Stargate Horizons


Daniel knocked lightly on Egeria's door.  She answered it a moment later.

"Hi," he said.  "Are you ready?"

"Almost.  Please come in.  I will be just a moment."

As Egeria went into the bathroom, Daniel wandered about.  He noticed an open box sitting on the dresser and took a peek inside.  The sight of a box of tampons and other things of that nature made him feel a little uncomfortable.  Then he saw something else.  He immediately recognized what it was: a birth control pill case.

Daniel walked away from the dresser, thinking about what those pills meant.  Three weeks ago, he did something that he hadn't done in over eight years: got a box of condoms.  At the time, he'd wondered how he was going to manage in the heat of passion to explain to Egeria what they were and the reason for wearing one.  Now, it looked like he wouldn't have to do so.  Egeria was obviously disease-free, and he was, too, so the only reason to wear a condom would have been to prevent pregnancy.

"I am ready."

Daniel turned to Egeria, smiling when he saw that she'd put her hair in a loose braid that draped over her right shoulder.

"You look beautiful," he told her.

Egeria smiled.  "Thank you."

When they arrived at General Hammond's house, the place was already packed with people.  One by one, they located Daniel's teammates.  Sam was in a lawn chair beside Janet, the two of them deep in conversation.  Teal'c appeared to be in a serious discussion with the leader of SG-18.  As for Jack, he was chatting with General Hammond, who was at the grill, cooking hamburger patties and hotdogs.

"Daniel!  Egeria!" the grey-haired colonel called.  "I was beginning to wonder when you guys were going to show up."

They walked up to him and the general.

"Yeah, there was an accident on the road into town," Daniel explained.  "We had to wait a while to get past it."

"I was quite alarmed by the level of damage to the vehicle," Egeria said.  "I did not realize that these automobiles you drive are so fragile."

"Well, that depends on the car you're driving," Jack told her.  "Some are sturdier than others.  That big SUV Daniel drives would fare a lot better in an accident than some little bitty compact.  But, yeah, I'm afraid that our automobiles aren't as sturdy as the, uh," he glanced about and lowered his voice, "vehicles you're used to."  He smiled.  "So, I bet you guys are hungry."

Since Egeria already knew what a hotdog tasted like, she decided to try a hamburger.  She topped it with every condiment available, plus lettuce and tomatoes.  Upon biting into it, she decided that, though she'd liked the hotdog, she liked hamburgers even better.

After they'd eaten, the couple mingled with the other guests.  Daniel found himself introducing Egeria to quite a few wives, all of whom were accustomed to seeing him at the various parties without a girlfriend.  In fact, more than one of them had tried to fix him up with a relative or friend in the past.

He failed to notice the unmarried women there who were not looking very pleased at the sight of his arm around Egeria's waist.  The former Tok'ra queen, however, did notice and gave each of them a look that quite clearly told them that Daniel was taken.  They all got the message . . . all except for one, that is.

Lorraine Drake, a sister of one of the marines stationed at the base, had been lusting after Doctor Daniel Jackson ever since she first saw him at the Fourth of July picnic three years ago.  She had tried more than once to woo him with her feminine wiles, but never had any luck.  Lorraine, however, was not a woman who gave up easily.  Once she set her sights on a man, she wouldn't rest until she'd gotten him into her bed.  She had firmly believed that it was only a matter of time before he gave into her charms.  The sight of the black-haired woman who never seemed to leave Daniel's side was a very unpleasant surprise.

Lorraine studied the woman like one would a competitor.  She couldn't deny that this girlfriend of Daniel's was very beautiful, especially her eyes, which were large and a striking green color.  There was an air of pride in the way that she held herself, her spine straight, her head high.  That told Lorraine that this was no shy, shrinking violet.  But then, she'd already guessed that by the look the woman focused upon her, a look that said in no uncertain terms, "He's mine."

Lorraine smiled slightly.  'Well, we'll just have to see about that.'

The redhead's opportunity came around an hour later.  Egeria was dragged off by Sam to chat with some of the other women, leaving Daniel alone.  Lorraine wasted no time in approaching him.

"Daniel!  How wonderful to see you."

The archeologist sighed internally.  He'd really been hoping that he wouldn't have to deal with her this time.

"Hello, Lorraine."

"So, how are you doing?  It's been ages since I've seen you."

"Yeah.  I was . . . out of the country for a while."

"Oh?  When did you get back?"

"Not all that long ago, a few months."

Lorraine put on her most dazzling smile.  "I'd love to hear more about it.  Perhaps we can find someplace quieter and chat."

Daniel sighed again, this time audibly.  "Um, look, Lorraine.  I have a girlfriend, so. . . ."

Lorraine feigned surprise.  "Oh, really?  How long have you been dating?"

Daniel paused.  "Almost a month," he replied, which was the amount of time that had passed since Egeria's consciousness was transferred into her present body.  It wasn't the truth, but there was no way that he was going to tell this woman that he and Egeria hadn't managed to go on a date yet.

"Oh, then she's a new girlfriend."  Lorraine was smiling on the inside.  If they'd been dating for less than a month, then it was doubtful that it was really serious yet.

"I suppose you could say that."

Lorraine gave him another smile.  "Well, I see no harm in us having a little chat, Daniel.  Surely your girlfriend wouldn't mind."

Before Daniel could answer, Egeria was suddenly there, green eyes boring a hole into Lorraine.  She'd seen the conversation going on and could tell by Daniel's demeanor that he was uncomfortable.  She had no doubt as to the reason why.  When Egeria saw this woman earlier, the look on her face as she stared at Daniel told the former Tok'ra everything she needed to know about the redhead.

Egeria wrapped her arm around Daniel's waist and smiled up at him.  "Would you like to introduce me, Daniel?"

With a smile of relief, the archeologist did so gladly.  "Egeria, this is Lorraine Drake.  She's Captain Drake's sister."

"Egeria.  That's an unusual name," Lorraine said, most definitely not smiling.

"It's from Roman mythology," Daniel told her.

Egeria focused her gaze back on him.  "Samantha, Doctor Fraiser and I were about to go inside and begin cutting and serving the desserts.  Would you like to come help us?"

Jumping at the chance to get away from Lorraine, Daniel replied, "Sure."

Not yet ready to admit defeat, Lorraine said, "I'll be happy to come help as well."

Egeria turned and stared at her, a stare that would probably have sent most men running for their lives.  "Thank you, but I believe that the four of us will be quite enough.  We would not want it to be too crowded in the kitchen, now would we."

Lorraine Drake had tangled with a lot of women over the years while in pursuit of their boyfriends, so she was no stranger to this kind of warfare, but something in the eyes of this opponent told her that this was not a woman it would be wise to mess with . . . not if she wanted to remain healthy.

With a lift of her chin and a look that was clearly a dismissal of the other woman, Egeria turned back to the man at her side.  "Shall we go?  I am eager to see if any of the desserts have chocolate."

As they walked away from Lorraine, Daniel leaned in closer to Egeria.  "Thanks for rescuing me."

"You are quite welcome."

It turned out that two of the desserts brought to the picnic were made with chocolate, and Egeria took half a piece of each of them.  Daniel, on the other hand, had selected a piece of banana cream pie, knowing that it had been made by Mrs. Seinfeld, whose baking talents were legendary at the SGC parties.

Scooping up a mouthful, he held it up to Egeria's lips with a grin.  "Open up."  She complied, her eyes widening with pleasure upon tasting the bite.

"Oh, that is wonderful!" she exclaimed.

"Yeah.  Mrs. Seinfeld could probably open a bakery and make a fortune.  I don't know how her husband manages to stay as thin as he is."

Just then, Daniel noticed Lorraine staring at them from a few yards away.  A spark of mischief lit within him.

"So, how are your desserts?" he asked Egeria as she took a bite of one of the things on her plate.

"They are both very good," she replied after she'd finished chewing.  "Would you like a taste?"

"Love to."

Daniel's method of getting a taste was to pull Egeria's mouth to his in a deep kiss, which she quite eagerly returned.

"Mmm.  Yummy," he said as they broke apart.  He glanced over at Lorraine just in time to see her turn on her heels and walk away, her back stiff.

Lorraine was not the only one who witnessed the kiss.  Sam was presently staring at the couple a little wide-eyed.

"Oh, my," said the woman standing beside her.  "That was certainly more than just a friendly smooch, wasn't it."

Sam glanced at Janet.  "Ohhh, yeah.  I know for a fact that they haven't had a chance to go on a date yet."

Janet began to smile.  "Something tells me that a few steps are going to be skipped over in this particular courtship."

Sam was now smiling as well.  "As Colonel O'Neill would probably say, 'Ya think?'"

Jack had been inside at the time, so he didn't witness the kiss.  Lou Ferretti, however, did see it and took it upon himself to discuss it with the colonel.

"So, did you see that whopper of a kiss that Daniel laid on Egeria?" he asked.

"Uhhh, no, I guess I missed that."

"I never knew he had it in him.  I always pegged Daniel as the kind of guy who wasn't into PDA of that magnitude.  Yeah, there was that kiss between him and Sha're, but she was the one who initiated it.  Then again, he's changed a lot over the years.  He's not that same long-haired geek we met over eight years ago."

"No, he's not."

"So, I guess this confirms the rumor that there's something going on between those two.  Well, good for him.  It's about time that he found himself a girl, even if she was once a," he glanced about to see if anyone was within hearing distance, "a Goa'uld."  Ferretti studied Jack's expression.  "You don't have a problem with it, do you?"

"No, I'm fine with it.  Yeah, she did use to be a Goa'uld, but she is so not like them now.  She's not like most of the Tok'ra either.  I like her.  I can't say the same for most of them."

"From what I heard, she turned down the job of being the Tok'ra's queen again so that she could stay here with Daniel."

"Yes, and, as far as I'm concerned, that proves how smart she is.  Sure, they live a couple thousand years or so, but she'd have spent a lot of that time pregnant, giving birth or teaching a bunch of baby snakes the same things over and over again.  Given a choice between that and living fifty or sixty years enjoying life as a human, which would you pick?"

"Putting it that way, I'd definitely take the latter."

"That's what I'm sayin'.  Smart lady."

It was around half an hour later that the "smart lady" wandered over to where Jack was lounging in a chair.

"So, how are you enjoying your first Fourth of July picnic?" he asked.

"I am enjoying it very much."  She gestured at the empty chair beside him.  "May I?"


Egeria took a seat.

"Yep, we do put on some pretty good shindigs."  Jack looked about at all the people, his eyes coming to rest on Daniel, who was chatting with a member of his staff.  "This particular Independence Day picnic is a bit more special than normal, but the really special celebration is coming up in four days."

"Oh?  What occasion does that one commemorate?"

"Daniel's birthday."

Egeria smiled.  "It is Daniel's birthday in four days?"

"Yeah.  It's kind of an extra special one for all of us.  You know about what happened to Daniel last year, don't you?  The . . . accident and what went on afterwards?"


"Well, he wasn't with us that year for his birthday, or the Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or any other holiday or celebration.  So, for me, Carter and Teal'c, those things are kind of special this year because we have him back."

"Are you going to have a party for his birthday?"

Jack filled her in on what the plans were.  Upon learning some things from Egeria, however, he decided to make a few changes.

By 4:30, all the guests were gone, except for those who'd stayed to help clean up, which included SG-1, Janet and Egeria.

"So, who's going to go watch the fireworks tonight?" Jack asked.

"Me," Sam replied.

"I will be attending again as well," Teal'c stated.

"I would, but I want to go to the hospital and check on Sergeant Reeves," Janet said, referring to an SG team member who'd been in a serious car accident a few days ago.  "I'm hoping that he will be well enough to transfer to the infirmary tomorrow."

Jack turned to Daniel and the woman beside him.  "Daniel, I would assume that you're not going to deny Egeria the fun of seeing her very first fireworks."

"No, we'll be there."

SG-1 and Egeria arrived early to find a good spot from where to watch the fireworks.  As they waited for the show to begin, they chatted.  Jack insisted, not for the first time, that they all needed to come to his cabin for a relaxing few days fishing and hanging out.

"Yes, fishing in a pond that has no fish," Daniel responded.

Egeria frowned in puzzlement.  "Why would you expend time and energy fishing in a body of water that you know has no fish?"

"Whether or not there's fish isn't the point," Jack declared.  "It's about the act of fishing, having your line in the water as you relax with a beer or two, nothing much on your mind."

Egeria stared at him.  "Forgive me, Colonel O'Neill, but the purpose of fishing is to catch food to be eaten or to be sold to others who will eat it."

"Ah, but you see, Egeria, you're talking about real fishing," Daniel explained, "as it was in the majority of Earth's history.  Jack's fishing is really just a form of recreation.  It has nothing to do with feeding anyone."

"Hey, I resent that," Jack said.  "What about sport fishing?  It's a fully recognized and accepted sport, and the guys who do it mainly do it for the fun and the challenge.  I see nothing wrong in that."

"Uh huh, but the point is that they're catching something, now isn't it."

Jack frowned severely.  "Well, fine.  If you don't want to fish, then you don't have to.  I'll have the pond all to myself, then."

"Sir, why don't you just stock the pond with fish?" Sam asked.

"Too much hassle."

More than one person present wondered if the real reason was that, if there were no fish, Jack's ego wouldn't be bruised if he failed to catch anything.

The conversation moved onto other things, ending when the announcement was made that the fireworks would begin in a moment.

Daniel took Egeria's hand and smiled at her, telling her to keep her eyes on the sky.  And then the first fireworks were launched, exploding in the air with a spectacular, multicolored display.  Egeria gasped, her eyes widening in delight.

As the show continued, Daniel spent quite a bit if his time watching Egeria, enjoying the childlike look on the face of a four-thousand-year-old woman who must have seen many amazing things in her life.  When you stopped to think about what she once was, it was really incredible that she found joy in such things as swinging on a swing, or playing air hockey, or watching fireworks.  It was one of the things that made her so unique and special among her species.

By the time the show's big finish arrived, Egeria was smiling broadly.  As the last fireworks went off and everyone started clapping, she was clapping right along with them.

"So, how'd you like it?" Daniel asked, already knowing the answer.

"It was wonderful!  You have this every year on this day?"


"Then we must come see it every year."

Daniel laughed.  "We'll do that."

SG-1 and Egeria made their way to the parking lot.

"Daniel Jackson, I would be quite willing to take Egeria back to the base so that you could retire to your home," Teal'c said.

Daniel looked at Egeria.  "Would that be okay?  I haven't been home in over two weeks, so I've probably got a ton of messages on my answering machine and a pile of mail that I'm going to have to pick up from the post office in the morning."

"Certainly, Daniel.  I will be happy to accompany Teal'c."  She gave him a kiss.  "I will see you in the morning."  She gave no hint that her hope had been that this would be the night they made love.

As she went with Teal'c to the car he had borrowed from one of the on-duty personnel, an idea suddenly came to her.  The more she thought about it, the more she liked it.  A smile curved her lips as she came to the decision that her Daniel would be receiving an extra special birthday present this year.

Egeria came to Daniel's office the next morning while he was in the midst of a translation.

She gave him a brief kiss.  "Good morning.  I must say that I am a little displeased with you," she told him, though the look in her eyes conveyed that her displeasure was mild at best.

"Oh, and what did I do to displease you?" Daniel asked with a slight smile.

"You did not tell me that your birthday is on Tuesday."

"Oh.  I would have told you before then."

"But you have not left me much time to buy you a birthday present."

"Egeria, you don't have to buy me a present.  Just having you here is the best present I could get."

That statement made Egeria's heart swell.  She gave him another kiss, this one much longer than the last.

"It brings me joy that you feel that way, Daniel," she said.  "However, I still wish to buy you a present.  Samantha has agreed to take me shopping tonight to find one.  I will then be . . . sleeping over at her home."

Daniel smiled.  "Sleeping over, huh?  I can see it now, you two pigging out on chocolate ice cream as you watch chick flicks on TV."

Egeria gave him a puzzled frown.  "Chick flicks?"

"Movies made mostly for female audiences."

"Ah.  I do not know what Samantha has planned for the evening . . . although chocolate ice cream sounds very good.  From what I have been told, there will likely be some kind of celebration on your birthday.  It would be lovely if we could have our date that evening, but I should imagine that would not be possible."

"I don't know what Jack and the others have planned, but, yes, you're right that a date that day probably wouldn't be possible."

"Then what of the next day?"  She gave him a sexy smile.  "We could celebrate your birthday a second time, just the two of us."

Daniel liked that idea very much and told her so.

"Good.  Then that is what we will do."

As Egeria left, the thought went through Daniel's mind that he couldn't wait for the ninth of July to arrive.

On the morning of July 8, a knock came on the door of Daniel's house.  He opened it to find Egeria and his teammates on the porch.

"What are you guys doing here?" he asked.  "Shouldn't you be going off to work?"

"Nope, and neither are you," Jack answered.  "We all have the day off, courtesy of General Hammond.  We are all taking you out to have fun on your birthday.  So, get your wallet and whatever else you need, and let's get going."

Taken by surprise, Daniel just stood there for a couple of seconds.  Then, deciding to just go with the flow and accept whatever plans his teammates had for his birthday, he got his wallet, cell phone and keys.

When they got on the highway that would take them to Denver, Daniel really started wondering where they were going.  When he found out, he couldn't have been more pleased.  A special Egyptian art exhibit had been showing at the Denver Art Museum that he'd been dying to see, but there had been no opportunity to go.

"I see by the smile on your face that you're happy with these birthday plans," Jack remarked.

"Yes, I am.  Thanks, Jack.  I know that art museums aren't exactly your cup of tea."

"Well, this is your birthday, not mine.  However, when it is my birthday, I expect you to reciprocate accordingly."


Daniel was not the only one who enjoyed the hours at the museum.  Egeria loved it just as much, especially watching Daniel go into teacher mode in the Egyptian exhibit and talk about the history and culture behind the pieces of art.  Sam and Teal'c enjoyed themselves as well.  As for Jack, he hadn't really expected to have fun, but he tried his very best not to get bored.  Seeing the big smile on his best friend's face helped.  It was good to see Daniel truly happy.  It was a sight that Jack hadn't seen in a very long time.  He knew that the reason for that happiness was the woman who seldom left his side.  They all had a lot to thank Egeria for, but, on a personal level, this was the thing that made Jack feel the most gratitude.

After leaving the museum, they went to the Boondocks Fun Center, a last minute change in plans made by Jack when he found out how much fun Egeria and Daniel had at the arcade in Colorado Springs.

On the bumper boats, Egeria and the four members of SG-1 got into an all-out war against each other and anyone else who was unfortunate enough to get in the way, firing the water guns mercilessly.  Every one of them was sopping went by the time they got off.  Then came the go-karts.  Egeria was weaving all over the place until she got the hang of steering, then she was trying her level best to beat Daniel in a race.  She didn't succeed, but she had fun trying.

After that, they decided to go for something more sedate and played a round of miniature golf.  By the time they were through the course, their clothes were dry, so they went inside, where Jack immediately headed for the laser tag arena.  He discovered to his great surprise that Egeria was a pretty decent shot.  She explained afterwards that she spent a lot of time practicing shooting both the zat guns and staff weapons before her fateful trip to Earth.

They did a couple more things there, then decided that, because of the long drive home, they'd better call it a day.  They got some dinner, then headed on home, the members of SG-1 promising Egeria that they'd go back someday.

"We're going to have to take you to the Lakeside Amusement Park, too," Jack said.  "Just wait until you have your first roller coaster ride."

"Roller coaster?"

"Oh, yeah."

Outside Daniel's house, the archeologist thanked everyone for the wonderful birthday.

"Ah, it's not over yet," Jack responded.

Sam went over to her car, which she'd left there, and pulled out two big bags.  Grinning, she came back to the others.

"Your presents," she said.

They went inside and sat in the living room as Daniel unwrapped his gifts.  He started with the gifts that were from others at the SGC, then moved on to those from his teammates.  Each one of their gifts showed how much thought they had put into what to get him.  It touched him deeply that they put so much effort into making this birthday a special and happy one.

The last present he unwrapped was the one from Egeria.  He was puzzled when he opened the box and found nothing inside except a card and a small piece of black lace.  The puzzlement ended when he read the card.

Just a little preview, my Daniel.
Your Egeria

Daniel's heart rate instantly went up a notch at the thought of seeing the item of clothing to which that black lace belonged.

"What does it say?" Jack asked.

Daniel put the card and lace back in the box and closed the lid.  "Something that would take torture with painsticks for me to tell you," he replied.

Jack didn't push.  He had a good idea what the subject of that card was.

"Well, it's getting late, and tomorrow is a workday, so I suppose we should toddle off," he said.

"You can stay at my place again, if you'd like, Egeria," Sam suggested.  "Then we can go to work together in the morning."

"Thank you, Samantha.  That will be appreciated."

Daniel walked with his friends out to their cars.  Jack would be taking Teal'c back to the base.

"Thanks again, guys," Daniel said.  "This was a great birthday."

"We're just so glad that you're back with us, Daniel," Sam told him, giving him a hug.  "This day last year was really sad for us, so we wanted to make it fun this year."

Egeria gave him a kiss before getting in Sam's car.  He watched the silver Volvo and Jack's jeep drive off, then he went inside.

It being a little too early for bed, Daniel spent the next forty minutes reading one of his archeology magazines in an effort to get his mind off that little piece of black lace and what tomorrow night was going to bring.  He then headed off to the bedroom to get dressed for bed.  He'd gotten his shoes, socks, shirt and belt off when he thought he heard a noise coming from the living room.  Cautiously, he left the bedroom.  He was a few steps into the living room when he saw the source of the noise – and what that source was wearing.

The dress was the color of red wine and shimmered like silk.  It molded to Egeria's body like someone had sprayed it on her.  The neckline plunged low, revealing a generous amount of cleavage, and the slit skirt ended well above the knees.

Daniel couldn't breathe.  He was also finding himself incapable of taking his eyes off Egeria's body, his gaze sliding all the way down to the black, stiletto-healed shoes.

Finally managing to kick-start his respiration, he dragged his eyes up to Egeria's face to find that she was staring at him with wide eyes.

When the former queen of the Tok'ra had come up with her plan to put on the red dress and come to Daniel's place tonight, she had expected him to be the one whose respiration would be affected.  But then, she had not anticipated that he would appear before her half-naked.

Egeria filled her gaze with the sight before her, going from his neck all the way down to where his pants rode low on his hips.  In three years, Daniel's body had changed, and it had most definitely done so for the better.  The shoulders appeared broader, the chest and arms stronger and more well defined, the abdomen more toned.  This was not the body of a scholar but of a warrior, and looking at it filled Egeria with overpowering desire.

Daniel stood rooted to the spot as Egeria's gaze slowly traveled over him, the pupils dilating, eyes darkening with intense desire.  His body immediately reacted, his heart beating faster, respiration growing more shallow, arousal stirring forcefully within him.

At last, Egeria's eyes rose to his.  And then a very sultry smile curved her lips.  She slowly advanced toward him, hips swaying invitingly.

"Are you ready to unwrap your present, my Daniel?" she purred.

Click here to go to version with milder sexual content

His answer was to cross the distance between them, pull her hard against him, and consume her mouth in a kiss of voracious hunger, which Egeria returned with equal fervor, the raw passion inside them demanding that it finally be appeased.

Within moments, Egeria's legs were around Daniel's waist, her back up against a wall.  His lips left hers to cover her neck with open-mouthed kisses as her hands slid over his naked upper body.  When one of those hands found their way underneath the back of his pants and boxers, it drove a gasp from his throat.

Daniel pushed away from the wall and made his way to the bedroom to fall upon the bed with Egeria beneath him.  They returned to each other's mouths, tongues mating again and again.  Never taking his mouth from hers, Daniel managed to lower the zipper of her dress, and, between the two of them, they pulled it down to reveal her breasts covered in a lacy black bra, a match to the piece of material in the box.  Not wasting time searching for where the piece came from, Daniel lowered his lips to the soft mounds, kissing his way down to the valley between them.  Finding the front catch, he flicked it open and pushed the material aside.  His mouth traveled to the underside of her right breast, licking and nipping lightly at the tender skin.

Daniel's attention to Egeria's breasts was driving her crazy.  In a silent demand for more, she guided his head up to the waiting peak, arching her back to brush it across his lips.  Unable to resist, Daniel opened his mouth and wrapped it around her, wrenching a low moan from Egeria's lips.  She clutched at his hair, pushing him down a little harder.  Understanding what she wanted, Daniel took still more of her in, increased the force of his suckling.

The sensations of making love with Egeria were filling Daniel with rapture, not just in his body but in his heart as well, something he had not felt in such a very long time.  He pulled her bra off as his lips found her other breast, nipping, licking and suckling upon it until he had Egeria almost out of her mind with need.  She frantically unfastened his pants and pushed them and his boxers down.  The skirt of her dress, which was now bunched around her hips, was no impediment to feeling his hardened length right where she wanted him to be, the only thing separating them being the thin material of her panties.  She grasped his bare hips and thrust upward, driving a deep groan from his throat.

With desperate hands, Daniel got her dress all the way off, then grasped the material of her underpants and yanked them down, Egeria lifting her hips to help get them off.  They fell to the floor, followed by Daniel's pants and boxers.

Fully naked at last, Daniel and Egeria ran their hands over each other's bodies, driving their passion to a fever pitch.  Daniel's fingers found their way to her opening.  It was at that moment that it quite forcefully hit him that, in this body, Egeria was a virgin.  That realization tempered his passion with tenderness.  The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her.

With that thought in mind, Daniel gently began to stretch her with his fingers, preparing her for the moment that he'd replace them with the part of him that ached to be inside her.  Two fingers became three, pushing deeper into her with each stroke.

Immersed in the sensation of Daniel making love to her with his hand, Egeria began to feel her body rising toward culmination.  But this was not what she wanted.  She wanted to reach that peak with his body joined with hers.

Unable to wait a moment longer, she moaned, "Come inside me."

Withdrawing his fingers, Daniel caught her eyes for a long, intense moment.  Then he positioned himself and began to slowly, gently push into her.  There was a brief moment of pain for Egeria as he made it past the barrier, and then there was only pleasure for both of them, each inch of penetration more exquisite than the last.  At last, he was seated fully inside her.  A little tremor passed through both of them, lungs rising and falling with quick, panting breaths as the sensation of their union washed through them.

Again, Daniel caught Egeria's eyes, asking silently if she was okay.  In the green depth he saw that she was.  Slowly, he withdrew, then slid back in, the incredible feeling filling his whole body with ever-growing ecstasy.  Each stroke into Egeria became a little stronger, a little deeper.  He was fighting not to lose control, to make love to her slowly this first time for her sake, but it soon became apparent that it was a losing battle.  It felt too good, his passion too powerful to keep up the slow pace.

Egeria was ablaze with the rapture of their lovemaking, all pain now completely gone.  She wanted him to lose control, to take them flying over the edge in a wild free fall of passion.  The hand she had in his hair tightened, the other one going to his buttocks to push him even harder against her.

That proved to be too much for Daniel's control.  With a low groan, he began thrusting into Egeria hard and deep, the fire inside consuming him as he hurled full speed toward climax.  And then, suddenly, Egeria was coming, a little scream rising from her throat as her orgasm exploded through her.  A cry on his lips, Daniel came with her.

As the stunning power of their climaxes faded into the sweet, blissful afterglow, the lovers lay still, soaking in the wonderful feeling.  At last, Daniel lifted his head and met Egeria's eyes.  She cupped his cheek with her hand and softly said, "My Daniel."

Thinking about those words, Daniel knew that it was true.  He was hers, heart, body and soul.  And it was time that he told her.  He maneuvered onto his side, drawing her close once he'd pulled the covers over them.  He then rose up on one elbow and gazed down at her.

"Do you recall what I told you when you confessed that you loved me?" he asked.

"I remember every word you ever spoke to me, Daniel.  Every word."

"I told you that, if I'd met you later in my life, I might have fallen in love with you."  Daniel brushed the backs of his fingers over her cheek.  "I was right."

Realizing what he was saying, Egeria felt the most encompassing joy she'd ever experienced fill her soul.  Tears flooded her eyes and fell down her face as she pulled Daniel's lips to hers in a deep kiss.

"I love you, Daniel," she murmured, "so very, very much."

"I love you," he whispered back to her, making her cry even harder.  He covered her face in soft kisses, tasting the salty wetness.  He then brushed the tears away with his fingers as he smiled into her eyes.

Egeria drew his head down to lie on the pillow next to hers.  She pulled his body closer.

"When you told me that you were ready to love again and showed me that I was the one you had chosen, I wanted to believe that I already had that love," she said, "but I have wanted it for so long that I was afraid to believe that it was finally mine.  But I realize now that I should not have been afraid, and I should have known that you had already given your love to me.  It was there in every kiss you gave me, every touch of your hands."  She looked into his eyes and saw it shining there, clear and strong.  She knew that, no matter what, she would always see it there.

Laying her head on Daniel's shoulder, Egeria sighed in absolute bliss and closed her eyes.  After several minutes of contented silence, Daniel felt her body relax as she slipped into sleep.  With a happy smile, Daniel closed his own eyes.  The last thought that drifted through his mind before sleep took him was that, if heaven did exist in some form, he had a feeling that Sha're was looking down on them and smiling.

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