DISCLAIMER: I own neither Stargate nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
SUMMARY: A long lost relative fic. sighs
OVERALL SUMMARY: Four long lost fics about Buffy Summers being related to Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter and Janet Fraiser (though, not at the same time…that would be a little too unbelievable, even for me, grins Tempting to try though…hmmmm…)
NOTES: You’ll notice my love of the Sam and Janet ‘friendship’. I LOVE Janet, and it sucked when she died cries. So, just enjoy the beautiful Janet Fraiser in most of these fics…I have a bit of a soft spot for short brunette women.
SETTINGS: Post BTVS S4, after the Initiative gets blown to pieces and SG-1 S2ish. Maybourne is still with the NID. Oh, and pretend that the SGC knew that Nirtti was experimenting with human DNA and genetics on Hanka already.
JACK - INNOCENT BEGINNINGS
Guilt. It wasn’t something that Harold ‘Harry’ Peter Maybourne was all that familiar with. In fact, it wasn’t something that Harry had ever really felt before. The problem was, he knew that this was his fault.
Staring down through the observation deck windows, his stomach churned uncomfortably. A group of five doctors was crowded around a petite young woman who lay on a table, semi-conscious, her hazel-green doe-eyes staring up at him accusingly.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Her eyes were more glazed over than anything else, but he recognised those eyes, and with good reason.
It had started innocently enough. He’d been looking for something –anything- to use against Colonel Jack O’Neill. Something juicy that he could blackmail the good Colonel with. What he’d found had startled and delighted the cruel streak within Maybourne.
Only, now, his cruel streak had backfired and was harming an innocent young woman who nothing to do with his personal vendetta against Jack O’Neill.
And while he could understand why the NID found her so incredibly fascinating, there was just something inherently wrong about keeping her locked up like some sort of caged lab-rat.
With another uncomfortable gurgle of his stomach, Harry Maybourne stood and exited the observation room, snagging one of the many identical manilla folders off the table. He’d gotten her into this, but he couldn’t get her out of it. But if he knew anything about Jack O’Neill, it was that he didn’t leave people behind. He especially had a soft spot for kids, and Harry suspected that Jack might just want to free the woman that the NID had discovered was Jack O’Neill’s daughter.
Maybourne cast one final glance down at the young woman on the operating table, wincing as he saw the doctors slicing her chest open, he knew that allowing the NID to keep Buffy Summers within their ‘custody’ was not something that he could condone. He just hoped that Jack O’Neill wouldn’t kill him on sight for starting this whole mess to begin with.
Colonel Jack O’Neill was not having a good day. For one thing, his knee was playing up again, and Doctor Fraiser, whom Jack affectionately referred to as the ‘Napoleonic Power Monger’ was keeping O’Neill, and subsequently all of SG-1 on stand-down for the next week. He’d also managed to mis-set the timer on his VCR the day before and had accidentally taped ‘Charmed’ instead of ‘The Simpsons’. To make matters worse, he’d run out of beer and had had to drag himself off the couch, and drive into town to buy more, or else face the empty house without a slight buzz.
With a sigh, O’Neill got out of his truck and walked into the bottle shop, absently wandering to where they kept the cases of beer, navigating the store on automatic pilot. He bent down to pick one up, but stopped when he saw a pair of well-worn shoes come into his line of sight. He slowly looked up and sighed again when he saw the one person he definitely did not want to see.
“And this completes my perfect day,” Jack greeted, picking up the case of beer and straightening to stare down at the shorter man.
Harry Maybourne was not intimidated however. “We need to talk.”
Jack rolled his eyes and made his way to the front counter, quickly handing over some money to the cashier before making his way back outside to his truck. The quicker he could make his escape the better.
“Could you be anymore dramatic Maybourne?” Jack grumbled.
Harry opened the flap of his jacket, pulling out the manilla folder he’d stolen from the research labs. He handed it to Jack who took hold of it sceptically.
“I haven’t given you the impression that I’m going to care about anything you have to tell me, have I? Because I’d hate to have given you the wrong impression like that.”
Maybourne just shook his head and began backing away slowly.
“I think you’ll be interested in what that folder has to say Colonel,” Harry said confidently. The less he had to explain the better. He didn’t want to be anywhere near the unpredictable Colonel when he opened that folder and saw the files inside. “Oh, and you’ll be owing me a favour after this.”
With that, Maybourne quickly turned around and walked away. As much as he’d first started this with wanting something to blackmail Jack O’Neill with, it had spiralled out of control so quickly that he hadn’t been able to stop it. And, if Jack O’Neill owing him a favour came out of a tremendous screw-up, then that was even better.
Jack O’Neill on the other hand couldn’t believe the calibre of his day. He’d been so sure that after purchasing his beer, his day would start looking up, but seeing Harry Maybourne out and about the streets of Colorado Springs had dampened any hopeful thoughts he’d had.
He looked down at the unopened folder, trying to guess what on earth could be in there that could possibly interest him. He knew well enough that if he didn’t open it soon the guessing game would eventually piss him off. Then again, whatever it was could wait until he was back at home with a beer in his hand.
Jack was sitting on the edge of his seat, pieces of paper strewn across his coffee table, his opened, but untouched and now slightly warm beer was leaving a water ring on his coffee table. But Jack didn’t care about the fact that he hadn’t even managed to touch the beer he’d opened. In fact, he wasn’t thinking about much of anything except for the pictures that had been included in the file that Maybourne had given him.
A young woman, who couldn’t have been more than nineteen, strapped naked to a metal table, with doctors surrounding her. Her eyes were open, confused, dazed, scared and angry, a familiar colour of hazel that Jack had seen everyday for the past forty-five years.
If that photo wasn’t enough to disturb him, the accompanying copy of the girl’s birth certificate had definitely thrown him for a loop.
Mother: Joyce Anne Wells.
Father: Jonathan Charles O’Neill.
He remembered Joyce Wells. He’d met her a week before her wedding when she’d been upset by something her fiancé had said. He’d been back from a mission where he’d watched one of his best friends die. They’d gravitated towards each other after a considerable amount of alcohol. He’d only seen her once after that to apologise to her, and she to him. He’d thought about her a few times after that, but had never contacted her again.
To say that he was surprised by this sudden revelation was an understatement. He had a daughter.
He had a daughter, and the NID were holding her captive and running experiments on her.
That part didn’t make much sense to him, but he knew that he had to get her out of there. The NID were not people he trusted, and by the looks of things, they’d already hurt her…his daughter. The girl who had his eyes…his mother’s eyes…Charlie’s eyes.
With the information that Maybourne had provided, O’Neill knew that the NID research facility was heavily guarded. He couldn’t do this alone. And there were only three people that he would trust to guard his back and help him get his daughter away from the NID. Of course, first he’d need to get General Hammond’s permission first.
Definitely a bad day.
Captain Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson and Teal’c were usually a fairly loud group when placed in a small room together. Now, however, the three of them could only sit with wide-eyed expressions as their team leader and commanding officer gave General Hammond an impassioned speech about rescuing some unknown girl from the clutches of the NID. They’d only seen pictures of her, and while the group knew how Jack felt about kids in general, the young woman was definitely no child, and they couldn’t see why Jack was so deeply involved in this. They could understand the moral outrage, of course, they knew their CO wasn’t heartless, but this type of passion was rare from Jack, unless it concerned the Simpsons, SG-1’s safety or Cassie Fraiser.
General Hammond was trying not to look at his 2IC as though he were a crazy man, but he was finding himself hard-pressed not to order the Colonel to undergo a psychological evaluation. Something was definitely not right here. Not only had Colonel O’Neill come to them with actual paperwork, and a setout slide show to be projected onto the screen, but he was already outlining plans of infiltration into the facility and suggesting methods of attack.
“Not that I don’t think this is a worthy cause Colonel O’Neill, but…” General Hammond trailed off, not entirely certain how to phrase the question delicately and professionally.
“But, why do you really care?” Daniel finished, asking the question on everyone’s minds.
O’Neill sighed and flicked to the next slide, the copy of the birth certificate. Sam’s and Daniel’s mouths dropped open in shock, and Teal’c raised an eyebrow.
“I was not aware that you had sired a daughter O’Neill,” Teal’c said, breaking the stunned silence that had fallen over the briefing room.
“Well, until this morning, neither was I,” O’Neill replied. “Look, I know this is crazy, but…”
“Jack, you don’t even know that this girl really is your daughter,” Daniel offered, ever the voice of reason. “What if the NID is just trying to trap us into doing something horribly illegal? I mean, you have to admit, your source of information isn’t exactly what’d you’d call reliable.”
“This may come as a shock Daniel, but I had actually considered that,” Jack replied testily. “But I know that this girl is my daughter.”
“Sir, I hate to say this, but Daniel may have a point. Doctoring photographs, or even birth certificates isn’t all that hard, especially for an organization like the NID,” Carter pointed out.
O’Neill nearly groaned in frustration, tempted to begin pulling out his rapidly greying hair. He had considered these possibilities, but he knew he was right. He’d learned to follow his gut years ago, and he’d hardly ever been wrong.
“Major Carter and Doctor Jackson both make good points Colonel,” Hammond began diplomatically. “And I certainly cannot condone any illegal search of a government funded facility like an NID research lab.”
Jack O’Neill felt his heart sink as he heard the General’s words. He’d seriously thought that his team and his superior officer would have supported him in this. He hadn’t really been expecting them to flat out deny and ignore his concerns.
“I’m afraid I can’t order anyone to do anything about this Colonel,” Hammond said.
Jack perked up suddenly. He’d only been working with General Hammond for two years, but he could read between the lines as well as anyone. General Hammond was restricted by military protocol and couldn’t force the team to do anything. He couldn’t make it official, and he couldn’t supply any other forces. But the message was loud and clear. Just because he couldn’t condone it, didn’t mean he wouldn’t allow it to happen.
“And if some zats just happened to go missing for the day sir?” O’Neill hedged.
“I’m fairly certain that most of the equipment is due to be cleaned and checked for faults soon Colonel,” Hammond replied. “If you could test four of them, I’m sure our technical support crew would be grateful for the slight reprieve.”
Colonel O’Neill bit back a grin and nodded his thanks. General Hammond stood, Carter and O’Neill instantly standing to attention. The General dismissed them, and walked into his office, leaving SG-1 staring at a nearly giddy Jack.
“You know I can’t order you to do anything,” Jack said, looking around the table at the people he trusted most in the world.
Daniel, Sam and Teal’c exchanged glances, but it was Sam who spoke up first.
“When do we leave?”
The four members of SG-1, dressed entirely in black, and, in Jack’s opinion, looking very cool, stealthily moved through the research facility, following the map that Maybourne had provided them with. So far, Maybourne’s intel had proven to be correct, but Jack was waiting for the other shoe to fall. He knew that there was a chance this was a trap. But he couldn’t get his mind off the hazel-green eyes that had stared at him through the glossy 8x10 that Maybourne had provided.
Jack held his fist up, and Sam, Daniel and Teal’c all froze in place, their zats out and ready to fire. Jack silently directed them on the plan and watched in satisfaction as the team did as ordered. They’d already zatted and tied up three security guards, and they’d found the room Jack’s supposed daughter was being kept in.
Looking through the small glass window, Jack spotted a head of blonde hair belonging to the girl on the operating table. Machines surrounded her, monitoring her vital signs and responses as a group of doctors milled around the table and the equipment. Inside the room were three armed guards.
O’Neill stepped back and allowed Carter to fiddle with the settings on the electronic panel that would give them access to the room. O’Neill never understood how exactly Carter did it, he just knew that she was able to get them into places like this with complete ease. As the red ‘locked’ light turned green, the door clicked open, and the attention of the guards was suddenly on the door.
With well-practised ease, SG-1 were able to down the three security guards before they could even get to their guns, and then took out the half-dozen doctors surrounding the young woman.
Jack moved forward as Teal’c kept an eye on the door, and Carter and Daniel watched the fallen doctors and guards. Jack could feel his heart racing with nerves as he stepped up next to the table. He watched as the girl’s eyes tracked his movements, her pupils dilated from the amount of sedatives they’d been keeping her on. He quickly undid the straps holding her down, starting at the feet and working up to the wrists.
“You’re gonna be okay now,” he murmured softly. “We’re taking you somewhere safe.”
As he unbuckled the last strap, her hand shot out and grabbed his wrist with surprising strength.
“Easy, kid,” he said softly, trying to sound as assuring and non-threatening as he possibly could “We’re the good guys.”
“Init – iat - ive?” she managed to choke out.
Jack’s eyes furrowed in confusion. “Initiative? You want us to have initiative?” he asked.
Her death grip on his arm relaxed at the genuine confusion in his voice. Her eyes closed slowly, beginning to trust the man with the eerily familiar eyes. She couldn’t work out just why they seemed so familiar, but she’d definitely seen someone with the same colour eyes before.
Carter noticed one of the guards starting to stir, and she cast a worried glance at her CO.
“Sir, we need to get out of here.”
Jack looked over to what had his 2IC so concerned. He saw the guard begin moving slowly, and he nodded his understanding. He holstered his zat and gently picked up the petite girl, cradling her in his arms.
He glanced at the rest of his team and nodded. “Let’s move.”
Jack O’Neill was pacing. He’d never been considered a patient man before, and now was definitely no different. Doctor Fraiser was keeping him out of the infirmary while she attempted to fix the damage the NID had inflicted on the young woman they’d rescued, as well as performing some preliminary tests to ascertain whether or not Maybourne’s information had been false or not.
Daniel was getting a headache from watching Jack pace up and down the short corridor outside the infirmary, but the last two times he’d requested that the Colonel stop, Jack had just glared at him and resumed pacing.
Just as Daniel was about to try for a third time to get Jack to sit down, the door to the infirmary swung open, and SG-1 looked up in curiousity, though with Teal’c you could never quite tell when he was curious or not.
“What’s the verdict doc?” Jack asked.
“Well, I’d say apart from the damage the NID did when they performed their tests, and the amount of drugs they pumped into her, your daughter is the healthiest person I’ve ever treated,” Doctor Fraiser informed him calmly. “She has several anomalies in her blood that we’re running a few more tests on, but it looks as though she’s your average nineteen year old.”
Jack stood, silent in his shock, and his team, minus Teal’c, grinned happily for their friend.
“My daughter?” Jack repeated, just to make sure he wasn’t hearing things.
“Yes sir,” Doctor Fraiser replied. “That girl in there is definitely yours. We performed a paternity test, and it was conclusive.” Janet Fraiser paused, absolutely loving the shocked but excited look on the Colonel’s face. And while he may have been a superior officer, he was also a friend. “Congratulations sir, it’s a girl.”
Sam smirked a little at her friend’s wry sense of humour. She looked across at O’Neill, trying to ascertain how he was doing with this.
“Can…can I see her?” Jack asked.
“She’s not conscious yet, but, you can go and sit with her if you’d like,” Fraiser replied. “If she wakes up…”
“You’ll be the second to know, doc,” he assured her.
“Second?” Daniel asked curiously.
“Well, I’d be first, obviously,” Jack explained, not thinking particularly well.
Daniel nodded, but narrowed his eyes in confusion. Jack, however was beyond caring. He slowly wandered into the infirmary and took a seat beside his sleeping daughter.
He swallowed hard at the thought. He had a daughter. After he’d lost Charlie five years ago, he’d tried not to think about the fact that he’d never be a father again. And here was fate giving him another chance.
He hesitantly reached out to hold her hand, marvelling out how small this girl was. He knew that she was nineteen years old, but…she was so small. She was beautiful though, her features delicate and soft.
Her hand twitched slightly in his gentle grip, and he looked up to see her eyes fluttering open.
“Hey,” he greeted quietly, hoping not to scare her too badly. Who knew what sort of a reaction she’d have to waking up in an unfamiliar infirmary after being held captive in an NID research facility. He glanced over at one of the airmen on guard and nodded at him, silently signalling the guard to fetch Doctor Fraiser.
“Where - ”
“You’re in an infirmary at NORAD,” Jack explained quickly. “Cheyanne Mountain in Colorado Springs.”
“Military…not my favourite people,” she murmured quietly.
“Air Force, actually,” Jack corrected with a slight wince. “Colonel Jack O’Neill at your service.”
She grinned tiredly at him, grateful that he didn’t seem to be a complete bastard like the officers within the Initiative, or the bastards who had kidnapped her several days ago.
“Buffy Summers,” she introduced herself.
“Doctor Fraiser,” Janet said, interrupting the quiet moment between father and unknowing daughter. “It’s good to see you awake Miss Summers.”
“Good to be awake doc,” Buffy replied. “You’re here to tell me I can go home, right?”
Doctor Fraiser nearly groaned in frustration. Whilst Buffy Summers may not have grown up with Jack O’Neill as her father, those two sentences were enough to tell her that she was, without a doubt, Jack’s daughter.
“Not quite yet,” Janet replied. “At least not until the drugs in your system wear off.”
Buffy scowled, not liking the thought of having to stay in an unfamiliar place, and a hospital at that.
“We’ll be keeping you under observation for a while, but I think you’re gonna be fine,” Janet assured the girl. “If you need anything, just ask one of the airmen outside. They’ll be able to get anything you need, and they can have me paged.”
With that, the petite doctor stepped out into the hallway to give the Colonel and his daughter some more time alone.
Jack cleared his throat slightly, trying to work out how to tell this girl that she was his daughter. It had sounded so much simpler when she was just a face in a photo, and not someone that was a living and breathing entity.
“So, uh, Colonel - ”
“Jack,” he corrected her, not wanting to have her be overly formal.
“Jack,” she repeated. “Uh, not to bring up the obvious or anything, but…why are you holding my hand?”
Jack blanched, trying to come up with a reasonable conclusion. He snapped his hand back from hers and nearly toppled out of his seat as he stood up. Buffy just watched in wry amusement as the Colonel stumbled over his words.
Fortunately for the speech-impaired man, an airmen stepped into the infirmary and quickly informed O’Neill that he was wanted in the ‘Briefing Room’. Jack jumped on the opportunity to stall his response and made a hasty retreat.
Buffy just grinned as she watched him walk out of the room. Not that she didn’t want to know the answer to the question, she definitely was curious as to why he’d been so familiar with her. But it hadn’t felt wrong or sleazy. It hadn’t been as though he was trying to come on to her. It had been…safe, comforting. Kind of like when Giles would help her patch her wounds after a particularly rough patrol.
As her amusement faded, boredom soon set in. Her mind had long since cleared of the drugs that her captors had been filling her with. She’d discovered long ago that she metabolised drugs, food and alcohol far faster than anyone else, and that especially came in handy when people were trying to keep her sedated.
She carefully tore the IV out of her arm, and swung her legs over the bed. She tested her weight on her legs, happy that she could actually stand without falling, as that could have been interesting to explain to the airmen with the gun outside the door.
Curious, Buffy walked to the end of the bed, picking up the file of information. It told of the worst injuries she’d received, and a lot about the drugs that she’d been kept on. She lifted a hand to her chest, vaguely recalling the fact that she’d been half-conscious when they’d scalpeled their way through to look inside her, just for kicks.
She carefully pulled the front of her gown down, barely touching the bandage that kept the area covered. She put a slight amount of pressure on the wound, trying to see how bad the damage was. Obviously it couldn’t’ have been terrible. It twinged slightly, but she could tell from the level of pain that it was already beginning to heal itself. By tomorrow, it would be no more than a bad memory, and a new scar that would take the next week to fade completely.
Buffy paused in her tracks. She had to admit that the petite brunette doctor didn’t look as though she would be the mad scientist experimental type. In fact, as doctors went, Doctor Fraiser had seemed alright. But, she was stuck in an Air Force facility, having been rescued by a Colonel of all people, from a group of…who, exactly?
She scanned the chart once more, her eyes lighting upon a scrawled note in the corner of the page. ‘Naq. in bloodstream. No protein marker? Same as CF? Exceptional healing rate.’
This was definitely not good. If they’d noticed that she was healing faster than the average bear, then there was no telling what they would do with her. She had no idea what naq. was, but it had intrigued the doctor. She knew that there was something different about her, she’d fascinated doctors since she’d turned fifteen. But no doctor in California had ever known what it was that made her different. It looked as though Doctor Fraiser, however, did.
She needed to get out of there, and she needed to get out of there yesterday.
After a quick and quiet exploration, she found a pair of scrubs in a cupboard. They wouldn’t be much, but it was better than having her backside showing through the split in the gown.
And while Buffy prepared her escape plan, General Hammond, SG-1 and Doctor Fraiser sat in the Briefing Room, discussing the fate of the young woman trying desperately to flee.
“Are you seriously trying to tell me that she has naquada in her blood?” General Hammond barked incredulously.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying sir,” Doctor Fraiser replied calmly.
“So…Miss Summers was blended with a Goa’uld,” Daniel deduced.
“Or a Tok’ra,” Sam added.
“Actually, no,” Janet replied. “From Captain Carter’s experience with Jolinar, we’ve discovered that a deceased Goa’uld or Tok’ra symbiote leaves both trace amounts of naquada in the blood as well as a specific protein marker. Miss Summers doesn’t have that protein marker. In fact, Miss Summers’ DNA is almost identical to Cassandra’s. Minus the ticking time bomb in her chest.”
Silence fell on the group as they tried to ascertain what exactly that meant for the girl in the infirmary.
“So…this is something the NID did to her?” Jack said angrily.
“No sir, it’s not,” Janet replied. “In fact, I believe it’s the very reason that the NID wanted to experiment on her in the first place. As best as we can tell, she’s had some form of naquada within her for years.”
“How on earth is that possible?” Hammond questioned.
Doctor Fraiser shrugged and shook her head. “Your guess is as good as mine sir. We know that naquada isn’t native to Earth, and we know every person who’s stepped through the Stargate. And as far as we know, no Goa’uld has come to Earth for centuries, so…I’m as stumped as you are.”
The group fell into silence, each of them trying to think up new theories as to how a human girl born on earth, and fathered by one of their own had come to have an extremely rare substance in her blood. Carter frowned suddenly, her eyebrows furrowing in thought.
“Why can’t Teal’c and I sense her?” Sam spoke up.
“Huh?” Jack asked eloquently.
Sam barely refrained from rolling her eyes. “If Miss Summers has naquada in her blood, why can’t Teal’c or I sense her? We’ve been able to detect the presence of Goa’ulds and Jaffa and Tok’ra before…why not now?”
There was more silence before Hammond finally spoke up and took control of the meeting once more.
“Doctor Fraiser, see what else you can find out about your new patient. Captain Carter, you and Teal’c see what theories you can find out in regards to being able to sense naquada. Colonel O’Neill, I want you and Doctor Jackson to do a little background research on this girl. Find out everything you can. Report back in an hour. Dismissed.”
Doctor Fraiser wandered through the hallways and back to her infirmary. She wasn’t sure what to make of her newest patient. She was definitely a mystery hidden in a riddle and wrapped in an enigma, as her father used to say.
She quickly swiped her card to gain access to the elevator, and travelled up to the infirmary.
Her first sign that something was wrong was the collapsed guard in the hallway. She quickly ran to him, crouching beside him to check his pulse, sighing in relief when she realised that he was just unconscious, and not bleeding internally, or externally. She absently noted that the airman still had his sidearm.
She raced into the infirmary, nearly groaning in frustration as she saw the discarded gown lying in a puddle on the floor. The girls medical chart was laying on the bed, opened to the page she’d been scribbling notes to check on later.
All in all, she couldn’t really blame the girl for panicking when left alone. Unfortunately, while she could understand it, they definitely needed to find her. She raced for her phone, and was patched through to General Hammond. Quickly informing him of the situation, she then raced to meet up with SG-1 to assist in anyway she could.
“People, I want her found, and brought back unharmed, do I make myself clear?” Hammond instructed. “She’s a frightened girl who thinks we’re the enemy, and I don’t want to do anything that will cement those beliefs.”
Buffy frowned in consternation. It was so much easier to get into a secret military organization than to get out of one. She’d thought the Initiative was huge, but this place was an absolute maze. She’d quickly found an air duct to squeeze into, rather than take the risk of running along the halls when, no doubt, the doctor or the Colonel had noticed her absence.
She froze in the duct as she heard the clattering sound of footsteps running past her. From the sounds of it, there were four people on foot running through the corridor. She waited until the footsteps had faded before continuing along, making sure to make no noise whatsoever.
And if she made no noise and stayed out of sight, she’d be undetectable.
“Carter, we don’t have time for this,” Jack O’Neill whined impatiently.
“Trust me sir,” Sam replied, scrummaging through her desk to locate the naquada detector she’d been working on. She finally found what she was after and grabbed it triumphantly. She switched it on, only to have it start beeping rapidly.
“God, what is that thing Carter?” O’Neill asked.
“It’s a naquada detector sir,” Carter explained. “It works something like a metal detector, only it looks for naquada.”
“How will that help?” O’Neill asked obliviously.
“Jack, if she’d got naquada in her blood, Sam’s little detector thing will help us find her,” Daniel explained.
“Ohhhh,” Jack replied. He shrugged nonchalantly. “I knew that.”
Daniel just rolled his eyes as Sam began walking out the door, waiting until they were a significant distance away from her lab before switching the detector on again.
“We’ll just have to hope that she doesn’t try to hide in my office or anywhere near the Gate Room or the research labs,” Carter said. “But, with any luck, this will at least narrow our search down considerably.”
O’Neill nodded and gestured for Sam to go ahead of the group. “Lead the way Carter.”
Buffy didn’t want to admit that she was lost. She usually had a very good sense of direction, but today it seemed to be failing her. Then again, there weren’t too many places to go when you were hidden in the air ducts. So far, no one had noticed her presence, and five groups of searching airmen and marines had gone past her without a thought.
Now all she had to do was work out where she was in relation to the surface. She knew without a doubt that she was underground. Probably about sixty feet underground as well, which didn’t bode well.
She came to a vent and stopped to listened intently. There was no way to go up within the vents, and she knew that the only way up would be through an elevator, or through a set of stairs or a ladder of some sort. She knew enough about secret facilities to know that there would be a secret entrance to get into and out of the base in emergencies.
With the ease born of practice, Buffy ensured that there was no one coming down the corridor, and kicked the vent outwards. She stealthily moved through the corridor, her interest peaked when she found a sealed door. She tapped on the metal and the hollow sound echoed slightly. With all of her strength, she pulled at the bolted door, satisfied to hear it groan under the pressure of her strength. Unfortunately it didn’t open.
Cursing softly beneath her breath, she tried again but froze when she heard a foreign beeping sound, followed by an excited female voice. “We’re getting closer.”
Buffy swore again and looked around at the corridor. She had to hand it to the Air Force, they definitely knew how to design secret bases. There was nowhere for her to hide, and the vent she’d come out of was in the direction of the voices.
A group of four people, dressed in green BDU’s rounded the corner, and the team stopped in their tracks as they saw Buffy staring at them like a deer in headlights. Jack held up a hand calmly, hoping that she wouldn’t run from them.
“We’re not gonna hurt’cha,” Jack said calmly. “We just want to talk.”
Buffy didn’t say anything, but she began edging away from them, keeping her back to the wall so that no one and nothing could surprise her.
“Miss Summers, we really do just want to talk,” Daniel said. “My name’s Daniel Jackson. This is Sam Carter and Teal’c, and you already met Jack.”
Buffy had to admit that Daniel didn’t look as though he belonged to the Air Force. In fact, he reminded her of a younger, far cuter Giles. The problem was, the bald black man next to Daniel looked rather intimidating as far as men went, and if she was forced to fight him, it would definitely bring up questions as to how she could beat someone who was easily a foot taller than her. Sam, however, was a different matter. The tall blonde woman was looking at her with obvious interest, and that never boded well.
“I have nothing to say to any of you, except that I really just wanna go home,” Buffy said, her voice hard as nails, even though she was shaking on the inside. She’d spent two days as a lab rat, and she had no desire to spend the rest of her life underground as an experiment for the government.
“I swear to you, you’ll be able to go home,” Daniel said soothingly. “We just want to ask you a few questions, that’s all.”
“And I should trust you because…”
“Because we don’t believe in hurting innocent people,” Jack replied. His daughter was definitely skittish, and very distrustful of the government. That could be problematic.
“Look, I can’t tell you anything, really…so, just…just let me go,” Buffy said, still edging her way backwards.
“We can’t do that,” Daniel replied.
“Why not?” Buffy countered.
“Because we can’t,” Daniel answered.
“Yes you can.”
“No we can’t.”
Sam looked between the young woman and the Colonel, musing that Buffy and Daniel seemed to have fallen into the familiar arguments that the archaeologist usually had with the team CO.
Daniel pulled up short as he realised the futility of his argument. He was left with no doubt that this girl was definitely Jack O’Neill’s daughter though.
“Oh for crying out loud, just stop it the both of you, alright,” Jack grumbled. “Nobody’s going anywhere just yet.”
“And why’s that exactly?”
“Because…because you’re my daughter.”
She’d seen the birth certificate, she’d seen the blood tests, and she’d heard the story of how Jack had met her mother nineteen years ago. It made perfect sense actually; especially considering how little attention her own father had paid to her for the last few years. But discovering that you’d been kidnapped with the intent to emotionally cripple the man she had no idea was her father was a little insane.
“So…this evil government agency just decided to kidnap me for the fun of it?” Buffy said sceptically.
SG-1 exchanged glances before nodding vigorously, though Teal’c only deigned to incline his head regally.
“And the experimenting on me comes in where?” Buffy asked.
All eyes swung to Doctor Fraiser, who looked to General Hammond for his nod of confirmation.
“Miss Summers, you have a very unusual substance in your blood stream, one that the NID wishes to fully experiment on in hopes to synthesise the effects,” Doctor Fraiser began explaining. “The substance in your blood is an alloy, known as naquada.”
“Wait…you mean the thing that makes every doctor in California curious, but no one knows what it is?” Buffy asked. “That thing? You know what it is?”
General Hammond cleared his throat uncomfortably. He was never very comfortable with revealing the secrets of the Stargate, especially to civilians, but he had to admit that this was a special case. Not only was this girl Jack O’Neill’s daughter, but she had naquada in her blood, and that could be incredibly helpful to them if they discovered what exactly it did, and how it had got there.
“Miss Summers, we’ve only recently discovered naquada, and we’ve found that it is incredibly rare,” Hammond explained. “So rare in fact that it isn’t native to Earth at all.”
Buffy froze at his words. Surely he wasn’t implying…
“But it’s native to, what…other planets?” Buffy asked.
“I know this sounds rather…fantastic,” Sam interrupted. “But it’s true. In fact, your entire genetic make-up is almost identical to that of Cassandra, who is a girl we found on a planet named Hanka. Except, her genetic make-up was the result of several generations worth of alien experimentation.”
Buffy felt as though the room was spinning out of control. This really was too much information to be absorbing at the one time.
“Miss Summers…have you ever found yourself capable of doing things that no one else can?” Daniel asked. “That’s you’re stronger, faster and more co-ordinated than your friends are?”
Buffy just stared at him, wondering just what it was that made her a Slayer. If this naquada was what set her apart from being a normal human, then…well, she didn’t really know what the significance of this was. And she had a feeling that the only way she would find out more about herself would be to stay on here. Not only would she be able to find out more about her heritage as a Slayer, but, glancing at Jack O’Neill, she’d also be able to find out more about herself.
And that wasn’t an opportunity she was going to miss.
DANIEL – REPLAYED MEMORIES
The four members of SG-1 were snatched by thin black tendrils, dragging them towards the machines which they’d been examining earlier. They were pulled towards the seats and strapped in, the arms of the machines gripping them tightly and attaching vine like wires to their bodies. Their eyes snapped closed, and darkness consumed them.
Captain Sam Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson awoke, standing in a large open room. Sam looked down at her clothing, and took in Daniel’s unusual gear as well. Rather than the green BDU’s they’d been wearing, Sam was now in a light brown form-fitting jacket that opened in a circle over her chest. Daniel was wearing a loose-fitting white pullover with a hood and well-worn corduroy pants.
“Okay, what just happened?” Daniel asked in confusion.
“I’m not sure,” Sam admitted, looking around the room. Her right hand went down to where she usually kept her zat, but all she felt was the material of her pants.
“This place looks familiar,” Daniel mused. He began walking into the room, Sam walking behind him as Daniel took in the artwork on the walls. “Wait a minute. Wait a minute! This is the New York Museum of Art. I’ve been here many times. Many times.”
Daniel felt his heart catch in his throat. He hadn’t stepped foot into the New York Museum of Art since he was twelve years old. And for good reason.
“Okay, careful with that cover stone,” a voice called out from the next room.
“Yes Dr Jackson,” another voice replied.
Sam started at the familiar name, while Daniel felt his heart beginning to sink.
“Daniel?” Sam asked, seeing her friend’s suddenly pale face and the panic in his eyes.
Daniel began walking towards the room where the voices were coming from, Sam following curiously.
“Pull it this way,” Doctor Jackson instructed.
Daniel and Sam were half-stopped by a woman in glasses, who smiled at them insincerely. “I’m sorry, this area isn’t open to the public.”
Both Sam and Daniel ignored her, Daniel pushing his way past the woman to get into the room. Daniel could only stare in wide-eyed shock at the scene before him. This had to be a nightmare. He’d dreamt about this day often enough, but never had he had Samantha Carter as an audience.
There, in the room was his mother and father, standing in the middle of a construction area as a cover plate swung precariously above a small replica temple. Doctor and Mrs Jackson were directing from inside as the stone swung above them.
“Careful with that cover plate,” Doctor Jackson instructed.
“Jake, it’s swinging a bit,” Claire Jackson said, her voice shaking slightly.
“Bring this in on the left,” Doctor Jackson instructed.
A high-pitched giggling shocked him out of his reverie, and he looked down to see a small blonde-haired child running towards him. She leapt into his arms, and Daniel barely managed to catch hold of her, his heart pounding fiercely in his chest. This felt so real!
“Danny, Danny, lookit what I found!” the little girl exclaimed, holding out her prize in her hand. She was holding a rusted coin in her hand, one that Daniel knew the girl had ‘borrowed’ from a nearby exhibit. “Isn’t it great!”
“Great,” he whispered softly, absently taking it from her. He could remember that he’d taken it with the intent to return it as soon as he had the chance so that the young girl wouldn’t get in trouble with their parents. To this day, he still hadn’t returned it, and it was the only real thing he had left of his younger sister, the coin roped to a strip of leather that hung around his neck whenever he was off duty.
The little girl buried her face into his neck and clung onto him tightly. She suddenly noticed Daniel’s companion and peered around the back of Daniel’s head to get a better look.
“Who’s your friend?” the child asked curiously.
Daniel was too shocked to answer. He couldn’t believe he was actually holding this girl in his arms. It felt too surreal. But the child wouldn’t be put off by Daniel’s lack of answers. She wriggled out of Daniel’s grasp and came to stand beside Sam. She tugged on Sam’s hand until Sam crouched down beside the girl.
“You’re really pretty,” the child whispered into Sam’s ear, giggling a little.
Sam smiled at the girl, completely enchanted. She nearly jumped in shock as she realised who this tiny child was. Her eyes were exactly the same as Daniel’s. This girl was Daniel’s sister. And Daniel was staring at the four-year-old child with tears in his eyes, his heart in his throat.
“What’s your name sweetheart?” Sam asked.
“Buffy,” the girl replied. “Are you Danny’s girlfriend?”
A sudden screeching of metal let Daniel know that his nightmare hadn’t ended yet.
“Get outta there Mom! Get outta there Dad!”
The sudden crashing brought Daniel to a new level of shock, and he swung his eyes away from what he knew had been inevitable. The cover plate that had been above his mother and father had come crashing down on top of them, bringing the rest of the heavy display in on them as well. They’d been crushed to death in a matter of seconds.
Daniel turned to look at Sam who was staring at the scene in horror. Beside Sam, Daniel’s younger sister was crying in high-pitched wails, clinging to Sam as the blonde woman stroked the girls back in comfort.
And Daniel’s nightmare was only just beginning.
“Okay, careful with that cover stone.”
Captain Sam Carter couldn’t concentrate properly. Ever since they’d been released from the Gamekeeper’s virtual reality machines, she’d had a lot to think about. She couldn’t believe that Daniel had had to watch his parents die like that. She’d been devastated by the loss of her own mother when she was sixteen, but she couldn’t imagine having to watch her own parents be crushed to death. It seemed completely inhuman.
What was bothering her, though, was the fact that Daniel had never mentioned the fact that he had a sister. She’d known that Daniel’s parents were dead. She knew that he’d been brought up in foster homes, and eventually with his grandfather, Nicholas Ballard. But she’d never heard of, or seen pictures of the beautiful blonde child who’d jumped into Daniel’s arms in the Museum.
Sam Carter, above all things, was a scientist, and exceptionally curious at that. When she put her mind on something, she didn’t stop until she’d figured out the problem, or exhausted all possible avenues. She wanted to know the answers, and the only way to do that, would be with research.
A week after the incident with the Gamekeeper, Sam approached Daniel with a thick folder, filled with pieces of paper and photographs. She was a little nervous about giving him the folder, but she knew that this was the right thing to do. She quietly knocked on the door to his office, watching as her friend pulled himself away from the artefact he’d been studying and looked up at her. He slipped the aged coin strung from a leather band into his pocket without Sam recognising the coin for what it was, tried to look innocent.
“Sam,” he greeted with a warm smile. “What can I do for you?”
“Actually Daniel, it’s more about what I can do for you,” Sam replied.
She walked into his office and took a seat beside him. She placed the folder on the desk in front of them and Daniel looked at it in confusion.
“What’s all that?” he asked curiously.
Sam hesitated a little before finally deciding to take the plunge.
“I know we didn’t talk about what happened last week…with the Gamekeeper’s virtual reality,” Sam began.
Daniel breathed in deeply. He’d known that this would eventually come. He loved Sam like a sister, but he knew that she wouldn’t be able to resist eventually coming to him for answers.
“I know it’s really none of my business, but…well, you know how curious I am…I did a little snooping,” Sam admitted.
“Sam…” Daniel chastised wearily.
“Daniel, I know I had no right, but…you never once mentioned that you had a younger sister.”
“Sam…the reason I never mentioned her is…I don’t like thinking about it, okay?” Daniel said defensively. “It hurts to think about my parents, and it hurts to think about Buffy. And if you really want to know what happened, we were separated when we were put into foster homes. Some family wanted to adopt her, but no one wanted to adopt us both. So, there you are. Now you know. Will you please just leave it?”
“Why didn’t you ever look for her?” Sam asked.
Daniel sighed in frustration. He knew that his friend meant well, but sometimes she didn’t know when to stop.
“Because…because when I was old enough, I didn’t know where to start. And when I was older than that, I didn’t have any money to hire someone to look for her, and then…then I was on Abydos with Sha’re, and then…then I was at the SGC, okay? I don’t know what happened to her.”
Sam opened the folder and pulled out a single colour photograph. “I do,” Sam said simply.
Daniel’s eyes widened in shock. There, staring back at him, was a photo of his sister. And even though the young woman in the picture was now twenty-four, there was no mistaking her. The hair was still blonde, though the darker roots at the top of her hair suggested it wasn’t quite natural. Her eyes were exactly the same, the same colour as his own, the same colour as his father’s. Her smile was still impish, as though she was sharing a joke with whoever had been holding the camera.
“Oh my god,” he whispered quietly. “She’s…she’s beautiful.”
“Her name’s Buffy Summers. She’s currently living in Rome, studying psychology, with a part-time job as a self-defence instructor. Until about two years ago, she lived in California, in a town called Sunnydale, though she was raised in Los Angeles,” Sam quietly informed her friend.
“Rome?” Daniel repeated. His sister was in Rome…
“General Hammond’s given us a week’s downtime,” Sam said quietly. “If you wanted to go to Rome…well, I’m sure we can arrange something.”
Daniel could only sit in shock and nod his head. He swallowed hard and tore his eyes away from the picture to look up at Sam. “Ever wanted to go to Italy?”
Daniel could not believe how nervous he was. He’d been to other planets, and negotiated with aliens, and yet he couldn’t get up the courage to knock on the door to his sister’s apartment. Sam looked across at her friend, noticing the way Daniel was shifting his weight from one foot to the other, obviously nervous about this meeting.
“We can come back later,” Sam suggested. “We don’t have to do this now.”
“No! No, I…I want to do this,” Daniel replied. He breathed in deeply and pulled himself up to his full height. “I can do this.”
Before he could convince himself otherwise, he knocked on the door and waited. After several silent seconds, he looked as though he wanted to run as far away from the apartment as possible.
“What if she’s not home…what if she doesn’t remember me? What if she doesn’t like me? What if -”
“What if you hyperventilate before anyone opens the door?” a soft voice added from behind the two members of SG-1.
Daniel turned and felt his heart catch in his throat. Standing in front of him was his younger sister, a half-smile on her lips.
“So…are you guys standing outside the door to my apartment for any particular reason, or do you just like the craftsmanship of it?” she asked with a grin.
“Uh…uh…” Daniel couldn’t even think of the words he’d wanted to say for so long.
Sam just shook her head in amusement and stepped forward, her hand outstretched in greeting. “I’m Sam, and this is Daniel,” she introduced them, watching Buffy carefully for any signs of recognition. She watched Buffy’s eyes flick towards Daniel as she introduced him, but didn’t know whether it was just because her friend and surrogate younger brother was fairly good-looking, or whether or not she’d recognised him.
“Buffy,” the Slayer replied. “So…can I help you guys with something?”
“Oh uh…well, t-the thing is…” Daniel began stuttering. Before he could even formulate a sentence, his cell phone rang, and the archaeologist groaned in frustration. He fished it out of his jacket pocket and flipped the cover open. “Doctor Jackson.”
Sam watched as Buffy went pale. The Slayer took a step backwards, staring at Daniel in shock. It wasn’t a name that she’d ever expected to hear, nor someone she’d ever expected to see ever again. The few memories that she did have of Daniel Jackson were mostly of her following him around like a small puppy dog, begging for attention. She could remember long days out in the sun, playing in the hot sand, building pyramids as Daniel tried to give her lessons on the significance of the structures. She could remember the excitement she’d felt over showing her brother the old coin that she’d ‘borrowed’ from a nearby exhibit, and the way he’d gently taken it from her. She could remember the day her birth parents had died, the terrible accident that she and her brother had been forced to watch.
She’d never forgotten her real family, so she’d known from a young age that she was adopted. It wasn’t something that her parents had tried to make her forget, and it was something that her father had once yelled at her in the heat of an argument, telling her that she wasn’t really his daughter. It had cut her to shreds, and she’d clung to the memory of her now dead parents and the older brother who’s always protected her.
She owned exactly one photo of her older brother, and she had noticed that they had the same eye colour. But, actually meeting him again, it wasn’t something she’d ever really contemplated. She’d followed his career a little, but had been disappointed when he’d seemingly dropped off the face of the planet after his career had been destroyed for his radical theories.
“Buffy?” Sam said quietly, taking a small step towards the shaking young woman. She could still see remnants of the little four-year-old girl she’d comforted in the virtual reality only a week ago. The eyes were the same, though the brightness that she’d seen had faded away with age. The girl was petite and rather fragile looking. And, she’d obviously known who Daniel was.
Daniel snapped his phone shut with a sigh and looked towards his sister, who was staring at him with wide eyes. Without saying a single word, Buffy stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her older brother’s waist, burying her face into his neck, in a gesture that was achingly familiar to the archaeologist.
He closed his eyes and squeezed her tightly, bringing his hands up to run them through her hair. He’d missed so much of her life, and reading information off pages in a folder wasn’t enough for him. This…being wrapped in his sister’s arms, this was what family truly felt like. He’d only felt it with Sha’re on Abydos before this, and he was only just beginning to feel it again with his team mates of SG-1. But this unconditional acceptance was a rare gift, one that he intended to savour.
They reluctantly pulled away from each other, Buffy wiping her suspiciously moist eyes, as Daniel did the same. With a grin, he reached upwards to pull the collar of his shirt down. He gripped hold of the leather necklace he was wearing, and pulled out the coin that swung from the end of it.
Buffy’s eyes lit up and she grinned brightly. She reached her hand up to touch the familiar relic. Her breath hitched as she looked up at her older brother.
“Danny, Danny, lookit what I found,” she quoted softly.
“Actually…I think it’s more what I found,” he replied, hugging her once more, only this time, he had no intention of letting her out of his life ever again.
SAM – REBELLIOUS TEENS
Major Samantha Carter didn’t think it was possible to be more tired than she was at that moment. Her entire body ached with exhaustion and she wanted nothing more than to crawl into her bed and sleep for a week. The mission she and the rest of SG-1 had been on hadn’t been anything out of the ordinary, but it had left her and her teammates completely exhausted. So much so that Doctor Fraiser and General Hammond had insisted that SG-1 stand down for a week. She’d never heard anything better in her life.
And whilst she loved her work, and loved her teammates even more, she had to admit that a week off would be exactly what she needed.
She pulled her Volvo up to the curb outside her house and wearily checked the mailbox for the occasional snail mail that she got. She shifted through the assortment of junk mail, quickly discarding the advertisements for a lawn mowing service and for the mechanic down the street before getting to a letter with an official looking emblem on the front.
‘Ford, Peterson and co.’ It sounded like a law firm. She noticed it was post-marked in California, and she tore the envelope open curiously.
She scanned over the letter quickly, but had to stop as she took in the words on the page. She sank down to sit on the top step of her front porch and re-read the letter slowly and carefully.
This had to be some sort of mistake. There was no way that this could be happening.
Slowly, and on automatic pilot, she walked into her house and picked up her phone. She speed-dialled back to the base and was quickly patched through to Hammond, informing him that she would be spending her week of downtime out of state, and that she could be reached on her cell phone. She made a quick phone call to Janet and Cassie Fraiser to let them know that she wouldn’t be over for lunch the following day, and then called the airlines to book a flight for tomorrow morning.
She was going to California.
Buffy Summers sat sullenly in the seat outside the lawyers office. This was the fifth meeting that she’d been dragged to and forced to spend out in the corridor. She could hear her father yelling something at the lawyer, and she knew that whatever it was, it was about her and it wasn’t particularly pleasant. She sighed tiredly, blinking back tears.
All she wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sob her heart out over her mother’s death, but she hadn’t had the chance to do that. She’d been dragged to LA straight after her mother’s funeral to listen to the reading of the will, and then she’d been dragged to and from meetings between her father and his lawyer. She didn’t really know what they were about.
Ever since her mother’s death, things had been a blur. She couldn’t really recall how many days had passed by, and she had trouble remembering when she’d last eaten or slept properly.
All she could see when she closed her eyes was Darla’s fangs in her mothers neck. Darla had promptly become dust several seconds later, but it had been too late to save Joyce Summers. Buffy had never been more devastated in her entire life.
She’d barely had the chance to say goodbye to her friends. And even though she and her mother had only been in Sunnydale for two months, she’d still become more attached to Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg than she’d been to any of her old friends at Hemery High.
She wanted to go back to Sunnydale. Well, what she actually wanted was her mother back, but she knew that wasn’t going to happen. She’d carefully had to check to ensure her mother hadn’t been forced to drink any of Darla’s blood, and while checking to guarantee her mother wasn’t going to rise as a vampire had devastated her, it had also given her peace of mind. Her mother was resting, and she was definitely in a better place.
Then again, anywhere that wasn’t the corridor of a law firm would be a better place at this point in time.
She sighed again and looked up as she heard a set of light footsteps coming down the hallway. Whoever it was, was used to moving with stealth and a certain amount of grace, Buffy noticed. She glanced up at the tall blonde woman walking nervously towards her. There was something familiar about her, though Buffy couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly.
What surprised Buffy though was that she knocked on the door to the office that her father and his lawyer were in. She was quickly pulled inside, and the door slammed shut. Buffy was quick enough to notice the slightly regretful look that the woman had given her before the door had been closed and Buffy couldn’t help but wonder why the woman had looked at her like that.
Her curiousity was quickly overcome by her more depressing thoughts, and Buffy hoped that the eternal argument that her father seemed to be having would come to a swift conclusion.
“Hank,” Sam Carter greeted her brother-in-law. “I’m so sorry about Joyce.”
Hank Summers just gave her an impatient look and glanced over at his lawyer.
“I’m sure you can draw up the paperwork as quickly as possible,” Hank demanded.
The lawyer on the other side of the table was looking down at his desk, a pounding headache running through his mind. He didn’t know how he could choose to represent men like Hank Summers. His client had no scruples, and a heart of solid steel. Jeff Peterson didn’t know why he’d agreed to take the case, but he was definitely regretting it.
“Woah…paperwork?” Sam repeated, feeling as though she’d come in towards the end of the movie without ever having seen even a trailer.
“Miss Carter, I apologise,” Jeff Peterson said. “I’m terribly sorry for the loss of your sister.”
Sam didn’t bother to correct the man about her title. It wasn’t important, and she could tell that the man was close to a nervous breakdown.
“Thank you,” she replied, somewhat grateful that the man was at least somewhat sincere.
“Mr Summers feels that he is…incapable of handling sole guardianship of Elizabeth Summers, your goddaughter,” Mr Peterson explained. “He feels it would be best if custody was transferred to you.”
Sam felt as though she couldn’t breath. She’d know this could be a possibility. She’d known that if anything ever happened to Joyce and Hank Summers, she was first on the list of people to take guardianship of Elizabeth.
“What? Wait…why?” Sam stuttered out.
“Sam, I’m gonna be honest with you,” Hank said shortly. “I don’t have time to take care of a teenage girl right now. And to be perfectly frank, she’s technically your daughter, not mine.”
Sam scowled at the man, shocked and appalled by how callous he was sounding. She’d always assumed that her half-sister’s husband was a gentle and loving man. Obviously she’d been mistaken in her assumptions. She could only hope that Hank Summers hadn’t been so cruel to his daughter, but, after seeing the miserable looking girl in the corridor, it was obvious that Hank had no time for a grieving teenager.
Sam swallowed hard. Giving up her daughter hadn’t been something that she’d done lightly. The fact was, she’d been barely more than a child herself when she’d given birth, and she hadn’t been ready to be a mother. When she’d found out that her older half-sister hadn’t been able to bear children, she’d readily agreed to let Joyce and Hank adopt the baby girl.
“I’d really love to know just what it was that Joyce ever saw in you Hank,” Sam said, shaking her head in disappointment.
“I’ll take that as a yes on the custody agreement,” Hank said, staring at her unblinkingly.
Sam couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She hadn’t really been expecting this outcome. She’d only ever though that she would get custody if something happened to both Joyce and Hank. When she’d heard that Joyce had died in some sort of cult murder, she’d only thought she’d been invited because she was mentioned in the will, not because she was being considered for custody.
“Miss Carter, the fact of the matter is, we’ve been trying to get the other alternatives to take custody of Elizabeth,” Mr Peterson said. “I’m afraid that no one has the time, patience or money to look after her.”
Sam glanced towards the closed door, even though she couldn’t see the teen that she knew was sitting sullenly in the corridor. She took a moment to consider her options, and knew that there was no real choice in this. She had to take the girl in. She’d given her up once because she was too young and she had no money. She was an adult now, and she had more money than she really knew what to do with. Besides, it wasn’t as though Elizabeth was a pre-teen. The girl would mostly be able to look after her self if Sam was stuck at work. Which, in her field, it was very likely.
But there was no other option. And if Sam was honest with herself, even if there was someone else to take custody, she would still want to finally get to know the girl she’d reluctantly parted with sixteen years ago. It would be a chance for a fresh start, for both of them.
“Where do I need to sign?”
It had sounded good to Sam in theory. But she honestly had no idea that it would be this hard. And they hadn’t even made it back to Colorado Springs yet. Sam glanced over at the silent teenager, watching the girl who was curled up in the window seat, staring at the clouds as they flew past.
“You okay?” Sam asked softly.
Buffy just shrugged, not taking her eyes off the window. She knew that she was frustrating her new guardian, but she’d never met this woman before. She had no idea why her father had refused to take custody, and she had no idea why a complete stranger had been in her mother’s will.
Sam sighed in frustration. This was definitely not going as planned. Unfortunately, an aeroplane was no place for an in depth discussion about anything.
“I’ll uh, be cleaning out the spare bedroom tomorrow,” Sam explained as she showed Buffy around her house. She’d had no warning about her impromptu new resident, and hadn’t had time to prepare anything for her. “You’ll be able to decorate it however you want. We can go buy some paint on the weekend or something…”
Buffy just nodded and glanced around the house. It wasn’t as big as the house she’d lived at in LA, or even as large as the house in Sunnydale, but it was warm. Photographs lined the walls and even though there was nothing out of place or cluttering the floors, it still managed to give off a homey sort of feel.
“I’ll just make up the couch for you tonight,” Sam offered, moving towards the linen cupboard to get blankets and pillows for Buffy while the girl milled around the lounge room, absently taking in the photos on the walls.
It was only when she came across someone that she recognised that she had to stop and pick up the framed photo. It was a picture of a young child being cradled in the arms of her mother. But the woman in the photo was someone that Buffy had seen in photographs in her mother’s collection. Buffy knew without a doubt that the woman in the picture was her mother’s mother, her own grandmother, and someone who had died a year or so before Buffy was born.
The question now was why did Samantha Carter have a picture of Buffy’s grandmother in her house.
Sam wandered back into the living room, blankets and pillows in her arms. She placed her load onto the couch and came to stand behind Buffy, her heart racing slightly as she saw the look of deep concentration and confusion on the girl’s face.
“Who is this?” Buffy asked, showing the picture to Sam.
Sam cleared her throat nervously before answering. “My mom…well, me and mom really,” she replied. “She died when I was about your age.”
“Mom has pictures of her as well,” Buffy said quietly. She paused and rethought the sentence, swallowing hard as she forced herself to rephrase. “She had pictures…”
“Your mom was my half-sister,” Sam explained. “We had the same mom. I…uh, Joyce named you after her. Elizabeth Anne Cart – – Summers.”
Buffy looked up at her new guardian in shock. She hadn’t known that her mother had had any siblings. All she really knew about her mother’s family was that her grandparents were dead.
“She never told me about you,” Buffy said.
“We weren’t all that close,” Sam replied. “She was twelve when I was born, and…she moved out when she turned seventeen. She and my dad didn’t get along very well.”
That was putting it lightly. Joyce had hated Jacob Carter with a passion, though no one had been entirely sure of why. The moment she’d been able to, she’d moved out of the house, and had only really seen her half siblings, Samantha and Mark for the funeral of Elizabeth Anne Carter.
“So…if you and my mom weren’t close…why are you my godmother?” Buffy asked curiously.
Sam cleared her throat nervously. She shrugged slightly and turned away from the girl, knowing that she was a terrible liar and the truth was always written in her eyes.
“I’m not sure, really. I just said yes when she asked me.”
Buffy didn’t believe Sam for a minute, but she let it drop. In all honesty, she was too tired and too emotionally drained to really think about why her mother had appointed custody to someone that Buffy had never met.
The Slayer yawned tiredly, wanting nothing more than to curl up and sleep in order to forget that fact that her mother was really gone. Sam noticed the yawn and quickly covered the couch with a spare sheet and ushered Buffy into the impromptu bed. The Slayer was asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow, and Samantha Carter crouched beside her, completely in awe of the fact that her daughter was directly in front of her.
With a gentle hand, she reached out to brush a stray strand of Buffy’s hair behind her ear, and then gently pressed a loving kiss to the girls forehead.
And while she knew that she had a long way to go with her daughter, she wasn’t about to miss this opportunity to make up for the years that she’d lost. Now all she had to do was get Buffy to actually like her, instead of merely just tolerating her.
Major Samantha Carter woke to complete and absolute silence. It wasn’t an unusual thing, given that she lived alone, but…there was something she was missing…something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
She suddenly sat bolt upright in bed and tossed the covers aside. Leaping off the bed, she flung her door open and raced to the living room. Instead of seeing a peacefully sleeping teenager camped out on her couch, there was just a neat pile of linen with a post-it note attached.
Sam grabbed the yellow square and read it quickly.
‘Gone jogging. Back by 9. B.’
She could feel her heart decelerate and the adrenaline began leaking out. Breathing a sigh of relief, Sam checked her watch, startled to find that it was already quarter to nine. She had fifteen minutes to come up with some sort of viable plan of what to do to bond with the teenage girl who was beset by grief, and transported away from everything she held dear.
And as much as Sam could empathise with Buffy, having lost her own mother when she was sixteen, she had never been attached to the house that she’d lived in, and to say that she was socially awkward at sixteen would be an understatement. She’d never had too many close friends, seeing as she’d been advanced at school, and usually attended two grades above her own age level.
Glancing around the empty room for any sort of inspiration, her eyes lit up as she saw a picture of a grinning Cassandra Fraiser, sandwiched between Sam and Janet, a grin upon the young girls face. If anyone could sympathise with her new ward, it would be Cassie.
“So…any idea who this girl is?” Cassie asked, glancing at her ‘mom’ as Janet drove them to Sam Carter’s house.
“Not a clue,” Janet replied. “Sam’s never mentioned her before.”
“Weird,” Cassie murmured.
Janet silently agreed. She had to admit that Sam’s behaviour had been incredibly uncharacteristic these past few days. It was almost unheard of for the USAF Major to leave Colorado, let alone leave voluntarily.
“I don’t know how Sam expects me to help uh…what was her name again?” Cassie asked.
“Buffy,” Janet replied, the strange name sticking out in her memory. “And her mother died last week…Sam just thinks that you might be able to…I don’t know, offer her some comfort. You lost your parents not so long ago…”
Cassie nodded thoughtfully. Granted, their situations were very different, but Cassie had acclimated to her situation rather well.
Janet pulled her car up to the curb outside of Sam’s house and stopped the engine. She and Cassie simultaneously got out of the car and walked up the drive to the front door. Cassie breathed in deeply, curious about who the girl staying with Sam was, and wondering if there was anything that she could do to help her.
“Helps if you knock, hon,” Janet teased quietly.
Cassie grinned a little and reached up to ring the doorbell. Several moments later, the door swung open to reveal a worried looking Samantha Carter. Cassie stepped forward to give her ‘aunt’ a hug, and Sam seemed grateful for the comfort.
“So…where is she?”
“In the kitchen,” Sam replied.
“Sweet,” Cassie said with a smirk, before sauntering into the kitchen, leaving Sam and Janet in the entry hall.
“Too much time with the Colonel,” Janet explained.
Sam nodded, as though that explained everything. She stepped aside to let her friend in, and closed the door after Janet.
“How’re you doing Sam?” Janet asked as they wandered into the living room.
Sam took the blanket and pillows from the couch, putting them in a corner so that she and her friend had somewhere to sit. Janet sat herself in the corner of the couch, one leg tucked beneath her, facing towards Sam as the blonde woman took her seat.
“Okay, I think…things are a little…well, they’re a bit strained really,” Sam replied. “Which I get, really, I do. When my mother died, I was so lost. I did some…I did some really stupid things.”
“Everyone does stupid things Sam,” Janet said. “How else can you explain the Colonel?”
Sam laughed a little, glad that the seriousness of the conversation had been lightened.
“Well…let’s just say that my stupid thing…well, it backfired,” Sam said quietly, craning her neck to get a glimpse at the kitchen. She could see Cassie sitting beside Buffy, the two of them with their heads close, Cassie’s hands holding Buffy’s. She could see that both of them were shaking slightly, and Sam was gratified to see that her suspicions had been correct. She’d known that Cassie would be able to help, and while she wished that it could have been herself that Buffy opened up to, it didn’t really matter in the end.
Janet shifted in her seat slightly, taking Sam’s hand gently. She could tell that her friend was uncomfortable with the topic, but wanted to talk about it, and she knew from experience that sitting in silence, and allowing Sam to get her thought processes out would be the only way to let Sam heal properly.
“When mom died…I was devastated. I was so angry with my dad, and he was away on missions a lot. Mark was never around, so I was left by myself most of the time,” Sam began, her voice soft and unsure of herself.
“I stopped going to class, which…well, you know how I am,” Sam said, laughing a little, though there was nothing humorous about her tale. “I started going out a lot at night. I ended up at some club and snuck past the bouncer. I ended up completely trashed, and…well, when I woke up the next morning, I wasn’t alone.”
Janet knew there was more to the story, but her mind was already two steps ahead. She knew where this was going to lead, and she had a feeling that the end result of Sam’s drunken escapade was sitting in the kitchen with an alien from a different planet.
“Buffy…she’s yours,” Janet said.
Sam nodded, thankful that she hadn’t needed to explain the rest of the story for her friend. In all honesty, she didn’t even know the name of the man that she’d spent the night with. He’d only been about twenty or so, and she’d told him that she was eighteen, rather than the sixteen that she’d been at the time. She’d never seen him again, but, then again, she probably wouldn’t have recognised him even if she had.
“Dad had no idea I was pregnant. My big ‘cry for attention’ had me running to my sister,” Sam said.
“Half-sister, technically,” Sam explained. “From mom’s first marriage. She was twelve when I was born. Joyce and dad never got on very well, so the second she turned eighteen, she took off. I saw her for the funeral, and…well, when I realised I was pregnant, I had no one else to go to. She and her husband had been trying to have children, and she found out that she couldn’t…it seemed like the perfect solution really. I was too young, and she was family, so…”
“So she raised Buffy as her own,” Janet finished. “God, Sam…I knew you’d given birth but…I always thought the baby had died.”
Sam looked up, completely startled by her friend’s admission. Janet looked at Sam pointedly, her eyebrows raised.
“Sam, I’m your doctor. There’s not much about your body that I don’t know,” Janet pointed out.
“But, you never said-”
“Sam, it was obviously something incredible personal, and painful, if it wasn’t something that you told people,” Janet said gently. “I wasn’t about to pry into something that had nothing to do with work.”
Sam nodded, somewhat grateful that Janet had never brought it up before now. It was comforting to know that her friend had been perceptive enough to keep the information to herself until Sam felt comfortable enough to explain what had really happened.
“And Buffy has no idea?” Janet asked. “That she’s your daughter?”
The sudden shattering of a glass cup brought both women to a startling halt. Sam whirled around, suddenly on her feet, and could only stare in wide-eyed shock as Buffy stared back, her face pale.
Cassandra was looking between Sam and Buffy, as though scrutinising her new friend and the woman who’d saved her from certain death so many years ago. Now that it had been mentioned, she could definitely see the resemblance between the two women.
“Buffy,” Sam whispered.
Janet looked at her daughter, having an entire conversation without words. Within moments, they were outside, sitting on the front porch in case they were needed to either mediate, or for moral support. Either way, they weren’t needed for such a private conversation, but they didn’t want to just cut and run.
Buffy could only stare at Sam in shock, her mind unable to process such a huge piece of information.
“Say something,” Sam urged. “Please…anything?”
Buffy struggled to find anything coherent to say. All she could finally settle on was “how?”
And with a rambling sentence, Sam quickly outlined her depression over her own mother’s death, and the drunken one-night-stand that had led to her pregnancy. She explained her flight to Joyce, and the stay with the Summers’ for the duration of her pregnancy, and the difficult decision to give up her baby, knowing that she could never be any kind of mother.
“Please believe that I never meant for you to find out like that,” Sam said, tears in her eyes, heart in her throat. She was terrified of losing the girl that she’d reluctantly given up so many years before.
“This is…it’s a lot,” Buffy whispered.
It also explained several things as well. Her father’s reluctance –refusal- to take custody. The fact that when she’d needed a transfusion so many years ago after falling off her bike, neither of her parents were an exact match in blood type. The fact that there were no pictures of her in her mother’s arms in the moments after she’d been born. And if she thought hard enough about it, she’d never actually even seen her birth certificate. She’d never needed it for a passport, or to get her driver’s licence, so she’d never had a need for it.
“Buffy, please….I’m not…I know that – that I’m not your mom. I know how much you loved Joyce, and I don’t want to do anything to change that,” Sam tried to explain. “I just want the chance to get to know you.”
Sam was practically holding her breath, waiting for her daughter to reply to her desperate plea. And it was with great relief that Major Samantha Carter saw the girl give a very hesitant nod. It wasn’t much, but it was definitely a start.
JANET – INADEQUATE DOCTORING