A/N: Thank you so much for your patience. Here it is: the long awaited sequel to "The Thieves and the Baker." I'm very sorry it took so long for me to start writing, but with grad school kicking my ass it was difficult to find the motivation to write.
The mess that Hera left in the wake of her demise had been … interesting for the SGC to clean up. It was not the first time that they had to clean a mess spanning multiple states, with civilian witnesses and cameras that captured things that they shouldn't have. It wasn't the first time that they had an uncooperative victim on their hands.
However, this was the first time that Cassandra Fraiser took it upon herself to tell all of the members of the SGC to go straight to Sokar and leave her alone.
"It's go to hell, Cassie!" Mitchell chided her good naturedly, trying to lift the spirits of the woman who was now twelve weeks along in her pregnancy.
She narrowed her hazel eyes at the colonel, one of her hands moving instinctively to the slight pudge on her stomach that was beginning to announce the two lives within. "You're not the one the president placed under house arrest until they give birth, Cameron," she reminded him. She looked around at the stark white walls and sighed, tears pricking at her eyes, "It's not even a house. It's a prison."
Cameron Mitchell studied her from behind the bars that confined her in the SGC extra-terrestrial prison that had confined other threats before, and likely would again. In the corner of the room, out of Cassie's reach, lay a black and metal device that was blinking periodically, it's domed structure hiding the telekinetic interference device Sam had developed a few years back.
Despite the voice in the back of his head that told him she was right, Mitchell's face remained impassive as he replied, "It's to protect you, Cassie. And the babies."
Cassie was too tired of this daily debate to say anything more than, "Yes. Because that worked out so well the last time."
She got up from where she was seated on the simple cot in the cell and walked over to where a skein of yarn sat next to a half-finished cream colored baby blanket. Next to it also sat the start to a baby blue blanket in the same pattern. Mitchell watched her sit down at the table and pick up the cream yarn, her fingers picking up the speed easily. Her light brown hair fell over her face like a veil as she bent her head down to watch her progress.
After about fifteen more minutes of watching the expectant mother create one of two baby blankets, Mitchell stood up and wordlessly walked out of the room. Behind the veil of her hair, Cassie lifted her eyes to watch him leave, her fingers never faltering as they looped the yarn over the hook and pulled it through, adding breadth and length to the blanket in her hands.
Once she was sure that Mitchell was gone, Cassie let the tears fall. She was trapped. Again. By people who professed to have nothing but her best interests at heart. She sniffled slightly as she lifted her head to look at the sole window in the room, placed high above her head and so far out of reach. She didn't even know where she was.
To be fair, Mitchell had been put in charge of her care, along with Dr. Lam, as a favor to General Jack O'Neill. The guards who were on duty were nothing but polite to her in their own MP sort of way. She was treated more as a guest under armed guard then a prisoner … but that didn't make the lack of freedom any easier to bear.
Cassie reached up to her right ear, the one that was facing away from the cameras, and felt for the inside of her ear. When her hand came in contact with the hard device that had been smuggled into her cell with the yarn and hooks she had in her lap. A slight bit of pressure on the metal switch attached to the small device made it turn on and the sound of voices filled her head.
"Cassie, you there?" Hardison asked through the link.
She glanced up at the security camera in the corner, knowing it was hooked up to audio as well. With a sideways glance toward the interference device that was ineffectually trying to block her natural mental abilities, Cassie reached inside her mind to the place where she could feel her abilities lurking. With a mental jab she found the telepathy and mentally whispered back, "Yeah, I'm here. Going insane, but I'm here."
"Cassie? It's Nate," said ringleader of her favorite band of thieves came on the line. "We have a plan to get you out of there. Just hold tight."
"Not much else I can do at the moment," Cassie rolled her eyes as she continued to crochet for the benefit of the cameras. This blanket was almost done.
"We know," Nate replied, sounding as supportive as he could from the outside world. He'd never been locked up like that before, so there was little he could say that would help. "We'll get you out soon. I promise, Cassie."
"I just want to know what's going on here," Cassie bemoaned for the umpteenth time. "Jack made sure I'm on a tight guard. The only people who've been to see me are the highest members of the SGC … and even then it's mostly been SG-1 and Dr. Lam. Dr. Lee has dropped by twice but I'm not too sure what that was about. Oh, and one visit from Colonel Maynard and General Landry." Audibly she sighed as she fastened off the end of the blanket and used brute force to break the yarn. They hadn't allowed her a pair of scissors or even a thread cutter.
After weaving in the ends of yarn at either end of the blanket, Cassie set down the now finished cloth and picked up the light blue one that was still in progress. She made fast work of finding the loop that marked her progress, inserted the hook and began to work on expanding the blanket.
"Cassie?" a different voice came on the line, causing her heart to beat just a little faster and her pupils to dilate slightly. "It's Eliot. Hang on. I'm coming for you."
She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath inward at the sound of his voice. "Please hurry, Eliot. I'm going bonkers in here." Absentmindedly she rubbed her protruding belly where she could feel two heartbeats, "I don't think the babies like it very much either."
"I know," Eliot replied, his voice gruff and confident. "I'm coming."
For a reason she couldn't quite name, Cassie believed him.
What Eliot didn't tell Cassie was that there was a very good reason why he was so adamant about knowing the danger she was in if she stayed in SGC custody much longer. He was also very adamant that it had to be him and his team that rescued her. Mostly him. His team was only involved because they had met Cassie and refused to let him do it alone.
"Look, man," Hardison had reasoned with him in the early days after Cassie had been taken by the SGC, "I helped build the software that their security runs off. I know Sam and I know how Sam works."
Eliot glared at the younger man, "What are you trying to say, Hardison? Spit it out."
Hardison smirked slightly as he pulled up some schematics on the main screens, "I found the back door."
The dreams had started the night after the docks and the showdown with Hera. Dreams of the most incredible things that made him think he was going mad.
First there was that woman – Ganos Lal – surrounded by a glowing light, whispering things into his mind that he forgot as soon as he awoke. He remembered her eyes, though. A sad, piercing brown gaze that made him want to weep with the beauty behind those eyes. Those eyes seemed to accuse and encourage him at the same time. Find Cassandra. Protect the offspring.
It was then that he started calling in markers and tracked her progress across the country. The stop in Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, North Dakota … the SGC took her in the most bizarre and roundabout route before finally settling her down in the middle of Utah. Now came the hard part for Eliot: the waiting and gathering information.
Then came the memories that seemed to assault him in his sleep about two weeks later. They were not memories of his own past, but rather ones that included Ganos Lal and a man she seemed to love quite openly and freely. Eliot could see it in the way she took his hand, the way she helped him with the project (what looked like a metal and stone box) that consumed his spare waking moments, the way she tilted back her head and laughed with him at a shared joke. Amelius.
Eliot didn't know how he had known the man's name, but he had, as surely as he had known his own.
The visits had started shortly after that. Sometimes it was Ganos, sometimes it was Amelius. They never came together, but they were urging him toward something important. Something to do with Cassie and her babies. It was like they were trying to tell him something but he just couldn't understand. There was something blocking his ability to see what was right in front of his face.
"There was a saying, here on Earth, a few centuries ago." Eliot turned around and fell immediately into a fighting stance. He hadn't heard or sensed any disturbance in his dwelling. No way someone had just snuck up behind him.
It was Amelius. At least, it would be if he had a corporeal form. As it was his form was only vaguely corporeal and was also surrounded by the same glowing white light that he had also seen surrounded Ganos Lal when she had visited Cassie.
"There was a saying," Amelius repeated, "You cannot see your reflection in running water."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Eliot groused at the man-thing in front of him.
Amelius rolled his eyes at the human, "You can only see your reflection when the water is still, lad. Still your mind and your heart and the answer will be apparent."
Eliot glared at the man for a moment more, not knowing whether to trust him or not but knowing there was very little choice in the matter. Amelius's shape moved closer to Eliot and the hitter could feel something like a warm calm begin to descend upon him, like how he had felt holding Cassie in his arms but without the tingling of other parts of his body. "Close your eyes, Eliot Spencer," the Ascended being commanded softly. Like a father explaining something to his young son.
Almost involuntarily Eliot's eyes closed and his breathing evened out into the rhythm he used for meditation. As soon as his mind stilled he began to be assaulted with images and information that seemed to fill his mind to the tipping point. The input of information started out slow: with the same story he had been seeing for the past two weeks of two people in love thousands of years ago.
His eyes shot open suddenly and Eliot's breathing increased dramatically as he stared in horror and shock at the man in front of him. He shook his head as he started to hyperventilate with the knowledge that he was processing. Amelius stood along and waited patiently while the man processed all the information that was flooding through his mind. Eliot dropped to his knees in shock, his hands coming up to cradle his head as he let out a wordless cry.
It was a long time –Eliot couldn't have told you how long – before Eliot was calm enough to speak again. He looked up at Amelius and shook his head, "No. That's … impossible. I'm from Earth. I'm human."
Amelius looked at him as one does a particularly obtuse student, "Come now, Eliot, did you never find it odd that in your line of work you were able to withstand so much? So many injuries that, while not fatal, would have left scars and damages to your body that you would not recover from." Amelius's gaze softened slightly as he added, "Your feet have not left your chosen path in nearly ten years, Eliot Spencer. While not impossible for a human who has chosen the way of the warrior, it is quite rare and extraordinary to do so without so much as a limp or a torn muscle or any number of other injuries that refused to heal properly."
Eliot could hear the truth in his words even as he fought against it. It was true that he'd always been exceptionally good at healing and simply not getting injured. But did that make him alien?
"You are not alien in the sense that you mean, lad," Amelius continued as if he could hear his thoughts. For all Eliot knew, he could. "Our people colonized this world millennia ago. Terra was one of our crowning glories, next to Atlantis and Celestis. If not for the plague, you would have been born here a thousand years ago. As the one you call Cassandra would have been."
Eliot shook his head again as he tried to wrap his mind around all the new information –most of which he had no idea what to do with or when/if it would ever be useful. Faster than light travel. Wormholes. Naquadah. Delta waves. The science behind the Stargate. Something called an ark of truth. What the hell did a "telchak" have to do with a healing … cube? What the hell was a telchak?
"Why tell me now? Why not before?" Eliot asked, the fear and confusion beginning to fade in the face of anger at the implications. "If you're my father … why wait 37 years to tell me?"
Amelius looked grave as he replied, "Oh, my boy, I've had to wait far longer than that."
"I don't like repeating myself," Eliot ground out as he stood to his full height again. "Tell me: why now?"
"The others are awakening now," Amelius told his son. If he hadn't been a part of the conversation, Eliot would have snorted at the absurdity of actually hearing that statement spoken aloud. "There were six of you placed in stasis. You and Cassandra are but two. Find the others. Find the others like you and you will find your answers."
Eliot had more questions but no time to ask them as Amelius looked up over his shoulder, as if he heard someone enter the room. "Your mother is calling me. She needs help to keep Adria contained," he said before floating away in a small ball of light.
The newly self-discovered Alteran watched the spot where the light had disappeared through the ceiling for a long while after it was gone. He came back to himself when he felt his cell phone ring. He picked it up where It lay on his coffee table only to realize that it didn't start to ring until his hand touched it.
The caller I.D. revealed it to be Hardison. He accepted the call, "What?"
"I found her."
Nimue came to visit her in her dreams each night to keep her company. She wouldn't risk appearing in front of the cameras that surrounding Cassie's cell, but the mind link they shared helped calm the sea of emotions inside her.
"Your mind is unlocking and awakening," Nimue told her one night in her dream. They were sitting on a hillside, overlooking one of the cities on Celestia before its destruction.
Cassie nodded and glanced at her, "I know. I can feel it. Why is it happening now, though? I don't know what it means."
"It means the start of something strange and powerful and terrible, Cassandra," Nimue replied vaguely. "It means the others are awakening."
"Others?" Cassie frowned, "You mean the other children that the Asgard took away from Nirrti." It wasn't a question, although Nimue did not in confirmation.
"Including the father of your children," her mother reminded her. She looked up into the breeze and smiled slightly, "I believe he had already awoken."
"Who is he?" Cassie asked, still as curious as ever.
"All in due time, my child. If you look for it too intently, you cannot see."
"I've heard that one before," Cassie turned back to the view of the planet she had never seen and likely never would visit in corporeal form. "All that bullshit about candlelight and fires and food."
"It's only … bullshit, as you say, if you do not take the time to still your mind before allowing the question to enter your mind."
"I don't understand you sometimes, Mother." Cassie shook her head, her hands falling to cradle her stomach where two innocent lives grew entwined.
"There is not just a generation separating us, my daughter, but a thousand years and a whole plain of existence as well," Nimue's apparition smiled softly. "Your children will grow strong and good. Their father will reveal himself when the time is right."
Cassie took comfort from those words even as she frowned, "What about the others? Where are they? Who are they?"
Nimue's smile turned sad as she replied, "I cannot tell you where or who. Only that you will know them when the time comes. Just as your mind has awoken to its true potential, so has theirs. When you see them, you will know."
"You said before that not all of them were on Earth. The Asgard spread them through the stars. How am I supposed to find them when the Stargate will activate the bomb inside me?"
Nimue moved closer to her daughter so that she could wrap her arms around her shoulders. "So many questions, Cassandra. Curiosity is the desire for knowledge and nothing is more dangerous than desire. Give it time and remember the lesson I have taught you: the hard and strong will fall –"
"But the soft and weak will overcome." Cassandra smiled slightly before resting her head on Nimue's shoulder, "Yes, Mother, I remember."
A/N: Until next time. Tata my loves!