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Blood Bonds

By: Memet

Spoilers:  Mid season three of Buffy – Faith is around and Angel has returned and its just before the ‘Bad Girls’ episode. Indeterminate time in Stargate SG1 but around third or fourth season thereabouts

Summary:  Joyce dies (naturally) and Buffy’s dad returns to hear the reading of the will.  But just what has Joyce written down in her will and how will it affect Buffy’s life.

Disclaimer:  I don’t own any of the Buffy or Stargate characters ::sobs:: I just enjoy jerking them around .  So don’t sue me – all I own is my cat (and she thinks she’s my master)

Rating: PG13

Prologue

It was a normal day for Buffy Summers; get up, go to school, kill the undead, come home.  Of course, when she gets home she’ll have to battle yet again.  Only this time it was with her mom.

Ever since learning her daughter was a slayer, Joyce had been determined to have her daughter graduate high school and go to collage.  Buffy wasn’t so sure anymore.  Ever since becoming a slayer, Buffy had been fighting her destiny.  There was nothing more she wanted than to be a normal teenager.

But she was beginning to wonder what the point was.  Maybe Faith had the right idea; go with the flow and enjoy being the freedom that comes with being the slayer.

 

Her relationships with everyone had been strained lately.  Willow was resentful because of the time she was spending with Faith; Xander acted weird at the very mention of the dark slayer’s name; and her relationship with Giles still hadn’t recovered from finding out about Angel.

Then there was Angel.

Buffy knew they had no future together, but they seemed to be caught in this vicious cycle.  She knew one of them would have to leave for them to break it. 

Which brought her back to her mother.  Buffy sighed, waiting outside her own door.  The blond was tempted to climb the tree to her bedroom and avoid the nightly drama. 

She entered the house and called, “Mom!  I’m home!”

There was no answer. 

Buffy, puzzled, looked outside and saw her mom’s jeep parked in the driveway.  She closed the door and looked in the kitchen only to find it empty.  Becoming nervous she called out again -- still no answer.

She walked up the stairs and her heart began to pound in her ears.  The slayer slowly opened her mom’s door, more frightened then she had ever been in her life; including when she had gone to face the master. 

Her mom was lying on the bed, looking peaceful.  Anyone else would have assumed that she was merely sleeping.  But Buffy was the Slayer, and knew death when she saw it.

A single tear slid down her cheek.

“Mom?”

Chapter 1 – Last Testament

Mr. Hank Summers was not happy to be in Sunnydale.  He was currently in the middle of a big case and he didn’t need to waste valuable time helping to arrange his ex-wife’s affairs.  Now he was expected to take care of his daughter – who had stopped talking to him a long time ago.  He had enough to deal with as it was.

Hank arrived at the lawyer’s office, finding his daughter already there.  Along with another man, who Hank had a dim recollection of; what was he doing accompanying his daughter to Joyce’s reading?

“Ah, Mr. Summers, I’m sorry to be meeting you understand these circumstances,” said the lawyer.

“I thought the reading of the will is for family members only,” Hank snapped, glaring at the other man, who had rested a hand on Buffy’s shoulder when Hank had entered the room.

“Ah, yes, well, Mr. Giles is mentioned in the will so his presence is valid.  All we need to do is wait for Mr. O’Neill.”

The men in the room looked at the lawyer in confusion – but Buffy’s head shot up in recognition.

“What?  He’s in mom’s will?” she asked in astonishment.  Hank looked at his daughter intently.  When they were living in Los Angeles , Joyce had no friends with the last name O’Neill.  He was about to ask her when the door opened.

A man in his forties walked in; he was tall with short greying hair and a military bearing.  The man appeared confused to be here.

“Hi, I’m Jack O’Neill, I received a call from this office…”

“Welcome, Mr. O’Neill.  Now that everyone is here, I will begin with the reading of Joyce Summers’ last will and testament.”

“I, Joyce Summers, being of sound mind and body do declare that this is my last will and testament and my wishes regarding the arrangement of my affairs.  I leave my gallery to my daughter, Buffy Summers, under the management of Rupert Giles until such time that she is eighteen.  I also leave the house to my daughter, under the supervision of her guardian.”

“I thought long and hard over who should take care of Buffy, when I am gone.  Even though my ex-husband, Hank Summers, has been her father for many years – I believe that placing her in his custody would not be in her best interest.  Therefore, I declare that Jonathon O’Neill, her biological father, be given custody of our daughter, Buffy Summers.  If he feels that he is unable to handle the responsibility the guardianship passes to Rupert Giles.”

“My greatest wish is for Buffy to be well taken care of.”

Silence filled the office as the occupants digested the news.  Hank was stunned but as that wore off he only felt relief.  He turned to his daughter, no…Buffy, and saw that it had been a long time since she had been his daughter.  Without saying a word – he left.

Jack O’Neill remained stunned.  It had been a long time since he had last heard the name Joyce Stanton -- seventeen years judging by Buffy’s appearance.  Though they had cared for each other, he and Joyce hadn’t had a serious relationship.  They had both married after their break-up and hadn’t spoken to each other since.

Hadn’t spoken of their daughter.

The lawyer handed Jack Buffy’s birth certificate – and there under ‘father of child’ was his name.  For the first time since entering the office, Buffy spoke.

“When I was born, mom had da…Hank take a paternity test.  It came up negative – she said the only other man she had been with was you.  If you want, we can have a paternity test done to make sure.”

Jack O’Neill was stunned by the calm acceptance of …his daughter.  Her mother had just died, and she found out she would be placed under the care of a complete stranger; a stranger that was her unknown biological father.  A surge of pride filled him.

“No, Joyce wouldn’t fake something like this.  She was a good woman.”

A ghost of a smile graced the blond’s face.

“Yeah, she was.”

Giles cleared his throat. 

“Buffy, you’ve had a long day perhaps you should go home and rest.  I’m sure Faith can help you with your…homework.”

Jack looked at Giles curiously, noting the strange pause before finishing his statement.  It was obvious that Buffy looked up to the man, though the colonel was unclear whom he was, though Joyce apparently had trusted him.  Buffy saw his glance.

“This is my librarian, Rupert Giles – but I just call him Giles.  He’s become like a mentor to me and my friends.  Giles, this is Jack O’Neill.”

The two men shook hands, each wary of the other.  The three left the building and stopped on the sidewalk.  Buffy turned to Giles. 

“Giles, could you head off without me.  I want to talk to Jack for a little bit.”      

Giles hesitated and looked at Jack, who nodded.  Giles sighed.

“Very well, but give me a call when you return home.  And no extracurricular activities,” he said sternly.

“Yes, sir,” Buffy gibed, and saluted.  That brought a grin to both of the men’s faces. 

Giles headed off in his joke that he called a car.  Jack and Buffy began to walk slowly towards her house.  For several minutes they walked in silence, each sneaking glances at the other.  Finally, Jack broke the silence.

“You didn’t seem all that surprised.  You know, about this whole ‘dad’ thing.”

Buffy regarded Jack for a moment.

“I found out when I was twelve.  I was looking through my mom’s things when I found my birth certificate.  So I asked her.”

Buffy shrugged and fell silent again.

“So you never tried to find me?” Jack asked, not looking Buffy in the eye.  He wasn’t sure why he cared, but he did.

“I…did actually.  But I didn’t think it was the right time.”

Jack was about to ask why when he did the math in his head.  It would have been around the time Charlie died.  Buffy could tell by the look on Jack’s face that he realized what she meant.

“I went to the funeral.  My…brother looked like a good guy.  I didn’t think you’d want to meet me after…that  – and then things happened in my life so…” Buffy trailed off, unsure of what else to say.

“So…” Jack started, “do you want to get to know me now?”

Buffy looked up in complete surprise – it really hadn’t occurred to her that Jack would want to take her in.  Anger rose in Jack, realizing that his daughter hadn’t been getting any affection from her ‘father’. 

“You’d really want to?  There was this thing at Hemery and I honestly didn’t mean to burn down the gym, and those murder charges were totally unfounded and I ran away but for a very good reason, though I probably shouldn’t have,” Buffy babbled.  Jack smiled – it sort of reminded him of space monkey when he got going.

Buffy grin fell.

“But…I can’t leave Sunnydale.”

“Why not?  You can still talk with your friends and visit.  And you’d love Colorado , and the daughter of a friend of mine would be going to school with you.  And I could buy you shoes,” O’Neill bargained with a grin, realizing from experience with Cassie that this was a bargain clincher.

His daughter gave him a full smile and he was stunned by just how beautiful it was.

This is my daughter , he thought with pride.

Buffy thought about her dad’s offer.  He seemed like a good guy, but she couldn’t leave Sunnydale.

Faith could always take over here on the hellmouth, after all, I did it by myself for a year.  It’s not like vampires only appear on the hellmouth.

Buffy shook off her thoughts told her father she would think about his offer and headed home.  She gave Giles and call and curled up in her mother’s bed. 

She began to dream.

Buffy watched the dream unfold through the eyes of one of her predecessors.

The Slayer stood in front of a large stone circle that at the centre appeared to ripple as if filled with water.  The ripples vanished and in its place a red stone hung suspended.  The Slayer bowed to the stone.

The scene changed and there were bodies everywhere, the Slayer lay dying as a being with glowing eyes approached her.  On his hand was a device that held the stone at its centre. 

Again the images changed and Buffy saw her father standing in front of the stone circle.  From his mouth came the words, “Honour our treaty, child of the Slayer line, and together the Slayer and the Blood of the Universe can drive evil from the stars” and his eyes glowed red.

Buffy woke in a cold sweat.  Outside the sun was shining and looking at the clock the slayer realized she had slept until noon .  The dream replayed in her mind.

She reached for her phone and dialled her dad’s cell.

“Hey, um…dad…I thought about what you said and the answer is yes.”

“I want to go and live with you.”

Chapter 2 -- Goodbyes

The Scoobies stared at Buffy in shock.

“Buffster, I’m sorry, I thought you said you were leaving Sunnydale for Colorado ,” Xander said in shock.

The slayer just nodded her head as she watched her friends deal with her announcement.  She had meant to let them know in the nicest, and gentlest way possible.  She had a whole speech prepared but when they started to stare at her, waiting for her announcement, “I’m leaving for Colorado today,” kind of slipped out.

Giles looked at her with concern.  He was aware that Buffy was going through a difficult time.  Not only had her mother died, but she had lost one father and gained another from out of nowhere.  But he had never thought she would decide to move away – let alone today! 

Buffy took a deep breath.

“I had a Slayer dream last night, and I think I have to go with my dad.”

Buffy turned to Faith and said, “Faith is as good a slayer as me, probably better.  I know she can handle the hellmouth alone.  I just, can’t stay here right now – even if I hadn’t had the dream I would want to go with my dad.”

“He’s the only family I have left.”

“That’s not true, Buffy.  You have me and Xander and Giles,” Willows babbled, “and you just can’t leave Sunnydale, I mean, we’re going to graduate in a few months and then we have collage and I thought we were going to go to Sunndale University together and take the same classes...” Willow finally ran out of breath.

“Will, it’s not like we’re never going to see each other again,” the slayer pleaded with her best friend.  Her friend just stared at her, hurt written over her face.  Xander stared at his feet, unusually quiet; it was the first time in Buffy’s memory that Xander hadn’t reacted with an ill-timed joke or comment. 

The bell rang and the two teenagers headed off to class.  As they reached the library doors they turned back to Buffy.

“Aren’t you coming, Buff?” Xander asked.

“Um, no.  I’m already unregistered for all my classes and my transcripts are being sent to my new school.”

Without another word, the two left.

Buffy turned back to her Watcher and sister Slayer.  As usual, Faith appeared completely unaffected by the news, while Giles was hiding behind his Watcher mask – the same one he wore when he had told Buffy about the prophecy foretelling her death.

“Giles, can you not tell the Council about my moving?  I don’t want to have to explain the sudden appearance of a Watcher to my dad.”

Giles nodded slowly.

“I suppose so.  I don’t know for how long I’ll be able to keep your secret, they have other ways of monitoring the Slayer’s activities besides through her Watcher,” Giles consented reluctantly.

“B, are you sure you want to do this?  I mean, you don’t even know the guy – and most guys are jerks,” Faith asked, concern sneaking through her façade. 

“In the dream I could tell my dad is a good guy.”

“Buffy, tell me more about this dream.  Are you sure it was actually a slayer dream, and not a result of the emotional shock you’ve gone through the last few days?” Giles asked.

“Yes, Giles, I’m sure.  I can tell the difference between a normal I-am-going-crazy dream and a slayer I-am-going-to-suffer dream.  Trust me.  The dream said I had to go to Colorado to fulfill some contract with something called the Blood of the Universe.”

Giles frowned.

“Blood of the Universe?  I am not aware of anything by that name.  I’ll do further research and have Willow use the computer to contact you.”

Buffy spontaneously hugged Giles, touched by his continued concern for her welfare – even after all she had put him through.  Giles reddened and awkwardly returned her hug.  The British man had come to consider Buffy a surrogate daughter.

Buffy left and Faith ran to catch up.  The two slayers walked side by side until they reached Buffy’s house.  A moving van was already in place.  Everything in Buffy’s room would be transported to her dad’s house – everything else would be sold.  Including the house. 

Seeing the house being emptied brought her sister slayer’s departure into reality.

“You’re really going, huh?”

“Yup.”

The two watched the movers silently, neither knowing what to say.  They weren’t exactly friends – but they were more than friends.  They shared a destiny that only Giles could dimly appreciate.  Now they would be going from the Chosen Two back to the Chosen One.  Continuing to carry their shared destiny alone.

Suddenly the blond slayer hugged her counterpart with all of her strength.  Hesitatingly, Faith returned the hug but just as tightly.  Sensing her father’s presence the two broke apart.

“Are you ready?” he asked gently.

“Yeah, I’m just going to go and check to see if the movers missed anything.”

The two people watched Buffy enter the house. 

Faith turned to Jack and growled, “If you hurt her, there’s no where on this Earth you could go and be safe.”

Jack stared at the young girl, who looked as if she didn’t have enough power to hurt anyone.  But there something about her that caused the colonel to take her threat seriously.  Gravely, he nodded in acknowledgement of her statement.  Buffy walked up, and seeing the looks on their faces she was pretty sure she knew what had happened.

“Okay, I’m all set.”

The two slayers embraced again.  Faith stood in the street and watched as the truck drove out of sight along with the only person in the world who understood her. 

In her room, Willow hugged her stuffed animal and cried as one of her best friends drove out of town.

Xander watched cartoons and tried to tune out his parent’s yelling and thoughts of school tomorrow without Buffy seating beside him in class.

Giles quietly researched for any mention of ‘Blood of the Universe’, the last duty he could perform as his slayer’s Watcher.

Silently, a vampire with a soul read the letter left behind by his former lover, realizing she had finally set herself free.

And in a truck crossing the State line, a Slayer watched the sun begin to set and said good-bye to her family made up of bonds other than blood.

Chapter 3 – Family

Buffy sat in the truck looking at the building with unease.  She fought the undead nightly, gone to hell, and killed a really fat vampire with cloven feet.  The slayer shouldn’t be afraid of a building. 

But this was high school.

Jack watched his daughter with amusement.  She had been willing to start a whole new life in another state; leave her friends and family; and start a new family with an almost complete stranger.  But it was starting a new school that has unnerved her the most.

Jack chuckled, which earned him a glare from Buffy.  He raised his hands in mock surrender.

Cassie popped her head in Jack’s open window.

“Hey Jack. What are you doing here?”

Buffy looked at the teenager with curiosity, sensing there was something different about the girl.  She wasn’t human, but she wasn’t a demon either. 

“Cassie, this is my daughter, Buffy.  Buffy, this is Cassie Frasier – she’s the daughter of a friend of mine.”

Cassie looked surprised at the news.    

I guess dad hasn’t gotten around to telling his friends about his new daughter, Buffy thought with amusement, seeing her dad’s flustered state.

“Can you show me around?  I don’t want to show up on the first day of school with an old man following me around,” Buffy said, winking at the other girl who smiled.

“Hey!” Jack protested, and watched as the two girls walked off giggling.  “I’m not old!”

He started the truck and drove off smiling.

Now, just how am I going to tell the rest of the team? he thought, thinking up several amusing scenarios.

Cassie heard the truck drive off and began to chuckle.  Buffy looked inquiringly at the girl.

“It just occurred to me that Jack gets to tell everyone that he has a daughter; I was just imagining a couple of the ways he could do it.”  That set both girls off into a new fit of giggles.

Even though Buffy had known her dad for only a few days, the girl had grown fond of the man’s sense of humour.  She figured that she must have gotten her sense of humour from him.  She could imagine the elaborate plan Jack was creating for telling his friends about her.

Buffy knew her dad valued his friendship with his co-workers.  Often talking about them, rather than himself.  It amused Buffy when she realized that she did the same thing; regaling her dad with tales of Xander, Willow , Faith and Giles.  Her smile slipped as she remembered it could be a while before she saw them again. 

Cassie noticed the girl’s sad expression.  She knew from her own experience that suddenly getting a new parent could be a bittersweet experience.  The girl was dying from curiosity, but didn’t want to push her new friend.  

Buffy was also dying to know about the other girl – but didn’t think she could build a friendship with the girl by asking, “Hi, what are you?”  But, the girl would find out anyway when Jack told her mom, so Buffy answered the unspoken question.

“My mom died a week ago.  In her will she said that my biological father should have custody instead of my adoptive dad.  Poor Jack, he had no idea – I thought he was going to have a heart attack,” Buffy said, chuckling at the memory.

“Gosh, I’m sorry…I lost my parents too.  Janet Frasier is my adoptive mom, but I still love her”

Buffy smiled sympathetically at the girl and thought of her fathers – the one who raised her and the one who made her.

“Yeah, I love Jack too.”

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

“Good morning, campers,” Jack said jovially as he entered the meeting where SG1 and General Hammond were already sitting.

“You’re in a good mood, Jack.  I assume the lawyer’s summons wasn’t bad news?” Hammond asked.

“Lawyer?” Daniel asked, confused.

“Yeah, got a letter of summons from a lawyer in California .  Never thought a lawyer would get me some time off,” Jack mused.

“And…” Carter prompted, getting exasperated with Jack’s behaviour.  Jack looked blankly at her for a moment.

“And? Oh yes, it wasn’t anything special, just found out I had a daughter and she’s moved in with me.  So what’s on the agenda for the day?” Jack asked innocuously. The four people at the table looked at Jack in shock as the words sank in.  Well, except for Teal’c but his eyebrow had risen slightly in surprise.

“Congratulations, ColonelONeill.  How old is the child?”

“Seventeen.”

“Jack, are you telling me you’re now responsible for the well-being of a teenage girl.  Who would give you that kind of responsibility?” Daniel asked.

“Hey!  What’s that supposed to mean?” Jack protested, while the others chuckled.  Jack turned serious.

“Her mother and I had a relationship a long time ago; I never knew about Buffy.  Joyce died a few days ago and in her will she gave me custody.  I guess her ex-husband was an ass.  Cassie’s already taken Buffy under her wing, but I don’t want any of you to mention this unless she does first,” Jack said seriously. 

With that the meeting continued on interrupted.  Afterwards, Hammond invited Jack into his office.

“Jack, are you sure about this?  You have a very dangerous job, and you’ll have to leave suddenly for unknown lengths of time.” Hammond asked, concerned.

“General, she’s my daughter and I’ve already missed out on seventeen years of her life.  I know it’ll be tough, but I really want to make it work.”

Hammond hadn’t known Jack as the ‘family man’.  He had seen signs of it by the way Jack dealt with the children he had met on SG1’s missions.  It was nice to see Jack with family outside of the SGC.

“When do we get to meet her?”

Jack smiled at his CO’s subtle endorsement.  The General’s opinion mattered to the colonel; Hammond was one of the few superior officer’s O’Neill had had that genuinely cared about his people rather than his career. 

“I was planning on having a barbeque over the weekend and inviting most of the SGC, so I can show Buffy off”

The general smiled at the fatherly pride emanating from his second-in-command. 

Jack’s next top was Daniel’s office, where he found the three members of his team in discussion.  They stopped abruptly when the noticed Jack.

“Whatya talking ‘bout?” Jack asked, pretending ignorance.

“Nothing,” Daniel replied slowly.

“Ah, here I thought you were talking about my brand new teenager daughter.”

The humans fell into an embarrassed silence while Teal’c nodded slightly.

“Well, if you’re that interesting in Buffy, I’ll be having a barbeque on the weekend to introduce everyone,” and with that Jack bounced off, looking for his next victim.

SG1 stared at the empty doorway.

“Anyone else having trouble imagining Jack with someone who would name their child ‘Buffy’?” Daniel finally asked.  Carter absently nodded, still in shock, and Teal’c calmly commented.

“Indeed.”

Chapter 4 – The Barbeque pt 1

Cassie scanned the cafeteria for her new friend; amused to find the girl surrounded by boys.  Though the blonde had only been at the school for a few days, she was already gaining popularity.

Beautiful, smart and funny…it would take something drastic for Buffy to get the social shaft, Cassie thought wryly.

Cassie was about to go when Buffy spotted the girl through the crowd.  Extracting herself, Buffy ran up to the girl.

“Where do you think you’re going, Miss Cassandra?” Buffy asked playfully.  The slayer had done the popular thing at Hemery; she had done the social outcast at Sunnydale; now she just wanted to do the normal thing.  Which meant Buffy didn’t care about social contests and had no plans of giving up her friendship with Cassie.

The two had gotten close pretty fast, both sensing a kindred spirit in the other. 

“I just thought I’d leave you to your fans,” Cassie teased back as the two sat down for lunch.  Buffy groaned.

“No matter how many times I say I’m not interested, they keep coming back for more.  Do you think if I castrate them they’ll finally get the picture, or at least start thinking with their minds?” Buffy asked in all serious.  Cassie’s friends, who had managed to catch the end of the comment as they sat down, began to laugh. 

“So are you coming to the barbeque on Saturday,” Buffy asked.  The other members of the group looked confused.

“Jack O’Neill is Buffy’s dad and he’s throwing a barbeque to introduce her to his co-workers,” Cassie explained, “and yes I’ll be there along with my mom.  I can’t wait for everyone to meet you, you’re so much like Jack it’s scary.”

“Jack’s your dad?  Sweet!  I wish he was my dad, the guy’s really cool – when he wasn’t threatening to kill me if I did anything to Cassie,” her boyfriend said. 

Buffy was about to reply when she saw the school counsellor heading her way.

I knew I should have convinced dad to have my transcripts mysteriously disappear.

“Mr. Marchand, to what do I owe this honour?” Buffy asked sarcastically.  

“Miss O’Neill, I just wanted you to know that if you’re having any difficulties I am always here to listen.”

Buffy squinted at the councillor.

“My last councillor and I talked – it gave me closure.  Especially when he died.”

“Um, yes, well,” the flustered councillor spit out and left.

The table began to laugh.

“Oh my god, I’ve never seen anyone get Mr. Marchand so flustered before,” Cassied said, wiping away tears.  “This Saturday is going to be so much fun.”

Buffy just smiled innocently, eating her red jello.

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

Buffy woke on Saturday in a good mood – last night’s patrol being uneventful except for the single newbie vampire.  She could smell bacon and eggs cooking and listening to the complaints of her stomach she quickly dressed.  It had become a ritual for the two; Jack would cook breakfast and Buffy would eat large amounts.  The slayer was amused to realize that her appetite was becoming like Faith’s. 

Not that she’d ever tell her dad the second part of Faith’s H&H theory.

The blond bounced down the stairs and hugged her father from behind.  Buffy had never been physically affection with her parents -- not even with her mother.  But the slayer found herself spontaneously hugging and touching her father.  Jack wasn’t used to the open displays of affection himself (not that he was complaining). 

“All set for the barbeque today?” Jack asked, loading up his daughter’s plate.  No matter how many times he witnessed it, he couldn’t believe the amount of food the small girl could put away.

“Yup,” chirped Buffy and then she fell silent.

“Dad…are you sure you want to introduce me to your friends so soon?  I mean, if this doesn’t work out and I have to go back to Sunnydale…?” Buffy asked, eyes on her plate. 

Jack wasn’t sure how to smooth Buffy’s fears – since they were similar to his own.  His daughter was a paradox; she was strong and confident most of the time and then she would become insecure about the smallest things. 

“Of course, who wouldn’t want to show off a daughter as beautiful and perfect as you?” Jack joked, eliciting a smile from Buffy. 

Perfect, huh? Buffy thought, will he still think I’m perfect when – if – no, when he finds out my secret?

A couple hours later the guests began arriving.  Buffy was surprised at first by the amount of people showing up, but when she thought about it, it made sense.  Jack was one of those guys that everyone at least respected, even if they didn’t like him personally – which was hard to do.

She was standing talking to Cassie when the slayer felt an odd presence.  Scanning the area, she saw her dad walking out of the house with four people.  She recognized them from the picture on dad’s half-wall, and realized they must be SG1 and General Hammond.

The tall black man drew Buffy’s attention; she recognized from his stance that he was a warrior, as well as the fact he wasn’t human in the same way Cassie was.  Close – but definitely not demonic.  But unlike Cassie there was something else – not demonic but still evil.  Not coming from the man himself per se– but attached and centred around his mid-section…

Buffy shook off the conflicting vibes and smiled at her dad, waving to get his attention.  She fought the slayer-Buffy down in hopes of hiding it from the tall man; as he might recognize her as a warrior the same way she had recognized him.

“Everyone, this is my daughter Buffy.  Buffy, this is General George Hammond, my boss,…”

“Call me George.”  “George.”

“…Major Samantha Carter, our resident genius, …”

“And you can call me Sam.”  “Sam? Cassie’s told me a lot about you.”

“…Teal’c…no last name, like Cher .”

“It is a pleasure to you make your acquaintance, BuffyONeill.”  “You too, Teal’c With No Last Name.”

“..and last and certainly least, Dr. Daniel Jackson, our favourite rock-lover.”

Daniel was about to open his mouth when Buffy smiled and exclaimed, “Space monkey!”

The archaeologist turned bright red and shot an accusing glare at his host, the comment rendering him speechless.  The rest of the party erupted into laughter and Buffy turned to her dad with a smirk, “You’re right, it was worth it to see the look on his face.”

“You had your daughter set me up!” Daniel accused.

“Would I do a thing like that?  Oh, look, food,” Jack said and hurried off.

Buffy watched her father’s retreating back for a moment before turning back to the group.  The banter between them reminded Buffy of the Scoobie gang.  She had sent several emails to Willow , which the redhead had yet to return.  The slayer hadn’t heard from Xander either and her phone calls to Giles consisted mainly of his reports on his research concerning the ‘Blood of the Universe’.  Which meant the calls were short since Giles had yet to turn up any information.  It was impossible to get a hold of Faith – who never seemed to be at her apartment.  Buffy knew that leaving Sunnydale would mean less contact with her friends, but she hadn’t expected nothing at all.

The slayer shook the depression aside and concentrated on her father’s coworkers.

Curious, Buffy began asking them about their work at Norad.  It was amusing to watch them stumble over their cover stories; it was obvious that they worked for a secret military project – what did her dad know about Deep Space Telemetry?  Whatever it was, the slayer was certain it had to do with the stone ring from her dream.  If the dream was right, she was going to need to gain access to base – and soon. 

The fun way would be to break in – but that also involved a chance of getting caught and having to explain everything to her dad.  Something she wasn’t quite ready for just yet.  She could always wait and see if her father voluntarily showed her, or… 

Her dad rejoined them, along with Cassie, and an evil grin crossed Buffy’s face. 

“So…what’s it like working at a secret military base?”

Chapter 5 – Barbeque pt 2

The Scooby gang gathered in the library, watching Faith train.  Willow was working on the computer when a program beeped.  The sound distracted Giles and Faith sent the man flying.

“ Willow , why is that infernal contraption beeping?”

The hacker winced as she watched Giles gingerly pick himself up.

“Sorry, Giles.  I forgot I was still logged in; the program was telling me I got email.”

Faith turned to Willow , interested.

“Hey, Red, is it from B?” she asked, going to look at the computer screen before Willow could protest.

“Looks like B’s doing okay,” she commended after reading the e-mail.

Willow closed the window and Faith regarded her with curiosity.

“Aren’t you going to email back?”

“I’ll do it when I get home,” Willow said vaguely.

Xander spoke up, “I bet it’s all just a cover – she doesn’t want us to know she’s unhappy and made a horrible mistake.  I bet at this very moment she’s alone and miserable.”

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

Buffy was having a blast.

I can’t believe they work on a classified project; poor Daniel looks like someone told him the sky is purple, and Hammond has a vein popping out of his forehead, Buffy thought with amusement.

SG1 struggled to retain their composure – with Teal’c being the only successful one.

“Um…I don’t know what Jack told you,” Daniel said giving Jack a look, “but we work for Norad – not some secret program.”

“Right, because my dad – a former black-ops -- retired twice and came back twice for Deep Space Telemetry research– can’t you guys come up with a better cover story than that? I mean, anyone who knows Jack would never buy that,” Buffy remarked sarcastically – and with more than a little curiosity. 

The military personnel turned their attention to Colonel O’Neill who was getting a panicked look on his face.

“Jack, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” General Hammond yelled.

“Hey! I didn’t say anything!  If anyone spilled the beans, it was Cassie,” Jack defended himself, pointing to the teenager beside him.

“Don’t look at me, I didn’t say anything.  Though if you think about it, she does have a point…ow!” Cassie rubbed her arm where her mother pinched her. 

Seeing the murderous look on her father’s face, Buffy grabbed Cassie by the arm and pulled her away, calling out behind her, “When you figure out a better story, me and Cassie are going to be checking out guys over here!”

Jack watched helplessly has his daughter abandoned him, and slowly turned back to face the others.  From the look on Hammond ’s face, whatever was going to happen next wasn’t going to be pretty.

I wonder if it’s too late to retire again, Jack thought idly as Hammond walked into the house, expected everyone to follow – which they did.

“Okay, Jack what just happened out there?  I know you want things to work out with you’re daughter, but to tell her state secrets?” Hammond asked in disbelief.

“That’s the thing, I didn’t!  She must have figured it out on her own.”

“It’s not like there hasn’t been a precedent; I mean, Sam’s dad figured out that Norad was a cover,” Daniel suggested.

“But Jacob Carter was a seasoned military officer, used to knowing people working on confidential projects.  Buffy is a teenager from California !” Hammond exclaimed.

“Jack, I hate to suggest this, but are you sure that Buffy is your daughter?  This could be an elaborate plan to get someone in position to access the Stargate?” Janet asked, eyeing Jack’s response. 

“I don’t think so, but with everything the NID has done over the years I guess it’s possible,” Jack reluctantly admitted, though he clearly hated the idea.  Janet turned to the General.

“General, I think it’s best for everyone involved that I take some DNA samples and give Buffy a thorough examination.”

“But that would mean she would have to come onto the base,” Sam pointed out.

“I shall accompany her, if only for her own protection,” Teal’c offered. 

Jack pointed to Teal’c and said, “Happy?  It’s not like a seventeen years old girl could take down T.  And even if she learns something, it’ll at least give Cassie someone her own age to talk to.”

Buffy poked her head into the room.

“Are you guys done talking state secrets yet?  I’m hungry.”

“We’re almost done, Ms O’Neill could you come in here for a moment?”

The slayer walked hesitantly into the room, her senses heightened for any danger.  She was sure her dad was a good guy but Buffy had learned from experience that betrayal could come from the most unlikely places.  In her heightened state, she noticed that Sam was giving off a weird vibe.  Similar to Cassie and Teal’c, but a great deal weaker which was why she hadn’t picked up on it before.

Just what has dad gotten himself involved in?

“Dr. Frasier would like to run a few tests.”

“Why?” Buffy asked suspiciously. 

“To tell you the truth, for our protection.  We need to know you are who you say you are.” Hammond said in a kind voice, much like the one he used on his grandkids.  Buffy looked to her dad for confirmation, and was disappointed when he nodded.

“Does this mean I have to go to a hospital?” Buffy asked unhappily.

“Kind of, we’ll run the tests at the base infirmary,” Janet conceded.

“In other words, a hospital.  God I hate hospitals, there’s always with the pain and the death and why I can’t I go the rest of my life without stepping foot in a hospital is beyond me…” Buffy continued her rant outside, the adults interpreting that as an agreement.

“Well…I think we can add that to the ‘she’s Jack’s daughter’ category,” Daniel commented idly. 

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

The barbeque was a success of sorts; everyone did get to meet Buffy.  The slayer was kind of regretting her rash decision to expose her dad’s work, but Buffy still felt the urgency of her dream pressing her forward.  Whatever was going to happen, it was going to happen soon.  Which meant the quickest way to get on the base was to be viewed as a potential threat.  What Buffy hadn’t accounted for was a visit to the infirmary.

I wonder if it’s still too late to break in?

The slayer vetoed patrol for the night, and quickly checked her email, disappointed that Willow hadn’t written back.  She drifted off into what she hoped would be a dreamless sleep.

Or not.

She was standing in front of the stone circle, he father standing on a ramp just ahead of her.  His eyes began to glow red and he held out a hand.  On the hand was a device with a red stone in the middle.  Buffy reached out to touch it, but pulled back when she heard crying.

“What is it?”

The thing that looked like her father stared down at her, as if willing for her to understand something.

“It is I”  

Chapter 6 – Hospitals

Buffy sat in the car with her father  – reaching hour one of her sulking strategy.  Even though it was her plan to get into the facility, that doesn’t mean she had to like it.  The only thing she hated more than hospitals were vampires, demons, mummies, praying mantis, hyena-possessed teenagers, evil witches, Ethan Rayne…So there were a lot of things, but she still really hated hospitals.

Jack could feel his daughter’s gaze boring a hole through his skull.

“Come on, Buffy, it won’t be that bad.  Take a few shots, run a test or two, and you’ll be having jello in no time.”

“Right, and exactly how long did you spend defending me? Did you even go a second? Hey, I know, why don’t you take the tests along with me so I won’t be scared!” she asked in a false-cheery voice.  Jack had survived countless attempts on his life; he has stood up against the most powerful aliens in the universe; and he was also smart enough not to answer that question.  Call him a coward – he was still breathing.

The two passed security and started down the elevator.  The door opened to reveal Teal’c.

“It is a pleasure to see you again, BuffyONeill,” Teal’c said with a bow.  Buffy smiled at the big man, having decided she liked him despite the odd vibes she was getting.  The three walked to the infirmary – the adults making sure that Buffy never saw anything top-secret.  The boring corridors disappointed Buffy; especially when she knew that much more interesting items could be found.

The idea of breaking into the place was definitely gaining appeal.

They reached the infirmary without incident – thought Buffy’s pace started to drag.  Teal’c noticed their slowing progress with a raised eyebrow, but a desperate shake of O’Neill’s head kept him silence.  Not for the first time, the Jaffa wondered at the strange behaviour of the Taur’i.  Janet met them outside the infirmary and ordered the slayer to a bed and Jack to get lost.  Buffy turned to her father with a pleading gaze, but the colonel returned the look with a hopeless expression before running off.

You did not mess with Janet Frasier in her infirmary.

Several blood tests were done, as well as a full physical.  Dr. Frasier reached into her pocket to grab her penlight and was surprised to find it missing. 

“What the? I could have sworn I just had it…” Janet looked around puzzled, and turned back to watch Buffy suspiciously – who just smiled innocently.  A nurse beckoned to Dr. Frasier, who gave Buffy one more look before going off.  Buffy smiled at the stoic Jaffa , and produced the missing penlight from her pocket.  Teal’c’s eyes widened appreciatively at the teenager’s stealth; he had not seen Buffy pocket the light himself, though he had been keeping a careful eye on her.

At Teal’c’s questioning glance, she responded somewhat sheepishly, “I figure I can get Dad back for getting me to come here by flashing him in the eye.”

“So, how did you meet my dad?” Buffy asked, changing the subject.

“We met on the field of battle, and I chose to continue to fight by his side.  He is a great warrior,” Teal’c said, and Buffy could hear the deep respect and affection the man had for her father.  She smiled up at him, and the crest of his forehead glinted as it caught the light.

“Okay, tin man, I’ve got to know – what’s with the accessory on your forehead?”

Teal’c tilted his head, trying to decipher the meaning of her statement. 

“It is a symbol of slavery to false gods.”  Buffy waited for more, but saw nothing was forthcoming.

Buffy was about to speak when Janet came back.

“Okay, I’m going to go and speak with your father, and the rest of SG1.  Now, I want you to rest – we had to take a bit of blood so I want to remain here.”

Realizing she couldn’t explain about slayer healing, Buffy nodded in resigned agreement.

“If she’s anything like her father than she’s going to need a guard to make sure she stays put,” a voice added.  The SGC members turned to see Major Louis Ferretti, leader of SG-2.  The man grinned and winked at the blonde.

“I’ll keep an eye on her while you’re gone.”

The two watched Teal’c and Fraiser leave and then turned to regard each other.  Seeing they were out of ear sight from the rest of the staff, Ferretti broke out into a huge smile.

“So, what’s a Slayer like you doing in a place like this?”

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

The members of SG-1, Dr. Fraiser and General Hammond sat at the debriefing table.  Hammond nodded towards Janet and asked, “So what are the results?”

“Well, she’s definitely Jack’s daughter – and I didn’t need to the blood tests to tell me that.  All the tests say she’s in perfect health.”

Hammond waited for a moment, and then asked, “But?”

Frasier sighed.  “I don’t know if it’s anything, but I would almost say she’s in too good of health – well, besides the scars.”

Carter perked up at that.  “Scars?”

“Yes, quite a few of them actually.  If she were still living with her parents, I would think she was being abused.  Some of the scars are several years old while some are from within the last six months.  None of them are serious, but I am concerned by the amount.  Colonel, do you know anything about her home life before she came to live with you?”

Jack shook his head.  “All I know is that Buffy’s parents broke up and her mother and her moved to Sunnydale.  Hank Summers is a jerk, but he hadn’t seen enough of Buffy to be that physically abusive – at least, on a regular basis for the last year.”

“So, basically you’re saying that despite being too healthy, she is who she says she is?” Daniel asked tentatively.  Janet nodded the affirmative. 

Jack stood up and said, “Well, that’s good enough for me!”

General Hammond opened his mouth to say something – probably a reprimand – when the alarm klaxons went off.  They looked at each other and headed for the Control room.

“Status?” Hammond barked.

“Sir, we are receiving an incoming signal – it’s the Tok’ra.”

“Open the iris,” Hammond said as SG-1 and him went down to the Gateroom.  They entered just in time to see Jacob Carter walk through the Stargate.  Jacob smiled and drew his daughter into a hug.  Hammond reached out his hand and they shook. 

“So, to what do we owe the pleasure?” O’Neill asked, hands in his pockets.

We wished to discuss an…unusual matter is Major Carter,” Selmak said, eyes flashing to show that it was the Tok’ra speaking.

“What about?” Sam asked, surprised.

On several occasions during the last few days the ribbon devices have been malfunctioning.  We have several reports from our operatives that it is also happening to the Goa’uld.”

Carter looked at her father in bewilderment.

“I’m not entirely sure what I can do to help.  I have no idea how the ribbon devices even work, let alone how to fix one.”  The Tok’ra’s eyes flashed again.

“Our scientists are having difficulties, so Selmak and I convinced them to let us bring a ribbon device here.  Maybe you’ll be able to come up with something we haven’t.”

With a shrug, Carter took the device and began walking to her lab, leaving her father to talk with Hammond .  As she neared her office, the red jewel at the centre of the device glowed briefly.  Frowning, Carter shifted the device trying to recreate the effect but to no avail. 

Confused, Carter continued on to her office not realizing she was a few feet from the infirmary.

Chapter 7 –  Lou

The members of SGC and her father watched Sam leave the hanger.  Jacob turned to Hammond and Jack and asked, “What’s new?”

Before Hammond could answer Jack responded by saying, “Oh, you know – the usual.  Aliens, visiting other planets, I found out I had a daughter, you know just the run of the mill happenings.”

Daniel coughed to try to hide the smile as Jacob turned to Jack in shock.

“You have a daughter?”

“Yup,” Jack agreed smugly.  “She’s here on the base right now with old Doc Fraiser to make sure she’s not evil,” saying the last part with a raised eyebrow at the General that would have made Teal’c proud. 

Do you think it wise to inform your child of the sensitive nature of your mission?” Selmak asked, his eyes glowing with concern.

Jack raised his hands defensively.

“Hey, I didn’t say anything!  She figured it out all by herself.”

“So where is she now, I’d like to meet the girl,’ Jacob said, reasserting himself.

“BuffyONeill is currently in the infirmary,” Teal’c informed and gestured towards the door.  Teal’c, Jacob, and Jack headed towards the infirmary, but before they left the hanger Jacob turned to Jack.

“Buffy?” he asked in an incredulous voice, to which Jack just shrugged helplessly.

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

“So, what’s a Slayer like you doing in a place like this?”

Buffy scanned the area, and turned to grin at the Major.

“I should be the one asking – what’s a demon like you doing in a place like this?”

Lou Ferretti burst out laughing, amused by the small girl who could kick his ass. He sat down beside her on the bed so they could talk without fear of being heard; they both had hearing far greater than normal humans so they could talk comfortably in a whisper.

“It’s not all that unusual for demons to go into the military; it’s an easy way to keep the blood thirst down without having to worry about a demon hunter or slayer coming after you,” he said conversationally.

“So what kind are you?  I’d think with all the paranoid-ness around you’d have been busted a long time ago,” the slayer asked curiously, but keeping in mind the location of anything nearby that could be used as a weapon.

“I’m a Harmock demon.  I’ll admit we’re not a particularly powerful race; no extreme strength or fancy claws.  But we can change our molecular structure at will.  So when the doc takes blood, it shows up as human.  I can even slow down my healing rate so it’s the same as a human.”

Buffy wrinkled her nose at that one.

“That one would suck.” 

Ferretti remembered his second trip to Abydos and the injuries he had sustained.  He had only survived and was able to see the Stargate coordinates because he was a demon – but then he had to heal at human speed which had taken months which he could have healed in minutes as a demon.  Ferretti sighed.

“Oh yeah.  I was really injured badly once; I could have healed in minutes, but instead it took months.”

The slayer cocked her head at the demon curiously.

“So why stay here? You could have ‘died’; trust me, I’ve done it, no big deal.”

“Boredom, slayer, though it’s not something you’d understand since you won’t live long.  Though my handsome demeanour says otherwise, I’m over a thousand years old.  That’s a long time to live; I’ve visited everywhere on Earth; killed people in every way possible; so life can get a little boring.”

In a perfect imitation of Teal’c, Buffy raised her eyebrow.

“And what goes on down here that would entertain a bored thousand years old demon?”

The demon hesitated – not that he cared about military regulations, but what Jack would do if he ever found out that Ferretti had told his daughter something knowing she would go rushing headlong into danger.  If he didn’t tell, the slayer would just kill him.  Jack would get inventive.

“Nothing that involves the slayer,” he said finally.  Buffy stared at him hard, then sighed.

“If only the PTB agreed with you, but no, I get these stupid dreams about a stone circle – like that tells me anything,” she said, head turned upwards, “and dad’s talking all funny and then there’s this glowing stone.  I ask you, do they think I can read minds or something?  Just once I would like them to tell me straight up what’s going on without this whole cryptic prophecy mumbo jumbo.  What?”

The demon started at the question – lost in the implications that the PTB had sent the slayer to the Stargate.  When the PTB got involved, shit usually hit the fan; add to that power hungry aliens and Lou figured he didn’t have to worry about living another thousand years.  He did a double check, and leaned in close to Buffy.

Before he could say anything Buffy straightened and turned back towards the wall.  A small frown played on her face.

“What is it?” the demon asked.

“I don’t know – I just felt something…different.  Almost familiar, but it definitely wasn’t human or demonic or whatever Teal’c is.  Which reminds me, what the hell is Teal’c? It’s driving my Slayer senses crazy!” she asked frustrated.  Things were much simpler in Sunnydale – sure there was an apocalypse every other week but there when she saw something evil it was a demon.  In her frustration, she forgot the link she had felt through the wall.

“Teal’c is a Jaffa -- An alien with a parasite in his stomach called a Goa’uld.”

Buffy’s eyes widened in shock.

“Oh…alien…that’s a new one…”

Suddenly, her shock was forgotten and she moved away from Ferretti.  The demon looked at her confused, and then he heard the footsteps himself.  Quickly, he got off the bed in time to see Jack walk through the door.  If there was one thing Ferretti never wanted to see was a Jack in the fatherly protective role. 

“Hey, Ferretti, thanks for keeping an eye on my daughter,” Jack said cheerfully.  “Buffy, this is Sam’s dad, Jacob – Jacob this is my daughter, Buffy.”

Jacob reached forward to give the girl a handshake when she backed away suddenly.  The three men looked at Buffy in confusion, while the demon was getting a sneaking suspicion.  It was one thing for the slayer to meet a Jaffa with an immature Goa’uld, but a mature and active symbiote…

The slayer tried to keep herself under control, but her senses were going haywire.  Whatever Jacob was – though it didn’t feel evil – was triggering the impulse to destroy the threat.  Grabbing the bed to try to suppress the urge, Buffy eyed Jacob.  For a moment, there seemed to be two people staring out of those eyes.

Involuntarily she whispered, “Two people – one body but two people.” 

Jack looked at his daughter confused, unable to make out her words.  Unfortunately, the Jaffa and Tok’ra could.  They exchanged glances and Teal’c stepped forward.  Now realizing what it was that made Teal’c ‘off’, Buffy retreated further.  Dimly, she realized that she was ruining her cover but the sensation of immediate danger overwhelmed her thought processes.  All that was left was the instinct to attack or flee.

Before any of the men could react, the girl was out the door with surprising quickness.  Teal’c turned to follow, but Buffy had disappeared down the hallways.  Ferretti raced out the door, knowing that he could sense the slayer while the others couldn’t.  He just hoped that the slayer didn’t do anything stupid – inwardly he cringed -- slayers weren’t known for their common sense.  They did battle the undead every night, not exactly the epitome of good thinking.

As the men ran through the hallways, they became covered in red as the alarms went off.

“For crying out loud,” Jack cried, out of breath.

In the control, General Hammond watched the Stargate begin to dial out.

“Sergeant, what the hell is going on?”

The flustered soldier typed frantically at his keyboard.

“I don’t know, sir!  The computer has completely locked, and seems to be dialling on its own.”

Carter rushed in to the room, and took the sergeant’s place at the monitor.  Frantically, she tried to get a response from the computer.  She looked up at the Stargate as the last chevron locked. 

“Major, shut the iris!” General Hammond ordered.

“I can’t, sir,” she turned back to the General, “and I have no idea where this wormhole leads too.  It’s not part of known Gates we have inputted into the computer, sir.”

Buffy ran faster as she heard the alarms go off.  Instinctively, she navigated the labyrinth of hallways, feeling drawn in a particular direction.  She turned into a room, surprised to find several heavily armed soldiers trained on…a large stone circle.  She watched amazed as a burst of light burst into the room and the circle filled with what looked like water.

Teal’c had managed to catch up to the girl when she stopped to admire the Stargate.  The Jaffa was surprised to find himself out of breath, and reached forward to grab Buffy.  Sensing the danger, Buffy bolted forwards and weaved through the soldiers.  As experienced as they were with expecting the unexpected, they were still surprised by the sudden appearance of a teenage girl sprinting for the Stargate.  Before anyone could respond she passed through the horizon.

Immediately, the gate shut down.

“Major, redial!”  Hammond ordered, recovering from the shock of watching Jack’s daughter race through the Stargate.

“On it, sir.” Carter replied.  The gate began to redial when Jack entered the gateroom.

“Where’d she go?” Jack asked, out of breath.  Teal’c just raised an eyebrow and looked towards the Stargate.

“You’ve got to be kidding me…Carter!” Jack yelled to the control booth.

“I’m trying, Colonel, but the last chevron won’t lock.  I can’t establish a connection.”

The SGC members turned towards the now silent gate.  Ferretti wished he could tell his team mates that Buffy would be all right – probably -- and being a slayer did have it’s advantages.

Unfortunately, common sense is not one of them.     

Chapter 8 – Lost

Willow sat in her room looking at her computer.  On the screen, she had up her email account – along with the fifteen unread emails from Buffy.  The redhead knew she was being childish but she couldn’t help it.  For once, she was the one leaving Buffy -- not the other way around.

First Buffy abandoned her to spend time with Faith, now she had left her behind for a father she had never even known.  Willow was just tired of her best friend leaving.

Willow sighed and began opening the emails.  The first few were long – describing in great detail her dad, he new friend Cassie, and basically her life in Colorado.  But as she read on, the emails began to get shorter and shorter.  Willow felt a rush of guilt and decided to write back.  Halfway through Willow stopped and looked to a book that was on her bed.

Smiling, she got off the computer and began to leaf through it until she found the page she wanted.

Why bother writing when I can try this communication spell?

Lying the book down, Willow began to chant.  She felt her consciousness reach out for Buffy – and couldn’t find her.  Willow frowned and tried again.  Still nothing.  She tried the chant again, this time reaching out for her cousin who lived in New York .  The witch stopped when she felt the brush of her cousin’s mind, and drew back. 

It wasn’t something wrong with the spell – it was with Buffy.

She was gone.

An agitated Jack watched impatiently as Carter worked on the computers.  Right now, his daughter was on planet – they didn’t know which – and he couldn’t go after her – because they couldn’t connect – and there was nothing Jack could do about it. 

“Have you been able to determine why the computer started dialling?” Hammond asked, entering the room.  Carter paused and turned to look at the General.

“No, sir.  I’ve been through the entire system and there is nothing that explains what happened.”

“Could it have been a Retu?” Jack asked.  Carter shook her head.

“No, we set up precautions against that.  It’s as if the computer was following a program that isn’t there anymore; it wasn’t receiving commands from any of the terminals.”

“Have you been able to establish a connection to the planet BuffyONeill travelled to?” Teal’c asked calmly.  Carter glanced at Jack, hesitating before answering.  Jack just gave her a look.

“Carter?”

“Sir, there is no planet.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say there is no planet?” Jack asked incredulously. 

“Yes, sir.  By using the Stargate co-ordinates we attempted to map the planet’s location …and it’s not there. There’s nothing there – the Stargate shouldn’t have engaged.”

“So you’re telling me that computer spontaneously dialled an address we don’t have to a planet that doesn’t exist and a civilian jumped through the Stargate that shouldn’t have engaged and because of that we have no idea where she ended up,” Hammond said in disbelief.  Carter smiled weakly.

“Yes, sir.”

Ferretti watched the humans nervously.  Unfortunately, he knew exactly why the computers had acted the way they did.  He also knew that when the PTB don’t work in so ‘mysterious ways’ it meant big trouble was coming.  Wherever the Slayer was now, it was where the PTB wanted her.

Even though he was a demon, he felt very sorry for the Slayer just then.

Buffy slowly lifted her head and looked around.  After taking the flying leap through the stone circle, Buffy had lied on the ground feeling as if ice had replaced her bones.  She slowly got to her feet and looked around.  Instinctively, the slayer knew she wasn’t on Earth anymore. 

A sound caused Buffy to spin quickly and she gasped as she recognized the badly dressed figure.

“For crying out loud!”

“I see you’re picking up you’re dad’s habits,” Whistler commented.  Buffy began to advance on the demon and he backed away with his hands up.  “Woah, there slayer, let’s not do anything hasty.”

“Hasty?  I don’t think so – last time I talked to you I ended up killing my lover.  Who’s next, my dad?” Buffy snarled, but stopping her advance.  Whistler stopped as well and slowly lowered his arms.

“It could be if you don’t listen to me.”

 

Buffy crossed her arms and glared at the demon.  “So talk.”

“You’ve heard about the Goa’uld from Ferretti, right?  Well, there’s a big war going on here between the Goa’uld and everyone else. The Goa’uld are incubated in Jaffa – who are basically slaves -- until they mature, and then are placed into human hosts where they completely take over.  The only advantage Earth has right now is that their allies can sense the presence of other Goa’uld because of a mineral called naquuada in their systems.”

“Still not seeing what any of this has to do with me,” Buffy said crossly, what little patience she had wearing thin.  Whistler continued on as if she hadn’t said anything.

“On this planet there is a powerful Goa’uld known as Balor, who unfortunately is quite clever for a snake.  That’s where your training comes in.”

“Training?  What training?” she asked suspiciously.

“This planet is a natural breeding ground for infant Goa’uld.  There are a number of creatures that could be infested – you’re here to learn to how recognize Goa’uld hosts and keep yourself from becoming a host yourself.  These snakes are different from the one in Teal’c – there is no way for them to be detected by others because they don’t have naquuada in their bodies.”

“So you want me to become a human snake reader?” Buffy asked dubiously.

“No.”

Buffy threw up her hands in frustration.

“Then why the hell am I here?” Buffy screamed in frustration.

“Can’t tell you that, against the rules.  I’m just here to give you a quick heads up and explain your training.  Keep your dreams in mind and you should be okay, kid.”

The demon turned to leave but stopped.

“Oh, and there is a troop of Jaffa coming this way so you better get out of here.  Good luck,” and with that Whistler disappeared.

Chapter 9 – Conscription

Moments after Whistler vanished, Buffy heard the coming Jaffa .  Quickly, she hid in the bush while they marched past – unaware of her presence.  These Jaffa felt different, not as wrong as Teal'c had, but the Slayer could still sense them.  However, it wasn't as strong and Buffy worried that if she met them one on one she wouldn't be able to sense them at all.

At least with the Jaffa she knew they had to have a snake in them … but the Slayer didn't have that luxury with the other creatures on this planet.

Damn PTB, why can't they just give me a stupid users manual?  Listen to my dreams, my ass, that's what got me into this mess in the first place.

Stealthily the Slayer made her way through the forest until she came across a lake.  Realizing she was thirsty, she carefully made her way to the edge – keeping an eye out for Jaffa or other creatures.  A snapped twig caused Buffy to turn her back to the lake, scanning the horizon for danger.

Not realizing that the true danger was behind her.

It was only her fast reflexes and instincts that saved Buffy.   She didn't even sense the Goa'uld launching itself from lake, attaching itself to the back of her neck.  Before it could dig its way in, the Slayer had snapped its back and threw it back into the lake before she was even completely aware of being attacked.  She reached back to touch her neck, and brought her blooded hand to her face.

Suddenly, her situation had become very real.  Too real.

Realizing now that the water was the greatest danger, Buffy walked back into the forest.  She found a relatively safe clearing and sagged down against a tree.  Even though she had managed get the parasite off her, it had still done damage.  The powerful jaws had ripped deeply into her flesh and she was losing a lot of blood.  In an attempt to staunch the flow, Buffy made a makeshift bandage out of her shirt, but the flimsy material wasn't meant to be used as a bandage.

Despite her attempts to stay awake, she slowly felt herself fading into blackness.

The next few days were a blur for Buffy.  Fading in and out of consciousness, the only thing that brought the Slayer back to complete awareness was the arrival of a Goa'uld.  After a few near death experiences, Buffy soon learned to sense the presence of a Goa'uld…even while unconscious.  But even with her newfound skills, Buffy knew her situation wasn't good.  The bite on the back of her neck had gotten infected, and even her slayer healing couldn't do its job if she wasn't eating properly or barely drinking any water.

It was two days after her arrival on the planet that a group of patrolling Jaffa found her.  She was laying inside a small cave, passed out with a high fever.  The second one of the Jaffa approached, she sprang to her feet with a knife in hand – the Jaffa was dead before he could take another step.

Buffy eyed the men warily.  In her current condition, she knew she wasn't much of a threat – but she wasn't going without a fight.  One Jaffa with a gold emblem on his forward stepped forward.

"Who are you?  What god do you serve?"

"I'm the Slayer, and I serve no one," Buffy said before launching herself forward.  It was obvious gold-boy was the leader, and she hoped that killing him would frighten the other Jaffa enough to leave.  In the back of her mind, she idly wondered if that meant Teal'c had been a leader too.  But the thought passed as the immediate need to have her complete attention focused on the Jaffa before her took precedence.

Gwyn, First Prime of Balor, was astonished that this wild creature would try and attack him.  He was even more surprised when he found himself barely able to defend himself.  Within seconds the girl had him on the defensive, with only a small knife as her only weapon.  And it was only a crude blade made from stone!

The Slayer fought on instinct, realizing that she had to finish this battle quickly before all her stamina left her.   With a flash of insight, Buffy drove the knife into the pouch that held the Goa'uld.  Gwyn looked down in shock – unable to believe he had been beaten.  He looked at her, waiting for the final blow.

Buffy looked at Gwyn, hesitating.  Whistler had told her that the Jaffa were slaves, and even if they weren't completely human, they weren't demons.  The knife wavered in her hand, and Gwyn took advantage of his opponent's moment of weakness.  He reached for her, knife still in his gut, intent on snapping her neck.  Acting purely on instinct, the Slayer drew the blade out and in a smooth motion sliced open his neck.

The other Jaffa watched in horror as their leader, and First Prime to their god, was defeated so easily.  Especially by a half-starved, wild young girl.

Buffy eyed the others warily, but suddenly found it difficult to focus.  She blinked her eyes rapidly, trying to dispel the darkness but lost the battle.  Slowly, she slid to the ground and into unconsciousness.

Carefully, the Jaffa gathered both bodies and headed back to their base.

The Slayer awoke to the feel of a foreign presence.  Looking around, she realized that the Jaffa must have taken her with them.  Surprised to find herself in the lushly furbished room, instead of a cell, slowly sat up on the bed.  She wasn't completely surprised to find herself in new clothes, but still unnerved that someone had undressed her while she was unconscious.

A soft sound drew Buffy's attention back to the presence she had felt upon waking up.  A boy about eighteen walked softly towards her.  He was dressed much the same Buffy now was, and remained hunched – as if trying to escape within himself.

"I've been sent to look at your wound," he said softly.

The blond slayer watched the boy's every move, but allowed him to check the wound.

"How long have I been here?" she asked curiously, feeling well rested for the first time in days.

"You were brought here two days ago; you've slept except for the few times you were awaken to be fed.  But I suppose you wouldn't remember that," the boy replied in his quiet manner.

"So what can you tell me about this place?"

"This is the palace of our god, Balor."

"That's all you can tell me?" Buffy asked.

"I am only a slave," he said in a self-depreciating way, moving away to stand in the middle of the room.

"Oh, cause I thought with you being a Goa'uld and all, you would know more.  My mistake," Buffy remarked sarcastically.  The boy's eyes flashed gold, and the voice took on new depths and authority.

"There is no way you could have been told that – which means you either have the technology or ability to sense me. Jaffa !"

As if by magic, two Jaffa appeared before the boy.

"Bring her."

The two grabbed the Slayer roughly by the arms and dragged her along as they followed the Goa'uld.

I have got to learn to keep these smart-ass remarks to myself .

Chapter 10 – Uncertainty

The atmosphere in the briefin room was tense as Major Carter began her presentation.  The other members of SG-1, as well as Hammond , Ferretti, and Jacob Carter occupied the room. 

“As far as we’ve been able to discover so far is that the wormhole didn’t travel to the co-ordinates indicated during the dialling sequence,” Carter began, but was interrupted by O’Neill’s “duh” – who was then glared into silence by Hammond .  Carter eyed the staring contest between her two superiors nervously and continued on with the presentation.

“We have, however, been able to track the progress of the wormhole.  I haven’t been able to determine how, yet, but the wormhole was redirected to another location.”

Behind Carter, the graph of planets and known Stargates changed and focused on a particular planet with the bold lettering – PX381 – above. 

“Sir, this planet wasn’t part of our database of known working Stargates.  There is no way the computer got the co-ordinates from our database – which means either they were dialled at random – which is highly unlikely – or some unknown force inputted the co-ordinates.”

“Have you been able to determine who that might be yet?” Hammond asked, concerned.

Carter shook her head.

“Sorry, sir.  I’ve run every kind of test I could think of – I can’t find any evidence of tampering or how the computer started dialling on its own.”

“As fascinating as all this is, I’m more concerned about my daughter on a planet we know nothing about,” Jack pointed out.

“We know about it,” Selmak inputted, eyes glowing to indicate the symbiote was speaking.  “We call the planet Jorva and it’s controlled by a Goa’uld called Balor…”

“The Celtic god of death,” Daniel informed everyone, then raised his hands in surrender and mouthed a ‘sorry’ at the glares.

“Little is known of this particular Goa’uld – except that even the System lords leave him alone.  He was a lesser lord until about five hundred years ago when he mysteriously gave up much of his territory – except for Jorva and a few of the surrounding planets.  All attempts to infiltrate any of his holding has failed – no operative has ever returned.”

Silence descended across the briefing room.

Willow walked into the library in search of Giles – not surprised to find him engrossed in a book.

“Giles…”

Giles’ head jerked up at the sound of his name, but relaxed when he saw Willow .

“Ah, Willow ,” Willow opened her mouth to speak but Giles continued on, “I have finally found a reference to the ‘Blood of the Universe’ Buffy mentioned.  Since she had spoken of a treaty between it and the Slayer, I decided to look through the Slayer Diaries.  A slayer during one of Egypt ’s early periods wrote of a treaty with the Essense or Guardian of the Universe.  She didn’t go into detail – in fact, her Watcher stated that the Slayer refused to talk about the treaty or whom it was with – except that the contract is bound to every Slayer as long as the line exists.  The Slayer hints that the being is incredibly powerful and I have been trying to find if any other Slayer has had contact with it…”

“Giles!”

The Watcher blinked rapidly at the anxious teenager.  For the first time, he took in her agitated state.

“ Willow , what’s wrong?”

“Well, last night I was trying to do a spell – a good spell, not bad spell because I know you don’t like me fooling around.  Not that I was just playing around because I was serious and I did a good job too, well not good because it didn’t work but it did but not because of me…”

“The point, Willow , if you please?”  Giles interjected – having become lost trying to follow the girl’s babbling.

“Buffy’s gone.”

“Yes, Willow, she has been gone for a while,” Giles said patiently, eyeing the teenager with concern.

“No!  I mean, I tried to a mind-link spell but it didn’t work.  Buffy’s not in Colorado ; I tried to find her but I couldn’t!” At this point Willow was near tears.

“Perhaps the spell simply didn’t work?” the Watcher asked gently, trying not to upset the girl further.

Willow shook her head.

“It worked when I tried it with someone else; Buffy’s gone!”

Giles tried his best to reassure Willow and sent her off to class.  He sat in his office and thought. Reaching into his desk, Giles pulled out an address book and dialled the phone.

“Yes, hello, I need to speak with a student immediately, it’s an emergency.”

“Buffy Sum…O’Neill.”

“General, you can’t be considering not sending a team!” O’Neill shouted, disregarding the fact that he was being insubordinate to a superior officer.  The others looked between the two nervously.

“Colonel, how do I explain to the President that a civilian – who should have no knowledge of the Stargate – navigated several levels to the Gateroom and jumped through an open Gate.”

Hammond softened slightly.

“Jack, I know you’re worried about your daughter.  But I cannot authorize a rescue mission until I find out how Buffy knew where the gate was and what possessed her to jump through it.  There are two many unanswered questions for me to endanger my men.”

Jack opened his mouth to say something, but Teal’c beat him to it.

“I believe I may have the answer to that, GeneralHammond.”

The two senior officers stared at the Jaffa .

“Well?” Hammond prompted.

“When JacobCarter and I entered the room, BuffyONeill said, ‘Two people – one body’ when she met JacobCarter, and then ran.”

Everyone stared at the former First Prime in disbelief.

“Are you sure that’s what you heard?” Daniel asked sceptically.

“I heard it too.  Then she just took off like her life depended on it,” Jacob offered in support of Teal’c.

“She knew Teal’c was different,” Ferretti contributed – against his better judgement.  He knew that Hammond needed some incentive to go after the Slayer – and the demon found he rather liked the small Slayer.  Most Slayers were nothing but fighting machines – trained only to fight and die – but Buffy was different and the demon found himself rather fond of her.

“So, she knows about Jaffa and Goa’uld,” Daniel ventured but Ferretti shook his head.

“No.  She just said he ‘felt’ different – dangerous.  I told her it was because he’s so big,” Ferretti lied.

“If it’s true that there are humans with the natural ability to sense the symbiote, it would be a valuable discovery,” Carter said, glancing at the Colonel.

Hammond was silent for a moment.

“Very well, you have a go.”

Everyone left the room to get ready but the General motioned for the Colonel to stay.

“Colonel, I’m letting you go – against my better judgement – mainly because I suspect that there’s nothing I can do to stop you, and I don’t want to have to court martial my second-in-command.  Just remember there are a lot of mysteries and coincidences surrounding your daughter.”

Jack nodded and quickly left the room.

Great, what else could go wrong? Jack thought, as a sergeant raced up to his side.

“Sir, there is a phone call for you – the man said his name was Rupert Giles, and he needs to speak with you immediately.”

For crying out loud!  Murphy, get the hell off my back!

Chapter 11 – Survival

Great, can’t they at least put pretty pictures in here? Staring at the same white surface is getting boring.

Buffy groaned as the lid to the sarcophagus opened and the light assaulted her eyes. The Slayer had lost count on how many times she had been put into the coffin, and the novelty of ‘dying and coming back to life again’ had quickly worn off.

She was especially getting tired of the whole dying part.

Two Jaffa grabbed her roughly by the arms and dragged her back to the Experimentation Room. The young boy who had been her caretaker stood watching her arrival with a smug grin. Never before had he had a specimen such as her to work with. Resilience to extreme temperatures; able to function without food and water for long periods of time; and the most fascinating aspect, able to detect Goa’uld that don’t contain naquuada.

The smile faltered slightly as he remembered his lord’s wishes.

I want more just like her.

A simple command, but the Goa’uld had no idea how to achieve it. As far as his tests indicated, there was nothing on a genetic level to differentiate this human from any other. The subject also refused to answer any questions about her home planet, or her particular talents.

There was, however, still an option left.

The Goa’uld instructed the Jaffa to tie the subject to the examination table, face down. The girl went passively, having learnt from previously experiences that even if she killed the two Jaffa holding her, there was no way she could defeat the hundreds in the compound.

Buffy felt the familiar feel of cold metal on her skin, and tensed. She wondered what they could do to her next – but no matter what she expected she was never prepared for what the boy would think of.

This time was no different.

She heard footsteps and the Slayer turned her heard to try and see what the boy was up to. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Goa’uld wasn’t about to hide the details of the latest experiment from his patient. Carrying a container, the boy brought it up to eye level for the girl to see.

Buffy gasped as she recognized the creature as the same kind that had attacked her the first night she arrived on this planet. The Slayer began to struggle in earnest as she realized what the Goa’uld had in mind.

The boy chuckled at her struggles – knowing it was useless, and enjoying the terror of his subject.

Buffy felt a sharp pain at the back of her neck and the nausea overwhelmed her as she literally felt the symbiote worm its way into her. The pain stopped suddenly, and the Slayer didn’t think it was a good sign. In fact, it was an indication that the symbiote had already taken control of some of her synapses.

Slowly, on the edge of her consciousness, Buffy felt the symbiote’s presence. As it gained in strength, she idly wondered if this was what it felt for Angel with the demon inside of him. The thought of becoming like Angelus sharpened Buffy’s thoughts and she began to concentrate on destroying the Goa’uld inside her.

The boy frowned, as his instruments began to indicate that the host body was attacking the symbiote. Making a quick decision, the Goa’uld injected the girl with a sedative. Buffy felt the prick on her arm, and though she struggled, she succumbed to the drug.

Buffy surveyed her surroundings with surprise – recognizing the cemetery. What am I doing in Sunnydale, she thought, the last thing I remember was…

Suddenly the memories of the last few days came flooding back to her, and Buffy realized that this was all a dream.

“Not just a dream…it’s so much more,” a silky voice spoke. Startled, the Slayer turned around to see Angelus, eyeing her greedily. “It’s going to be your home for a very long time.”

Buffy growled softly and attacked the vampire – at least, that was her intent. Looking at her legs, the Slayer was surprised to find that she could no longer move. Struggling desperately against the unknown force holding her, Angelus only laughed at her futile efforts.

“It would do no good to struggle, I am the master here.”

“You’re the Goa’uld,” Buffy realized, “This is all in my head.”

Angelus grinned with superiority as his host ceased her struggles. He began to move forward when a fire broke out in front of him. He staggered back in shock, looking at his host through the flames.

The Slayer looked at the parasite, and slowly began to walk towards him – stalking her prey. Suddenly, the Goa’uld felt for the first time fear, watching his host make her way towards him. He tried to run, but his body would not move; he could only watch helpless as she walked unharmed through the flames.

“This is all in my head – which means this is my world. And in my world…”

Buffy turned her head towards the horizon, and the Goa’uld followed her gaze.

“…vampires are allergic to daylight.”

The sun rose covering the two figures in light – for the brief second before the second figure turned to ash.

The Goa’uld watched in amazement as the symbiote disintegrated before his eyes. For a while, it looked like the symbiote had control over the host body (which had ceased its attacks on the foreign entity) then suddenly it just…died. There was no sign of toxins in the host body – the patient had successfully rejected the Goa’uld…and the boy had no idea how it was done.

He looked down at the girl, who was now sleeping peacefully, trying to ignore the sudden chill of premonition that shot through his soul.

Buffy was mildly surprised to wake up to something other than the lid of the coffin – not that she was going to complain. Of course, waking up in a cell wasn’t that great either. Seeing the patient was awake, the boy quickly ordered the Jaffa to shackle the Slayer. Curious, Buffy offered no resistance as she and her ‘escorts’ followed the Goa’uld scientist. There was something different about her torturer today; it took Buffy moment to realize that he hadn’t spoken to her once since she had regained consciousness.

No smug remarks, condescending tones, or probing questions.

The Slayer inhaled slightly and smirked, as she smelled the fear coming from the big, bad Goa’uld.

So my little display yesterday freaked him out, huh? She thought with amusement.

The Goa’uld lead them to an area of the palace that Buffy had never been before. Though all areas were decorated extravagantly (except the cells), this new area was almost gaudy with its display of riches.

I guess I’m worthy enough to be meeting the head huncho – yeah, me.

They passed through to large doorways and the Slayer looked up to see a dark-haired young man sitting upon a thrown. She frowned as she realized that not only was it a Goa’uld, but he felt like the one within Teal’c. That meant he had…what was it called…naqie something…in his system.

But I thought the Goa’uld on this planet didn’t have naqie whatever in their systems.

“So this is the female that has delighted my top scientist for so long.”

For once, Buffy wisely kept her mouth shut; obviously a newfound trait given the Goa’uld scientist’s suspicious glances in her direction. She ignored him, all her senses trained on the Goa’uld before her. Never before had she come across one that all her senses screamed at her to kill. Also…there was something else, on the edge of her senses…not dangerous per se, but…something familiar…

“And apparently, impossible to duplicate or control as a host,” the Goa’uld continued, “No matter. I am Balor, your God, and you will obey me, or die.”

“Why don’t you step inside my head and do it yourself?” Buffy asked before she could stop herself. The guard on her right shot his fist into her stomach and she doubled over. The ‘god’ chuckled and descended form his thrown and walked down towards the Slayer. She looked up and Balor was amused to find that even now, there was no trace of fear in her eyes.

“I could do so easily, and make no mistake, you would not be able to destroy me like the young Goa’uld from before. But that would be a waste of your…talents. You’re much more valuable to me as you are. In fact, I offer you the position of First Prime, since you have robbed me of my previous one.”

Despite herself, Buffy found herself tempted by the offer. Sensing his advantage, Balor pressed onwards.

“You would be commander of all that is mine; second only to myself. Whatever you want would be yours; all you need do is what you were obviously made for. Fight. Kill. Conquer. What else could you possibly need that I could not provide?”

Balor smiled triumphantly as the girl before him grew quiet, her eyes boring into the floor. So intent on her, that he didn’t notice the Ribbon device on his hand glow briefly. A moment later the girl looked up and smiled.

“Freedom.”

Growling, Balor activated the ribbon device and keeled over in pain. Dimly, she heard him yell, “Yield!”

To which she responded, “No.”

The device activated again and Buffy could no longer control the scream that ripped through her throat. She was no longer in the palace, or that planet – but in a world made up entirely of pain. In those seconds that stretched an eternity, she heard a voice.

“Slayer, accept.”

“Who?”

“We have waited so long, do not surrender now. Accept.”

The single voice grew in strength and now was accompanied by others. Thousands of voices echoed through her mind – some angry, some tired, some sad, and some hopeful.

“I can’t do it!”

“You can. We have for centuries…we do it now.”

The pain suddenly stopped and Buffy was in the palace again. She panted trying to regain her bearings and looked up at Balor once more. He held his palm out once more, and the ribbon device began to glow.

“I ask you one last time – serve or die?”

You can. We have for centuries…we do it now.

Buffy stared at the stone in wonder, finally recognizing it. The Blood of the Universe…

In that moment, the link formed between the Slayer line and the Blood of the Universe thousands of years ago opened completely. She heard their tears as they were forced to kill, when their duty was to protect. Felt their anger towards those who used them against their will, even those who did so unknowingly. And she now saw them glow in hope; the Slayer has come to fulfill the treaty made by her predecessor.

To set them all free.

All she had to do was say one word.

“So, child what is your answer?”

And become that which she had always fought against.

“Yes.”

Faith collapsed on to her bed, exhausted from a full night of slaying and dancing. Idly, she glanced at her phone and wondered if her sister slayer had tried to phone her today. Even though she wouldn’t admit it to anyone else, she missed the little slayer. The two weren’t exactly friends, but in other ways they were more than that.

This was her last thought as she drifted off into sleep.

Faith walked through the palace hallways, the sound of her boots echoing as she made her way towards the large doors. The Slayer opened them, and there, sitting on the steps in front of a throne, sat Buffy. The other Slayer was dressed simply in black and gold shirt and pants, but the clothes were obviously expensive, even to Faith’s eyes. Buffy rose slowly with Slayer grace and turned to her counterpart.

A gasp escaped Faith’s throat as she saw a Gold Emblem on her sister slayer’s forehead.

“Shit, B, what happened?”

The older Slayer didn’t respond verbally, but smiled sadly. She reached for her belt and pulled forth a knife – throwing it at the other Slayer who caught it easily.

“B, wha…?”

Before Faith could finish the sentence Buffy was on her – the two knives screaming as they hit one another. The blonde slayer charged forward, leaving Faith only able to defend. After trading blows, Faith finally managed to get the upper hand and held her knife to Buffy’s throat. Faith’s confused eyes searched Buffy’s sad ones for an answer.

“Why?”

“When the time comes, I need to know that you can do it if it needs done.”

“Do what?”

“Kill me.”

Faith awoke in a cold sweat, her heart hammering wildly. Immediately, she knew this wasn’t just a nightmare – it was a shared dream. Her right hand twitched involuntarily and the Slayer looked at it – still feeling the weight of the knife and hearing Buffy’s last words.

Kill me.

Chapter 12 – Reunion

Faith stared out at the scenery vacantly as the car sped its way down the Colorado highway. Giles and her were the only occupants of the car since Willow and Xander couldn’t convince their parents to let them take a trip down to Colorado during the school year. Though it had taken some manoeuvring on Giles’ part, he had managed to get a week’s vacation time. As for Faith…it was not as if she had anyone that would miss her if she simply picked up and left.

The morning after the dream, Faith had walked into the Library to find that Giles was already making preparations to get to Colorado . She wasn’t surprised to hear the Giles had been unable to contact Buffy, and her farther was given him the run-around. Faith mentioned the Slayer dream but only said that she knew Buffy was in danger – she didn’t tell them about the rest of it. About Buffy having a Gold Emblem on her forehead.

Or telling Faith to kill her.

Faith didn’t quite understand Giles’ talk about the Blood of the Universe, or Willow babbling about spells and Buffy disappearing but the dark Slayer did know that her sister Slayer was in serious trouble. The last two weeks had been hard on the dark Slayer and daily she tried to reach Buffy through their Slayer connection. But Faith all felt was sadness and a growing darkness.

So here they were, heading off to save the day. Yippee ki-fucking-ki-a.

Jack O’Neill grinned as he shifted his gear. It had taken several weeks of preparations to get ready for the mission – especially after receiving several warnings from the Tok’ra about how ‘ill-advised the mission was’. The mission had been delayed several times because of reports that Balor’s military were mobilizing. The Tok’ra were extremely concerned because Balor had made no overt power moves for the last five hundred years. But the rise of a possible new Goa’uld power didn’t dissuade Jack from what he considered his true mission – getting Buffy. No matter the warnings Hammond had given him, Jack didn’t think Buffy was part of the NID or a Goa’uld spy and he was anxious to find his daughter – hopefully, still in one piece. Although they had only known each other for a few weeks, the two of them had clicked right away. Jack had been happier than he had been since…well, in a long time.

And he planned on getting that back.

Getting her back.

Jack met up with the rest of his team outside the Gateroom and together they entered, surprised to find Jacob waiting for them.

“Come to wish us luck?” Jack asked and the Tok’ra smiled.

“Come to join you. You’re going to need all the help you can get.”

“And…?” Jack asked knowingly.

“…and the Tok’ra want to see first hand what Balor is up to.”

“Still glad to have you with us.”

The two men shook hands and turned to the Observation Room where Hammond was watching. The General leaned forward and spoke into the mike.

“Good luck, SG-1, you have a go.”

O’Neill saluted and SG-1 and Jacob headed through the now open gate.

Within seconds they found themselves thousands of light-years away from Earth. Quickly, they surveyed the area for danger but found nothing. Using hand signals, they moved towards the trees, trying to use what cover they could. They weaved their way through the trees carefully, and within minutes they heard a rustling of leaves. Immediately, the team hid and seconds later a troop of Jaffa walked by. An hour later they had made their way to what appeared to be the main compound, barely escaping detection of five separate patrols.

O’Neill grabbed his binoculars and whistled softly as he saw the number of Jaffa troops. Silently, he handed them over to Sam Carter who let out a soft ‘wow’.

“So…how exactly are we going to get from here to there?” Daniel asked innocently, and ignored the glare the Jack gave him in return.

“Oh, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

Jack turned at the unfamiliar voice and everything went black

Jack’s groan alerted his team mates to his conscious state; though he was really wishing he could stay unconscious for a littler long – the pain in his head was killing him. Sam and Daniel slowly helped him to sit up and he carefully opened his eyes to survey their surroundings.

Great, in a jail cell --- again.

“What the hell happened?”

“A team of Goa’uld found us and knocked you out, sir,” Sam said, looking into Jack’s eyes trying to see if he had a concussion.

“We proceeded to do to battle but in doing so drew the attention of the Jaffa , ColonelONeill.”

Jack slowly got to his feet.

“It’s not you’re fault, Teal’c, there’s no way you could have fought of hundred off Jaffa .” Jack saw Jacob and Teal’c share a troubled glance, “What?”

“Even if the numbers had been less, I do not believe I would have been able to defeat them.”

This statement shocked Jack, who had never heard Teal’c speak of being defeated, other than when he was talking about his training with his mentor, Bra’tac.

“They didn’t fight like Jaffa , sir,” Carter said, noting the colonel’s disbelief at Teal’c’s statement. The disbelieving look changed to one of confusion.

“They were using several different fighting styles – including those that I’ve only ever seen on Earth,” Jacob said, then his eyes flashed, “Indeed, I have never seen Jaffa fight as these did.”

Listening to Selmak brought another thought to Daniel.

“Um, guys, how did those Goa’uld get the jump on us anyways,” at the confused looks he elaborated, “What I mean to say is, can’t you guys sense each other? So…why didn’t you?”

The question surprised the Carters, and Teal’c raised an eyebrow at the archaeologist’s astute question. With horror and understand, Carter thought she knew the answer.

“P3X-888”

“What does that have to do with it?” Daniel asked in confusion.

“Everything. That planet contained proto-Goa’uld that had no naquuada in their systems so when they possessed a host neither Teal’c nor I could sense their presence. Dad, you said that no Tok’ra has ever been able to infiltrate Balor’s holdings…so what if that’s because most of them have a naquuada-free symbiote, and the one’s that don’t are used to detect Goa’uld or Tok’ra spies. That’s why those Goa’uld were able to ambush us.”

“And the only way this system would hold up, would be if it was completely shut off from other Goa’uld systems,” Jacob remarked, stunned at what they had discovered. “But, now we have reports that Balor is mobilizing…”

“So what’s changed,” Daniel finished.

Their conversation was interrupted as they heard approaching footsteps. Half a dozen Jaffa approached the cells and spread out. Opening the cage, one gestured for the prisoners to exist. For a moment, Jack contemplated trying to make a break for it, but realized that even if they defeated these Jaffa there was no way they could take on the army outside. So the prisoners were escorted through the fortress until they reached what was obviously the throne room.

Balor regarded his captives for a moment, then his eyes widened in recognition.

“Well, well, well…if it isn’t the infamous SG-1 -- and a Tok’ra no less.”

Okay, a power hungry Goa’uld has us captured and knows who we are, definitely not a good thing , Jack thought because opening his mouth, “I think you’ve got us confused with someone else, we’re just tourists.”

Jack groaned as the Jaffa guarding him kicked his left knee.

Why do they always have to go for the knees?

Buffy watched the two Jaffa spar with a critical eye, every now and then shouting out instructions and advice when their technique became sloppy. The Slayer was just happy that the Jaffa were quick learners – she had lost her voice the first few days of training from the all the yelling she had to do.

Almost immediately after agreeing to be Balor’s First Prime, the Slayer had gone through the process of obtaining ‘the shiny gold tattoo’ on her forehead. To say that having liquid gold poured on to your forehead hurt would be an understatement – though privately Buffy admitted that it did look kind of cool. Now that she knew what the Emblem meant, she wondered what “god” Teal’c had been First Prime to and what had happened to the Goa’uld. She also wondered if she would ever get to ask him that question.

Those kinds of thoughts will only depress you, Slayer.

Buffy grimaced as the all too familiar voice echoed in her mind, and glared down at the Ribbon device on her hand. It had taken some doing, but she had managed to convince Balor to give her a Ribbon device – who was astonished when she was able to use it despite having no naquuada in her system. Not that she could tell him it was because the stone that powered the device, known as the Blood of the Universe, was sentient and had decided that she would be the saviour of its race and so in actuality it was the device working itself.

That would just be silly.

Erias, I can think depressing thoughts if I want to – you guys are the ones that got me into this mess in the first place.

Turning her attention back to her troops, she winced as she watched one Jaffa attempting – using the term very loosely – to mimic boxing. Buffy had informed Balor that if she was going to be his First Prime and in charge of the troops, they were going to learn to fight in a way that wasn’t going to get most of them killed. She had been astonished that the idea of taking cover was an alien concept. So she had spent the last few weeks teaching them different martial arts and basic tactics so they could function without her always having to order them about. Although, the Slayer had to admit that for only having a few weeks to learn multiple different fighting techniques the Jaffa weren’t doing too bad. The main reason for this being that the Jaffa feared and worshipped the tiny warrior.

The tale of how, half dead and delirious with fever, the new First Prime had defeated the old with ease had spread among the troops. They knew how she had withstood torture without surrendering or breaking, and they saw how, even now, she continued to defy and test the patience of Balor, their God. Now she taught them to fight as she did, and they threw themselves into practice with the same conviction they used when serving their Lord. A rumour had begun amongst the troops, and quickly it was becoming a legend, that their First Prime was the daughter of a God. Rather than being upset by this talk, Balor was amused by the way his Jaffa were becoming to worship his First Prime. After all, she still was nothing more than human – a rather unique one, of course – but still only human and nothing to be feared.

Ending training for the day, Buffy noticed one of Balor’s private guards standing not far off. Curiously, she walked over and the Jaffa gave a small bow.

“Our lord requests your presence in the Throne Room immediately.”

Buffy frowned slightly, but nodded and dismissed the Jaffa with a wave of the hand.

I wonder what this is about – he usually waits until I’ve cleaned myself up before drilling me on the troop’s progress.

Walking towards the Fortress, Buffy realized that Erias was being unusually quiet.

Do you know something I don’t? Did Tobis tell you something?

Although Buffy was able to still maintain a psychic link with the Blood of the Universe, she was only able to do so with those physical close to her. However, the Blood could communicate with each other no matter where they are, so she was able to spy on Balor without the worry of being caught. It also meant that when they went into battle – and from what Tobis has heard would be soon – she would be able to know almost every detail of her enemy’s strategy.

Well?

By this point Buffy had made her to outside the Throne Room and stopped and waited for an answer.

You have sworn to help us defeat the Goa’uld and set us free.

It was spoken like a statement, but it sounded like a question. Anger flared in Buffy at the thought that Erias and Tobis might doubt her.

Are you guys fucking kidding me? I am currently serving a false god and training his troops to be better killers so we can go and kill other people, including innocent ones, and daily I torture and belittle and basically act like a god myself and the fact that I’m starting to like it is sort of freaking me out and all this I’m doing for some purpose that no one has explained to me yet and you are questioning my loyalty! Buffy raged inside her mind. She could feel their contrition but now she could still feel their fear.

Forgive me, she heard Tobis say and before she could wonder what he meant the doors to the Throne Room opened and she watched as her glorious God used the Ribbon Device to cause her father to scream out in agony.

Chapter 13 - Torture

Buffy stared at the scene before her; she noticed the way the blood flowed across the floor in various patterns; the grinning face of her ‘god’ as he listened to the screaming as if it were a symphony; the beautiful glow of Tobis as the air rippled before it and the red from the stone floated across the waves. She noticed all these things, but the scene still didn’t make sense. Her mind wouldn’t let her understand that she was watching her father being tortured in front of her eyes.

But her mind could only protect her for so long, and as she processed what she was seeing Buffy knew she should be screaming, or crying, or fighting.

Something.

Anything.

Instead the Slayer stood and watched in silence until Jack could no longer scream and fell gasping to the floor. Having momentarily lost interest in his new toy, Balor noticed Buffy standing just inside the doorway.

“Ah, Buffy, I have a new toy for you,” Balor said, gesturing for his First Prime to stand by his side. The other members of SG-1 gasped, and seeing his daughter stand beside the Goa’uld as his First Prime sent Jack over the chasm into unconsciousness. Buffy carefully kept her face neutral; part of her safety lied in the fact that Balor had no one to threaten her with – no family, friends, or allies. If Balor knew that Jack was her father…

Buffy looked at Balor and resisted the urge to break his neck – mostly because Erias was chanting please, don’t repeatedly in her mind. She kept her eyes on Balor as much as possible, knowing she wouldn’t be able to go through the charade if she looked at her father lying hurt on the floor.

“Jeez, an old, broken one. How neat,” Buffy drawled sarcastically. On the back of her neck, the Slayer could feel the heated gazes of SG-1.

Balor chuckled.

“No, my dear. This one,” he said, pointing to Jacob, “is a Tok’ra. I want you to learn to be able to sense the difference between it and a Goa’uld.”

Not sensing any difference between it and Balor, Buffy leaned in for a closer look. Buffy started as she recognized him from Earth.

This is the one who sent my Slayer senses into overdrive, which ended up landing me here! What the hell was a Snakehead doing on Earth, and at the SGC?

He is a Tok’ra; they’re a group that separated from the Goa’uld and pride themselves on sharing with their hosts instead of controlling them. Can you sense any difference? Erias asked.

No, but that doesn’t make a difference. I’ll give you one guess as to what Balor expects my answer to be.

“Of course, my lord.” The Slayer hesitated for a moment, and then asked, “May I take him to the training compound, as well as the Jaffa ?”

Balor, who had returned to sit on his thrown, frowned and asked, “For the Tok’ra, yes – but why do you want the Jaffa ?”

“People who are ready to be martyrs are often unwilling to watch others be sacrifices or tortured because of them. And a Jaffa will be able to stand longer and more torture than these others,” Buffy said casually, knowing it was true in her case. An impressed smile graced the Goa’uld’s face and he ordered several Jaffa to escort the two away.

Turning his attention back to his other prisoners immediately, he failed to notice the hesitation from his Jaffa as they looked to the First Prime for confirmation. Discreetly, the Slayer nodded and held up two fingers – indicating she wanted her second-in-command to be notified. The Jaffa bowed deeply and carried the Tok’ra and Jaffa away. The exchange was done so subtly that it went unnoticed by everyone – except one.

Daniel groaned as the Jaffa tossed him unceremoniously to the floor of his cage. At that moment, he envied Jack for being unconscious – though the older man was probably going to be waking to a massive headache. Luckily, Balor seemed uninterested in torturing him or Sam if Jack wasn’t awake to watch so the three were sent back to their cages.

The archaeologist watched as Sam checked Jack for any other injuries, and wondered how Jack was going to react to Buffy being Balor’s First Prime. He frowned at the thought. Why make a teenage human female First Prime? The only reason the man could think of was that Teal’c’s claim that Buffy was able to sense Goa’uld was true. But that didn’t make any sense, since it was something all Goa’uld’s could do, or anyone who has had a Goa’uld within them, unless…

“Sam, you said that these Goa’uld are like the ones we found on PX-888, right?”

Finishing making Jack as comfortable as possible, Sam sat back and looked at Daniel.

“Right. With the exception of Balor, I wasn’t able to sense any Goa’uld presence. Why?”

“If Buffy can really sense a Goa’uld without having any naquuada in her system, it stands to reason she’ll be able to sense Goa’ulds that don’t have naquuada. That could be why Balor made her his First Prime.”

Thinking a moment before speaking, Sam answered, “It’s possible. But why make her his First Prime? Even if she agreed willingly, why not just have her as a spy?”

“Do you think she’s doing this willingly?” Daniel asked; casting a side-glance at Jack to make sure the Colonel was still unconscious. Sam also did a quick Colonel-check before answering.

“I don’t know. She didn’t seem to be bothered by watching Balor torture the Colonel – but she also didn’t mention that she knew us. She might even be Goa’uld and there would be no way for us to know without an examination.”

The conversation and its implications were momentarily forgotten as they heard a groaning sound and turned to see the Colonel blinking his eyes, and holding his head.

“You know, someday I would like to go on a mission that doesn’t involve me being stabbed, tortured, or kicked in the knees.”

“Welcome back, Jack, how you feeling?” Daniel asked, as the Colonel slowly sat up.

“Oh, never better Danny. Now, this could be the concussion talking, but did I see Buffy in the throne room with the resident top Snakehead?”

Sam and Daniel exchanged worried glances, but before either of them could answer the doors opened revealing several Jaffa . As the Jaffa stopped in front of the cage, Jack groaned as he saw a knife in one of their hands.

“Oh, for crying out loud!”

Buffy walked amongst the various Jaffa as they practiced their drills. On the outside she appeared calm, but inside she was seething and using several words she had learned from Faith. She just wasn’t sure who she was the most mad at; the PTB for sending her here; the Blood of the Universe for deciding when she was the Slayer they would get off their lazy butts and call for help; Balor for torturing her own father before her eyes; or her father for being stupid enough to follow her in the first place.

Slayer, you’re not planning on doing something monumentally stupid, are you? Erias asked nervously, as it listened to the cursing Slayer.

No, of course, not -- what makes you think that? It’s not like I have a history of doing stupid things, like, oh, I don’t know…agreeing to come halfway across the universe to help a bunch of stones stage a revolution.

Erias wisely decided that it would be best if it kept quiet.

Buffy entered the training compound, and was glad to see her second-in-command, Gawain, already waiting for her. She gestured for him to follow and they entered the guarded room. The room was spacious, despite the many weapons. It was Buffy’s personal training area where she worked one-on-one with the various Jaffa . Jacob and Teal’c were both bound to chairs, slightly facing each other.

Slowly, the First Prime examined first Teal, and then Jacob – trying to differentiate between the symbiotes.

Nothing.

Already she suspected that it wouldn’t be possible; it’s like trying to tell the difference between a good demon and a bad demon by sight alone. Often, it was actions that determined who the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ were. But it didn’t matter what the reality was if Balor wanted something different.

Grabbing a chair for herself, Buffy sat down backwards, looking over the back of the chair at the two captives. She rested her chin on the chair and began to think.

If you got any bright ideas, now would be the time to start, Buffy told Erias.

I’m not sure I can be of help to you, Slayer.

Great, NOW you don’t have any advice, or nagging, she replied sarcastically. You can at least tell me about these Tokie-whatevers.

Erias glowed slightly in amusement. For the first time the captives noticed that Buffy was wearing the Ribbon device. Teal’c raised his eyebrow and turned a questioning glance to Jacob. The Tok’ra concentrated on the girl, but couldn’t feel any Goa’uld presence – and it was impossible to operate the Ribbon device without naquuada in your system. Jacob turned back to Teal’c and shook his head almost imperceptibly.

Almost.

Buffy noticed the exchange and turned to Gawain. The Jaffa was standing waiting for her orders, having grown used to her long periods of silence – though he didn’t know about Erias.

“Gawain, let’s see how different a Jaffa and Tok’ra can take a little pain,” she said, looking Gawain in the eye. ‘A little pain’ had become a codeword between them; inflict just enough pain to satisfy Balor but not enough to permanently injure. What Buffy didn’t know was that the other Jaffa had figured it out, and her mercy and defiance to Balor were being added to her legend.

What were talking about again?

The Tok’ra. They are a Goa’uld who have decided to exist in balance with their hosts – rather than dominate them. They are a rather small group, since most Goa’uld would rather rule than share. Despite ethical differences, the Tok’ra ARE Goa’uld.

But they’re the good guys, right? What with the whole ‘I don’t plan on ruling the universe’.

Erias was silent for a moment.

I’m sensing some bad history here, Buffy guessed, wincing silently as the knife sliced through Teal’s skin.

The Goa’uld weren’t always as they are now; they were our partners in protecting the universe. As were the other great races – the Furlings, the Asguard, the Ancients, and the Nox.

So what happened?

Many things…but mostly arrogance; the Ancients ascended in hopes that they would be able to better protect the universe; the Nox embraced the path of pacifism and would no longer fight; the Goa’uld tried to gain power to protect, and it corrupted them; and the Asguard have doomed themselves trying to replace the others.

Another cry broke through their conversation, and Buffy waited a moment before replying.

So how did you go from being partners to slaves?

When the Ancients ascended, they chose to no longer affect the physical realm directly. The Nox saw us as ‘devices’ of destruction, and we broke contact, and over time they forgot about us. We cut ties with the Goa’uld long before they had achieved success with the sarcophagus, so all we are to them are Ribbon devices. The naquuda that has built up in their systems is used to create a reaction within us that causes a great deal of pain, and prevents us from resisting.

What about the Asguard, couldn’t they have helped?

After having our allies betray or abandon us, we were reluctant to trust those that were left. By the time we were willing, the Goa’uld had accumulated enough naquuada in their systems to control us. Like the rest, we were forgotten…until we made contact with your predecessor and made the pact.

So you think the Tok’ra will follow the same path of the Goa’uld?

Perhaps.

Buffy refocused on her surroundings and grimaced as she saw the blood-soaked figures before her. Gawain casually drove a knife through Jacob’s shoulder and the Tok’ra screamed out in pain. Buffy frowned and sat up slowly.

“Gawain, stab him again.”

The Jaffa looked at his First Prime curiously, but dutifully stabbed the Tok’ra again. Again, the man screamed and Buffy listened carefully. A grin split across her face, and she quickly strode out of the room and grabbed the first Goa’uld she found. Dragging the protesting alien into the room, she grabbed a nearby sword and drove it into his shoulder.

The Goa’uld roared in pain.

Patting the injured alien on his uninjured shoulder, she shoved him out the door and turned back inside with a triumphant smirk. She strolled up to Jacob and leaned in an inch from his face.

“Say something.”

Jacob looked at the girl and smiled.

“Go to hell.”

The Slayer tilted her head to the side and thought about it for a moment.

“Yeah, probably.”

Chapter 14 – Departure

The sound of their returning teammates woke the three members of SG-1 and they were just able to avoid their injured friends as they were tossed into the cage. Quickly, Jack checked Teal’c and Sam her father for any life-threatening injuries. Except for a lot of cuts, and a deep wound to Jacob’s shoulder, they didn’t have any wounds that were life threatening.

“Dad, what happened?” Sam asked anxiously, and Jack looked sharply at the Tok’ra who met his eyes for a moment before turning away.

“Buffy had one of her Jaffa torture us. She didn’t even look like she was paying any attention until she put a sword through the shoulder of some Goa’uld.”

“A Goa’uld? Why would she do that?” Daniel asked.

Jacob just shook his head tiredly.

“BuffyOniell seemed to be testing a theory,” Teal’c stated, his calm face belying the pain of his injuries. “I believe she is now able to tell the difference between a Tok’ra and a Goa’uld.”

“But, that’s impossible!” Sam explained as she tried to bandage her father’s shoulder.

“Perhaps. But Balor instructed her to find a way – and now she has let us go. I do not believe she would have risked Balor’s anger by releasing us before she had succeeded.”

“But she didn’t torture you herself?” Jack asked in a hopeful voice, trying to latch onto anything that might suggest that his daughter wasn’t lost to him.

“No, but she sure didn’t seem to mind it either,” Jacob replied angrily, and hissed as Sam tightened the bandage. “And if she really has figured out a way to tell the Tok’ra and Goa’uld apart, she won’t be needing us anymore. Which means we have got to get out of here.”

“Of course, ‘cause all we’ve got to do is break out of this cage, get past the dozens of guards in the palace, then get passed the thousands of Jaffa outside, navigate through the forest to the Stargate – which is probably guarded – and hold off any unexpected visitors long enough to dial out,” Jack said sarcastically.

“Well, at least we have a knife,” Daniel said optimistically, but quickly quieted under the Colonel’s fierce glare.

“Knife? How in the hell did you get a knife?” Jacob asked, as he watched Jack subtly draw the blade from his inside his shirtsleeve.

“It was the strangest thing,” Daniel replied, “A few Jaffa just came in, threw the knife on the ground and said ‘follow the light’. Then they left.”

“ ‘Follow the light’ – what the hell does that mean?” Jacob asked. Jack hid the knife back in his sleeve and shrugged.

“Perhaps it is a message from BuffyOneill,” Teal’c intoned. “In the throne room, I noticed that the Jaffa present waited for confirmation from BuffyOneill before they proceed to take us away.”

“Are you trying to tell me a teenage girl is trying to make a power play on a Goa’uld lord?” Jacob asked in disbelief.

“If she can sense Goa’uld, maybe she has other abilities we don’t know about?” Daniel suggested, glancing at Jack – unnerved by how quiet he had been for the last while. Jack wasn’t one to take bad news quietly. The Colonel noticed the look but chose to ignore it – and the conversation.

“Look, we need to get ourselves out of here. According to my watch we only a few hours left before our codes are deactivated and we can’t get home. The sun set a few hours ago, so at least we’ll have that to our advantage. All we need to do is figure out how to get out of these cages.”

They bandied ideas back and forth for an hour but still they were unsure of how to escape. The sound of footsteps caused them to go silent and they waited. The door opened and the same three Jaffa from the afternoon came in.

“The First Prime wishes to perform more experiments,” he said emotionlessly and opened the cage. Teal’c and Jacob rose to their feet and left the cage. The Jaffa turned his back on the prisoners and closed the cage door – but not entirely. Quickly taking advantage, Jack opened the door roughly and knocked the large Jaffa off his feet. Seeing his teammates’ movement, Teal tackled the closest Jaffa , grabbing his weapon and shooting the one guarding Jacob, as well as the two guards outside the door who came in to investigate the noise. Daniel and Sam quickly left the cage and headed for the door, but Jack held his knife to the throat of the Jaffa he had knocked to the floor.

“Where’s Buffy?” Jack answered calmly, but with a fierce edge to his voice that caused shivers in his teammates.

“Follow the light,” was all the Jaffa said. Contemplating for a moment of ‘returning’ the knife to the Jaffa , Jack turned to Teal’c and nodded. Understanding, the former First Prime fired and knocked the Jaffa unconscious. Jack grabbed his own weapon and the group quietly made their way out of the compound. Luckily, there were no troops doing makeovers and they made it to the forest line fairly quickly.

Hidden by the trees, they stopped to catch their breath. Jack looked at his watch and grimaced.

“We’ve got fifty minutes to figure out how to get Buffy and to the Stargate from here.”

“Maybe we should follow the light,” Daniel suggested, and then at Jack’s disgusted glare, pointed behind the Colonel. There in the darkness was a small point of light.

Teal’c raised his weapon and Jack said in a harsh whisper, “Lower that light so we can see your face, and we’ll lower our weapon.”

There was a pause, but the light went out and a Jaffa emerged from the brush. Teal’c eyebrow rose and Jacob cringed as they recognized the second-in-command of the First Prime, Gawain.

“Given your reputation, I thought you would have been able to escape on your own. Hurry, so that comrades sacrifices will not have been in vain.”

“Hey! We didn’t kill anybody,” Jack protested, “and if it’s so dangerous why are you doing this.”

Gawain regarded the human for a moment.

“When Balor finds out that you have escaped, they will be killed for their failure.”

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

Instead of answering, he tossed something to Jack who caught it instinctively. He looked at it, and was surprised when he recognized it.

“This looks like one of Old Doc Fraiser’s penlights. How the hell did you get this?”

The answer, surprisingly, didn’t come from Gawain.

“BuffyOneill.”

All heads turned to the former First Prime, who clarified his statement.

“Before she jumped through the Stargate, BuffyOneill stole one of DoctorFraiser’s pens to prevent her from using it.”

“You mean Buffy set all this up? Then where is she?”

“You’ll find out when we get to the Chapa’ai.”

This time Gawain didn’t wait for an answer, and simply stared walking. Given little choice, SG-1 followed and they quickly made their way through the forest. Ten minutes later they found themselves in front of the Stargate – which was thankfully unguarded. Having fulfilled his mission, Gawain turned to leave.

“Wait! I can’t leave without Buffy, you said she’d be here.”

Gawain turned back and said, “No, I said you found out when you got to the Chapa’ai – you now know she is not here.”

Jack raised his weapon and pointed it at the Jaffa .

“I’m not leaving without my daughter. Now you are going to tell me where she is, and together we are going to go and get her out of here.”

“I’m impressed you were able to find a way to distinguish between the Tok’ra and Goa’uld so quickly,” Balor said as he watched the Jaffa demonstrate their variety of new skills for their God. Buffy stood by his side, and kept her eyes on the fight.

“But, of course – after all, Goa’ulds are gods aren’t they,” she replied in a cheeky tone, knowing that it both amused and annoying the false god. Sure enough, Balor glared at her for moment, but it ended in a chuckle. The smile disappeared as he watched the victorious Jaffa spare his opponent and help him to his feet. The weak die – what was his Jaffa doing sparing his opponent?

“From what you’ve told me about our enemy, the more troops the better,” Buffy said quietly, having read the Goa’uld’s expression. Hiding his dissatisfaction, he nodded graciously to the next duelling pair. It was remarkable how quickly his First Prime had learned to read his mood and thoughts – and gain the respect of his troops. Distantly, he felt a twinge of nervousness but he dismissed it instantly.

How could a God be afraid of the power of a human child?

Their entertainment was interrupted by the arrival of several Jaffa . They quickly stepped before their God and kneeled. The Goa’uld’s eyes flashed and looked at them angrily.

“Why have you disturbed me?”

“I’m sorry, my lord, but the prisoners have escaped.”

Balor rose to his feet and thundered, “What? How could they have escaped? Who is responsible for this?”

The Jaffa seemed to sink within himself, and he took in a shuddering breath before he sentenced himself to die.

“I am.”

The Jaffa looked up in shock when the words he was about to utter came from the First Prime, still standing by her god. Balor turned his full anger on his First Prime, who waited patiently for him to finish his tirade. All of the Jaffa in the room watched entranced as Buffy remain unaffected by their God’s anger; they all knew she teased and pressed Balor, but they imagined she would face his ire so calmly and without a trace of fear.

“I wanted to play with your gift a little more, so I asked these three Jaffa to escort him to my training room. I thought three Jaffa would be able to handle an injured Jaffa and Tok’ra and three humans – apparently I underestimated the infamous SG-1.”

Balor stared at the girl for a moment; he took in her lack of fear of reprisal and nonchalant acceptance of the escape of the prisoners. Any other First Prime he would have killed in a second and have replaced. But he needed the girl – without her he wouldn’t be able to achieve his aims. As much as he hated the thought, it was still reality.

At the very least, he would have her punished.

Buffy coughed slightly, and winced as the slight movement caused her healing skin to rip. She had been tortured for several hours but in the long run she had gotten off lightly – she was still alive (and without the aid of the sarcophagus). She closed her eyes as she lay down in her bed and tried to keep the memory of the last few hours from her mind.

Balor grinned as he watched his First Prime try to gasp for breath. She was hanging off the ground; her arms were behind her as she hung from the ceiling by chains, most likely dislocating as time passed. This position put so much pressure of the chest, often prisoners suffocated rather than dying of their injuries. Blood dripped from her wrists and down her arms as the poorly constructed shackles cut through her skin. Because of the extensive testing, Balor knew that she could break through those chains and took it as a sign of his power and her loyalty that she chose not to.

“You are responsible for the loss of five prisoners – so you will receive a hundred lashes for each one.”

If Buffy could have moved, she would have cringed. Balor wasn’t very inventive as a torturer – preferring to kill rather than interrogate any foolish spies that attempted to visit the planet. But since he preferred to keep the ‘miracle’ of the sarcophagus to himself, his tortures rarely killed you.

Unfortunately.

“Count,” Balor said, and nodded to the Jaffa holding the nine-tails whip behind the strung Slayer.

“1...”

Buffy gasped slightly as she felt her skin rip at the touch of the whip and her vision went black for a moment at the pain. But her pride as a Slayer wouldn’t let her falter and she continued counting.

The Slayer wasn’t sure when she lost consciousness or even when she regained it. She blinked her eyes slowly, and looked around carefully. Balor was gone and she was alone, but without any windows she couldn’t be sure how long she was unconscious. As careful as she was, that slight movement caused Buffy to groan as pain seared through her back. Having been alerted to her waking status, the door opened and a Jaffa walked in but her mind was too fuzzy to make out his face.

Too tired to keep her eyes opened, Buffy felt the water jug pressed to her lips and she drank gratefully. Fighting, she opened her eyes and stared at her second-in-command.

“They’re off planet,” he assured her, having read the question in her eyes.

“Any trouble?” she whispered, her throat sore from screaming.

“Your father was adamant not to leave without you.”

Buffy winced, having hoped that Jack would keep quiet about being her father – it would be dangerous not only for her but for Jack. But what could she expect, that were she got the inability to keep her mouth shut from.

“You told him?”

“What you told me to; that you were only releasing them because you feared that they would kill Balor as they had done other Goa’uld, and that you didn’t want their allies hunting him down in retaliation for their deaths either.”

“Did he buy it?”

Gawain hesitated.

“I do not know; the Tau’ri are a strange people. I do not know if it was my words, or those of his comrades that convinced him to leave. Nonetheless they are gone,” Gawain paused for a moment, and then seemed to come to a decision, and continued, “your father…”

“Go,” Buffy interrupted, “before Balor comes back.”

Buffy sighed as the memories washed over her. There was nothing she wanted more than to wake up and find out everything was a dream and she was still in Colorado and her father was downstairs making breakfast. She wanted to get up and hug him and have him tease her about her appetite. And her father had been so close, but she hadn’t been able to talk to him, let alone touch and hug him.

But at least he was alive – even if he thought she was a Goa’uld or traitor or worse.

A knock on her door broke her out of her reverie, and an apologetic Jaffa entered the room. Buffy continued to lie on the bed, and simply raised an eyebrow at the intrusion.

“First Prime, Lord Balor has sent me to deliver a message.”

Buffy rose wearily to her feet, already knowing what the message was.

It was a call to war.

Chapter 15 – Meetings

Colonel Jack O’Neill was having a bad week. Scratch that – he was having a bad month. His daughter goes missing, turns either traitor or Goa’uld, and now Jack found himself, once again, in the pits of hell.

A goddamn meeting.

Featuring Jack’s all-time favourite annoying Tok’ra scientist, Anise.

“You cannot really believe that the girl has not been taken over by a Goa’uld?” Anise asked in confused condescension.

“We have evidence that she does possess an ability that other humans do not, who’s to say she doesn’t have more?” Carter asked politely. Awaiting the arrival of Bra’tac, Carter had just spent the last hour justifying to the Tok’ra her lack of progress on the problem with the Ribbon devices (despite the fact that Anise was unable to find the cause of the failures either). While the Tok’ra weren’t as dependent upon the device as the Goa’uld, the loss of a powerful healing device alone could prove detrimental. The Goa’uld were keeping the extent of the Ribbon failures under wraps; hopefully, Bra’tac would be able to give them a better estimate as to how widespread the problem was. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only crisis the SGC were dealing with.

“But if this girl does have the ability to sense Goa’uld, then whether she is a Host or not is irrelevant -- she must be captured and examined to see if we can’t duplicate the effect.”

“Hey!” Jack protested. “That’s my daughter you’re talking about dissecting.”

“Jack, I understand how you feel, however, if the girl is not only capable of detecting Goa’uld but also the difference between Tok’ra and Goa’uld this war may very well be lost,” Jacob Carter said meaningfully, glancing at his own daughter for a moment. Before the arrival of the Tau’ri, the Tok’ra and the Asguard had been the only check against the advance of the Goa’uld. The Asguard’s were struggling with their own possible extinction if they couldn’t solve their cloning problem. With the loss of their spy network, the Tok’ra would most likely be completely destroyed by the Goa’uld.

“Not to mention, Janet did do a complete physical and blood work-up before Buffy disappeared and found nothing abnormal.”

Before Jack could respond the door opened, and Bra’tac, leader of the Jaffa rebellion stepped forward.

“Sorry I am late, Hammond of Texas, but these are troubling times.”

“That’s quite all right, Bra’tac – we were merely discussing an internal problem,” Hammond responded, gesturing for the former First Prime to sit himself down beside Teal’c.

“Oh, might I inquire into the nature of this problem, seeing as such it would involve the Tok’ra?” Bra’tac asked curiously as he sat down.

“My daughter went and got herself lost,” Jack snapped, not liking the entire topic at the moment. No matter what anyone said, he was not about to lose another child – especially to the Goa’uld.

“I was not aware that you had any offspring, ColonelOneill.”

“Just found out.”

“In that, I congratulate you, but why do the Tok’ra concern themselves with such a matter?” Bra’tac asked, knowing the Tok’ra were notorious for refusing to aid their allies in matters that they felt didn’t concern them.

“It appears BuffyONeill has developed the ability to discern the difference between Tok’ra and Goa’uld,” Teal’c told his mentor. Immediately, Bra’tac’s expression darkened and he turned intently to General Hammond.

“You are speaking of the First Prime of Balor,” he stated, rather than questioned. The members of the SGC and the Tok’ra were surprised that Bra’tac was aware of that fact. Balor was not a high-ranking Goa’uld lord; his Jaffa rarely left their homeworld so they had assumed that Bra’tac would not have had much contact with them.

Seeing their surprised looks, Bra’tac continued, “Within the last week, Balor has broken his self-exile and began a war on other lesser Goa’uld. Because of their lack of importance, I doubt you have very many Tok’ra spies within their ranks and thus are unaware of the specifics of the attacks.”

“You are correct in that assessment, Bra’tac,” Selmak responded, eyes glowing, “though we are aware of the attacks, none of our spies have reported back yet. By your tone I suspect that there is more going on than the usual struggles between lesser Goa’uld?”

“Indeed, and you shouldn’t wait for reports from your spies – there won’t be any. In the last week two Goa’uld Lords have crumbled under Balor’s army. Within hours of the initial attack, the Goa’uld Lord was found, killed, and his army forced to surrender. Hours after that, what we believe to have been all of the Tok’ra spies were found, tortured, and killed – apparently, all at the hand of Balor’s First Prime and General of his army, Buffy,” Bra’tac said in a grave tone. “The most worrisome fact is what little resistance the opposing Jaffa’s were able to give. Balor’s forces fight nothing like Jaffa.”

“That is correct. When we were on Balor’s homeworld we examined the Jaffa there as they trained and they used many different fighting techniques – many I have only seen used by the Tau’ri,” Teal’c said in agreement.

Bra’tac was surprised by the statement, as indicated by his outburst, “You have been to Jorva, and returned to tell the tale?”

“We almost didn’t, but Buffy arranged for our escape,” Daniel said, revealing the most confusing aspect of the failed mission. “Despite what we were told afterwards, this may suggest that Buffy hasn’t been made a Host, or that she’s able to fight it momentarily.”

“You have been in her presence, how can you not know whether or not she is Goa’uld?” Bra’tac asked in confusion.

“A couple of years ago we discovered a planet that might have been the original planet of the Goa’uld. The proto-Goa’uld we discovered there had no naquadda in their systems making it impossible to identify who was infected,” Hammond informed the former First Prime. “The Goa’uld and Jaffa on Jorva, with the exception of Balor, all possess this type of Goa’uld. We have no way of telling if Miss O’Neill has become a Host or not.”

Bra’tac shook his head in disagreement. “She must be a Goa’uld; though I have never heard of a Goa’uld lowering themselves to act as First Prime, nor fight on the front lines in battle; no human could fight as Buffy does.”

“So you’ve seen Buffy fight?” Carter asked.

Again, Bra’tac shook his head. “No, but I have heard the tales. Already Balor’s First Prime is gaining a reputation as being a warrior of unmatched skill. My spies within the Jaffa have said that Balor’s Jaffa idolize the First Prime as if she were their God, and even the Jaffa of the fallen Goa’uld share their opinion.”

“Balor’s Jaffa tell stories that the First Prime was born from the God of War,” Bra’tac sent an amused look at Jack, who shot back a disgruntled look, “and the fact that she uses the Hand of the Gods, the Ribbon device, is given as proof.”

“That is impossible; without naquadda in your system the device does not work,” Anise said pompously.

“Not that it’s currently working really well with the naquadda right now, is it?” Jack asked sarcastically.

“Anise is right, sir,” Carter said, flinching slightly at agreeing with the overbearing Tok’ra.

“As we seem to have stumbled upon the original purpose of this meeting, Bra’tac what can you tell us about how widespread this problem is?” Hammond asked, trying to regain control of the meeting.

“I have contacted all Jaffa sympathetic to our cause. The response has been universal – the Ribbon devices are failing. The Goa’uld refuse to part with them, but have almost completely ceased trying to use them,” Bra’tac paused for a moment, looking thoughtful.

“If none of the Goa’uld in Balor’s forces have naquadda in their system, they won’t be affected by the loss of the Ribbon devices. And they started malfunctioning about the same time as the Balor started amassing his army…” Daniel trailed off, the implication of his statement apparent. Those at the table looked startled at the revelation.

“You’re suggesting that Balor has somehow found a way to disrupt the Ribbon devices on a large scale?” Jacob Carter asked, incredulously. This caused a small argument to erupt around the table as they debated on Balor’s power, the Ribbon devices, and Buffy O’Neill’s role in all of it.

A small knock on the door interrupted the debate.

“Sir, you wanted to be informed when we identified the camping unknowns?” the lieutenant asked, a folder in his hands.

“Yes, thank you, lieutenant,” Hammond replied, grabbing the folder, eyes widening slightly at its contents. “Well, it seems everything nowadays can be traced back to your wayward daughter, Colonel.”

“Sir?” Jack asked in confusion.

“There is currently a unknown young woman, and a Mr. Rupert Giles of Sunnydale, California parked outside this installation – where they have been for the last three days. Colonel, I want you to send some men and place them in holding cells; I want some answers about Miss O’Neill and I want them now.”

((((((0))))))

It was the smell she first noticed – an un-enticing mixture of blood, sweat and guts – long before she heard the sounds of battle. Walking across the alien-looking landscape, she headed towards those sounds. Climbing slowly, she reached the top of the small hill and gasped at the scene.

The remnants of the two forces fought fiercely, the differences in their armour and clothing barely recognizable by that point. But that didn’t seem to stop them from finding and attacking their opponents. Strangely calm and unafraid, she walked down and entered the fray.

The battle raged all around her – strange-looking men falling to blades, and weapons she had never seen before. Both sides wielding similar weapons, but the technology was unlike anything she had ever seen before – and much more advanced. Unfamiliar with this type of full-scale war as she was, she recognized that the one side was clearly losing. Even cloaked in red as they were, it did nothing to hide the grievous wounds they were receiving.

And yet, they continued to rush forward recklessly.

She couldn’t believe it – even as their enemy was clearly winning the battle they didn’t retreat. Even the enemy would withdraw periodically in order to preserve troops. She was no stranger to the idea of dying in battle, fully expecting to die in the same manner herself -- but never would she simply throw herself on the enemies’ blade.

Walking among the dead and the dying, she heard their cries and perhaps, prayers, although she couldn’t understand them.

Out of the corner of her eye she sees movement, and is astonished to see several horizontal rings appear out of nowhere leaving several people in their wake. The arrival of the rings caused a momentary lull in the fighting as the combatants turned to regard the new arrivals curiously.

She slowly made her way forward as a figure stepped away from amongst the group. Still too far away to make out their features; she was surprised as a voice echoed clearly through the now silent battlefield.

“Your God is dead. Stop this pointless fighting – you owe it to your comrades to live where they have died. Live to see all Jaffa united under one banner. ”

For the first time, her step faltered as she recognized the voice.

All around her, a word – a name -- was passing the lips of the warriors – enemy and friend alike. Again, she looked up and this time she recognized the figure standing before the now unified and chanting crowd.

((((((0))))))

“Buffy!” Faith cried out, jerking forward from sleep and looking around frantically. Covered in a light sheen of sweat, she shivered as she felt a cool breeze caress her skin. Confused, she looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings before she remembered.

Instead of her hotel room in Sunnydale, she was in a small British vehicle with her Watcher staking out a military installation.

Giles looked at her questionably, but Faith merely turned in her seat and looked out the open window towards the entrance to the mountain. It had been nearly a week since they had arrived in Colorado and they still hadn’t been able to locate Buffy.

Phone calls to the O’Neill home had only gotten the answering machine and any calls to the military base where Colonel O’Neill worked were given the run-around.

The first few days after their arrival Faith had gone against her personal motto and voluntarily checked out the local high school. But when that turned out to be a dead end, the duo had taken to watching the O’Neill house. However, the house had remained empty.

Buffy O’Neill appeared to have disappeared off the face of the planet.

Not one for staying still, Faith had gone demon hunting – hoping to scare up some information. She hadn’t been able to get much on Buffy, but she had heard some interesting rumours about the local military. The local demons were convinced that the humans were messing around with something dangerous, though they weren’t sure if it was magic related. One particularly crazy demon started ranting about false Gods and living weapons.

With little else to go on, the pair had taken to watching the installation in the hopes that Colonel O’Neill would show himself. But despite working herself to near exhaustion, Faith hadn’t been able to keep from dreaming.

Different places, and people but always the same theme -- battles and death and warriors from both sides standing in awe before a blood-soaked armour-clad Buffy. And Faith could only stand by, a helpless observer, as she watched the bright green eyes of her sister-slayer grow darker with guilt and anger and growing bloodlust.

Lost in thought, she didn’t hear the approaching footsteps until several soldiers emerged from the bush, surrounding the car and keeping their rifles trained on the Slayer and Watcher. One of the men stepped forward and asked, “Ma’am, sir, I’ve been asked to escort you to a holding area inside the base.”

Faith tensed, ready to attack when she felt Giles place a hand on her arm. Turning, to glare at him, he shook his head silently and slowly exited the car. Continuing to glare at her Watcher, the dark Slayer followed suit and walked arrogantly in the midst of the soldiers.

B, if I get out of this I am so going to kick your ass for putting me through this.

Chapter 16 – Assassins and Psychics

The three men walked steadily through the hall, ignoring the those the passed as their capes flapped gently behind them. Pausing slightly at the huge door, as the unfamiliar sound of singing teased their senses, but never losing their stoic looks or stance.

The guards opened the doors, allowing them entrance to the personal chambers of their First Prime. Following the singing, the men found their superior sitting precariously on the window ledge, softly singing. Knowing the First Prime was aware of their presence, they waited patiently, listening to the lyrics.

“So much anger, so deeply ingrained, seemed a burden that was hers alone. She didn't think that thee was anything wrong with wanting a life that she could call her own. Look at the child with the dream in her eyes, holding it deep inside...home...home...home...”

Buffy let her voice trail off, wanting to have the song linger for a little longer. Sighing softly, she moved her head to look at her visitors. A small smile graced her face as see took in her three Generals. Me'ra was the tallest, well over six feet, and he towered over her own small frame, much to her annoyance. Bronze skin, deep blue eyes and blond hair made him the epitome of WASP breeding. As Faith would put it: “definitely worth a drive”... if it wasn't for the small fact that he was the host for a baby alien and former First Prime to a Goa'uld.

But while Me'ra was young for a First Prime, his companion Tomis was an experienced warrior and First Prime. His grey hair gave no hint to his original hair color, but his eyes still shone a brilliant green. He wasn't as built physically as Me'ra but he had a wiry strength that reminded Buffy of her father, Jack O'Neill.

Gawain was the most relaxed of his companions (though that wasn't saying much) as he had never been First Prime, and was used to the informality which Buffy carried herself. This impression was enhanced by his boyish looks and untidy bright red hair; leftovers from an ancestor's probable Scottish heritage.

These were her eyes and ears on the battle field; her guardians and advisors; they were hers. A fact that would most likely get them killed.

The Slayer's small smile vanished with her small respite from reality. Erias glowed and hummed softly in sympathy, an event that didn't go unnoticed by the three Generals. A glance was shared between them that Buffy ignored; they did it so often that Buffy just chalked it up to doing something particularly Tau'ri.

She was partially right; they did it whenever she did something particularly Buffy. Like being able to control a device that was notoriously failing around the galaxy. Or controlling a growing army of Jaffa without being either a Jaffa or a Goa'uld.

“Okay, so what's the sitch?” Buffy asked, sliding down onto her feet. The two new Generals looked at the 'translator', Gawain, who whispered, “What's the report?”

Me'ra gave Gawain an incredulous look, having not had time to completely acclimate to his Lady's 'peculiar' dialect, but seeing the look of agreement on his counterpart Tomis' face, took the Jaffa at his word and began the report.

“Pontus' forces have completely surrendered and several former-enemy troops have been acclimated into our own forces. A small portion will remain on each of the defeated worlds to maintain order and any possible rebellion, but our spies indicate that that won't be a problem,” Me'ra reported, giving no indication that he recognized the irony in giving a report on the defeat of his former-forces.

“And how reliable are our spies?” Buffy asked, sardonically.

“They are my most trusted men, First Prime, they will not betray us.”

Buffy eyed Me'ra contemplatively, before nodding her head, trusting that the former-First Prime knew his men as well as she knew her own.

“Unfortunately, it's not up to me how much time the troops will have, but I'll get them as much as I can. On a bright note, two evil snake-jerks down and only thousands left to go,” the First Prime replied in a false cheery voice.

“First Prime, perhaps it would be best if you did not speed of the Goa'uld in such a fashion. Balor...” Tomis hesitantly began when the Slayer interrupted.

“Balor knows what I say about him. As long as I continue to win battles for him, I'm safe.”

“Safe, but not unharmed,” Gawain warned, remembering the night that the Tau'ri made their escape from Jorva. While he was still amazed that a Tau'ri female could have healed that abuse so quickly, he knew she still had the scars.

“What's with all the worrying for? It's not like I haven't died before, it's just like falling of a log.”

Not even their First Prime's whimsically speech patterns would dissuade the three Generals.

“First Prime, you cannot take your safety so carelessly,” the normally reserved former First Prime to Dione barked sharply. Buffy could only blink in surprise at the Jaffa. She didn't realize that her men feared for her life; both from threats within as well as outside. Sooner or later, Balor would recognize the threat his First Prime represented when he realized just how influential she was amongst the Jaffa. Gods tended to be territorial about whom their people worshiped. That is, if a one of the many possible spies amongst their new forces didn't attempt to assassinate her.

The Jaffa make an excellent point. You cannot die until you have succeeded in your mission, Erias commented, again, glowing slightly.

And you guys are the ones that insist that I adopt every Jaffa in the universe, so it's your own fault if I kick the bucket, Buffy mentally replied, growling slightly. Tomis mistook the sound for anger, and out of reflex kneeled. The Slayer flushed slightly at the groveling Jaffa. She gestured for him to get up and grabbed her own gold cape, scowling at the offending accessory that Balor insisted she wear. Oh well, at least it matched her gold tattoo.

“Come on, boys, let's look in on the kiddies.”

“Now why would a runaway from Boston and a former Museum curator find themselves outside a military installation for three days,” Jack O'Neill asked in a deceptively calm tone, his frayed nerves from the last few days wearing very, very thin.

He was alone with the two civilians and the holding room, only a spartan table between them. Normally, the two would have been separated, but what harm could a teenage girl and a librarian do? The dark haired girl that O'Neill recognized from Sunnydale slumped in her chair, alternating from glaring at her companion, himself and the through the walls at the guards outside. Normally, Jack would have sympathized but normally he didn't have a missing daughter, whose friends have shown up at a top secret military base.

“We have been attempting to reach Buffy,” Rupert Giles stated, in a diplomatic voice that would have done Daniel proud. “We've tried for several days and we couldn't get a hold of her...or you.”

O'Neill had to admit, if only to himself, that that might have been one of the nicest threats he'd ever received (though anything is better than a bullet).

“So you drove across several states because you haven't talked to a teenager in a week?” Jack O'Neill asked incredulously. Giles reddened slightly; he couldn't exactly explain that Buffy Summers was his Slayer, and when his other Slayer has a Slayer-dream about said Slayer it was his duty as a Watcher to help her. Faith seemed to have the right words though.

“Look, air boy, we know something has happened to B, so either you tell us or I will rip you apart.”

Well, maybe not exactly the right words.

Jack raised his eyebrows and smirked.

“And how exactly to you know? To you call Madame Cleo?” he asked sarcastically.

“Because Buffy and I are sss...” Faith jumped slightly as Giles kicked her shin, “psychics.”

“Psychics,” O'Neill repeated in disbelief.

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((0)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

“Actually, Colonel, if she's telling the truth that would explain a few things.”

O'Neill stared at Carter incredulously.

“If their telling the truth! Carter...psychics!”

“But, sir, that would explain why Buffy was able to sense the Goa'uld in Dad and Teal'c. At the very least, we could test the theory by introducing either one to Ms. LeHane and see if she reacts in a similar way,” Carter reasoned, turning to look at General Hammond. The members of SG1, as well as Anise and Jacob Carter of the Tok'ra, were currently in the debriefing room, resuming their discussion over recent matter (which had been interrupted by the aforementioned 'psychic').

“Hey, where's Bra'tac?” Jack asked suddenly, just noticing that the former First Prime was no longer in attendance. The remaining members shared worried looks.

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((0)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

The door slammed shut as Jack O'Neill left the room to deal with his daughter's 'friends'. Hammond looked down the table, “How about we adjourn for an hour while Colonel O'Neill handles the situation that has arisen.”

The Tok'ra and remaining SG1 nodded their heads, and began to rise when Hammond noticed that Bra'tac was continuing to sit and looked pensive.

“Master Bra'tac, is there something you wish to discuss?”

“Yes. I was hesitant to bring this matter forward in Colonel O'Neill's presence, as it is in regards to Balor's First Prime. As Balor has been absorbing the defeated forces, two of my spies have survived in the defeated Goa'uld's army have survived.”

“That's, um, great news, but what does that have to do with Buffy?” Daniel asked, confused.

“Balor only lets his Jaffa from Jorva protect him; at the moment his is untouchable. However, the First Prime personally inspects the new forces...”

“You're talking about assassination,” Carter exclaimed.

“Yes, I am. The order has already been issued. Once that is done, my spy will either kill his prey or die.”

“Well, you've got to call it off!” Daniel stated, looking to Teal'c for support.

“He cannot, DanielJackson,” Teal'c responded. “The Jaffa will succeed or die.”

“But you can't just give up,” Daniel insisted, flickering his gaze between the two Jaffa. Bra'tac looked at the impassioned human for a moment, before rising slowly from his seat.

“It is most likely too late, but I will attempt to rescind the order. We have another spy in their camp that may be of use in this matter, but I can make no guarantees. Good day to you, Hammond of Texas,” Bra'tac said, nodding to General Hammond who returned the salute.

“Master Bra'tac had some matters he had to attend to,” General Hammond supplied for his second-in-command. “Major Carter, how do you suppose we go about testing this 'psychic' claim?”

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((0)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

In retrospect, Buffy should have realized that if the former First Prime of a System Lord could turn rogue, there would be others. But like her ‘master’, the Slayer fell into the trap of underestimating the Jaffa.

Assimilating foreign troops had been a risky proposition, and even Buffy’s desire to prevent as many deaths as possible wasn’t strong enough to risk the lives of her men. But the Blood had insisted that the Slayer embrace every Jaffa, and Buffy didn’t have the heart to refuse even though her mind said otherwise.

Fortunately, those Jaffa that remained loyal to their dead ‘God’ were more likely to fight to the death in battle or attempt a suicide attack within moments of capture rather than wait and attempt an assassination. So it came as a shock to nearly all involved when a Jaffa ‘liberated’ from one of the first battles launched himself at the First Prime.

And just as a single Jaffa made a choice that nearly ended whatever plans the universe had for the petite Slayer, another Jaffa made a different choice that saved it.

Jather was born in a small village, no different from any other Jaffa village. He was raised knowing that one day a Jaffa would come to take him to his God, whom he would serve for the entirety of his life. That was the life he expected and that was the life he led until he met Master Bra’tac.

It was during the aftermath of a large battle – Jather couldn’t even remember whom they were fighting, only that it was to be his last. As he lied pleading to death surrounded by those who had preceded him, he felt a warm hand grip his shoulder. Jather didn’t know it then but it was Master Bra’tac who saved him from death that day.

Saved him from more than death. It had taken weeks but being surrounded by the Rebellion had proven to Jather that the Goa’uld weren’t all knowing; if they were, how could there be a rebellion? Jather returned to his ‘God’, but as a spy for what he saw as the future of the Jaffa. The Jaffa spy did what he could to prevent deaths, but while he never lost faith in the movement, he began to become discouraged. So many continued to die under his fire, and he no longer had the assurance of his duty to comfort him.

Then she came.

Jather was there to witness the death of the Goa’uld, Dione, himself – watched as it was ripped from the host and broken in half but the small female. Once more Jather was sure of his death, and yet once again the fates chose to spare him. But this time, he wasn’t the only one who was spared. His comrades stood ready, waiting to die at the hands of their enemy and join their God in the afterlife, but she stayed her hand.

Where their God would bring death, she brought mercy; where their God would cut, she healed; where their God would punish, she touched.

But despite all this, Jather was still loyal to the Rebellion – at least, he was until he saw one of his fellow spies about to thrust a hidden blade into the First Prime’s chest. Before the knife was completely out of its sheath he was moving, his own knife embedding in the would-be assassins chest before anyone else had realized there was a threat.

She looked at him, and again Jather suddenly realized his life was going to turn out exactly as he had thought, back in that little village on an unnamed world. He would serve his master for the rest of his days.

Because only a true Goddess could look so sad for the loss of her assassin.

TBC

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