.  I would have loved to go, but really, anywhere you want to go is fine with me, as long as we're together.”  Caitlin took his hands.  “That's all that really matters.” 

“So are you feeling better now?” Daniel asked her.  “Is there a smile for me in there somewhere?”

She smiled, and he got up and pulled the tray table away from her bed.  “Good,” he said as he watched a huge yawn spread across Caitlin's face.  “But I think you'd better get some sleep if you want to go out later in that wheelchair.”

Caitlin didn't argue, as she was feeling worn out from their conversation.  “Will you be here when I wake up?” she asked him as she settled down in the bed. 

“I will never leave you,” he said as he pulled up the blankets to cover her arms.  “Go to sleep.  I'll be here.”  He watched her until she was sound asleep, then went over to the phone near the door to the Infirmary and called Jack.  He waited for him just outside of the Infirmary. 

“What's up, Daniel?” he asked as he walked up. 

Daniel pulled him a little ways from the doorway.  “I just had a conversation with Caitlin, and she told me why she got angry with me.”  Daniel briefly told Jack about Brian and what he had done. 

“Oy!” Jack said under his breath.  “No wonder she's so scared to fall in love.  What did you tell her?”

“I told her that what he and that, that woman, had done to her was not her fault, and that she should forgive herself for what happened.  I also told her that trying to stop yourself from loving someone or from someone loving you isn't going to keep them from dying like her parents did.  Only the gods know that.”

“You didn't say anything about her mother, did you?” Jack asked him, a serious look on his face.

“No I didn't.”

He nodded.  “Well then, that was good advice.  So what'd she say?”

Daniel smiled.  “That's the thing, Jack.  She told me that she was afraid of the feelings she's beginning to feel about me.  I think she feels the same way about me that I feel about her.”

“Did she tell you that outright?”

“No, but that's the feeling I get.  I've been trying to think of a special way I can tell her how I feel, but I couldn't come up with any ideas until just a few minutes ago.”

Jack looked confused.  “What do you mean?”

“I told Caitlin that I wanted to take her out on a special date once she gets out of the Infirmary and goes home, kind of like a little celebration for her being well and getting out of the infirmary.  I asked her where she wanted to go, and I know now where I want to take her.  Jack, do you remember that night at Jack Quinn's Pub when she mentioned that Irish dancing group, Riverdance?”

“Yeah.” 

“Well, Caitlin said that about five months ago, Lacey told her that they were coming to Colorado Springs this weekend.  She tried to get tickets, but they were sold out.”

Jack looked at him confused again.  “I'm not following you, Daniel.”

“I guess I'm asking if you might know anyone who could get two tickets.  I'd really like to surprise Caitlin.”

Jack thought a moment.  “Let me go make a few calls, and I'll let you know.”

Daniel smiled.  “Thanks, Jack, and please don't tell Caitlin.”

“I won't,” he promised.  “By the way, how is she doing?”

“She's doing a lot better.  If the doctor likes her vitals later this afternoon, she might let me take Caitlin out for a little bit in a wheelchair.”

“That's good, Space Monkey,” Jack said with a smile, slapping Daniel on the shoulder.  He could see how happy Caitlin had made his closest friend, and it made him happy.  “I'll let you know if I come up with anything.”

“By the way, Jack, are there any teams off-world right now?

“Yeah.  Why do you ask?”

“Well, if Caitlin is feeling better tonight and Dr. Lam agrees, I'm going to take Caitlin out in a wheelchair and show her around.  I just want to take her to see the gate first, that's all.”

“Okay.  I believe SG6 is on P3X-251 right now.  They should be coming back tonight.” 

Daniel thanked Jack, and walked back into the Infirmary, calling Sam to help him plan the perfect night for Caitlin.

Later that evening, Caitlin woke up to find a small bowl of fruit, four pills, a glass of grape juice, and some Jell-O on the tray table next to her bed.  She turned her head and saw Daniel sitting on the next bed working hard at something.  “Daniel,” she called out, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. 

Daniel immediately put everything down.  “Hi there, sleepyhead,” he said, smiling.  You slept all afternoon.  You must have been tired.”

She nodded.  “I was.”  She pushed down the covers a little.  “Could you help me scoot up?”

He put his hands around Caitlin's waist and gently pulled her up further on the bed as she helped push.  Then he readjusted her pillows and blankets.  “How's that?”

She smiled until she heard a loud growling noise.  “Now, I know that I'm hungry, but was that your stomach or mine?” she asked him.

“I think it might have been both,” he admitted.  I've been so busy with these translations for SG7 that I skipped lunch.”

She frowned at him.  “Daniel, that's not good.  Skipping even one meal is bad, and you know it.”

He looked at her sheepishly.  “I know.  So why don't we rectify that?  I can have someone bring up a tray of food and I can eat here with you if you like.”

She smiled.  “That sounds really nice.  That way I can make sure you're eating a balanced diet.”

Daniel groaned, and Caitlin chuckled at him as Cam walked into the room. 

“Okay you two.  What's so funny?”

“Daniel offered to eat here with me, and I told him that was good idea because then I can make sure he has a balanced diet.”

Cam laughed.  “Maybe we have the makings of another doctor here,” he teased. 

She shook her head.  “No, but I would like to know what you've been eating, Cam.”

Daniel laughed, but Cam threw him a dirty look.  Then he turned back to Caitlin.  “Okay, okay,” Cam finally admitted.  “I probably don't eat as healthy as I should.”

“I know.  It's probably hard to do that here.  But I have a few ideas I'd like to talk to you about.”  Her stomach growled again.  “Only, after I eat, and probably after I get out of here.”

Sure, Caitlin,” Daniel said to her as his stomach growled again, too.  “I guess I'd better get some food myself.  What have they got in the mess hall tonight, Cam?

“Menu says ham.  You want me to get you some so you can stay here with Caitlin?”

Daniel nodded and thanked Cam as he left for the mess hall.  He sat beck down on Caitlin's bed.  “So did you have a good sleep?”

“I did,” Caitlin said, smiling.  “I dreamt I was in that sunny patch that comes through my living room window, and I was playing with Tink and Patches.”

“Don't worry,” Daniel said taking her hand in his.  You'll see them soon enough.”

A few minutes later, Cam walked back into the room carrying a tray of food.  He helped Caitlin pull her tray table around so she could reach it, and set the tray of food near hers.  She saw that the tray had two ham slices, some peas, a bit of mashed potatoes, and a slice of bread on it.  There was also a cup of hot coffee.

“Thanks, Cam,” Daniel said warmly. 

“No problem,” he said as he walked over to Caitlin.  “Now you make sure he cleans his plate,” he told her, a mischievous smile on his face.  “He has a nasty habit of leaving half his food.”

“I do not,” Daniel said in mock anger. 

Caitlin just laughed, making Daniel's heart swell with love for her.  “Don't worry, Cam.  If I have to eat all of mine, then he has to eat all of his.”

“Tyrant,” Daniel teased her, chuckling. 

This is good, Cam thought to himself.  I haven't known Daniel that long, but I'm glad to see him so happy.  “Well, whatever it takes, Caitlin.  See you guys later.” 

Cam left the room, and Daniel and Caitlin were alone again. 

“He should have brought you some milk instead of coffee,” she told him.  “But since I'm so addicted to Diet Coke myself, I guess I can't complain about your addiction to coffee.  Though you should try to get some milk in during one of your meals at least.”

“I know,” he replied.  “Tomorrow I'll start drinking a small glass every day.” 

  “Have you talked to Lacey today?” she asked as she ate a piece of fruit. 

He ate a bite of his ham and took a sip of his coffee before answering her.  “Yes.  I talked to her this afternoon.”

“Did she say how my cats were doing?” 

“Yeah.  She said that they miss you a lot and wonder where you are, but she tries to spend as much time as she can with them.  She even told me that she brought Sabrina with her once, and they seemed to perk up a little bit.”

Caitlin stopped eating, and Daniel saw a sad look come across her face.  "Oh my poor girls,” she said sadly.  “I miss you, too.  I just wish that there was a way I could see them, even for a few moments. 

“I know,” Daniel said sympathetically.  “But you'll see them on Friday.  Oh, by the way, Lacey also told me to tell you that Melinda hopes you will get well soon, and Tina and Becky also send their love and well-wishes.”

She took a drink of her juice.  “Did she say how work was going?”

“They've been a little busy, but nothing that they couldn't handle,” he said, finishing up his potatoes.  “There is one thing, though.  Lacey asked me again if she could come and see you.”

She looked at Daniel.  “What did you tell her?”

“I told her that because you're in a military hospital and she's not family, that she couldn't come and see you.”  He saw the sad look on Caitlin's face.  “I know, Caitlin.  I hated lying to her, too.  But you have to remember that this is a top-secret facility, and we need to keep it that way for now.”

She sighed.  “I know,” she said.  “I just hate lying to her.  I understand why, but I still hate it.”  Caitlin finished up her fruit and took her pills.  She was just finishing her juice when Dr. Lam, followed by Jack and Gen. Landry, walked in. 

“Hey, Daniel, Caitlin,” Jack said. 

“Hi, Jack.  We were just finishing up our dinner.  What's up?”

“Well, we came down to see how Caitlin was doing.”

“I'm feeling a lot better than when I first came in here.  Thank you.”

“Have you been taking those vitamin pills I gave you?” Dr. Lam asked her. 

“Yes.  I've been taking them after I eat.”

“That's fine,” Dr. Lam said.  “So long as you take them.”  She took her stethoscope from around her neck.  “Well, let's see how you're doing.”

As Dr. Lam checked her over, Gen. Landry came up to Caitlin's bed.  “Miss O'Brien, I've been talking to Dr. Lam, and she told me that if you keep improving, you might get to go home as early as Friday evening.  However, before you go home, we have a few papers for you to sign.”

“What kind of papers?” Caitlin asked, puzzled. 

Gen. Landry handed her a manila file folder.  When she opened it, she saw that the first paper said in big, bold letters NON-DISCLOSURE FORM.  “What's this?”

Daniel went over to her and sat down on the bed next to her.  “It's just a paper that says that when you leave here, you won't tell anyone about this place.”  He saw the confusion in her eyes, and he reassured her.  “Don't worry.  We all had to sign one.  Jack, Sam, Teal'c, Cam, especially me, since I'm a civilian.  We don't want anyone to know about this place yet.  Not until we're ready to tell them.”

Caitlin thought about this for a moment.  Daniel and his friends are doing pretty important work here.  Maybe this is my small way of helping him, and them.  She took the pen that Daniel was holding out to her and signed the agreement, along with the other forms in the folder. 

Gen. Landry smiled.  “Thank you, Miss, O'Brien, and I'm glad you're feeling better.”

“Please, Gen. Landry, call me Caitlin,” she urged him. 

“Very well, Caitlin.  Have a good evening.”  With that, the general left. 

Dr. Lam was finishing up her exam, and smiled at Caitlin as she wrote a few notes down on Caitlin's chart.  “You're doing remarkably well considering just how sick you were when you came in.”

“Thank you, Dr. Lam,” Caitlin replied.  “Do you really think that I can get out of here on Friday?”

“It seems likely, though we'll know more tomorrow.  For now, I think you're strong enough that Daniel can take you out for a little while if you want to.  But I want you to come back here immediately if you begin to feel worse, or if you're breathing becomes more labored.  Understand?”

She nodded, and Dr. Lam went over to the corner of the room and pulled out the wheelchair.  When she had wheeled it over to her bedside, both Jack and Daniel came over and helped her slowly get into the chair and tuck a warm blanket around her legs.  Finally, Dr. Lam surprised her by taking off the oxygen prongs and hanging the tubing behind the bed. 

“I think that you're breathing well enough now that you can go off the oxygen, but it's still there if you need it or want it.  Okay?”

“Okay.”  Caitlin smiled at her.  “Thank you, Dr. Lam.  I think that with Daniel taking care of me, I'll be just fine.”

“Okay, but just remember what I told you.  Don't overdo it.”

“She won't,” Daniel assured her, and the doctor left. 

“So where are we headed?” she asked as he wheeled her out of the Infirmary. 

“I want to show you something.”  He wheeled her to the solid doors in front of the 'gate room, sliding his card into the reader.  Once the door had opened, he wheeled her into the room. 

Caitlin couldn't believe her eyes.  Daniel really had told her the truth!  There in front of her was a very large ring made of stone, with drawings on it, and seven different red-colored lights.  The alert klaxons went off, making her jump in the wheelchair, and Walter's voice sounded over the intercom system.  “Incoming wormhole!”  At that moment, the Stargate's inner ring started to rotate, so Daniel wheeled her to a safe position.

“What's going on?” she asked him.

“Well, you see the inner stone ring?”  He pointed to it. 

“Is it the one with all the drawings on it?”

“Yes, but those drawings are called hieroglyphs.  They represent certain points in the galaxy.  When we combine seven hieroglyphs together, they make up a gate address.”

“So what are the red lights?”

“Those are called chevrons.  When each symbol is accurate, it makes the chevron lock into place.  When all of them are locked into place, the Stargate opens.”

To prove his point, the gate whooshed open, making her jump again. “What's that?  It looks like a pool of water.”

“It's the event horizon of a wormhole,” he explained.  “It connects two points in space, making it possible to travel through the gate and making it seem instantaneous.”

All of a sudden five men and women came walking through the puddle of blue and down the ramp in front of the gate.

“Welcome back, SG6,” Caitlin heard the general say from somewhere unseen as the gate shut down behind them. 

“How did it go, guys?” Daniel asked one of them. 

“About normal, Dr. Jackson.  The villagers were visited by a Prior but haven't made a decision yet, so there may be some hope.”  The man eyed Caitlin.

Daniel noticed him.  “Oh, I'm sorry.  Caitlin O'Brien,” he said, smiling, “I'd like you to meet Maj. John Stokes, the leader of SG6.  Maj. Stokes, this is Caitlin O'Brien.  Dr. Lam said she was well enough to go around the base in a wheelchair, so I thought I'd show her the gate first.”

 Maj. Stokes extended his hand.  “It's a pleasure to meet the woman who's put a smile back on Dr. Jackson's face,” he told her.  “Word gets around the base pretty quickly about some things, and we heard that you were pretty sick.  I'm glad to see you're feeling better.” 

Caitlin shook his hand and smiled at him.  “Thank you, Maj. Stokes.  I'm feeling a lot better now.  And yes, I like making Daniel smile, and he makes me smile, too.”

“Again, it was nice to meet you, Miss O'Brien.  Take care of her, Dr. Jackson,” Maj. Stokes told him.  “I'd say she's a keeper.” 

She blushed as Maj. Stokes and his team left the room. 

“So what did you think of the Stargate?” he asked her as they left the gate room and headed down the corridors to his lab/office. 

“I don't know what to say, except wow.  You really were telling me the truth.  But there is one thing I'm curious about.”

“What's that?”

“Maj. Stokes mentioned something about Priors.  What, or who, are they?”

Daniel briefly explained about the Ori.  “All you need to know right now is that we're fighting them, and that they're truly evil.  I'll tell you more about them later.”  They had reached his office, and Daniel wheeled her inside.  “This is where I work.  I do most of my translations and things here.”

Caitlin saw something on his desk, so she pushed the wheelchair up to it.  She saw the ancient tablet and ran her fingers across it.  “Did this come from another planet?” she asked him in awe.

He walked over to the other side of his desk.  “Yes it did.  It tells of an ancient people that are now gone.  When our team or another team finds something like this, they either ask me to go and take a look, or if they can, they bring the item back here for me to study.”

She looked all around the room.  “You have a lot of things here, so you must be really important to everyone here.”

He blushed a little.  “I'm not all that important.  I just do what I can, that's all.”

She turned the wheelchair to face him.  She reached up and gently caressed his cheek with her hand.  “I think you're pretty important,” she said smiling warmly at him.  “And I bet your friends would say that as well.”

He took hold of her hand in his, locking his eyes with hers.  He could feel his heart overflowing with love for this beautiful, incredible woman, and he couldn't wait to tell her.

She looked deep into his eyes and saw only pure love.  He loves me, her heart cried out in joy.  He really does love me! 

They both blushed, and Caitlin let his hand go. 

“Well, now I think we'll pay a visit to Sam in her lab.  I think she's trying to figure out something for SG9.”  He stood behind Caitlin and wheeled her out of his office and down the corridors to Sam's lab.

The rest of the evening was spent visiting Cam in his quarters and getting a snack with Teal'c in the mess hall.  Finally, he took her back to the infirmary where he carefully picked her up out of the chair and gently sat her back onto the bed.  But before he could help her to swing her legs onto the bed, she stopped him. 

“Daniel, could you help me stand up for a moment, please?  I have a small gift to give you.”

He helped her to carefully stand up, keeping his arms around her waist the whole time. 

When she was finally standing up, she wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly.  “Thank you, Daniel,” she said, letting go and looking into his eyes.  “Thank you for being here for me and taking such good care of me.”

No words could express the feelings he had at that moment, so he just smiled at her.  “You're welcome,” was all he could say as he helped her sit down on the bed again and swing her legs up.  He helped her pull the covers up over her legs and get settled into the bed.  “How's that?” he asked her once she was settled. 

“It's fine, Daniel.  Come sit down.”

He shook his head.  “No, I can't.  I have a small errand to run.  But I will be back as soon as I can.  Would you like Teal'c or someone to come and sit with you until I get back?”

She yawned.  “I'll be okay,” she told him.  “I think I'll just rest my eyes for a little bit.”

Daniel took hold of her hand.  “Okay.  I'll be back soon.”

She smiled and closed her eyes, falling asleep quickly.

As soon as Daniel knew she was asleep, he hurried back down to Sam's lab.  “Hey, Sam,” he said to her after he walked in. 

“Hi Daniel.  Did you get Caitlin back to the Infirmary okay?”

He nodded.  “She's asleep.  So can you help me with my surprise for Caitlin?”

“I'd be glad to help, Daniel,” she said happily.  “What have you got in mind?”

Before he could answer, the phone to her lab rang, and Sam answered it. 

“Oh hi, Jack.  Yeah, he's here.  Sure.  See you in a few minutes.”  She hung up the phone.  “That was Jack.  He'll be here shortly.  He's got some information for you.”

“I hope it's about those tickets I asked him to try and find.”

“What tickets?” Sam asked him. 

“I'll tell you when he gets here.”

“Which would be right about now,” Jack said as he walked into Sam's lab. 

“Hey, Jack,” Daniel said. 

"How did it go with Caitlin in the wheelchair?”

Daniel smiled.  “It was great.  I took her to the gate room and she got to see SG6 come through the gate.  I introduced her to Maj. Stokes and his team.  Then we came here and talked with Sam, and then we headed down to Cam's quarters.  Finally we paid a visit to Teal'c, who joined us in the mess hall for some dessert.  After all that, I took her back to the Infirmary.”

“What did she think?” Sam asked. 

Daniel grinned.  “Well, she gave me a hug to thank me, if that's any indication.”

Jack and Sam both grinned at him.

“So what are these tickets you were talking about, Daniel?” Sam asked him.

Daniel reminded Sam of their conversation at Jack Quinn's Pub.  “Well, she told me earlier tonight that Lacey had mentioned some months ago that they would be in town this weekend.  She told me she'd tried to get tickets, but they were already sold out.  So I thought maybe Jack would have some connections that might be able to get some tickets.”  He looked at Jack expectantly. 

“I made some calls, and I have a friend that works for the North American marketing company that handles their performances here, and I called in a favor with him.  He said there had been a last-minute cancellation, and that he could give you two tickets, seventh row, center.  Is that okay?”

Daniel couldn't believe it.  “Jack that's great!  Thanks!  Now all we have to do is plan the rest of the evening.  I've been thinking about that, and I think I have the perfect idea.  I want to take Caitlin out for a special dinner first, and then the performance.”

“Got any ideas as to where to take her?” Jack asked him. 

“No.  Do you have any suggestions?”

Jack and Sam thought about it for a moment.  Then Jack came up with the answer.

“What about the Craftwood Inn?  I took Sara there once.  It's a pretty classy place.”

“That's a good idea, Jack,” Daniel told him.  “I can make the reservations for dinner first, and then take her to the performance.”

“This all sounds good so far, Daniel,” Sam said to him.  “But when are you going to tell Caitlin you love her?  We thought you would have already done that by now.”

Daniel smiled.  “After the performance.”

“I take it you've got a place in mind,” Jack replied. 

He nodded.  “I know that Caitlin loves being outdoors, even in the Winter, so I thought I'd take her to Memorial Park.”  Daniel went over to Sam's computer and pulled up a map of the park.  Sam and Jack stood behind him. 

“You see this spot here by the pond?  There's a large, flat rock there, and I thought we could go there and do some star-gazing after the performance.” 

“That sounds nice, Daniel,” Sam told him.  “But she probably shouldn't be out in the cold so soon after being sick.”

He turned to face his friends.  “I've already checked the weather reports for Saturday, and the weather is supposed to be clear and not too cold.  I think they said the temps would be in the lower thirties.  Besides, we won't stay too long.”

“How do you plan to tell her?” Sam questioned him. 

  “I think he should just tell her.”  Jack turned toward Daniel.  “Look, you don't need to fool around with all this mushy stuff, Daniel.  Besides, you do remember that she almost died, don't you?  And you want to take her out in the cold?”

Daniel shook his head.  “I know Jack, and yes, I remember.  I think I know Caitlin enough to know that she likes all that romantic 'mushy' stuff, as you call it.” 

“Yeah, well I think that the direct approach is the best way to do it myself”

He sighed.  “Jack, I didn't get to do the 'mushy' stuff the first time with Sha're, so I want to do this right.  Besides, we won't be there all that long, and the limo will be nearby in case she gets too cold.”

Jack couldn't argue with that.  “So when you two get to the park, then what?”

Daniel smiled again.  “Okay, this is where Sam comes in...” and he proceeded to tell them about his idea. 

Jack and Sam both smiled.  They agreed to help him, and, satisfied that he had his plan in motion, Daniel went back to sit with Caitlin for the rest of the evening. 

On Thursday morning, Caitlin was finally allowed to start walking again.  Since she had been in bed for a week, the doctor warned her to take it slow. Before letting her go walking, Dr. Lam took out her IV's.  A nurse put a special belt around Caitlin's waist so that she could hang on to her, and Daniel and the nurse walked around the corridors near the Infirmary with her. 

By lunchtime, she had worked up an appetite.  Daniel thought that she might like a change of scenery while they ate, so he offered to help her walk down to the mess hall for lunch.  With Sam's help, Teal'c had bought her a new robe as a special get-well gift, so she put it on before going to lunch.  They both sat with Cam, Sam, and Teal'c, talking and laughing. 

During the afternoon Caitlin wanted to get up and walk around again, but Daniel insisted that she rest.  However, by evening she was walking the halls again.  Just before going to bed, he came and sat with her in the Infirmary. 

“I just talked to Dr. Lam,” he told her.  “And she says that you can go home tomorrow afternoon.”

Caitlin smiled.  “That's great!  Can I call Lacey and tell her?”

“Sure.  Doesn't Sabrina have a bedtime though?”

“Yes,” she told him, glancing at the clock on the wall.  “It's around eight-thirty, but we still have a few minutes. 

He took her over to the phone by the Infirmary entrance, and she dialed Lacey's number.  It rang twice. 

“Reynold's residence.  Jason speaking.”

“Jason, it's me, Caitlin.”  She heard him let out a breath.

“Oh, Caitlin!  I'm so glad to hear your voice!  How are you doing?”

“I'm fine, Jason, and Daniel will be bringing me home from the hospital tomorrow afternoon.”  She heard him breathe a sigh of relief. 

“That's great news, Caitlin,” Jason said over the phone.  “Lacey will be so happy to hear that!”

“Is she there?” she asked him.

“Here she comes.  She was just putting Brina to bed.  Brina misses her Auntie Cat, too.”

“I know, Jason, and I'll make it up to her soon.”  She heard Jason handing the phone to Lacey.

“Caitlin!  How are you doing?  When Daniel told us what had happened...”

“I know Lacey, and I'm sorry.  I should have never let it get this bad.  Can you forgive me?”

“Of course!  I'm just glad you're better, that's all.  So when are you coming home?”

“Actually, Daniel's bringing me home tomorrow afternoon.”

“That's great, Caitlin!” Lacey exclaimed.  “Jason and I will have to do something special for you.”

“Don't do anything too exciting, Lacey,” she told her.  “I still need to ease back into things.”

“We won't.  We just want to see you, that's all.”  Therewas a slight pause.  “Oh, before I forget.  You're almost out of dry cat food.”

She made a mental note of that.  “Thanks Lacey.  I'll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay.  We'll see you tomorrow.  I'm really glad you're better, Caitlin.  I was so afraid that I was going to lose my best friend.”

She smiled.  “No chance of that, Lacey.  You're stuck with me.”

“Good.  We'll see you tomorrow, Caitlin.  Bye.”

She hung up the phone and Daniel walked with her over to the bed.  He helped her in, covering her legs with the blankets. 

 “How's that?” he asked her as he sat down next to her on the bed. 

She smiled.  “It's fine.” 

“So what did Lacey say?” 

“She told me that she and Jason were really worried about me.  She said that my cats missed me, too.”

“Did she say anything else?”

Caitlin nodded.  “Yes.  She told me that I'm almost out of dry cat food.  Can we stop at the store tomorrow before you take me home?”

“Sure.  But for now I think you should get some sleep.”

“Maybe I should,” she said yawning.  “Will you be here in the morning?”

“Absolutely.  First thing,” he said, taking her hand in his.  He gazed into her eyes, and fell head-long into their deep blue depths.  He smiled at her, and helped her cover up.  “Sweet dreams,” he told her as she fell asleep.  Then he walked out of the Infirmary and towards his office to continue planning the perfect date for Caitlin.

Just as he had promised, Daniel was there when Caitlin woke up on Friday morning.  Sam came in and brought both of them some breakfast, and the three of them were chatting when the doctor, Gen. Landry, Jack, Cam, and Teal'c all walked into the room. 

Dr. Lam checked her vitals, and announced that she was well enough to go home.  “Your heart rate, pulse and breathing are all normal,” she said, smiling.  “And your blood work checks out as well.  Everything is normal, Caitlin, so you can go home today.”

Everyone smiled, and Caitlin thanked the doctor. 

“You're welcome.”  Dr. Lam handed her a couple of papers.  “These are instructions for you to take home with you.  They explain a few things I want you to keep doing at home.  And I want you to remember to take it easy this weekend.  Don't overdo it.  Now, you can go back to work, but not until Monday.  Your body still needs some rest.  Okay?”

She nodded.  “I promise I won't overdo.  I plan to just rest and relax with my cats.  They've missed me, and I've missed them, too.”

 Dr. Lam nodded.  “Now if you begin to feel sick again in any way, please call Daniel or one of the others and have them bring you in.  Okay?”

“I will, and thanks, Dr. Lam.  Thank you for everything.”  She turned to Gen. Landry.  “Thank you too, General.”

The general put up his hands, smiling.  “No thanks are necessary, Miss O'Brien.  We're just glad we could help.”  He turned to Daniel.  “You have the rest of the day off, Dr. Jackson.  Help her get settled in, and come back tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you, general,” he said smiling at him.

As the general and Dr. Lam walked out, Jack, Sam, Cam, and Teal'c all came up to Caitlin and congratulated her. 

“I hear you're bustin' out of here,” Jack told her, grinning at her.  “Good for you.”

“Thank, Jack,” she told him.  “I'm glad to be going home.  I miss my cats, and my friends.” 

“Well, I just have one piece of advice for you.  Follow everything the doc says to do.  You really don't want to make her angry.”

Daniel smiled mischievously at her.  “Jack speaks from the voice of experience.  He always seemed to find himself in the Infirmary.” 

Everyone laughed, but Jack scowled at him.  “Not all the time.”

“Almost,” Sam laughed.

“Well, are you ready to go?” Daniel asked her. 

“But I have nothing to wear, Daniel.”

“That's right,” Sam said.  “Dr. Lam had to cut off her clothes when she came here.”

Daniel went over to the corner and picked up a gift-wrapped box.  He handed it to her.

“What's this?” she asked him, a puzzled look on her face. 

“Just open it.” 

Caitlin took off the bow, putting it on the blanket.  She tore off the wrapping paper and opened up the box.  There, nestled inside some tissue paper, was a brand new outfit.  “Oh!” she exclaimed, pulling out a new blouse.  It was a long-sleeved shirt with a scoop neckline in shades of pastel blue.  It had beautiful roses screen-painted all over it with blue sparkly dots intermixed in between the flowers.  In the bottom of the box was a pair of new blue jeans.  Caitlin checked, and found that they were not only the same brand she liked, but they were also the right size as well.

“Daniel,” she looked at him, her eyes sparkling.  “Thank you!”

“Then you like it?”

“It's beautiful!  But I don't understand how, or when.  And how did you know my size?”

He sat down on the bed next to her.  “Well, yesterday after that errand I had to run, I realized that you were coming home today, and that you didn't have anything to wear home.  So I called Lacey and asked her if she knew what sizes you wore.  She told me, and I asked Sam to go out and find something for you.” 

She didn't know what else to say.  She looked up at him, her eyes saying what she couldn't. 

“There's more,” he told her, smiling.  He pointed toward Sam, who handed her a small gift bag. 

Sam smiled at her.  “Unless you want the guys to go crazy, Caitlin, I suggest you wait until you have some privacy to open that.”

Caitlin looked at her confused, then she peeked into the bag.  “Oh, Sam!  You shouldn't have!” 

“What is it?” Cam asked her.

“It's a new bra, a pair of panties, and some socks.”  She looked at Sam, tears sparkling her eyes.  “They're beautiful, Sam.  But how did you know what size to get me?”

“Lacey told Daniel, and I picked them out.”

Caitlin wiped the tears away with the back of her hand until Daniel gave her his handkerchief. 

“Okay, guys,” Sam said, a serious look on her face.  “You get out of here and let Caitlin get dressed.  Shoo!”  Sam shooed them out and pulled the privacy curtain around the bed. 

She pulled out the beautiful bra and panties.  “Oh, they're a set!” she said.  She looked at the tags.  “Victoria Secret.  I've never had anything this nice before.  Thank you.”

“I thought you might like them.  It's my way of saying I'm glad you're better.”  She went out from behind the curtain and looked around the room for a pair of scissors.  She finally found a pair in the desk near the door, and she walked back to Caitlin and handed them to her. 

Caitlin cut off all of the tags and put the bra and panties on.  She put on the shirt, noting that it fit perfectly, and finally slipped on the jeans.  “Well, what do you think?” she asked Sam, slowly turning around for her. 

Sam smiled broadly.  “Wow, Caitlin.  You look great!  The blue in that shirt really brings out the blue in your eyes.”  Sam pulled the privacy curtain back to where it had been, and called the guys in as Caitlin pulled on her new socks.  “Daniel, do you know where Caitlin's shoes are?” Sam asked him.

He nodded, and handed Caitlin a bag with all of her things inside it. 

She reached in and pulled out her shoes, putting them on.  “So how do you like it?” she asked the men. 

“You look really nice, Caitlin,” Jack commented. 

Cam whistled.  “A real knockout,” he told her. 

“You are indeed very pretty,” Teal'c told her honestly. 

Caitlin turned to Daniel.  “Daniel?”

“You look wonderful, Caitlin,” he said to her, smiling at her.  “Are you ready now?”

She nodded, and looked for her jacket but couldn't find it. 

“You weren't wearing one when I brought you in,” Daniel reminded her.  “Here,” he told her, going over to the other bed, “I brought you one of mine to wear until you get home.” 

“Thank you, Daniel,” she said as she put on the warm jacket and zipped it up.  “That was very thoughtful of you.”

Jack and the others each in turn gave Caitlin a hug as Sam called a nurse down to the room.  “Take care, Caitlin,” Jack told her as Daniel grabbed her bag of things.  A nurse showed up at the door with a wheelchair, and Daniel led her over to the chair. 

“You mean you do that here, too?” she said to Daniel.

“For you, yes.  I just wanted to make sure you don't wear yourself out before we get to your apartment.”

She smiled at him as he and the nurse helped her to sit down. 

“I can take things from here,” he told the nurse, and she gave the chair to Daniel and left.  “Well, here we go.”  Daniel pushed Caitlin out of the Infirmary and towards the elevators leading to the front entrance. 

Jack pulled out his card and ran it through the reader. 

“Thanks Jack,” Daniel told him as the doors opened and he pushed the wheelchair inside.  “I'll see you guys tomorrow.”

“Bye, Caitlin!” everyone called out to her as the doors closed and the two of them were finally alone in the elevator. 

“So what are you planning to do when you get home later, Daniel?” Caitlin asked him as they rode up to the top of the mountain.

“Well, I was planning to stay with you for a while, if you don't mind.”

“No, I don't mind at all.” 

The elevator reached the top, and the doors opened.  He pushed her out to the door where an airman took Daniel's keys and brought his Jeep up.  Opening the passenger door, he helped her inside and gave the wheelchair back to the airman, thanking him.  Finally he climbed in, buckled up and drove out onto the street. 

“I see there's still snow on the ground,” Caitlin noted. 

“Yeah.  It snowed again last night.”

“I think it's so pretty the way the sun makes the new snow sparkle.  It's like someone sprinkled glitter all over the place.”

“I guess I never thought about it that way,” Daniel told her. 

“That's one of the ways I make it through the winter.  That, and making snowmen and having snowball fights with Sabrina,” she smiled.  “She loves playing in the snow.”

“And you?”

She laughed.  “Okay, okay.  You got me!  I like it, too, especially when I'm with Brina.  I also take Tinkerbell and Patches out around the apartment building in their harness and leash.”  Caitlin paused.  “That reminds me.  You didn't forget that we have to stop for cat food, did you?” she asked him.

Daniel shook his head.  “No, I didn't forget.  Is Wal-Mart, okay?”

Caitlin nodded.  “That's where I go for their food anyway.”

Soon Daniel was pulling into the parking lot.  He found a place close to the door, parked, and asked her what kind of food she usually got. 

She told him. 

“Okay.  I'll be back as soon as I can.  Will you be okay?”

Caitlin smiled.  “I'll be fine.  I'm just going to rest my eyes while you're gone.”

He left the car and walked into the store.  While he was walking through the store, he pulled out his cell phone and called Lacey.  “Hi, Lacey, it's Daniel.”

“Daniel, hi.  How is Caitlin doing?”

“I'm bringing her home from the hospital now, but we've stopped to get some cat food first.”

“That's great, Daniel!  We'll be over in about half-an-hour, okay?”

“That sounds fine, Lacey.  We'll see you then.”  He hung up and went looking for the cat food.

“Wow.  That didn't take long,” Caitlin commented, blinking her eyes as she heard Daniel open the car door a few minutes later.

“Nope.  I knew where to look, and I found it right away.”  He handed her the bag, and he started up the jeep, driving out of the parking lot and down the street.  About ten minutes later he pulled up into the parking lot of her building.  Daniel parked his Jeep and got out, going to her door and helping her out.  He saw that she had the bag of cat food in her hand.  “Don't worry about carrying anything.  I can handle it.”

Caitlin shook her head.  “Really Daniel, I can carry this.  It's not that heavy.” 

He gave her a doubtful look. 

“I promise!  Look, if it gets too heavy, I'll let you know.  Okay?”

He nodded, and offered her his arm. 

She took his arm, and together they walked into her building.  When they got near her door, she pulled out her key and unlocked it.  Walking inside, she set down the bag of cat food and turned toward Daniel.  “See, I told you I could handle it.”

Daniel set down the hospital bag, putting up his hands.  “Okay, you win,” he chuckled.  He stopped when he suddenly heard a loud commotion.  He stood there as he saw two furry blurs come out of nowhere and literally pounce on Caitlin.

“My girls!” she cried as she sat down on the floor.  Tinkerbell and Patches clamored up onto her lap, licking her face and meowing loudly.  “Oh, I missed you!”  She hugged each one in turn as they continued to lick her face.  “Mommy's home now, mommy's home.”  She got up, taking Daniel's jacket and putting it on a chair, and checked their water bowls, finding each one almost empty.  “Daniel, can you help me fill these?” They filled the reservoirs with fresh water, and Caitlin put them back on, covering them again.

“What kind of water bowls are those?” Daniel asked her out of curiosity. 

“They're called Petfresh,” she said as she stood up.  “They have a small pump inside that helps to circulate the water, keeping the water fresh and cool.  It's healthier for a cat than drinking standing water alone because it's harder for bacteria to grow.  Besides, I thoroughly disinfect them once a month with a diluted solution of bleach and water.” 

“That's good.  So where do you want me to put your bag of cat food?” 

“You can put it in the hallway closet next to the box of unopened litter.”

Daniel put the bag away, and as he came back he noticed her yawning.  “Well, let's get you settled.  Okay?”

She started to protest.  “But, Daniel.  I'm fine.  I have a few things I still need to do.  I need to check their litter box, I need to fill their dry food containers...”

“No,” he interrupted, a serious look on his face.  “You need to relax like the doctor told you to.  Besides, I saw you yawning a few minutes ago, so don't tell me you're not getting tired.”

“But I'm not,” Caitlin started, but she finished the sentence with a yawn instead.  “Okay, I guess you're right.  I am feeling a little tired.”

“Well why don't you lay down on your couch?” he suggested.  “I'll grab a pillow from your bed and be right back.”

“That sounds good,” she admitted, and walked into the living room and sat down.

Daniel came back from her bedroom bringing a pillow.  He put it behind her and she reclined against it as he pulled the coverlet from the arm of the couch and covered her legs.  “Is there anything else you want right now?” he asked her. 

“I could go for a glass of water.”

He smiled.  “Sure thing.  Where do you keep your glasses?”

“First cabinet door to the right of the sink,” she told him. 

Soon he was back with her water.  “Anything else?” he asked her, but before she could answer, there was a knock at Caitlin's door. 

“I'll be right back,” he told her, and he went to answer it.  It was Jason and Lacey.

“Hi, Daniel,” Jason told him as they walked inside. 

“Where's Caitlin,” Lacey asked him as he shut the door behind them. 

“She's resting in the living room.”

Lacey set her purse on the kitchen counter and put her jacket over the back of a chair.  “Caitlin,” she called out. 

“In here,” Caitlin answered her as she took off the blanket and slowly stood up.

Lacey went to her best friend and hugged her tightly, softly crying. 

“Hey, Lacey,” Caitlin said, soothingly.  “It's okay.  I'm all right now, thanks to Daniel and his friends.”

Lacey leaned back, wiping her eyes.  “I know.  It's just that I was so scared!  Promise me that you won't ever do that again.”

“I promise,” she told her.  “Jason,” she said as he hugged her.  “I'm glad to see you.”

“I'm glad to see you, too, Caitlin.  We were really worried about you for a while there.  I'm glad you're better.”

“Please,” she said, gesturing to her chairs and sitting back down on the couch.  “Sit down.  Where's Sabrina?”

“We wanted to let you rest up first before she sees you, so she's at Nana's house for a few hours.”

“I'll stop by and see her soon.”  She was fairly bursting to tell Lacey about her new-found feelings for Daniel, but she couldn't do it with him in the room.  “Daniel, could you and Jason go somewhere for a little while?  I want to talk to Lacey alone for a little bit.”

Daniel nodded.  “Sure.  Jason and I can go for a walk and talk ourselves.”

Caitlin smiled at him, and Daniel and Jason left the women alone. 

“Okay, Caitlin.  What's this all about?” Lacey asked her, concern in her voice. 

Caitlin was fairly beaming.  “Lacey, I'm in love with Daniel.”

Lacey's mouth dropped open in surprise.  “What?  How?  When did all this happen?”

“Well, Daniel told me that when I collapsed, he brought me to the military hospital.  He said the doctor told him I was pretty sick.  For a few days, I was on a ventilator so my lungs could clear up.  Finally on Sunday the doctor took out the breathing tube and I was able to talk again.  That's when Daniel's friend Sam told me that he hadn't left my side at all.  She told me that he didn't eat, sleep, shower, nothing.  She said that his friend Jack had to threaten to put Daniel in the hospital himself unless he took a shower and got cleaned up.”

Lacey looked confused.  “I though Daniel said that you were being isolated, and that no one could go in to see you?”

Uh-oh!  Caitlin thought.  What do I tell her?  She thought for a few seconds.  “I was,” she finally told Lacey.  “But they figured that since he had already been in contact with me when he brought me in, that it was okay for him to stay with me.”

“Oh, I see.  So he stayed with you the whole time?”

Whew!  That was close.  “His friend Sam told me that he spent pretty much every moment with me.  He ate with me, he did some work in my room, he even slept in the bed next to mine.  Lacey, she told me that he said he was so scared that he was going to lose me that he didn't want to leave me for even a second.”

“Wow!  So what did you tell her?”

“I told her that I wasn't angry with Daniel any more, but if he thought I was, then he wouldn't love me.  I was letting my fears about what happened with Brian and my parents control my feelings for Daniel.  But not anymore.”

“So have you told him yet?”

Caitlin shook her head.  “Not yet.  I want to see if there's any chance of him loving me in return.  Then I'll tell him.  But I think he does.”  Caitlin told her about all the signs she'd seen in the hospital.  “But he hasn't said anything about it, so I'm just going to wait a little longer and see how he acts.”

“Well, I hope you tell him soon,” Lacey commented. 

“If he doesn't tell me by Monday night, I'll tell him then.  Okay?”

Lacey nodded.  “So did you ever tell Daniel why you were angry with him in the first place?”

“Yes.  It all came tumbling out on Wednesday evening.  I told him everything about what happened with Brian and Tiffany.”

“What did he say?”

Caitlin took a drink of her water before continuing.  “He told me that what they did was never my fault, nor was my parents' death.  He also said that keeping someone from loving me or stopping myself from loving someone wouldn't stop me from getting hurt again.”

Lacey smiled.  “He's right, you know.”

Caitlin looked at her sheepishly.  “I know.  I guess I just had to hear him tell me that before I could believe it myself.”  Caitlin scratched her head, thinking for a moment.  “Lacey, would you help me with something as long as the guys are gone for a while?”

“Sure, Caitlin.  What do you have in mind?”

“While I was in the hospital, they wouldn't let me take a bath.  They gave me sponge baths instead.  I just want to take a nice, hot shower and wash my hair.”

“Sure, Caitlin.  I can help you with that.  I'll even do your hair for you if you want.”

Caitlin smiled at her and got up off the couch.  “Can you sit in the bathroom with me while I'm in the shower?  If I told Daniel I wanted to take a shower, I know he'd want to sit with me to make sure I didn't fall or something.”

Lacey chuckled.  “Sure Caitlin.”  She helped Caitlin into the bathroom and got her towels together. 

Caitlin got undressed, turned on the water, and got inside, letting the warm water wash away all of the stress, worry, and fear she had felt over the last week.  She washed her hair, taking in the scent of her shampoo and conditioner and letting it sooth her healing lungs.  Finally, she shut off the water and wrapped her hair and body in some towels. 

“So what kind of braid do you want?” Lacey asked Caitlin as she got dressed.

“Just a regular raised braid is fine, Lacey,” Caitlin told her as she slipped on a pair of thick slipper-socks.  She walked back into the bathroom and removed the towel around her head, rubbing the last of the dripping water out of her hair.  She hung the towel up on a rack, and grabbed her hairbrush, comb, and a hair band. 

She walked out into the kitchen and sat down in a chair.  She handed the brush back to Lacey who started brushing her hair out. 

“So how has work been,” Caitlin asked Lacey. 

“Well, it's not been too busy, though Tina and Becky came in to get a few things and asked about you.  When I told them that you were sick, they got worried and wanted to see you.  I told them that you had been quarantined, so they told me to tell you that they hoped you would get better and to stop in and see them when you get home.”

“I'll do that next week,” Caitlin said.  “This weekend I'm just going to rest.  I promised the doctor that I wouldn't go back to work until Monday.  Is that okay, Lacey?”

“Of course!” Lacey said to her as she continued to braid Caitlin's hair.  “Take all the time you need to get your strength back.”  She finished up the braid, wrapping the end in the hair band.  “All done.”  Caitlin got up and took her hairbrush and comb back into the bathroom.  She was walking back out into the living room when Daniel and Jason came back into the apartment. 

“Hey!” Daniel said, a frown on his face.  “What are you doing up off the couch?  I thought you were resting?”

“I wasn't able to take a shower at the hospital, so I took one now.  I also had Lacey re-braid my hair, too.”  Caitlin yawned twice.  “But now I plan to lay down on the couch because I'm getting pretty tired.”

“Good.  While I'm up, is there anything you need or want?”

“I could go for some chamomile tea with honey,” she told him.

Daniel nodded, and went into the kitchen.  In a few minutes he came back with a big, hot, steamy mug of tea. 

“Thank you, Daniel,” she said, carefully sipping the hot liquid.  “Ah, that hits the spot.”

“So what did you and my wife talk about?” Jason asked her. 

Caitlin winked at Lacey.  “We just talked about work, that's all,” she told him.  “Lacey told me that Tina and Becky stopped in to get some things, and they asked about me.  She was also telling me how busy it was.”

“She's right, honey,” Lacey told him as she stood up.  “Well, Jason, I think we'd better let Caitlin get some sleep.” 

Jason stood up.  “Yeah, you're right.  Take care, Caitlin,” he said, going over to the couch and hugging her one last time.  “And get well soon.” 

“Get some rest,” Lacey said as she hugged Caitlin.  “I'll talk to you tomorrow.”

Caitlin smiled.  “Okay.  Bye guys.”  She took another drink of her tea as Daniel walked them out, locking the door behind them.  Then he went back into the living room and helped her stretch out, covering her with the blanket.

“How's that?” he asked her.

She yawned.  “It's good.  Thanks, Daniel.  Are you going to stay for a while?”

Daniel nodded.  “I said I would.  I'll be here when you wake up, don't worry.  You just get some rest.”  He watched her until she fell asleep, and then he went into her kitchen, looking up the number for the Craftwood Inn.  When he was done, he went back into the living room, picking out one of Caitlin's Irish books to read. 

A few hours later Caitlin woke up to a sweet and tantalizing smell, and she found that Daniel had ordered food in.  So they ate and played a round of Trivial Pursuit, with Daniel winning.  As the evening drew to a close, he got ready to leave. 

“Caitlin, don't make any plans for tomorrow night.  I have a special surprise planned for you.”

That got Caitlin curious.  “A surprise?  What is it?”

“Uh-uh,” Daniel said, wagging his finger at her.  “If I told you it wouldn't be a surprise now, would it?”

“I guess not.  So is there anything you can tell me?”

“Yes.  I'll pick you up here around five forty-five, and you need to wear something really nice.”

“Really nice?” she asked him, her curiosity getting the better of her.  “Daniel...”

He smiled at her.  “Just trust me.  Five forty-five, okay?”

Caitlin nodded. 

“I'll see you tomorrow.  Good night, Caitlin, and I'm glad you're better.”  He touched her cheek, and he left. 

Caitlin shut the door behind him.  Her two cats were there, and she looked down at them.  “I wonder what he's up to now?” she asked them.  Instead they just meowed lightly, purring and rubbing her legs.  She glanced at her watch.  “Okay, okay,” she said, sighing.  She went to the fridge and grabbed out the can of cat food, giving each one a little bit.  Then she got ready for bed. 

As she lay there waiting for sleep to come, Tinkerbell and Patches snuggling up beside her, she pondered over what Daniel could have planned that he would want to keep secret.  But sleep overtook her before she could come up with an answer.

The next morning, Caitlin woke up to find a calico tail swishing in her face.  “Patches,” she said, pushing the cat's tail out of the way.  “You know I don't like it when you do that. 

Patches just meowed at her.  “Okay, I get it,” she said, stretching.  “You're hungry.”  She got up and fed both cats, and got ready for the day. 

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

Back at the base, Daniel was just getting some coffee in the mess hall when Sam walked in.  “Daniel, hi!  Did you get Caitlin all settled back in to her apartment?”

Daniel nodded.  “Yes.  Lacey and Jason came over, and we visited for a while until Caitlin got sleepy.  Then they left, and while she was sleeping, I called and made the reservations at Craftwood Inn for tonight at six, and here's the best part.  I learned that Sgt. Fenhouse has a brother who runs a small limo service.  He told me that sometimes he gets asked to drive one of them, so I asked if I could rent one for the night.  He told me it was no problem, and contacted his brother to help me set it up.”

“Oh, Daniel, she'll be so surprised!”

“I hope so.  So is the music ready?”

Sam nodded.  “Yes, but what made you choose those songs?”

 Daniel took a sip of his coffee.  “Caitlin has them.  She was playing them once in my car, and she said she liked them.  Besides, the words tell her exactly how I feel about her.”

“Well, everything's ready.  Just tell me when.  By the way, have you thought about that?”

Daniel smiled.  “That's the best part.  You and Sgt. Fenhouse will be carrying radios, and when we get close to the park, he'll click the radio three times.  That will be your cue to get things set up.”

“Okay.  I'll be waiting.  So have you got the tickets yet?”

Daniel shook his head.  “No.  Jack said that he'd be getting them later today.”

As they were talking, Teal'c and Cam had wandered in to the mess hall.  They each grabbed a tray of food and came to sit down. 

“So what are we talking about, boys and girls, as if I didn't know already?”

“Daniel was just telling me his plans for tonight,” Sam told him.  She quickly retold Cam all that Daniel had said to her.

“A limo?  Wicked!  You get Sgt. Fenhouse?”

Daniel nodded.  “I also got the reservations at six at the Craftwood Inn.”

“That is good, Daniel Jackson,” Teal'c said, taking a bit of his food.  “I believe that on your last date with Caitlin O'Brien, you were unsure as to what to wear.  Have you chosen a suitable outfit in which to impress her?”

“I plan to wear my new navy blue suit with my silver tie.”

Sam whistled.  “Wow, Daniel.  If you look as good in that as I remember, you'll really knock her socks off.”  Sam finished her coffee.  “Does she know what you're wearing yet?”

“No, but I suggested that she wear something really nice.”

“So Jackson, did you ever figure out that translation for SG-6?” Cam asked, changing the subject. 

“I finished it this morning,” he told them as they all finished their breakfasts and got to work.

It was early in the afternoon and Caitlin was sitting on her couch watching some TV with Tinkerbell sitting in her lap, when there was a knock on the door.  She shut the TV off.  “Just a minute,” she called out, putting Tink down and getting up.  She looked through the peephole and saw Lacey's face, so she opened the door. 

“Hi, Lacey,” she said warmly. 

“Auntie Cat!  Auntie Cat!” Sabrina screamed, and ran into Caitlin's arms. 

“Hi, Brina,” Caitlin said, hugging the three year-old tightly. 

“Youw bettew now?”

“Yes, Brina.  Auntie Cat is feeling better.”

“No mow sick?”

Caitlin shook her head as Tink and Patches came to the door and began to rub around Sabrina's legs.

“Kitties!” she cried, and toddled into the kitchen to play with them. 

“Come on in, Lacey.”  Caitlin said as she closed the door behind her.

“I know we should have called,” Lacey said as she took off her coat and sat down at the kitchen table.  “But Brina and I were out running some errands and she insisted that she had to see her Auntie Cat.”

“No, that's fine,” she said, smiling.  “I'm glad to see her, too.”

“Say Caitlin, do you feel up to coming over to our place for supper tonight?” Lacey asked her.

“I can't.  Daniel asked me not to make any plans for tonight.  He's got something special planned.”

“Did he tell you what it was?”

Caitlin shook her head.  “No.  All he said was to wear something really nice.”

Lacey was quietly thinking about that when there was another knock at Caitlin's door.

“Coming,” Caitlin called out.  She went to the door and found it was Sam.  “Sam,” she said in surprise.  “Hi!  I wasn't expecting you.  Please, come in.”

Sam came in and took off her coat.  “I'm sorry!  I didn't know you already had company.”

“It's okay, Sam.  Lacey, I want you to meet one of Daniel's closest friends, Lt. Col. Samantha Carter.  Sam, this is my best friend Lacey Reynolds.”

They each shook hands.  “It's good to meet you, Lacey,” Sam told her warmly.

Caitlin bend down to where Sabrina was playing with the cats.  “Sam, this is Lacey's daughter Sabrina.  Brina, this is also my friend.  Her name is Sam.”

Sabrina looked up at Sam.  “She pweddy, Auntie Cat.”

Sam blushed.  “You daughter is really cute,” she told Lacey warmly. 

“Thank you,” Lacey told her. 

“Can I get you anything to drink, Sam?” Caitlin offered.

“No thanks.  I'm fine.”

“So what are you up to today, Sam?” she asked her, curious.

“Well, first of all, I came to see how you're feeling.”

She smiled.  “I'm feeling much better Sam, thanks.”

 Sam smiled.  “Second, Daniel told me that he has a surprise for you tonight.  He also told me that he wants you to wear something really nice, so I thought I'd come over and see what you're planning to wear.”

“I was thinking of wearing my nicest dress from my closet.  Just a minute.”  Caitlin went back to her bedroom and pulled out the dress, bringing it into the kitchen.  “What do you think?”

Lacey and Sam didn't quite know what to say. 

“It's nice, Caitlin, really!” Sam told her.  “But, do you have anything nicer than that?”

“Nicer?” Caitlin said to her confused.  “Lacey?  What do you think?”

“I hate to say it, Caitlin, but Sam is right.  You should wear something that's going to knock his socks off.”

Caitlin scowled at Sam.  “Do you know something about tonight that I don't, Sam?”

“All Daniel would tell me is that he wanted you to wear something really nice.”

Caitlin knew she was beat.  “Okay, so what would you suggest?” 

“Well, I talked to your doctor this morning, and she said that if you felt up to it, I could take you shopping.  What do you think, Lacey?”

“That sounds good.  We could go to a few stores and help you find the right dress.”

Caitlin sighed.  “I can see I'm not going to win this one.  Okay, just let me grab my jacket and purse, and we can go.”

Sam and Lacey got up and put on their jackets.  Caitlin grabbed hers from her hall closet. 

“Brina!” Lacey called out.  “Time to go!”

Sabrina tottered into the kitchen.  “Go now, Mommee?” she questioned. 

“Yes, Brina.  Mommee and her new friend Sam are taking Auntie Cat shopping for a new dress.”

Brina clapped her hands together.

“Come on, Brina,” Lacey told her daughter.  “It's time to put on your coat.”

Brina toddled over to her mom and got her little coat and mittens on. 

They all walked out into the sunny November afternoon.  “So whose car should we take? Sam asked. 

Caitlin turned to Sam.  “Well, since Lacey has Sabrina along, I think we should take hers.”

Sam nodded, and everyone got into Lacey's car.  Soon the women were on their way to the first store. 

Sam looked at Caitlin in the front seat.  “Caitlin, why does Sabrina call you 'Cat'?”

Caitlin turned slightly so she could see Sam.  “Well, when she first started to talk, she couldn't say 'Caitlin'.  She said 'cat' because it was easier, and it just sort of stuck.”  So the three of them continued to talk and laugh until they got to the store. 

The first store they went to was Macy's.  Caitlin found a few dresses and tried them on, but Lacey and Sam didn't think they were just right.  So they left Macy's and went down the street to the mall.  Once inside they all went into JC Penney's.  Caitlin found a few more dresses and tried them on, but she didn't like any of them, either.  So the four of them walked down the halls to the other end of the mall, finally walking into Le Boutique.  Caitlin walked in among the dresses that the store was selling for the upcoming holiday season.  She saw a few that she thought were cute, but nothing caught her eye.  Suddenly she looked down a row of racks and saw the prettiest dress she had ever seen.  She went over to the rack and checked to see if her size was there.  It was. 

“Sam, Lacey,” she called out.  “I think I found it.”  She pulled the dress off the rack and held it up to her body.  Sam, Lacey, and Sabrina came over to where she stood.  “What do you think?” Caitlin asked them. 

Lacey and Sam smiled.  “Oh, Caitlin,” Lacey breathed.  “It's perfect!”

“That's it,” Sam told her.  “That's the one you should get.”

She took it up to a sales clerk and followed her to a nearby dressing room.  Sabrina played on the floor as Caitlin went in and tried on the dress.  In a few minutes, she came out. 

The dress was a sparkly, crushed red velvet with a slightly revealing, sweetheart-shaped neckline.  It had long sleeves that had a wide bell shape at the wrists.  All around the bustline there was some pleated ruching that helped to jazz up the dress, and the skirt was full and came down to just above the tops of her ankles.  The dress showed off all the right curves, and it fit perfectly.

Sam and Lacey couldn't believe their eyes when she came out of the dressing room. 

“Oh, Caitlin!” Sam exclaimed.  “You're really going to knock his socks off with that dress.”

“You look so beautiful, Caitlin,” Lacey said, smiling. 

Sabrina stood and looked intently at Caitlin.  “Pweddy, Auntie Cat,” she said, grinning. 

“Well, that settles it,” she said as Sam and Lacey chuckled.  “If Sabrina likes it, then I'll take it.”  She went back into the dressing room and changed back into her street clothes.  She handed the dress to Sam as she put on her coat. 

“Do you have shoes to wear with it, or are you going to buy some?” Lacey asked her. 

She thought about it for a moment.  “I think I'd better find a pair of shoes to wear.  All my shoes at home are a little scuffed.  Let's go over to the shoe department and see what we can find.”

Everyone walked over to look at the shoes.  Caitlin showed the sales clerk the dress and asked if she had anything that would look well with it. 

The sales clerk asked her some questions, looking around at the different shoes.  Suddenly she remembered something.  “Please wait here.  I'll be right back.”  She went in the back where the extra shoes were kept and came out with a box in her hands.  Caitlin sat down, and the clerk opened up the box. 

She watched as the clerk pulled out a pair of beautiful dress shoes.  The shoe was covered in the same sparkly red crushed velvet as the dress.  The toe was closed and rounded, and the heel was two inches high.  The clerk handed her a stockinet to try on. 

“Here you go,” the clerk said, handing a shoe to Caitlin.  “These just came in today, but we haven't had time to put them out yet.  They were made specifically to go with that dress.”

Caitlin put on the shoes and walked around a little bit.  They fit perfectly.  “I'll take them,” she said confidently.  “But will they ring up at the registers?”

The sales clerk smiled and nodded.  “Yes.  You shouldn't have any problems.”

“Thank you for your help.”  She checked her watch.  “Ooh, it's almost four pm.  We'd better hurry.”  She took the dress and shoes, and she walked up to the registers, paying for them.

“Thank you,” she told the sales clerk as she got her change.  “Well, let's go,” she told her friends.  They all walked out into the mall and out to Lacey's car, talking and laughing together. 

“So Sam,” She said as they were driving to her apartment.  “Are you sure that Daniel didn't tell you anything about tonight?”

“Even if he did, I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.”

“Okay.  I won't ask then.”

Sam turned to Lacey.  “So Lacey, how long have you known Caitlin?”

“For about ten years now.  Ever since she came out here from Maine.”

“How long has she been working for you?”

“For about six years.  She's been a godsend.  She's helped so many people that have come in for help and advice that I've lost count.”

“Oh, Lacey,” Caitlin said, blushing furiously.  “I was just doing my job.”

“You must really like what you do, Caitlin.”

She nodded.  “Yes I do.  I really like helping people get fit or stay fit.”

“So Lacey, what is Caitlin really like?” Sam asked with a sly grin.

“Oh no you don't, Lacey,” Caitlin warned her friend as they pulled up to her apartment building.  “Don't you tell her anything!”

“Ooh, now I'm really interested,” Sam said with a smile. 

Caitlin grabbed the box of shoes as Sam grabbed the dress wrapped in its protective bag.  They walked into Caitlin's apartment, Sam putting the dress on Caitlin's bed. 

“Caitlin how were you planning to do your hair tonight?” Lacey asked her. 

“I was thinking that I wear my hair up all the time, so I thought I'd leave it down tonight.”

“Maybe you could put up just the sides,” Sam suggested. 

“Yeah, I like that,” Lacey added.

Caitlin nodded.  “That sounds great.  I'll just go get my shower and then you can do my hair, okay?”

Lacey nodded, and Caitlin left to take a shower.  Once she was done, she wrapped her wet hair in a towel and came out in her robe.  She grabbed her hair dryer, brush and comb, and her hair supplies from the bathroom, and she sat down at the end of her table.

“I'm going to grab your curling iron, Caitlin,” Lacey told her as she headed for the bathroom.  She returned and plugged it in so it would warm up.  Then she took off the towel around Caitlin's head and combed through it thoroughly as she blew it dry with the hair dryer. 

As Lacey dried Caitlin's hair, the three of them talked and laughed. 

“She really did that?” Sam asked Lacey, laughing.

“Yep.  She was so red, she looked like a cooked lobster!”

“Lacey,” Caitlin groaned.  “Did you have to tell her that?  That was so embarrassing!”

Sam and Lacey laughed again.  “It was funny, Caitlin,” Lacey said, still laughing.

“I don't think so,” Caitlin grumbled.  “It hurt like crazy for four days.  I couldn't sleep, either.”

Sam chuckled.  “Don't worry about it, Caitlin.  I've done some pretty embarrassing things, too.  I'll bet even Lacey has done some embarrassing stuff in the past.”

That made Caitlin think.  “Yeah, she did.  Remember the time, Lacey, when you wanted to go blond, so you colored your hair?”

“Oh, no,” Lacey moaned.  “Not that one!”

“What happened?” Sam asked, curious.

“Lacey colored her hair, all right.  It turned an ugly shade of orange.  Fortunately it was only a trial color that washed out.  Unfortunately, it took five days before it came out completely.”

“Oh, no!” Sam said, laughing and moaning at the same time. 

“Yeah.  The only problem was, she was meeting with a big rep from an herbal supplement company, but the orange hadn't come out of her hair yet.”

“So what did you do?” she asked Lacey.

“I went to the meeting and told the rep the truth.  He said that he knew exactly what I must be feeling, because his wife had the same thing happen to her hair.”

The three of them laughed as Lacey finished blow drying Caitlin's hair.  When she was done, she took the comb and pulled up a large section of hair on either side of Caitlin's face and twisted them, connecting them in the middle and securing them with a hair band.

“Ooh, that's pretty, Lacey,” Sam admired of the twist. 

“Thanks,” Lacey told her as she grabbed the spiral curling iron.  She gently separated small sections of Caitlin's hair and curled them, spraying a little hair spray on them when she was finished with each one.

“Mommee all done?” Sabrina asked Lacey.

Lacey stopped and turned to look at her daughter.  “Not yet, sweetie.  Can you go play with your toys for a little while longer?”

Sabrina nodded, and tottered off into the living room to find her toys. 

Lacey continued curling Caitlin's hair, and when she was done, she stepped back and admired her work. 

“There.  All finished,” she said.

“Okay, Lacey.  I'll be right back.”  Caitlin went into her bedroom and changed, putting on the beautiful new dress and shoes.  She came out of the bedroom and went into  the bathroom, putting on her makeup  In a few minutes, she had transformed her face into a work of art.  She couldn't believe her eyes.  “Oh Lacey, you did a beautiful job,” she gushed when she came out of the bathroom.  “Thank you so much!” 

“Let's see the whole effect,” Sam said to her.

Caitlin came out of the bathroom and back into the kitchen, twirling around. 

“You look really great, Caitlin,” Sam said, smiling. 

Lacey smiled.  “You look absolutely beautiful, Caitlin.  You're really going to knock Daniel's socks off.”

Sam looked again at Caitlin, but something wasn't right.  She mentioned it to Lacey.  “Lacey, take another look at Caitlin.  Don't you think there's something missing?”

Lacey looked at Caitlin.  “I think you're right.  I think the dress needs a little something to go with it.  Don't you?”

Caitlin went back into the bathroom and looked again.  Lacey and Sam were right; the dress needed a little something more.  She thought for a few minutes, and then walked into her bedroom.  She went into her jewelry box and pulled out a beautiful gemstone chip necklace she had made a few years ago.  It was made of ruby gemstone chips, with gold E-beads in between, and it had a small ruby pendant hanging from the center.  She put it on, and pulled out a gemstone chip bracelet that matched the necklace.  She put the bracelet on her left wrist and walked back out into the kitchen.

“How's this?” she asked them.

“That's perfect,” Lacey told her.

Sam came up to look at it.  “Wow, Caitlin.  Are those real rubies?”

“Yes, and no,” Caitlin told her.  “They're called gemstone chips.  They take real rubies or other gemstones, and make them into chips like these for people who make their own jewelry.  The small pendant in the center is real, too.  I found all of this in a beading store here in town, and I made this myself.”

Sam was stunned.  “You made this?  It's gorgeous, Caitlin!  You'll have to show me how to do that.”

“Sure.  It's really easy, and it's fun because you get to make what you want, however you want it.”  Caitlin checked the clock on the wall in her kitchen.  It showed that it was almost five-fifteen.  “Daniel will be here soon, so I guess I'd better get my dress coat.”  Caitlin went in to the hall closet and pulled out her coat, setting it over the back of her chair. 

“Brina, honey,” Lacey called out.  “It's time to go now.  Come say goodbye to Auntie Cat.”

Sabrina tottered out of the living room towards Caitlin.  “Brina go bye-bye?”

Lacey nodded and helped her daughter put on her coat and mittens.  “Now you're going to tell me everything tomorrow, right?” she asked Caitlin. 

She nodded.  “I promise.” 

“I hope you have a really good time tonight,” Sam said as she put on her coat.  “I'll hear the details from Daniel, but you can call me anytime you want to talk.  Here's my cell number,” and she handed Caitlin a piece of paper. 

“Thanks, Sam,” she told her, smiling. 

“Bye Auntie Cat,” Sabrina said, smiling.  “I wuv you.”

She bent down and hugged her.  “I love you too, Brina. Bye-bye!”

Caitlin waved at Brina as Sam and Lacey walked out together.  She closed the door behind them, and went to feed her cats.  As they ate their food, she walked into her bathroom and checked herself one more time in the mirror.  She was becoming a little afraid, so she took some deep breaths to calm herself.  Listen to your heart, her mind told her.  She smiled back at her reflection in the mirror, and went back into the kitchen, putting her dress coat on. 

“Be good girls while Mommy is out tonight,” she told them.  She grabbed her coat, purse, and keys, and left her apartment to wait for Daniel in the common room. 

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

Daniel looked out the window of the limo as it drove down the snowy streets.  Caitlin is right, he thought to himself.  The snow really does sparkle like glitter.  The moon was out in full and the stars were shining brightly as he thought about the evening to come.  I hope she likes this, he thought as the limo pulled up into her parking lot.  Earlier that evening he'd gone home to get ready for his date.  While he was getting ready, Jack had stopped by on his way to the airport and gave Daniel the tickets. 

“Here you go, Space Monkey,” he said, smiling and handing Daniel an envelope.  “Two tickets to Riverdance.  Enjoy.”

“Thanks, Jack,” he told him, smiling back at him.  “I owe you one.”

“Yeah, I know.  You'll pay me back somehow.  You always do.”

“So are you headed back to Washington tonight?”

Jack nodded.  “Yep.  I've got a lot of stuff waiting for me.  You know, all that damned paperwork.”

“We're just glad you're there to do it for us, Jack,” Daniel joked.

“Very funny, Daniel,” Jack scowled at him.  He glanced at his watch.  “Well, I guess I'd better head out.  Don't want to miss my plane.”  He smiled at Daniel.  “I'm glad to see you so happy again, Daniel.  After Sha're died, I was afraid that you wouldn't find anyone to share your life with.  I'm glad you found Caitlin.”

“Thanks, Jack.  So am I.  Now we just have to find someone for you.”

“Oh, no you don't,” Jack warned him.  “I'm doing just fine.”

“That's not what Sam tells me,” Daniel said, a mischievous smile on his face.

“Don't believe everything Carter tells you, Daniel,” Jack said. 

“You mean about you two in New York?” Daniel said, chuckling.

“She told you that?” Jack said, a sick look on his face. 

“Yep.  Two weeks ago.  She said something about a motel and some leather...”

Jack glowered at him.  “It was strictly business, Daniel.”

“Okay, okay,” Daniel said laughing.  “You win.”  He stopped laughing and became more serious.  “Thanks for being there for Caitlin, and for me, Jack.  I really appreciated it.  You helped me to see beyond my fears and understand that it was okay to love Caitlin.  This night wouldn't be possible without you.”

“It's what I do.” he told him.  He gave Daniel a big hug.  “Let me know how things go tonight, okay?  And I promise that by next week I'll make a decision on telling her about her mother.”

Daniel nodded.  “Have a safe flight, Jack,” he told him as he walked out the door.  He was brought back to the present as Sgt. Fenhouse called out that they were at Caitlin's apartment. 

“Thanks,” Daniel told him, and he got out of the car to wait for Caitlin. 

Caitlin was waiting in the common room when she saw a small limo pull up by her building.  She went outside to investigate and saw Daniel standing by it.  “Oh!” she exclaimed as he walked up to her. 

“Hi,Caitlin,” he said with a smile, offering her his arm.  “Are you ready for a wonderful evening?”

Caitlin nodded, and she put her arm in his and they walked to the limo.  Sgt. Fenhouse opened the door for them, and Daniel helped her into the car, following her inside and closing the door behind him. 

“So where are we going tonight?” Caitlin asked him. 

“It's a surprise,” Daniel said as he pulled out a blindfold.  “I don't want you to see where we're going, so I'm going to blindfold you.”  When he saw her concerned look, he smiled.  “Don't worry, Caitlin.  It's nothing bad.”

“Okay,” she told him dubiously. 

Daniel gently put the blindfold over her eyes and carefully tied it in the back.  “We're ready to go, Mr. Fenhouse,” he told the driver, and they were off to their first destination. 

“So how are you feeling today, Caitlin?” he asked her. 

“I'm feeling much better, Daniel.  Thanks.  I tried to sleep in this morning, but kitty hunger overruled that.  Then I got to see Lacey and Sabrina this afternoon, and Sam, too.”

They talked all the way as they drove to the Craftwood Inn.  When the car came to a stop, Daniel took the blindfold off.  “Now promise me you'll keep your eyes closed until I tell you.”

Caitlin nodded, and felt Daniel grasp her hands and lead her out of the car.

He stopped her.  “Okay, you can open them now.”

Caitlin opened her eyes and discovered that they had come to the Craftwood Inn.  Her eyes went wide; she turned to him and smiled. 

He offered her his arm, and together they walked in to the restaurant. 

Walking into the coat room, Daniel helped Caitlin take her coat off, and he hung it up.  After he had hung up his own coat, he turned and saw Caitlin.  He was speechless.  There, standing in front of him, was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, and she took his breath away.  Finally, he regained his voice.  “Wow, Caitlin.  You look absolutely beautiful!”

She blushed.  “Thank you, Daniel.  You look pretty handsome yourself.”

He smiled, and offered her his arm again.  They walked into the restaurant where the host greeted them. 

“Welcome to the Craftwood Inn.”

“Reservation for two, Daniel Jackson,” he told the host.

  The host looked at the paper on his podium and nodded.  “Right this way.”  He led them to an intimate table near one of the big windows. 

Daniel pulled out Caitlin's chair and she sat down. 

“Your server will be here shortly,” the host said to them as he laid their menus on the table.

Before Daniel sat down, he whispered something into the host's ear. 

“Oh yes, Dr. Jackson,” the host replied, smiling.  “I'll do that right away.”  He hurried off, leaving Caitlin and Daniel alone. 

“What was that you told the host?” she asked him. 

“Oh, it was nothing,” he told her looking intently at her.  “You really look beautiful tonight, Caitlin,” he told her. 

“Thank you, Daniel.”

They talked quietly until their server came over to their table.  He was carrying a bucket filled with ice and a bottle.  “Good evening.  I'm Ben, your server.  I believe you requested this?”  He held up the bottle so they could look at it.

“Yes, thank you,” Daniel told him.  “It's perfect.”

It was a bottle of sparkling apple cider.  “Oh, Daniel, how did you know?” Caitlin asked him, surprised.  “And my favorite, too!” 

The server opened the bottle and poured some of the bubbly liquid into each of their flutes.  Daniel took a sip, and smiled at the server.  “Thank you.”

“I'll be back in a few minutes to take your orders,” he told them and left, leaving Daniel and Caitlin alone again.

“But how did you know?” she asked him.  “I don't remember telling you about this.”

“You didn't.  While you were in the Infirmary, I talked to Lacey, letting her know how you were doing.  When I told her about my plans in taking you here tonight, she told me that Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider was your favorite.  I knew that they didn't serve that here, so I bought a bottle.  I asked them if I could use this instead of one of their wines, and I told them it was for a very special occasion and a very special woman.”

She smiled shyly.  “Oh, Daniel,” she said, her heart filling with more love for this man than she ever thought possible.  “I suppose we should check out our menus.”

He nodded, and they both opened their menus and decided what they would have.  As promised, a few moments later the server came back to take their orders. 

Once their meals had been served, the two of them talked and laughed all through the meal.  As Caitlin finished up her potato, curiosity got the better of her. 

“So Daniel,” she said, taking a sip of her sparkling cider.  “Where are we off to next?”

“Uh-uh,” he said, a sly smile on his face.  “Not until after the meal.  Otherwise it wouldn't be a surprise.”  He finished up his meal, taking a sip of the bubbly cider.  “So Caitlin, have you got any plans for Thanksgiving next week?”

“No,” she said, taking another sip of her cider. 

“You don't spend the holiday with Jason and Lacey?”

“Usually I do, but this year she's closing down the shop, and they're going to Jason's side of the family for the holiday.  They're spending the whole weekend so they can visit with his family.” 

Daniel nodded.  “So what will you do?”

“I haven't thought about it yet.”  She finished up her meal.  “What about you?”

“I usually spend the holiday with Sam and the others.”  Daniel glanced at his watch.  “It's almost seven pm,” he told her.  “Are you ready for the next part of your surprise?”

She wiped her mouth with her napkin.  “Almost.  Just let me go freshen up a little before we leave.”

He stood up and helped her with her chair, and he called the host over, who brought them their bill.  He pulled out his wallet and handed him his credit card.  In a few minutes, the host came back with his card and receipt. 

At the same time, Caitlin returned, and she told him she was ready to go. 

“Thank you, Dr. Jackson,” the host told them.  “And please come again.”

“Thank you.  We will.”  Daniel stood up, and smiled at Caitlin.  “Shall we?”  He offered her his arm, and together they walked out into the coat room, put their coats on, and walked out into the chilly night air.  When they got into the limo, he put the blindfold on her again. 

“Daniel,” she said, a frown on her face.  “Is this really necessary?”

“Like I told you before, I don't want to spoil the surprise."

“All right.” 

Daniel told Sgt. Fenhouse that they were ready, and the limo took off.  As they drove to their next destination, they continued to talk and laugh together. 

“So Caitlin, is there anything you like to do in the winter months?” Daniel asked her as they drove down the snowy streets. 

“I love to downhill ski, but I can't do it anymore because I hurt my right knee in an accident in 1989.  But I do like to ride horse.”

“I didn't know that,” he said, surprised.  “Is there a place near here where you can go to do that?”

Caitlin nodded.  “Yes.  I usually go to Willow Creek Stables out on Sycamore Road.  They have some trails up there, and they stay open all year round.  I like to go just after it snows.  It's really pretty then.  I'll have to take you sometime.”

The limo turned down the street and pulled up in front of the Performing Arts Center.  Sgt. Fenhouse got out and opened up Daniel's door. 

“Caitlin, I'm going to take off the blindfold, but you have to keep your eyes closed.  Okay?”

She nodded. 

Daniel took her hands, and he led her out of the limo, stopping her a few feet away.  “Are you ready?” he asked her. 

She nodded again.

“Okay, you can open then now.”

Caitlin opened her eyes, and looked around.  Suddenly, she noticed the marquee.  It read, TONIGHT ONLY!  RIVERDANCE.  She turned to him, tears in her eyes.  “When?  How?” 

He smiled at her.  “Jack has a friend in the North American marketing company that promotes Riverdance, and he was able to get two tickets.  Do you like my surprise?”

She hugged him.  “Oh, Daniel,” she said, leaning back and wiping her eyes.  “Thank you so much!”

He offered her his arm, and together they walked into the impressive building.  Once inside, Caitlin asked him where they would be sitting. 

“Just wait and see,” was all he would tell her, a twinkle in his eyes.  They went to the nearby coat room, and he helped her take her coat off, hanging both of their coats on hangers.  Taking her arm in his, they walked up to a ticket-taker, and he handed her their tickets. 

“Ah, yes,” she said looking at them.  “Just follow the usher, and he'll help you find your seats.”

“Thank you,” he told her, and the two of them followed the usher down the aisles. 

Caitlin couldn't believe how close they were getting to the stage.  When they were seven rows back, the usher stopped then, and told Daniel the seat number. 

Daniel took Caitlin's hand in his, and led her into the center of the row.  He put down her chair, and she sat down. 

 “How is this?” he asked her quietly after he had sat down. 

She turned toward him, her eyes sparkling even in the lowered lighting.  “I don't know what to say, except thank you!”

He smiled at her, and reclined back in his seat.  Next to him, an older couple were whispering to themselves.  After a moment, the older man leaned in to Daniel. 

“That looks like a very special woman you have there, young man,” he told Daniel. 

“She is.  Thank you.”

The man smiled back at Daniel, and turned back to his wife.  Caitlin had seen Daniel talking to someone, so she leaned over and asked him about it. 

“The man sitting next to me said that he thinks that you're a very special woman.”

Caitlin blushed.  “Oh, Daniel,” she said quietly to him.  “This night has been so wonderful already.  First the limo ride and that delicious dinner at the Craftwood Inn, and now this.  It's just been incredible!”  The lights blinked twice, letting the audience know that the performance was about to start, so Caitlin turned her attention to the stage. 

The lights dimmed, the music began, and the sound of an English Tin Penny Whistle wafted out into the crowd.  Soon a bodhran drum and a violin joined in, and the lights on the stage exploded on as the dancers came out, moving as one to the music.  Caitlin smiled at Daniel, then turned her attention back to the stage.  She watched the dancers and musicians in their colorful outfits and costumes, clapping along with the rest of the audience to the tempo of the music.  The dancers swirled, danced, and spun around and around the stage, ending the song on a high note.  As the audience clapped, a member of the group came out into the middle of the stage and introduced the lead dancers and musicians.  Then he talked about the group and its origins.  Finally, he announced the next number and left the stage. 

Throughout the evening, Caitlin watched the group with rapturous wonder and amazement, and she marveled at their talents and abilities.  At one point during the performance, a dancer came out and sang a beautiful Celtic love song.  She couldn't understand the actual words, but she could feel the power and emotion behind them.  She could feel the meaning deep within her soul, and it brought tears to her eyes. 

Daniel was also enjoying the performance.  He looked over at her, and he saw a tear escape her eyes and run down her cheek.  He leaned over and looked at her, concerned. 

She turned to him, wiping away the tear from her cheek, and smiled.  “I'm okay,” she mouthed.

He smiled at her, squeezed her hand, and turned back to the performance. 

All too soon, the dancers came out onto the stage for their final dance, and they started dancing faster and faster, clicking their heels and twirling around in intricate patterns.  The performers swirled and swayed as the music got louder and faster.  As the music hit a crescendo, the dancers ended their dance together in a straight line, the sound of their shoes hitting the stage floor reverberating throughout the performance hall. 

As the dancers and musicians took their bows, the audience started clapping, and they clapped even louder when the lead dancers took their turn.  The performers all waved goodbye, and everyone started filing out of the performance hall. 

Once they were out into the aisle, he took her arm in his as they slowly made their way out and into the lobby.  He left her long enough to go get their coats, helping her put hers on. 

“Daniel,” she sighed happily as they walked out of the performance center.  “That was absolutely wonderful!  The dancers and musicians are so talented, and their dances are so intricate.”

Daniel nodded.  “I know.  It must take years to learn how to dance like that.”

Caitlin and Daniel were outside among a throng of other people, but he quickly saw their limo.  Sgt. Fenhouse opened the door for them again, and Daniel helped her inside, shutting the door behind him as he got in. 

“We're ready, Mr. Fenhouse,” he told the driver, and they drove off, headed for the last part of the surprise. 

For the last time that evening, he again pulled out the blindfold, putting it over her eyes. 

“Daniel, it's so dark outside that I couldn't see anything anyway,” she told him, a frown on her face. 

“There's a full moon out tonight, and there are lots of street lamps.  Don't worry, we're almost there.” 

Just before they arrived at the park, Sgt. Fenhouse picked up the radio on the seat next to him and clicked it three times.  Sam heard it, and she walked down to the spot Daniel had chosen and set everything up the way he'd asked her to.  When she was done, she got back into her car and headed back to the base. 

The limo pulled up into the parking lot of the park and parked.  Sgt. Fenhouse opened up the door, and Daniel took off Caitlin's blindfold, once again asking her to keep her eyes closed.  He helped her out of the limo, and as soon as the door was shut behind them, he told her to open her eyes. 

She opened them to find a snowy wonderland spread out in front of her.  “Oh, Daniel,” she breathed.  “It's so beautiful here.  But where are we?”

He smiled.  “We're at Memorial Park.”

She gave him a puzzled look. 

“It's such a beautiful, full moon out tonight, and it's really not that cold out, so I thought you might like to go for a short walk.”

She smiled, and took his arm, and they started to walk along the path, admiring the snow sparkling in the moonlight. 

They walked for a few moments until she stopped. 

“Daniel, what have you got planned?” she asked.

“You'll see,” was all he would tell her.  They continued to walk along the path, getting closer and closer until they came into the little clearing with the pond.  She saw in the light of the moon and the nearby streetlight a large flat boulder.  On the top was a big blanket with a small stereo, and there, lying on the blanket in front of the stereo, was a single red, long-stemmed rose.  Caitlin was shocked.  She turned to him, but before she could say anything, he pressed play on the stereo, and took her into his arms.  He stared into her eyes, and he tried to sing along with the song Truly, Madly, Deeply, by Savage Garden, stumbling over some of the lyrics.

I'll be your hope,
I'll be your wish
I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your dream,
I'll be your love
be everything that you need.
I love you more with every breath
truly, madly, deeply do...
I will be strong I will be faithful
cause I'm counting on
A new beginning.
A reason for living.
A deeper meaning, yeah.

I want to stand with you on a mountain.
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever.
Until the sky falls down on me...

Daniel continued to sing softly, swaying to the music.  As the song finished, he shut off the stereo, his mind racing.  What if she doesn't feel the same about me? he thought, the fear taking control for a moment.  What if she just wants to be friends?  His mind was swimming until he centered on one thought, the once piece of advice Sha're had given him in his dream.  Listen to your heart.  He took a deep breath, letting all the fears go and just listened to his heart.

He smiled at her.  “Caitlin, in the few months that I've known you, I've come to know you really well.  We've laughed together, cried together, and had fun together.”

He became more serious.  “But I've started feeling something much more than friendship, and I've struggled with this...against this for a long time now.  I'm afraid of this new feeling, afraid of losing you like I've lost others that I loved; like I lost Sha're.”

He stared into her eyes, and took her gloved hands in his, smiling at her.  “But I can't imagine my life without you.  If you feel the same way that I do and you're willing to be with me, we can share whatever time the gods have decreed that we will be allowed.”  Daniel bent down and picked up the rose, giving it to Caitlin.  “I love you, Caitlin O'Brien, and I want you in my life. Will you'll stay with me...be with me, always?”

Caitlin buried her face in Daniel's shoulder, tears escaping from her eyes.  He loves me.  He really loves me! her heart shouted. 

Daniel put his hand under her chin and gently lifted her head to look into her eyes.  Softly he wiped the tears away from her eyes, hoping against hope that she felt the same way about him.  “Please say you'll be with me always,” he told her again, tears escaping from his own eyes now. 

She stared into his eyes.  She could see the love he had for her in their cerulean depths, and she knew without a doubt now that she wanted to be in Daniel's life for as long as The Powers That Be would allow her to.  She gently reached up and wiped away his tears, smiling at him.  “Yes, Daniel, I will,” she said to him, tears of happiness and joy running down her cheeks again.  “I love you, too.”

He couldn't believe what he'd heard.  She loves me, too!  Slowly, gently, he leaned down and tenderly kissed her, sending her all the love and affection he had for her in that precious first kiss, and she gave it all back to him, and more.  When he pulled away, he saw the tears on her cheeks, and gently kissed them away.  He let her go long enough to turn the stereo back on.  As it began to play, she recognized the song as God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, one of her favorite country love songs by Alabama.

He turned back to her, and taking her in his arms again, he smiled at her as he started to sing.

Can this be true?
Tell me can this be real?
How can I put into words what I feel?
My life was complete
I thought I was whole
Why do I feel like I’m losing control?

I never thought that love could feel like this
And you changed my world with just one kiss
How can it be that right here with me
There’s an angel?
It’s a miracle

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret that I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it’s true
God must have spent
A little more time on you...

They continued to sway to the music, Daniel staring deeply into Caitlin's eyes.  As the song ended, he tilted her chin up, and he leaned down and kissed her passionately.  As the kiss ended, he sighed, still holding her close.  “You've made me so happy, Caitlin,” he told her, smiling at her.  “I was so afraid you wouldn't feel the same way about me.”

She looked at him, and giggled.  “I was afraid that you wouldn't feel the same way, either.” 

“I'm sorry if my singing wasn't all that good,” he said, running a hand through his hair.  “I tried to practice all afternoon, but I was too nervous.”

She was more touched than she could find words to say.  He had wanted this to be perfect for her, even practicing all afternoon.  She gently caressed his cheek, smiling at him.  “Oh, Daniel, it was perfect.” 

He took her hand his, and walked over to the blanket on the rock.  He sat down and pulled her down to sit between his legs, his arms wrapped lovingly around her waist.  “So when did you first realize that you loved me, Caitlin?” he asked her.

“I think it was the moment we met at the grocery store, but I was too afraid to admit it to anyone, much less myself.  I'd been hurt by my parent's death, and then Brian, and, well, I just didn't want to take that risk.  But Sam and Lacey helped me to understand a few things.  Then Sam told me that while I was sick you hardly ever left my side unless they made you.  That told me that you really must care a lot about me, more than I realized.  When was it for you?”

“I think it was that night at the coffee shop, but I'd been hurt in the past, too, especially when Sha're died.  I didn't want to lose anyone else like I had lost her.  I know that the Goa'uld are no longer a threat, but the Ori are even more dangerous than the Goa'uld.  But then you got sick, and I was terrified that I was going to lose you before I got the chance to tell you how I really felt.”

Caitlin turned around slightly to look him in the eyes.  “Well, I'm better now, thanks to you and your friends, and you're never going to lose me.  I'll always be with you, and I'll always love you.”  She tilted her head up as he bent his head, and they tenderly but passionately kissed again.  When they parted, she turned around and looked up at the sky.  “Can you see any of the stars here that you've been to?” she asked him. 

So for a few moments, Daniel pointed out all the stars he could see in the sky that he knew the team had been to. 

She marveled at each one, and then something else caught her eye.  “Oh look, Daniel.  It's the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights.  Aren't they beautiful!”

He nodded.  “Not as beautiful as you are.  Wait.”  He paused, looking at the lights.  “What's that?” he asked her, pointing to a small part of the lights in the sky.  “That looked like a rainbow, or am I just seeing things?”

She laughed.  “No, that's a rainbow of sorts.  I've seen the lights as a sea green color, or bright orange, or even a bright fuchsia color.  But my favorite is when you see the whole rainbow of colors.  It doesn't always do that, but when it does, it's really pretty.” 

From some unforeseen place in the sky, a gust of cold wind came blowing around them, making her shiver even in her warm coat, and she coughed slightly. 

He heard her.  “I think I should get you home,” he told her as he helped her up, then got up himself.  He folded up the blanket, and handed it to her, picking up the stereo.  He held out his arm, and she took it, happily. 

They walked back to the limo and handed Sgt. Fenhouse the stereo and blanket, and Daniel helped Caitlin back into the car.  “Sgt. Fenhouse, could you turn up the heat a little bit in the back?  Caitlin and I are a little cold.” 

“Of course, Dr. Jackson,” he told them as Caitlin looked at him, confused.  “Is there anywhere else you would like to go?”

“Just a minute,” he told Sgt. Fenhouse.  He put up the privacy screen, and turned up the fan so that the warm air would circulate better.  Once he was done, he sat back, and he noticed Caitlin's perplexed look.  “What is it Caitlin?” he asked her. 

“All night you've been calling that man Mr. Fenhouse, but just now you called him a sergeant.”

Daniel's blushed slightly, embarrassed at his slip-of-the-tongue.  “Oh.  Well, yes.  He's really a sergeant that works at the base.  He has a brother that runs a limo service here in town, and when he can, he helps out by driving for them.  So I asked him if he would be willing to help me out tonight, and he said he would be happy to.”

Caitlin nodded.  “So I guess you just wanted to 'keep it all in the family', so to speak, since the Stargate Program and what you do there is such a secret.”

He nodded.  “Are you mad at me?”

She reached up and caressed his cheek, smiling at him.  “No.  It's okay, and I understand why you called him 'Mister'.  Calling him 'sergeant' in public would have been too weird.”  She felt a tickle in her throat, so she turned away from him and coughed.

Concern came across his face.  “I really think I should take you home now.  You're still recovering from being sick, and I can tell you're getting tired, too.”

She shook her head, but a big yawn gave her away.  “Really, Daniel, I'm all right, and I think we should go tell our friends the good news.”

“No you're not.  I can see you're getting tired, and I can tell you're still cold because you're still shivering.”

“Please, Daniel!  I know your friends would want to know.”

He eyed her.  “Are you sure?”

Caitlin nodded.  “Yes, and I promise to tell you if I get too tired.  Okay?"

He nodded.  “Okay.”  He put down the privacy screen.  “Sgt. Fenhouse?”  He saw the sergeant's puzzled look.  “It's okay.  She knows now.  Could you take us back to the base?  We want to talk to the general and the others.”

Sgt. Fenhouse smiled.  “Sure thing, Dr. J.”  Soon they were headed out of the park and down the streets to the base. 

 As they drove, Caitlin snuggled into Daniel's arms, happier than she could ever remember.  She felt safe and secure in his arms and in the knowledge that he loved her as much as she loved him. 

“You're so quiet,” he told her, kissing the top of her head.  “What are you thinking about?”

“Just how happy I am right now.  I haven't been this happy in a very long time.”

He nodded.  “I know how you feel.  I didn't think I'd ever find anyone after I lost Sha're.” 

“You must have loved her very much.” 

“I did,” he admitted.

“Sam told me that she was given to you as a gift.  Is that true?”

He nodded.  “Yes.  When we defeated an evil Goa'uld named Ra, the people of the planet Abydos were grateful to us, especially her father.  So he gave Sha're to me as a gift.  At first it was hard to get used to being married, but eventually we fell deeply in love.  But I'll tell you more about her later.”

The limo pulled up to the mountain and up to the first checkpoint, and the guard asked for all the usual information.  Daniel pulled away from Caitlin long enough to power down the window and lean out.

“Hi, Lt. Drake,” Daniel said to him, handing him his ID.  “How are things tonight?”

“Just fine, Dr. J,” he answered as he gave Daniel back his ID.  “Everything's all quiet.”

“Good.  Is the general still here?”

Lt. Drake nodded.  “Sure is.  By the way, how is Miss O'Brien doing?  We were all pretty worried about her there for a while.”

Caitlin leaned over, and looked up at the lieutenant.  “I'm doing much better now, thank you, Lt. Drake.”

Lt. Drake smiled.  He called down to the general's office and got clearance for them to go through.  “You're all clear to go, Dr. J, and it's good to see you so happy.”

“Thank you,” Daniel said, blushing slightly as he powered up the window.  He turned to look at Sgt. Fenhouse.  “We're good to go, Sergeant.”

The limo made it quickly through the next checkpoint, and soon was parked in the parking lot at the front entrance.  Daniel opened up the door and helped Caitlin out.  He took her arm in his, and they walked up to where Sgt. Fenhouse was standing. 

“We'll be back in about half-an-hour.  Is that okay?”

“Sure thing, Dr. J,” he told Daniel.  I'll just check in with my captain, and be back when you're ready.”

“Thank you, for everything,” Daniel said.  He turned and smiled at Caitlin, and together they walked into the SGC.  They got into the elevator and started their way down, Daniel taking his coat and gloves off and helping Caitlin with hers.  He laced his fingers with hers, turning toward her and smiling.  “Are you nervous?” he asked her. 

 “A little,” she told him.  “But I know that our friends will be waiting, and that they will be happy for us.  So that makes me feel better.”

He squeezed Caitlin's hand as the door opened, and they walked out into the corridor, making their way to the conference room.  When people walked past them, they smiled and greeted them.  As they got close to the control room, they met Sgt. Siler who was on his way to the mess hall. “Good evening, Sgt. Siler,” Daniel told him. 

“Good evening, Dr. Jackson.”

“I would like to introduce you to Miss Caitlin O'Brien.  Caitlin, this is Sgt. Siler.”

Caitlin smiled.  “Hello.  It's nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Sgt. Siler said to her. 

“Have a good evening, Sergeant,” Daniel told him as he gently pulled Caitlin's hand to let her know they needed to get going. 

“You too, Dr. Jackson,” Sgt. Siler said as he couldn't help but stare at Caitlin.  He continued to stare at Caitlin as he started to walk, and he didn't notice an airman coming from the opposite direction.  The airman bumped right into him, sending him to the concrete floor, his glasses flying. 

They heard the commotion, and turned back to look as the airman made his apologies and helped Sgt. Siler up, handing him his glasses.  Daniel turned to her and smiled as they resumed their course for the control room.  Once in the control room, he found an empty chair and put their jackets on it.  “They'll be okay there for now,” he told her.  He laced his fingers with hers again.  “Well, this is it,” he said, love shining in his eyes. 

Caitlin nodded, and she let Daniel lead her up the stairs and into the conference room.  She looked at the end of the table, and standing there was the general, Cam, Sam, and Teal'c. 

Daniel came and stood near them, still holding Caitlin's hand.  “Hey everyone,” he said. 

“Hey Jackson,” Cam replied.  “You tell Caitlin you love her yet?”

Daniel grinned and turned to smile at Caitlin, love and joy filling his already-full heart to overflowing. He turned back to his friends, his family. “Yep.  Just tonight.”

Everyone came over to them, offering their congratulations, shaking hands or hugging Caitlin and Daniel. 

“What did I tell you,” Sam said to Caitlin as she hugged her.  “All you had to do was listen to your heart.”

She pulled back from Sam, smiling.  “I know, and I'm glad I did.”

Gen. Landry smiled warmly, shaking Daniel's hand.  “Congratulations, Dr. Jackson.  She's a fine woman.”

“Thank you, sir,” Daniel replied as he felt Cam slap his shoulder. 

“Now this is what I'm talkin' about!  Congrats, Daniel,” Cam said as he shook Daniel’s hand.  “You deserve it.”

“Thanks, Cam,” Daniel replied.  Then he turned to Teal'c, who was smiling. 

“Are you happy, Daniel Jackson?”

Daniel nodded.  “Yes I am, Teal'c.  Happier than I ever thought I could be after I lost Sha're.”

Caitlin came over and laced her fingers with Daniel's, smiling at him. 

“And this is the woman that has made me so happy,” Daniel told Teal'c as he smiled at Caitlin.  “You and Sam were doing some pretty intense talking over there.  Anything I should know about?”

“Sam and I were talking about Thanksgiving.  She said she doesn't have any plans, either.  I suggested that since you, Teal'c, Sam and Cam were all family, that maybe you could all get together at her house for Thanksgiving Day dinner.”

“Yes, but now you are a part of our family, too, Caitlin O'Brien,” Teal'c said with a small smile.  “You must attend as well.”

Caitlin chuckled as Sam walked over to them.  “I plan to, Teal'c.  I'm going to stay overnight at Sam's house and help her prepare the meal.”

Sam nodded, a twinkle in her eyes.  “That's right.  Besides, it will give us girls a chance to gossip and tell stories on you guys, and believe me, I have some good ones.”

“Oh no you don't,” Daniel warned the two women.  “Cam, you'd better get over here and help defend yourself.”

He came over.  “All right, Jackson.  What's going on?”

“Sam is hosting Thanksgiving Day dinner, and we're all invited.  Caitlin's planning to spend the night so she can help Sam prepare on Thursday.”

“Yeah, so?”

Daniel sighed.  “Don't you see?  Sam and Caitlin together, talking about us?”

He finally got what Daniel was trying to tell him.  “Oh no,” he told Sam and Caitlin.  “You can't do that.  We guys have reps to protect, you know.”

Sam giggled.  “You mean you don't want Caitlin to know about that time in Florida with the woman who...”

“Stop right there, Sam,” Cam warned her. 

Caitlin laughed.  “What happened, Sam?”

“Let's just say that Cam came back sunburned as red as a lobster.  He couldn't sit for a week.”

Both women laughed as Cam groaned.  Daniel's heart filled with love at the sight of his friends, his family, welcoming the woman who had captured his heart into their close-knit group.

Caitlin and Sam were talking amongst themselves when she turned and coughed slightly. 

Daniel heard it and immediately came over and took her hand.  “We'd better get going, Caitlin.”  He turned toward his friends, his family.  “Well, I'll see you all tomorrow.”

“Don't do anything I wouldn't do,” Sam teased. 

“What would he not do?” Teal'c asked Sam, making everyone laugh. 

"It's just a figure of speech, T," Cam told him. 

Teal'c looked at him and raised an eyebrow. 

Sam turned to Caitlin again.  "Caitlin, I'll call you on Tuesday about Thanksgiving.  Okay?"

"Sure.  I'll talk to you then.  Bye everyone."

They walked down the stairs and back into the control room.  Daniel helped Caitlin put on her coat, and as he put on his own coat, they walked down the corridors to the main elevators.  As they rode up to the entrance, he squeezed her gloved hand and smiled warmly at her. 

"Well, now that you're part of the family, how do you like it?"

Caitlin smiled back at him.  "I love it, and I can tell they love you, too."

"They love you, too, you know.  Besides, we've been through too much not to be this close.  Teal'c and Sam have been here since Sha're was captured by Apophis and then later killed.  And even though Cam hasn't been here that long, he was there for all of us when we fought Anubis two years ago."

"Anubis.  Is he another Goa'uld?"

Daniel nodded.  "He was, but he was killed."

She sighed.  "It looks like I have a lot to learn, don't I?"

"I'll tell you everything, but not tonight," Daniel said as the elevator doors opened and they walked out of the mountain and back toward the limo.  "Right now I need to get you home so you can rest."

Sgt. Fenhouse was there waiting and he opened up the door for them. 

Caitlin stopped and smiled warmly at him.  "Thank you, Sgt. Fenhouse, for everything."

"It was my pleasure, Miss O'Brien.  Everyone here at the base is glad to see Dr. J happy again."

Daniel smiled and got in the limo, shutting the door behind him.  They buckled in and soon the limo was pulling out of the parking lot and down the street. 

He put his arm around her, and she snuggled into his embrace.  "Are you happy?" he asked her.

"Yes.  Happier than I can ever remember.  And it's all thanks to you, Daniel," she said, yawning.  "Are you?"

"Yes.  I never thought I could be this happy with anyone again after Sha're.  We were really in love.  At first, it was hard for her to accept me as her husband, but over time she came to love me, and I loved her.  But now I have you."  He smiled to himself.  "So when are you going to tell Lacey about us?" he asked her. 

She didn't respond. 

"Caitlin?" he questioned, a little worried.  But he soon felt her mumble something and snuggle closer into him, and he knew that she had fallen asleep.  He kissed the top of her head and smiled as he laid his cheek on her soft hair.  Daniel never thought his heart could be so full of love again, especially after he had lost Sha're, but here in his arms was a woman who brought him more joy and happiness than he had felt since he had been with Sha're.  He still loved Sha're and would always love her, but he knew now that there was room enough and more for Caitlin in his heart.  Sha're had told him it was okay to love Caitlin, and he did, with every fiber of his being.  He was still worried about the Ori, but he knew that with Caitlin beside him, anything was possible, even defeating the Ori.

All too soon the limo pulled up in front of her apartment building.  “Caitlin,” Daniel told her, gently pulling his arm out from under her.  “We're here, sweetheart.”

“Ungh,” she mumbled, slowly waking up.  She looked around until she saw him.  “Oh, Daniel.  Did I fall asleep?”

He nodded. 

“Oh, I'm sorry,” she said apologetically, rubbing her eyes.  “I didn't mean too...”

“Shh, it's okay,” he said, interrupting her.  “I could tell you were getting tired.”  He got out of the limo, and helped her out.  “Sergeant, I'll be back in a few minutes”

Sgt. Fenhouse nodded, and Daniel gave her his arm, walking her to her door. 

Caitlin pulled out her key, opening her door and inviting him inside.  As she set down her purse and took off her coat, Tinkerbell and Patches came trotting in, meowing loudly. 

“Hi, girls!” she told them, bending down and petting each one.  “Would you girls like a treat?”  She went into her cupboard and pulled out a big bag of treats, giving each one two of them.  As they munched happily, she turned toward Daniel, smiling at him as she walked into his embrace. 

“Well, my love,” he told her.  “Have a good night, and sweet dreams.  I love you.”  He tenderly kissed her, sending shivers up and down her spine. 

Caitlin pulled away.  “I love you, too, Daniel.  More than I ever thought possible.”

He kissed her nose, holding her close.  “I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay?”

She nodded.  “Tomorrow.”

He kissed her one last time, and made her promise to go right to bed. 

“I plan to,” she said as she yawned again.  “Goodnight, Daniel.  Love you.”

“Love you too, Caitlin.” 

She shut the door behind him and went into her bedroom to get ready for bed.  When she had gotten her nightgown on, she padded into her bathroom and completed her bedtime routine of washing her face, brushing her teeth, and cleaning her contacts.  She was a little thirsty, so she went to her fridge and grabbed a bottle of water, taking it with her.  Walking into her bedroom, she found her two cats already on the bed waiting for her.  "I had a really wonderful night tonight, girls.  And Mommy is in love with Daniel.  What do you think of that?”  Both her cats meowed their approval as Caitlin took one last drink of water, took her glasses off, and turned out her bedside lamp. 

As she snuggled under the covers, she thought about the wonderful evening she'd had with Daniel.  First, that incredible limo ride to the restaurant, followed by a fabulous meal.  Then off to the Riverdance performance (she still couldn't believe that Daniel had gotten tickets), and finally, their time in Memorial Park where he had told her he loved her.  And that incredible kiss, she thought to herself, smiling.  A fulfilling job, great friends, and now a wonderful man that had taken her broken and battered heart and spirit and mended it with his love.  Caitlin knew that no matter where their path led, their journey together would be truly amazing. 

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

On Danu Robert Collins was helping Minister Aedan set up his new government.  He was teaching him about election and voting processes, and how to run each one.

“It's so that the people of each village can vote for who they want as their new Village Manager,” he told Aedan as he sat in a chair across from him in the dining room of the local inn. 

“Aye, I be understandin' that,” Aedan told him.  “But surely ya not be meanin' the women c'n vote.” 

“Why not?” 

“They be only women,” Aedan protested weakly. 

“Yes, but don't they have opinions, too?  Minister Aedan, when you were village manager of Fluairíd Robáil (Flowing River), did you talk to your wife about different decisions you made concerning the village?”

“Aye, that I did.”

“Did she give you her opinion?”

Aedan nodded. 

“Then what is the difference here if they are given the chance to vote?  It's just a way of allowing the women a chance to voice their opinions and be heard.  It will make them feel like equals instead of beneath you.”

Aedan thought about that for a moment.  “Aye,” he said, smiling.  “Now I be seein' yer point, Master Collins.  'Tis right and true that they should be allowed 't have a say here.”

Robert smiled.  “Good.  Now let's talk about a constitution.”

“What be a 'constitution'?” Aedan asked him, confused. 

“A constitution is the fundamental laws and practices that govern a country.  For example, one of the countries back on Earth has a constitution that tells people what rights they have and what rights they don't have.  It also tells them things they can and can't do.  For instance, there is a law that says we have the freedom to worship however we want to, and there's another law that says we have the freedom to voice our opinions and not get into trouble with the government for it.”

“Aye, that must be a grand document, 'tis that,” Aedan said to him in awe.  “So ya think that we should be havin' a 'constitution' like that?" 

"Yes.  It will help you to run your new government better, and also help your people know what rights they have or don't have.  I can even help you and your new parliament decide on what to put in your Constitution.”

Aedan smiled broadly.  “Aye, 'twould be grand o' ya 't help us, lad, but first, I think we should be getting' the members of our new parliament together, don't 'cha think?”

Robert nodded.  “I agree, Minister Aedan, but there is something else I wanted to talk to you about first.”

“Oh,” Aedan said, curious.  “What would that be?”

Robert sat back in his chair.  The building you've chosen here in Go Leor Bláthanna (Many Flowers) is a fine building, but I think that if you and your people built another building just like this back in Fluairíd Robáil, it would be a better location for your new government.  It's closer to the Stargate, and if you build the building close to the gate, you could guard the gate better.”

Aedan thought about this for a moment.  “I understand what ya be sayin', Master Robert, but 'twould take many months 't build a new buildin'.  From what Master Daniel and his friends told us, we not be havin' that much time.”

Robert leaned forward, smiling.  “That's where my people come in.  Since we're now allies, I can ask the SGC to send in some people to help build the building.  They can even give you suggestions and ideas on how to guard your gate better.  Besides,” he said, reclining back into the chair again.  “It would make your wife happier, too.”

“How?” Aedan asked him, puzzled. 

“Well, you yourself said that Go Leor Bláthanna has a brewery.”

“That it does.”

“Well, wouldn't it make your wife happier if you were back in Fluairíd Robáil?”

Aedan laughed.  “Ah, now I be seein' yer point.  'That it would, Master Robert.  But I be able ‘t have a wee nip in Fluairíd Robáil as well, so 'twould not be any different.” 

“Yes,” Robert said, a twinkle in his eyes.  “But you wouldn't have to pack up all your belongings and move them here, would you?  I know that would also make your wife happy.”

Aedan laughed again.  “'Tis, true, Master Robert.  That it would, indeed.”  He became more serious.  “But I be agreein' with ya 'bout protectin' our cloch ciorcal (stone circle).  If ya can get yer friends 't help, then 'twould be a good  idea 't have our new government buildin' in Fluairíd Robáil.”

Robert smiled.  “Good.  If you can have someone take me to Fluairíd Robáil, I can contact Earth right away.”

Aedan stood up.  “I'll be havin' 't make an announcement 't the paeople about the change we made, but I don't be seein' any problems wi' it.”  He stood up.  “Fer now, let's go find me friend Sean McLeary.  He be headin' back 't Fluairíd Robáil this day anyway, and I be sure as the rain comes in the Spring that he c'n take us with him.”

Robert smiled and stood up, shaking Aedan's hand.  “You've made the best decision for your people, Minister Aedan, and you've taken the next step in protecting yourself from the Ori.”

Aedan smiled and slapped Robert on the shoulder.  “Aye, Master Robert, that we have.” 

Both men walked out of the inn and out into the village to find Sean McLeary.  When they did, he was more than happy to take them back.  So two hours later, Minister Aedan and Robert found themselves back in Fluairíd Robáil.  They both went to the gate and dialed the address for Earth.

As soon as the gate had whooshed open, Aedan punched in the code Sam had given him, and they soon got confirmation that it had worked. 

“Mr. Collins,” the general's voice said over the M.A.L.P.  “Is there a problem?”

“Not exactly, sir, but there has been a major change here.  Prime Minister Aedan and I were talking about the building they had chosen for their new government building.  I suggested to him that it would be a much better idea to have their new government building in Fluairíd Robáil where the gate is.  That way they can greet anyone coming from Earth easier, plus they can guard their gate better.”

There was a moment of silence.  “Good thinking, Mr. Collins.  So do they have a suitable building there?”

Robert shook his head.  “No, sir, and that's where we come in.  Minister Aedan has people who know what and where the best building materials are, but they just don't have enough man-power to do the job.”

“Understood.  I'll send two SG teams to help you.  They'll be there within the hour.”

Robert smiled.  “Thank you, Gen. Landry.  Collins out.”  The gate shut off, and he turned toward Aedan, smiling broadly.  “With your people finding the right building materials and us to help you do the building, we'll have your new government building built in no time.”

Aedan was visibly touched.  “Thank ya fer all yer help, Master Robert.  'Twas a grand day when we became allies, and our paeoples only became stronger. And with ya  helpin' us, there be no limit 't what my paeople and yers c'n do.”

Robert was more touched than he had words to say.  “Thank you,” he stuttered.  I don't know what to say, but I predict that we will be friends and allies for a very long time.”

Aedan nodded and smiled.  “Aye.  That we will, Master Robert, that we will.”  He thought for a moment.  “This be a time fer celebratin'!”Aedan exclaimed, grinning.  He winked at Robert.  “I suggest that we retire 't the village fer a wee nip.  Mistress Kathleen be havin' a fine ale, that she does.”

Robert shook his head.  “We can't.  Not yet.  We have to wait for the two teams from the SCG to get here.” As soon as he had finished that, the gate started to rotate.  As the seventh chevron locked, the gate whooshed open, and moments later two SG teams came through, and came to stand by Robert and Aedan.

“Mr. Collins, I presume?” one of the men asked. 

He nodded.

The man saluted.  “Major Stan Niles, SG8.  I also brought with me SG6.”

“Welcome to Danu, Maj. Niles.  May I present newly-elected Prime Minister Aedan O'Malley.” 

Aedan bowed, giving the major the traditional greeting.  “Welcome to Danu, friends.  We be glad ya c'n help us build a new buildin' here.”

Maj. Niles nodded.  “It's our pleasure to help our allies.  Mr. Collins, the general thought it would be helpful if you also had two people with engineering qualifications to help with this project.”

“That's a good idea,” Robert nodded.

“I have twelve people with me in all.”  Maj. Niles pointed to the two engineers, introducing them.  “Lt. Anderson and Lt. Jacobs.”

Robert and Aedan smiled and nodded in their direction. 

“The general told us to try and get the building built as soon as possible, Prime Minister,” Maj. Niles said.  “That means we'll be staying on your planet for a while.”

“”Tis not a problem, Sergeant.  We can give ya places 't sleep in our village.  Give me some time 't talk to me paeople.  I'll be lettin' ya know soon.”

Maj. Niles nodded.  “Understood.  Have you found a site for the building yet?”

Robert shook his head.  “No, but I told Minister Aedan that it would be a good idea if it were close to the Stargate.  That way they could keep watch and protect it better.”

“Okay, so we're looking for a site close to the gate, but still close to the village.  Minister Aedan, we'll wait for you to talk to your people first, as you should be the one to choose the site for the new building.”

Aedan smiled.  “Aye.  That would be grand o' ya.  It shouldn't take too long 't talk to me paeople.  Why don't 'cha all follow me back 't the village?”

Maj.. Niles nodded, and everyone headed back with Aedan to Fluairíd Robáil.   As all the soldiers walked through the village, people stopped whatever they were doing and stared.  Once Minister Aedan got to the village hall, he went to the bell and started ringing it loudly.  It rang throughout the village, bringing everyone who could hear it together in front of the building.

“Friends and neighbors of Fluairíd Robáil,” Aedan began as the crowd quieted down.  “As ya all know, ya be choosin' me 't be yer first Prime Minister.  Master Robert 'twill be stoppin' on our planet 't help us set up our new government.  He be suggestin' that we build the new government buildin' here, 'stead of Go Leor Bláthanna.  I agreed, and he asked our allies and friends from Auld Aerth 't help us build it.”

“Since it be takin' quite a while 't build our new government buildin', our new friends will be needin' places 't stay.”  Murmurs grew from the crowd.  “I not be forcin' ya 't take anyone in, but 'twould be a show of good faith if ya c'n take one o' his men in with ya.”

“I c'n take someone,” someone called out from the crowd of villagers.  “We have room in our cottage,” another shouted.  Soon all the men and women had places to stay. 

Aedan smiled broadly.  “Thank ya kindly, me friends.  'Tis a great day fer our paeople and our allies from Auld Aerth, and 'tis a fine show of our hospitality and friendship ya've made this day.  Now,” he said, a little more seriously.  “Is Seamus MacGuire here?”

“Aye, that I am,” Seamus said as he walked out of the crowd toward Aedan.  “Let me be the first from our village 't congratulate ya on becomin' our first Prime Minister, Aedan,” he said as he clasped Aedan's hand and shook it warmly. 

“Thank ya, me old friend,” Aedan said, smiling at Seamus. 

Aedan turned and spoke to the villagers again.  “Those of ya that offered room in yer cottages, please come forward.”  Many of the villagers gave Aedan their congratulations as they dispersed.  The villagers that agreed to take in team members stayed, and Maj. Niles sent each of his team members with one of them. 

“Report back to the edge of the village in thirty minutes,” he told them as they left with their hosts. 

“So what be this talk of a new buildin', Aedan?” Seamus asked him as he, Aedan, Robert, and Maj. Niles all walked to the edge of the village.  “I thought it 'twas 't be in  Go Leor Bláthanna.”

“Master Robert thinks it be a good idea 't build it here for many-a-reason.  First, we can be the first 't greet our allies from Auld Aerth and second, 't be the first ones 't protect the cloch ciorcal.  He also pointed out that it also be keepin' me away from the brewery in Go Leor Bláthanna, and that alone be keepin' me Shannon happy as well.”

Seamus smiled mischievously.  “Does this mean that 'cha won't be associatin' with us peasant folk?”

Aedan laughed.  “No, me old friend.  I'll still be havin' a wee nip with ya, if I c'n get away from me Shannon.” 

Both men laughed.  “But right now,” Aedan said, “we can use yer help in findin' the best spot fer the new buildin'.”

Seamus nodded.  “I can do that, me friend.  I be huntin' these woods fer griathna fer many-a-year now.”

Maj. Niles walked up to Seamus.  'What's griathna?”

“It be a four-legged creature with two horns that has brown fur and a small, white tail.  'Tis good meat, and we be usin' the skins 't make pouches and other things.” 

Soon the rest of Maj. Nile's team came back to the edge of the village, and everyone set out for the Stargate again.  Once they got there, Aedan, Seamus, Robert, and Maj. Niles all looked over the immediate area. 

“I think that this be the best spot fer the new buildin',” Aedan said as he walked out into the trees near the gate.  “We could put a window or two in the buildin' facin' the Stone Circle 't watch fer any travelers that be comin' through.”

“Looks like we would have to clear out a few trees,” Maj. Niles said to Aedan and the others.  “But that shouldn't be a problem.”  He turned toward one of his men.  “Cpl. Styles, contact the SGC and tell them what we'll need.”

“Aye, sir,” he said, and went to the gate.

Maj. Niles turned back toward Aedan and Seamus.  “Minister Aedan, do you and Seamus...”

Robert tapped Maj. Niles on the shoulder and whispered, “It's Master Seamus.”

“Oh, excuse me.  Master Seamus.  Do you or Minster Aedan have a few people in the village that can help us chop down some of these trees?”

Seamus nodded.  “I c'n get me own sons 't help, and I think that Eirnin and his boys 'twould be willin' as well.  I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail.”

Aedan called out after him.  “Now don' 'cha be takin' any time at the pub now, Seamus.  I not be trustin' ya!”

Robert laughed.  “Is he as bad as you are, Minister Aedan?” he asked, still chuckling. 

“I be thinkin' so, but he would be tellin' ya that I'm worse than he is.”

Everyone was laughing as Cpl. Styles walked up. 

“Report,” Maj. Niles said. 

“The SGC is sending all the supplies we need, sir.  They should be here within the hour.”

“Good.”  He looked back toward the path leading to the village, and saw six people walking toward them.  “It looks like they're here.  Styles, you, Grady, and Cooper come with me, and pull out your knives.  We're going to mark the trees that need to be taken down so they know which ones to chop.  Anderson, Jacobs, take the rest of the men back to the Stargate and wait for the supplies.”

The men nodded and left for the gate.  Maj. Niles started walking toward the trees, the three other men following him.  He stopped at the first tree and, taking his knife, made a large 'X' on the trunk.  “Okay.  Just do it like that, and they'll know which ones to chop down.” 

Maj. Niles pointed out the other trees, and they all made cuts into them.  When they were finished, they all walked back toward Aedan. 

Master Seamus introduced the newcomers.  “Maj. Niles, this be Master Eirnin Killigan and his two sons, and this be me own two troublemakers.”

Handshakes were given all around, and Maj. Niles told them which trees to chop down.  “Some of my men and I marked each tree with a large 'X' on the trunk.  Those are the ones you should chop down.”

“Aye.  Let's be getting' 't work,” Eirnin told his sons.  Soon the men were chopping  down the trees, and the shouts of  “Timber!” and the sound of crashing trees could be heard throughout the area. 

Sometime later, Lt. Anderson, Lt. Jacobs, and the rest of the two teams returned with the supplies sent from Earth.  Maj. Niles took inventory of all the items.

“Okay, let's set up the tent over here,” he pointed to a spot near the building site.  “We'll put the supplies in there.  Sgt. Dickenson, you and Wilson will stay here and guard our supplies.  There are two cots for you to use, and a portable heater.”

“Yes sir,” they both said, then went to help put up the tent. 

Maj. Niles turned back toward Aedan and Robert, and smiled.  “Don't worry, Minister Aedan.  We'll have this building built in no time.”

“'Tis makin' me heart proud 't have such fine friends and allies, Major,” Aedan told him.

“It's our pleasure to help you.  Now, once the tent is set up, have you got any ideas on how you want this building to look when it's done?”

“Aye, I've been thinkin' 'bout that.  There should be a large room for the parliament, a' course, and a large office fer me.  Then the parliament members be needin' their own smaller offices.” 

“What about a bathroom?”

Aedan looked confused.  “We not be taking baths here, Maj. Niles.” 

“No, no,” Robert said, chuckling.  “A bathroom is like your outhouses, only it's inside.”

“'Twould be a great marvel 't see, that it would,” Aedan said in awe.

Robert turned toward the major.  “I think you'd better just make plans for two or three outhouses, Major.”

“Understood, Mr. Collins.  We're also supposed to notify the SCG when the building is finished.  Col. Carter has some ideas on how you can protect your gate that she would like to share with you.  Along that line, I think there should be a room on the side of the building facing the gate that is just for that purpose.”

“The tent is up, sir,” Sgt. Wilson reported to Maj. Niles.  “And all the supplies are inside.”

“Did you set up the table?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good.  Gentlemen,” he said to Aedan and Robert.  “Will you join me inside?”

The three men walked inside the tent and stood around the table.  Maj. Niles quickly made a tentative drawing of the new building.  When he was done, he showed it to Aedan and Robert.

“Just a minute,” Aedan told him.  He walked outside and shouted to Eirnin and Seamus, who came into the tent and stood around the table.

“This be the new plans fer the government buildin',” Aedan told them.  “What do ya think?”

Eirnin and Seamus looked at the drawing.  They looked up and Aedan and smiled.  “It be fine, Aedan,” they both told him. 

“Then ya c'n start buildin' as soon as possible, Maj. Niles,” Aedan told him confidently.  “I'm sure that many o' the men from the village t'would be willin' 't help us as well.”

“I can be talkin' 't the other men of the village tonight, Minister Aedan,” Eirnin told him. 

“Fine,” Aedan replied.  “Maj. Niles, do ya think we have enough o' the trees cut down 't yer likin'?” he asked.

Maj. Niles walked out of the tent and looked around.  He saw a large, new clearing where there had once been trees.  He turned toward Aedan, Eirnin, and Seamus.  “That looks fine.  Now all we have to do is get rid of the stumps.”  He glanced skyward and noticed that the suns were low in the sky.  “It looks like it will be dark soon.  Let's hold off on pulling the stumps until tomorrow morning.  Master Eirnin, do your people have ways to pull out a tree stump?

“Aye.  We use our horses 't pull them out.  I beliaeve I c'n get a few men from the village with their horses 't come out tomorrow and help us pull them.”

Maj. Niles smiled.  “Good.  Minister Aedan, have you thought about the building material you want to use?  We have many new techniques from Earth that we can show you.”

“I've been thinkin' 'bout that,” he said.  “All our buildins be built from stone near each village.  Since this be the first government buildin' of Danu, I was thinkin' of asking' all the villages 't contribute enough stone fer the buildin'.  What do ya think?  Master Eirnin, Master Seamus?”

“That be a good idea,” Eirnin said, smiling. 

“I agree,” Seamus said, “and I c'n have me eldest son ride out 't Go Leor Bláthanna (Many Flowers) in the mornin' and send them word.  They c'n see that the other villages get word as well.” 

“Thank ya, Master Seamus,” Aedan said warmly.  By this time one of the Danuan suns had gone below the mountains.  Aedan smiled and rubbed his hands together.  “Well, now, why don't we all head into the village and get a wee bite 't eat?” he suggested.  “Mistress Kathleen be the finest cook in the village, 'cept fer me own wife, the Faether bless her.”

“That sounds good,” Maj. Niles said.  He rounded up his team members.  “Will there be enough room for all of us at the inn?” he asked Aedan.

“Yes, but all the paeople that are keepin 'yer men and women t'will be havin' the evening meal waitin' fer them.  Only Master Robert, you and I 'twould be eatin' at the inn.  Eirnin and Seamus c'n help yer team members find the paeople they be stoppin' with.”

“Thank you,” the major replied, and turned to his teams.  “I want all of you to remember where you'll be staying for the next two weeks.  Master Eirnin and Master Seamus will help you find the cottages where you'll be staying.  All right.  Head back to the village and be back here at oh-seven hundred tomorrow morning.  Dickinson, Wilson, you stay here and guard our supplies.  If anything comes through the gate, notify me immediately.  I'll be staying with Master Seamus and his family, but I'll have someone bring out some hot food for you.”

“Yes, sir,” they both replied, then left to set up things in the tent for the night.

The next morning, Maj. Niles gathered his teams together at the building site.  As he was talking to his teams, Robert and Minister Aedan came into the clearing followed by at least four men pulling horses behind them. There were three others driving horse-drawn carts behind them. 

“Maj. Niles,” Aedan said, “These be friends from the village that came 't help us.  There here 't pull out the tree stumps so ya c'n clear the land better.  The men with the carts, they be chopin' some of the trees fer firewood and haulin' it 't the village.  First they be preparin' the others 't use in buildin' the frame.”

Maj. Niles nodded and smiled at the newcomers.  “Welcome, and thank you all for coming.  Right now we just want to clear the land.”  He turned toward his teams.  “These four men are here to pull out the stumps.  You four,” he pointed to the closest five near him, “can go and help them.”  As those five left, the major pointed to the next four.  “You four can help the others load the firewood onto their carts.” 

As the four soldiers left, Maj. Niles turned toward Minister Aedan.  “Minister Aedan, have you sent word to the other villages yet about the stone?”

Aedan nodded.  “Aye.  Did it just this mornin', too.  I should be getting' word back this afternoon, the Faether be willin'.”

“Well, we can't start building until the stone gets here, but we can prepare the land until then.  Minister Aedan, when you build buildings, what do you use to hold the stone together?”

“”Tis a mixture of mud and ground stone.  “It be workin' well fer holdin' the stone together.”

“Good.  Do you think we could have some of the women help in making the mortar?”

“Mor-tar?” Aedan pronounced the word slowly, not quite understanding it.  “What be that?”

“That's what we call the mixture you make with the mud and ground stone.”

Aedan smiled.  “Aye.  Now I understand ya.  The men usually make up this 'mor-tar', as ya be callin' it, not the women.”

“Yes,” Robert interjected.  “But if the women of the village made it, then later when the building is finished, they would be able to look at it and know they had a hand in helping to change their lives for the better.”

Aedan thought about that for a moment.  “Ya be right in that, Master Robert,” he said finally said.  “And I c'n talk 't me own wife, Shannon, and have her be organizin' the women when we be ready.”

“That sounds good,” Maj. Niles told him.  “Let's get to work.”

They worked throughout the day, clearing the land and preparing it properly.  In the afternoon, Aedan got word from one of the men in the village.  He passed it on to Maj. Niles and Robert Collins. 

“It be sayin' here that all the villages be happy 't contribute whatever stone we need,” he told them, reading from the scroll the man had brought him.  “They be sendin' it during the next few days. 

“Good.  We'll set up a place where they can pile the stone.  Tomorrow you can have the women of the village start making the mortar, and we'll start building your new Government Building.”

In the morning, just as Aedan had been told, men driving horse-drawn carts had started coming into the village.  A few of the women showed them where to go, and when they came into the new clearing near the Stargate, Aedan and Robert were there to show them where to go. 

“Thank ya kindly, men,” Aedan told them all.  “'Tis a grand day fer our paeople.”

The men driving the carts parked near the site for the new building, and men from Fluairíd Robáil and from Maj. Niles' teams helped to unload the stone in a big pile.  Over the next few days, more men with stone from other far-away villages came and unloaded their stone, while more men from Go Leor Bláthanna, Fluairíd Robáil, and the rest of Maj. Niles' teams built the framework.  By the end of the day, they had the frame in place for the new building, three outhouses, and even a smaller building for the new controls for the Stargate.  Lt. Anderson had come up with that idea.

“It makes more sense, Major,” she had said.  “It will still be close enough to the government building, but separate from it.  That way the villagers who have to stay here won't interrupt the Danuan government while it's in session.”

“That's good thinking, Anderson,” he said, smiling.  “But do we have enough stone?”

“I beliaeve we do, Major,” Aedan said.  “If not, we c'n always be gettin' more from the nearby villages.”

So it was almost four days after they had started clearing the land that they started laying the first stones.  Minister Aedan's wife Shannon, along with other women from the village began making the mortar.  Maj. Niles and his two teams helped haul the stones to the building, while Minister Aedan and the men from the village laid them down and plastered them thoroughly with the mortar mixture. 

Robert Collins couldn't believe how fast the building was going up, even without using modern Earth techniques.  By the end of the week, where there had been once trees and grass now stood a brand-new building, three outhouses, and a smaller building off to the side.  He walked into the new government building and marveled. 

Aedan found him standing there.  “Ah, Master Robert.  There ya be.  Admiring our new buildin', are ya?”

Robert shook his head.  “I can't believe it.  I thought it would take weeks, even with the help of Maj. Niles and his two teams.”

“And we built it in a week.  We be a determined lot 'o paeople, Master Robert.  When we put our minds 't somethin', we usually be getting' it done one way or 't other.”

Robert smiled at Aedan.  “I believe great things will happen for your people in this building, Minister Aedan,” he told him, clasping his shoulder. 

“Aye, that they will.  Come.  Let me show ya the place.”  Aedan took Robert all around the building.  There were offices for each of the new parliament members, and a larger office for himself.  The main room had enough openings for windows to let in lots of light, and there was a grand new fireplace at the other end from the offices. 

“When will you put in the doors and shutters for the windows, Minister Aedan?” Robert asked him as they walked out of the building. 

“They're bein' made as we speak,” he said.  “”Tis our fine carpenter and woodcarver be makin' and carvin' the doors, and the men from  Go Leor Bláthanna and Céad Titim Sneachta (First Snowfall) be makin' the shutters for both the new government house and the smaller buildin' 't hold the controls fer the cloch ciorcal (stone circle).”

“That's good, Minister Aedan,” Robert told him.  “It will give all the villagers a feeling of pride that they helped to build this new building.”

“Aye, 'Tis true, my friend, 'tis true. But there be one thing that needs 't be done yet.”

“What's that?” Robert asked him, puzzled.

“We be needin' some new cottages for the new representatives of each village.  They be movin' here, ya know.”

Robert nodded.  “I see.  So how do you plan to deal with that?”

“We plan 't ask each representative 't come and pick out a small piece of land near the village where they want their new cottage, and we'll build it fer them.  I be already talkin' to Maj. Niles, and as soon as we be finished here, he and his paeople be willin' 't help us build the cottages.”  Aedan turned to look at Robert fully.  “Now I have a favor 't ask of ya.”

“Certainly,” Robert replied. 

“We plan 't have a grand ceremony fer our new government buildin', and I would like ya 't invite our friends from Auld Aerth.”

Robert smiled warmly, bowing in the traditional Danuan greeting.  “It would be my honor and pleasure, Prime Minister.”

Aedan smiled, and together they went back to where everyone was still working. 

It was Sunday, according to an Earth calendar, and Aedan sent word to all the villages for the new representatives to come to Fluairíd Robáil.  By early Monday afternoon, all of them were there, and they had each chosen their pieces of land.  It didn't take long to have the little cottages built, and by the end of the day, preparations were being made for the celebration to dedicate the new building.  The new representatives had begun moving in to their new homes late on Tuesday afternoon, so Robert walked back to the new government building. 

He saw that the new, large, wooden doors had been hung, and that the new shutters were in place as well.  Inside, he saw that the new fireplace had been built, and new lamps were in place.  There was a large podium in the middle and surrounding it were smaller desks for all the representatives.  As Robert walked to the back of the building where all of the representatives' offices were, he noted that each one was furnished with a new chair, desk, and two new lamps.  He continued on until he got to Aedan's office where he found him standing in front of his new desk. 

“Good morning, Minister Aedan,” Robert said warmly. 

Aedan turned toward him.  “Ah, good mornin' 't ya , Master Robert.  How are ya this fine day?”

“I'm doing just fine.”  He looked all around Aedan's new office.  “Wow,” he said, admiring everything.  “They really did a nice job on your office, Minister Aedan.”

“Aye, that they did.” 

“So when are you planning to have the dedication celebration?”

“Everyone be already makin' preparations, and each village be bringin' somethin' 't help us celebrate.  So we plan 't have the celebration in two days.”

Robert had a concerned look on his face, and Aedan noticed it. 

“”Twould there be a problem, my friend?”

“Yes.  That day is a holiday for my people.  We call it Thanksgiving.  It's a day where families get together and give thanks for what they have.  What that means for my people, Minister Aedan, is that they won't be able to come.” 

“I see,” he said, thinking.  “Well, we don't want 't be takin' yer paeople away from such an important holiday.  We c'n plan our celebration for another day.”

“How about Friday?”  Robert asked him. 

Aedan smiled and clapped Robert on the shoulder.  “Aye.  Friday it 'tis, then.  I'll be lettin' me wife know, as well as Mistress Kathleen.  Mistress Kathleen be providin' the refreshments fer the celebration.  And I'll send word 't the other villages.  They'll be wantin' 't provide somethin' as well, probably in the way of food or drink.”

“That sounds great, Minister Aedan.  When you have an invitation ready, I'll take it back to Earth and give it to my superiors.”

“That'll be fine, Master Robert.” 

“You know,” Robert told Aedan with a twinkle in his eyes.  “Thanksgiving is also a day where we eat too much.”

Aedan laughed.  “For us, every celebration or holiday be like that.”

Robert chuckled.  “I guess it's the same wherever you go.”  He became serious again.  “I think that once the dedication ceremony is over, you'll want to sit down and write your new constitution.  The sooner the better, I think.”

Aedan nodded.  “I think we be wantin' the whole of our representatives here first, don't 'cha think?”

“Of course, but as soon as the celebration is over, we need to meet.  Once you get into a regular meeting schedule, you won't be meeting on the weekends.  But for this I think you should consider getting together the day after the celebration to discuss the new Constitution.”

Aedan shook his head.  “I don't think ya be understandin' about celebrations here, Master Robert.  When we have a celebration, it be the kind that last two days, or sometimes more.”

Robert laughed.  “I see.  So is this going to be one of those three-day parties, Minister Aedan?”

Aedan smiled mischievously.  “Now ya be understandin', Master Robert.”

At that moment Maj. Niles knocked on Aedan's door. 

“Come in, Maj. Niles,” he said, smiling. 

“Good morning, Prime Minister, Mr. Collins.  I just wanted to tell you that we finished the last of the buildings a few moments ago.”

  Aedan smiled broadly.  “Good, good!  Now we c'n really plan the celebration.  Master Robert, am I right in sayin' that you and Maj. Niles' teams be wantin' 't travel home for yer holiday as soon as ya can?”

Robert looked questioningly at Maj. Niles, who nodded.  “Yes, Minister Aedan.  That would be nice.”

“Then we can return with our friends for the celebration on Friday,” Robert added.  “After the celebration, I plan to stay for a while and help you get your new government up and running smoothly, if that's okay with you.”

Aedan smiled at him.  “T'would be grand, Master Robert.  I c'n even have Mistress Kathleen set up a room for ya at her inn.”

Robert smiled.  “That sounds good.  For now, I'm going to help Maj. Niles get ready to leave.”

Aedan nodded.  “By the time yer ready 't go, I'll have that invitation ready 't take back with ya.”

Robert nodded, and left to pack his things and to help Maj. Niles.  In a few hours, all of them were packed and ready to go.

Aedan was waiting for Robert when he came into the clearing near the new government building, a piece of parchment paper rolled up in his hands.  “Here ya be, Master Robert,” he said, handing the rolled parchment to him.  “I asked Maj. Niles 'bout Thansgivin', and he told me 'tis traditional 't say 'Happy Thankgivin' 't ya.”

“Thank you, Minister Aedan,” he said, shanking Aedan's hand and smiling. 

“I also want 't thank ya and yer teams, Maj. Niles,” Aedan said as he shook hands with the major.  “We couldn't have built all this without yer help.”

Maj. Niles smiled.  “It was our pleasure, Prime Minister.”  He turned toward Robert.  “Mr. Collins, if you're ready to go, then I suggest we head out before it gets too dark.”

Robert nodded, and Maj. Niles turned toward his team.  “All right people,” he called out.  “Let's move out!  Airman Denara, dial up Earth.”  Maj. Niles turned back toward Aedan and saluted him.  “Goodbye, Prime Minister, and good luck.”

Robert gathered up his things and moved to stand by the others at the gate.

“Slán agus beannacht leat(Goodbye and blessing with you),” he called out before they went through the gate. 

Robert smiled.  He knew that with Earth's help, the Danuan people would be able to face any obstacle that came their way.  The growing pains, the conflicts, and the disagreements that came with starting a new government, along with protecting the people from the Ori; they would make it through.  They were a tough, resilient and resourceful people.  He turned and waved at Minister Aedan, then stepped through the event horizon with Maj. Niles, returning to Earth.

 

  THE END


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