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Three Warriors

Author: Lotusja
Genre: Crossover/AU
Fandoms: BTVS/Highlander/Stargate SG: 1
Spoilers: Season 3 of Buffy and Season 5 of Stargate SG1
Pairings: Buffy'Jack O'Neill
Ratings: R
Feedback: Yes Please
Email: Please ask and it will be given unto you.
Summary: Three Warriors Challenge by Hakuchihirolover. Jack, Buffy and Methos were all Goa'uld hosts during Ra's occupation of Earth. Buffy and Methos founded that out the stargate was open and operational and they both went to Cheyenne Mountain to confront Jack O'Neill.

AN: it is hard writing several characters at one. You tend to forget who is in a room. Wesley and Spike doesn't exist in my story at all.

AN#2: (When you see this‘' it means inner dialogue.)

Buffy and Methos were all Goa'uld hosts during Ra's occupation of Earth.
Buffy is still the slayer.
As they were all immortal, they could survive the removal of their symbioties.
Buffy and Jack are both at least as old as Methos, although one of them could have been taken as host at the beginning of Ra's occupation.
Buffy being famed as a particularly evil/brutal/psychotic goa'uld.
Buffy and Methos find out about the Stargate being operational again and go to Cheyenne Mountain.

Must Haves:
At least four 4000'word chapters
Set in season 3 Buffy and any time before Season 8 SG1
Carter complaining about not knowing where the immortals hide their swords
Giles and Daniel polishing their glasses at the same time.
Buffy and Jack swearing in a ancient/alien dialect
Buffy's immortality being revealed when she dies in front of the other Scooby's.?
One of Jack's past lives being somebody famous.
Joe and Giles talking about being watchers.
Jack and Buffy having a past relationship, you decision as to whether it is going on.?
Angel being the only Scooby to know about Buffy immortality.?

Include at least three of the following:
Tealc' and Buffy sparring
Buffy having slept with Ra
Willow hacking into the SGC?
Anise passing out when she sees Buffy
Multi'colored jell'o
General Hammond banging his head against his desk.
Methos and Buffy yelling at Jack for letting the Stargate operational
Daniel having an allergy attack the first Jack tries to tell SG'1 that he's immortal.
Someone swearing in five different languages.?
Giles saying "Oh dear" in every chapter.?
References to Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings
Xander asking for Thor's autograph.
Buffy reading a book in Sumerian.?

Chapter 1

Isa Plateau
Giza, Egypt
October, 1928

A lone figure stood on a cliff over looking a valley. The valley is filled with several hundred people digging frantically in the dirt. Suddenly there were excited shouts as several men furiously unearth an object. It took thirty men and one hour to uncover a large round cylinder object. The lone figure sighed and walked away several hours later when they finally exposed the object.

Sunnydale, California
May 1999

It's a typical summer night in Sunnydale, California as Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer, patrols numerous cemeteries alone. She does not mind being alone. In fact, she relishes it. in Buffy reasoning, there is freedom in the night. It hides a multitude of sins, in its warm embrace. The nights cloak her, as she hunted prey. in the night, she can be a hunter. In the night, her senses awaken. Her eyes grow keen. Her hearing, her sense of smell, everything is better in the night. Her nostrils flared as she sense's something. Vampire! She takes a deep breath, and gives chase.

For years, she had hidden who she really was. Now she'd tired of hiding. After talking it over with Angel, she had decided that it was time to let the Scooby's in on the lie she had been living. They were great friends, and they deserved the truth. But as she staked the vampire, she felt a shiver of apprehension run through her. She was feeling worried about how to tell them. They would either embrace her or denounce her. Giles would probably have a stroke. But the one thing she knew for sure was that she had to tell them. She thought back to how she had been treated after Angel came back and that time she had left. She had told them that she had escaped to Los Angeles, but instead she had gone to Washington to visit a friend. She hadn't wanted to come back. She hadn't want to deal with the recrimination, the guilt and the doubt at all. Still, her friend had talked her into coming back.

But if that time had been bad, imagine how it would be when she told them that she had been lying to them. She could already see it in her mind's eye. ‘Guy's, she would say. ‘Buffy Summers isn't my real name.' Shaking her head slightly at the thought, Buffy continued to patrol, killing the few minions that were unlucky enough to cross her path on her way to her home. Her steps carried her pass Willow's house and seeing the light in the bedroom window, Buffy decided to stop by and say hello.

Willow Rosenberg was on the cusp of womanhood. She had shoulder length dark auburn hair and rich brown eyes that complimented her creamy white skin. From the moment Buffy had come to Sunnydale, Willow had been a great friend to her. Buffy climbed the trellis positioned outside Willow's bedroom. She made a mental note to herself to warn Willow to get rid of the trellis or at least keep her windows locked at all times. When they had first met, Willow had no idea about the subculture of Sunnydale, the man'eating vampire and demon subculture. Buffy peered through the window, but a gauze curtain partially obscured the window. She rapped on the window, trying to get Willow, whose attention was focused on the computer she was seated in front of.

Hearing the noise, Willow looked around. She was startled to see Buffy hanging in mid air outside her window. "Buffy!" she cried, rushing to open the window. "What are doing here?"

"Hey Wills," Buffy said smiling. "I saw your ligh and decided to drop by. What are you doing?"

Eyes wide in alarm Willow shifted from foot to foot. "Nothing," she said, mumbling.

"Oh come on," Buffy coaxed. She loved to tease Willow. She would get all tongue'tied.

"It's nothing," Willow said. Nervously she moistened her suddenly dry lips.

"Please," begged Buffy, amusement in her voice and eyes.

"Alright," said Willow. She walked over to her computer and gestured to it.

"What is?" Buffy asked, curiosity now taking hold. She walked over to the computer. "A naughty website?" She didn't know what to expect, but what she read on the computer screen was much worse.

"No, no I would never go to something like that," Willow said with an anxious little cough.

"What is it then?" Buffy asked, seeing the site for the first time. "Home World Security," she repeated, reading the words off the computer. Some sixth sense told her that there was more to this site.

Uncertainty crept into her expression. "Willow!" said Buffy trying to sound shocked but not quiet getting there. "I can't believe you hacked into Homeland Security."

Willow walked over to her desk. "No," she said. "It is Home World Security. It's a cool site. I just found it," she admits, bouncing over to the computer. "Get this, Buffy. It's a website about a thing called the Stargate which leads to other worlds. Apparently there is a name for this gateway, it's called the Chappa'ai."

"The what!" Suddenly the uneasiness Buffy was feeling bloomed into something pressing. "Let me see," she said pushing Willow out of the way. Her heart started to pound, she could barely catch her breath. She felt like she was going to faint. Through the roaring din, she breathed one word. "Chappa'ai." It was so surreal. One minute, she had been joking, then in the next split second her world fell apart.

"What's going on?" Willow asked, stumbling out of the way, confusion written all over her face. What did I do? What could make the Slayer pale like that?

Ignoring her, Buffy stared silently at the words on the screen. "He didn't," she moaned aloud. ‘As the Commanding Officer of the Research and Defense Unit, General George Hammond commands the SGC. … the project was started under the leadership of Colonel Jonathon O'Neill. Daniel Jackson, the combined Archaeologist and Anthropologist who proposed that the pyramids had been built by a race much older than the Egyptians had opened the Stargate in 1998.

Shock yielded quickly to fury "I am so going to kill him." Her eyes wandered helplessly across the screen. For years they had tried to protect earth from invasion, now the threat was real again because the Chappa'ai had been opened.

‘Samantha Carter second in command to Colonel O'Neill and an alien named Teal'c, a Jaffa, once enslaved under a so'called Egypt God Apophis…'

"Who are you planning to kill?" Willow squeaked, bewildered and annoyed at Buffy all at once.

"Not now, Willow," Buffy said, her tone curt and distracted. "I've got to go." she climbed back through the window.

"What's going on?" Willow demanded. Her hands fisted at her side. "Buffy?" she said with a laugh. "This is not a real website, it's like fan fiction. With X'men. This is based on a show called Wormhole Extreme."

However, Buffy did not hear her or at least pretended not to hear her.

Pushing her head out the window, Willow watched as darkness swallowed Buffy's retreating figure. "What's that about," she mumbled to herself, hitting her head on the window on the way back inside. "Ow," she said walking to computer. It was the same info she had on it before. Nothing had changed. She decided to do a more in depth search to see if she find out what had spook Buffy. Confused, she wandered restlessly around the room.

With her Slayer's speed, Buffy reached her house in no time. She hurriedly pushed the front door open and slammed the door shut as she raced up stairs to her room. "Is that you Buffy?" Joyce called from the kitchen. As the owner of a successful art gallery, she sometimes had to be up all night cataloging items. Sometimes she would acquire the most ‘interesting' items at night. She would never tell Buffy, though she surmised that she knew already. Seventy'five percent of her collection was due to Buffy's, knack of acquiring fascinating pieces. This night was one of those nights an intriguing piece had fallen into her lap. She had a late meeting with a Mr. Curry, who was willing to part with several statues of Egyptian fertility goddesses.

"Yeah it's me," Buffy yelled down the stairs. Her mind was in a whirl as her thoughts flitted back to the information on Willow's computer. Suddenly a cold knot formed in her stomach. What was she going to do? For the first time, she thought she might panic.

Walking to the end of the stairs, Joyce shouted, "Is everything okay, dear?" Joyce Summer was a woman in her early forties, with light brown hair, blonde in the sunlight. She had moved to Sunnydale after a tempestuous divorce from her husband. She frowned. It wasn't like Buffy not to answer. She hesitated. Should she go up? After living on the Hellmouth after all these years, she was cautious even when entering her own home. Although Buffy had told her that vampire could not enter without invitation. But when she had asked about ‘other' things, she did not get a straight answer.

Curiosity, her only fault, she thought, made her wander curiously up the stairs after not hearing an answer. Joyce walked cautiously towards Buffy's room. It was typical teenage room with posters of several male movie stars in sexy poses. The room was painted in shades of teal and white, and on the bed was the most famous pig of all time Mr. Gordo. Mr. Gordo was a beloved present from an old boyfriend of hers. However, Buffy always told her friends that he was a gift from her father.

At Buffy's bedroom door, Joyce stood silent for a few minutes. "What are you doing?" she asked curiously of the half hidden figure in the closet.

"Looking for something," Buffy said, her voice muffled.

Pointedly Joyce looked at her watch. "It's one thirty in the morning. Isn't time for you to be in bed?"

"In a minute," Buffy said distractedly.

Joyce wandered further into the room and sat on Buffy's bed.

"Got it," Buffy yelled triumphantly, showing Joyce a small makeup case in bright pink battered and scuffed in several places. That small case had been with Buffy for years. It contained her most precious secrets.

"What so special about that old thing that you had to find it tonight of all nights?" Joyce asked, looking at the item in Buffy's arm with curiosity. It was not the first time she seen that case. And although she knows of its importance to Buffy she had never seen the contents.

Buffy walked over to the bed and gently lay down. She reverently opened the case. It creaked a little, having not being opened for a while. "This," she said.

Buffy and Joyce peered into the interior. Inside the case, there were several bundles of yellow letters.

"What this?" asked Joyce, curiously reaching for something in the case.

"Don't touch it!" Buffy yelled slapping Joyce's hands away.

"Ow," cried Joyce, rubbing the sting out of her hand.

"I am sorry," Buffy said, contrite. "Please don't touch those. They were from Jack."

"Ah," Joyce said in understanding.

"I was looking for this," Buffy said, holding up a sword reverently. It was a katana. Buffy stood and swung the sword a couple times. It was perfectly balanced made for her hand. She hadn't seen anything in the case for several years; it was a symbol of her past. After seeing, that information on Willow's computer, it had brought home the fact, it was time to start wearing the sword again. As the resident slayer on the Hellmouth, she never needed ‘the sword' but now, she would definitely feel comfortable wearing it. Looking into the chest had made her nostalgic, made her think of simpler times. In the case, there were a couple of fading pictures. One was of Buffy in the late 1920's her arm around a man and they were smiling at each other. There were others. Some of the pictures were of Buffy with several people; some of photographs were with her with one or two men. Each picture indicated a different era of time. As both Buffy and Joyce sat on the bed looking at pictures of yesterday, Buffy recounted what had happened earlier…
Sunnydale Library

The next afternoon, Willow entered the library of Sunnydale High School, looking anxiously around the room. "Has anyone seen Buffy?" she asked the room large. In the library there were several young people sitting around. Xander Harris, a lanky teenager with shaggy dark brown hair, was sitting at a table with his eyes closed. He was slough in a chair, his head resting on the chair back and his foot on the table. Next to him was Cordelia Chase, May Queen. She was a brunette with blonde highlights in her hair, attempting to choose a nail polish to color, flamingo red or candy pink. And there was Oz, Willow's boyfriend, who was in a band called Dingoes eat my baby. He was average teenage with an ever'changing hair color. He says he did that to create individualism or sometimes to match his mood. Also in the room was Rupert Giles, Librarian and Watcher of Buffy Summers, Slayer. It was his job to guide and prepare the slayer for the forces of darkness.

Giles took his glasses and started polishing them. "What do you mean, have we seen Buffy. Is she missing?"

"Who missing?" murmured Xander, coming out of his nap.

"Buffy," said Cordelia.

"Well, she might not be missing," said Willow backtracking, anxious not to panic anyone. "She just didn't go to her any of her classes. I should know; I checked."

"Oh dear," said Giles, as fearful images quickly built in his mind. "Did anyone see her after her patrol yesterday?" he asked, walking to his office. His office was a mish mash of items. Books, magazine, potions and weapons. "Did you check with Angel?" he asked over his shoulder.

"Check with Angel about what?" Angel asked, walking silently into the room behind Willow.

"Arrgghh," said Willow, uttering a frightened squeak. "Don't sneak upon me like that."

"Sorry," Angel said contritely. To him, it seemed like he always apologizing. It was going to take a while before the gang was comfortable with him again. "What's this about?" he asked, speaking in a gentle tone, as if to make up for frightening Willow. Out of all the Scooby's, Willow was his favorite because she was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"Have you seen Buffy?" Willow asked breathless. A delightful shiver ran up her spine. She looked over at Oz apprehensive, wondering if he could detect that she found Angel attractive. To quote Cordelia, he was all salty goodness. "She hasn't been at school all day," she continued. "And she hasn't checked in."

"Did anyone call her house?" Angel asked, speaking with a cool authoritative voice.

"I was just to do that, when you came in," Giles admitted. He suddenly had a quick and disturbing thought. What if something had happened to Buffy? He knew that she could take care of herself, but what if? Normally her patrolling was routine, maybe this time, had been one time something out of the ordinary had happened. For several months now, Buffy had patrolled by herself. She could handle it. Couldn't she? He turned to go to his office, trying not to show the kids he was worried.

Suddenly the library's double doors burst open and Faith and Buffy walked through the doors laughing.

"Where have you been? Willow yelled frustration and anger in her voice. For last couple of hours she had been on pins and needle, worrying about Buffy. Last night after Buffy had left so abruptly, she had gone back to the computer, trying to determine what on it had caused Buffy to freak out.

Taken aback by the other girl's tone, Buffy stopped in surprise, making the other slayer bounce into her.

"Jeez B, watch where you stop," said Faith, in a friendly relaxed manner. "Hey Red," she said walking around Buffy.

"None of your business," Buffy said as intense astonishment touched her pale face.

"What?" said Willow, her mouth hanging open in shock. All this time she had been worried about Buffy, only to be told it was none of her business. How dare she?

"Buffy!" Giles admonished, halting in shock. "Willow was concerned about you. We all were." He grabbed his glass and started polishing them.

"Yeah," Xander pipe up, totally bewildered at Buffy's behavior.

"I wasn't," said Cordelia blowing on her newly painted cotton candy colored fingernail. She shrugged as if unconcerned; although she would be the first one to volunteer to go look for Buffy, if it came to that.

"Except Cordelia," said Giles, rolling his eyes in exasperation.

"Hey, it isn't that I don't care," said Cordelia looking up from her hands. "I know Buffy can take care of her self."

"Thanks Cordelia," said Buffy, clearly surprised. Did the prom Queen just Buffy a compliment?

"No big," she said, feinting boredom.

"Buffy?" said Giles. He hesitated, measuring her for a moment. "Where have you been? You weren't in class," he asked.

Shrugging, Buffy walked toward the center of the room. "There was something I had to take care of," she said, sitting next to Xander at the table. "It's nothing."

"What was it?" Giles pressed, now concerned. It wasn't like Buffy to hide something from them, especially after the last time. Buffy had hidden Angel's return and it had caused a small rift in her friendship with her friends. "Maybe it's something we can help you with."

"I said it's nothing," she exclaimed in irritation as she jumped to her feet.

There was a stunned silence. Buffy never raised her voice at anyone, much less Giles.

In the silence, the telephone rang.

"Dang B," Faith muttered, giving her a disbelieving sidelong glance.

Flustered Giles answer the phone. He paused, looked at Buffy, and then said, "It's for you Buffy."

She hesitated briefly and walked to take the phone from him. "Hello. Yes, I had been trying to reach you" She listened for a while. "It's about Jack. We should meet. When?"

The group stared at her, not sure what was going on.

"Bye," said Buffy hanging up the phone. She turned around to see everyone staring at her. "I have to patrol," she said walking towards the library door. She needed a moment to orient herself.

Faith was unnerved at what had just happened. She looked around, not sure where she should be. She decided to follow the lesser evil. "B, wait up," she yelled, at the quickly retreating Buffy. Her mind was spinning with bewilderment. What happened?

"What's going on here?" Willow demanded, puzzled by Buffy's abrupt change of mood. "Do you think she's possessed or something?"

"Or something," murmured Angel, who had an idea about what was going on. Earlier that morning, Buffy had come by the mansion and they had talked about what she had found out, more so what she was planning to do.

Pushing away from the table, Xander got up, and made towards the door. "I don't know what's wrong, but she can't treat Willow like that," he said with a critical tone to his voice.

"Back off everyone!" said Willow surprising everyone. "I will handle it." With a resolved face, she marched out of the room.

Looking uneasily around the room, Giles said, "Yes, well let's everyone go back to work."

Seacouver, Washington.

Methos, known as Adam Pierson, the oldest living immortal put the phone gently in it's cradle, frowning slightly.

"What s wrong?" asked Joe Dawson, proprietor of Joe's Bar.

"I don't know," Adam said, pausing slightly. He felt the buzz of an immortal near. Unconsciously his hand went to the sword strapped to his side. "I have to meet a friend in couple of days." He looked around surreptitiously, sighing when he saw that it was the Highlander, Duncan MacLeod.

"So where are we going?" asked Duncan, moving to sit beside Adam at the bar.

"Mac," said Joe, surprised and delighted, as he welcome his friend back from his trip. "When did you get back?"

"A little while ago," Duncan said dropping a large and dusty bag at his feet.

"Yeah," said Adam. "When did you get back?"

"You didn't felt me?" Duncan asked concerned.

Rueful, Adam shook his head. "Not until you were almost upon me."

"You are slipping old man. If I were any other immortal, I would have your head."

Adam acknowledged that it was true.

"So you didn't answer my question," MacLeod asked, clapping Adam across his back. "Where are we going?"

"We?" Adam asked his brow rose questionably.

"Yes we," said Mac, draining the beer that Joe had put down in front of him.

Adam looked at MacLeod thoughtfully for a few minutes, and nodded his head. "California. Sunnydale, California."

"Never heard of it," said Joe, wiping down the counter with a wet rag.

"Lots of people haven't," Adam said, an easy smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "It a little suburb west of Los Angeles."

"How long will you be gone?" asked Mac, curiously. He had traveled all over the world but even he hadn't heard of Sunnydale.

"I don't know," said Adam. "Couple days at the most. Why?"

"I told you, I was coming with you. I need to get some fresh clothing," Mac said getting up from his chair. "Plus I need to check on Richie. Where is he by the way?"

"He's over at Lara's," said Joe. Lara was Richie's girlfriend. She was the most studious girl Joe had ever seen. At age twenty'three, he was not the most responsible person, but as long he was with Lara she made him buckle down and toe the line.

Duncan inclined his dark head. "Okay I'll give him a call," he said turning on his heel and striding to the door, his duffle bag heft across his shoulders. Richie Ryan was his protégé and foster son, an immortal like him. After his fiancée had died, Richie was all he had, and he tried to keep him close. But like all young men, Richie chafed under his restrictions. So right now, they had a somewhat adversarial relationship.
A Cemetery

Sunnydale, California.

Buffy Summers and Faith gracefully battled vampires together. Seizing a chance moment, earlier Faith had asked Buffy about what had gone on in the library. However, Buffy did not want to talk about. She couldn't understand why it was always her sharing her inner'most thoughts. It was as if they had to have every piece of her. But Buffy knew it was about trust. They still hadn't forgiven her for not telling them Angel had returned. So the two slayers continued their jobs.

Feeling the buzz of an immortal, Buffy halted abruptly and Faith slammed into her body.

"Jeez B, what's with you and the sudden stoppage," she exclaimed in irritation. One was an accident, but twice?

Buffy put a hand up in a stop motion. Out the shadows, a man walked out. He was a tall blonde, wearing a long black leather coat, where he drew a long sword from it. "Isabella," he said. "I heard that you withdrew to this dinking little town."

"Dagon, why I am not surprised?" said Buffy. Shit, she muttered to her self. Why now? To aside to Faith, she murmured. "If its not one thing it is the other."

"Draw you sword," demanded Dagon, annoyed that Isabella doesn't seem surprised to see him. The time he wasted trying to find her. He had looked all over the fair grounds of Europe; he knows how she loves to party and now to find her in this nowhere of a town. That was the greatest of all ironies.

"This is holy ground," Buffy reminded him, her eyes flat and unreadable as stone.

"B, what's going on?" Faith demanded in a harsh whisper, her hand bunch into a fighting gesture. Faith could feel an undercurrent going on between Buffy and that strange guy. She hesitated, not knowing what to do.

"This is my fight," Buffy whispered back, pulling her along behind her. Well, Buffy thought. She had planned to tell the Scooby about her life, but this wasn't the way she had envision it. She felt so resentful of the situation.

"Can you handle him?" Faith asked skeptically, eying the huge man in front of them.

Buffy stare at Faith disbelieving for a minute. "The day I cannot handle one guy is the day, I put away my slayer's hat," she retorted.

"Is he a demon?" Faith asked, knowing that demons sometimes looked human. Plus, he didn't feel like a vampire.

"Enough!" roared Dagon, tired of being ignored. "It is time to fight. No more chitchat."

"No," said Buffy taking a sword it seemed, from mid air." He's not a demon.

Faith, eyes grew wide. "Dang B," she breathed as she watch the moonlight glisten off the silver of Buffy's sword. "Where did get such beauty?"

"I been waiting years for my revenge," said Dagon, giving Buffy a brutal and unfriendly stare.

"Really," said, Buffy walking a short distance away, out the cemetery gate. "I hope I was worth the wait," she said shrugging matter of factly. In a lighting fast motion, she spun around, and growled, "Lets dance."

Soon the mismatched pair engaged in fighting, a dance of some sort. Faith, had known that the senior slayer was proficient in weapons training, but this was the first time sheactually seen Buffy using a sword. It was breathtaking. The way she swung the sword, the thrust, the parry. She was getting hot just watching the fight.

Buffy, using the advantage of her strength had weakened the other man was going to give the deathblow, when she heard a scream behind her. Distracted, she glanced behind her. Dagon, cursing his weakness, saw an opening and thrust his sword into Buffy's side.

Buffy looked slowly back at Willow, who had screamed and looked down at the sword sticking out her stomach, "Shit, one of my favorite shirts," she muttered, knowing it was a grievous wound, and that she was about to die again. Then she slowly and gracefully fell to the ground.

Shock held both Willow and Faith immobile for a second. Then they both rushed towards Buffy's fallen body.

"B" yelled Faith, dropping quickly to the wounded girl's side.

"Buffy?" said Willow glancing down at the blood rapidly pulsating out of Buffy in disbelief.

Preoccupied, the girls never noticed when Dagon staggered off into the shadows to nurse his own wounds. "I'll be back," he whispered into the night.

Willow knelt down beside Buffy, not caring that her own clothing was being soaked with blood. Buffy's blood. Panic like she'd never known before welled in her throat. Earlier, she had searched Buffy's haunts, determined to have it out with her. She remembered the righteous anger she had felt and knowing Buffy's routine, she had followed her from Wilson cemetery all the way to Leigh'Hall, which is closer to the town. She hurriedly checked Buffy's pulse. There was none. "Come on Buffy," she cajoled. Grief and despair tore at her heart as tears fell unheeded down her cheeks. "Please don't die," she cried, taking pieces of her shirt to staunch the wound. "I am sorry, I sorry," she said, hot tears streaming down her cheeks.

"B?" Faith questioned. She was in shock. One minute Buffy was alive and kicking, enjoying the dance and the next she was lying on the ground, bleeding. "What did you do?" Faith yelled at Willow.

Taken aback, Willow could only stutter. "I'I."

"If it wasn't for you, Buffy would be alive. You distracted her," said Faith, as a suffocating sensation tightened her throat. What was she going to do without her friend? A bitter despair was slowly creeping into the recess of her lonely soul.

Willow stiffened in shock. Smothering a sob, she rushed away.
May 1999 Sunnydale Library A Cemetery May 1999 Sunnydale Library A Cemetery

Chapter 2

Giles's apartment.

At Giles's apartment, Willow knocked loudly on the front door. "Giles! Giles! Wake up! Wake up! I killed Buffy!" Willow yelled with tears blinding her eyes and choking her voice.

"Who is it?" Giles asked as the pounding on his door awoke him. He stumbled drunkenly down the stairs missing a few steps on his way to the door. Hair mussed, and glasses hanging crookedly on his nose, he shrugged into his favorite robe as he jerked the door open. "What is it!" he yelled in frustration. "Willow?" he said surprised. He looked at the young girl on his doorstep, blinking in bewilderment. "What are doing here, its one o'clock in the morning," he asked, blinking owlishly at her. "Aren't you supposed to be in bed?"

"Giles," Willow sobbed. "Come quick, Buffy's dead."

"Uh," Giles said, shaking his head. This is a trick, he thought. Someone put her up to this. He looked beyond her, peering into the dark night. "Willow," he said. "It is not funny to be playing tricks at one o'clock in the morning."

"It's no trick," she said sobbing, rushing past him into the apartment.

"Uh,' he said again, bewildered. Ice formed in his heart. It couldn't be. Buffy Summers was not dead. He staggered slightly, grabbing the door for support, then closed it gently behind him. "What happened?" he asked. His voice seemed as if it was going through a tunnel. "Was it a vampire?"

"No," Willow sobbed.

"Was it a demon?" Giles asked his mind in a haze.

"No." She sobbed louder and pulled him into an embrace. Just thinking about what had happened shattered her spirit, making her sob louder.

"Not a vampire or a demon," Giles asked bewildered. "Then what was it," he yelled, his voice inflamed. He shook her as if it would speed up her thoughts. He was tired of this. What happen to his slayer?

Willow gasped. "I killed her," she wailed shaking in fright as she remembered Buffy's pale and lifeless body on the ground.

Giles stumbled back, shock made him loosen his hold on her.

"Giles?" Willow called in a small'frightened voice.

He put up a hand in stop motion. He shakily walked towards the kitchen. "I need something to drink," he muttered.

"Giles!" Willow said, rushing to follow him.

Twenty minutes later, sipping a cup of tea, Willow calmly tried to explain what had happened. Abruptly the front door opened while Willow was wiping her eyes on a damp piece of cloth.

"What's this about Buffy being killed?" demanded Xander as he, Cordelia, and Oz rushed into the room. Oz made a beeline for his girl.

"I killed Buffy!" said Willow on a fresh sob. She swallowed the despair in her throat.

"No you didn't," Giles said automatically, sipping on his tea. Oh my dear girl is dead. What will the council think? That I couldn't keep a Slayer more than two years. My Slayer is dead. Dead.

The door once again crashed open and Faith, with Buffy cradle in her arms staggered towards Giles couch.

His tea crashed to the floor, and for a brief moment shock held him immobile. "Let me help you," he said rushing towards the Slayer.

"No!" said Faith, pushing the Watcher aside. "I got it."

"Did someone call Angel?" asked Cordelia. She didn't know what to think. She and Buffy had never really seen eye to eye. There can be only one queen bee. Now she felt guilty and selfish.

"I did," said Giles. He sighed heavily, his voice filled with anguish. "After I called you guys."

There was a heavy feeling in his stomach. Looking down at Buffy's still form, Giles said absently. "I can't believe she is dead. She looks so peaceful, like she's sleeping. I thought I would have more time with her."

"Yeah," said Xander looking down at Buffy, his face bleak with sorrow. "It's weird that a guy would kill her with a sword. I thought she would have gone down fighting a gang of vampires," he said, shaking his head regretfully.

"Yes," said Giles thoughtful, his mind a tumult of confusion. "She should have been able to handle one guy. You said he was human," he asked Willow, more puzzled about that fact than anything else.

"He looked like it," she said, looking at Faith for confirmation.

Ignoring the question, Faith said venomously to Willow. "Buffy wouldn't have died if you didn't start screaming. You distracted her."

"I didn't mean to," said Willow, her face twisting in pain as fresh tears ran down her cheek. "I just saw Buffy with a sword swinging like she was going to kill him. I didn't know what to think."

"Are you sure?" demanded Giles, his eyes blinking owlishly behind his glasses. That was different kettle of fish, although it doesn't justify what Willow done.

Surprised, Willow thought back to the moment when she had first seen Buffy fighting that guy. "Well yes," she said, but to her dismay, her voice broke slightly.

"He called her Isabella," said Faith, her thoughts dull and disquieted.

"Who?" said Giles, his voice apologetic. He knew that he was intruding on her grief. Even in his own grief, he recognizes that the slayers had been close.

"The guy," Faith said, turning torture eyes towards Giles.

"Isabella?" said Giles. "Are you sure?" he asked, his voice held a rasp of excitement.

"Yes," she said her voice breaking. She cleared her throat and continued. "But, Buffy didn't deny it. He also said he knew her a long time. Looking, back I think Buffy was surprised to see him, but she seemed to get over that told him it was holy ground. Whatever that means."

"Mmm," murmured Giles. For the first time, since Willow brought the news that his Slayer was dead, he felt that here was something he truly could do. Research. He turned to suggest that, when he saw Angel at the door. He hesitated briefly before inviting him in.

"What happened?" he asked, his voice carrying a unique force. He walked quickly towards the couch, where Buffy was lying still as death.

"Willow killed Buffy," Cordelia responded matter'of'factly. Her sense of loss was beyond tears.

"Cordelia!" said Giles, wincing. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. What a tactless way to put it, he thought.

She shrugged, closing her eyes.

"What?" Angel questioned, first looking toward Willow, then around the room at the rest of the Scooby's. When he had last seen Willow, she was determined to have it out with Buffy. Now to find out that she had killed Buffy. Buffy was the strongest slayer alive and immortal. Immortal. Buffy was not dead, she just resting. ‘Oh, he thought, looking around at the grief stricken faces. They don't know.

In the intervening silence, Buffy Summers awoke with a gasp.

Startled the gang could only stare as she slowly and gingerly sat up.

"Wait, what?" gasped Xander as his eyes rolled back into his head as he fainted on the carpeted floor with a thud.

Giles felt his legs give way and he sat down hard, missing the sofa by a few inches.

"What happened?" moaned Buffy, tossing her head her to clear the cobwebs from her brain.

Cordelia stood, gaping in stunned silence at the newly risen Buffy.

Surprised siphoned the blood from Willow's face. "You'you," she said, as she followed Xander to the floor.

"Willow!" said Oz, as he swiftly caught his girlfriend before her head hit the carpeted floor.

The shock of a newly risen Buffy had also had immobile Faith for a few minutes, but she quickly grabbed a stake, then charge Buffy. However, Angel swiftly blocks her path. "Let me go," Faith yelled. "I don't want to hurt you," she said, pushing at Angel's unyielding chest.

"Yes, well I'd rather that you didn't hurt me either," Angel stated dryly. "But I don't want you to hurt Buffy."

"Buffy!" Faith yelled, giving Angel a sidelong glance of utter disbelief. "Are you blind? Don't you see that something has inhabited Buffy's body? B is dead," she said with a moan, her body slumped in despair.

He sighed heavily. "No she's not," Angel said softly. He understood the other woman's pain. "This is Buffy," he said turning her gently towards Buffy who was feeling her tender stomach.

"No I am not dead," Buffy said grimacing. How to explain what happened? She had planned to tell them, but fate chose a different time. ‘Each of us has to play the cards we were dealt.' She continued to touch the hole in her favorite shirt reflecting on how lucky she was. It was a mistake, next a time a mistake like that could take her head. She had gotten complacent, and cocky. It was a rookie mistake allowing outside interference to distract her from a fight.

She and Faith had almost finished patrolling Leigh'Hall cemetery when she had sensed an immortal. Knowing that she couldn't hide, she decided to confront him and as she was about to deliver the killing blow, she heard Willow scream. She had thought that something had captured Willow, only to find her looking at her like she was some sort of monster. Oh Willow, she thought, remembering that her friend had fainted. Friends were a human liability. Ignoring the other Slayer and Angel, she walked over to Willow, cradled in Oz's arms.

Oz looked at Buffy briefly for a few minutes, breathing in the scent of her. He nodded this was indeed Buffy. "Fainted," he said, in his monosyllabic way.

For a minute or two, his brain had doubted what his eyes had seen. Giles shook himself out of his stupor and stumbled towards Buffy, rubbing his weary eyes. "Buffy?" he gasped; uncertainty lent a rasp to his voice.

"Yes it's me," she said, giving him a tentative smile.

"Oh, my dear girl," he said rushing to gather her up into his arms; tears running unashamedly down his cheek. His Slayer was alive. Alive. His arms tightened in reaction to his thoughts.

"Giles? Giles, you are squeezing the life out of me," Buffy said, wiggling out of his arms.

"Sorry," he said, holding her apart from him, his eyes glowing as they drunk in her loveliness. "How?" he asked puzzled.

Sheepishly she just smiled.

"B that's really you?" Faith breathed, her arms dropping dejectedly to her side. Suddenly she was angry. How dare Buffy Summers put her through this hell? She had never thought she could care about anyone again ever since her Watcher had died. She had been living on the street since she was twelve years old; after one of her mother's boyfriends had thought that, she would be an easy lay. It took persistence and a couple of cops before she was found and went to live with her Watcher. But her idyllic life with her Watcher had changed one fateful night, when she was force to run while Kistano, a demon, killed her Watcher. However, there was one valuable lesson she had learned living on the street. Always look out for number one. Número uno

She knew that the Scooby's didn't like her, but that was their lost. As long as she and B were together, they could rule the world. The Chosen two.

Since the fight had gone out of Faith, Angel dropped her arms and moved away to sit at the same chair that Buffy had lain in.

"Mmm," Xander moaned as he got off the floor. "Who hit me?" he asked. "Let me at him," he said, holding his head to his shoulder.

Coming out from her catatonic state, Cordelia rushed towards her ex'boyfriend. "Are you okay?" she asked concerned, giving Buffy a wide berth. If that wasn't the real Buffy, she didn't wanted to be the first to be taken hostage. Bad guys always took the pretty one.

"Who hit me?" Xander asked, groaning softly. It felt like several little men were hammering on his skull.

Relieved that he was going to okay, Cordelia said. "No one, you fainted."

"No I didn't," said Xander appalled. "Real men don't faint."

Rolling her eyes in exasperation, Cordelia said, "Then you must be a girl, because you fainted.

"Yes, you swooned like a little lady," Angel said, mockingly.

"Who asked you anyway dead boy?" Xander retorted contemptuously.

Eyes narrowing menacingly, Angel growled, "Watch it boy, keep it up. If you keep calling me dead boy, you'll find out what I am capable of doing."

"What are going to do, turn into Angelus?" he said sarcastically. "To do that you must have perfect happiness, and I know Buffy isn't dumb enough to try again."

Angel growled, breathless with rage, pushed up from his chair. Someone had to teach that a boy a lesson.

"You stay over there," Xander retorted a shadow of alarm touching his face as grabbed the cross around his neck. He held it up in a warning manner.

"Enough!" yelled Giles, rancor sharpened his voice. "I am tired of all your petty differences."

Xander opened his mouth.

"Shut up Xander! Just shut up," Giles said sharply. "Stop baiting Angel. Do you have a death wish?" he asked incredulously. "Don't you know if you bait a tame lion long enough it will fight back?"

"Yeah Xander. Stop being such an asshole," said Buffy glaring at him with burning reproachful eyes.

A tense silence enveloped the room.

In the ensuing silence, Willow woke up, "Buffy!" she cried, struggling to get up.

"It's okay," Oz soothed, helping her to sit up. "She's really alive," he said understanding what she wanted to know.

"Alive?" Willow questioned. "How?"

"Yes how?" said Giles. "One minute you were dead and the next you were alive. I know you were dead, because we checked your pulse and you weren't breathing."

"I' I mmm," said Buffy, indecision in her face. As casually as she could manage, she glanced down at her watch, and gasped. "Look at the time," she said. "It's three in the morning. Mom's gonna kill me, I've got to go."

"Not yet, young lady," Giles scowled, giving her a narrow glance. "Not without an explanation.

"I can't stay," said Buffy, watching Giles wearily. "Look at the time," she repeated. "I got to go." She shuffled awkwardly backwards toward the front door. "I will explain everything tomorrow. I promise," she said.

"First thing in the morning," Giles said, his voice resigned.

"Yes first thing," Buffy answered her voice echoing as she ran down the steps and into the night.

"What was that?" Xander said, staring at the closed door, baffled.

"I don't know," Giles said, still in the dark about his Slayer's behavior. "How about you Angel? Do you know?" said Giles, chewing on his lips thoughtfully.

"Why would he?" asked Xander, his lips curled in disgust.

"Xander," Giles admonished wearily. ‘That boy had to watch his mouth. They couldn't continue to protect him if he courting trouble.

Angel glanced at his non'existent watch. "Uh," he said. "I got go, sunrise and all that."

Giles eyes narrowed at him in surprise. "Sunrise isn't for another two hours," he said. "You know what's going on?" he asked no long surprised. If there were one person, Buffy would have confided in, it would be Angel. No matter what had went on last year; there was still closeness between those two. Some times, he begrudged their friendship, especially at times like these.

Angel sighed. "Yes, but it is not my tale to tell. You guys have to wait until tomorrow morning," he said, nodding his head, and then walked out the door.

Feeling battered and wounded, Willow looked around, then said. "I got go, I guess I'll see everyone tomorrow."

"I'll walk you home," said Oz softly. He looked at Willow, seeing the shadows under her eyes. He knew she was hurting. First, thinking she had killed her best friend, then to find her alive and hiding secrets. He wished he could take all the hurt away. However, everything would be out in the open tomorrow. No, he thought looking at his watch, later in the morning. What's going to happen to the Scoobies, he thought looking at Xander and Willow. Everything they had come to rely on might be gone. He sighs.

Willow nodded as her eyes earnestly sought his.

"I gotta book," Faith said, speaking with a bitter tone. She walked slowly, her foot dragging, behind the couple, not wanting to dwell on what had just happen.

Recovering from what he had just gone through, Xander added lightly, "Yeah G'man, we'll see you tomorrow." He quickly followed the others through the door.

"Hey wait up!" yelled Cordelia, her lips thinned with irritation at seeing Xander leaving without her. She muttered under her breath about inconsiderate ex'boyfriends. ‘Is it my fault that Miss Perfect Buffy isn't who they think she is? How can a person be dead one minute and alive the next? No human does that, unless they are some sort of demon. Who knows who Buffy Summers really is. Is she really a Slayer or do Slayers even really exist? Aargghh.

Giles closed the door softly behind the kids. He knocked his head several times against the doorframe. "I need a drink," he muttered to himself as he crossed the room to the liquor cabinet. He grabbed a bottle of Scotch, ignoring the empty glass. Walking to a chair, he dropped heavily into it, tipping the bottle to his head, and swallowed a mouthful. "Ahh," he said as it slid smoothly down his throat and to his bones.

Chapter 3 Sunnydale High School Library

Buffy sighed in relief as she walked into the Library. She was the first one there. After leaving Giles, she had sped home as if all the hounds of hell were behind her.

She walked around the room, looking curiously at the books. Although she had been in the library several times before, this was the first time she had being in it alone. She walked unerringly to the archaic language section, and chose a book. It was a Sumerian text about a group of people called the Ancients.

She grabbed the book looked at her watch and sat down in a chair and started reading. She was immersed in the book and didn't notice Giles coming out of his office. Giles stood still for a few minutes observing the woman he had thought he had known. He had tossed and turned on the sofa, unable to get to sleep after the kids had left. He couldn't conceive of going to bed. ‘Did he really know Buffy? Watching her read a book, she shouldn't be able to read, stirred his ire. He had come to love Buffy, he even thought of her as his daughter. Now he knew that he had never really known her.'

"Eh'hem," he said clearing his throat.

"Giles!" said Buffy startled. "What are you doing here?" She said looking around her in bewilderment.

Giles took off his glasses and started to clean them. "I thought were supposed to meet here this morning."

"Yes well," Buffy said, slowly closing the book and shoving it gently across the table.

Eyes narrowing, Giles walked forward and took up the book from the table. "Were you reading this?" he asked with deceptive calm.

Buffy opened her mouth to deny it, but Giles said, giving her a warning look. "Don't bother to deny it. I saw you reading this." He looked at the book in disbelief, and then at looked at Buffy. "You were reading Sumerian!" in a blink of an eye he shed his mild mannered librarian mode, and stepped into the Ripper. "Who are you?" he demanded, grabbing her by the throat and lifting her a few inches off the floor.

"Giles?" Buffy croaked, twisting in his grip. She could have used her strength to immobile him, but she didn't want to hurt him.

"Giles!" said Willow rushing towards the couple. "What are doing?" she asked prying Giles arms from around Buffy's neck.

"This isn't Buffy," he growled, roughly thrusting her away from him.

"Of course it is," she said, looking apprehensively at Buffy who was massaging her throat.

"Tell them who you are!" demanded Faith bitterly, walking up behind Willow. "You are not Buffy, you are someone we don't know. I don't know," said Faith, her voice trailed away.

Buffy looked at the people standing in front her. This had been her family for the last three years. How could she tell them? Over the years, she had lost friends and family and she had dealt with it, and she would probably continue to deal if they didn't support her. She had to, for her sanity's sake.

The library door slammed open and three men entered the room.

Startled, the group turned towards the door.

"Excuse me," said Giles walking towards the men with his arm outstretched. "Can I help you?"

"Yes," said one of the men. He looked to be in his thirties, with dark brown eyes and a lean build. He was wearing a tan trench coat opened to show a blue shirt and dark blue jeans. He sauntered casually into the room; his eyes searched the library as if he was memorizing every exit. "I am looking for Buffy Summers."

"What do you want with her?" Xander demanded his voice held a hint of challenge.

Smiling enigmatic, the man looked around the room, then he spotted the person he was look for. His eyes lit up.

"Adam," Buffy said her eyes bright with pleasure. She squealed, jumping into the man's arms and wrapping her legs around his waist.

"Isabella," Adam said smiling in her face. "I had to ask several people include this small little troll of man, where you were. And you know what they all said," he said with quiet emphasis.

"No, what?" Buffy said, trying to suppress a giggle.

"They all told me that you were in the library, but the little man also said if you weren't in you class at the appropriate hour, then you would get detention this evening," Adam said, the look on his face was mixture of eagerness and tenderness.

"Snyder," Buffy said, rolling her hazel eyes in disgust.

"You know that is the second time I've heard Buffy called Isabella," Faith said aside to Giles.

Giles nodded, indicating that he had heard her. He was watching the dynamics of Buffy with someone beside the Scoobies. How her face lit up! He shook his head; why he didn't know. Maybe in denial. For all his soul searching last night and early this morning, watching Buffy with the stranger confirmed something. This wasn't the Slayer he had come to know and love.

Looking around the library, Adam said to Buffy, whom he still held casually in his arms. "The library is the last place I thought I would find you, luv."

"Why?" said Buffy, pushing out of Adam's arms to guide him to a nearby chair.

"You aren't one for the books," he said, affectionately.

"Well he definitely knows Buffy," Xander whispered aside to his friends, who had followed Willow into the library.

"Shut it Xander," said Cordelia. She was watching the two major hotties that just entered the library discretely. There were actually three men, although the other one seemed to be an old hottie, probably older than Giles, with gray in his beard. Plus they all seemed to know Buffy Summers. ‘Isn't she the lucky one?' she thought jealously.

"Are you saying that I'm dumb?" demanded Buffy, pouting prettily, an amused look in her eyes.

"I am not saying anything, you said it," Adam said chuckling. "Plus, I don't want you to beat me up."

"Buffy, who're your guests?" demand Giles, with a critical tone to his voice.

Buffy stiffened, momentarily abashed. "Oh, my bad" she said blushing slightly. "This is a friend of mine Adam Pierson."

"Just friends?" questioned Giles, mockingly.

"Yes," Buffy said, an unwelcome blush creeping into her cheeks. Suddenly she was angry with her self for being embarrassed. What stick had crawled up Giles ass? Buffy knew that he was angry with her, but that didn't stop him from needing to be polite. What happen to the British cool and all that? She opened her mouth to blast him, when Adam elbowed her in the ribs.

"Ummph," she said, on expulsion of breath.

Adam turned toward Giles, who had an intractable look on his face. "Let me introduce my friends. Isabella, this is Duncan MacLeod and Joe Dawson, I told them I was coming to visit, and they wanted to come and you know me," he said spreading his arms in an expansive manner. "I couldn't say no."

"MacLeod?" Buffy said her mouth dropping open in shock.

Adam rolled his eyes in exasperation. Mac has the devil's luck with women, even sophisticated women like Isabella. All they saw was his great looks and body, although that was the same for him when meeting a new woman.

"The Highlander?" Buffy queried, looking at the man in front of her. He was a ruggedly handsome man, easily six four, with long black hair tied in a queue. He was wearing a long leather coat, black slacks, and a dark blue shirt that complimented his eyes of sapphire blue.

"Well yes," said Duncan, walking over to Buffy and kissing the palm of her hand. "I am sometimes called that, but you can call me Duncan. And are you Buffy or Isabella?" he asked, his voice a velvet murmur.

"Both," she said shivering slightly as his voice, deep and sensual, sent a ripple of awareness through her. She had of course heard all about the Highlander from Methos, especially their exploits together. "Having known Adam for so long, why haven't we met before?" she asked charmed.

"I guess it wasn't our time," Duncan said, smiling down at the petite blonde. From the time he had entered the school he had known there was an immortal near. He had hesitated upon entering the library. Call him cautious, but to go into a place with an unknown immortal? He was nobody fool. But Adam had just bundled through the door without any hesitation, so he had followed suit.

He trusted Methos enough to follow him. He hadn't asked any question when Adam had told him that he was going to California to meet a friend. And because he trusted Adam, he didn't asked why they were here in the first place, but he was little bit surprise to find that the immortal he had sensed was Buffy. Pleasantly surprised. She seemed a delightful package. Maybe when she and Methos concluded their business, she might spend some time for him. From the way, she had greeted Methos; Duncan didn't think they had a romantic relationship, at least not right now.

"Well Buffy, can you tell me what your "friends' are doing here?" Giles demanded, speaking in a grudging tone.

"I called them," she said softly, turning away from the intoxicating charms of the highlander. She hadn't had sex in over fifty years until Angel and look how that had turned out. A hell on the earth was released.

"Well then, they can excuse you. We have some unfinished business to take care of," said Giles as an edge of impatience crept into his voice.

"Yeah," said Faith in a nasty tone. "We do have business to care of. Although I don't mind looking at them," said Faith. "Them being such major hotties and all."

"Faith!" Giles said pinching the bridge of his nose, as heat stole into his face.

"That's okay," said Methos, successful stifling his laughter. "We have heard worse," he said looking over to Duncan who seemed to be having a hard time stifling his own laughter.

Ignoring the room at large, Buffy walked into the middle of room and stood motionless for a few minutes. She sighed as she gazed towards her friends, who were looking eagerly back at her. "They cannot leave yet. They are part of my explanation," she said in a rush of words.

"What explanation?" Adam asked curiously. "I thought this was about … he said, his voice trailed off to dwindle into silence.

Giving Adam a disgusted look, Buffy said, "You introduced your friends, but I didn't introduce mine. Pointing to each individual as she named them, she said, "This is Mr. Rupert Giles, Librarian. Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Cordelia Chase, Faith Sturgis andDaniel Osbourne otherwise know as Oz. This is the Scooby Gang."

"Scooby Gang?" asked Mac confused. Wasn't that a cartoon in the seventies or the eighties? He wasn't quiet sure, he didn't spend a lot of time watching Saturday morning cartoons.

"Later," mouthed Adam.

"Willow and Faith saw me die," Buffy said, sighing heavily.

"Oh," Adam said wincing. Turning towards the two girls, he said, "I'm sorry you had to see that. It's never easy to watch a love one die. He then turn to Buffy and asked, "What happened?"

Buffy looked at him and said a few terse sentences in an unknown that dialect that only Adam and she know.

Adam looked across the table at his friends, "We might as well stay, he said. "Joe, get comfortable. What you are going to hear will have to stay in this room. Nothing for the Watcher Council."

"You are a Watcher?" asked Giles, blinking in surprise.

"Yes," said Joe. As casually as he could manage, he asked, "You have heard of us." Nothing's secret anymore, he mumbled to himself.

"Well, yes," said Giles taking off his glasses and cleaning it. "However, I never heard of a Joe Dawson being on the council. When did you start?"

"It's a different Watcher Council," said Buffy exasperated. She could see them now, the boring talks about their watchee. Is that a word? Buffy pondered. If it isn't then it should be. The get together would be over a pot a tea, and a case of beer. She giggled inwardly imagining it. Giles with his stuffy tweed and Joe with his rough and sometimes coarse ways, sitting on Chippendales lamenting the fact that their apprentices didn't listen to them.

"What!" said Joe, looking at Buffy in surprise. "How can this be?"

"Let me explain," said Buffy firmly. "My name is not Buffy Summers."

"What?" Giles said, a mixture of feelings surging through him at that moment. He shook his head in bafflement. Did he just hear that right? He looked around the room to the children that were silent watching Buffy with their mouths agape, which wasn't attractive. He should say something. But he saw that Buffy's guests were just looking at her with mild curiosity. I guess they did not know that this was a momentous occasion.

"My name is not Buffy Summers," she repeated. "At least I wasn't born with that name. I don't remember the name I was born with," she lied.

"What do you mean? Why don't you remember your name?" asked Giles, deciding to sit down. He was sitting down. How did he get into a chair? His mind was awhirl with anger and doubts.

"I am an immortal," she said, boldly meeting his gaze.

Giles just stared at her, baffled.

"Did you know this," asked Joe aside to Duncan.

Duncan nodded.

"Like Angel," asked Willow puzzled, for the first entering the conversation. She was angry at Buffy. One, for lying all these years, two not being who she said she was, three for dying in front of her and four, for letting her think, she would never see her again.

"I knew it!" said Xander, his voice hardening. "You are a vampire or a zombie," he said, pushing his cross towards Buffy in a stopping motion. This cannot be Buffy, he thought. Buffy Summers, the girl he met on the steps of the school, her blonde hair shining like gold in sun. This was an imposter that had inhabited her body and turned her into a ghoul.

Buffy rolled her eyes; she was fed up with Xander's nonsense. Why was he always such a dweeb? "If I was vampire, would I be wearing this," she said taking her own cross, the same cross Angel had given to her when she came to Sunnydale, from her blouse where it had lain nestled comfortable between her breasts. "No I am not like Angel; I am immortal like Adam and Duncan."

"Angelus is here!" said Adam, his voice rising an octave.

Buffy eyes flickered uneasily towards Adam for a brief moment. "I told you we were seeing each other," she reminded him.

"Yes, well I forgotten," he grudgingly admits.

"Forgotten? You never forget anything," said Duncan, taking a quick breath of utter astonishment.

"Well I am old," said Adam mockingly. "I'm bound to forget a thing or too."

"You know Angelus?" asked Xander, butting into the conversation.

Adam eyed Buffy for a moment, then he nodded reluctantly.

"So," said Xander gleefully rubbing his hands together in anticipation of any dirt that Adam could supply on Angel. Getting him out of Buffy's life was his number one goal. "How do you know Angelus, or is it Angel?"

Puzzled, Adam looked at the boy across from him. "Aren't Angelus and Angel the same person? Why do you separate them?"

Buffy winced and closed her eyes. ‘Uh oh,' she thought. This might get messy.

"Angel is Angelus's alter ego," said Willow softly. "Several years ago, some gypsy cursed him with a soul, and Angelus is the demon within.

Adam threw back his head and let out a great peal of laughter. "You can't be serious," he intoned, his body shaking in mirth.

"We are quite serious," said Giles, puzzled by Adam laughter. "Gypsy cursed him with a soul."

Adam laughed louder.

"That's enough," muttered Buffy, guiltily. "I told you this, remember?"

"No you didn't, this is something I would have remembered. We've always known him by the name Angelus, right Isabella?" said Adam looking towards the petite slayer. "At least for two hundred years. Right?"

"Buffy knows," said Giles, a vein throbbing on his temple. "Isabella, or whoever the hell she is, has known Angelus for two hundred years. So when you slept with him you knew that you were unleashing hell on earth," he said striding towards Buffy with murder in his eyes.

"No, no, no!" Buffy said placating, moving swiftly from the irate watcher. "I wouldn't do that," she said, giving Adam the evil eye. "When we met Angel..."

"Don't you mean Angelus," said Xander, disillusioned. Hatred blazed out of his eyes. His hero was dead. She had willingly slept with a corpse.

"Yes," Buffy said sighing. "Angelus." Seeing the distain on Xander face, something inside of her broke. "How dare you look at me like that?" she yelled.

Xander eyes widen in shock.

"Am I some garbage under your feet? You don't know me; you don't know the things I had to do to survive, until you live in my shoes. You cannot stand there with that holier than thou look on your face preaching to me about morals," she said, her voice rising an octave. Suddenly as it began the fight when out of her. She sighed noisily. She thought on how to explain this so that he would understand, so that they would understand. "Look guys, try to understand. This world," she begins softly. "Is not black and white. It's made up of grays, lotsa and lotsa shade of grays. I did things that I am not proud of, just to survive and I will, probably do things again that you and nobody else may deem morally right. But don't judge me. Until you've lived in my shoes, seen the things I have seen, then you can't say, Buffy was wrong."

There was a tense silence for a few minutes, but the sound of Faith clapping broke it. "Way to go B," she said admiration sounded in her voice. She was glad for that little speech. Xander Harris, always thought he was better than every one else, and needed to be taken down a peg or two.

Xander looked down at the floor shame faced. He didn't mean to cause problems, but sometimes, his mouth ran away with him and he inserted his foot into it. Plus he was jealous of all the good'looking older men. He see how Cordelia, even Willow was looking at them. And Buffy, didn't she knows any ugly guys. Just once, he would like Buffy to look at him, like she had look at Angel and now this new guy Duncan. Dun'can. What kind of a name is dunkin anyway?

"Oh, Buffy," said Willow crossing the room to hold Buffy in a hug, "I forgive you," she whispered.

"Thank you," she said her heart now light. Buffy turned to Xander and said. "Yes I slept with Angelus, and I didn't know about the clause the gypsy had put in the curse. She then turned towards Giles. "Yes I have known Angelus for two hundred years, but he wasn't the same sadistic person we met this summer. I am not saying Angelus is a sweetie pie, but he wasn't that cruel. I wouldn't be a Slayer and not have slayed his ass if he was total asshole."

"So you are the Slayer then?" Giles asked, relief sounded in his voice.

"Yes I am a Slayer.

"Were you the first?" asked Willow eagerly. She was fascinated with the idea of living through history.

"No," Buffy said, smiling.

"Do you know how the Slayers came to be," asked Giles, just as eagerly. "The Watcher Councils lost the books detailing that fact."

"Actually they weren't lost, I had them stolen in stolen in 1705," Buffy said apologetically.

"You," Giles asked, flabbergasted. "Why?"

"Because, that groups of men had forgotten why they had Slayers in the first place, and that we weren't toys to play with," Buffy said her voice cold and exact.

"Do you still have the books?" Giles asked gently. He knew that the Slayer had a problem with how the council operated. Even he, had problems dealing with them.

Buffy nodded, "It's in a safe place."

"Can you show me sometimes?"

"Some other time," Buffy said, her voice resigned. "I have to talk to Adam about something."

"Buffy, Isabella," said Oz, gently. "Sorry to interrupt, but how old are you?"

"You guys can still call me Buffy," she said, softly.

"Yeah B, who's older, you or lover boy," Faith asked, gesturing to Adam.

"Yes Buffy," Willow said in an encouraging voice. "Who older, Adam, Angel or you?"

"Adam is definitely older," Buffy said her mouth quirking with humor. "Angel is a baby compare to him," she said jerking her thumb towards Adam.

"How about you Ms decrepit?" Adam said his eyes twinkling with mischief. "You are older than I am."

"Yes but by two years," Buffy wailed, peeved, that Adam considered her old.

"You are older than Methos!" said Joe Dawson, gawking at Buffy in disbelief. Seeing the other's looks of perplexity, he amended his statement. "You are older than Adam?"

Buffy sighed and nodded yes.

"Whoa!" Joe said, looking at Buffy with awe. Meeting someone older than Methos. Wait until the Watchers heard about this, the stories that would be put in the chronicles. Whoa. He had promised Adam; nothing they said in this meeting would leave the room. He could not break such a bond. His friendship with the Highlander and Methos meant a lot to him.

"Who is Methos?" asked Oz, startling Joe out of his reverie.

Uh, oh, Joe thought.

There was a strange silence for a few minutes.

"I am Methos," said Adam, sighing in resignation. "That was my original name. And by the way," he said aside to Buffy. "Your name was Safiya, which means pure."

"Wow!" said Willow enchanted. "What a beautiful name."

"Thank you," said Buffy, putting her tongue out at Adam. "But how you like to go through like life with a name that means pure, I haven't been pure since," she cocked her head slightly to one side thinking about it. "Forever," she finally admitted.

"I can attest to that," said Methos, aside.

For his troubles, he got an elbow in his ribs.

"I wouldn't mind," admitted Willow. "How about going through life with the name of a tree.

"Hey folks, we are getting sidetracked here," said Cordelia. "The immortals were going to reveal how old they were."

"I'm sorry," said Oz. "I didn't know your name was a secret."

Adam sighed. "Not a secret per say, but lot of people would get their hands on me, being one of oldest living immortal".

"How old are you?" Giles demanded.

"Well," Adam said, scratching his head.

"In our records, he's over ten thousand years," Joe Dawson said.

"Records? You have records of immortals," Giles asked, his face brightening.

"Yes, that's what I do, I am Watcher," said Joe. "I am Duncan's Watcher. I record and monitor immortals, not interfering in their lives," he said proudly.

"Wow," said Xander dryly. "You're are Duncan's Watcher and Giles is Buffy's Watcher. It's like a regular Watcher Convention up in here."

"What?" said Joe. "You're a Watcher. You don't look like any Watcher I ever saw," he said, eying Giles glasses, tweed coat and British mannerism.

"I'm not an immortal Watcher," Giles admits. "I never knew they existed until this moment, I'm actually a Slayer's Watcher."

"Slayers?"

"Yes," said Giles nodding.

"What is a slayer?" he asked, looking to each individual to provide an answer to his question.

"Slayers," said Giles, taking off his glasses off to start polishing it with his handkerchief. It was a ritual, a prelude to a lecture.

"Here we go again," Buffy said, sitting down next to Methos.

Methos gave her a gentle simile, understanding. Over the years, Buffy would call him complaining about one of Giles's lectures. Especially, when Giles scolded her for doing something wrong, and she thought she was right.

Giles ignored the muttering behind him. "Into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl in the entire world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers."

There was a loud'obnoxious snore, and Giles voice dwindled down to nothing.

"We've heard this spiel before," said Cordelia. "And it's boring."

"Yes, well it is not boring, especially if you have never heard it before," Giles muttered.

Cordelia rolled her eyes.

"Now young lady," he retorted.

"Whoa," Joe said, mouth hanging open in shock. "Let me get this straight," he said, "Vampires exist?"

"Yes," said Giles. "And demons."

"Demons too? It's not a myth," Joe asked struggling to understand.

"No, its not a myth," Giles confirmed. "Everything you have heard of that goes bump in the night exists. Werewolves, Fairies, Jack o' Lanterns, Witches, Demon, and succubae, etc.

"Yeah," Buffy piped in. "Even evil robots," she said shuddering.

"Did you guys know about this?" he demanded looking at both Adam and Duncan.

Eying Duncan for a moment, Adam spoke up. "About the evil robot, no," he said shrugging. "But yes we knew about vampires and all the other supernatural of the world. A person cannot live for so many years without seeing a vampire or too.

"But, but," said Joe, looking at them askance.

"Yes well, vampires exist," said Xander, gruffly. "It was a shock to me too. Now let's get back to the immortals, shall we," he said blandly. "So you guys cannot die."

"Yes and no," said Buffy. "We cannot die unless someone cuts off our heads.

"Eeew," said Cordelia.

"Gruesome," said Xander.

"Cool," said Oz.

"How does one become immortal, were you born to it?" asked Giles.

"Actually we were."

"Did you know you were immortal?" asked Xander

"No, none of us do, until the time of our first death.

"First death? When was your first death?" asked Xander, curiosity taking hold.

"A powerful individual saw me in my village, and wanted me for his wife, so he kidnapped several others and me. At first I was a plaything for him, but he saw something in me and…. Look I don't want to talk about that time right now. Back then women didn't have rights, they were wives or concubines. I deliberate did not want to remember my name. My name was part of what I was, pure naive innocence.

Willow raised her hand, tentatively. "I hope this is not out of line, but how you achieve your first death and how old were you when…."

"I was twenty'three years old."

"Twenty'three?" said Cordelia. The perfect age she thought. Never aging.

"At an uprising, the people turned against my husband and killed me; because I was his wife I was killed. Imagine my surprise when I was raised from the dead. That was my first death. Mostly when I need to get out of a situation, I was killed. I have been stabbed, shot, hanged, poisoned and even buried alive. The last I don't recommend." She cocked her head thoughtfully to one side. "I don't recommend any of them."

"If your name is Safiya (Sa'fee'yah) why did Adam call you Isabella? And were you going to tell us that you were immortal?"

"Of course I was. I consider you guys my best friends. I was planning to tell you. But Dagon sped it up little.

"That was his name, Dagon?" asked Giles. "Where did you know him?"

"I was challenged by Dagon's partner and I killed her."

"So," he said heavily. "You kill humans."

"It was either that or be killed. Giles, I have lived many years, and done things, you can't imagine. And yes I had to kill a human to protect myself. I did and would again. Over the years, I have had many names, and Isabella was the one I used for the last 800 years.

"Remember it was Jack that called you Isabella after his mistress," said Methos.

"Yes, I was so mad," Buffy said remembering fondly. "When I found out, I wanted to skin him alive."

"Yeah," said Methos also smiling in fond memory. "Then he back'tracked and said he named you after the Spanish queen."

"And I forgave him because we were in Spain at the time," said Buffy.

"Who is Jack?" asked Duncan.

The smile slipped off Buffy's face.

"Jack was Buffy husband," said Adam.

Chapter 4

Still in the Library.

"Buffy was married?" Xander squeaked, his voice rising in surprise.

"Oh dear," said Giles, shooting Buffy a hard glance. More surprises he thought. Am I still alive? I must be dead, because my heart seemed to stop along time ago.

"Was?" queried Duncan. "When did he die? The way you were speaking of him, he seemed to be alive." For the first in years, he was feeling out of step. He knew of course that the old man had secrets. Who could live so long without a secret or two? No one, that's who. After coming back from his trip to Paris, he had seen an opportunity for adventure with Methos. Now they were in a little town that is barely on a map. Methos had explained about the town to him on the way there. Not wanting to frighten Joe, they hadn't told him anything.

But, he wasn't told everything. At first, he had thought that Adam was protecting Joe, but no, he had been protecting the young woman in front of them. Suddenly, the information that Joe had just let out in the room, registered in his brain. "You are ten thousand year's old" Mac shouted, looking at his friend in disbelief.

"Uh," said Methos, his mouth hanging open, looking at Mac askance.

"You are ten thousand years old," he repeated softly, with an edge to his voice.

Methos hesitated, seeing the hurt in his friend eyes. He sighed. "I'm sorry Mac. The Watchers Council has been looking for me because I was reported to be 5000 years old, imagine what they would do if they found out that I was older than that. It is not something I want to advertise."

"I thought we were friends."

"We are," Methos said firmly.

"But you choose not to tell me.

Methos's response held a note of impatience. "Mac, you know as an immortal each of us has secrets, if I chose not to tell you a secret that does mean that I am not your friend. Man, we have been through a lot. Only two other people knew this secret until Joe. And Joe only found out a couple of months ago, when I was feeling introspective and I got drunk. Can you forgive me," he said, offering Mac a forgiving smile.

Duncan hesitated; he didn't want to look foolish over something as inane as a secret, so he just nodded.

"Uh," said Xander, putting his hand up. "I don't mean to interrupt or anything, but can you answer Duncan's question, about what happen to Buffy husband. Is he dead?"

"Jack's not dead," said Methos a taken back. "He very much alive, he's one of the old ones. He paled. "I am sorry Isabella; I didn't mean to say anything about Jack." He said, clearing his throat awkwardly.

"That's okay Adam. I'm here to tell them everything," said Buffy her eyes haunted by inner pain.

"Is he older than Buffy?" asked Willow, eying Buffy nervously.

"No he's ten years younger," said Methos with a forced smile.

"Way to go B, robbing the cradle," said Faith, admiration in her voice.

"So what happened?" asked Joe, intrigued. "When did you get a divorce?"

"We never got around to a divorce," Buffy mumbled.

"What?" said Giles, his voice rose an octave. "I didn't hear you." Did he ever know Buffy Summers? It had being one surprise one after another. He didn't know if his heart could take anymore.

"I said," Buffy said loudly. "We are still married, technically. Looked," she said exasperated. Her friends were looking at her in disbelief. "I don't want to talk about my marriages right now."

"Marriages?" said Giles in incredulity.

"Yeah B. How many times have you being married?" said Faith dubiously.

"About three times," said Buffy defiantly. "With my first marriage, I didn't have a choice. I was forced. The second time I got married, it was for political reasons. During that marriage, some fraction wanted me dead. My third and final marriage was to Jonathon O'Neill. Him I married for love," she said softly.

"But, Buffy how are you an immortal and the Slayer at the same time," asked Willow, regarding her with somber curiosity. "Isn't that contradictory?"

Willow wasn't the only one that was curious, Buffy looked around the room at the eager looking faces, and sighed. "I know that you guys have a lot of questions and I will answer them in due time, but something important came up, and I have to deal with it. "

"Like what?" asked Giles skeptically.

"It's nothing to do with me as a Slayer. She looked toward Adam, and said. "It's about something that happened a long time ago. Something in Egypt."

"What?" said Methos, his eyes guarded. "You said something about Jack, what has he done?"

"He opened the Chappa'ai."

"What!" said Methos flummoxed.

"He opened the Chappa'ai," Buffy repeated.

"I heard you the first time," he said gruffly. "I can't believe he would have done something so irresponsible." He spoke with light bitterness.

Buffy managed to shrug and say "Well you know Jack."

"Yeah, I know him," Methos said resigned. "But when will he grow up!" he asked frustration in his voice

"I don't know," Buffy said shaking her head sadly.

"When was the last time you saw him," Methos demand.

"I haven't heard from Jack in about fifty years, and the last time I heard about him, he was getting married," Buffy said, her voice shaky.

"Isn't that bigamy," asked Willow, uncertainty in her voice.

"Yeah it is," said Buffy thoughtfully. "Since we both had other sexual partners, I've never been jealous of Jack's other women even when we were together."

"Whoa B, I use to think that you were square, but you are like a big ho," said Faith, gazing at the petite Slayer in disbelief.

"You're wrong," Buffy said flatly. "I didn't care that Jack was dating or seeing other women, but I cared that he married someone else. Jack and I have been married for four hundred years. Of course I know it's bigamy. But I have my life and he has his, right," she insisted, looking at her friends for support. But thinking about Jack's marriage after all this time tore something inside her.

A tense silence enveloped the room.

"From the way, you guys talked about this Jack character," said Duncan suddenly, breaking the tension. "It seemed that you cared about him, even loved him. Why did you break up?"

"Uhmm," Buffy said, avoiding everyone's gaze.

"Me," said Angel walking around the stacks.

"Angelus!" Adam shouted shocked to see his nemesis.

"Methos," said Angel mockingly.

Buffy rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Stop you it you two," Buffy said, walking to stand between the two men.

"Angel, what do you mean, when you said it was because of you?" asked Willow puzzled.

"I mean," said Angel, caressing Buffy face gently as he moved her out of his path.

Flustered, Buffy let him.

"Jack didn't want Buffy spending time with me, said I was a bad influence. She had to choose between him or me."

"And you choose Angel," Xander asked in disbelief.

"No," Buffy said, blinking in surprise. "I didn't choose Angel. What I had chosen was not having another man tell me what to do. I said something to that effect to Jack, who in turn told me, that if I don't want a life with him, he guessed that we should go our separate ways. I haven't seen him since," she said shrugging, as if that hurt still. "I didn't even know he was in the U.S."

"If you never kept up with him, how did you know he was in the U.S?" asked Xander with a stony expression.

"Willow."

"Me," Willow squeaked. "How, what," she asked, her mouth dropped open in disbelief. "I didn't do anything," she protested, and then her eyes turned inward. "Oh," she said. "The computer."

"Yes the computer," Buffy said, sighed relieved that Willow got it.

"But I didn't see anything on it about any person named Jack," Willow said, two deep lines of worry appeared between her eyes.

"Yes you did," Buffy said. "I saw the same thing you saw."

"No, I didn't I would remember. It was a web site," she said wrinkling her nose in thought. "About a group of people called SG'1 under the command of a General Hammond. And Colonel Jonathan O'Neill. Jonathan!" Willow said beaming. "Jack, Jonathan. People use the diminutive form for Jonathon as Jack."

"Yes," said Buffy, grinning. "And the shiny apple goes to the lady in the front seat who got it in one easy step."

"Are you sure that your Jack and this Jonathon O'Neill is the same person," asked Giles, eying Buffy with a dubious expression.

"I am very sure," said Buffy, feeling her spirit lift. "Jack loved the military. He had been joining them as long as I've known him; Plus Jack doesn't change his name much. He always said he hated answering to different names all the time. In the early 1400's he was adopted into an Irish clan for saving the leader's life. He had lived with them for two years before I joined up with him. Although with the computer age, it is getting harder to hide one's identity like we use to. But we manage. Jack liked to use senior, junior, the first, the second etc. he's lazy that way," she said smiling fondly.

"What is this Chappa'ai?" Giles asked curiously, remembering the unusual word Buffy had used earlier.

"It is in the past," she said warily. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Isn't our past that determined our future," said Giles, regarding Buffy with a lofty expression.

"That's a load of crap," Buffy retorted.

"Sometimes I want to forget the past," muttered Methos.

"Does this Chappa'ai affect us?" Giles demanded. "We need to know if it going to affect us."

"I don't know if it affects us as whole, but Methos and I have to go to Colorado to find out more about it."

"I will come with you," said Giles briskly.

"Yeah," chimed up Willow, enthusiastic. "We'll make a trip of it."

"Look," said Methos, cautiously. "This isn't a school trip for children. We might encounter danger."

"Danger smanger, we laugh in the face of danger," said Xander, doing a goofy laugh. "Aha hah ahh," he said, choking slightly.

Cordelia pounded on his back several times.

"Enough!" he said embarrassment ebbing on his cheek.

"Look guys," Buffy said, with a forced smile. "This problem is between me and Adam, I'd rather you guys stay here where it's safe."

"You don't want our help?" said Willow, speaking with a hint of bitterness.

"It is not I don't want your help, but," she said vaguely, looking around the room in helplessness.

"Someone needs to watch the Hellmouth," said Angel quickly.

"Yes that's it," said Buffy eagerly. "Someone has to be here at the Hellmouth."

"Well I'm going with you Buffy," said Giles. "There might be a lot of fascinating things I might learn about my slayer," he said sarcastically.

Buffy gave him a sheepish grin.

"I am going too," said Willow with a resolved face.

"And I must go with my buddy Wills for moral support," said Xander sharing a goofy grin.

"And I cannot allow Willow go alone," said Oz.

"What about the Hellmouth," Buffy wailed. "Or better yet what about your parents?"

"The Hellmouth will always be here," said Giles. "This is what we are going to do. Faith will stay to watch the Hellmouth and Angel, if you mind, will stay and help."

"Sure no problem," he said with a nod.

"Good," Giles said. "I will write a note to the parents explaining about a suddenly field trip."

"But Giles," said Buffy, with gritted teeth. "We might be gone more than couple days."

"As long as we are needed, we will stay with you," Giles said, regarding her critically.

"Well I wish I could come with you guys," said Cordelia. "But I have that cheerleading championship, and since I'm the captain I have to be there."

"We'll miss you Cordy," said Xander, walking up to his ex'girlfriend to hold her in his arms.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "You are not moving to the North Pole doofus, you will be back."

Ignoring them, Buffy said to Angel. "Are you sure you don't mind staying?"

"I don't mind, "he said, smiling at her. "Take care of business and say hi to Jack for me."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "I think the last thing Jack needs from you is a hello."

She looked at Faith. "Take care of yourself. Faith, I know you are angry with me, but know this: I love you. You are my sister, and I never meant to hurt anyone, including you. I'll explain everything to you when I came back and Angel will explain some things, right," she said, looking at him.

He nodded.

"And go to Joyce, she will explain the rest. Take care of each other you two."

Buffy walked through the doubles doors. She looked back briefly to see Angel and Faith standing together, their silhouettes behind a backlit of golden light.

Chapter 5

Disclaimer: Some of the following names are real, but used in a fictional way.
AN#1: This chapter is mostly back ground info about what had happened to Buffy.
AN#2: Please REVIEW
Flight #207

In a plane over looking the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Buffy Summers stared unseeingly at the beautiful snow capped mountain in the distance. It has been several years since she had seen Jack O'Neil. She was nervous. Nervous ha. She shouldn't be nervous. She had done and seen things that would make a grown man cry, why she should be nervous seeing an individual. A man. But this wasn't any man, it was her husband.

It all started in Heliopolis, Egypt. She was fifteen years old, a slayer and pre immortal, destined to greatness. She never knew her parents, and in this tiny village, she was not quite an outcast, but she was different. One day while patrolling, an unusual group of men kidnapped her. Although she fought them off, they were strong and they had over powered her. On that night, she wasn't alone, other girls and able bodied young men were taken at the same time. Frighten and scared she didn't know what to do. They were grouped together in a big space, with guards with the head of a snake, and eyes that glowed white. Buffy remember how scared she felt. How alone, because the others had family members to comfort them. She had looked around her, her hazel eyes brimming with tears, when she saw two young men, both of them similar in size, huddle together looking as alone as she does. Both men had dark brown hair, but one was taller than the other by a few inches.

Because she was looking at them, both men started towards her. With relief, she welcomed them to sit beside her. The tallest one introduced himself as Gwawl and the other as Methos. They had told her they had met a month ago on travels. Gwawl told her he was from a town in the Irish Isles and Methos was from Greece. She then introduced herself as Safiya. Not knowing anyone there, the men told her, they would keep her company, if she did not mind. Of course, being alone she didn't mind, she was glad for the company.

Later that night, Amen'Ra looked over the assembly of men, woman and children, and saw in the dim, one woman worthy to be his queen. The host of his Queen Nesert was dying and he needed a new one. And this new host was beautiful and delicate in her own way. Her hair seemed to be made of spun gold, which shown bright amidst the drab dark colors of the others. Ra motioned to a couple of his serpent guards to grab the woman. Forcibly removed from her new friends, Safiya screamed loudly and fought with all her might. That made Ra determined to have Safiya as a host to his wife. Gwawl and Methos tried to help but they were whipped for their troubles.

Safiya stood, bravely in front of the man, who talked in a deep voice, trying to find the right time to escape. He wanted them to acknowledge him, as their God. She trembled as Amen'Ra walked over to her and motioned the guards to get rid her of her clothing. Humiliated and petrified, Safiya looked bravely at the man. Boy? In front of her. "She will do," he said in Goa'uld, and the guards bore her to a slab of granite and held her as they shackled her hands and feet down, as a handmaiden brought a basket towards her and a snake pushed it's head out. It sniffed a couple of times, weaving and bobbing it's head to music only it heard.

"Isn't she beautiful my love," said Ra, walking to caress Safiya's golden skin. She winced, as she fought back the revulsion she was feeling. As a young slayer, Safiya had not reach that point where she was comfortable in her skin, or believed in herself as a slayer. She didn't have someone to guide her. All she knew was that she was faster than the average girl was and that she could sense demons. Soon she felt the snake touching her skin, she screamed as it geared up to strike. She screamed again as the parasite struck her, and made a hole burrowing into her stomach creating a pathway of blazing fire. She let out one last scream as her eyes dimmed and she knew no more.

Under the leadership of Amen'Ra, Safiya soon became Sekhmet the lioness'headed goddess of war and destruction, no longer Nesert. She was a weapon of vengeance used to destroy men for their wicked ways and disobedience. She would rejoice in the blood and gore of her kills. While Sekhmet was the dominant one, Safiya was a glimmer of light in the soul of Sekhmet crying out at the injustice and mayhem that her alter ego caused. And little by little she would fight.

In the meanwhile, Gwawl was made host to a Goa'uld named Montu who was the falcon'headed god of war. He was Amen'Ra's son and leader of his armies. In his hands, he would yield various weaponry, including the scimitar, bows and arrows, and knives. Montu always slayed the sun's (Ra) enemies from the prow of a night'boat shaped with likeness of Ra.

And Methos was made host to Onuris a warrior sky'god whose primary cult center was near Abydos. Onuris was another of Amen'Ra warriors, his chief counsel. He would advise Ra, where and when he should strike. However, Onuris wanted more, he wanted what Ra had so; he set himself up as a protector of the people against their enemies, evil spirits and pests. He became very popular during the New Kingdom. He was called "Savior", and the common people believed that he was a deliverer from their human burdens. Making a way for rebellion against Amen'Ra. It was a bloody coup, and Ra, who knew about his chief counsel's collaboration with his enemies, sent his best warriors to defeat Onuris. Badly wounded in the fight, Onuris decided to leave his host's body and during it's transition to another less wounded body near him, was trample by several running feet.

Waking up several hours later, Methos saw an opportunity to get the Goa'uld out of his friends. First, he engaged in a fight with Montu, where he ripped the offending snake out of his body. Knowing Safiya's strength and power, the two men decided challenge her to a fight together. It took several hours, but soon, Sekhmet was ripped out of Safiya, to flounce in the muddy ground. Sekhmet was wily, and she decided to run, but Gwawl took his sword and cleaved her in two. Meanwhile, hearing of his defeat and death of his wife and son, Amen'Ra decided to flee, taking several hundred humans to populate other planets, using them as hosts and slaves.

Finding that they could survive the death of the Goa'uld, the three friends decided to go their separate ways. Gwawl decided to go to the Irish Isles, and Methos decided to travel. But Safiya decided to stay in Egypt. She had now realized her potential as the Slayer. Safiya was twenty'three years old when she was liberated from the Goa'uld. During her stay in Egypt, she met King Thutmose, whose life she had saved from demons.

Thutmose and his wife Queen Ahmose adopted her, after their own daughter died during the demon attack. Because of Safiya's similarity in looks as their daughter, her name was change to Hatshepsut in memory of the other girl. Only Hatshepsut handmaidens knew that she was different girl and because of their loyalty, they were rewarded handsomely.

When King Thutmose died couple of years later, his son Thutmose the second, who was also the stepbrother of Hatshepsut, succeeded him. As was customary in Egyptian royal families, the succeeding Pharaoh married the oldest daughter of his father, who in this case was Hatshepsut. When Thutmose II died, leaving his young nephew as heir, his aunt Hatshepsut, stepped in as his regent. And Thutmose III and Hatshepsut ruled together until 1473 BC, when she appointed herself Pharaoh.

Because she was smart, Hatshepsut used a number of strategies to legitimate her role as Pharaoh. She used a claim that the god Amen'Ra visited her mother while she was pregnant with Hatshepsut, thus making her a divine child. She also adopted several male attributes including a fake beard, male clothing, as well as having herself illustrated and treated like a man, plus her slayer strength also gave the illusion that she was also a man. Hatsheput grew powerful and admired by the people, seeing that, her nephew Thutmose grew jealous and angry, and he plotted with some individual who says that only men should be Pharaohs, to kill his aunt. And so it was that one night, after drinking a poisonous tea, Safiya, Hatshepsut was pronounced dead by the family physician.

In the history books, it was said that Hatshepsut, had mysteriously disappeared, when Thutmose III regained his title as Pharaoh and her mummy has never been found. Only a select few knew what had happen. Hatshepsut knew that her nephew was trying to kill her, stole gold, silver and other precious metals, had sneaked away as one of the handmaidens, to disappear in the pages of history. If one should go her temple in Egypt, her name and images were forever lost when obliterated by Thutmose III.

Needing a new start, Hatshepsut traveled the world with two handmaidens, Kissa and Nathifa, making mischief and dodging trouble. Soon she would meet other immortals, taking heads and enjoying her life. But after a while, even that became tiresome. Her companions had settled, married and had children. Later she met up with Methos who had created the legend of the four horsemen. He was riding with Kronos, Silas and Caspian. They would ride and destroy countless of villages and rape and murder women and children indiscriminately. Sickened by the destruction, Hatshepsut who by this time had changed her name to Valeska, confronted Methos. Methos broke down. After leaving Safiya and Gwawl, he met his wife Mitra who was raped and killed in his village. Believing that the villagers did not aid his wife, he grew angry and vengeful, and Kronos, a friend had helped him with his grief. What Methos didn't know was that Kronos, jealous of the love he had with his beautiful wife, was the one who had killed and raped her. Valeska showed him that he had become the same as the person who had raped and killed his wife. After leaving him to ponder, she continued to travel, meeting other powerful woman like herself, such as Nefertiti, Xena, Cassandra, and Cleopatra.

But traveling became tedious, especially seeing the world several times over. In her travels, Valeska found Gwawl in Bombay, India. They renewed their friendship, then that friendship bloomed into something more. They lived together for fifty years before they went their separate ways. But after being together for so many years, they grew to miss each other.

In 1547, Gwawl saved Conn Bacach O'Neill, an Irish warrior in Ulster. Conn, who had married Sorch, daughter of Hugh O'Neill; Chief of the Clanaboy O'Neill. And after giving birth to a son Sean, Sorch died. Conn, grieving, gave his son to the O'Donnellys to be raised. Seventeen years passed, and although Conn never saw his son, he had hoped that one day; his son would succeed him as being Chief. But a freak accident happened and young Sean's life was cut down. In his grief, Conn sought to take his own life as well, but a strange young man by the name of Gwawl saved him. To show him his gratitude Conn adopted him into the clan, calling him Sean and no one was the wiser, thinking that Gwawl was in deed Sean O'Neill. Only the O'Donnellys knew the truth, but seeing the joy that Gwawl had brought to Conn's life, did not say a word. During that turbulent time, Gwawl now named Sean and Valeska found each other once again, married and stayed married for four hundred and six years.

Over the years, the names had change for both of them; Sean's name had eventually become John, then Jonathan and now Jack O'Neill. And she, who had started out as Safiya, became Sekhmet, Hatshepsut, Valeska, then Isabella and now Buffy.

It was a bittersweet smile; she smiled as she remembered how she became Buffy. After leaving Jack, she and Angel had ended up in Los Angeles at the Hyperion hotel. She had live there for two days before she and Angel got into a fight. While walking in a park, she had met a young girl name Joyce Barnes, who at five years old decided to run away, because her mommy had new baby. In Joyce's mind, her parents didn't need her any more.

After returning Joy to her parents, Isabella found a new family, and she and the Barnes remain friends, until they died in a car accident with Joyce little brother Michael. So as a teenager Joyce went to live with Isabella, until Joyce grew older, looking more like Isabella's big sister. When Joyce married Hank Summers, Isabella went to live with them as Joyce's sister. But Hank resented the closeness between Buffy and Joyce, which caused problems in their marriage given Joyce and Hank a reason to divorce in 1997.

In the meanwhile Buffy as the truly immortal slayer who had been fighting demons and vampires throughout her life, had met Buffy Winters, a true California teenager, prom queen and cheerleader in her high school. She was a novice slayer, and the young woman was raw, didn't know what to do, and one faithful night she met her end. The same day Merrick entered the picture. He knew that the slayer was in California, and he had been sent from the Watcher Council to find her. Seeing Isabella fighting a vampire, he concluded correctly that she was the slayer. Seeing an opportunity to help Joyce and help herself, she introduced her self as Buffy Summers.

Merrick was confused for a few moments about the name change from Winters to Summers. Isabella had explained that he must have gotten the names wrong. After Merrick's death Isabella O'Neill, now Buffy Summers, forged several papers listing one Joyce Summers, divorcee, and mother to Buffy Summers fifteen years old. They brought a small art gallery in the picturesque little suburban town where Buffy Summers was enrolled into high school. Now everything led up to this point, Buffy thought.

"Buffy?" Willow questioned interrupting the other girl's flashback.

"Willow!" she said, jumped startled, as the young girl sat beside her.

Blushing slightly, she looked at Buffy abashed. "Sorry I didn't mean to frighten you."

"That's okay Wills. I was just lost" she smiled tremulously. " in memory."

Willow looked at her curiously. This person had been her best friend and was now a stranger. Had she ever known Buffy? But she couldn't always second'guess her self. She was there to support Buffy no matter what. "Buff, I know you don't want to talk about what's going on, but what is the Chappa'ai?"

Chapter 6

Thirty Thousand miles and counting

"The Chappa'ai is an intra'dimensional portal," said Buffy.

"What!" exclaimed Giles, who unfortunately had overheard the conversation; since he was seated two seats over from Buffy.

"Giles," Buffy admonished, looking around her at the crowded plane. She had wanted to fly first class, or at least charter a plane, but Giles didn't want to, arguing about the lack of money. Buffy had opened her mouth to protest that she had the money, but Giles insisted, even when Adam said he would be willing to pay their way. But Giles became intractable, saying if he couldn't pay their way then there weren't going.

Willow, who wanted to go badly, said Giles could pay their way, so here Buffy was, sitting in coach trying to get so rest because when the plane landed in Colorado, nothing will remain the same.

Giles flushed and looked around him abashed, to find several people staring at him.

"Look," said Buffy softly. "I will explain everything to you when we reach the hotel okay?"

"You'd better," he said fiercely. "I am tired of getting information out of you piece by piece."

Buffy nodded, and closed her eyes. When she finally told them what going on, their preconception of what they had known about her will be gone. She wondered how they were going to deal with that.

Deep inside the Cheyenne Mountain, on sub'Level 25. Colonel Jack O'Neill of the United States Air Force was sloughed comfortably in a chair, playing an interesting beat with a pencil on the desk.

"Colonel, must you do that," said General George Hammond exasperated.

Jack drew to attention and the pencil rolled across the table to stop in front of Teal'c.

With one eyebrow raised in a quizzical manner, Teal'c took the pencil, started drumming in the same exact manner of the Colonel.

"As you were saying, Major," said Gen General Hammond, motioning Major Samantha Carter to continued the report.

"Yes sir," she said and launched back in the same speech.

Ignoring them, Jack leaned back in his chair, letting Carter's voice just wash over him, lulling him to sleep. He was bored. Every planet they went on he couldn't seem to show any enthusiasm. They were all the same. Blue sky, green trees, brown mud, and endless, endless gray sand, as he sat there drifting off into sleep, he wished for some excitement to liven his dull life. Did Jack believe in Karma, destiny or fate? If he did, he wouldn't be blasé about how dull his life was.

Wyndham Hotel

Colorado Springs

Buffy Summers sat on the edge of her bed in her hotel room, which over looked Pike Peak. It was a suite with two bedrooms and a Jacuzzi and an adjoining bathroom. Although Giles had fought her about the plane fare, he did not say anything about the cost of the room, especially after seeing the accommodations. She sighed as her eyes wandered around the room looking at the two immortals Duncan McLeod and Adam Pierson, the two watchers, Rupert Giles and Joe Dawson and the Scobbies, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg and Oz Osbourne. They were all sitting on any available surface, on chairs, floor and the bed, and in one instances leaning. Duncan was leaning on a column near the front door, his arms folded in a bodyguard mode.

Giles got out of his chair and walked to the middle of the room. He took off his glasses and started wiping them with a handkerchief in founded in his pocket. "So Buffy," he said. "You were going to explained what's going on." "Please tell us about the Chappa'ai."

Buffy frowned, watching them intently as her feet pumped up and down in agitation. "The Chappa'ai is an inter'dimensional portal," she said bluntly.

"What!"

"You've got to be kidding!"

"Holy Hannah!"

"Is this a joke?" asked Giles, his eyes narrowing on Buffy with suspicion. "You are pulling my leg. No such device exists."

"Yes it does." She stiffened as if his doubt was a slap in the face.

"Do you know about this," asked Mac peering at Methos in disbelief.

"Yes I do," said Methos with a nonchalant shrug.

"So, if this device existed, why did we never hear of it?" demanded Joe, watching Buffy intently.

"It's a secret," she retorted tartly. "A couple of days ago, you never knew that vampires existed; now you know about the Chappa'ai."

"How many secrets do you have?" Giles demanded almost shrilly.

"We all have secrets Ripper," Buffy whispered mockingly.

Giles flushed.

"Buffy you said the Chappa'ai is an inter'dimensional portal," Mac said, his brows pulling into an affronted frown.

"Yeah," she said with an incline of her head.

"Where does it go?"

"To other worlds," she said in a low voice.

There was heavy silence fraught with tension, as every one tried to imagine what that means.

Xander could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Several years ago, he and every one in Sunnydale had lived in ignorance about the subculture that had existed in the town. But when Buffy Summers came to Sunnydale all that had changed. Part of him blamed Buffy for that. Because of that, he no longer lived in ignorance. He misses that naïveté necessary to say everything was right within his world. Now his innocence was gone. For the pass couple of days he had been floundering, mired in doubts and regrets. He felt as if the bottom had dropped out of his sailboat. He remembered the first day he saw Buffy Summers on the steps of Sunnydale high. The wind was blowing gently and California sun had lit her hair like a golden halo. She was a goddess. He knew that a guy like him, could never get someone as hot as Buffy, but he could remain friends with her. To find out that he never knew her at all, that they never had, make him angry.

His eyes roamed over to Willow and Oz. What were they thinking, he wondered. Was their disappointment keen as his? He shouldn't have come on this trip especially after listening to all the lies and secrets that Buffy had withheld from them. He sighed; maybe it was his fault for expecting more. "Like E.T. phone home," he said, in a shaky voice. He had sought to erect a wall of defense against Buffy but it wasn't working.

"Yes," said Buffy, her eyes studying his face. "It's almost like that." She angled herself towards Giles. "Giles, I am going tell you a story," she said abruptly. "Do you remember your Egyptian history?"

"Well yes," he said, eyeing her in puzzlement. He walked over to large armoire to lean negligently on it.

"This is more about Egyptian mythology... Once upon a time in Ancient Egypt, Amen'Ra the Sun God was the creator of the universe, but an entity from another planet came through the Chappa'ai borrowing the religion and culture of ancient Egypt. The creature was powerful, so powerful that it believed itself to be a God. And the people believed he was a god because he used technology as weapons on humans. The people had never seen such a level of technology before, so they believed. And this being in the guise of Ra used that power to enslave people. Remember it was a time, when people were simple and ignorant. They wanted to believe. I guess in that time they needed something or someone to believe in. Here was their God Ra, come to earth to be with them," Buffy said, with a depreciating laughter. She shook her head at how young and naive people were. "I was a young Slayer just coming into my power when I was kidnapped with several people including Jack and Methos.

For several years Ra would use the Chappa'ai bringing humans through, seeding the galaxy. So right now there are planets out there with humans on them."

"Oh dear lord," Giles said in fascinated horror. "How do you know this?"

"In a minute," she murmured. Buffy stared in the distance, remember the smell of the unwashed bodies and people huddle in misery in the dank cell of a room. She shuddered inwardly as she remembered the lonely feeling she had. How she felt different from all of the other girls because she was freakishly strong. The others grew afraid of her because she had taken out five'serpent guards. "I met Jack and Methos that day. Ra had decimated the village that I came from, taking all the men and woman under thirty. No one was spared. The youngest of us was twelve years. Anyone younger than that or older than thirty died. In the three of us, he saw something special," she said her mouth twisting wryly. "We found out, he was no god, but a parasite."

"A parasite?' Willow whispered her eyes round with fright.

"Yes a parasite. They look like slimy snakes and they burrowed into your skin, subduing your personality, exerting his or her own will upon your own. They are called Goa'uld. Ra needed a new host for his wife because her body was deteriorating, not even a sarcophagus could heal her."

"A sarcophagus?" mumbled Giles, frowning intently.

"Yes, the Goa'uld use sarcophagus to heal wounded hosts. Remember their technology is more advances than ours. Imagine us in 1977 when George Lucas created Star wars, how his idea of a future looked different from our reality. So were the Goa'uld and their technology. The Egyptians had never seen anything like that before, and the sarcophagus could do a lot of things, even bring back the dead. Because Ra wife couldn't be healed I was chosen to be Ra's wife." Even now after all these years, Buffy could feel the cold slimy snake touching her skin. Her chest felt as if it would burst. She wrapped her arms around her waist, breathing in quick shallow gasps.

"Bella?" said Methos walking over to Buffy. "Are you okay," he asked sitting beside her and looked at her intently.

"I'm fine," she said with a wave of her trembling hand. "I might be having an anxiety attack but I'm fine," she said, smiling thinly into his frowning face.

His mouth tight and grim, Methos studied her for a few minutes. What he saw convinced him, as he let out a long, audible breath.

Little by little, warmth crept back into her body. She took a deep breath and tried to relax. "For several years I had a Goa'uld inside me, using my body as it sees fit," Buffy said, shuddering.

Everyone could only stare at her wordlessly.

Methos pulled her towards him, and wrapped her in his arms.

"Oh dear God," whispered Giles, appalled.

"Ra's race was dying. The only way to survive was by taking a human host, an Egyptian boy. Others did the same, taking humans as hosts or slaves."

"Are you telling us that we have aliens on earth," asked MacLeod with an edge to his voice.

"Why I am not surprised?" asked Joe, shaking his head in disbelief. "First immortals, then vampires and now aliens."

"The Chappa'ai was destroyed and buried because the people saw thru Ra, and they staged an uprising. Ra was defeated and set packing, and our bodies died forcing the Goa'uld to free itself. Upon which, the people killed it. If Adam, Jack and I weren't immortals, we wouldn't be here today."

"How long were you a ghoul?" asked Joe. Everything was new to him. He knew when he came out of Vietnam and joined the Watchers, a secret society of people who watched immortals, who knew he would get such a rich education? First he found out that vampires existed, now aliens, how cool was that?

"It's not ‘ghouls'," said Buffy really smiling for the first time. "It's actually GOA apostrophe ULD. Goa'uld.

"Goa'uld's are dangerous," said Adam. "They rule by force. Their numbers were very few but they are growing because of the worlds colonized by humans."

"Astonishing," Giles said with a shake of his head. "How many worlds do they control?" asked Giles.

"Many. Hundreds. Perhaps more, we don't know. But this I do know, they were a threat to our way of life."

"Buffy?" said Willow hesitatingly. "You don't still have that thing in you?"

"No," she said firmly.

"Good," Willow said with a sigh of relief. It was not as if she were afraid. Okay she was afraid, she thought snuggling into Oz arms.

"If the Chappa'ai was destroyed, why are we in Colorado?" asked Mac, looking from Methos to Buffy.

Buffy shrugged out of Methos arms. "The Chappa'ai is functioning again," she said baldly. "And we can't have that happen."

"Who? What?" Mac sputtered. Listening to the story, he knew that would be a bad thing. It was like letting Pandora box open.

"Jack," she said

"Why?" he whined. Normally, he didn't whine, but this situation seemed to call for that.

"I know don't know," she said aggrieved.

"Do you know a Daniel Jackson?" Giles asked suddenly.

Buffy shook her head no

"I've heard of him," said Adam frowning slightly. "Isn't he the fore most expert on Egypt?"

"As a matter of fact, yes he is," said Giles, excited. "He is an Egyptologist. He wrote a paper purporting that the pyramids were built by some one other than the Egyptians, but he was laughed out of most respected scientific community. I was one of those who laughed. I thought his ideas were a joke, maybe he knew about this Chappa'ai."

"Whoo, woo," cried Willow, putting her hands up in the air, as if in a classroom.

"Yes Willow," Giles said smiling at the enthusiastic redhead.

"I've heard that name before. You did too Buffy," she said.

"Me?" said Buffy taken a back.

"Yes," Willow said firmly. "Remember that story on the computer about a group called the SGC?"

"Yeah," Buffy said with a puzzled frown on her face.

"Well, Daniel Jackson's name was mentioned. He's a civilian consultant for the SGC. The SGC seems to stand for Stargate Command. Not only is Dr. Jackson is an expert on Egypt, but he's also a linguist too. That night," said Willow shuddering. She remembered the aftermath of that night. Nothing was the same. "That night," she said again, swallowing heavily. "After Buffy had left, I did some research, because I thought it was important, especially after her reaction."

Buffy felt a surge of affection as she watched Willow. In the last couple of days, they had being through a lot. But Giles and Willow had being handling it a lot better than she thought. Sometimes Giles would give her this look, as if Buffy was an alien, but otherwise they were taking everything in stride. Oz went along with what Willow is feeling, so he mostly lackadaisical, but Xander barely talked to her. It wasn't so much the idea that Buffy was immortal and lied about it that caused him to quit talking to her, but it was the idea she was unattainable. Buffy knew of his crush on her of course, but she always chalked that up to puppy love.

"You know," said Methos thoughtfully. "For the last couple of years I being hearing rumors of a secret project in the Cheyenne Mountain, but I always discount it, because there always rumors of some project or another. And now I come to find out that Jack and this Daniel Jackson works for this Stargate Command," he said matter of factly. "I remember reading about this Dr. Jackson. "It's said, his knowledge of language almost rival my own."

"No one could rival you," Buffy retort, with a grin. "You are old; of course you know more languages."

"Don't forget Jack," Methos answered indulgently.

Every time she heard the name Jack, she got an odd twinge inside her stomach. Soon she thought. Recovering, she said lightly. "I didn't."

"Jack is probably hiding the fact that he's intelligent," he said, his mouth quirked with humor. "You and Jack have that in common, downplaying both your intelligence. Plus I don't think Jack told his military buddies that he's immortal. It's probably not fun to tell the military that you are a few hundred years old. They might mistake him for a frog and dissect him."

"Do you think so?" asked Buffy, her voice was rough with anxiety. Her feelings toward Jack were so confusing. "Look, we are going to stir up a mess, when we invade his life. Is it all worthy it?"

"Well yes!" said Methos. "I didn't fight all those years ago to get that damn Goa'uld off this planet for more to find their wayhere."

"You Methos? Duncan said, staring at the other man in surprise. "You got rid of them?"

"Didn't I tell you that," said Buffy clearly surprised. "I was host to Ra wife, while Adam was host to his advisor.

"My Goa'uld Onuris would befriend the people," said Adam, one corner of his mouth twisted upward. "Showing a benevolent side to them, while Ra was sadistic and cruel. Onuris would incite riots, calling for an uprising against the other god and his family. During the revolt, I was badly wounded and without a sarcophagus to heal my body, I naturally died. When I came to couple hours later, I remembered everything I did as the Goa'uld. But I also remember a fearless young woman and a young man, who during a brief lonely moment in that pit were my friends. Not willing to have them live as prisoners in their own bodies, I sought to free them. In the end not only did I free them from captivity; I freed them from a mortal shell to immortality.

"The Chappa'ai, where is it?" said Mac

"Whoo, I know," said Willow putting her hand up again.

"Willow," Xander admonished his mouth full of chips. "This isn't a class, and we are not in race."

"I'm sorry," she said, blushing slightly.

Sitting beside her, Oz patted her hand in support.

"Go ahead," said Mac, smiling at he shy redhead.

She looked around, with a half grin on her face. "The Chappa'ai is in the Cheyenne Mountain in Norad."

"That's a military base!" Giles said in a choked voice.

"It's just one other obstacle to overcome," Buffy said, with a dismissive gesture.

"How are going to do this?" Adam asked matter of factly.

"We will confront him," said Buffy, not willing to admit to anyone how her heart was racing by the idea of seeing Jack again.

"But we can't just walk up to him and say, hey."

Unconsciously her brow furrowed. "Who say we can't?" Buffy retorted.

"It s a highly defensible instillation," said Joe Dawson surveying the room worriedly.

"Yeah," said Buffy. "But we have something they don't have."

"What?" Giles asked suspiciously.

"The element of surprise," said Buffy grinning sweetly.

"Bloody hell," moaned Giles.

Chapter 7 Cheyenne Mountain

The next morning, Buffy and company stood outside the entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex her heart hammering loudly in her ears. The Sergeant at the gate told her that she couldn't go in without proper authorization.

Ignoring the incredulous looks, he was getting Adam showed the Sergeant an I.D. card made out to Colonel Adam Pierson, J.A.G. Judge Advocate General.

The Sergeant took the I.D and walked a few feet away to whisper in the phone, while keeping a suspicious eye them.

"Jack isn't the only one can become a Colonel," said Adam shrugging negligently.

"I didn't know you were in the military," Giles said frowning at the other man.

"I wasn't," said Methos, smiling briefly. "If Jack can fake years of being a Colonel, I can fake a few hours," he said modestly.

"Why a Colonel," said Giles, regarding him curiously. "Why not a General?"

"Because," said Methos, matter of factly. "I can see myself as a Colonel, but I cannot see myself as General, not with this young face of mine," he said caressing his rugged jaw.

"I am sorry," said the Sergeant, walking back towards the group. "But you are not authorized to be here. Who is it you said sent you?" he asked suspiciously, cradling a rifle tightly in his hand.

Adam took a few steps cautiously backwards, eyeing the uniformed man in front to him.

Ignoring the male posturing, Buffy boldly walked to the man, and stood in his line of sight and said clearly and calmly. "Tell Jack O'Neill, his wife is here to see him."

"His wife?" asked the man clearly in shock. "Yes ma'am," he said rushing back to the phone.

It only took a few minutes, but Buffy held her breath. She started to breathe easier as the man nodded his head several times to the questions being asked.

What should I do? Buffy thought. Run, or stand and fight?

The Sergeant hanged up the phone and walked towards Buffy, his face devoid of all emotion. "Come this way," he said, motioning her forward.

Buffy let out the breath that she hadn't been aware she was holding. Buffy nodded regally. "See," she said to the group behind her. "The element of surprise."

Jack O'Neill, Colonel, Teal'c the Jaffa, Samantha Carter, Major, Daniel Jackson, consultant and linguist and General George General Hammond, CEO of the SGC, were in the briefing room discussing a routine mission to P4X335, when there was a knock at the door.

"Come in," said General Hammond, looking expectantly at the door.

An airman stood nervously in the open doorway.

"What is it son?" asked General Hammond.

He swallowed noticeable. "Sir'Sir," he said stuttering.

"Yes," said the General. "Speak up, we don't bite," he said looking at the room at large. "Except maybe the Colonel here," he said with a small grin.

"Yes'yes sir," he said his eyes darting nervously to Colonel O'Neill.

"Well son," said the General, who was no longer in a genial mood. If this private was this nervous in front of normal personal, he wondered what would happen to him in a combat situation.

"Uh, Colonel O'Neill your wife is here to see you," he rushed out.

"Sara?" Jack said startled, jumping out of his seat in surprise, "What she doing here?"

"O'Neill, I thought you had no longer had a wife," said Teal'c, his left eyebrow rising inquiringly.

"I don't," said Jack frowning, running his hand through his shorten hair.

"It is an imposter then?" said Teal'c, his voice smooth, but insistent.

"No T," said Jack preoccupied.

"Teal'c," said Daniel, laughing gently. "Sometimes, here on earth, when a couple divorces, unless they remarry, they sometimes still refer to themselves as husband and wife."

"Is that not confusing?" said Teal'c, looking at everyone in bewilderment.

"Rather," said the General dryly.

"I hope everything is okay," Jack said frowning. "She never comes here before," he said to the room at large.

Hesitating briefly, the General regarded Jack for a few minutes curiously. "Why don't you ask her to come to conference room B," he asked.

"Uh," said the airman. "She not alone."

"Really?" Jack said halfway through the door. He hadn't seen Sara since the incident with those crystals on P3X119. At first Carter and Daniel, thought they were ordinary crystal, but when one had wounded Jack, it mimicked him and came thru the Stargate in an effort to learn how to heal him. Failing to heal Jack physically, the Crystal clone, decided to try to heal Jack emotionally by going to Jack ex'wife's home. But the clone couldn't sustain the Jack image for long, and had to be hospitalized. Thinking his ex was in danger, Jack rushed to her rescue, to find out that the clone wanted to help. Which he did, by turning into Jack's son Charlie. Seeing his son's face in front of him, Jack now had the chance to say goodbye.

"Yes sir," he said stuttering. "She has several men with her, including three teenagers and she is demanding to see the Colonel."

"Demanding?" queried the Jack, "Something must be wrong," he said rushing out the door.

The General and SG'1 looked at each other then followed Jack and the airman through the door.

The group silently and nervously waits as the elevator descended into the mountain. With them were four guards, heavily armed.

"How far underground are we?" whispered Willow fearfully. When she found out that Buffy was leaving Sunnydale, she knew she had to come. Part of her understood about Buffy keeping secrets, but the other part didn't. They were best friends. Best friends were supposed to be able to tell each other everything. Shouldn't they? She gave a sidelong glance to Oz beside her. She didn't deserve him. He always put her first. Whatever she wanted to do, he didn't mind, as long as they were together. She sighed. She loved him so much. He's was her rock.

"Pretty far," Oz whispered back, holding his her hand tightly.

The elevator doors slid open and they followed an officer down a long corridor. Buffy heart started to pound loudly. It was so loud; she thought everyone could hear. She looked around her curiously. So this was the place were Jack had hidden the Chappa'ai. She could also feel the buzz of an immortal in the building. She gave Methos and Duncan a sidelong glance, wondering if they felt it also.

Suddenly an intercom bloomed. "Blue team number 6 to Sub'Level 2, red shaft 24.

Halfway down the corridor, Buffy and company were stopped twice at security checkpoints before proceeding to conference room B. The room was non'descript, functional, almost like a doctors office but with a table and several chairs.

"So, here we are," said Joe Dawson. "What do we do now," he wondered.

"We wait," said Methos, walking to an empty chair.

They weren't in the room for five minutes before Jack, three men and a woman walked hurriedly into the room. Buffy stood up, frowning, as the group entered the room. One of the men and the woman were giving her spidey sense a warning.

Jack hesitated at the door, feeling the buzz of immortals in the room. He peered cautiously around the door. However, to his own surprise the person he was expecting wasn't the face he was seeing.

Buffy's hand inched cautiously to her right thigh, where she hid a stiletto knife. Thank God for magic, she thought. If someone had searched Buffy, they would have found that she had her own personal arsenal, but they didn't. With a few incantations here and there, Buffy was able to carry weapons on the plane and into the mountain.

"Bella?" Jack whispered, his mouth dropping open in shock.

"Uh," said Carter aside to Daniel. "I thought his ex'wife's name was Sara."

"It is," said Daniel, looking puzzled. Although he never formally met, the ex Mrs. O'Neill, he could have sworn that her name was Sara.

"Bella," Jack said again, his voice thick and unsteady.

"It's actually Buffy," she said dryly, not caring that her heart was beating faster and her pulse was pounding just because she was in his presence.

"Buffy?" Jack asked his brow knitted in a frown.

"Yeah, it's a long story. How are you?" she asked politely, forcing a smile.

"That's Jack!" whispered a shocked Willow. "He looks so old."

"You know the Buffster," said Xander, lips curling with disgust. "She likes them old."

"Shh!" murmured Oz, giving the other teen, a look of dislike. "If Xander wasn't Willow's best friend, he would have dumped him out the plane during the ride over. All he did was whine. Buffy this, Buffy that. He was sick and tired of it.

"Okay," Jack said with a shrug as he walked into the room. "Buffy it is," he murmured. "Now, what are you doing here?" he demanded. "When the airman told me my wife was here I thought it was Sara?"

"Do, I look like Sara to you?" said Buffy her mouth crimped in annoyance. "Or do I? I never met this paragon, so I don't know if she looks like me or not."

"Bella!" Jack said thunderstruck. Why should she be angry with him? He haven't seen her for fifty years, and out the blue she was here at the SGC.

"It's Buffy," she snapped.

"Buffy?" he said incredulously. "What kind of stupid name is Buffy?"

"It is not stupid," she retorted. "It's my name," she said through clenched teeth.

"Colonel! What's going on here?" General Hammond demanded, glowering. "Who are these people?" he asked frowning, eying the occupants of the room.

"Uh" said Jack, a taken back. He was so focused on Bella that he never noticed other people were there. Other people would be there, he thought looking around at the strange faces bewildered, the airmen had mentioned them. He and Bella had a passionate relationship, always fighting, and making up. He never loved the fighting, but the making up, now that was great. Thinking about the passion'filled make up sex tightened his pants. He adjusted it surreptitiously "Uh, Bella," he asked rolling his eyes in exasperation. "I mean Buffy. Who are these people?"

Buffy blushed becomingly. How could she forget her friends? "Umm, this is Joe Dawson, Duncan MacLeod, Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Daniel Osbourne, Oz and this Rupert Giles.

"The Rupert Giles," said Daniel in awe. The same one who wrote the books "Vampires, Werewolves and Demon, is it truly a myth and Mystical Convergence in the world."

"You wrote a book," Buffy said, looking at Giles in astonishment.

"Yes," said Giles. "The same." Turning to Buffy he said, "Do you think I can afford my apartment on a librarian's salary," he said arching an eyebrow.

"You wrote a book," she said again, shaking her head in mock dismay.

Giles shot her a withering glance.

"Okay," she said, looking at him in amused wonder.

"Did you forget me, luv," said Adam interrupting Buffy with a twisted cynical smile.

Buffy sighed. "No one can forget you," she said smiling.

"Methos?" Jack questioned with a puzzle frown, walking towards the other man to give a hearty handshake.

"It's Adam Pierson," he whispered. Aloud he said, "Hey Jack, it has being a long time."

"Will you not introduce us as well?" said Teal'c politely. He watched the interaction between the young woman and O'Neill and he was curious. Teal'c was big dark skinned man in his mid thirties, who radiated strength and stoicism. Only his friends' saw the loving and tenderhearted person, he was.

"Yes," said Daniel eying the group thoughtfully. "I am Daniel Jackson, and this is Major Samantha Carter, General Hammond, and Murray," he said with an encompassing gesture.

"Murray?" Buffy said doubtful, exchanging glances with Adam, who had felt something different about this Murray.

"Yes, Murray," Jack said firmly.

"Okay, Murray it is," she muttered, eying the other man suspiciously.

"I didn't catch your name miss," Daniel said, smiling a charming and engaging smile at Buffy. The same type of smile that had won over Shau're, his wife.

"Because I didn't throw it," said Buffy amusement in her eyes and tone.

"Touché," said Daniel. Then he looked at her expectedly.

Jack sighed, and ran his fingers frustrated through his salt and pepper hair.

Do immortals age? Buffy asked her self. He looked so old. She didn't know what came over, but seeing Jack, brought back the pain, and the petty arguments they used to have. Wasn't fifty years apart enough?

Jack looked at his friends and family. He had been lying to them all these years. How were they going to take it? Well, only one'way of finding out. "General, Daniel, Carter and Murray this is my wife Isabella O'Neill."

There was such a frenzy of noise that Jack winced.

"Wife!" shouted Daniel.

"When did you get married?" asked Carter, puzzled and a little bit hurt.

You are married to her," said General Hammond in disbelief, looking at the young woman in front of him. Buffy was dressed in a white baby doll t'shirt with a pink heart on the front, that showed off taunt and golden and stomach. She was also wearing a low rider faded blue jeans and caramel brown suede boots.

"I need to sit down," mutter Carter.

Teal'c escorted her to an empty chair. "Breath Major Carter," he said patting her shoulders sympathetically. Everyone knew that Carter and O'Neill have feelings for each other, but they couldn't act on it because of regulations.

"Look General," said Giles. "Until you know Buffy, please refrain from speaking of her like that."

"I am sorry," he said, flushing slightly. "I apologize. I was surprised, but that isn't an excuse. In my ignorance, I chose to judge the young lady on her physical appearance alone. For that I truly apologize, until I really know her, I cannot judge her."

Giles nodded. "Yes well, when you get to know, her, you will find out how annoying she can be," he said.

Ignoring the byplay between Giles and the General, Jack wandered over to Buffy. He drew in a deep breath, soaking in the scent of her. It had been a long time, since he had touched her or smelled her. How much he missed just talking to her. "Bella, Buffy," he said. "Oh for crying out loud, look, I can't call you Buffy," Jack said exasperated. "It's a stupid name."

Buffy drew up her five feet nothing in indignation. "It's my name and I like it," she said irate.

"Yeah, but it's a stupid name," Jack said, shoving Buffy.

Eyes narrowing in warning, she said, "Yeah! What if I said Jack was a stupid name," she mocked, pushing him back.

"My name is not stupid. It's a manly name," Jack growled to rival Angel at his worse, pushing her back.

Soon a shoving match and argument resulted.

Carter's mouth dropped open in shock, and Teal'c eyebrow rose so far in his head; he must have been seeing stars, while the rest of the group watched in disbelieving silence at the two combatants.

Enough!" said the General.

"What's wrong with the name Buffy?" asked Daniel bewildered. "It's suits her," he said looking at the petite blonde girl in front of him. She wasn't a traditional beauty, with slightly upturned nose, almond shaped hazel eyes and determined chin. However, she reminded him of California, sunshine and palm trees.

"Thank you," said Buffy sweetly.

Jack growled, annoyed.

"What's going on here?" the General demanded.

"Yeah," said Jack. "I haven't seen you in fifty years"

"Fifty years?" mouthed Carter, her brow furrowed.

"and suddenly you come back in my life, and with an entourage," he said looking around the room filled with people.

"It's not an entourage," Buffy snapped. "These people are my family."

Everyone nodded in agreement.

"Okay," he said placating. "They are your family. Now what do you want?"

"Is that anyway to speak to your wife," Buffy demanded, hands on her hips.

"Buffy!" Jack said warningly.

"Okay," she said. Suddenly she was all business. Gone was the playful teenager. "How could you make the Chappa'ai operational?" she demanded.

"We call it the Stargate actually," Jack said sardonically.

The Chappa'ai? Abruptly, the General and the rest of SG team looked at the innocuous young woman in front of them. Spy, thought Carter. N.I.D, thought the General. Daniel was wondering, why Jack would tell this girl about the Stargate. It was a national security issue. Teal'c was wondering why O'Neill would marry a youth young to be his progeny.

Buffy narrowed her eyes at him. "Stargate, Chappa'ai. I don't care what you call it. How could you let them open it?"

"Young lady," said General Hammond sternly. "What do you know about the Chappa'ai?"

"I know it's dangerous. Ra might come back," she said anguished.

"I know it was buried for a very good reason," said Methos angry. "And I know it cost a lot of lives to do it."

Jack remembered what Buffy had suffered under Ra's rule. Remembering what they both suffered, he walked to and said, "Bella, Buffy, Ra is dead, I witnessed his death personally."

"You know about Ra?" Daniel questioned eagerly.

"Not now, Dr. Jackson," said General Hammond.

"Ra's dead?" said Methos, clearly surprised. "What happen? "

"I will tell you later," Jack said waving off any questions with a peremptory gesture. "I didn't open the Stargate," he said defensively."

"But Jack wasn't there, for the unearthing of the Stargate, how could he be," said Daniel puzzled. "Jack wasn't born yet."

Ignoring Daniel, Jack said earnestly to Buffy. "When I found they were digging in Giza, I went there not knowing what I should do. There were like a million people at the dig, so when they found the Stargate, I couldn't very well waltz down there and say don't touch that. I was a lone man surrounded by many. I did the only thing I could. I watched and waited. It took years," he said, bleakly. "But I kept watch, then the government took over, then the military. I joined the military, after seeing the way things were going. I waited, and abide my time, whispering in an ear here and an ear there about that program. Telling providence that I willing to join up to monitor the Stargate, making sure it wasn't abused. The government worked on the Stargate for years, and they never figure to open it, until Danny boy figure it out."

They all turned to look at Daniel Jackson, who shrugged, as if to say. It was all in a day's work.

"Colonel O'Neill, can I asked you why did you deemed it necessary to confirm or denied about a project that the government demand secrecy on?" General Hammond demands thru clench teeth.

"Yeah," piped up Carter, looking at Jack puzzled. "And why are talking as if you were at Giza in 1928?" Carter couldn't help but look the Colonel's young wife. She couldn't wrap her mind over the fact the Colonel had marry again and to some teenager. Maybe he's getting senile in his old age. And the way they were pushing each other, it's seemed like they knew each other very well belied the fact it might be a spur of the moment type marriage. Jack's married, she thought.

Jack sighed and looked around the room. "Sit down guys. It's a long story." Since this was his family, he should be able to tell them anything. Right. "What I am going to tell you should not leave this room," he paused, then motioned towards a corner of the room. "General the ears," he said.

General Hammond looked at him for a few minutes, having known O'Neill for several years now, he was certain he didn't want to hear this. But he nodded and walks to the corner, opened a secret drawer and fiddles with a few buttons, then walked back to his chair.

Giles looked at his own companions and said, "It isn't as if we don't trust your security, but I will add my own, he said." He closed his eyes and there was a fierce concentration on his face. Then the room seemly to dropped a few degrees.

"What was that?" demand Carter, shivering slightly at the coolness of the room.

"Okay, we are ready," said Giles.

"Magic," said Willow, for the first time talking. She was little bit intimidating, not only by Buffy new life, but by the military types. She huddled more in her chair, seeking the warm of Oz, next to her.

"That is ridiculous," said Carter, without any real heat. "Magic doesn't exist."

"I don't know about that," said Daniel. "In ancient times, the druids, called on an ancient type of magic to heal people. How about Merlin?"

"Oh come on," said Carter. "Merlin was a myth," she scoffs.

"Yeah, like Thor, Ra and all these beings we met through the Stargate."

"No those where real," she said.

"Yes they are, but at one time they were just myth. Who to say, that Merlin wasn't real too," said Daniel.

"Teal'c nodded his head in agreement.

"Are we finished?" asked Jack exasperated. "Now that we established that yes indeedy magic is real. I want to continue my story before we start to grow mold. Suddenly he stopped. He looked at Buffy and said. "General can you excuse us for minute. " I will explain everything to you. But I wanted to talk to Bella first."

The General watched to the two, but as much as he wanted some explanation, he seems they need to clear the air between the today. "Okay, I'll give you one hour," he said.

Colonel O'Neill nodded, and grabbed Buffy's hand and walked out the door.

"But General Hammond," protested Carter. "Do you mean we have to wait to find out what's going on?"

"No we don't," he said. "Now who's going to tell me what's going on here," he said sternly, giving the group his commander face. His commander face was similar to Willow's resolve face, but seeing it, made Willow cringed into her seat. The General eyes touched on each member and each member in turn looked at Adam.

"I guess it will be me," he said. "Some things between Bella and Jack are private and I will not compromise my friendship with either of them to tell you their story. Now what do you wanted to know?"

"Everything," said Daniel eagerly sitting forward in his chair.

"Yes, everything," said the General looking at Daniel.

"Sorry," he said blushing slightly.

"First of all what I am going to say cannot leave this room. Not only does it affect us, but other people as well. And I know that the government doesn't like things or people they cannot explain." He took a deep breath. Here goes," he thought. "Jack, Isabella and I are immortals.

Suddenly there was clamor of noises.

"What!" exclaimed Carter.

"Immortals!"

"You got to be kidding!"

General Hammond suddenly sat straight up in his chair. "Explain," he said.

"Yeah," said Daniel, whose mind was a whirl with thoughts and ideas.

"Okay, I'll start at the beginning," said Adam.

"Well that is the best place to start," said the General sarcastically.

"Are you going to listen or what?" Adam said sharply.

Stroking his chin, the General regard him carefully. "Go ahead son," he said, making a slight gesture with his hand.

Adam took another deep breath. "Jack and I knew each from when we were children. As young men, we were often curious and we wanted adventure. We ended in Egypt during the occupation of Ra. He would empty out the village each week looking for young vital hosts. The very old and the young were placed as slaves or where killed out right. In one of his many sweeps, his men found us, and we were taken to his ship, that is where we met Isabella. During that time, we bonded, become friends. There was a great sadness, when we three were chosen to became hosts to the Goa'uld."

"No wonder Jack has such unreasonable hatred for the Goa'uld," said Daniel thoughtful.

"Unreasonable?" said Adam, blinking in surprise. "I wouldn't call hating being enslaved for several years being unreasonable.

"I' I didn't mean it like that," said Daniel blushing slightly.

"No wonder I was getting that strange vibe from you guys," said Carter."

"What do you mean?" asked Mac with a frown.

"Several years ago," said Carter. "I was made host to a Tok'ra Goa'uld named Jolinar of Malkshur. When Jolinar died saving my life, she left me with the ability to use Goa'uld technology and to detect the presence of others Goa'uld symbiote."

"The Tok'ra?" questioned Adam. "I never heard of this Tokra."

"Dr. Jackson?" said the General.

Daniel blinked. "Uh, the Tok'ra means resistance against RA. We had come across a group of people, who like the Goa'uld were hosts to symbiotes. But the Tok'ra symbiotes believed in sharing the host's body, rather than taking over it completely."

"Well that's a first. But I will not willing give up my body to a Goa'uld or this Tok'ra," said Adam shuddering.

"You know you sound like Jack when you say that," said Carter, looking Adam curiously.

"I do?" Adam asked, smiling slightly.

"Yes," Daniel nodded.

"He believes the same thing," Carter admitted.

"Well we share some of the same experience," Adam acknowledged.

And what experience would that be?" asked General Hammond.

"Let me start out by saying, I don't know Jack's frame of mind, but what I have observed in the few minutes that I have been here is this. He considers you guys family. But what I am about to tell you should never ever leave this room. I think he would have told you this, but certain information is hard to swallow. Jack was a Goa'uld host several thousand years ago. He was blended with Ra son Montu. Isabella was blended with Sekhmet, while my host was Onurius."

"What!" exclaimed Daniel and Giles at the same time.

"Uh," said Daniel looking at askance at Giles.

"What it is?" asked the General puzzled, looking from one face to the other. "What's going on here?"

"Ummh it was something Adam had said," said Daniel, taking off his glass and polishing them. Showing the room that they were in sync, simultaneously, Giles had taken his glasses off, and started polishing them.

"Oh no," moaned Xander. "Mini Giles.

"What?" said Daniel and Giles, each with the same expression of befuddlement on their face.

Willow took one look at each man, before she burst out into giggles.

The General coughed to cover up his smile while Carter turned her face away from Giles and Daniel.

Teal'c left eyebrow rose.

With a severe frown, Giles put back his glass and picked up the conversation. "It was something Adam just said, about Buffy being Sekhmet.

"If you thought Ra was bad or Sokar, even Apophis. Imagine the most deadly Goa'uld in history," said Daniel.

"Buffy?" asked Willow.

"Isabella!" said Duncan shock. "She's so tiny."

Adam snorted in disparaging amusement. "Don't let Bella hear you call her little. You won't make that one mistake twice. Any way, in Egyptian mythology Sekhmet was called the most Powerful One, the Sun Goddess and the Destructor... She was associated with war and retribution, she said to use arrows to pierce her enemies with fire, her breath being hot desert wind as her body took on the glare of the midday sun. According to legends, she came into being when Hathor was sent to earth by Ra to take vengeance on man. She was the one who slaughtered mankind and drank their blood, only being stopped by trickery. She was, thus, the destructive side of the sun, and a solar goddess and given the title Eye of Ra," said Daniel.

"Oh my God," said Carter, staring at Adam in astonishment. After being blended with Jolinar, sometimes she couldn't tell where her thoughts begun and where Jolinar's ended. Jolinar was nice enough for a Tokra, but imagine having a Goa'uld inside you that powerful and vindictive. She shudderd inwardly at the thought.

"Yeah," said Daniel. "We all know that the Goa'uld adopted our Egyptian history purporting to be gods. And you can imagined how ten times worse a gou'ald symbiote would be. Carter retained menories of Jolinar," he said softly. "But imagine retaining those memory of atrocious done by someone using your body and hands, and you couldn't do anything about it."

"Oh, my dear girl," Giles said. To have gone through that. He hadn't truly forgiven her for lying to him all these years, but he understood. What should he do? For the first time in years, he was indecisive. Should he comfort her or scold her for not telling him the truth, or he should just love her. And he do, love her that is. She was his heart. He smiled as he remebered the first time, he met Buffy Summers. How disappointed he felt, as he saw the bubbly California girl with her speech and the mannerism. His first thought was that he being punished. The Watchers Council didn't like him, he was a rebel, if it hadn't been that his grand mother and father were Watchers, he wouldn't gotten the job in Sunnydale. But after getting to know Buffy, he was happy she was in his life, he could'nt imagine anything else.

"Indeed Daniel Jackson," said Teal'c. "Because most hosts could not survive the death of their symbiote I would imagine if such thing would had occurred and a host retained memory of it's invasion, I would imagine it would be indeed terrible."

"Don't get me wrong," said Adam. "As Sekhmet, Isabella was violent. But I believe she also had influence on her Goa'uld."

"Really?" said Daniel, fascinated. He knew that the Tokra could seperate the Goa'uld from a hosts, but most hosts usually died. Even jolinar had died to save Sam. He wanted to know how Adam, Jack and Jack's wife survived. He open his mouth to ask, when he thought of something. He was talking to one of the oldest living man on earth. All the secrets and knowledge.. . Oh my.' Suddenly he felt faint. … and Jack, oh God.' He started hyperventilating.

"Dr Jackson?" called General Hammond, looking at the young man in concern. "Are you okay?"

"Daniel?" said Samatha, her brow furrowed.

"Daniel Jackson, should I get Doctor Fraser?" asked Teal'c walking over to Daniel's side.

"I am okay you guys, " he said, waving off the concern, still breathing harshly. "Just a small case of hyperventilation. It just came to me, that we are listening to a guy who say he was born ten thousand years ago, and we don't find it strange."

"Daniel, with all we had seen through the Stargate. To find out of our best friend is immortal is shocking, but we can deal, right," said Carter, looking around the room. None of the strangers seemed upset, that this Adam Pierson was saying that he was immortal. Either they were all crazy or maybe he was telling the thruth. If he was telling the truth was she crazy for beliveing him too?

Adam dug around in his pockets, where he found a small plastic bag holding some coins. He empty the coins and the table. "I am too cheap to get a wallet," he said, blushing slightly. "Here," he said walking over to Daniel. "I am a doctor, this will help."

"A doctor," said Daniel incredulously. It was to much, soon he was laughed and hyperventaling at the same time.

Sam shook her head and grab the plastic bag and shoved under Daniel's nose. "Breathe in it, and get you self under control."

They waited a few minutes for Daniel's breathing to get under control.

Adam eyed Daniel for a few minutes before continuing. "As I was saying. Sekhmet was very fascinating. She had duality. Although she was violent, she also had a protective side that showed itself by healing some of her victims including performing surgery. As she brought destruction in her path, she also cure ailments, so that is how I believe that Isabella grew to influence the goau'ld."

"I wondered why she did that," said General General Hammond.

"Because as the host, I was strong physically and emotionally," said Buffy walking into the room with Jack behind her.

Carter eyed Jack for a few minutes. "Did you get everything sorted out sir?" she asked. Samantha Carter was an athletic, green'eyed woman, with short blonde hair and she was dress in a standard olive green BDU. She looked at the interloper and her perfect figure, wondering what Jack sees in her.

"Yes I did Carter," he said, his mouth twisting in a wry smile.

She nodded sighing. For the past couple of years, something had been building between her and Jack. But because of reglations they chadn't acted on it. Now that chance seemed to be gone. Maybe she had been living in a fantasy world, but she believe he would be always be there for her. There would come a time, when they could admit their feelings. Now that opportunity was gone.

Chapter 8

Forty minutes earlier.

Buffy watched Jack surreptitiously as he carted her down a long narrow hallway and shoved her into a small room with a table and one chair. A bare bulb illuminated the room.

"Hey!" Buffy protested, as she stumbled over the threshold. "Watch it!"

"What are you doing here?" O'Neill barked, inwardly wincing at his harsh tone.

"What you mean?" asked Buffy eying him warily. "I told you why we were here."

"Yeah," he said mockingly. "Because I opened the Stargate."

"Why else would I be?" she asked defensively.

"I don't know," he said, running his hand through his salt and pepper hair. "I never knew what you are thinking. All the years I was married to you, I never knew."

"Was?" Buffy scowled. "We still are. We never got around that annoying thing called a divorce," she pointed out.

He sighed heavily. "I am sorry about that." He cleared his throat. "Are you still with Angelus?" he asked.

"How many times do I have to tell you, I was never with him in the first place," she snapped.

Jack gave her a look. "You could have fooled me, you ran so fast, you left skid marks when we had that fight."

Buffy eyes widened incredulously. "Fight?" she said. "You kicked me to the curb."

"I didn't," he protested, with a frown. "That's not how I remember it."

"Yes you did. How long have you known me?" she demanded sharply. "You know I don't take ultimatums lightly. When you asked me to choose between you and Angel, there was no contest. Angel was my friend, but you were my husband, the love of my life. But you became all macho and intractable. So when you said go, I went."

"I am sorry," he said, with a wounded look in his eyes. "All this over a misunderstanding," he moaned. "I never meant everything to go so far. We haven't seen each other for over fifty years. I mean we had our ups and down, but we always made up."

"Yes," said Buffy, her voice hitched. She felt a sharp pain squeezing her heart at the missed opportunity. Maybe she was using the opening of the Chappa'ai as an excuse to see him. Fifty years was a long time, but so was four hundred.

"It was fun, wasn't it?" he asked, his eyes gentle. "The making up part."

"Yeah," she said, smiling with remembrance.

He smiled wistfully. "But no matter how we wish it, time has past and we are not the same two people we once were."

Her hazel eyes met his gray ones. "Yeah, you could say that again," she said walking around the room.

"So what's going on with you life," he asked, his eyes noting the change time had brought.

"What do you want to know?" she asked as her fingers trailed lovingly up and down on the scarred table. She had to admit to herself that she still found him attractive.

"Why are you here with an unknown immortal, two watchers and three teenagers?" he asked abruptly.

She stiffened at the question. She took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. "Mac is Duncan MacLeod."

"The Highlander?" he asked curiously.

"I see that you've heard of him," she said wryly

"Everyone's heard of MacLeod's exploits. Leon, the lizard kept me up on what else happening in the world, for a fee of course.

"Of course," Buffy drawled, thinking about the low'level demon, who would do the lowest task just for a scrap attention.

"So," Jack muttered. "You were telling me about your entourage," he said nonchalantly. He was eager to know about her and her life. He couldn't believe all this time Leon knew where Bella was, and he never told him. Wait until he sees him.

"Why do you keep calling it my entourage?" Buffy demanded, hands on her hips. "You make it sound like a dirty word or something."

Jack sighed loudly. "Look, Bella, I don't want to fight with you."

"Then don't say things that make be mad," she said.

"You're always mad," he muttered under his breath.

"See, that's what I'm talking about," she retorted. "Slayer hearing," she snaps.

"Alright," he said placating. "Well?"

It was her turn to sigh. "Watchers Joe Dawson, he's Mac Watcher, and the other is Rupert Giles, a Slayer Watcher, not immortal. He didn't know I was an immortal until I died in front of the newest Slayer, Faith, and Willow, that's the red head in the room."

"In front of them?" Jack asked, wincing in sympathy.

"Yes," she said with a nod. "How do you know they are Watchers anyway?"

"Maybe I'm out of the game, but I could spot a Watcher a mile off. Damn. Who was it?"

"Dagon."

"No one has taken his head as yet," Jack asked incredulously.

"Apparently not," she sarcastically. "I was about to do that, when Willow screamed. I allowed myself to be distracted and got a sword in my gut for it."

"Are you okay?" he asked, clearing away the sudden lump in his throat. Although he knew that she was immortal and a Slayer, just thinking about her being hurt caused a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"I am fine, healed and all that," she said, showing a taut golden stomach, with only a minute trace of a scar. "See," she said breathlessly, as his gaze traveled intimately over her body. Buffy's pulse gave a little surge of lust and panic. Okay, there was no reason to get nervous just that he was looking at her as if he wanted her.

His clean, spicy scent assaulted her senses and her knees buckled. She wanted to cup his face. He looked different she thought. Old. She peered intently in his face. Was that makeup? she wondered. Jack was a handsome man in a craggy sort of way, his face bronze by wind and sun and the set of his chin suggested a stubborn streak, which Buffy could attest to. He had a commanding manner after spending years in the military, but right now, there was a restless energy about his movements as he prowled the room.

"Yeah I see," Jack said in a warm voice, eying the golden expanse of her stomach. Without a thought, he walked over her to drop to his knees and started peppering butterfly kisses on her stomach. He didn't know what about this woman drew him. For years, she could tie him up into knots. She wore her honey hair swept up so that it cascaded in waves from a clip, and although she was dressed causally in jeans and t'shirt, she looked lovely.

Buffy closed her eyes and drank in the comfort of his nearness. She cleared her throat, pretending not to be affected.

Jack moaned. He closed his eyes in despair. What I am doing? he asked himself and pull reluctantly away. "I am sorry," he whispered breathlessly. "I don't know what got over me," he said.

"That okay," said Buffy. Taking a deep, unsteady breath, she stepped back.

"So your friends saw you die," he asked with a small clearing of his throat.

"Yeah, and they were with me when I woke up. At the time, I couldn't hide that the fact I was immortal with they thinking I was some sort of demon, then I found out the Chappa'ai was open. I knew you probably had something to do with it. And my friend understandable doesn't want to let me out of their sight and they wanted to come so here I am," she said shrugging. She walked a short distance away. Distance, she thought. I need distance. She thought she had gotten over Jack, but that little incident showed her other wise.

"I sort of understood your reasoning," Jack admits. "But I didn't open the Stargate. We all agreed to bury it. I never wanted it to open again. As I explained earlier, Danny found a way to open it. I was there on that day. I went through to Abydos. I even brought a small bomb with me, to blow up the Stargate. While on Abydos, we found that Ra had fled there. He had enslaved the people, just as if he did on Earth. But I couldn't leave them like that. I help brought about a rebellion and while Ra was fleeing I send the nuke right up his ass," he said chuckling nastily.

"So Ra is really dead," Buffy asked anxiously.

"Yes, deader than a doornail," said Jack with a smirk. "But one thing we found out later, that there are more Goa'uld system lords out there to take his place. Like Aphosis, Sokar, and Hathor, just to name a few."

"Hathor?"

"Yeah Hathor. She tried to implant me with a Goa'uld," said Jack shuddering. Realistically he knew several thousands years had passed, but he remembered the feeling of the Goa'uld burrowing into his skin. Sometimes at night, he would wake up drenched in sweat from a nightmare.

"What!" Buffy said, her eyes flashed with fury. "That skanky ho. She always wanted you," she growled.

"Well she's dead now," Jack soothed.

"Good!" she said.

"I'll be the first to admit that re'opening the Stargate was a stupid idea. But since it was opened, we have been using it to fight the good fight. We travel to other worlds, making alliances and maybe some enemies. It's good thing," he said.

"That the first time I've heard you called me Buffy," she said softly, wandering around the dismal room.

"Ah nah, I called you Buffy before," Jack said wagging his finger at her.

"Yes, but you didn't mean it," she said with a sigh. "So this Stargate program you have is a good thing," she said abruptly.

"Yes it is," Jack said. He walked towards her and gently guided her into a chair. "Sit down Buffy, and let me tell about the SGC and what we have accomplished.

For the next twenty minutes, Jack preceded to tell Buffy about the Stargate program and the worlds he had been to as part of SG'1. He then concluded that Methos would have loved it.

"Yeah he would have," Buffy acknowledged. "You know this entire situation reminds me of the story of Pandora's Box."

"About curiosity and opening something?" Jack asked frowning. "Yeah I know. I've heard several people liken the opening the Stargate program to that of Pandora's Box. However, I truly believe that unlike Pandora we left more than hope in the box."

"Do you think so?" asked Buffy skeptically

"I know so," said Jack adamantly.

"Okay, I guess I have to believe you," she said thoughtful. She then decided to turn the subject around. "Tell me about your team this SG1."

Jack heart lightened. He loved to talk about his family. "Danny, Daniel Jackson is a linguist and he speaks several languages."

"So do you," Buffy said, with one eyebrow raised.

"Yeah, but that is his field, so I don't show him up. I am just a dumb soldier who likes astrometry and science fiction movie and Beavis and Butthead and the Simpson's," he said mockingly.

"I guess at least one person has to watch it, to keep in on the air," she said smirking.

"Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it. Simpson's has a great writing staff and that Homer Simpson, he's quiet the character," Jack said in an amuse tone.

"I believe you," Buffy said with placating gesture, interrupting what she was sure going to be a long'winded speech on the merits of cartoons.

"Ummh," Jack said, giving her a lopsided grin. "As I was saying, Danny speaks several languages and he also has a PhD in Egyptology, and Major Samantha Carter is a theoretical astrophysicist, and my second. And Murray is"

"Jack who are you kidding?" said Buffy. "I could tell that ‘Murray' was different from the moment he walked into the room."

"Okay, Murray name is Teal'c. He's a Jaffa."

"A what?"

"A Jaffa. A Jaffa is genetically altered human who carries a larva Goa'uld in a pouch in their stomach, like a kangaroo. The Goa'uld bred Jaffa to be slaves. And recently there was rebellion on their home planet of Chulak, that's was how Teal'c came to join SG'1."

"Do you trust him?"

"With my life," he said solemnly. "He'll always have my six, especially in a fight."

"Good, if you trust him, then maybe I will trust him too."

"We all have been together so long, that I trust them all with my life.

"That's how I felt about the Scooby Gang."

"Scooby Gang?"

"Willow, Xander, Oz and maybe Cordelia. Originally, it was Buffy and the slayettes, but Willow decided that we solve mysteries just like the Scoobies in that Saturday morning cartoon."

"I watched that a time or two," he admitted with a small grin.

Suddenly there was awkward silence between them. "So," Buffy said, looking everywhere but him. "I guess we are caught up, with what's everyone doing."

"Not quite," Jack said, shifting in his chair. "We talked about the job, but we never talked about your love life. How's your love life?"

"My love life?" Buffy questioned with a sputter. "How about yours? You think you were the only one getting info from Leon, the lizard. You got married!" she with an anguished wail.

Jack sighed. "It took thirty years before I got over being mad at you," he admitted. "Then I starting dating, I would sleep with women left and right, but when I met Sara, she was a college student on break, and we started seeing each other. Then she found out she was pregnant. She thought it was mine, and I knew that I would never have any children, so I became husband and daddy in one fell swooped."

"Did she know about your immortality?"

"No, I didn't tell her. How can you tell someone that you marry in good faith, that they are going grow old, but you aren't?"

"So if you hadn't divorced, would you have told her?"

"Of course I would have, but I never got the chance, after Charlie died my marriage broke apart."

"I am sorry about Charlie," Buffy said gazing at him with sympathy.

"Thank you," said Jack quietly. "For while it hurt, knowing it was my gun that killed my own child, it was hard. I wanted a getaway from everything. But during that time, I was called on the Stargate program because I had asked to go. I even quit the military but they kept recalling me."

"You quit."

"Yeah, I did twice."

"But here you are."

"Mmm here I am," Jack murmur. "So what about you?"

"Me," she said surprise.

"I told you about Sara," Jack said, his eyes narrowed in annoyance.

"What do you really wanted know?" Buffy smiled a wry smile. "Bet it's about Angelus."

"Yeah, you would have won that bet," he said sardonically. "Well?" he said with an inpatient lift of his eyebrows.

Buffy grinned briefly, watching Jack squirm. She turned away from him and gave a deep sigh. "Angelus is a friend," she said simply. "He will always be. He has been there for me in so many ways. When you and I were together, I honored our marriage vows. When we took others to our beds, it was always with each other's consent. But I grew lonely and last year was the first and last time, I had been with Angel." She didn't want Jack to know about the curse, and how sleeping with Angel had caused him to almost suck the Earth into hell.

"Uh," he said.

"You don't believe me," Buffy snapped, turning around in indignation.

"Of course I believe you," he protested, holding his hands out placating "Okay, but one thing puzzles me," Jack said frowning.

"One?" Buffy questioned, her eyes narrowed warily.

"Yeah. You said you kept in touch with Leon," Jack asked.

"Yeah, what about it?" she asked puzzled.

"I'm just puzzled, that's why. He told you about Sara, but he neglected to mention the Stargate program. We both know it was a secret, but he spilled the bean on everything else. Why not this?"

She shrugged. "What can you expect, he's a demon. Or maybe he has some integrity. But let me tell you this," she said warningly. "I would have contacted you much earlier than this."

"I wouldn't have minded that," he murmured.

"What?" Buffy asked, gazing at him intently.

"I said I don't understand why you would bring Watchers and three un'armed teenagers to military facility," Jack said loudly

"Because they wanted to come," Buffy said sheepishly.

"You could have said no!" Jack snapped.

"I did," she said sharply.

"You weren't stern enough," Jack admits.

"I guess I was being ruled by my heart not my head," Buffy said with a sigh. "I felt guilty for not telling them sooner about my self. Then to die and awaken in their presences. Major guiltapalooza here. So to make it up I brought them here."

"A military Installation," he question wearily.

"Alright!" she cried, throwing up her hands. "What do you want to hear? That it was stupid idea? It was a stupid idea."

"Yes! Jack said. "Not only did you comprise us, but also yourself."

"Look I wasn't thinking okay," she said. In a defensive gesture, she folded her arms across her chest. "I was so angry that all thought just went out of my head."

As Buffy and Jack entered Conference B, she overheard General Hammond speculating on how had she influences her Goa'uld.

"Because I was strong, physically and emotional," said Buffy walking into the room, with Jack behind her.

Methos walked up Buffy and asked, "Are you okay?" he asked eying both of them.

She nodded, and he brought his arms around to give her a hug. she burrowed in his shoulders for a while inhaling deeply.

Jack eyes narrowed. Was something going on between Methos and Bella? he wondered.

General Hammond cleared his throat, and turned to Jack. "Colonel O'Neill let me guess this right," he said, his tone coolly disapproving. "I have in this room, three immortals who survived the ocupation of Ra on earth by having their Goa'uld taken out, and one of them is my CO who's been lying to me all these years."

"Uh General."

General Hammond put his hand in a stop gesture. "Then we have an entourage that consitists of four men and four teenagers who had the audacityto enter a secure facility to confront said CO."

"I'm not a teenager," Buffy said.

"Not now miss!" he snapped. "Whoever you are," said the General Hammond flatly

"Well!" said Buffy taken aback.

"Colonel, can I asked, how are we going to handle this?" he asked beligelently.

Jack opened his mouth .

"They can sign a nondisclosurestatements," piped up Carter.

"This is a secure base Major," said the General sharply. "You cannot let the genie out of the bottle and expect it go back in after tasting freedom."

"Good analogy sir," said Carter.

"Suck up," muttered Jack.

"Did you say something Colonel," barked the General.

"NOTHING SIR," he said, rolling his eyes.

"Colonel," General Hammond warned. "Don't try my patience."

"Yes Sir," Jack said with a mock salute.

"Pardon me General," said Giles, ignoring the byplay between Jack and General Hammond. "I understand how to keep a secret. We all do. If we didn't we wouldn't be alive today. I can say for all of us that we are willing to sign whatever you want us to sign. We too have secrets. Secrets we don't want the whole world to know about."

General Hammond looked thoughtfully at the other man. Mr. Giles reminded him of Daniel, when he first join the SGC, minus the tweed of course. the absent way of talking as if his brain was working over time, the scholorly mein, the polishing of his glass. As the young man had said earlier mini Daniel. "Secrets? What kind of secrets ?"

Buffy sighed and sat down in a chair close to Giles. She needed the comfort and the familiarity of his scent right now.

"What do you know?" asked Jack. ‘What shall I tell him," he wondered.'

"What more there is to know?" asked Sam, looking at Jack with unspoken pain in her eyes.

"How about Jack being Sean O'Neill," said Buffy, as a mischievous look came into her eyes.

"Bella!" Jack protested.

There was loud thud, as Daniel slip off his chair.

"Are you okay Daniel Jackson?" asked Teal'c for the second time that day, as he helped Daniel to his chair.

Daniel sat in dazed, his hair mused and eyeglass askew. "I'm okay Teal'c," he said, waving the other man away. Daniel looked at Jack, with a determined glint into his eyes. "You were Sean O'Neill?" he asked Jack with a disbilieving tone. For the others benefit he said. "Sean O'Neill was a hero of Ireland. When I was in high school, I had to write a book report on somebody famous, and all the good ideas were taken, and the teacher force the Sean O'Neill biography on me."

"Thanks lot Danny," Jack said with a frown.

"I didn't mean it like that," Daniel said, rolling his eyes in exasperation. "But you've got to admit, outside of Ireland no one has heard of Sean O'Neill," he said. "But I was glad I did. Learning about Sean contributed to Ireland opened my eyes to many other possiblities."

"I tried," Jack said. He didn't start out to make history. What he had tried to do was make his adopted family proud. There was a lot of of pain and sacfrice he had made for history's sake. But lot people seemed to romantisize history, they forgot the pain and suffering one has go through to, to enable for one to live. The immortals know, he thought looking at each of them.

Teal'c sat in the room and watched and listened while the newcomers talked about a different O'Neill that each of them knew. When he had met O'Neill on Chulak, he knew that he was special. And this converstion confirmed it. "O'Neill what is an immortal?"

"Teal'c buddy," Jack said sighing. "A immortal is a person that is long lived, never aging.

"So you guys could never died," asked Carter fascinated.

"Yes we can died, if someone chops off our heads.

"Whoa!" said Daniel taken aback. "That's barbaric."

"Well someone has to survive the game," Jack admits.

"Game?" said General Hammond curiously. "What game?"

"I will try to explain it to you," said Jack. "Immortals are foundlings. We were born sterile, so I am unable to have children."

"But Charlie," Sam interrupt.

"That's one the reason I married Sara," Jack said quietly. "When I met Sara, while she was going to the local college and during our courtship she found out that she was pregnant. At first, she thought the baby was mine, but I knew I couldn't have children. But I always wanted children and I needed to be a parent. You may think living such a long life is great."

At this, Daniel nodded enthusiastically.

"Seeing history in the making, but it's not. Being immortal is a curse, and a gift. We have to live; year'by'year watching our friends and love ones grew old, wandering from place to place, never putting done roots, because some one might discover who we really are. Constantly fighting the game. The game," Jack said depreciating laughter. We have a motto: ‘There can be only One.' Each immortal fight in the game, for a mythical ‘Prize.' We don't even know what this price is or even if does exits. But it is an instinct to fight other immortal until there can be only one.

Willow gasped and every one turned to look at her. She blushed, and hid her face for a few moments. Then she took a deep breath and said, "Are you saying, that only one of you can live?"

"Yeah," said Adam, his eyes became flat and as unreadable as stone.

"How do you know, when its time to seek this prize," asked Carter, her eyes shifted from one person to the other.

"Compulsion," said Jack.

"Instinct," said Buffy.

"We don't know," said MacLeod.

"This is what I believe," said Adam with a sigh. "If there are two immortals left in the game, they will instinctually seek each out, making sure that only one will get the prize."

Xander eyes narrowed speculatively on the immortals. "Which one of you," he said with unwelcome frankness "Are you betting on?"

There was a heavy silence for a few minutes and the four immortal looked at each other and shrugged.

"I don't think about it," said Mac, with a vague hint of disapproval.

Buffy shot Xander a withering glance. "Neither do I," she said. She was annoyed; it was not something she wanted to dwell on.

To change the subject, Giles asked something that had been puzzling him for a while. "Buffy I am wondering were in this game all this time," he said, with a puzzled expression on his face.

She nodded.

"But I didn't see any immortal," he said.

"We are human Giles," she said sardonically. "We are not going to look any different. However, with the Hellmouth and all I got a reprieve."

"Hellmouth?" mouth Daniel, with a frown on his face. He made a mental note to bring it up another time.

"So," said General Hammond, his hand steeple on the table, his eyes wondering from person to the other. "What I am going to do with you?"

Buffy stiffened and sat up straight as she felt the General gaze upon her. "Me," she squealed. "You are not going to do anything with me," she babbled. "I am nothing, a nobody. I know about you government types and your secret experiments on aliens."

The General's mouth dropped open in shock and Samantha Carter almost choked on her laughter. While Daniel turned purple with his own suppress laughter. Teal'c just sat stoic as always. He did not understand the laughter. He too had heard about the experimentation of alien by the Tau'ri. Didn't they want to experiment on his Goa'uld larvae when he had first entered the SGC?

"What!" said Jack looking at Buffy in exasperation "What have you being reading?"

"Reading?" she questioned innocently, as a flash of humor crossed her face.

"I can't believe you could equate Isabella and books," teased Adam.

Ignoring Adam, Buffy said. "I watch television just like every one else.

The General harrumphed.

Giles rolled his eyes. "Do you see what I have to put up with?" he said to no one in particular."

"The wife of the O'Neill is correct. Did not the government wanted to experiment on me, during my early days at the SGC?" asked Teal'c.

There was another awkward silence.

"See," said Buffy, with a hidden grin.

"T buddy," said Jack annoyed. "It was a one time thing. They didn't know you as we know you. Did they ask to do that again?"

"No," he admitted with an incline of his head.

"Ms?" said General Hammond. "What shall I call you?" he asked perplexed. If one O'Neill was bad enough, what will he do with two O'Neill? Oh God, it's such an overwhelming thought.

Her amusement swiftly died, Buffy took a deep breath. "Call me Ms. Summers," she said. "Buffy Summers."

"Still a stupid name," muttered Jack.

Buffy gave Jack an icy stare and turned to beam a bright smile at the General.

He sucked in his breath. She was a beautiful woman. She look so young, young enough to be one of his grand children, but if she had turn that same smile at unsuspecting men, imagine the things she could have gotten away with. "Oh dear lord," muttered the General with a sigh. "Ms Summers, as I was saying, what is going to happen to your group? People just can't barge into a secure military installation, without consequences."

"Wait one minute!" said Giles staring to get angry. "We didn't barge. We didn't use force or coercion, we asked to be let in, and the young man at the gate did it."

"Well yes," said General Hammond, pinching the bridge of his nose. "That airman, will get a talking to."

"Look," said Buffy concerned. "I didn't mean to get anyone in trouble.

"That's okay Ms Summers. The airman is in the military, there are rules he must abide by, and he broke one them.

"But Hammy," said Buffy with a pout.

"Hammy?" mouth Carter, looking at Daniel.

Daniel turned his face away, trying not to laugh

Jack closed his eyes in despair. Only Bella would have the audacity of calling a United States Air Force General, Hammy.

"Uhh," said General Hammond, feeling an unwelcome flush on his face.

Suddenly the intercom squawked, "Attention all personnel, unauthorized, Stargate activation."

The General looked at SG1 and nodded. "Excuse me," he said as he quickly exited the room, with SG1 behind him

"What the?" said Xander, his mouth dropped open in shock.

"What's going on here?" asked Joe Dawson, looking at the retreating group in bewilderment.

Inside The SGC gate room, the gate activated and a wormhole was being formed. Solders run towards the gate room, guns in hand.

In conference room B, Buffy was startled, just as like the rest of the group by the SGC personnel abrupt leave taking. Stargate, she thought. Did the voice say the Stargate was being open? The Stargate is another name for the Chappa'ai. She looked around at the people who had come to Colorado to support her. She hesitated briefly before following the other group out the door, with her own group hot on her heals.

In the control room, General Hammond barked, "Close the iris."

"Closing the iris," said a technician.

The Technician turned to General Hammond and the SGC personnel and said, "Receiving GDO transmission, sir. It's the Tok'ra."

"Open the iris,"" General Hammond said.

"Yes sir," said the tech, breathing a sigh of relief.

Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal'c were waiting at the bottom of the ramp as Jacob Carter and Anise walked through the Stargate.

"Dad," said Carter walking to Jacob to give him a hug.

"Hey they Sam," Jacob said. "How's my girl?" smiling into her face.

"Great, "she said grinning, happily. She was always happy to see him. And if he brought a problem that need solving, that was all the better. Right now, she needs to get her mind on the job. She cannot get her mind on the fact that Jack was married and he had being lying to them all these years. Daniel seemed okay with the fact, especially since Jack was the embodiment of living History. She didn't know what Teal'c thought, even all these years it is hard to read him, but one fact is the General is concerned about the situation. He‘s another person who liked to keep everything close to his vest. But you can see the indecision on his face about the civilian.

Especially since these civilians know about the Stargate, they might be a danger to the program. Nobody knows anything about them, and we can't take Jack's word at face value anymore. Didn't he lie to them all these years? She looked into Jacob face, and thought, that he looked good. A couple years ago, he was dying of cancer, but the Tok'ra, who has symbiotic relationship with their hosts, unlike the Goa'uld, gave Jacob a chance at life, by blending him with a Tok'ra name Selmac. The funny thing was Selmac is a woman. Sometimes she wonders how her Dad feels having to take advice from a woman, even if that woman is parasitic. "But you could have warned us you were coming for a visit."

"I didn't know my self until couple of hours ago," he said with as shrug. "It was a last minute decision."

"Anise," Sam said, acknowledging the other person who had accompanied her father.

Anise inclined her head. "It was because of me that Selmac is here," she intoned.

"George," Jacob said, grinned briefly and walked forward to greet General Hammond with Sam tucked under his arm. But he stopped abrupt. "George, I didn't know that you guys are letting civilians have run of the place," he said, one of his eyebrows rising in question.

"Civilian?" questioned General Hammond; turning around to see the people, he had left one level up in Conference room B behind him in the gate room. The gate room. Hell, he thought. What happened to the guards? He closed his eyes in disbelief and thumped his head on the nearest wall.

Jacob looked at his old friend in shock. "What's going on here?" he asked in bewilderment.

Jack took one notice of General Hammond and rush to usher the other group away. "Bella," he chides, irritated. "You shouldn't be here.

"Yes," confirmed Daniel rushing to help. "Let us find you a safe place to be."

Xander gaze sympathetically at the General who continued to pound his head against the wall, and said what everyone was thinking. "Uh oh, I think we broke him."

"Yeah," said Daniel, looking at the General askance. "I think you right." In all his years of working for the SGC, he'd never seen the General lose so much control, even with Jack shenanigans. And Jack could drive a saint to drink.

"Sir?" said Carter. "General Hammond," she called cautiously, walking towards him. "Are you okay sir?" she asked again.

"George?" said Jacob, gaping in stunned silence. "Are you okay man?"

"Why me?" General Hammond moaned repeatedly. "Why me?"

"Sir," said Carter, shocked. "I think you need some rest."

"Yes in indeed General Hammond, I too, think you need to rest," said Teal'c. He nodded to Sam, and they both escorted the General gently out of the gate room.

Jacob and Anise looked at each, both their face glazes with shock. "What's going on here?" Jacob demanded. Lack of answers forced them to follow Carter, Teal'c.

Chapter 9

Humpty Dumpy

For the next two hours, all around the base everyone was anxious. This was as the first time since the gate had been open that General Hammond was not at his post.

In the Commissary, there were rumors going on about strange civilians that cause some sort of virus to infect the General. But those who knew the real facts were not talking.

Inside the infirmary George Hammond, General USAF, who had took an easy job supervising an abandon government facility, thought he had it easy until now. All those years that SG'1 had brought gray to his balding head, he had thought hat he had handled them pretty well. Now he knew that it was just an icing on the cake. But one thing he had known from the beginning was that Jack O'Neill would be his killer.

"Sir," said Janet Fraser looking a chart in her hands. "Your pulse has slowed and your heart rate is back to normal. You can go back to work, but you must take it easy. No more stress."

"Stress, ha," snort the General. "I can deal with stress; I cannot deal with two O'Neill's at once."

"Two sir?" asked Janet her face beadle with curiosity. When the General was rushed to the infirmary, she didn't take time to ask a lot of questions, but the questions were bubbling up inside her.

"Yes two," he said. "I just found out that my CO has a wife he had hidden way for years."

"Jack O'Neill?" she questioned shocked. She and Jack had gone back along ways. She had been there when he married Sara and when Charlie died. How devastated Jack was. But the General doesn't seem like he was talking about Sara. She hesitated. "Sir? Are we talking about the same Jack O'Neill, the leader of SG1, wise cracking, Goa'uld hating Jack O'Neill."

"The very same," said the General dryly. He hesitated briefly, he had promised not to say anything about what had happen in that room. He is a military man, his job was to keep secrets. And he felt a small twinge of guilt telling this one, but he need to talk to someone objectively. He looked around the room, watching the nurses and technician. He dismissed them without a thought and proceeded to tell Dr Fraser what went on in the past several hours.

"So this so called wife is here," Janet asked with a frown.

"Yes," he said looking at the doctor in puzzlement. "Dr Fraser, you don't seem to surprise of what I told you about immortals. "

"Uh," said Janet blinking in surprise. "Of course I am stun sir."

"No you are not," he said giving her a long searching look. "I know what stunned looks like, and you aren't it. You knew didn't you?" he said, fixing her with a level stare.

Janet opened her and close her mouth like a guppy needed water.

"Don't bother to lie," he said wearily. "Believe it or not I understand secrets."

"I am sorry sir, "she said flushing. She felt guilty. All these years, being immortal was just something to hide. Although the SGC was family, she and Jack were protecting not only themselves but their new family as well. Such information was dangerous in certain people's hands.

In the briefing room over'looking the Stargate, all members of the SG1, the Scoobies, the Immortals and the Watchers sat together in somber silence, watching each other.

"What happened here?" snapped Jacob as he marched into the briefing room with Anise on his heels.

"Dad," said Sam, looking around helplessly.

"Who are these people?" Jacob demands sharply as his eyes rake the room. "I have something important to report," he said. "But I find my friend acting crazy."

"What happened to General Hammond?" asked Major Paul Davis rushing into the room at full speed; he was liaison between the SGC and the Office of the joint Chiefs at the Pentagon. "I got a frantic call from an aide, saying General Hammond was attacked."

"That's what I am trying to find out," Jacob said, his mouth tightening in annoyance.

"It's Jack fault," said Daniel, putting the blame where he thought it belonged.

"Yes," said Teal'c. "It is O'Neill fault."

"My fault?" said Jack, his mouth dropping open in shock.

Buffy took one look at his face and broke down laughing. Part of her didn't feel like laughing. Her skin was crawling; it was like live ants under her skin. It was the same feeling she got around vampires and Teal'c, and somewhat with Major Carter, but with them, it was minute. But the other two, Goa'uld she thought.

She looked around the room. One entrance and they were blocking it. She fingered a stake at her waist. She calculated how she could take them down without anyone being hurt.

Davis sighed, "I knew you had to be involved," he said walking fully into the room. At a glance, he took note of the civilians, four men, and four teenagers.

Giles, knowing his Slayer noted the fierce concentration on her face. "What is it?" he whispered, looking around the room. "Where's the threat?"

"Goa'uld," she whispered, scared. She knew how treacherous they could be. They were like vampire, waiting for an opportune moment before they would strike. But it was better if you struck before they could.

"Where?" he demanded, alarmed. He understood by her description that a Goa'uld was bad, and they were not easily recognizable by having a monster face.

"At the door," she said, still whispering.

Giles stood up and Buffy stood with him, he grasped the stake in his own pocket. He didn't travel anywhere without one. Living on the Hellmouth had thought him that.

Buffy rushed towards the door, shouting "Goa'uld," she shouted.

"Where?" Was the sudden outcry. SG1 looked around for the threat. The other group looked around too. Buffy ran straight out, jumping on the huge conference table in the middle of the room. Chairs and people were being shoved left and right. It was chaos.

"BELLA NO!" Jack shouted in alarm noticing her intent. He rushed to grab her barely holding on. She was strong. She swung and hit Jack in the face. "Help me," he yelled, to the room at large.

Teal'c, Adam, Daniel and Mac all rushed to help. In his excitement Daniel, tripped over an overturn chair.

"Goa'uld!" shouted Giles.

"No!" yelled Carter rushing to head him off. "They are Tok'ra," she shouted.

"Tok'ra?" said Giles astonished, stopping in mid lunge.

"Yes," said Carter, breathing a sigh of relief. "Remember Daniel had described the difference between a Tok'ra and Goa'uld. They're both parasitic, using hosts," she said softly."

Jack used his strength, plus the other men's strength to hold unto Buffy who was maddened to kill the Goa'uld. "They are Tok'ra. Good guys!" Jack shouted. It was ironic, because he truly didn't believe that the Tok'ra were good guys. They hid too many things from them, and had too many secrets. Buffy bucked and screamed inarticulate.

"What the hell is going on here!" yelled General Hammond entering the room amidst the chaos. He had heard the yelling and screaming all the way down the long corridor. He pushed several soldiers out of his path, as he entered the room. He closed his eyes in distress, as he remembered Janet's orders. "No more stress." Stress ha, he thought. He should be that lucky eying Colonel's O'Neill guest.

"Buffy!" said Giles yelled, cutting through the rage. "They are the good guys," he said firmly.

Suddenly Buffy deflated, her body caving unto it self. She could feel the hair on her body standing on end. She moaned and Jack and Adam cradled her protectively between them. Jack glance at Adam with two deep lines of worry appearing between his eyes. And in that moment it seemed that they communicated a lifetime of sentences, and Adam nodded. Both were sporting various bruise and cuts.

"What just happened?" asked General Hammond, looking at the petite woman cradled between the two men. Did he just see what he just saw? Was he going crazy as he thought? He didn't just see the Colonel's wife take on several men and win.

There was a long, brittle silence

In the shock silence, Xander said, "Even I knew not to get between an enrage Slayer and her target."

"A Slayer?" whispered Daniel, looking at the teenager.

"Not now Xander!" roared Giles.

"Excuse me?" he said a taken back.

Willow patted his hand in sympathy.

Giles walked over to Buffy peering into her face obscure by her hair. "Are you okay?" he asked, concern and fear written on his face.

"I am fine," Buffy whispered, hoarsely, shaking like a leaf. She was truly frightened. She had lost control. Fighting vampire was easy; you could tell that they were monsters. They were savage; they didn't hide their true self. They wear their monster on their face, but Goa'uld and Tok'ra, how could she tell the difference. Her first instinct was to kill, kill them all.

"Okay," Giles said, watching her warily. He gave a quick nod to Jack, who cradled Buffy tenderly in his arms. Mmm, he murmured to himself. It seemed that fifty years was not a long time after all. They appeared to still care about each other. He wondered why they'd lost sight of each other, if they obviously still cared. He shrugged. It wasn't his business.

"Is everything okay," asked General Hammond, frowning slightly.

"Everything's fine sir," said Jack tightening his arm surreptitiously. "It was all a misunderstanding. I will take Bella to one of the guest rooms," he said, avoiding the General's gaze. As he walked past Jacob and Anise to exit the door, Buffy shuddered slightly. "I'll bring everyone to the V.I.P. rooms, and I will be right back," Jack said without any inflection.

General Hammond peered around the room, and nodded. "Uh Colonel," he called. "Please see to it, their wounds are attended to in the infirmary."

"Yes sir," Jack muttered.

"Can someone tell me what the hell just happened?" General Hammond asked, looking around the room.

"I don't know sir," said Carter shell shocked.

"She seemed strong," Daniel said, wincing in pain.

"Dr Jackson, are you okay?" Hammond asked, noting the pain on the other man face.

"I'm fine sir," he said with a grimace.

"You need to have Doctor Fraser look you over," he said.

"But."

"That's an order Dr Jackson," Hammond snapped.

"Yes sir," said Daniel, snapping to attention.

"That goes for you too," General Hammond said, with a nod to Teal'c.

He inclined his head in compliance.

Jacob turned to General Hammond, eying the others thoughtfully after they left the room. "George what's going on here?" he asked.

"I would like to know also," said Major Davis.

Picking up one the chair, and putting in an upright position, General Hammond sat down with a sigh. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me," Davis said.

"There should be least some secrets around here," General Hammond said, sighing inwardly.

"If anything should affect the President, I need to know," said Davis, frowning.

"If any thing should," the General agreed. "I am a loyal American; I know where my bread is buttered."

"And that girl, woman, whatever," said Major Davis. "It took several people to hold her down. What is going on?" he asked with a speculative glance.

"When I find out, then you'll know," said the General in a dismissive tone.

"Yes sir," said Davis chagrined.

Chapter 10

Control

"George, I didn't know that your plate was this full," said Jacob in a mild, curious voice. "I would have called at another time," eying the other man considerately.

"Yes, well it was unexpected, just like your visit," General Hammond, admitted with a brief smile. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"Time is of the essence," announced Anise, in her rather emotionless voice.

"What?" Hammond demanded baffled.

Jacob and Anise exchanged looks.

"What is it?" he demanded again, studying both of them with a puzzled frown.

"Goa'uld," said Jacob succinctly.

General Hammond stiffened, and took a deep breath. "I need SG'1 to be here," he announced through stiff lips.

In the V.I.P. room, Buffy huddled comfortably into Jack's arm.

"Are you okay?" Adam asked eying her in concern.

She took a deep breath, and gazed around the drab room. It was a basic room painted in cream and beige. The furniture was a sturdy mud color, a small table and two chairs, and full size bed covered by olive colored linen. Her gaze finally touched on her family, who was watching her warily. "I'm okay," she muttered, avoiding their gaze. She took another breath. "I can't believe that I lost control." To her dismay, her voice broke slightly.

"It happens," said Jack, his voice a deep murmur as he gazed down on her.

"Not to me," she said shuddering. "We were born with free will, and it was up to the individual to choose the path they wanted to take. When I was made host to a Goa'uld, my choice was taken away from me. When I got a second chance at life, I reveled in an orgy of pleasure. Some of the choices I made weren't the right choice, but they were my mistakes to make. That is what free will's about." She turned to look at Jack. "One of the reasons I had left all those years ago," Buffy said. She spoke in a weak and tremulous whisper. "Was that you took the decision away from me."

"I didn't mean to," Jack admits. "I was jealous."

"Jealous?" Buffy scoffs, her eyes narrowing. "What did you have to be jealous of?" she demanded, pulling reluctantly away. "I loved you. We had three hundred plus years together, why would you think I would leave you?"

His brows flickered a little. "But you did," Jack pointed out.

Buffy waved a dismissive hand.

Jack's eyes darkened with an unidentified emotion. "At the time, I saw something special between you and Angelus."

"Uh," said Giles, clearing his throat awkwardly. "Maybe you both needed some privacy." Giles could see that they had many things to work out. He could feel the tension between them and although there were things about his Slayer he didn't know, one thing he did know was she was very stubborn.

"Shh," said Methos, with a half grin on his face.

"Yeah, friendship," Buffy retorted.

"It was different," he muttered impatiently. "I can't explain it."

"I'm friends with Methos and you never seem to feel threatened about our friendship." she leaned back into his arms and closed her eyes. She didn't want to see his expression. Part of her knew they had to talk about what went on fifty years ago. However, it still hurt, even just the mention of the circumstances.

"No," Jack said thoughtfully.

"What am I?" demanded Methos, shooting them a withering glance. "Chopped liver."

"Of course not," Jack denied, with a frown.

"When Methos and I became intimate, you didn't seem to be jealous," she said blushing slightly at the Scooby's interest at that little tidbit.

"It's not about jealously with you and Methos," Jack admits, with a frown. He was trying to put what he was feeling into words, so that he and everyone else could understand. Over the years, both during and before their marriage he and Bella had indulged in threesomes and foursomes and sometimes orgies. Methos was always a partner of choice. So, he understood jealously. He sighed. It felt good to have Bella in his arms again, but she was being so pigheaded. He knew it wasn't the right time to discuss what went on all those years ago, but she had brought it up first. "Look," he said exasperated. "There was just something about the way Angelus looked at you," he said, his thought filtering back to fifty years ago. "Like a dying man eating a last meal or like you was his salvation."

"Probably she was," Giles mused thoughtfully.

"What?" Buffy said stiffing. She looked askance at Giles, wandering what he was talking about.

Giles took a handkerchief from his pocket and started polishing his glasses. "I said you were probably his salvation," he said. "From what I have read about Angelus and what I know about him, I know for a fact that it was your love and friendship that shaped him onto the path of redemption."

"So Buffy, your having sex with Angelus was to redeem him," Xander said snidely.

"Xander!" said Willow appalled.

"What?" said Jack.

"Shut it boy!" thundered Giles, he threw his hands up disgusted. When would Xander learn? "For once in your godforsaken life, think before you speak." Giles pinched the bridge of nose and gave a big sigh.

Both Adam and Oz shot Xander a disgusted, appalled look.

Xander turned purple with embarrass resentment and walked to the corner of the room. He couldn't seem to help it; he was always inserting his foot into his mouth.

Buffy head snapped around to look at Jack.

"What's going on?" asked Joe, eying everyone in disbelief. "Did I miss something?" he asked.

"I am sorry," said Giles, taking a deep breath.

Jack frowned. "That's okay," he said. "Bella had already told me about her and Angelus."

Giles eyed Buffy surreptitiously and she gave a tiny shake of her head.

The air was heavy with tension and Willow wanted to change the subject. She was quite angry with Xander. Yes, even she had to admit that she resented the fact that Buffy had lied to them. But she knew that they didn't own Buffy, she was her own person. But Xander didn't see it that way. He was acting like a horse ass. To Xander's way of thinking, Buffy could not have any friends or any relationship without the circle of the Scoobys. Even within that friendship, there seemed to be conditions applied to it. She remembered that frightful time, when Angelus was loose. How they had turned their backs on Buffy, although it didn't seem so at the time. Sure, they had never talked about it, but she was sure that was why Buffy had left. But there they were in their self'righteousness talked about sacrifice and duty as if they knew what they meant.

As she watched and listened to Buffy, she now saw a depth that was always apparent under the guise of the bubbly air'headed teenager, now that she was looking. Because of that, she had to look inside herself, and revaluate the things she had done. They. She wasn't the only one. Xander had done things for Buffy's own good. All her life she had made excuses for Xander's behavior, but he had gone too far this time. She had supported him when he started dating Cordelia, who had, had a love, hate relationship as far back as Kindergarten. She had supported him in so many ways, especially when she knew he was wrong. But that's what friends were for. During the trip, he'd whined and moaned about how it wasn't fair that Buffy had lied to them, and how Buffy had probably slept with both Duncan and Adam. She was so tired of him. She gave him an evil eye to show how angry she was with him. She turned to Buffy and inhaled a deep breath. "Buffy what happened in that room," she asked in a rush.

"I lost control," Buffy said again with a grimace

"Yes, yes," said Willow impatiently. "But why?"

Buffy gave a deep sigh, and pushed her way out of Jack arms.

Jack watched her for a few minutes making sure she was steady on her feet.

"In Sunnydale, I could tell the difference between a vampire and human, because they give out this vibe," Buffy said tiredly. "And the fledglings and minions wear their true face. No one could mistake them for anything else. However, there's not much different between a Tok'ra and any garden'variety Goa'uld. They all feel the same. A Goa'uld is a parasite that lives within a human body and so is a Tok'ra. They look human. If you walked into a room with a Goa'uld and an ordinary human, you could not tell the difference."

"That's what makes them so dangerous," Adam said matter of factly.

"So how do we tell them apart?" asked Duncan, his eyebrows slanted in a frown.

"You don't," said Jack flatly. "No one can truly tell the difference between a Goa'uld and a Tok'ra. Because Methos, Bella and I were blended, we can sense a Goa'uld. In Bella's case, her senses are more heightened because of being the Slayer. But I think it's all about a level of trust. We know Jacob, so we trust him to a point. But Anise is a scientist and she has her own agenda."

"Why the man, and not the woman?" asked Giles.

"Oh," said Jack with a surprised look. "I thought you knew. Jacob is Major Carter's father. On a routine mission through the Stargate, we met the Tok'ra. To show faith we had to produce people willing to be hosts. I was not willing to go through being blended again," he admitted. "Carter's father was dying of cancer and we asked him if he was willing to be a host and he said yes. And because of the natural symbiotic relationship between the hosts and the parasite, Jacob has some say in regard to how the Tok'ra deal with humans. But Anise is different, she's not from Earth, so her priorities are different and so is our trust level."

"So how do you know the difference?" Willow argued.

Jack shrugged. "It's usually the one shooting at me first that's a Goa'uld, that's how I know. Most Goa'uld are power hungry and mad. They treat everyone as peons or slaves. They never have enough of anything; they will kill, lie, cheat and manipulate to get whatever they want. Each of them has tunnel vision. Do they love? I don't know. When I was host, I don't recalling the Goa'uld loving anyone."

"Well that's depressing," said Giles.

"Yes it is," said Joe. "So we can't do anything to them."

"I never said that. They are still vulnerable to human foibles. They can be hurt enough to cause death. As long as the body is dying, the Goa'uld will leave. They can be shot, staked, decapitated, burned, whatever. But like vampires, they are strong, cunning and fast. And unlike vampires they have technology and they also use Jaffas as shields," said Jack.

"Jaffa?" asked Methos. "I had never heard that term before," he said with a puzzled frown.

"I hadn't heard of them until we found their home world," Jack said. "They are genetically altered humans that carried baby Goa'uld inside a pouch almost like a marsupial."

"Wow," said Oz, looking at Jack in amazement, he was imagining kangaroo shaped humans, hopping back and fourth. His mouth quirked in amusement. "Are there really a planet full of these Jaffa's," he asked.

"Yes," said Jack with a nod.

"Isn't that dangerous?" asked Giles, his brow furrowed.

"Why haven't you destroyed this planet," asked Mac.

"One, at a time," Jack announced, putting his hands up in a stop motion. "Unlike vampires and the Goa'uld, who are predators. Only some Jaffa's are dangerous. You don't kill every demon you meet do you? And the most important reason, that we hadn't destroyed the planet is, when it all said and done, they are human. They still have the genetic makeup of humans. Even I frown on the killing of innocence people," Jack admitted sourly.

"What does these Jaffa's look like?" asked Willow curiously. "I know you said that they were human, but aren't they are still aliens?" she questioned. Like Oz, she was imagining what they looked like. In her head, they looked like the Roswell grays or E.T.

"You met one earlier," said Buffy tartly.

"What?" said Willow, her eyes rounded in surprise. "Where?" she asked, thinking back on the people she had met during the time she had entered the SGC.

"Murray," said Jack, smiling faintly.

"Murray?" said Willow squeaked, thinking about the quietly man she had met before. "The big guy?"

"Yep," said Jack. "Snake carrying, lovable big guy."

"No wonder," said Methos in startled amazement. "At first, I thought I was going crazy. I was feeling his Goa'uld larvae. Just like, I felt around the lovely Major Carter. Because as she has explained, she was blended with a Tok'ra, which is similar to a Goa'uld."

"Yes, Murray is a Jaffa. His real name is Teal'c. Several years, ago when Daniel opened the Stargate, the first planet the SGC gated to was the planet Abydos where Daniel met his wife Sha'ure. After a short moment of time, Danny decided to stay on Abydos with his wife. However, a year later the Stargate was opened by Apophis another Goa'uld who had kidnapped a female staff sergeant. That's when the SGC founded there were several planets out there. At first, there was a concern about RA reappearance, but it was determined that it was false. When we gated back to Abydos, where Daniel wife and brother in law was also kidnapped. We found the right address and ended up on another planet, this time Chulak, the home world of the Jaffa's. That is where we met Teal'c who was the first prime of Apophis. Being first prime is a big deal for a Jaffa. So to give that up is another big deal. And that's what he did." And Jack went on to tell the story of how they met Teal'c and how he came to work for the SGC.

"Shol'va," said Adam.

"Yes the Goa'uld considered him so," said Jack.

"What's a shol'va," asked Giles, testing the unfamiliar word on his tongue.

"A traitor," said Buffy absentmindedly. She didn't notice the surprise looks she received from both Giles and the Scooby gang. Her thoughts were on what Jack had told them. It's not so much about Murray, Teal'c, but about the Chappa'ai. No, she thought the Stargate. She had to get used to calling it that. She didn't have to fear it, as much as she used. She smiled to her self. Buffy imagined that if Giles or Willow knew that she was afraid of something as simple as a object made of metal and stone, they would lose all respect. She wasn't afraid of it as an object but of what it represented, the pain and degradation of being not herself. On the other hand, maybe she was viewing it through a child eyes. Years had passed, and if Jack who experience the same thing she had gone through, physically able to go the gate, so too she can accept the Stargate is operational again.

"Buffy what are your plans now, that you've seen for yourself that they are using the Stargate for good?" Giles asked mildly. But before she could answer, he said. "Remember, we need you on the Hellmouth."

"No you don't," she said, scowled. The momentary joy she was feeling dissipates.

"Of course we do," Willow piped up, a sudden stab of anxiety swelling up in her stomach. "You belong with us."

"No I don't," Buffy said forcibly, a shadow of annoyance crossing her face. "I am not a thing, I belong to my self."

"I'I didn't mean ," Willow stammered, blushing a bright a bright red.

"Buffy!" Giles admonished.

Buffy sighed. "I know what Willow meant. Although I retained my Slayer powers, Faith is the true Slayer. I haven't been the Slayer since my first death. You guys don't need another Slayer; it's my time to leave. Sunnydale is her turf now. She's a nice girl and she will need your support, just as you supported me."

"But where would you go," Willow asked, her voice thick and unsteady and her green eyes shone with the bright shine of tears.

Buffy shrugged. "I guess I could travel," she admitted glumly. "Visit friends that I haven't seen in years. Suddenly she felt depressed. She had no reason to stay. The high dungeon she had stormed Colorado with had deflated. Yes, the Chappa'ai was open, but Jack and the SGC were managing it, so far. She had her own contacts and she could find out more about the Stargate, especially in light of any danger. But right now, she felt useless. Sunnydale is no longer hers, but Faith's. She and Angel are no longer in a sexual relationship, although you couldn't call sleeping with a man once a relationship.

They would always'remained friends, but that chapter of her life was over and she saw how he looked at Faith when he thought she wasn't looking. If she left, they wouldn't feel as guilty hooking up. Plus, not being around, Faith would have the chance to grow into the young lady she needed to be. If someone deserved a chance, it was Faith. She sighed again. She didn't want to leave Joycie, or Giles and Willow. Or even Oz. Right now, she wasn't so sure of Xander and Cordelia. One thing she had regret about was, that Joyce never had any children, although something tells her Hank wouldn't be the best of fathers. However, Joyce would be a great mother. Maybe she should put Faith and Joyce together. Faith needed the discipline and support of a regular home life, and Joyce needed a child to mother. Yes, Buffy thought brightening up to the idea. When she got a chance, she would call Joyce.

While Sunnydale was no longer her home, she thought Colorado could be it. But she didn't want to step on anyone toes by suggesting it and she was waiting on Jack to make an offer. Even though she hadn't seen him for fifty years, the chemistry was still there. He still got her hot. If he didn't say anything, should she make the first move? Seeing him again reminded her of how much she had missed him. His touch, his smell, his face. Everything about him. She knew pride was the cause of the fifty'year separation, but did she have the courage to say I want to stay. She opened her mouth.

"Bella, if you don't have to be in Sunnydale, I would love for you to stay in Colorado," Jack said without the hint of nervous he was feeling.

Thank you Lord, Buffy thought, as she turned and looked at him. "Really," she said equally as nonchalantly, as if her heart wasn't beating a mile a minute.

"Yes really," he said with a twisted smile. "I have an empty house; I don't mind a roommate, so what you think?"

However, before Buffy could answer him, a knock sounded at the door and a solider pushes the door open. "Pardon me Colonel, but General Hammond would like to see you right away in the briefing room."

Jack hesitated at the door waiting for her answer.

Buffy smiled tenderly. "Okay," she said. "Colorado seems so nice, I don't mind seeing more of the city," she said. "Especially since you have an empty house and all."

Jack's face split into a wide grin as he walked to the door. He turned back to her and asked. "Are you going to be okay?"

Buffy blinked. "Yeah I'll be fine," she admitted, her heart swelling in anticipation. "Go do your job," she said, motioning him through the door.

"I will be back," he said following the Sergeant to the door.

She gave him a mock salute.

Chapter 11

Egyptian Goddess

Forty minutes later, SG'1 sat around the conference table with General Hammond, Jacob, Anise and Major Davis.

"What's going on Jacob," asked Jack, his eyebrows rising inquiringly.

"A Goa'uld," Jacob said.

"Another one?" Jack said, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Yeah. We can barely keep track," Jacob admitted with a wry smile. "This new Goa'uld has quietly rising up in ranks to be a System Lord. It has been so quiet that we barely took notice."

"Is he a threat?" asked Carter, her brow furrowed with concern.

"‘It's not a he," Jacob said. "This Goa'uld is female."

"Female?" Daniel asked his voice squeaking in surprise. He shouldn't be, few female Goa'uld rose so high as to become System Lord. To be a System Lord, you have tenacious, willing to do anything to keep your piece of space.

"Not another Hathor," Jack groaned, covering his face with his hands.

"Well," Jacob said thoughtfully. "We don't know as much about her as we do the other ones. However, the one thing we do know about her, is her name. She calls her self Ammut."

"Ammut," mused Daniel. "I've heard that name before."

"How?" demanded Jack, shaking his head.

"I did some research on potential Goa'uld that may or may not risen up to be come a System Lord."

"Oh for crying out loud," said Jack, throwing his hand up in exasperation. "Don't we give you enough work to do?" he asked. Only Danny, he thought would use his spare time to research Goa'uld. He needed to get a life. Since Sha'ure was truly gone, Daniel had lost that fire that fueled him to hunt for worlds that could be allies against the Goa'uld. He no longer went to his apartment. Jack knew he had to talk to him, because Daniel couldn't continue to bury himself into work, as he does. It wasn't not healthy.

"I did it in my spare time," Daniel admitted.

"What spare time?" Jack scoffed decisively

"That's enough Colonel!" said General Hammond. "Good job, Doctor Jackson."

"Spare time," Jack muttered to himself. "With going from planet to planet, and getting injured, the space monkey has spare time."

"Thank you General," said Daniel, eying Jack askance. "General with your permission I would like to get the information that I have."

"Ten minutes, Dr. Jackson," he said, assessing the group. Everyone was eager to hear what Jacob had to say about this Goa'uld.

He disappears quickly and his footsteps were heard thundering down the hall. After eight minutes and counting, Daniel rushed back into the room; he stopped abruptly at the threshold and inhaled a deep breath. "This is the information I gathered," he said holding up a fat manila folder. "After the incident with Setesh, Seth, I decide to an extensive search on both Egyptian and Greek Gods that the Goa'uld might portray," he said walking towards a computer in the corner of the room.

"In Egyptian mythology," he continued. "Ammut, who was sometimes called Ammit or Ahemait was a creature, which dwelled in the Hall of Ma'at awaiting judgment of the deceased that passed through there. When souls were found unworthy to dwell in the afterlife they were devoured by her. This process of judgment involved the weighing of the deceased person's heart against the feather of Ma'at. If the heart was the seat of the soul, according to ancient Egyptians it was found to be heavy with sin and impurities and it did not balance with the feather. Ammut would devour them. After typing a few keys on the computer, he said. "The drawing here is how she is depicted," said Daniel, while turning the monitor of the computer so that the group could see.

The picture on the monitor depicted a woman wearing a headdress with the head of a crocodile, the forequarters of a lion, and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus.

"So what does this Goa'uld against us?" asked Jack, his voice heavy with sarcasm. "Did we steal her puppy?"

Daniel smothered a snort.

"Colonel!" admonished General Hammond.

"I am sorry sir," Jack said in a grudging voice. "But you have to admit the Goa'uld aren't above using Earth as their stomping grounds."

"This isn't another Seth, is it?" asked the General.

"It is interesting that you asked about Setesh," Jacob admitted. "Because like Seth, this one is also on Earth."

There was fraught silence

"Earth!" exclaimed General Hammond. "How did a Goa'uld end up on Earth?" he demanded. "Why are we just now finding about it?"

"Yeah, that's what I wanna know" Jack said seething.

Jacob shrugged. "We lost another one," he said with a frown. "Look," he said with a placatory gesture. "I understand your concern, because I have the same concern. I just found out about it my self," he admitted with a bitter under tone. "During Selmac inventory of the Goa'uld System Lords this one never came up as a threat."

"It's a threat now," said Sam quietly.

"This is a problem," said Major Paul Davis.

"Duh!" said Jack incredulously eying them in disbelief.

Anise stood, looking arrogantly cold in a light blue unitard that clung to her curves enticingly. "Tok'ra intelligence has informed us that a Goa'uld is on Earth looking for something called the Crystal of Immortality."

"What!" said Jack, his voice rising in alarm.

"The Crystal of Immortality," she repeated, looking at him askance. All the color seemed to bleach from his face. "Ammut has found three pieces of this crystal and she's looking for more."

"The Crystal of Immortality," mused Daniel. "I've never heard of it. What does it do?"

"Power," said Anise. "It supplies power."

"Power Ha!" said Jacob. "What Goa'uld doesn't want power?"

"Where is this crystal now?" asked Sam curiously.

"We don't really know," Anise admitted shamefaced. "But of what we do know, it is on Earth."

"Earth? Why of all the planets are people are using this one as their playing ground," said the General with an incredulous expression on his face.

"This is something the President should know about," Major Davis said, getting out of his chair.

"Definitely," said General Hammond nodding his head decisively.

"Excuse me sir?" said Davis, walking to the secure red phone in the corner.

"How can we find this Ammut?" asked the General. "Since we don't know where on Earth she is right now, how do we stop her? Do we have any ideas how to find one Goa'uld in the midst of million of people," he asked. "Speak up," he barked. "Don't be shy. Major Carter?"

"Nothing yet sir," she admit, writing on a memo pad in front of her.

Daniel raised his hand. "I have an idea," he said.

"Yes Dr. Jackson," said General Hammond raising his brows in subtle imitation of Teal'c. "What is it?"

"Sir?" Jack called, moistening his suddenly dry lips.

"What idea is that?" said General Hammond to Daniel

"Sir!" said Jack.

"We can Google her, just like we did Seth."

"Do you think it would work?"

"Sir!" said Jack said frantically.

"Yes, remember we are still dealing a Goa'uld here. They love to be worshiped. Where they are, chaos is sure to follow."

"General Hammond!" said Teal'c. "O'Neill is trying to gather your attention," he said.

The General looked at Teal'c abashed. "Yes Colonel, what is it?" he asked impatience in his voice and face.

"I have an idea as to how we can find the Crystal of Immortality."

"Yes, yes," he said impatiently. "We can google it," he said with a dismissive way.

"Yes sir," said Jack annoyed. "That could work, but I was thinking of something much simpler."

"Well what," he snapped angrily. He was angry, first at O'Neill but mostly at this new situation.

"My wife and her friends, sir," Jack said quietly.

Wife? mouthed Jacob. "When did Jack marry?" he asked aside to Samantha.

"Later," she whispered.

"What kind of help can they give?"

"The immortal kind," he said quietly.

"Ahh," he said, slumping back in his chair in defeat. Please ask one the guards to get our guests, he said, as the wind knock out of his sail. I shouldn't have gotten up this morning, he thought.

Jack walked to the door, and whispered a few instructions to one of the guard at the door. Now all they could do was to wait.

Major Davis walked back to his empty chair. "I just talked to the President, he said that any resource you needed will be at your disposal."

"Good," said the General.

"What did I miss?" said Major Davis, noting the tension between the General and Jack.

Hammond opened his mouth to answer, but he stopped after seeing O'Neill guests entering the room.

"The guard said you wanted to see, me," Buffy said, walking boldly into the room. She stared intently at both Anise and Jacob but gave them a wide berth.

"Ah Ms. Summers," said General Hammond frowning slightly. "Please come in."

"Uh," said Buffy, hesitating slightly at the door. The last time she had seen the General, he had freaked. "My friends wanted to come in too," she said with an angelic smile.

The General sighed. "Yes, they can come in."

"We are sorry we broke you," she said smiling an impish smile.

"You'you, didn't," he blustered; aware he was turning a dull red.

Her smiled widened and she turned and pushed her head out the door. "You can come in," she yelled.

"Bella!" Jack admonished with a grin.

"We are not deaf Buffy," said Xander, shaking his head. "I think I lost all hearing in my left ear," he muttered.

"George," said Jacob," his eyes alight with mischief. "Are you going to introduce us to this lovely young lady?"

"I think Colonel O'Neill should have the privilege," Hammond said with a smirk.

"Why me?" Jack whined. "Bella, please sit beside me," he said patting the empty chair to his left. "Every one else, find an empty chair."

Buffy walked over to Jack and sat in his lap.

"There is an empty chair right here," he said, looking at her incredulously.

‘Yeah," said Buffy whispering. "But I love the feel of this seat much better." She then wriggled enticingly, and Jack could feel himself hardening. He gave an anxious cough and looked straight ahead. "Jacob, Anise, Major," he said abruptly. "This is my wife Isabella O'Neill."

"Buffy Summers," she interjected.

"Buffy Summers!" exclaimed Paul Davis, eying the girl in disbelief.

Taken a back, Buffy said a little bit warily. "Yes."

"The President talks about you all the time," said Davis almost giddily.

"Oh yeah," she said beaming. "How's Harry?"

"Harry?" questioned Hammond. "You know the President of the United States," he asked, blinking in surprise. He frowned. Wondering why he should be surprise. Since he had woken up that morning, nothing had made sense. He seemed as if he had entered the twilight zone.

"Sure," Buffy said shrugging. "Harry and I go way back."

"I always thought you of a myth," said Paul reminiscing. "But he always describes you as a golden warrior. I thought you would be bigger."

"Ahem," said Jack interrupting. "Now you are done for."

"Tiny?" she said in disbelief. "I am not tiny," huff Buffy. "I am the right size," she announced thru clench teeth.

Jack rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Yes you are, mi guerrero del petite," he murmured.

"Is that Spanish?" ask Daniel incredulously. "You know Spanish? He always asked me to translate text and the menu at Mexican restaurants," Daniel announced to the room at large.

"Of course, I know Spanish Danny," he said. "I couldn't live this long without knowing another language."

Daniel just sputtered.

"Wife!" Jacob exclaimed, ignoring the banter around him. "She's young enough to be your daughter," he said looking at the young woman sitting in Jack's lap.

Anise ignored the goings on in the office. She always believed that the Tau're were weird. And this confirmed it. Look how the common looking blonde just sat on O'Neill's lap. She needed to concentrate on the task at hand. But Selmac and Jacob said the Tau're deserved to know that a Goa'uld was in their backyard so to speak. Now Jacob was going on about how young O'Neill wife was. She didn't look that young to her, but what did she know. She shrugged. They should be looking for Ammut, not wasting time. Wait! The girl on O'Neill looked familiar. "Sekhmet?" she thought. It cannot be. She peered intently at Buffy.

"What's your damage?" Buffy asked, looking at Anise askance.

"Sekhmet!" she gasped, and in the first time ever, Anise fainted.

"Sekhmet?" said Jacob, looking at Buffy doubtfully. He had of course heard of Sekhmet. But from what he had heard, she was dead.

"What happened?" Daniel asked looking bewildered at the prone woman.

"Medic!" Carter yelled, rushing towards the door.

"What's happening now?" General Hammond moaned, banging his head repeatedly on the table.

"Sir?" cautioned Carter, eyeing him in disbelief. "You ‘d better stop doing that," she said. "You don't want to end up back in infirmary."

"Yes General," said Doctor Fraser cautiously entering the room. She hesitated slightly as she felt the buzz of immortals in the room. She eyed the occupants, noting the strangers. "I might have to give you a stress test or a stress monitor," she said. After taking a swift glance, she bent over the prone woman. "What happened?" she demand.

There was a clamor of voices.

"One at a time," she shouted, as her hands moved confidently over Anise. "Colonel?"

"I really don't know. She said, or rather she screamed Sekhmet, then she dropped," Jack said, with a wry grin at Buffy.

"Sekhmet? What's that," asked Janet as she tended to the girl. "Some sort of Goa'uld name?"

"Egyptian actually," said Daniel, polishing his glasses.

"And it was my name, a long time ago," Buffy admitted, as she carefully watched Janet attend Anise.

For the first time since entering the room, Janet looked at Buffy. She had noticed the two young women in the room. Both were young, but the young woman in front of her was given off an immortal vibe, so she was definitely Jack's wife. I wonder how old she was when she first died?

"Is she going to be okay?" Buffy asked. She felt like she just entering the twilight zone, or had fallen down a rabbit hole, like Alice. It would have surprised Buffy to know that she and the General were thinking along the same lines. She didn't have a problem with him. But he was military and an authority figure. She roamed the room aimlessly, ignoring the people on the floor. Jack gave her a small wink, and her lips curled up briefly. Even after these years, Jack knew her. He was probably thinking she was wigging out about hearing the name Sekhmet. If she had heard it two days ago maybe, but coming on this trip had made her realize that having that thing be apart of her, made her the person she was today. Sure she wigged when she found herself with the Tok'ra, but that was after being confronted with an enemy she didn't expect to see after all these years.

Buffy remembered how it felt all those years ago, when she had woken up immortal. That was freaky in itself. But after living on the Hellmouth for so long, she hadn't missed being in the Immortal game, now in the last forty'eight hours, not only had she fought one immortal, but she was surrounded by them. And the Slayer part of her was feeling wigged out being in the same room with the Tok'ra. She had to learn how to deal with them, like how she had dealt with Angel being a vampire. She had to put the un'natural feelings they give off into the background. At first she couldn't control it, but now it was like a good itch, not an irritating one.

"She will be fine," said Janet, breaking a small vial under Anise's nose. "It looked like she fainted."

"Whoo," cried Anise, opening her eyes. "What happened?" she asked embarrassed, looking around at the curious eyes.

"You fainted," Janet said succinctly.

"What," Anise said. "It cannot be. My symbiote would correct any in balance."

"Shock would do that to you," Jack said.

She shook her head in disbelief, unwilling to admit she had fainted.

Jacob wandered over to Anise, and picked her up as his eyes flashed gold.

"Whoa!" said Xander, backing up in a corner. "That guy eyes are glowing," he yelped.

"That's how, we can tell the difference between the hosts and the symbiote," said Daniel. "That and the deep voice."

"This cannot be," said Selmac. "Sekhmet died during the rebellion of Ra first occupation on Earth. We all know this," he said. "Sekhmet was powerful, some say she was most destructive than Ra. At the time we believed Ra had feared her. She couldn't be alive"

Everyone turned to looked at Buffy. She shrugged. She was'nt the first host of Sekhmet, but she was the last. As a Goa'uld, she had to do terrible things. One cannot immagine, unless they had gone thru the same things, how it felt to know it was your hand doing all manner of atrocities. But her life as a Goa'uld was in the past, and she couldn't be made to feel guilty about some thing she had no control of. Now the other things she had done, not as Sekhmet but as her self. Thinking about it brought out the guilties.

"Yes," said Buffy. "I was once called Sekhmet, but she died during that rebellion."

"How can that be?" said Jacob looking at the young woman in front of him. "Ra's life on Earth was many years ago. How could it be that Sekhmet is alive?"

General Hammond sighed. I'm getting a headache, he thought.

"She's not," Buffy said softly. "I am."

Jack groaned. "I just knew that I shouldn't have woken up this morning." Buffy elbowed him in his stomach. "I wasn't thinking of you, Bella," he said, rubbing the hurt away.

"You'd better not have," she muttered.

"I had a thought that everything I said would stay between SG'1," Jack said with a sigh. "I guess I was being naïve or optimistic. Look," Jack said rubbing his hand across his face. I need a shave, he thought, caressing the minute beard on his chin. "What you are going hear is a secret and we don't want to bandy it around."

Everyone walked back to this or her vacated chair.

"I'm immortal," Jack said baldy

Jacob shook his head in disbelief. "What! I thought I heard you say you are immortal."

Jack nodded.

Jacob eyes widen and his breath hitched. "I have to sit down for this," he said.

Across the room, Paul Davis dropped heavily into a chair with a thump. "What? What?" he said, looking at uncertainly at Jack.

"You are having me on," said Jacob, with a laugh. "Ha, Aha. You got me," he said looking around the room. No one seemed to be laughing. "You're all in this together," he accused, his eyes brimming with tearful laughter.

"Its no joke Dad," said Carter wryly, her eyes darkened with some unidentifiable emotion. "We were told earlier before you got here," she admits.

"No wonder you seemed to have a nervous breakdown George," Jacob said with a frown. "I think I am having on now."

"Dad?" said Sam reaching for father with a concerned air.

"I'm fine," he said, waving her away with an impatient gesture. "Let me get this right," he said to Jack. "You said you are immortal, and you are married to a woman who was once the Goa'uld Sekhmet."

"Yes," said Jack. "You see, that was the reason we were able to survive the Goa'uld. Isabella and I were taken as host during Ra occupation. Because of our immortality, which we didn't know of at the time, we were able to survive during the rebellion. When our bodies were badly wounded, the Goa'uld left thinking we were dead."

"Only SG'1," said Paul Davis, listening in disbelief. "Immortal," he muttered. He thought he had heard it all.

"Yes," the General, agreeing with the man.

"So you cannot die," said Jacob, astonished. He was watching both Jack and Buffy like a test subject in a science lab. "Fascinating," he said with a shake of his head. He had never thought several years ago, when he was dying of cancer that, he would a chance to live. Now after the blending with Selmac, he thought he had seen and heard it all. But those were minor blips, compared to what he had just heard. As the Major said, only SG1.

"Well yes," said Jack, not willing to go into the specifics. Something must remain a secret.

"My God," he breathed, reeling with astonishment. "How old are you?"

"Definitely older than you," Jack said with a smirk.

That old ah," he said suddenly feeling tired. He cocked his head to one side, listening to an internal voice, only he could hear. His eyes flashed gold and Selmac began to talk. "During my travels I had of course heard of long lived humans, and the Tok'ra had been actively seeking to interview such persons. But we never had the chance," she said.

Buffy eyed Jacob cautiously. "What would you have done," she asked. "If you had met an immortal before," she asked with an inward shudder.

"We would ascertain, if they would be willing to become hosts," Selamc said. "All of hosts are long lived due to the fact of our symbiotic relationship. It would be wonderful if our host would not die."

"Is that it?" Buffy asked derisively. "What about the immortals themselves. Suppose they didn't want a snake head burrowing through their body?"

‘Ms. Summers," warned General Hammond.

Jacob eyes snapped a bright and anger gold. "We don't care to be called snake heads."

"I call, how I see it," Buffy snapped. "I see it's about using people. Do you care that, not some people like the idea of some thing inside their body taking over, using them to walk and talk?"

"Ms. Summers we are not the Goa'uld," said Selmac aggrieved. "We listen to our hosts and we do grieve when our hosts died."

"Whoopee," Buffy said sarcastically.

"That's enough!" said General Hammond. "The Tok'ra are our allies and guest here."

"Well so I am," Buffy said.

"You are an interloper," said General Hammond, his brow pulled into an affronted frown. "An unwelcome one as that."

"Well," said Buffy, stunned by his cool dismissal.

"General Hammond!" said Daniel, his tone was coolly disapproving.

"General, I don't know you," said Methos, a silken thread of warning in his voice. "But you better retract what you just said."

Hammond looked around the room, seeing hurt and disappointment on some faces, while others avoided his gaze. "I am sorry," he said, his tone apologetic. "As a General in the Air Force I used to be diplomatic, but in the last few hours diplomacy seemed to dessert me and left me floundering out of my depths," he said placating. "What I said to you Ms Summers cannot be unspoken, no matter how I wish other wise, but I can apologize."

"Well then, you don't have to deal with me any longer," Buffy said without inflection. "It's not like I don't like your prison"

"It's not a prison," Hammond denied gruffly.

" but, we would like to see daylight or breathe real air. We will sign any form you would like, and I just like it to go both ways. Whatever we tell you must remain between us, in this room. No one else. It would make me angry if someone leaked our secrets," Buffy blurted, scarcely aware of her own voice. "You wouldn't want to see me when I'm angry."

"Did you just threaten us?" asked Sam shocked. "Did she just threaten us?" she asked the room at large.

"Bella!" Jack muttered, closing his eyes as if in pain. "Why me?" he wondered aloud.

General Hammond smiled a wry smile. Jack O'Neill is finally getting what he deserves.

Buffy shrugged negligently. "If you want to take it as a threat, then it's a threat," she said, her face hardening. "If you mess with me and mine you will be hurt, and that's a fact."

"It is a threat," Sam exclaimed, jumping up in a protective mode. "You cannot go around threatening United States officers," she said, the light of battle lit her eyes a bright blue.

"I can't?" Buffy questioned. Her tone had become chilly.

"Stand down," snapped Hammond, feeling his knees began to quake. He didn't know what was going on but whatever it was, he didn't like it.

"Yes," Carter said fiercely, ignoring the General. "Who do you think you are?" she demanded.

"I am nobody, "Buffy said coldly, her nostril flaring. "But don't comply with my wishes, then you will see somebody you don't wish to meet."

Adam rolled his eyes and hid a grin. Same old Bella, he thought.

"Major Carter, stand down!" Hammond yelled.

Carter face grew hard and resentful.

"Stand down, I say," said Hammond, bolting out of his chair and slamming his fist on the table. "Now Major Carter!

"Yes Sir," Carter said grudgingly, eying Buffy with a flat and expressionless stare.

"Bella," Jack said quietly. "That's enough."

Buffy looked at him with eyes cold as a desert wind.

"Bella?" Adam called. "Sit," he said motioning her to an empty chair.

She hesitated, but with a jerky nod walk towards the chair.

Everyone gaped in stunned silence, at what just taken place. The Scoobies and Giles wondered if they really knew Buffy Summers. By what they just witnessed, their guess would be apparently not. But to the S.G.C, what they had just witnessed of Major Carter was out of character for her. In battles and in life she always had the cooler head. Jack was the one who would go off half'cocked, but not Major Samantha Carter. If Daniel wasn't there to negotiate in any inter'planetary treaty, they would send Sam. But what they saw was not a diplomat, but a jealous girlfriend.

Hammond sighed. The eyes that rest on Carter were gentle with understanding. He knew nothing overt or sexual in nature had ever happening between Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill. And he also knew about the unspoken bond between them, so he understood, what the Major would be feeling having learned of another life from what they had known about him. Right now, he was feeling anger, resentment, even a little bit of suspicion about what he still didn't know about Colonel Jonathan O'Neill. And he could bet the others were feeling the same way too, doubly so, because they worked with him. But in his eyes Major Carter was attributing an emotion he didn't think the others were. And that was jealousy.

"I understand, your point of view," said General Hammond responding to Buffy's question "We don't want to tell the world that immortals exist. That would defeat the purpose of a secret, but you have to understand that we do have to tell at least a couple people, if not about you and the immortals, but about the information that Jacob and Anise just brought us."

"Yeah," said Paul Davis, stirring uneasily in his chair. He didn't know what had just went on, and didn't want to know. If he stayed ignorant, he could deny it every happened. Plausible deniability. "The President needs to know."

"No, he already knows about Immortals," Buffy admitted, her voice with inflection.

"He does?" said Hammond. There was a slight tinge of surprise in his voice.

"Yeah," said Buffy matter of factly. "When I said I knew Harry, I knew him. I met him when he was fourteen years old. I saved him, from some unsavory gang (insert vampire here). But throughout the years, I kept an eye on him. He was very idealistic as a child, and he wanted to make a difference. He wanted to run for office. I had of course tried to dissuade him, because I knew that most politicians become corrupt and power hungry and I didn't want to se that young man I know turn into this evil thing. Then he set out to prove me wrong. He kept my secret all these years, while I got to keep few of his."

"I forgot about that," said Adam softly, eying her with tenderness. "I thought after Christiana, you wouldn't take care of another child."

"Who's Christiana?" Willow asked softly, eying Buffy suddenly pale face.

"Our daughter," Jack said abruptly.

Chapter 12

Immortality

"Who's Christiana?" Willow had asked, and after a few minutes, Jack had to answer, "Our daughter."

"What happen to her?" asked Daniel eagerly. "Where is she? Is she immortal like you?"

"She's dead," Buffy said matter'of'factly.

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Daniel looking abashed. He took a soft cloth out of his pocket to wipe his glasses.

"That's okay Danny, you didn't know," said Jack. He sounded tired. "After living for so many years, people always ache for what they don't have. We can live for thousands of years, travel the world over, see wondrous sights, but there's one thing we couldn't have and that was children," Jack said bleakly.

"I'm sorry O'Neill," said Teal'c. Even though his son Ry'ac was not living with him and the Tau'ri, he missed him every day. He at least knows that his son is alive, becoming a man; a person to be proud of.

"Thanks T," Jack said. "That is one of the downsides of being an immortal. After Christiana died."

"What did she die of?" asked Janet in sympathy. She knew what it's like to want a child, and then watch them grow and die.

"Scarlet fever," Jack said bitterly. All this time, the memories of his little girl's death still haunt him. "At the time, we didn't know what it was. So we had to watch our little girl wither away. She was only six years old."

"It was the last straw," Buffy said, in a low tormented voice. "Immortality grew to be, not a blessing, but a curse."

"But–but imagine the things you seen," said Daniel bewildered.

"Yeah imagine," Buffy retorted. "Imagine watching your loved ones die one by one by simple cuts because they didn't know how to treat it. Imagine out living your children until they are all but a memory. I got tired of watching my children die, so I didn't want to anymore. Where my heart was concerned, children had no place in it. I couldn't love them anymore. I just couldn't. Jack and I would have raging fights about children. He wanted them, but I didn't. Then I met Joyce."

"I wondered how she ended up being your mother," said Giles, his eyes were gentle and contemplative.

"Your mother?" asked Jacob, fascinated by the intricate life Jack and the young lady had. Accessing Selmac's memory, he now knows how idyllic immortals would be as hosts.

"Immortals are foundlings. At least, the people who took care of us never claimed to be our parents. We grew up as nomads, so when we found a chance at happiness we took it. When Jack and I had broken up, I found myself floundering," she said with a self'deprecating laugh. "I had decided to travel with a friend and we ended up in California. Still nothing was quite the same, so I ended up picking a fight with my friend and l walked out."

Buffy smiled and her eyes lit up in remembrance. "It was the late fifties. Angel and I were fighting. I knew I had to absolutely get away from him, because…" Buffy paused. "That's another story. Anyway, I was in a park in downtown Los Angeles when I heard a child crying. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn't. I had to stop the crying. I went looking and found the cutest little girl imaginable. She was just four or five years old, and she seemed to be alone. This was a huge park, and it's been awhile since I was around a child her age, but one thing I do know was that no child her age should be alone. I asked her if she was lost. She looked at me out of huge green eyes, glistening with tears. Can you guess what she said to me?"

"What?" said Jack with a smile. He had never heard this story before, but the way Buffy's face lit up, it was worth it. He never did like it when she was sad. If it were up to him, he would make her happy all the time.

She said to me, and I quote. ‘No I am not lost, I run away.'" Buffy said laughing. "Mind you, she said it so seriously, all the time still crying, that I couldn't help but to laugh. After talking to her about her tale of woes, I found out that her mother had given birth to a baby boy two days prior and because they had been paying more attention to the baby and not to her, she believed they didn't need her. After calming Joy down with some ice cream, I asked her for her address and then took her home. Her parents were suitably grateful and we became instant friends. It was a great friendship that lasted ten wonderful years."

"Why ten?" asked Willow, fascinated to hear about another side of Buffy and Joyce Summers.

"Her parents and younger brother died in a car crash when Joyce was fifteen. Drunk driver. They left me guardianship of Joy. During the ten years, that I had known the Barnes', I had of course confided my secret to them. Having to take care of a fifteen'year'old girl was interesting to say the least, but we coped. While Joyce grew older physically, I remained the same, so outside the home we'd do a role reversal. At one point, we were sisters, then Mother and daughter. It was awkward at first. But we had to deal, so we did."

"I am sorry about your loss, Ms. Summers," said General Hammond. His tone had a degree of warmth in it. "From what I just heard, being immortal is not what it is cracked up to be."

"It has its moments," said Jack admitted softly.

"But why I brought you and your friends to this room was because we have some information that Colonel O'Neill said you could help us with" Hammond said gruffly, clearing his throat.

Buffy looked at Jack startled.

"The Crystal of Immortality," he said succinctly.

"What!" Buffy said her voice rising in surprise.

"You have heard of it?" said Hammond, his voice held a rasp of excitement.

"Yes," she whispered in a dull and troubled voice.

"What is it?" asked Giles, watching the play of emotions on his Slayer's face. Buffy was not one to show her emotions readily. As the slayer, she had a poker face. She had to, especially in combat where she had to anticipate her opponent's moves.

"What does it do?" asked Daniel. As an archeologist, his purpose was to analyze and find out how an object worked.

"It is said when all the pieces are gathered together, the Crystal would double the power of an Immortal, making him the most skillful and dangerous Immortal in existence," said Adam in a trouble voice. "Where have you heard of the crystal?" he asked.

"From me," said Jacob.

"You," said Adam eying the other man in disbelief. "How would a Tok'ra know about the crystal? Only an immortal would know about it."

"Jacob and Selmac heard it from me," said Anise, for the first time entering the conversation. It was fascinating learning more about O'Neill but time was wasting away. They had to get back on track.

Adam eyed the woman thoughtfully. She was beautiful on the outside, but she gave off as much warmth as a Popsicle. Brr.

"During a routine mission to the moon on Project Four while I was doing reconnaissance, I heard someone mention the crystal. At first, it had no significance. Then I heard about it again a few days later."

"Mmm," Adam murmured thoughtfully. "What do you know about the crystal?"

"Nothing really," said Anise, shaking her head with frown. "But I know it is a highly prized possession."

"Pardon me, General," said Giles. "Why are we here? I know it's not my business, but I was wondering what we have to do with this crystal you were talking about?" he asked with a frown.

"Nothing," Hammond said with a sigh. "Nothing, Mr. Giles. From what I understood, it has to do more with your colleagues here," he said with an emphatic gesture, putting Buffy and Adam in his line of sight. He rubbed his forehead and sighed. "Don't get me wrong," he said. "I don't want to insult anyone, but when I woke up this morning, I didn't expect all this. It was so routine," he moaned. "Look, on any other normal day, what I have to say would be considered national security. In fact, it is national security. But I need everyone to know what's going on. Therefore, I'm going to come out and say it. The Crystal that everyone seems gung ho about is on Earth and apparently so is Ammut."

"Ammut?" asked Buffy with a puzzled frown.

"A Goa'uld," said Jack.

"What!" Buffy shouted, her mouth dropping open in an unattractive manner.

"That was my first reaction too," Jack muttered.

"I thought the reason for the Stargate in such a secure location was to prevent Goa'ulds from entering Earth?" Buffy questioned, her mind racing. What does this mean? she wondered.

"It is," Hammond admitted. "Major Carter will run a diagnostic on the gate and all systems. If they came through the gate, then she will find it. "

"Pardon me, General," said Buffy. "It's not that I don't have faith in your judgment and Major Carter," she said eying the other woman thoughtfully for a moment. "But I rather my own people look into the situation as well."

"Your own people?" Hammond blustered.

"Yes," said Buffy stubbornly.

"This is a military installation," said General Hammond. His response held a note of impatience. "This place is a secret to the public. We cannot have civilians running around the place."

"You don't have to have any extra civilian running around the base," Buffy denied. "We will utilize the ones we have here."

"Who?" Hammond demands, looking at said civilians sitting around the room.

"Willow," she said.

"Me," squealed Willow hiding behind her hair. "But'but." She stammered, blushing a delicate rose, when everyone turned to look at her.

"No buts," Buffy said firmly. "I have faith in you," she admits, giving the redhead a warm smile.

"You do?" said Willow, staring at Buffy with complete surprise on her face.

"Yeah Wills, I do," Buffy said. She turned towards General Hammond and said earnestly. "Willow has a near genius IQ; there is no practical problem to which she cannot come up with the answers. She's not the only one."

"She's a teenager," said General Hammond, eying Willow in concern.

"So," Buffy said with a dismissive shrug. "This teenager knows more about computers than anyone I know, plus she will have Oz to help her. What Willow doesn't know, Oz does."

Oz nodded quietly.

"Ms. Summers," said Hammond in authoritative voice. "I understand your point of view, but I still cannot let civilians work on the gate. At least not without some form of authorization."

"Authorization!" Buffy cried, staring at him in disbelief. She couldn't believe that the General was being stubborn about this. If he was going to be stubborn, so was she. She wouldn't give up. They had the Stargate for years, and she knew that Jack didn't tell her everything. If a Goa'uld managed to be on Earth without them knowing, why should she trust them to know what they are doing? "You need authorization," she repeats.

"Well yes," Hammond said, eying her with a small hint of triumph.

She met his eyes without flinching and walked to the red phone in the corner of the room. Her hand hesitated briefly over it. "May I?" she asked, with a nod to the General.

He nodded, caught a little off guard.

"Harry?" Buffy said into the phone. "I am at Stargate Command. I need you to clear some friends of mine and me." She nodded several times into the phone, then she handed the phone to General Hammond. "For you," she said with a smirk.

With a slight hesitation, barely visible, Hammond eyed SG'1 briefly before he walked towards the phone. "Hammond here," he said. After ten minutes, he gently hung up the phone. "Oh my God, your security clearance is higher than mine."

Buffy shrugged. "I told you I knew Harry."

"Yes well," he said shell'shocked, sitting heavily into his chair.

"What do you mean that she has a high security clearance?" asked Jacob staring wordless. "What's so special about you?" he asked looking bewilderedly at Buffy. She seemed ordinary.

"I'm nobody special," said Buffy with a wry smile.

"Yeah?"'said General Hammond, revaluating what he knows so far about the young woman in front of him. "A nobody with such high security clearance," he muttered. "It's higher than mine. Did you know about this?" asked Hammond to Jack.

"Know what?" he asked half in anticipation and half in dread.

"Don't be facetious Colonel."

Jack shrugged, "No, I didn't know. Remember I haven't seen Bella for fifty years. Why would I know how she had a security clearance?"

"Hello, I'm right here," said Buffy, rolling her eyes in exasperation. She so hated it when someone talked about her as if she was not there.

"Sorry, Ms Summers," said Hammond abashed. "Back to the subject. Although Major Carter will be checking the Stargate with your friends, Rosenberg and Osborne..."

Buffy nodded.

"…I don't believe that the Goa'uld has come through the Stargate."

"Really? Why are you sure?" Buffy demand.

General Hammond shrugged. "I know this facility. And I think we would have known if any Goa'uld walked thorough the gate," he said decisively.

"Uh, George," said Jacob with frown.

"Yeah."

"Remember the Reetou," asked Jacob, "and their invisible capabilities?"

Hammond stiffened. "Yes, I remember. What about it?" he asked, not liking where the conversation is heading.

"For several months now, the Tok'ra have been working on a device similar to the invisible capability of the Reetou. Maybe the Goa'uld also came up with a similar idea."

"That would be…"

"Yeah.

"Shit!" Jack said.

"Colonel!

"Oh for crying out loud," Jack muttered.

"What is a Reetou?" asked Buffy looking at Jack quizzically.

A tense silence enveloped the room.

"Jack?" Buffy said, giving him a long, searching look.

Jack gave an anxious little cough. He searched the room, but no one came to his rescue. He sighed. "The Reetou are an alien race that came through the Stargate secretly with one of the SG teams, working towards the goal of taking over the base," he said.

"Oh dear lord," said Giles eying Jack in disbelief.

"So you believe that this Goa'uld Ammut has the same capacity as these Reetou."

"Yep," he said. "That sums it up."

"I still believe no one entered the Stargate without authorization," General Hammond admits.

"The General is right," said Carter. "Although I will be checking the gate for any anomaly, I agree with the General that no one entered the Stargate without permission. We have precautions for things of that nature."

"What kind of precautions?" asked Adam.

"Anyone leaving or entering the Stargate must have a G.D.O. And before you ask, a G.D.O. is a device we invented that allows certain codes to be entered. It is affectionately called a Garage Door Opener. These codes are only given out to allies. We also put a shield made out of the same material as the gate called naquadah. This mineral is ten times as strong. It would take a lot of force and heat to penetrate that shield. And we have also created a phase disrupter; it is actually ingenuous in the design. It also has a naquadah base lining to work the gate's internal sensors. When the gate opens, the sensors are activated. Anyone that enters or leaves the Stargate is scanned."

"Wow! What a great idea," said Giles. "Who thought of that?"

"I did," said Samantha, with a delicate blush on her cheek.

Not for the first time that day, Giles noticed how lovely Major Carter was.

"So basically you are saying that no one can enter the Stargate without you knowing."

"Yes," said Hammond in relief.

"Mmm," Buffy said thoughtfully. She suddenly had a disturbing thought. She eyed Methos and Jack, unwilling to say aloud what she was thinking. But before she could say something, Hammond interrupted her train of thought.

"Ms. Summers, although trying to work out how the Goa'uld got to Earth is important, it's not my priority right now. What I'm trying to ascertain is do you know where the other pieces of this crystal are?"

She hesitated.

"You are not talking about Methuselah's stone?" asked Mac in disbelief.

"What?" asked Daniel.

"The Crystal of Immortality is sometimes called the Methuselah Stone," he said.

"What do you know it about son?" asked Hammond.

Duncan hesitates and eyed Adam.

"Son," the General prompt.

"Go ahead Mac," said Methos with a sigh.

"Methuselah was said to be the first Immortal and he had this crystal that gave eternal youth. Before he died, he gave it to his grandson Noah who carried it through the great flood. What happened to it, nobody knows. But several thousands of years ago, a savage came to possess it, giving him immortality and eternal youth. The savage had super human strength and possessed various powers. From then on, it is believed that anyone who possesses this crystal will become immortal."

"What if that person is already an Immortal?"

"The Crystal would double the power of an Immortal, making him the most skillful and dangerous Immortal in existence," said Adam

"So what happened to it?"

"It travels down the ages until an Immortal named Rebecca had it. Truly believing that not one person should have the responsibility of such a gift, Rebecca divided it and gave a piece to each of her students. Later, someone who also wanted the gift killed her."

"Are you telling me that there is no way to retrieve the crystals?" Hammond asked in disbelief.

Duncan shrugged. "The crystal was in the Watcher's Gallery at one point. And two thieves broken in and stole it."

"One of the thieves was captured," said Adam with a grimace. "And the other was made to exchange the crystal for their life."

"So it's back at this Watcher's Gallery?" questioned Daniel.

"No," said Duncan.

"No?" said Daniel.

"What happened to it?" asked Carter. "Did the Watchers get it back?"

"Yes and no," Duncan with a wry grin. "It was set to be exchanged, but one of the persons involved decided that they wanted the crystal for himself and threatened the hostages. While they were debating about the Crystal, there was a small explosion nearby. There were a few injuries. After it was all said and done, the kidnapper was killed, and the crystals had fallen apart and landed in the Seine River."

"If the crystal was destroyed, how did Ammut receive three pieces?" asked Jacob.

"That's what I want to know," said Hammond.

"There was a second stone," said Buffy quietly.

"What!" said Mac flummoxed.

"There was a second stone," she said with a wry smile. "Few people knew about it."

"There was a second stone," he said gawking at her in disbelief. "Adam, did you know about this?" he asked, eyeing his friend in outrage.

Hesitating a second, Adam nodded.

"Secrets, old man," Duncan said, in a low nasty tone. "Why am I not surprised?"

Adam opened his mouth to answer.

"Alexa!" Duncan suddenly shouted, startling the group to look at him.

"What's going on here?" asked Hammond, a shadow of annoyance flashed across his face.

"Alexa is dead," Adam said caught off guard. "You saw her grave," he said.

"Is she?" Duncan asked cynically. These past few days have been one revelation after another. Everyone has secrets, he thought. But he thought he and Methos were friends. To find out that there was a life that he never knew about, that was hard. He eyes the Scooby Gang; imagine, they are going through the same turmoil as he. It is not fun to learn that the people you come to care about have been lying to you for years, and all you can do is to take it in stride.

Adam avoided his gaze.

"She is alive, isn't she?" he asked him thickly.

"Yes," said Adam miserably. "Mac, I couldn't tell you about the second stone because that wasn't my secret, and if you saw Alexa alive, you would have questioned it, so we parted ways. I haven't seen her in six years."

"The crystal worked?" he questioned in disbelief.

"Oh yeah," said Adam, his face alight.

"Why did it worked on Alexa, but it didn't work on Geiger?" Duncan said with a frown.

"It worked with Alexa because she deserved it," he said simply.

"Are you telling me, that even if this Goa'uld Ammut assembles all the pieces, it might not work for her?" Daniel asked excited.

"Yeah," Adam said. "The crystal seemed to recognize goodness."

"But we cannot be sure," said Hammond. "Where is the crystal now?"

"After it helped heal my friend, I kept one piece," said Adam

"And Jack and I both have one piece each," Buffy said.

"That accounts for six pieces," said Daniel. "You three have one each and Ammut has three pieces. Who has the other two?" he asked, his eyebrows rose inquiringly.

"Angel has one piece," Buffy said quietly.

"Angelus?" Adam said, his eyebrows rising in amazement. "What! Are you crazy? Why give him a piece? He's not an Immortal."

"So what?" Buffy snorted. "He kinda is, plus he's my friend."

"Bella," he said through clenched teeth.

"Adam," she said equally stubbornly. "Get over it. It happened years ago. So what if he stole your girlfriend?"

"It was my wife, and what he did with her after," he said shuddering.

"He's changed," she said quietly.

"Oh yeah, he changed; I forgot he has his soul now," he growled.

"Yes," she snapped. "Can't you let bygones be bygones? You did much worse."

"I'I," he said eying her with a hint of dislike.

"Enough!" said Hammond. "Let's get back to the subject at hand. We know where seven pieces of the crystal are. Where is the eighth?"

"In the British museum."

"Shit.

"Fuck me.

"I rather not."

"Why did you put there?"

"Because it's the one place that you couldn't just walk in and take it," Buffy said.

"So we do know where the crystals are," said Daniel. "We just need to get that one from the British museum."

"Why should we retrieve all the pieces? Isn't it much simpler to get the ones we don't have from Ammut," asked Giles.

"Well yes, that would be simpler," Daniel admits.

"It would be fun to try to break into the British museum," Adam said gleefully.

"How did Ammut get the three she has in the first place?" Carter asked, her eyebrows slanted in a frown.

"Yeah," said Daniel, leaning his elbow on the table.

"Bella, who did you give the other three to?" asked Adam.

She spoke in a broken whisper, "To Robert, Kay and Desdemona."

"Who are they?" asked Giles bemused.

"My students," Buffy said, her eyes had a faraway glow to them.

"You were a teacher, Buffy," Giles asked gently.

"Yes," she said with a bare hint of a smile. "We weren't born knowing everything. They were young Immortals I had guided. We were all students at one time. We had to be taught to fight to survive the game," she said. "Robert would be the oldest at 100 years old. And Kay and Desy would be at least sixty. At one point, we were a family, but you know kids, they want to be independent – live in the big, wide world. Over the years I kept in touch with them, but I haven't heard from them lately."

"Excuse me Bella, are you talking about Kay Spencer and Desdemona Wright," asked Joe Dawson.

"Yes, do you know of them," she asked.

"Sort of, they died recently," he said, his face clouded with uneasiness.

"What! When?" she demand in a shrill voice.

"Six months ago," Joe said in low composed voice.

"Oh my God," she cried in choked voice.

"Bella," Jack said, walking towards her. He drew her stiff form into his arms.

"How didn't I know about that," demanded Adam.

"You are not in the Watchers' Council anymore," said Joe.

"So," said Adam, frowning with annoyance. "You could have mentioned it."

"Why should I?" he retorted. "I don't think you know every Immortal."

"You should have told me, that's all," he muttered.

"How did they die?" Jack asked, rubbing his hands up and down Buffy's back, as crystal tears ran silently down her cheeks.

"They were both challenged by Robert," Joe said, as his expression stilled and grew serious.

Buffy gave a quick intake of breath.

"What!" Jack said, his voice rose with surprise.

Hammond, SG'1, Paul Davis, and the Tok'ra could only watch helplessly as the news hit their friend like a solid blow.

"They were both challenged by Robert," said Joe. He hated giving bad news.

"He killed his sisters," he said moaned in disbelief.

A tense silence enveloped the room.

Buffy breathed in shallow, quick gasps, holding her raw emotions in check.

"When have you last heard from Robert," Jack said softly to Buffy.

She swallowed with difficulty and found her voice. "About a year ago," she said. "How about you?"

"You were closer to the kids than me," he said gruffly. "On my last leave, I flew to Paris, where I had dinner with the girls. They told me they hadn't heard from Robert prior to that."

"Why would Robert challenge them?" Buffy said, her voice quavering. "They were practically brother and sisters. There are many Immortals named Robert. Are you sure?" she asked trying to make sense of it all.

"I could call a friend," Joe said quietly. "But I have my facts right; it was Robert Gannon."

"Buffy, why would your friend do that, if it was your friend," asked Giles, aching for his Slayer.

"Power," she said wearily.

"He always wanted power," Jack admits wearily.

"But to be in league with a Goa'uld," Adam asked shock.

"How did he get in touch with a Goa'uld?" Hammond asked.

"That's the ten thousand dollar question," Jack admits.

Chapter 13

Goa'uld hunt

Buffy's mind was spinning with bewilderment, while everyone stared at each other in silence.

"I am sorry about your friend Ms. Summers, but if he's in league with a Goa'uld, he has to be dealt with," Hammond admits cautiously.

"I will deal with him," Buffy snapped coldly. "After killing his sisters, I will kill him myself."

"Buffy!" said Giles shock.

"Giles," she mocked.

"Buffy, you cannot kill a human being," he said. "You are the…" he said, stopping before he said anything further.

"I know what I am, Giles," she said defensively, giving him a warning look. "I don't want to talk about it and I will deal with Robert."

"Ms. Summers, no matter what this man has done, I cannot condone murder," said Hammond with a frown.

"Murder?" Buffy said incredulously. "Isn't that what you meant, when you said you will deal with him, if he is in league with a Goa'uld."

"No, Ms. Summers, what I am talking about is…"

"You mean a military'sanctioned hit isn't considered murder," she asked with a frown.

Daniel opened his mouth but shut it abruptly.

"But I wasn't talking about murder," she said, her voice hardening. "What I am proposing is justice."

"Ms Summers, Buffy," Hammond said with a sigh. "We have ways of taken care of this threat."

"So do I," she said with a dismissive air.

"Can someone please talk some sense into her?" General Hammond asked exasperated.

"I'll take care of it," said Jack said with a heavy sigh.

"Jack, I don't need someone to placate me," she said exasperated.

"Hush Bella, I know," he said guiding her head to his shoulder. "I understand. I love those girls. I know I haven't heard from them in six months and I feel guilty."

"But I haven't seen them in three years," Buffy said, her voice muffled. "I thought, as long as I taught them how to use a sword, they would be all right. But there was one thing I never taught them – how to protect themselves from betrayal," she said with anguished moan.

Jack held her silently for a few minutes, while Buffy composed herself.

"Right now our priority is to find the Goa'uld. Where one is, the other will be. And Major Carter will check the gate with your friends, Ms Summer," General Hammond said gently. He studied her thoughtfully for a moment. "Although you were instrumental in helping us, I am temporarily confining you and your friends to the base. And while you are here, you will be limited to only the civilian areas."

"What?" Buffy said, her eyebrows flying up. "We can't leave. Why can't we leave?" she asked pushing away from Jack.

"Because this is still a military instillation and until I get a written confirmation and clearance of who you are, you cannot leave."

"But'but."

"Let it go, Bella," said Adam. "While we are here, we can do some good."

"I just don't like people telling me what I can or cannot do," she said with a pout.

"We know," said Jack rolling his eyes.

"You are too spoiled my queen," Adam said with a wink. "You always get what you want."

"True," said Buffy said with a forced laugh. She didn't feel like laughing. She felt as if she was dying inside. Desy and Kay are dead. Two more of her children had died. See what happens when you care, she thought cynically. She's tired of her babies dying. Desdemona, Kay, and Robert weren't babies when they entered her life, but they were her children. She clamped her eyes shut as she felt a stab of guilt. Maybe she should have called more often or tried to see them. Maybe Robert wouldn't have…Can she find the strength to kill Robert when the time comes, she wondered. She sighed and turned towards the General. "Since we are confined to base, can I make a few phone calls," she asked mockingly.

Hammond hesitated briefly. "Within reason," he cautioned "But a reminder, any phone call in and out of this building will be monitored."

Buffy shrugged. "Within reason," she said.

"I guess that settles it," said Jacob bemusedly. "But how are we going to start finding the Goa'uld?"

"You have a linguist, an astrophysicist, two high school students, who get an A in every subject and are geniuses, two Watchers that could pool their resources, and four Immortals that have connections all over the world."

"I have some ideas," Daniel admitted cautiously.

"I wouldn't mind helping," said Adam. "Since we are stuck here anyway," he said shrugging negligently.

"You want to help," asked Daniel clearly surprised.

"Why should that surprise you?" Adam asked with a frown. "This is my country and planet as much as the next guy. I don't want it to be overrun. So where do you want me to start?" he said walking over to the other man.

"Mmm," said Daniel thoughtfully. "I have a few obscure texts about a Goa'uld queen. It might possibly be about Ammut. Maybe you can help me translate."

"A prophecy?" asked Giles, his ears perking up. "I would like to see this text as well," he admitted walking towards Daniel.

"We might as well all help," said Mac. "Since we are going to be stuck here anyway," he said with a nonchalant shrug. Inwardly he was very curious. To find that Aliens exist was a shock. To find that some of them weren't ideal, that wasn't as shocking as the idea of aliens. Aliens, walking around, existing. He shook his head in disbelief.

"Yes," said Jacob. "Anise and I will do some more research on our end. We'll see what we can find about Ammut and where she has come from."

"Good," said Hammond. "You're all dismissed," he said with a nod rising from his chair.

"So," said Carter turning to both Willow and Oz, "do you really get A's in school?"

They looked at each other and nodded. Then Willow piped up, "Except last semester, I got a ‘B+' in history."

Carter chuckled. "How about you?" she asked looking at Xander.

He shrugged. "I didn't get straight ‘A's', but I'm good with research."

"Good, then you can help," she said guiding them to the door, only to be interrupted by the General's voice.

Chapter 14

Hideaway

In an underground facility on the other side of the world, Robert Gannon walked quickly down a long corridor. He paused at a closed door. He took a thin card out of his tan trousers' pocket and inserted it into an opening at the side of the door. The door opened with a swish and he marched determined inside.

The room he entered was very plain, ascetic even. The walls were bare and painted a cream color with only a light bulb to illuminate the room. A large table was centered in the middle of the room and a woman stood over the table, her back towards the door. From his position at the door, Robert could detect that there was someone lying on the table and that the woman had several severe looking instruments laying on her right.

"Who dares interrupt me," she demanded looking towards the door.

"I am sorry," said Robert, with a frown, walking slowly into the room. "But I need to talk to you. Can't your games continue another time?"

"How dare you interrupt me?" the woman growled, turning eerily silver eyes towards him.

He took a step backwards, eying her cautiously. "I'm sorry my queen," he said with a bow. He had to be careful. Sometimes he forgets who she is.

The woman slapped the instruments down. Chu na. "Leave us," she demanded, motioning to the two silent guards standing by the door. "And take this to the sarcophagus," she said motioning to the body on the table.

They nod and then lift the body gently off the table. They walked towards the door closing it gently behind them.

"I'm tired of waiting," Robert complained with a whine. "We need to strike now," he said. "We need to do something before they find out what we are after."

"We," she asked icily.

"What I'I meant was," he stammered a little taken aback, "I need to do something about it."

"Good," she said decisively. "Where are the other crystals?"

"The last I heard they were in California," he said cautiously. "Sunnydale, California."

"Then you have to go to it then," she said archly.

"Me," he squealed.

"Of course you," she snapped. "You are not afraid, are you?" she asked, eying him with disfavor.

"Of course not," he stammered. "It's just that Isabella was my teacher."

"You are afraid," she said eying him with disbelief, her eyes alight with laughter.

He frowned.

She continued laughing.

Chapter 15

Conversations

SG'1

"Major, Teal'c, and Dr. Jackson, can I see you for a few minutes," said General Hammond.

Carter eyed the General for a few minutes, then turned towards the kids. "A guard will escort you to your rooms; I will be there shortly."

Jack's eyes narrowed. Why wasn't his name called? "Sir," he said. "If this meeting is about me, don't you think I should be included?"

General Hammond looked at his Second in Command and nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, you are right, Colonel," he said with a sweeping gesture.

Jack nodded and walked back to the same chair he had occupied before.

Hammond cleared his throat. "I want to know how you being immortal will affect the SGC," he began.

"It never did before," Jack interrupts.

"Colonel, you have to understand our position. This facility prides itself on secrets. I understand secrets; we understand secrets," he said, stressing on the word ‘we'.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

"But we are not just about secrets, but trust," he said with a frown. "When I send a group through the Stargate, they have to depend on each other. And everything boils down to one basic fact and that fact is trust."

"Of course you can trust me," Jack said with an outrage. "I am the same person I was several hours ago. General, you have read my file. Nothing I have done was faked. I may have lied about my age, but I am the same person who ate Chinese food with Danny two days ago, and I also am the same person who played table tennis with Carter and chess with Teal'c. You all know me," Jack said earnestly. "You trusted that Jack. Nothing changed, except you know more about me today than you knew yesterday."

"No, not really. That Colonel we knew, but this one is a stranger."

"How can you say that," he cried. He closed his eyes on the point of pain. "How can I redeem myself?" he asked bleakly. This was his family. If they were taken away from him, he didn't know what he was going to do. Since Charlie died, he had no one. Then the SGC became the family he had lost. Right now, he's glad that Bella has come back into his life, but they still had things to work out.

"Are there more secret that you are not telling us," Hammond asked sharply.

"General Hammond, I don't know what I could do to rectify the situation and build back up your faith in me. But I do promise you this: I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability," Jack said, his voice thick and unsteady. He scraped back his chair, got up, and walked towards the door.

"Jack, what is a Slayer?" asked Daniel, stopping him in his tracks.

"What?" Jack stiffened.

"What is a Slayer," he said again. "The young boy Xander said and I quote ‘Even I knew not to get between an enraged Slayer and her target'."

He turned slowly around and with a shrug, he lied, "I don't know what you mean," he said. "Weren't they a band in the eighties?" he asked avoiding Daniel gaze.

Daniel eyes narrowed speculatively.

"Dr. Jackson?" said Hammond. "What's this about a Slayer?"

"It's nothing sir. I heard this term mentioned several times before, and just wondered if Jack knows about it," he said, making a mental note to check it out.

"How about it, Colonel," asked Hammond.

"What sir?"

"Do you know what Dr. Jackson is talking about?"

"No sir," he said, taking care to make eye contact with the General. He hated lying, but it wasn't his secret to tell. He knew that Danny was tenacious, and if he wanted to find out what a slayer was, he could go to any computer and find the information. And if not, he would delegate it to Carter. No one at the base is a wiz at computer stuff like Carter. Sometimes he thought she ate and breathed computers. But that doesn't alter the fact that they don't need to know about slayers. He shuddered to think if the N.I.D or any military faction ever found out about them.

"Sir," he said to General Hammond. "If you are finished with me, I wanted to see if my guests are comfortable."

Hammond inclined his head. "You are dismissed, but I want to see you at 0400 to discuss what information you all find out about the Goa'uld."

"Yes sir," he said with an inward sigh of relief as he walked through the door.

"Jack knows more than he's telling," Daniel said, his eyes narrowing on Jack's back.

"Probably," admitted the General with a shrug. "But what can I do? Order him not to tell me lies. If you cannot lie to your commanding officer, who can you lie to?"

He looked over at the others. "You are all dismissed," he said. As the group got up to leave, Hammond said, "Excuse me, Major, but before you go, there is something I want you to check on. Our guests," he said with a grimace, "I want you to find out all you can on each of them. No matter how small it is."

"Yes sir!" she said, with a bright grin.

Willow and Xander

As they walked through the conference room door with their escorts, Willow grabbed Xander and pushed him to one side.

Buffy and Oz stopped waiting for them to catch up.

"Go ahead guys, Xander and I need to talk for a few minutes," she said as her grip on him tightens.

Oz nodded and continued his walk down the corridor with his bodyguard trailing him, while Buffy hesitated. "Is everything okay?" she asked.

"Fine," Willow said with a shy smile.

Buffy eyed them for a moment, with a puzzled frown. She shrugged. "Okay," she said and continued her walk.

"Hey Wills, you're hurting me," Xander whined with a wince.

"I will do more than hurt you," she snapped quietly, keeping her voice low.

Xander's mouth dropped open. This couldn't be his best bud Willow talking. "What's going on," he asked.

"I want to ask you the same thing," she said, her eyes a green flame.

"I haven't done anything," he denied, wrenching his hand out of her grip. "Ouch," he said, rubbing the marks on his arms. "What's your deal?"

"You call making snide remarks to Buffy all day long, nothing," she hissed.

"What do you mean?" he asked, avoiding her gaze.

"You know what I mean. Those little remarks have to stop. You have to think before you act sometimes. You are not a little kid anymore. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. I love you, Xander," she said softly. "You cannot keep going down this path you are on. I am telling you for your own good. You know we don't own Buffy. She was person before we met, and she will be her own person after we are long gone."

"I know," he said looking abashed. "I don't know what got into me. I don't mean to say those things."

"Then why do you?" she asked with a stricken look.

He shrugged. "I don't know. Feelings I didn't know just erupted inside me. She was the first person besides you that treated me with some respect. I guess I'm jealous that she was showing attention to someone else. Then to find out she has been keeping secrets from us. And you know some secrets can be deadly. Case in point ' Angelus."

Willow sighed. "Yes, Angelus was a sore point in our history together, but you have to let that go. No one likes to have their mistakes pushed in their face daily. I know some secrets are deadly. But Buffy knows what she did, and you cannot keep harping on her mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, Xander. If we didn't, we wouldn't be human. You have to forgive Buffy. I did. As I said before and will continue saying because you and I are family, I love you Xand, but if you continue like this, you won't have any friends left," she said quietly, leaving him to ponder on those words.

Samantha Carter and Janet Fraser

After the meeting with SG'1, Janet's mind was awhirl. She doesn't know who she should be mad at. Jack O'Neill, Sam, or herself. She knew how Sam felt about him. But what about her? She thought they were friends. If his wife hadn't visited the SGC, would they have known that Jack had a secret life? She didn't think so. But who is she to cast any stone, she thought. She has her own secrets too. She knocked briskly on Carter's office door.

"Come in," said a muffled voice.

She pushed opened the door slowly not knowing what to expect. What she saw was Samantha's fingers flying across the keyboard, which wasn't unusual but unexpected. Part of her had expected Sam to be working because she was a workaholic. But the picture Sam portrayed was of serene grace and enthusiasm, not the sad mien she was expecting. "What are you doing?" she asked as she stepped into the room. "I thought you were going to run a diagnostic on the gate?"

"In a few minutes," Sam said frowning. "I had to get some info for the General."

"What kind of information?" Janet asked as she walked up to the computer and saw the name across the screen: "Buffy Summers."

"Is that wise?" she asked in a shocked tone.

Sam shrugged. "We have to know the people we are dealing with," she said dryly. "They might be terrorists for all we know."

Janet eyed her thoughtfully. "Do you really think so?" she asked.

Sam froze for a second, her fingers slamming hard on the keyboards. "No," she admits.

"Are you okay, Sam?" Janet asked with a puzzled frown.

"Of course I'm okay," she said with a surprised air. "Why shouldn't I be?" she said, turning around in her chair to look at Janet.

Janet eyed her in concern and said one word. "Jack."

Sam shrugged. "There's nothing between the Colonel and me," she said.

"But you wished there might be," she said.

"Maybe," she said, her hands trembling. "There was an attraction between us, but regs you know."

"I know," Janet said. "I am so sorry," she said gathering the other woman in her arms.

Sam stiffened, then relaxed and took a deep breath.

Xander Harris and Jack O'Neill

Xander stood stiffly, his mind going over the words Willow had said to him. Was Willow right? He wondered. From the first day he saw Buffy Summers, he knew he was in love. He tried all kinds of ways for her to notice him not as a friend but as a potential boyfriend. Maybe he resented the fact that she chooses everyone but him, and that's why he made the wrong choice sometimes. But the last few days, it had dawned on him that Buffy Summers would never be his. And he cannot wait for someone else to bring him happiness; he had to attain it himself. He frowned. What is he going to do with his life? He remembered the last time when he was at his happiest. It was a few years ago when Ethan Rayne had be'spelled the Halloween costumes. During that time, he had felt free, strong, and most of all, important. Not like the useless part of the team. The Zeppo.

"Hey," Jack said, almost tripping on the young man as he walked around the corridor.

"Hey," said Xander.

"Are you okay?" Jack asked slowing after noting the almost lackadaisical answer.

"I'm fine," Xander said with a shrug, his hands in the pocket of his brown baggy pants.

"That's good to know," Jack said as he continued his walking.

"Mr. O'Neill," Xander called.

Jack stopped and turned around to gaze at the young man. Xander was shuffling his feet, as if he wanted to say something but didn't know how to say it. "It's actually Colonel," he said. "Mr. O'Neill was my dad and he has been dead for centuries," he said with a grin.

"Um," said Xander blushing. "Colonel O'Neill."

"You can call me Jack," he said, surveying him kindly. Something about him reminded him of himself eons ago. "And you are Xander, right?"

"Right," he said, pleased that Jack knows his name. "Short for Alexander, but my friends called me Xander."

"Okay, Xander it is. What can I do for you?" he asked.

Xander wrinkled his nose. "Do you like the military," he asked quietly.

"It has its moments," Jack said. "Why?" he questioned. Xander looked as if the answer mattered.

Xander avoided Jack's gaze. "I was just wondering, what it would take for me to join."

"You want to join the military," he said surprised.

"Yes," Xander said, swallowing dryly.

"Did you ask your friends?" Jack asked with a frown. "What did Bella say?"

"No, I didn't ask them," he said clearing his throat. "But I'm interested in the military. Something happened to me several months ago that got me thinking about it. And I think this is the way to go. It's my choice, and they will understand, I think," Xander said with a shrug.

"Mmm," Jack murmured, eying him thoughtfully. "Are you sure?" he asked.

Xander nods.

"You have to be serious," Jack continued. "This cannot be a fly'by'night thing. You have to be very serious."

"I'm serious," Xander admitted earnestly.

Jack sighed. "Okay, which branch of the military are you thinking of entering?"

"Air Force."

"Good choice," Jack said with a grin. "Colorado has a great Air Force Program, or if you don't want to stay here, there are plenty of bases allover the U.S. I know some people, and I can smooth the way a little. But it's gonna take hard work and discipline."

"I can do that," Xander said with a nod. "I'm not afraid of hard work."

"Good, because it's going to take a lot of hard work if you want to be an officer. Right?"

"Right," Xander said seriously.

"How old are you," Jack asked looking at the shaggy brown hair and long limbs.

"Eighteen," he said.

Jack nodded. "When you graduate and with some good references, you might have a shot. How are your grades?"

"So'so," Xander said with a grimace.

"We'd have to get those grades up. But with a good study habit and a good recommendation, you would be set. Come on," he said, guiding Xander down the corridor. "Let me tell you what to expect if you join the Air Force."

Janet and Jack

After talking to Xander for twenty minutes, Jack walked hesitatingly to the infirmary door. This was not something he wanted to do, but he and Janet had been friends for several years. He owes her an explanation. He paused briefly making sure that she was alone. After what had transpired earlier, he knew he had to talk to her. They were good friends. And for her to find out things that he should have told her along time ago, she must be pissed.

"Hey Doc," Jack said sheepishly, pushing the door opened. Janet was seated in front of a computer, typing furiously. Jack walked up to her to peer across her shoulder.

"Hey," she said, looking up briefly from her computer screen.

"Busy, I see," he said, eying her thoughtfully.

"Yes," she said abruptly.

He sighed. I guess she's madder than I thought. "I'm sorry you had to find out those things about me. I should have told you."

"I'm sorry too," she said as she continued typing.

"You're mad," he said grimly as he wandered around the room, pausing once in awhile to touch objects here or there.

"No," she said ignoring him.

He watched her wistfully. "Yes, you are," he said. "If I was in your position, I would be angry."

"Maybe," she said. "But I'm not angry, I'm disappointed. I thought we were friends long enough to tell each other things. For instance, like you were ten thousand years old and you have a wife."

Jack winced. "I cannot apologize enough. I spend so much time hiding my identity that it never occurred to me to tell you. Yes, we have been friends for thirty years, but some secrets were hard to let go," he admits.

"You knew all my secrets," said Janet her voice wooden. She turned away from the computer. "I wish you'd had the guts to tell me yours," she said, shaking her dark curls. "But you were thinking of yourself, and because of that, you not only hurt me and your friends, you also hurt Sam."

"Carter?" Jack questioned with a frown, stopping in mid motion. "What has she got to do with us?"

"Not us," Janet cried in disbelief. "You," she said.

"Me," Jack said taken aback.

"Don't be stupid, Jack," Janet said rolling her eyes in exasperation. "She has a crush on you."

"But nothing ever happened between us," he said.

"So what," she snorted. "If it wasn't for regulations, I know for a fact something might have happened between you two. But you didn't have the decency to let anyone of us know that you were married."

"Look," Jack said, "Carter wasn't pining for me. She's had several relationships since we met, and so have I."

Janet closed her eyes and shook her head. "If you say so," she said. She wasn't getting it across to him. He wanted to believe what he wanted. She saw something between them, and if they weren't willing to admit that they care about each other more than as a friend. "Did you tell the General about me," she asked quietly.

"No," he said. "It's your secret to tell."

"Good," she said with a dismissive nod and turned back to her computer.

"Carter wasn't pining for me," he said to himself. He looked at Janet for a few minutes and then walked to the door closing it quietly behind him.

Buffy, Willow and Joyce Summers

Buffy walked into the plain room that would be home for the next few days, unless she could convince the General to let her and her friends leave. She sighed. It probably would be easier to convince him that the sky was green.

"What's going on?" she asked Willow, who entered the room behind her. "I thought you and Major Carter had some work to do," she said.

"She doesn't like you," said Willow going over to an empty bed to sit on it.

Buffy shrugged. "It's her business," she said mildly. "I'm not worried about her. What's up between you and Xander?"

"Why do you think something was up," she questioned archly.

"You're not going to tell me, huh," she said curiously.

"Nope," Willow said with a grin.

"Okay," Buffy said. "Keep your secrets." She walked to the phone and muttered a few incantations under her breath. She dialed a familiar number and said, "Hi," to the voice on the other end. "I got caught up here, and I don't think we'll be back soon." She listened for a few minutes and nodded several times. "I love you, Joycie," she said. "Of course I'm coming back," she said to the inquiry. "But not right now. I have some things I need to take care of," she admits.

"How's Faith and Angel handling the hellmouth?" she asked.

"Mmm," Buffy said, curling the phone cord around her finger. "That's good. Listen," she said, "I'm wondering if you can do me a favor. It's about Faith," Buffy said. "She will need some guidance and direction, and probably some home cooked meals. She also needs a place to stay, and if I never come back, I want you to take care of each other."

"Of course, I am planning to come back, but this is on the chance something happens to me," Buffy said soothingly.

After talking for the next half hour, Buffy hung up the phone.

Methos and Jack

After leaving the infirmary, Jack felt lost and confused. Was Janet right? For years, he and Carter had a working relationship, but that changed. Over the next few years, they had avoided talking about those feelings. Everything had come to a head, when the President was visiting the SGC. Because they couldn't admit that they had feelings for each other, the President almost died. Even though that time they admitted that something was going on, they had continued to lie to themselves.

He sighed. With his head down and his hands in his pocket, he ignored the other people in the corridor. He would always care for Carter, but Isabella would always be his first love. Not even Carter and Sara could compare to her. Maybe that's why he never fought for his marriage when Sara wanted a divorce or tried to have a relationship with Samantha.

"Hey, watch where you are going," said Adam, bouncing into Jack as he rounded a corner.

"Sorry man," Jack said, looking up from his contemplation of his feet. "Methos," he said with a frown. "I thought you would be with Danny," he said, his eyebrows arched in question staring at Methos and his two guards.

"I am on my way there right now," he admits.

"I see that you can't leave home with out an escort," Jack said apologetic.

Methos shrugged. "Your General's idea," he said. "He thought we could be threat."

"If only he knew, eh," Jack said, elbowing Methos in his side.

"If only," said Methos, staring unseeingly in the past.

"It's been a long time since I've seen you," Jack said looking at Methos. "How've you been?"

"Good, "Methos said shuffling on the balls of his feet. "And you?"

"Same here," Jack said, avoiding his gaze. What do you say to a man who was your best friend for the latter part of ten thousand years? "So," he said looking around.

"You're in the military," asked Methos.

"Yeah," Jack said with a nod.

"That's it," said Methos in disbelief. "We haven't seen each other for over fifty years and this is all you can say to me."

"What do want me to say?" Jack demanded, his gray eyes meeting Methos' hazel ones.

"You are a bastard, Jack O'Neill," he said.

"What!" Jack said, his eyes widening in surprise.

Methos' guards shuffled and eyed him with concern, their hands on their service revolvers.

Both Jack and Methos ignored them.

"When you and Isabella broke up, you didn't have to break up with me, too," said Methos. "We were best friends before we met Isabella. Who was the one who used to talk about not letting women come between us?"

"I did, didn't I," Jack said with a sigh. "I'm an ass's ass. The situation with Bella became so overwhelming, I retreated, and the more I retreated, the more I forgot about everything. I stopped participating in the game."

"No one can truly stop contributing to the game. I know, I tried," he said.

"I did. I hid mostly on holy ground. I was just tired of the senseless killing."

"So you joined the military," Methos said mockingly.

"Yeah," Jack said on a laugh. "Ironic," he said, his eyes alight with laughter. "I miss you, you old bastard."

The guards looked at each other and relaxed. For a minute there, they thought there was going to be a fight.

"I miss you too," Methos said quietly, going to embrace Jack in a big hug. "We cannot let another fifty years pass us by."

"I definitely won't if you won't," Jack said. "Danny is probably wondering where you are," he said. "I'll walk you to his office. And when you need a rescue, call me. His office is a minefield. Once I sent an aid to ask him something, and he hasn't been heard from since."

"You're kidding, right," said Methos, eying Jack in disbelief.

Jack shrugged with a grin. "Come on," he said companionably, his arms around Methos' shoulder. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure," he said affably.

"What do know about Xander Harris?"

"Xander? Why?" he asked.

"He has been asking some questions about the military, and I thought that if he was really interested, I might recommend him to the Air Force Academy."

Methos shrugged. "I really don't know him at all. I don't like him, but that's just my first impression. He can be an okay person if he takes time to actually think before he opens his mouth. But I am not the person you need to ask. He's Bella's friend. Why don't you ask her?"

"I'll do just that," Jack said.

Chapter 16

Background

General Hammond stood staring out of the glass window that overlooked the Stargate. He was contemplating the possibility of retirement. He hadn't been in his office for five minutes before he was handed a file by an aide. The file was forty pages thick and it took almost two hours of reading before it made any sense.

He swore. What had he gotten himself into? The file contained information of Ms. Summers that only a person with high clearance such as himself could access. There were several hints of a covert ops that Ms. Summers had participated in, which because of his type of clearance even he couldn't access that info. In the file, the President had mentioned in a note that he was encouraged to invite Ms. Summers to join the SGC. "Encouraged my ass," he snorted. That was a polite way of saying he had to. His brows beetled into a frown. He could imagine the chaos that would followed in Summers' wake if she worked for Stargate Command. But, orders were orders.

There was much more in the file, much more – information on Isabella O'Neill, alias Buffy Summers. At first he thought it was a joke, but after calling the President of the United States twice, he now knew it wasn't. First, Goa'uld and now vampires or it's the other way around. Vampires, then Goa'uld. He shook his head in disbelief. Aargh. The information was so coded, he had to decipher it before he could read it. So even though it took the latter part of an hour to decipher it, it was worth it.

There was a brisk knock on his office door.

"Come in," he called.

Major Samantha Carter peered around the corner of the door carrying a large folder stuffed with papers.

"Good timing, Major Carter," Hammond said walking over to a shredding machine and slowly feeding papers into it. "Good timing," he repeated with a sigh. "I need some good news. What did you find out?"

She sat down in a chair, watching him as he continued to feed the machine with paper. "Regarding the gate sir, it is functional. There is no way the Goa'uld entered this facility through the stargate."

"Good," he said with a nod. "That is what I expected, but it's good for us to have proof," Hammond said, walking back to sit behind his desk. "How did the kids work out?"

"Pretty good, sir, considering that they are so young. They know what they're doing. Ms. Summers was right; her friends are really smart. They even comprehended everything I asked them. "

"That's good," he said, his finger steepled as he leaned back in his chair. "How about the other thing I wanted to know?"

"Here it is," she said with a sigh. She opened the folder and shuffled some papers. "Who do you want me to start with?" she asked.

"Let's start with the younger ones and work up, leaving Ms. Summers for the last."

"Xander, Oz, and Willow are what they appear to be – typical teenagers. Alexander "Xander" LaVelle Harris was born to Anthony and Jessica Harris in 1981 in Sunnydale, California. He's a typical C student. He and Willow Rosenberg are neighbors; that's how they apparently met. They also attended the same high school, where they met Daniel Osbourne, Oz for short, and Ms. Summers.

"Daniel "Oz" Osbourne was born in 1980 in Sunnydale, California. He's a skilled musician, and he's in a band called ‘The Dingoes Ate My Baby'."

The General grunted. "Weird name for a band," he said.

"I guess," said Sam with a shrug. "But not as weird as some of those out there. As you can tell, both Willow and Oz are dating. Willow Danielle Rosenberg was born in 1982 in Sunnydale, California, to Sheila and Ira Rosenberg. Mrs. Rosenberg is a psychologist. It said here that Willow is a member of the Math, Science, and Computer clubs. She also has a reputation as the person to go to for tutoring help," said Sam reading from a piece of paper. "After talking to Willow, I found out that she has a lot of scientific and computer knowledge. She was selected to be wooed by a prestigious software company and was chosen to teach computer science after a teacher at her school was murdered."

"She's that good?" said Hammond.

"Yes sir," she said nodding. "I was able to get her GPA and her SAT score. It was definitely above average."

"Mmm, we need more people like Ms. Rosenberg in the program," he said, contemplating for a moment. "Do you think she would like to join the SGC, after school that is?"

"I don't know, sir," Carter said with a shrug. "You'd have to ask her."

"Did you say Harris and her are best friends?"

"Yes," she said, wondering where the conversation was going.

"Colonel O'Neill was in this office twenty minutes ago, and he told me Harris was thinking of joining the Air Force. And he wondered if I, as a General, could give him a recommendation."

"A recommendation, sir?"

"Yes."

"What did you tell him?" she asked curiously.

"If young Harris is serious enough, it's no problem," Hammond admitted. "Continue," he said. Some of this information he had already known. The file he had received earlier was very detailed. He wondered if Summers and her friends knew that their lives were an open book. At least several people, besides the President, knew about her immortality and her being the Slayer.

Sam took a deep breath and gazed down at her papers. "The teacher who died was dating Rupert Giles, who was the school librarian at the time. Rupert Giles was born in 1954 into an upper'class family in London, England. They have worked for a company called the Council of Watchers for at least three generations. At age twenty'one, he dropped out of Oxford University where he was studying for a history degree. But later after a sabbatical, he returned. He's fluent in several languages such as Latin, German, Sumerian, and ancient Greek and has special knowledge of history, philosophy, and science."

"Really?" Hammond asked. After reading the information earlier, he was intrigued. "Where were these people when we were looking for recruits for the SGC? Is there anything in his background you would deem as bad?" he asked, his brows beetled. "Everything you have found out so far makes me think they would be perfect for the SGC."

"Well Sir, you haven't heard about the rest yet," she warned.

"Like what?"

"Ms. Summers, sir, and the Immortals, and most importantly, the town of Sunnydale."

"What about Sunnydale?" he asked, wondering how far and how detailed her research went. In hindsight, he shouldn't have given Carter the job. With her tenacity, she might find out something she wasn't supposed to see. And then there were the negative feelings between the Major and the Summers woman. Now he knows why Summers' life was a secret.

"There seem to have been a lot of unexplained deaths in the past several years in Sunnydale, and it seems to have an enormous amount of graves."

"That does seem extraordinary," Hammond admitted, knowing he had to say something. But after what he had read about the town, several graves weren't extraordinary at all. To the lay person, yes, but not to the supernatural community. Oh dear, he thought. He cannot believe he was taking it for granted that vampires exist. Is he so jaded that he could believe in vampires? But if aliens exist, why not vampires? he thought, turning himself to listen to Major Carter.

"Have you been to Sunnydale, sir?" she asked.

"No," he said shaking his head.

"Well it's a tiny town, west of Los Angeles. The mortality rate is very high for such a town. People have been disappearing for years, since the early 1900's."

"Do you think that has to do with Ms. Summers and her friends?" Hammond asked, eying the Major curiously.

"No sir," Sam said aghast. "It just struck me as an extraordinary thing," she admitted. "Now back to the background info."

"Who's next?"

"Adam Pierson. Hair color brown, eye color hazel/green. And that's all that I found out about him. There is nothing, same with his friend, Duncan MacLeod. I did find a Duncan MacLeod that was born in 1592 in Glenfinnan, Scotland. And with the description, it might be this Duncan – hair color black and eye color brown."

"That would make him over 410 years old," General Hammond mused.

"Yes sir. There were several Duncan MacLeods that kept popping up. One was in the war against the states; another one was one of the owners of an antique shop located in Seacouver, Washington, and in Paris, France. With what we know now about them, it could be the same person. Joe Dawson is a little bit more normal. He's described exactly how we see him – gray hair, eyes hazel/green, age between 50's and 60's. Joe Dawson served in Vietnam under General Andrew Cord. After stepping on a landmine, he had one of his legs amputated. He also lives in Seacouver, Washington, where he owns a bar. That must be where he met both Pierson and MacLeod."

"Now to Ms. Summers. From what I could find out, there was a Buffy Anne Summers born to Hank and Joyce Summers on January 19th, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. But that cannot be this Buffy Summers because she's an Immortal, right?" she asked, shaking her head. "After a messy divorce, Joyce and Buffy Summers migrated to Sunnydale, but not before Buffy burnt down a gym. That little part is confusing," she admitted.

"Why?"

"Because in the report it said her name was Buffy Winters. Even I couldn't mistake Winters and Summers," Carter said with a frown.

"True. Did they have any evidence to support the theory that she had burned down the gym?"

"No, that was why she was allowed to leave. But trouble seemed to follow Ms. Summers everywhere she goes, because one of her teachers died and a couple of weeks later, it was said she had murdered a student – A Ms. Kendra, no last name that I could find. When they went to arrest Summers, she had disappeared."

"Apparently she went back to the town," Hammond said archly. "Because that's where she came from. Was she ever arrested?"

"No," she said. "Which is curious itself. If she was wanted for murder, you would think they would have arrest her by now."

"You would think," he murmured, remembering the statement he had read earlier. "What else did you find out about her?"

"Nothing," she said baffled. "That's where the trail ended. I tried to get further information on her, but I kept coming up blank. Sir," she said hesitantly, "do you want me to continue to look? Nobody is a mystery. She must have left a trail somewhere."

Hammond looked at the Major thoughtfully. "No Major Carter," he said getting up from his chair in an obvious dismissal, "I have another option for finding out about Ms. Summers. I do not need for you to look any further," he said rounding his desk to reach her side.

"But Sir," she protested bewilderedly.

"That's all, Major, good day," he said guiding her towards the door and shutting it gently in her face.

Hammond sighed and walked back to his desk. He took up the tan phone and dialed a four digit number.

"Yes General," a voice answered.

"Tell Colonel O'Neill and Ms. Summers that I would like to see them in my office at 0700 and tell SG'1, I want to see them in my office no later than 0800."

"Yes Sir," the Sergeant said hanging up the phone.

Hammond redialed the number. "Uh Sergeant, please ask our civilian guests to also join SG'1," he said hanging up the phone.

He gave another sigh. It was time to get back to work.

That morning had found Buffy Summers awakened by a loud knock at the door at six a.m. It was weird being underground, she thought. If it wasn't for her internal clock, she would have thought it was night instead of day.

She yawned widely and took one look at Willow sleeping peacefully on the opposite bed, even in the face of all that noise. She stumbled towards the door and jerked it open, while wearily rubbing her face. She hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before. Everything she had gone through in the last seventy–two hours had come crashing down on her. She thought back about how she had left Sunnydale in a high dudgeon only to be knocked off her high horse. And then there was Jack. Seeing him again after all these years, she didn't expect the feelings she still had for him. Is she ready to just take up where they had left off? Aargh, she screamed silently. No wonder she didn't get any sleep.

"What!" she snarled, jerking the door open. She ignored the two guards standing to the side of the door like sentinels to glare hotly into Jack's beaming face.

"Hello, Bella," Jack said, his hands fisted in his trousers' pocket. "I'm here to take you to breakfast," he said with a broad grin.

"It's early," she whined.

"No, it's not. I have been up since 4:30 this morning. Now that's early."

"All right, wait here while I dress," she said slamming the door in his face.

"She loves me," Jack said sheepishly to the two waiting guards.

"Yes sir," one of them murmured.

Ten minutes later, the door opened and Buffy stepped out wearing a borrowed olive green t'shirt that tied in the middle to display her golden taut stomach and her dark'blue low'rider jeans that cup her bottom lovingly.

Jack gave a deep groan when he saw her.

"Do you like?" she asked twirling around.

"Definitely," he said swallowing hard. "What happened to the rest of the uniform?"

"This," she said, her hands sliding seductively down on her hips.

"No," he said, "the uniform. What you are wearing doesn't constitute as a uniform."

"I didn't like it," she said with an adorable pout. "It made me look fat, the only thing that was salvageable was the t'shirt."

"Bella," Jack said while shaking his head in bemusement. "Only you would desecrate the U.S. Air Force uniform just because you don't like it. Come on," he said putting his arm across her shoulders, taking a small peek at her butt when he thought she wouldn't notice.

But Buffy had noticed, and she smiled an enigmatic smile, confident of her allure.

Chapter 17

Welcome to the SGC.

After a huge breakfast, Jack and Buffy were told by an aide that they were needed in the General's Office.

Buffy was just sitting down, when the General said something to cause her mouth to hang open in shock.

"Ms Summers, can you tell me about your murder charge?"

Jack, who was lounging in one of the chairs, sat up straight. Whoa, he thought.

"You had me investigated?" she asked eying the General in disbelief. How dear he, she seethed.

"It's SOP," he said.

"What?"

"Standard Operating Procedure," said Jack.

"I knew that," she said chagrined.

"We cannot take anyone at face value," Hammond continued. "We are talking about the military, and we have a lot of secrets," he said.

"I can't believe you did that," said Buffy sharply. "Did you know he was going to do that?" she asked Jack.

"I had an inkling," he murmured weakly.

"Jack, you could have told me," she snapped, her lips puckered in annoyance.

"Well, I didn't know you had a murder charge hanging over your head," he said, and there was a critical tone to his voice.

With a shrug, Buffy turned towards Hammond. "What do you know?" she demanded.

"Everything," he said watching her carefully.

Her eyes narrowed. "What do you mean everything?"

"Ms Summers, what do you think everything means?" he asked dryly.

"You can't mean everything," she murmured, shaking her head.

"I can assure you," he continued in a dry tone. "When I said everything, I do mean everything," he said, his voice holding a hint of challenge.

Jack and Buffy eyed each other, then turned to look at the General.

"You don't mean…" Buffy said, unwilling to say it aloud.

"That I know that you are a vampire slayer," Hammond said boldly. "I have been on the phone most of the morning with both Major Davis and the President. And both of them corroborate this story. And you Colonel," Hammond said turning towards Jack. "When Dr. Jackson asked you directly what a Slayer was, you lied."

Jack shrugged. "It wasn't my secret to tell, sir," he admitted sheepishly. "I have been lying about stuff like this for years that it's just natural."

Ignoring Jack for the time being, Hammond had to ask. "Ms. Summers, what is a Vampire Slayer?"

"It is exactly what it sounds like," she said, eying him cautiously, waiting for him to freak out. Anyone hearing about vampires always declared that they were a myth. "A slayer is a person who kills vampires. Slayers are often young girls that aren't long'lived, mostly due in part to their line of work. We don't normally last through our teens, much less adulthood. I was pretty young when I found out that I was different from all of the other girls."

"How different?" he wondered aloud. Here was a chance to hear it from the horse's mouth. Reading reports didn't quite capture that quality of storytelling.

Buffy frowned. "Before I was kidnapped by Ra, I noticed that I was stronger and faster than the average human. I even had superior hearing and an instinct to take up any weapon and know to use it. The most obscure thing can become a weapon in my hands."

The General nodded, having read all of that in her file. "So vampires really do exist," he said with awe.

"Yes, and demons, succubae, werewolves, trolls, evil genies, and fairies. This world is made up of many things, and some of them are not human. But it is also rare when the average person notices."

"The Colonel knows about it," he said defensively.

"Well, I'm sort of special," Jack said with a smirk. "But even in the most stretched of the truth, I wouldn't be considered normal."

"Amen to that," Buffy coughed.

Ignoring Buffy, Jack continued. "Plus, I'm over ten thousand years old. And if in that time I never saw an Others before, then I was truly blind."

"Others?" Hammond queried, testing out the word.

"That's what I called them," Jack admitted.

"Why don't more people know about this stuff?" Hammond asked, gazing from one person to the next.

"Mostly, people don't want to know," Buffy admitted wryly. "And part of it was government cover'up, just like the Goa'uld. Everyone that knows that the Goa'uld exist is in part of the government. And there are agencies all over the world that police and monitor the others. In these agencies, we have humans and others working together. Just like anything else, there are good and bad others. Now that you know that they're others out there, aren't you going to look at your neighbors a little bit different?"

He nodded.

"There was a time when we suspected our neighbors of being the Unabomber or some other terrorist; now we are wondering about not who they are, but what they are."

"You are right, Ms. Summers. Now I know all of that, I will be looking at the world differently, and it can't be helped. We are a suspicious lot," he admitted. "How about the Slayers? How many are there?"

"Two, which is an anomaly."

"Why?" he asked curiously.

"I'm not supposed to exist," she said with a laughing glance. "I'm not the first vampire slayer, and although I was called young, I had a trainer who taught me what to do. And when I was kidnapped by Ra, they needed another Slayer. Slayers weren't born but were created."

"Created how?"

"By magic," she said.

"Magic," he said nonplussed.

"Yes, General Hammond, magic does exist," she said smiling blandly. "You see the first Slayer was created by a group of men that forced the essence of a demon inside the girl. If that wasn't magic, I don't know what else. Regarding the two Slayers… Thinking I was dead, another slayer was called to handle the supernatural force, and when she died, another was called for generations to generations. But see, due to my immortality, I was still alive, but technically I was dead. As an Immortal, I had retained my slayerness, if you want to call it that. So I was a Slayer, but not the Slayer. Over the years, I didn't want to interfere with the other Slayer's life, so I went the opposite way from her, which she was the one who always stayed on the hot spots.

The General's mouth parted to ask a question.

"Before you ask, the hot spots are generally speaking a bed of heavy supernatural activity. So over the years, I continued to hunt vampires, demons, etc., far from the current slayer. But that changed the year that I met Buffy Winters. Buffy Winters was a young cheerleader who had her life mapped out in front of her. She wanted to be a fashion buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue and maybe marry her high school boyfriend. She found out that vampires exist the hard way, when one of her friends was killed. It was happenstance or fate when I chanced upon her killing the vampire in a cemetery in Los Angeles. She was raw; it would probably have taken a lot of training for her to become the best."

"Height'wise we were the same size, but other than that, we didn't look alike. She was blond and bubbly, an airhead even. A true Californian. For a couple of days, I watched her to make sure that she could handle herself. I found out that she was an only child; her mother was a single mom and neglectful. Her mother was some major attorney and her father was nonexistent. "

"During that time, a master vampire named Lothos had set up camp in Los Angeles. Lothos had killed many slayers before. That was what he was known for. Lothos the Slayer Killer, he was called," she said bitterly. "Anyway, she decided to fight him, but he was too much for her. He was charming and seductive. The old ones usually are. He also had mind control, and he used it on her – she stuck herself with a killing blow with her own stake. I found her a few minutes later," she added bleakly.

There was five seconds of silence, and Buffy took a deep breath. "At that time, I didn't know that I was going to change my identity. That came later. I thought her mother needed to know that her daughter was dead, so I went to her house to tell the woman. What I found was the woman having an orgy party. I don't think she even knew if her impressionable daughter was in the house or not. And it being two in the morning, this mother should know. Watching her, I saw that she didn't care. No one cared. Even her friends didn't know she was missing. Everyone was involved in his or her so'called life. I wanted someone to care that this young lady's life had meaning and that she died for a good cause."

"Also during that time, Joyce and Hank were having problems in their marriage and they were going through a divorce. Partly it was because of me, so I had moved out. I had colored my hair blond, and from the back, I looked like Buffy Winters enough to be mistaken for her twin. I wanted revenge and Merrick provided that. He mistook me for Buffy, and I told him my name was Summers, not Winters. He trained what he thought was a young, raw slayer, but I didn't tell him I wasn't as inept as he thought. I was planning to tell him who I really was when he was killed by Lothos. I was beginning to care for him and now he too was dead by Lothos. It was now war. I hunted Lothos and his fledglings and killed them. At the time, I also had to start a fire in the gymnasium where several of the vampires went to get fresh meat. The school was having a spring fling," she said with a wry grin.

"The divorce had taken a toll on Joyce, and she needed a break. A fresh start. And here I was, blond and with the name Buffy Summers. I wanted to get away as far from Los Angeles as I could. As I said earlier, maybe fate or happenstance allowed us to choose Sunnydale. Boca de infernio. The Hellmouth. Before I left, I had to threaten Hank into giving Joyce enough money so that she could open the gallery in Sunnydale. Then with his consent, I became creative in creating background info for Joycie and me."

"Did the other Buffy's mother find out that her daughter was dead?" asked General Hammond.

"No, but she filed a police report two weeks later when she finally noticed that the food in the fridge hadn't been eaten."

"What a selfish woman," Jack said

"Yes," Buffy nodded. "She was selfish."

"What happened to her?"

"I kept track of her even after I moved to Sunnydale. One night coming out of the movies, stray bullets struck her down."

"Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't there have been another Slayer called when Buffy Winters died?" asked General Hammond thoughtfully.

"Yes, as matter of fact," Buffy said with a bemused smile, "there was."

"Who was it?" asked Jack. "And what happened to her?"

"As I stated, I don't know if it was fate or what… but a couple of weeks after Buffy's death, there was a new Slayer. And it was freaky the way she died."

"What happen to her?" asked Hammond.

"Jasmine and her family were taking a tour of small town America when she became a Slayer. At the time, they chose the wrong place to visit, Sunnydale."

In the meanwhile, I decided that since I was still living my life as Buffy Summers – a student, I would continue my life as the original Buffy would have. I went to school, cultivating friendships and trying to keep my head down. But fate is a funny thing. I didn't know that, when I chose this town, it was the mouth to hell. Literally. My friends found out that I was a Vampire Slayer, and one fateful day, I had to go battle another master vampire. My friend Xander had followed me because there was a prophecy that stated that I was going to die. The Master was strong and I couldn't fend him off, so he bit me and threw me into a pool of water. Xander, who didn't know of my immortality, gave my CPR. But the prophecy wasn't for me, it was for Jasmine. During that same time while I was technically dead, Jasmine was being killed outside The Bronze fighting for her life. Because of her death a new slayer was called, Kendra," she said softly. "That's how they're two slayers."

"How did you find out," Hammond asked confused, "if you weren't there?"

"Someone who keeps track of the slayers told me," she admitted. "They were the one that told me that I was needed in Sunnydale."

After a contemplative moment, Hammond asked again, "How about this murder charge?" He wanted to hear her view of things. In front of him, he had the Sunnydale homicide report; however, from what he now knew of Summers, nothing was as cut and dry as the report made it out to be.

Buffy's eyes were bleak with pain. It wasn't something she wanted to remember, but it was hard for her to forget when it was her fault.

Seeing the pain and helplessness in her eyes, Jack said softly, "What happened?"

Buffy sighed. "This is not pretty," she said. "Remember when Xander said that I had slept with Angelus?"

He nodded.

Seeing a speculative look come over the General's face, Buffy avoided his gaze. "Jack, this is kinda personal," she muttered.

"How personal?" he asked, his eyes narrowed.

"Very," she said, stealing a glance at his face.

Hammond cleared his throat. "I understand you don't want to air your personal business, Ms Summers, but I guarantee it will stay between the three of us. Go ahead," he said making a slight gesture.

Buffy took a deep breath. "Okay, what Xander told you about Angelus and me was true."

"You told me that before," his eyes following her intently. "Remember?"

She swallowed nervously. "I remember," she said with a nod. "But that wasn't the gist of it. When Angelus and I slept together, I didn't know that the gypsies that had cursed him put a happiness clause in the curse."

"What!" he said, eying her in disbelief.

"A happiness clause," she said bleakly. "When he felt truly happy, the curse was broken. He reverted to his demonic side. He became evil and cruel. He was an embodiment of all evil things. He was planning to suck the world into hell and I had to stop him."

"How?" he asked softly, seeing that she was tormented by some inner pain.

"I had to kill him," she said tears running down her face. "After you Jack, I never thought I would love anyone again. Being together working side by side, we became much closer, so naturally we decided to become lovers. I mean, it was the first time since you that…"

"Fifty years?" he said, blinking in shock.

"Fifty years," she agreed with a solemn nod. "And the first time I decided to have sex, I let out a demon in our world, a demon so evil that the world almost ended."

"Oh Bella, it's not your fault," Jack said rushing to comfort her. He gathered her into his arms swaying back and forth, making soothing noises.

Wiping her tears, Buffy shrugged out of his arms. "Of course it is my fault. Remember when I mentioned the other slayer? I didn't tell you how she died. I killed her," she said.

"What?" he said, looking askance at the General.

"Yes," Buffy said with a mutinous nod. "I‘m guilty of killing her – if Angelus hadn't followed me to Sunnydale, his Childer, Drusilla and her childe Spike, wouldn't have followed him; and if I hadn't slept with Angel bringing out the evilness in him, Drusilla wouldn't have wanted to score brownie points with her beloved daddy by killing Kendra. So it was my fault," she cried.

"Ms. Summers," Hammond said gently, "correct me if I don't understand. A woman by the name of Drusilla killed Kendra. So why were you blamed?"

"The principal of the school, a toad, named Snyder – he doesn't like me, and I was seen on the premises shortly after she was killed."

"It was a misunderstanding then," he said satisfied that everything seemed clear.

"Yeah," she said, nodding.

"What happened to these people you named?" he asked curiously.

"They're not people; they're vampires," she admitted.

"You slept with a vampire, but'but," Hammond said, shocked down to his very soul. "You are a Vampire Slayer. Isn't it your job to kill them?"

"Don't judge me," she snapped.

"But'but," he sputtered.

"General, please?" Jack said, his brow set in a straight line.

"Okay," he said placatingly. "What happened to the vampires?" Vampires. Hell, he thought shaking his heads in disbelief.

"As far as I have heard, Spike and Drusilla are in South America and Angel is still in Sunnydale," she said.

"What?" Jack cried, his mouth dropping open. "I thought you said you had to kill him?"

She swallowed hard, lifted her chin, and boldly met his gaze. "I did," she said. "You would believe this," she said with a laugh. But the laughter dwindled to silence when she noticed his serious mien.

"When the curse was lifted, Angel reverted into a crueler Angelus than the person we knew. I believed it at the time, and I still do believe it, that being trapped all these years with a soul caused him to be angry. He was trapped within himself. He couldn't be free to follow his conscience, so when he got free, he made up for lost time. But his soul was restored to him by Willow, who has been dabbling in magic. But at the time, it was too late because Acathla had opened and only his blood could stop it from opening any further. However several months later, I found him; he was freed from his hell and returned back to Sunnydale."

"How did that happen?" Jack asked. He wasn't quite sure what he made of the story. A part of him wanted to comfort Buffy because of the pain she had went through. And the other wanted to curse her for sleeping with Angelus in the first place. Now, he remembered the tension between her and her friends. At first, he had chalked it up to them finding out about Buffy's immortality, but now that he had thought about it, it was tension that probably lay over from the Angelus situation.

"I'm not sure," Buffy said with a shrug. "Weird stuff seems to happen in Sunnydale."

"So that's how there are two Slayers." Hammond said to himself with a nod and straightened his uniform. "Ms Summers, I didn't just call you in here just to open old wounds. What I really wanted to know is can I trust you? The SGC stands for something and we… I wanted to know that the person I will be working with is trustworthy. Ms Summers, I am offering you a job at the SGC."

"Why?" she asked with a puzzled frown.

"Bella!" Jack admonished.

She turned towards Jack. "I really want to know."

"Because you are good at what you do, and after reading your file," General Hammond said, "I noted that there was another Slayer in Sunnydale, isn't there?"

"Faith," she said her eyes narrowed warily.

"Faith Lehane," he said, looking at his notes. "She doesn't need you to be there, and if she does, you are only a phone call away. And I have the best resources of the United States Air Force at my disposal, so that you can reach them in time, if you so choose."

"Yes," she said cautiously.

"So, Bella, what do you think?" Jack asked eagerly. Maybe now Bella will stay in Colorado more than a couple of days, he thought.

"About what?" she said with a hint of smile. Jack's eagerness made him sound like a little boy.

"Bella," he drawled.

"Okay," she said placating him. "I‘ll take the job."

"You will!" said Jack beaming, grabbing her to twirl her around the room.

"Welcome to the SGC," said General Hammond walking around the desk to shake Buffy's hand.

The door behind them opened and SG'1 and the civilian guests all trooped in. They were just in time to hear General Hammond's announcement.

"What!" cried Carter outraged. "What do you mean ‘welcome to the SGC'?"

"Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Summers has given us the honor of working for Stargate Command."

"But General," Carter protested. "The information in the files?"

"That has been taken care of," General Hammond announced sharply.

"But," she protested again.

The General gave Carter a look. "It has been taken care of, Major," he said through gritted teeth.

Daniel eyed both the General and Carter speculatively.

"Yes sir," she said quietly as she walked towards an empty chair. What's going on here? she thought bewilderedly. Did she put a spell on him or something? eying Buffy with suspicion.

"Buffy, are you really going to stay here in Colorado?" asked Willow. worrying her bottom lip.

"Well, yes," she said managing a tremulous smile. "I'm sorry you guys, but Sunnydale isn't my home anymore."

"But what about, you know," she said, her eyes darting around the room.

Buffy sighed. "It's Faith's job now," she said. "Faith and Angel can take care of everything. I have enough faith in Faith."

"But…" Willow continued, looking for a plausible explanation for Buffy to stay. "What about Giles – he will be out of a job?"

"He is already out of a job," Buffy said exasperated. "He was fired remember?"

"I wasn't fired," Giles said mildly. "I quit."

"Fired, quit, same dif," she said with a negligent shrug. "He's out of a job."

"Buffy, they are not the same," Giles continued in his mild tone. "One is when you leave on your own accord and the other is when someone asks you to leave."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Can we talk about something different?" she fumed.

"Okay," said the General. "Everyone, please sit down." He waited until everyone was sitting. "I asked all of you here to find out more about the Ammut situation and how far you have reached in your research."

"Not very far," said Daniel. "But with a little more time and effort, we might be able to find this Ammut."

"Okay, I will leave it to your guys," Hammond announced. "After an extensive background check on you people, I am able to offer a couple more people jobs here at the SGC."

"You had us investigated?"

"You had no right to invade our privacy."

"How about it, Mr. Giles," Hammond said ignoring the background noise.

"Me?" Giles said blinking with shock. He took off his glasses and started polishing them with his ever'ready handkerchief.

"Yes, you," Hammond said with a brief grin. "As mentioned, you are out of work, and the information I have tells me that you are the type of person we need here at the SGC. So how about it?"

"Yes, Giles, you would be perfect for this job," Buffy announced gleefully.

"I never thought to work for the military," he said with a frown.

"Don't think about us as the military, but think of us as working for a common cause," announced Hammond.

"But'but," he stammered. "My family has always worked for the Council," he muttered. "I would be the one to break that tradition."

"Tell the Council to take a flying leap," Buffy snapped. "If they cared about you, they wouldn't have fired you," she said.

"I quit, remember," he said.

"Whatever," she drawled. "You always were a rebel, Ripper," Buffy said.

"I heard that you are having a problem with your work visa," said the General uncannily.

Giles' eyes narrowed. "That's blackmail," he muttered.

"Did it work?" Hammond asked, eyebrows arched.

"Yes it did, damn it," said Giles slamming his hands hard on the table.

"Well," he said aloud. "Welcome me to SGC, with a couple of exceptions: I want to live off base and have my own life; however, I would be available to you for a specific sum for my expertise," he announced in a ringing tone

"That would depend upon you being available whenever we needed you," Hammond admitted with a frown, eying him thoughtfully.

"What are you thinking of doing?"

"I have always thought of opening my own occult shop," said Giles, his eyes alight.

"Occult shop?" asked Carter, shocked that this intelligent man seemed crazy. "Why?"

"It has always been a dream of mind to own a shop."

"Okay," she said shrugging with a puzzled frown.

"Welcome to the SGC, Mr. Giles," said General Hammond. I do hope the others won't be this stubborn, he thought. "Now, young Mr. Harris is thinking of joining the Air Force after High School, which will be in a couple of months, and has an eye towards the SGC."

"Xander," Willow squealed rushing to give him a hug. "Is this true?"

"It is," he said quietly. "Someone told me I had to grow up. And I always thought the military would be the perfect place to do that."

Hammond nodded. "The military will make a man out of you, yet. And you, Ms. Rosenberg, with some college courses under your belt, and with Mr. Osborne of course, you will also make a fine addition to the SGC."

"I will?" she squeaked.

"You will," he said firmly. "Major Carter has high hopes for the both of you."

"You," asked Willow, looking at the older woman in astonishment.

"I do," Carter said, smiling a sickly sweet smile.

"Whatever Willow wants, I'll do it," said Oz at his loquacious best.

"Good," Hammond said with nod. "Then that settles it," he said, turning towards Adam. "How about you, Mr. Pierson?" asked Hammond.

"What is in it for me?" he asked, studying him with a curious intensity.

"How about you get to see the world and fight the Goa'uld," he said.

"Well," he said. "That's good enough for me," he said with a wink.

"Mr. MacLeod and Mr. Dawson, something tells me if I offered both of you a job, you would turn me down," he said.

Joe and Mac looked at each as they both came to an internal decision.

"Yes," they both said.

"There is too much I'm needed here for," said Duncan.

"Same with me," said Joe.

"Good, then I made the right decision. So let us get back to business. Dr. Jackson, tell us what you found."

"I didn't find much," he admitted. "We," he said encompassing everyone. "We did research and we couldn't find Ammut's point of entry into the country. If we weren't talking about the Tok'ra, I would have said that they had made her up. Usually the Goa'uld aren't that subtle, but this one is nowhere to be found."

"Yes," said Adam. "I did my best computer skills and I have found no place where the Goa'uld could be hanging."

"Maybe we don't need to find the Goa'uld, maybe we need to find Robert." Buffy said worrying her bottom lip between her teeth.

"His Watcher!" Joe suddenly shouted.

"What?" said Daniel startled.

"His Watcher, of course," Buffy said softly.

"Yes," admitted Joe, looking around at the interested faces. "I own a bar in Seacouver, Washington, if you don't know that already. But my other sideline job is to watch Immortals. We record and monitor their lives, not interfering in their battles. We must know where our charges are at all times.

"So, Buffy, Jack, where are your Immortal Watchers?" asked Xander.

"We don't have any," Buffy said. "And I'm going to keep it that way." she said.

"Do you know how many Immortals there are?" Daniel asked.

"Hundreds, thousands," Joe said with a negligent wave. "I'm not sure, but I can call The Watchers' Society to find out who was Robert Gannon's Watcher."

"Good, then it's a plan?" said Hammond with a dismissive air.

"Wait a minute!" Buffy shouted.

Everyone turned to look at her.

"Does that mean, what I think it means?" she asked.

"What Ms. Summers?" asked Hammond.

"Since I am now working for you guys, I can leave?" she said her eyes alight.

"Well," General Hammond said with a slight hesitation.

"After I sign your thingy of course," Buffy said, bouncing up and down in her chair.

"Of course," he said with a sigh.

"Yeah!" she yelled. "Freedom." She turned to Jack. "Does that offer still hold, you know the one about your second bedroom?"

"Sure," he said, his gaze was a soft caress.

"What about us?" Willow asked with a frown. Buffy seems so happy to get away from us, she thought looking at the happy couple. She seems as if she has forgotten about me. I am her best friend. Darn it. "They probably gave away our rooms by now."

"If such is the case, we do have plenty of room," said General Hammond. "And we do have the resources here, so I do not mind you hanging around," he said. "Dr. Jackson, we still need you to find where the Goa'uld is hiding and her point of entry into this world."

"You don't think she came through the second gate?" Daniel asked quietly.

"What?" said Jack. "You don't mean the one we gave to the Russians?"

Teal'c raised his eyebrows inquiringly.

"I don't think the Russians would be that careless. There must be another point of entry," Hammond said firmly.

"What second gate?" asked Giles looking from one person to another.

There was a long silence, only to be broken by Daniel. "We have a second gate that we sold to the Russians," he admitted sheepishly.

Buffy shook her head in disbelief. Then a memory flashed and startled her. "Uh."

"What is it?" said Jack concerned.

"I just remembered something. After Ra vacated the earth, there weren't just two Chappa'ai that were buried."

"What?" said General Hammond. He closed his eyes in disbelief. It seemed as if he was getting one shock after another. Can my heart take it, he wondered.

"Ra left a ship behind. It had a stargate, if someone knew of it and the coordinates, then they could theoretically enter earth."

"Where is it?"

"How?" demanded the General through gritted teeth. "And why am I hearing this now," he asked.

"A third gate?" said Carter astonished.

Jack closed his eyes. "The third gate was my responsibility," he announced. "I buried it in the Amazon. During our retreat from the Goa'uld, we had a couple of options to not let anymore Goa'uld on earth. Adam was the one who buried the gate in the artic, and Isabella buried that one in the desert. We were all sure that no one could ever retrieve it. Our first choice wasn't just to bury it but to destroy it. But the material it is made out of is practically undestroyable. The third gate was on a Tel'nak ship, and my task was to bury it as far from the others as soon as possible. Since the ship had an invisibility capability, I was able to guide the ship to the Amazon. During my journey there, it was rough, so rough that the ship crashed, but I managed to get away, thinking that the gate was destroyed".

"Apparently not," Adam said. "We can't have you blaming yourself, Jack," he said. "In hindsight, you should have made sure the ship and the gate were completely destroyed. We all knew that the materials the gates are made of are completely indestructible."

"Yeah, Jack," Buffy said commiserating with him. "You cannot blame yourself. Remember I was in charge of the gate in Giza and they found that. And Adam was in charge of the one in the Arctic."

"I always wondered who buried the gates and why," said Daniel thoughtfully.

"We didn't want what happened before to happen again to innocent people. We buried them for our own good."

"Alright," said Hammond thoughtfully. "We have a location of where the last gate is supposed to be. And Mr. Dawson will check with his people and find this Robert Gannon. Now you have your assignments, people. You are all dismissed."

"Yes sir."

"Yes General."

"See you later."

"Bye."

"Freedom."

"Sweet."

"General Hammond, may I have a word with you?" said Carter

"Of course Major," he said with a sigh. She's not going to let this go, he thought. "Shut the door on your way out," he said to the departing group.

"Sir, do you think it is wise having Ms. Summers working here?" She asked in a troubled voice.

"Major Carter, you and I have always had a good working relationship. And when I said let it go, I meant it. I do understand your feelings, but you also have to understand mine. I wouldn't have asked her to join the SGC if she wasn't capable. Plus the President wants her to. We don't say no to the President of the United States. We will be court'martialed for treason if we do. If there is a problem between you and Summers, you have to work it out. Let it go."

"Yes sir."

"I cannot have that level of animosity with this job," he continued, "especially when we all have to work together."

"It isn't that I hate her, sir," she said quietly. "Maybe of what she represents."

"And what is that, Major?" he said cocking his head curiously.

"The end of a dream sir," she said softly. "The end of a dream."

Hammond closed his eyes briefly. "You have to dream a different dream," he muttered softly. Pasting a bright smile on his face, he said, "I do understand dreams, but you have to work it out between you, the Colonel, and Summers – for all of your sakes.

"Yes sir," she said quietly and walked to the door, closing it behind her.

General Hammond sat down heavily in his chair and blew a breath.

Chapter 18

Jack & Isabella

Buffy practically skipped to keep up with Jack's stride as he walked towards his Jeep Cherokee in the parking lot. She slid into the passenger side and drew the seatbelt. "Are you sure you don't mind, me staying awhile?" she asked tentatively.

"Of course not," Jack said, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise.

"Good," she said, turning to look out the car window.

To Buffy, freedom had meant leaving the underground dwelling of the SGC. As she sat in the passenger seat of Jack's jeep, she felt nervous. She would be alone with Jack. The others had decided to stay at the mountain and had volunteered her to return the hotel keys and pay the bills. But after a twenty minute drive of talking about nothing and everything, she had nothing to say. What does one talk about after fifty years of misunderstanding? I don't know, she admitted to herself with a frown.

"Are you okay," Jack asked, his eyes searching her face.

"Of course," she said giving a start of surprise. "Why?"

He shrugged. "I don't know," he said frowning. "You haven't said much."

She gave him a quick glance, then quickly turned her face back towards the scenery outside her window. "I don't have much to say," she said.

There was a moment of silence.

"Are we there yet?" she said.

"Soon," he said, surveying the road judiciously.

Buffy cursed inwardly. I'm nervous, she thought, wetting her suddenly dry lips. It isn't as if she'd never been alone with a man before or never been in his home. But this was Jack. Jack O'Neill, her husband, someone she had been intimate with. She gave him a quick glance, but turned her head before he noticed.

Jack sighed as he continued to maneuver the car into the late afternoon traffic. Why should I be nervous? he thought. It isn't as if this was the first time he was having a house guest. Then he thought about whom… Bella. He still has the hots for her after all of these years. She was the only one that could tie him up into knots like this. He suddenly broke out in a cold sweat. What if she doesn't return his favor? He drove up to his house and parked in the driveway. "Here we are," he announced, his hands beating a rhythmic tattoo on the steering wheel, showing an outward sign that he was nervous.

Buffy stood outside the door waiting for Jack to turn the key. His house was a surprise. When she had pictured it, she didn't know what to expect, but his house was a two'story ranch with three bedrooms, three baths, a large kitchen, a dining room, and a living room. She entered the house, gazing around curiously. To Buffy's left was a staircase that seemed to lead to a second floor landing and to her right there appeared to be a living room, a dining room, and the kitchen.

"What do you think?" he asked juggling his keys in his tan trousers' pocket.

Buffy shrugged and presented Jack with a small smile. "I don't know," she admitted. "It seems like you and sorta not like you."

"Yeah?" said Jack trying to see the house through Buffy's eyes. He had bought the house five years ago after he had just started to work for the SGC, when he knew that he wanted to live. After Charlie's death, he had lost his way, and the house and the job had help. "How?" he asked, his mouth quirked with humor.

"Too frou'frou," she said with a gesture, taking in the pale curtains and the flower sofa.

"Frou'frou? Is that even a word?" he wondered, smiling broadly. He looked around the room. Buffy was right. He wasn't the best decorator. He had bought the house furnished from an eighty'year'old grandma and her style was still in the house. The only change he had made was the addition of a large screen plasma television, a large brown leather couch, and his bedroom set. Otherwise, the house was the same as before it was sold. He had always told himself that soon he would change it, but since he lived practically on base, soon had never arrived.

"Maybe," she said, returning his grin.

"Oh, Bella," he said, putting his large hand to her waist, and drawing her form to him. "How I missed you," he whispered, his breath hot against her ear. She was so soft, warm.

Buffy's mind told her to resist, but her body refused. Her body sang ‘this is Jack'. They still had a lot to talk about, but his nearness was so overwhelming. She took a deep breath and pulled herself away. She cleared her dry throat. "Where'where's my room," she said shakily, her eyes straying up the stairs.

Jack searched her face as if he could read her thoughts.

She glanced away and picked up a suitcase.

He sighed and gestured towards the stairs. "Right this way," he said resigned, picking up her other suitcase and leading her up the stairs to a closed door. He opened the door to a femininely decorated room.

"Beautiful room," she said, putting the suitcase on the floor. "Do you entertain a lot of over night guests?" she asked with a frown, fingering a yellow lace curtain at the window.

"Sometimes Cassandra stays over," he said, dropping the suitcase next to the bed.

"Cassandra," Buffy queried, her eyes narrowed and hardened. I thought he wasn't dating anyone. "I thought you weren't seeing anyone," she said with a mild inflection in her voice.

He stared at her baffled. "Seeing someone?" he said, his eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Where did you the get the idea that I was seeing someone?" Jack questioned, his brow set in a straight line.

"Cassandra," Buffy said tightly.

"Cassie?" Jack said with a watchful look on his face. "Oh, she's Janet's daughter," he said smoothly, with no expression on his face. She's jealous, Jack thought gleefully. If she didn't care, she wouldn't be jealous. Right? he thought, making sure the happiness he was feeling was not showing on his face.

Buffy set her chin in a stubborn line. "Janet?"

"You met her, the doctor," he announced.

Buffy nodded, feeling herself color; she had to admit to herself that she was jealous. Intellectually, she knew he had been with another woman, but internally she couldn't handle it.

"Cassie is her sixteen'year'old adopted daughter," Jack continued matter'of'factly.

"Okay," she said with a disinterested shrug.

"Are you jealous?" Jack asked; his look was of faint amusement.

"Jealous? Of course not," she said flushing as she paced around the room. "We've been apart for the latter part of fifty years, I didn't expect you to be celibate," she said in a rush.

"But you were," Jack said; his expression stilled and grew serious as he walked forward and clasped her body tightly to his, her soft curves molded to the contours of his body.

She swallowed hard, managing a feeble answer. "You only have my word for that," Buffy said

"I'm so humbled," Jack whispered into her hair, "that you waited."

The mere touch of his hand was sending warming shivers through Buffy. He bent his head and captured her lips.

Their first kiss was tentative, thoughtful, as his tongue traced the soft fullness of her lips seeking a familiar route after fifty years apart. It was like riding a bike.

Raising his mouth from hers, Jack gazed into Buffy's eyes and she could feel the blood coursing through her veins like an awakened river; then his lips recaptured hers, more demanding this time, forcing her lips to open to his thrusting tongue.

Buffy felt like she was drowning in sensations as Jack's hands explored the soft lines of her body. "Oh, Jack," she sighed, when she could catch her breath to talk.

"Oh, Bella," he moaned, as her hands slid under his shirt to caress his hot skin. He felt as if he was coming home; those other women were a distant memory as he slowly unbuttoned her top, worshipfully, finding several folded knives and two stakes – including her favorite sword strapped to her back. He shook his head. It was always a mystery where she hid those things, especially with her choice of clothing.

He eased the lacy cup of her bra aside as his hands roamed intimately over her skin. The shapely beauty of her naked body taunted him, and he swept her, weightlessly, into his arms and carried her towards the bed.

Gently he eased her down onto the bed. For the first time in his life, since the breakup, he mourned what he had missed. Why did I wait all these years to reconnect, he thought as he followed her onto the bed. His hands explored the soft lines of her back, her waist, and her hips as he continued to kiss her with slow drugging kisses. His hand slipped inside the waist of her pants, while the other fondled one small globe of her breast with its pink nipple already hard. Her breast surged at the intimacy of his touch.

Oh God, she feels so good, Jack thought as the pleasure sent a shuddering awareness down his body.

Buffy gasped, her hands clawing at his skin. She felt as if she was on fire.

Jack leaned away to roughly pull the tight jeans down her legs, all the while making a grunting sound.

Buffy whimpered at the loss of his hands and kisses, but soon she was completely bare, open to his gaze and to his touch.

"Now," she growled as her body arched into his. Buffy writhed on the bed, her arms outstretched, calling him to her, begging for Jack's touch. She was on fire, and only he could quench it. She moaned.

"Not yet," he grunted as he quickly pulled his shirt over his head.

"Now!" she snarled, her eyes were slit as she grabbed him and ripped the rest of his clothes off.

When he was finally naked, he slowly lowered his body over hers. But Buffy was frantic; she cawed and mewled, moving on the bed in a sinuous dance of want and need. He grunted as Buffy's sharp nails scorched his skin. She sighed as his cool body touched her hot skin; it was now flesh against flesh, man against woman. Oh God, she thought as her arms circled him. She could felt where her fingers had scorched his back. "Oh Jack," she cried, apologetically.

"Shh," he murmured and his lips seared a path down her neck, her shoulders, then his lips brushed her nipples, rousing a melted sweetness within her body. Slowly his hands moved downward, skimming both sides of her body to her thighs. Jack continued to explore her thighs then moved up to her taut stomach.

Buffy's senses reeled; she was awash with sensation, her hips pumping in supplication, begging for something.

Jack knew what she wanted, what they both wanted, so he parted her thighs and entered her in one swift glide.

She moaned.

It was a tight squeeze, but soon her wet body adjusted to the fullness. It didn't take any effort at all, and soon Buffy and Jack were caught up in a rhythm of their own.

She rose to meet his thrusts in a moment of uncontrolled passion. As he inflamed her passion, Jack felt his own grow stronger. This feels so good, he thought with a groan as his lower body continued thrusting. He tightened his grip on Buffy's body, moving his hands easily to her hips, and drove himself deeper.

It was too much – Buffy's eyes rolled up into her head as she gasped in sweet agony and cried out her release.

"Look at me, Bella," Jack grunted as his hip pistoned in and out of her. "This is Jack," he said. "No one else is giving you this pleasure," Jack growled in her ear, as he slowed his movements.

She whimpered.

Then he sped up his movements; faster and faster, he moved into her, placing one of his hands between their bodies.

The second orgasm took Buffy by surprise. "Jack!" she screamed as her body started to undulate, taking Jack along for the ride.

Whoa! Buffy thought a few minutes later when she was finally able to think or feel. She glanced over at Jack, who had the most satisfied grin on his face, as he laid there boneless.

She sighed in pleasant exhaustion.

Jack grunted and tucked her curves neatly into his own contours. She snuggled against him as their legs intertwined.

"That was good," she said, feeling now the aches in her body, even her eyebrows.

"Yeah, it was like riding a bike," Jack said, winking at Buffy salaciously as a deep feeling of peace entered his being. For the first time in years, he felt happy.

"A bike," Buffy teased, her body glistening with sweat. "Are you comparing me to a bike?" she said in mock anger.

"Well if the seat fits," he said, smiling roguishly as he caressed her butt.

"Ooh," cried Buffy, suddenly energetic. "I'll show you a bike." And she grabbed a pillow and started hitting Jack over the head with it.

In retaliation, he grabbed his own pillow to defend himself. Both choked with laughter as the pillow broke scattering feathers over their damp skin and the room. Soon the laughter died down and their passion once again rose scenting the room with desire. And it was several hours later before they thought to leave the bed.

"I want to take you out to my favorite restaurant," Jack said as he stood at the side of the bed shrugging into charcoal gray pants.

"When?" Buffy said languidly, lying on the bed while she watched as he dressed.

"How about now?" he said buttoning up his shirt.

"Now!" she squealed giving him an exasperated look. "I'm not ready. It's going to take awhile before I'm gorgeous," she said, jumping up and rushing towards the bathroom.

"I would give you the world," Jack said quietly with a smile as he gazed at the closed bathroom door.

An hour later at the Sonterra Grill, Jack's appreciative eyes traveled from her sandals to her green dress. "I love your dress," he said.

"This old thing," Buffy said, fingering the green silk. "I've had it for years."

"Well then, you clean up nice," he said, his gaze raking boldly over her.

She flushed, feeling as giddy as a schoolgirl. "Thank you," she said while looking through the menu. Even after making love three times, she still wanted him. Her eyes slid over him, taking note of how the blue shirt clung to his broad shoulders, and something tightened low in her stomach. She came to a sudden realization. She never stopped loving Jack O'Neill. Oh God, she moaned.

"Did you say something?" Jack said with a smile.

She shook her head and returned his smile. "I was just thinking about what I should order. I can't make up my mind between the steak and the scallops."

Jack leaned over to look at her menu, closing his eyes and breathing in her rich vanilla smell.

"Well," she said. "What do you think?"

He opened his eyes and said, "Why not have both?"

"Why didn't I think of that?" Buffy said dryly.

"Because you need me," he said simply.

There was a moment of silence and a waitress came to their table.

"Are you ready to order?" she asked her pen poised over her notebook.

"Yeahsureyabetcha," Jack said. He ordered short ribs and a beer, while Buffy asked for the steak and scallops with a strawberry margarita. They were catching up on the last fifty years when Jack's cell phone rang. "Damn," he muttered, reaching into his jacket for the phone. He brought it to his ears. "O'Neill," he snapped. After listening for a few minutes, he hung up.

"General Hammond needs to see us as soon as possible," he said, getting up and walking over to Buffy's chair.

"Why?" Buffy asked, sliding out of the chair after flinging her napkin down on the table.

"I don't know," he said with a frown. "I guess we'll find out when we get there," he said as he guided her towards the door.

Thirty minutes later, Buffy found herself entering the SGC for the second time. It was much easier, she thought, eying the numbers above the elevator door as it descended into the bowels of the earth, because she now knew what to expect. She was getting to be an old hand at this, she thought as she breezed through the checkpoints.

"You wanted to see us, sir?" Jack asked as he walked into General Hammond's office. He noted that SG'1 was there with the Immortals and Buffy's friends.

"Colonel, Ms. Summers," said Hammond. "I'm glad you made good time. Have a seat," he said with a gesture.

"What's up?" asked Jack, walking over to an empty chair while Buffy followed suite.

"Everyone's here, I see," Hammond said, as he gazed around the room.

"Yes sir."

"Good, let's get down to business," he said, shuffling papers on his desk. "Dr. Jackson and Mr. Dawson have ascertained the last whereabouts of Mr. Gannon."

"Where?" asked Jack.

"Sunnydale."

Chapter 19

Sunnydale

The young man entered the library cautiously, noting the empty room with the exception of a young girl sleeping on a table in the corner.

"Eh hem," he said clearing his throat.

"Mmm," the girl moaned.

"Pardon me," he said, walking over to shake her shoulders urgently.

"Whaa," she said jumping up, her hand to her chest. "Who are you?" she demand, her chest heaving in fright.

"Wesley Wyndam'Pryce, I am looking for Mr. Giles," he said.

"Giles, not here," said Cordelia. Whoa, what a hottie, she thought. Wyndam'Pryce was a man in his early thirties, with dark brown hair and a slight effeminate grace. "What do you want with Giles?" she asked curiously, eying him up and down.

"It's not any of your business," he said pompously, looking around the room.

"Sheesh," said Cordelia taken aback. "I told you Giles is not here."

"Whom could I acquire to ascertain Mr. Giles' whereabouts?" he asked, drawing a finger down the table.

"Well," Cordelia drawled. "I am the only one that knows where he is. And since it's not my problem, then you don't need to know," she said miffed. She ruffled around in a bag at her feet, took out a new nail polish, and studiously started painting her fingernails.

He frowned at the dust that coated his finger. He took a large white handkerchief out of his top pocket and dusted hands. "Look, miss, I really need to see Mr. Giles, "he said exasperated.

She ignored him.

"How about Buffy Summers or Faith Lehane?"

Cordelia eyes narrowed. "Who are you? I need to see some I.D. now," she snapped corking her polish and jumping to attention. It wasn't the first time people had come to the library asking for Giles or the Slayers, but in her thinking, it was better to be safe than sorry because most of them are up to no good.

He hesitated, measuring her for a moment, but seeing the resolve on her face, he said, "Here," while reaching towards the inner pocket on his jacket.

"Keep your hands where I can see them," she snapped, suddenly brandishing a stake.

A shadow of alarm touched Wesley's face. "Ms. whoever you are, please put that down. I will tell you who I am. I am the new assistant librarian."

Cordelia wavered for a second. "Librarian," she said watching him wearily, not showing him how much she was scared.

"I was just going for my billfold," he said.

"Slowly," she said with a frown, for the first time noticed how late it was. And she was all alone with a guy who could be a crazy killer.

"See," he said tentatively. "It's my billfold. Here," he said handing her his wallet.

She eyed him thoughtfully for a minute and took it gingerly between her fingers. She cautiously opened it making sure that it wasn't a trap. She checked the I.D. noting that both the photograph and the man standing in front of her were the same. "A person can't be too cautious," she muttered, handing back the wallet. "Well," Cordelia said, giving him a quick look. "As I said before, Giles is not here. He's out a town, but if what you need is important, I could get in touch with him for you," she said.

"How about Ms. Lehane and Summers?" he asked looking bewildered around the room.

Hesitating slightly, Cordelia said, "Buffy is with Giles and Faith is around here somewhere." His I.D. had only told her his name, not what he wanted.

"So who are you really? I know your name and by your accent you are British. Wait a second, are you a Watcher?" she asked, her eyes narrowed speculatively.

Wesley gave a quick intake of breath. "Why do you think I'm a Watcher?" he asked, regarding her quizzically.

"You didn't deny it," she said triumphantly. "Plus," she said with a roll of her eyes. "Your tweediness," she said gesturing to his clothes. "I'm friends with two Slayers. You would think by now I would recognize a Watcher when I see one."

He stiffened. Okay, Wesley thought. This young lady knows who I am. No wonder the council sent me here. What kind of leadership does Mr. Giles have? "I am the replacement Watcher for Faith Lehane and Buffy Summers, following the discharge of Rupert Giles by the Council for disobeying its orders," he said, his vexation evident.

"Giles quit," said Cordelia sharply.

"No, he didn't," Wesley snapped, his brows furrowed. "He was fired!"

"Whatever," she said, flicking him off. What a dweeb, she thought as she attempted to ignore him.

"Ms! Are you going to tell me where Mr. Giles is?"

??????????????????????????????????????????????????

"In Sunnydale?" Buffy questioned, her voice rose in surprise. "I have to sit down," she said.

"You are sitting down," said Jack solicitously.

"I am?" said Buffy bewildered.

"Yes," Jack said nodding.

"I guess I am," Buffy said feeling the hard wood beneath her. "Why?" she questioned gazing around the room.

"It would seem that he's looking for you, Ms. Summers," said General Hammond.

Buffy shook her head in disbelief. "I guess I am going back to Sunnydale," she said to no one in particular. "I thought I could stay in Colorado for maybe a couple of more weeks, but fate seems like a fickle woman."

"Remember your promise to stay for awhile," Jack said in low voice.

"I never did see the rest of the house," Buffy murmured, a secret smile softening her lips.

Noticing the closeness between the two, Carter felt as if her heart was breaking.

"Yeah! Prom," shouted Xander.

Everyone looked at him

He shrugged. "Just because we are going back to stop a bad guy doesn't mean we can't have some fun."

"He's right," said Willow tentatively. "Graduation is in a couple of weeks. I don't know about any of you, but my parents expect me to graduate."

"That's it then," said General Hammond decisively. "SG'1, there is a Goa'uld in Sunnydale, and I want you to follow Ms. Summers and her friends. She knows the area well. From what I have gathered, it's a small town, and remember this is a national secret, so keep a low profile."

"What's the plan?" asked Daniel.

"Just follow my lead," Buffy said, straightening up to her full height.

"You!" Carter asked in disbelief, jerking to her feet.

"Yes, me," said Buffy arms on her hips. "Do you have a problem with me?" she demand.

Uh oh, thought Jack.

Ignoring her, Sam turned her angry eyes to the General. "Sir?" she snapped.

General Hammond looked at both blonde women. If he was a betting man… he wouldn't know whom he should put his money on. Carter, who he knows and respects or the brassy, younger'looking woman, who he knows has the strength of ten men.

"Sir?" Carter repeat. "You know the Goa'uld always have been the responsibility of Stargate Command. So it must be an SG team that should have point on this incursion."

"I agree," said the General.

Carter looked triumphantly at Buffy.

"You agree," snapped Buffy.

"Wait a minute!" General Hammond bellowed. "I wasn't finished. As I was saying, I do agree that the situation with the Goa'uld is usually handle by an SG team, but in this situation, Ms. Summers can safely handle this."

"But, Sir," said Carter turned shocked eyes towards the General. "Ms. Summers doesn't have any military training."

"That's a good thing," Buffy murmured with a frown. She was imagining a full'scale military invasion in her town.

Ignoring her, Carter continued. "Can she handle a weapon? How about an M16? And when we are in a combat situation, how will she handle herself?"

"If that's the criteria of leading, then I have plenty of experience," Buffy said dryly.

"I can't believe you are doing this, sir," Carter argued. "She just walked off the streets, and you are willing to give her the SGC on a platter."

"Major Carter," said General Hammond, his eyebrows furrowed. "Are you questioning my decision?"

"No, sir," she said taken aback. "Of course not," she said sitting down abruptly. For the first time in years, she felt adrift. She looked around the room seeing the sympathy in the gazes of her co'workers and the others. As a child, she always wanted to be in military. To be near her dad. She remembers how she had missed him, especially more since her mom died. But thinking he had to supply a life for them, he grew distance and wasn't there when he was needed.

Her brother Mark had resented that, but she always thought if she joined the military, then she would be closer to him. But that wasn't true – it was the opposite, in fact. She grimaced. How naive she was. Although both of them were in fact in the same branch of the military, the Air Force, they didn't have the opportunity for their lives to cross as much, since both of them was in opposite fields of expertise. Ironically, it took her father literally dying of cancer before they could reconnect. And her job with the SGC had saved his life. Although they are still apart physically, emotionally they could never be closer. It takes dying to see what is important in your life. She eyed Jack and Buffy who were whispering together. It also takes losing someone to see how much you had cared for them.

"Major Carter, I understand your ambivalence about Ms. Summers," said General Hammond.

"Sir," Daniel interrupted. "It's not just Sam that's ambivalent about Ms. Summers," he said polishing his glasses. "No offense," he said aside to Buffy.

"No offense taken," Buffy said dryly.

"I'm a little worried too," he said. "I don't understand how practical experience can make up for military experience. We have been fighting the Goa'uld for five years, and Ms. Summer's only claim to fighting the Goa'uld is that she was one. No offense," he said to Buffy.

Buffy's mouth quirked upward. "No offense taken," she said with a shrug,

General Hammond gave a huge sigh.

"It would make more sense for Jack to lead this expedition. Not only is he an immortal, but he was once a Goa'uld himself, and he's the head of SG'1."

"Yes," Carter murmured, looking at Daniel, as if he was her savior.

General Hammond rubbed his forehead. He thought he could feel a headache coming on. He shook his head decisively. "Although the Colonel would be better suited for this job," he said, "I decided with the help of the President, and I agree in this instance, Ms. Summers will be the one leading this incursion."

"Are you telling me that because Ms. Summers is a friend of the President, she is allowed this job?" asked Daniel in disbelief.

Carter gave Buffy an appalled look.

"How dare you!" Hammond said through gritted teeth. "I worked too damn hard at my career to allow an inefficient person to lead anything. Can't you just have faith in me to know what I'm doing?" he said. "Yes, Ms. Summers is a friend of the President of the U.S.A. but she didn't get the position on his word alone, but also on her merit."

Everyone stared silently with their mouths open at the General during his tirade.

"I'm sorry, sir," said Daniel with a tight smile.

"Indeed, I am sorry," said Teal'c.

Carter frowned.

He gave them a grudging nod. His headache was full'blown. After this, he needed to just get away. He wondered if he could just drive out of the gate to nowhere. With a stern expression, he turned towards Jack. "Colonel, you don't mind working for a woman, do you?" he asked.

Buffy gave Jack a mock frown.

"No, sir," Jack said smiling blandly.

"Good," he said. His gaze wandered around the room touching on SG'1. "For all of your opinions on why Jack should get the job, the same could be said for Ms. Summers," he said dryly. "Minus of course the working for the military. She knows Sunnydale. She will be able to lead your team to victory, and here you are questioning my orders as if I don't know what I am doing."

"No, sir," said Daniel appalled. "I just thought…"

"That's okay, Doctor Jackson," he said with sigh. "I do understand."

"Thank you, General," Buffy said with a pleased smile. "I didn't know that you thought so highly of me."

"You're all dismissed," he said.

They nodded and walked to the door.

"Ms Summers?" Hammond called.

"Yes, sir?" she said, turning to look at him.

"Don't let me down," he said.

She nodded and exited the room.

"Major Carter, a moment of your time," he said.

"Yes, sir," she murmured, slowly getting up from her chair. She felt as old as father time. She walked up to him. "You wanted to see me, sir?" she asked.

"Yes," he said, eying her thoughtfully. "Major Carter, you have to get a handle on this."

"Yes, sir, but they slept together," she said with an anguished wail.

He frowned. "How do you know?" he demanded.

"The way they touched and the way they would speak without actually speaking," she said woodenly.

He too had noticed the closeness and the intimate touching when they thought no one would notice. "Major, do you needed a vacation?" he said sympathetically. Normally he would give the whole team a rest, but Major Carter was going through a rough emotional time.

Carter gave a huge sigh and sniffed. "I can handle it," she said.

He gave her a speaking glance.

"I can handle it, sir," she said.

"If you can't handle it, then instead of an optional vacation, it will become mandatory," he said sternly.

"Yes, sir," she said avoiding his gaze.

"Good," he said. "You are dismissed." Then as if it was an afterthought, he said mildly, "Reminder, Ms. Summers is in charge."

"Yes, sir," she said through gritted teeth as she strode through the door.

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Chapter 20

Return of flight #207

At ten o'clock that night, they caught the last plane leaving Colorado. At that time of the night, the plane was practically empty. Buffy and Jack chose to sit together, while Oz, Willow, and Xander found three seats together. Carter had opted to sit by herself, stating that she needed the room to stretch out in case she decided to take a nap. That left Teal'c and Daniel sharing a double seat and Giles, who found Mac, Adam, and Joe fascinating, decided to sit next to them to pick their brains about being an Immortal. In their seats next to a window, Jack was playing footsie with Buffy who was giggling. Major Carter, who was sitting in an aisle seat two seat behind them, growled. On the way back from the bathroom, Giles noticed the less than positive response to the couple.

"I'm glad they found each other," he murmured.

"What?" said Carter askance, looking around. "Are you talking to me?" she asked.

"Of course," said Giles. "Who else," he asked. "Can I have this seat?" he said gesturing to the empty seat beside her. It was 10 o'clock at night, and they had got on the last plane out of Colorado that was going to Los Angeles.

Carter shifted, and Giles squeezed past her to sit in the window seat. "They don't make airplane seats like they used to," he mused, and with a sigh, he shifted his body to get comfortable.

She gave a noncommittal murmur.

"Why are you angry at Buffy?" Giles asked abruptly.

"What?" said Carter, her mouth hanging open. "I'm not," she said avoiding his eyes.

"Yes, you are," Giles said, a half smile crossing his face. "I know angry when I see it because I'm angry with her myself."

"You are," she said eying him with a calculating expression. "Why?"

Where to start, he thought. At first when he sat down, he didn't expect to talk about his problems, but something about Major Carter had made him want to open up. When he first saw her, something had captured his attention – maybe it was her grace and how she presented herself. "I have known Buffy Summers for almost five years," he said with a frown. "I love her like a daughter, and I was even fired from my job for that fact. But if anyone asked, I had quit," he murmured.

"I thought you are a school librarian," Carter said.

"I am," said Giles quickly.

Then Carter remembered something she had read in the file about his life. "What's a Watcher's Council?" she asked. "I heard that term mentioned several times yesterday."

"Well, a Watcher is a person who watches," he said in a jesting quip.

She gave him a dry stare. "Are you avoiding my question?" she asked.

Giles narrowed. "No. Are you avoiding my question?"

"What question is that?" she asked in amusement.

"You know the one," Giles growled in exasperation. "Why are you angry with Buffy?"

Carter sighed and the humor came off her face. "That one," she said with a shrug. "Do you know what it's like to have a dream?" she said in a thoughtful manner, as she gazed at the back of Buffy and Jack's heads.

Giles nodded.

"Then you find out that dream was dashed before it ever started."

Giles eyed her with compassion.

"I had years, but I thought he would always be there, waiting for me. For us. And when I found out that he had a wife – a young pretty one at that, something inside of me froze, became numb. And for the first time in my life, I realized how lonely I am. Maybe it's not her fault, but your Buffy made me realize what I had given up all these years."

"I had the opportunity, but something always made me not go further. Maybe it was fear or whatever," she said with a shrug.

"You know you are an attractive woman," he said, his gaze as soft as a caress.

"Thank you," she murmured with a faint blush.

"If Jack O'Neill and those other men didn't see your worth, then forget them. They are not worthy of you. You deserve someone who will appreciate both your beauty and your intelligence," his voice a velvet murmur.

Her pulse began to beat erratically. "Do you know someone like that?" Carter said breathlessly. Breathless, she was breathless, she thought as she gazed into Giles' eyes with her heart fluttering wildly in her breast.

"Yeah, me, Rupert Giles," he said, his gaze resting on her face.

This can't be happening, she thought as Giles gently tipped her chin and lowered his mouth to kiss her. The taste of him exploded her senses and she groaned at the pleasure that was coursing through her body.

"Who am I?" Giles demanded, his body vibrating with hunger. He wanted to taste every inch of her body.

"Rupert Giles," she whimpered aching for more of that kiss.

"Did you forget about him?" he whispered, his breath hot against her hair.

"Who?" she moaned eagerly seeking his lips. She couldn't believe she was doing this. I'm possessed, she thought as her hand slid around his shoulder.

"Jack O'Neill," Giles reminded her.

"Oh yes," she said eagerly as his lips captured hers once again.

On the opposite side of the plane, Daniel and Teal'c were sitting beside each other in parallel seats. Daniel was reading from several loose'leaf papers, and Teal'c was focused on the movie playing on the screen in front of him.

"Daniel Jackson, will we be seeing any movie stars?" Teal'c asked, idly watching the screen.

Daniel looked up. "Why did you asked that?" he said curiously.

"Aren't we going to Hollywood?" he said, his eyebrows raised inquiringly.

"We are going to California, Teal'c," said Daniel. "And Hollywood is in California."

"Is it not the same thing?" he asked.

"Sorta," he said with a sigh. "We are actually going to a small town west of Los Angeles, Teal'c. Called Sunnydale. It is very far from Hollywood."

"So I won't see any movie stars," he said crestfallen.

"No, Teal'c," Daniel said looking down at his notes.

After a few minutes of silence, Daniel was once again engrossed in his notes, only to be interrupted a few minutes later.

"Daniel Jackson, if we went to this Hollywood, would we see any movie stars?" Teal'c asked.

Daniel sighed and put away his papers. He guessed he wouldn't be able to read as much on this trip as he had hoped. "I guess so," he said frowning with exasperation. The notes he had been reading were an interesting theory on the fertility rites of an obscure culture, and he wanted to finished it, but Teal'c continued to distract him with questions. He glanced around the plane to find something else to distract Teal'c.

What he saw made his mouth drop open in shock. "Oh my God," he whispered.

But Teal's superior hearing heard it.

"What is it, Daniel Jackson?" he asked curiously, looking around. "Are we under attack?"

"Don't look!" Daniel begged frantically.

But Teal'c's eyes had zeroed onto what he perceived as the problem. "Are Mr. Giles and Major Carter kissing?" he asked.

"Yep."

"I thought Major Carter was in love with Colonel O'Neill?" asked Teal'c, his eyebrows quirked questioningly.

Looking at the couple, Daniel frowned. "I guess she's over him."

Sitting a few seats away from Daniel and Teal'c, Oz was reading a Spin magazine, and Xander was playing a game on his Game Boy.

Contemplating the other boy for a minute, Oz asked, "Are you really thinking of joining the Air Force?"

Xander nodded.

"Cool," he said with a nod and went back to his magazine.

"Yeah," Xander said with a satisfied smile. Before he had left, the General had given him several brochures and an application for the Air Force. He couldn't wait to read it. He wanted to join the SGC when he finished, and with that in mind, he decided that Colorado was the best bet. He would miss Willow, who had already been accepted to Stanford University, but Colorado and California weren't that much apart. They would see each other at holidays and such. Buffy seemed to like Colorado, and it agrees with her. She had not stopped smiling since she spent the day at Jack's house. He wondered what they had done there. Don't go there, he thought as his mind wandered, so he put headphones in his ears and closed his eyes.

On her way back from the bathroom, Willow was shocked to see Giles and Carter in a lip'lock. She rushed down the aisle of the plane not taking note of Jack's feet, which she tripped over and fell sprawling to the floor.

"Are you okay," Buffy said with a frown, looking down at Willow in concern.

"I'm fine," Willow mumbled, turning beet red. She put her face in her hands, taking note of the interesting gazes of the passengers.

"Are you okay, miss?" asked a stewardess.

She nodded as Jack drew her up to her feet.

The stewardess gave her a brief smile and continued her rounds.

"Where's the fire?" Buffy teased.

"It'it is…" Willow stammered, looking behind her.

Buffy frowned. "Are you sure you're okay, Wills?"

She gave a jerky nod, making muffled sounds behind her hands.

Jack and Buffy exchanged a puzzled glance.

"Jack, can you excuse us for minute?" Buffy asked, giving him a telling glance.

"Sure," he said with a small smile. "I need to see Danny and T about something," he said ambling away.

"Now it's just me and you," Buffy said patting the seat beside her. "What's going on?"

Willow sat down abruptly peeking through her fingers, her eyes shiny with tears. "It's Giles," she said with a gasp turning her face away.

"Giles?" Buffy questioned with a frown. "What did he do?"

"He'he," Willow stammered.

"Did he do something to you?" Buffy demanded, a muscle twitching at her jaw. She turned to look behind her.

"No!" Willow squeaked. "Don't look."

"Why?" she asked, giving Willow a long, searching look.

She took a deep breath. "Because'because he and Major Carter are kissing."

"Giles!" Buffy screeched, looking behind her.

Everyone turned to look at her.

"Don't look," Willow shouted, gasping for breath as giggles escaped her.

"Yes, Buffy," answered Giles.

"It's nothing, Giles. I thought I saw a mouse," Buffy said blushing.

"Okay," he said with a shrug, going back to the conversation he was having with Major Carter.

"A mouse?" Jack mouthed raising an eyebrow in a questioning slant.

Buffy shrugged and gave him a sheepish look.

Jack sighed and continued his own conversation.

"My Giles?" Buffy whispered, slouching into the seat.

Willow nodded and a few more giggles escaped her.

"My Giles," Buffy repeated, peeking over the hedge of the chair back at Giles who seemed to be engrossed in a conversation with Major Carter. She frowned.

"Yes," said Willow. "There was a lot of groping and some tongue action."

"Yuck," Buffy said turning around with a shudder.

Willow peered through her fingers at Buffy. "I even saw him touch her breast."

"No more," she moaned, holding her hand out in a stop motion. "It's like seeing your parents having sex," she said shuddering.

Willow giggled. "Remember that time, when Ethan Rayne spelled that candy, and Giles and your mom, I mean Joyce, ended up stealing that police car."

"Don't remind me," Buffy moaned, closing her eyes.

"Do you think they had sex?"

"Ugh, scary visual image. I said don't remind me," Buffy said with a shudder.

Willow burst out laughing. Soon the infectious laughter caught up with Buffy, and both slouched down in their chairs laughing.

"Oh God," Buffy said as she collapsed in laughter. "That was good," she said wiping her eyes. "I haven't laughed like that in… in years," she said surprised. "Thank you," she said, her eyes bright.

"You're welcome," answered Willow.

"I miss this," Buffy said twining Willow's fingers with hers. "I miss you."

Willow gazed at Buffy and presented her with a sweet understanding smile. "I miss you too."

"Forgive me," Buffy said.

Willow eyes widened in surprise. "Of course. I forgave you a long time ago," she said.

"I'm sorry I never told you about being immortal before," said with pleading eyes. "I have been hiding most of my life; I just didn't know how or when to stop or how to tell you guys."

"We knew about you being the slayer," she said.

"I know, but it was an accident. Xander overheard me in the library and then…"

"…then I was kidnapped by a vampire," said Willow.

"Yeah," Buffy said with a nod. "Then the secret identity was no more."

"But you still should have told me," Willow said with a pout.

"Yeah, I still should have," Buffy agreed, with an apologetic smile. "Friends?" she said.

"Always," Willow said giving Buffy a tight hug. They stayed like that for a few minutes, healing and being friends again. "So what's going on between you and Jack?" Willow asked pushing her slightly away.

"Nothing much," said Buffy with a mysterious grin.

"Come on," Willow encouraged with a grin. "Tell me the truth."

"Okay," Buffy said. She looked around the plane and leant in to whisper, "I slept with Jack."

"No way," Willow gasped, her eyes round.

"Way," Buffy said with a nod.

"Wow! How was it?" she asked worrying her lip between her teeth.

"It was so good that it melted the skin off my bones," Buffy said with a blush.

Willow gasped. "That good, huh?" she asked, her face a fiery red.

"Mmm," Buffy murmured, shuddering in remembered delight. She happened to glance over at Willow, who had looked towards Jack with her mouth hanging open. Looking at Willow's expression caused Buffy to start laughing again.

Chapter 21

Welcome to the Hellmouth

The plane landed at LAX at precisely 2 a.m., and by 2:30, the Scoobies, the Immortals, and SG'1 were on their way to Sunnydale, California.

During their dinner the night before, Buffy had told Jack about the beautiful town she lived in, so he knew what to expect, but when she had broached the subject with the General, he had admitted caution in telling the tale. Jack had of course wanted to tell the team, but both the General and Buffy had vetoed the idea. Buffy's idea was that they wouldn't believe that vampires exist without seeing one – even the General barely believed.

Buffy had noted that people only tend to believe in the supernatural when being attacked by it. And that was barely. Sometimes they rationalized themselves to death. So Buffy came up with a little idea to drive to a cemetery and stake herself a vampire, then she could get all the explanation out of the way. She knew that Jack trusted his team, and because of that, she wanted to trust them too. But she had to admit, what if her plan didn't go the way she planned. She didn't have a lot of opportunity to tell Giles that she and Jack had a plan, so she was just doing it on the fly, but she wondered what he would think. She still couldn't get over the idea of Giles and the Major. They are so different. She frowned. She didn't know how she felt about the two of them. Part of her was glad that he had found someone after the death of Ms. Calendar, but Samantha Carter? They were as different as night and day; plus she wasn't sure she even liked her. Yet, it wasn't her business, right? But she would make it her business if Sam hurt him.

So it was a caravan of cars loaded with people and weapons that entered the Sunnydale cemetery that early morning.

"Faith probably did a sweep here already," Buffy murmured to Jack as she got out of the car.

"Buffy, what are we doing here?" Giles asked with a frown as he exited his vehicle.

"Yeah, Buff," said Xander. "I know you live for these meetings," he said gesturing around the empty graveyard, "but I'm kinda tired – I could crash."

"Is this a cemetery?" asked Daniel, peering around the shrouded place.

"Yes," Buffy said. "I brought…"

"Is that a Progonian cross?" Daniel interrupted excitedly, rushing towards a grave. "It seems like it's dated in 1867."

Buffy could only glance at Jack with a bemused frown.

"He likes old things," Jack said with a shrug. "Daniel, get back here," he ordered.

Shrugging, Daniel scampered back like an eager puppy.

Buffy shook her head and sighed. "What I was saying was that I brought you here to show you all something."

"Buffy?" said Giles warningly, having figured out what she was up to.

"They need to know," she said, her voice firm.

"What's so special about a cemetery?" Major Carter demanded, baffled. She looked around the foggy place and shivered. If she didn't know better, she would have said someone was walking on her grave.

Buffy closed her eyes and opened her senses and sent power through the cemetery until she found the one she wanted. She then walked inherently to the fresh grave of Mr. Phillip Chandler, born in 1985 and died two days ago. He was buried earlier that day and was survived by his mother and two sisters; his father had died three years ago.

The gravestone was made out of granite and a bouquet of fresh flowers lay forlorn at the base of the grave.

"What do you want to show us?" asked Daniel curiously, looking around the shrouded cemetery. He didn't like cemeteries except for an intrinsic value in history. "This is an interesting place, and it probably has a lot of history, but can't it wait for morning?"

"It's morning," Teal'c noted, glancing at his digital watch.

Daniel gave him a speaking glance. "I meant, when it is light out."

"What I'm about to show you needed to happen tonight," Buffy murmured, moving to stand next to the grave. She glanced down at the name etched in the granite. "This is the grave of Mr. Phillip Chandler," she said.

"I'm sorry Buffy, was he important to you?" Daniel said apologetically.

"No, I've never met Mr. Chandler in my life," she said.

"If you've never met, then what are we doing here?" said Carter; her voice held a challenge as she rubbed her hands up and down her arms in an effort to get warm.

Giles walked up and put his arms around her.

Jack noticed and gave them a frown.

"You will see," Buffy insisted archly.

"See what?" Carter demanded, looking around with a bemused frown.

"Watch!" Buffy said urgently.

A hand came slowly out of the freshly'filled grave and clawed for solid ground, but no one seemed to notice with the exception of Buffy, Jack, and Giles, who were focused on the fresh grave.

Phillip Chandler soon pushed himself out of his grave, growling when his head cleared the earth, and continued to climb out, crawling onto his stomach.

"What's that?" Joe Dawson said, his voice rising an octave, pointing to the corpse.

Phillip continued crawling along the ground pulling out his legs, but stopped when he saw a pair of widespread legs standing before him. He looked up to see who it was.

It was Buffy; she stood gazing down at him in amusement. "Come on," she gestured. She backed away, making way for Phillip to finish his climb out of his grave.

"Is'is that a man climbing out of a grave?" asked Carter, her eyes widened in disbelief.

"What's wrong with his face?" asked Joe, his body stiff with shock.

"That's a vampire, Joe," said Adam dryly.

Daniel could only stare tongue'tied.

"Hello there!" Phillip said with a surprised look as he catches sight of the group. "You might be wondering what I'm doing," he said, dusting himself off.

Buffy snorted in amusement, and without her usual playful banter, she drew a stake from her waist and stabbed Phillip Chandler in the chest.

With a shocked look on his face, he turned to dust.

"What was that!" yelled Daniel, finally coming out of his shock.

"Welcome to Sunnydale," Buffy said dryly with an encompassing gesture.

"That, Danny old friend, was a vampire," Jack said, his mouth quirked in a sardonic twist.

"Vampires? Vampires don't exist," said Carter; her mind was spinning with bewilderment.

"Well, someone forgot to tell them," Buffy said wryly as she meandered around the graves.

"Wha'What did you do to him?" asked Daniel.

Instead of answering, she turned the question around. "What do you think I did?"

"I don't know," said Daniel, "that is why I'm asking."

Buffy took a deep breath. "There are a few things you guys need to know about Sunnydale," she said eying them surreptitiously.

"What?" Carter asked, her eyes narrowed on Buffy with suspicion. Her heart was fluttering madly in her chest. That cannot be a vampire, she thought. That was some sort of trick. They don't exist, do they? she wondered with a frown.

"Buffy O'Neill, is it about the vampire that crawled out the grave?" said Teal'c.

"Yes, Teal'c," said Buffy.

"Vampires don't exist," said Carter, her voice strained.

Buffy sighed. "What you just saw was a vampire. It was no illusion or some sort of a trick. I have been with all of you since we landed. I didn't have time to set anything up," she said. "Ask Giles," she said softly. "Ask the Immortals or ask both Willow and Xander, who have lived in this town since they were born."

"Yes," Xander acknowledged. "I have lived in this town all of my life, but I didn't know vampires existed until a fateful day when my best friend, Jesse, was turned into one," he said bleakly.

She walked a few feet away, then paused and walked back to the headstone. "I had debated how to tell you this," Buffy said. "Because anyone that visits Sunnydale really must be told and be wary about what's going on here." She turned towards Major Carter. "General Hammond told me you had us investigated, so you must know about the unusual death rate in this town."

Giles gave Carter a sharp glance.

She noticed with a shrug. "It's my job," she said, giving him a pleading look. "Yes," she said to Buffy. "I had found it interesting that there were so many unusual deaths; I even mentioned that fact to General Hammond."

Buffy nodded. "It is because Sunnydale is built on a Hellmouth."

"H'hellmouth?" stammered Daniel shaken. Vampires, he thought, with a slight shiver. His mind not connecting to what he had seen. "What's that?"

"Hellmouths are places of increased supernatural energy," Buffy said matter'of'factly. "It is an area in which the barriers between dimensions are weak. The Hellmouth is a focal point which serves as a portal between earth and the underworld. For these reasons, the Hellmouth attracts demons and other supernatural creatures, becoming a "hot spot" for supernatural activity. The Hellmouth actually sits underneath the library of Sunnydale High School. And my job is to protect Sunnydale."

"What!" said Daniel, his mouth dropping open.

"Why you?" Carter asked. There was an edge to her voice as she looked at the young woman standing in front of her.

"I'm the Slayer," Buffy said simply.

"What?" Daniel said, staggering back. He could only stare at Buffy in astonishment. He turned to glare at Jack, remembering how he had asked him about the terminology he had heard before and how Jack and shut him down.

Jack held up a hand placatingly.

"A Vampire Slayer," Buffy said looking enigmatically.

"What is a Slayer, Buffy O'Neill?" asked Teal'c with a bemused frown. He also had heard the term before, but he wasn't quite sure where.

"The Slayer is a young female bestowed with mystical powers that originate from the heart of a pure demon, which gives her superhuman senses, strength, speed, endurance, agility, healing, and stamina in the fight against forces of darkness. She also receives prophetic dreams in the few hours that she sleeps," Buffy said; her voice had drifted to a hushed whisper. The night's silence grew as everyone pitched forward to listen.

"In every generation, there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer," Giles said softly "The Slayer is a hunter of monsters, demons, the undead in general and vampires in particular. She is a lone soldier in a long, brutal, and terrifying war."

Everyone turned to look at Buffy in disbelief.

Still speaking softly, Buffy said, "Willow, remember that you had asked if I was the First Slayer?"

Willow nodded.

"I'm not, but there is a legend. It's in one of those books I had hidden," she said in an aside to Giles. "Before I came to Sunnydale, the Slayer was always alone. They would fight the good fight knowing that each night could be their last."

Suddenly the night stilled. There wasn't any breeze and the shadows seemed to lighten. As Buffy stood next to the empty grave, she seemed to glow. "Legend speaks of large pure demons known as ‘The Old Ones' who walked the Earth. Some of these monstrosities were as tall as skyscrapers and were ferociously powerful. Around the time that mortal animals evolved, the Old Ones left; they found more hospitable dimensions and left the Earth. Others were driven out by mages and Loranites. The Old Ones did not completely leave this world; so powerful were these beings that they could survive after death – their bodies were entombed in the Deeper Well, waiting for the time when they could rise again. Beyond their entombed essences, they left behind other vestiges such as magic, their servitors, and sometimes, their descendants. The last Old One to leave was a creature that fed off the blood of humans. By mixing its blood with that of humans, a new demonic breed was born: vampires."

"Vampires, though not the strongest of the half'breed progeny or other servitors, spread far quicker than possibly any other half'breed or pure'breed demon and lost none of their potency. The head elders of several early villages decided to take action: to create a power to stop the creatures from spreading. They took the power, essence, and might of a demon and channeled it into a young girl, who was chained to the earth so she could not escape. The girl had no choice. This became her sacred duty and responsibility, for only she had the power to stand against the forces of darkness. She became the first Vampire Slayer. However, being only slightly superior to Vampires and other half'breeds, the Slayer's life was often brutal and short'lived. The Shadowmen, as they were called, whose descendants went on to become the Watchers, had foreseen this and imbued this power with a hidden clause to guarantee that it would live on. Like the First Slayer, there were hundreds of girls in each generation that had the potential to carry this power within their bodies. When the First Slayer died in battle, the power was transferred to one of the potential girls. Over the course of millennia, in each generation, there was always one girl, in all of the world, who had the power, and when she died, another was called, and another, and another…"

"Are you telling me that you are this mystical slayer? Some type of super soldier," Carter said, her voice rising in surprise.

"I am no longer the Slayer, but a Slayer," Buffy admitted.

"What is the difference?" Daniel demand.

Buffy shrugged. They are handling this better than she expected. But looking at them, she surmised that she only had to convince Carter and Daniel. Being an alien himself, Teal'c probably has a better handle on this. "There really isn't a bit of difference. The only thing is that the Slayer line doesn't go through me, it goes through Faith."

"Faith?" he asked.

"You will meet her soon," Buffy said.

"There can be just one Slayer alive in the world at any given time," said Giles. "Buffy is an anomaly. A new Slayer is only ‘called' when her dormant abilities are made manifest by the old slayer's death. When Buffy was killed, the power transferred to Kendra, another Slayer, though when Buffy was resuscitated by Xander, she too retained in full the various Slayer powers. And when Kendra was later killed, the power then passed to Faith."

"Mr. Giles?" asked Daniel. "You know so much about this Slayer business. What is your job in all this? I take it you are not hearing this for the first time."

"No, I am not," he admitted. "My official job title is a Watcher, which is completely different from Mr. Dawson's description of his job. Mr. Dawson's job is to observe, never taking part in the Immortals' lives. I have worked for an organization called the Watcher's Council; this is the governing body of the Watchers. They pay Watchers to train the Slayer, and they train Watchers, who keep diaries on their Slayers. They also research vampires, demons, magicks, and any obscure texts. The Council also tries to locate potential Slayers and then send Watchers to inform and train them. The Watcher's Council maintains operatives throughout the world in their fight against vampires and demons."

"How come we have never heard of this Watcher's Council?" Carter asked with a frown.

Giles shrugged.

"Does General Hammond know about this?" she asked.

"Yes," said Buffy. "He knew that you had to be told, and he allowed me to do it my way," she admitted with a sheepish grin.

"So vampires really exist," Carter muttered uneasily, but in her mind, she was searching for a plausible explanation.

"Yes," said Jack, eying her thoughtfully. "Why are you having such a big problem with the idea of vampires," he asked with a surprised air, "when you work with aliens every day?"

"I don't know," she said with a puzzled frown. "It's like hearing that Santa Claus is real."

"Well," Buffy drawled, with a mischievous light in her eyes.

Carter's eyes rolled back in her head, and she slipped to the earthen floor.

Timber!

Chapter 22: Home

Twenty minutes later at 1630 Revello Drive, a chagrinned Carter held a bag full of ice to the back of her head. "I can't believe I did that," she muttered with an embarrassed moan.

"Don't worry about it," Buffy said nonchalantly. "It happens to the best of us."

"But not to me – I'm a soldier," Carter wailed, her cheeks burning in remembrance. "I'm programmed to weather any situation."

"Don't worry, Carter, we won't tell anyone," said Jack with a smirk. "Your tough girl image is safe."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Ignore him," she said, as she walked around the living room, taking note of the little changes here and there. She had been gone three days, and the house no longer felt like home.

"Does anyone want coffee?" said Joyce as she walked into the room.

"Let me get this," Buffy said, hurrying to take the platter.

"Thank you," said Joyce with a sweet smile. "I'm glad that everyone is home safe."

"Do we have enough room for everyone?" Buffy asked distributing various cups.

"We have plenty of room if you guys don't mind bunking in the living room," Joyce said, taking her own cup of coffee from Buffy.

"Thank you, Ms. Summers," said Giles. "It's a little bit late to go by my house, and the kids need some rest."

Adam walked over to Buffy. "How we are going to do this?" he asked.

"Do what?" she asked with a frown, having no idea what he's talking about.

"The rooming situation," he said gesturing to those assembled around the room. "Is there a hotel where we could bunk?"

"No, but there is a motel on the other side of town," she said.

Giles gazed around the room. "I have room, but…"

"How about this," said Joyce decisively. "Tomorrow night, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Dawson, and Adam will stay with Mr. Giles. And if Jack, Ms. Carter, Mr. Jackson, and Murray don't mind they can stay here. But tonight, the gentlemen can stay in the living room."

"How about Faith?" asked Buffy.

"Both you and Faith will share a room, and Willow if she doesn't mind."

"I don't mind," Willow said yawning hugely, her eyes shadowed.

"Good," she said. "And Ms. Carter, if she doesn't mind, can share mine."

"It's Major Carter," Carter said more shakened than she cared to admit. The last forty'eight hours were just a whirlwind of emotions. She usually was more decisive, more take charge, but right now, she felt like a fish out of water.

"Okay, Major Carter," Joyce said with an inclination of her head.

"An apartment with four women, sweet," Jack said grinning

"Where's Faith?" Buffy asked curiously, noting the other Slayer's absence.

"Patrolling," Joyce said flatly. She knew someone had to patrol, but she rather wished it wasn't Buffy or Faith, but some anonymous stranger, whom she didn't have to worry about.

Buffy nodded.

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

Faith walked quickly down the street, her body unconsciously ready to do battle as she turned onto 1630 Revello Drive. Halfway down the street, she noticed there were several unfamiliar cars parked on the street, especially in front of Joyce's house.

Joyce, she thought, hurrying to the door.

"It seems like Joyce has guests," Angel said quietly behind her, matching her steps.

"Yeah," Faith said with a frown. What kinda person visits at 3:00 o'clock? No…she thought, looking at the functional watch on her wrist. …at 3:30 in the morning. She took a quick glance at Angel, still not sure how she felt about him being her partner. When she first met him, she had seen how hot he was, and she grew envious of B. Then, the gang told her about all the atrocious things he had done. At first she was afraid, but after getting to know the soul inside of him, she saw what Buffy had seen.

And during the last couple of days, Angel had talked, really talked to her. She hadn't had someone like that in a long time, someone who would take the time and effort like Joyce and Angel did.  She had missed it. Her Watcher was like that. But Angel had told her some truths she had to hear. He said he had taken note of the wildness within her and how she had to channel it so that she didn't hurt the wrong person. He told her that she had to let go of the animosity and hurt she was feeling inside, or it was going to hurt her in the long run. He promised that he would always be there, and if he wasn't, then Joyce would be there to help.

And for the first time ever, Faith had broken down and cried. When her Watcher had died, she couldn't take time to grieve because she was too busy running, so she had channeled the pain and hurt into killing demons and vampires.  That was good, but in the end, she had missed a lot. And one thing she had missed was the friendship and love of a sister. Maybe that is why she resented Buffy.

She couldn't believe B trusted her into her home and with her mom. When she received the phone call a couple of days ago, she almost freaked. She was both scared and elated, but she had packed her meager belongings and hopped on that gravy train. It was weird living under a roof that had so many restrictions, especially after living most of her life on the streets. But she wouldn't admit it to anyone but herself that she loved it. It was almost like having a mom. 

Thinking about Joyce as her mom, reminded her how it was kinda freaky to find out that B was ten thousand years old and Joyce wasn't her mom. Buffy didn't even look that old. Joyce had explained what she could about what she had understood of being immortal. It sounded so farfetched to her, but after seeing some freaky deaky shit, who was she to throw stones.

She glanced back at Angel who nodded.

"They are all human," he said.

Her hands touched the doorknob, and with a slight hesitation, she walked inside the house.  She froze for a second as she saw Buffy across the room. It was not as if she didn't expect her to come home, but for a minute there, she felt resentment that she was there. But it was Buffy's house after all. Not one to show her vulnerability, she strolled nonchalantly into the house, her hips swaying seductively. "What's up B," she said, walking over to the coffee pot to pour herself a cup.

All eyes turned to watch her swaying hips.

Seeing the men's reaction, Buffy scowled. Faith is a baby.

Angel stood silently at the front door, a shadow. His eyes moved swiftly around the room, noting the strangers. And his eyes rested on Buffy. Buffy Summers, he thought. When he had first met her, her name was Isabella O'Neill. Something about her had called to the demon inside, and when he received the soul, it had followed suit. Part of him had always believed they would be together; therefore, he had watched and waited for the perfect opportunity for her to get over Jack. But she never did. At one point over the summer, he had thought that finally she had stopped grieving, but then he had lost his soul. Now he knew that they could never be.

"Hey Faith," Buffy called walking over to the young girl to give her a hug.

Faith stiffened, but after a minute leaned into the hug.

"Everyone, this is the Slayer, Faith Lehane, and Faith, this is everybody," she said.

"Hey," Faith said sipping at the cup, after Buffy released her. She grimaced at the bitter taste and put it down. "Full house, I see," she said glancing around speculatively.

"Yes," said Buffy also looking around. "It was unexpected."

She froze after seeing Angel. Part of her had known he was in the room. Even though they were no longer together, they still had a bond that not even Jack could separate. "Hey Angel," she said softly.

"Buffy," he said equally as soft.

Both Adam and Jack frowned as they too spied the vampire in their midst.

Angel bared his teeth in a parody of a smile that acknowledged both men.

Feeling the tension in the room, Daniel whispered, "What's going on?"

"Old boyfriend," Xander whispered back.

"Really?" murmured Carter looking at the dangerous'looking man at the door.

"Yeah," said Willow. "But we don't talk about it."

"Why?" Carter asked curiously.

Willow looked at Carter, then to Jack and Buffy. Biting her lip, she said, "Long story."

Carter looked at the party involved speculatively. That was one story she needed to hear, she thought.

"So B, what's going on?" asked Faith leaning against the wall, sizing up the people in the room. Same hotties from the last time, she mused, her dark eyes looking at them appreciatively. New hotties, eying Teal'c, Daniel, Jack, and a major babe. She frowned. Something was off with the big guy. Her eyes narrowed. She'll have to keep an eye on him. At least he's not bad looking.

Buffy looked at Jack, and he nodded his head slightly. "Where do I start?" muttered Buffy.

"My best bet," said Giles, "is to always start at the beginning."

She sighed. "Let me introduce Angel and Faith first. Guys, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson, an archaeologist, and Murray, no last name," she said with a smile, gesturing.

"Like Cher?" asked Joyce.

Faith frowned, eying the big man thoughtfully. Something about him was giving her the wiggins.

"Yes," Buffy said with a smile.

"Or like a Slayer," said Faith.

"Or like Slayers," Buffy acknowledged.

"Why did they do that?" asked Willow.

"I used to ask myself that same question, then I figured it out. It's about power."

"Power? Why do you say that," she asked with a frown.

"Because when the Watchers erase your identity, you become dependant on them for everything – food, shelter, etc. They isolate you. You have no friends, no family. The only person that you have to depend upon is your Watcher. And if your Watcher dies, then you are adrift. In the meanwhile, you become the perfect soldier, existing only in your mind. You are an enigma. And when you no longer can function under their rule, you become expendable."

"Oh dear God," said Giles. "I never thought of it like that."

Buffy shrugged. "I have had years to see what the Watcher's Council has been doing. Remember Kendra," she said abruptly.

Willow glance quickly at Angel, who stiffened. "Yes," she said quietly.

"Do you remember how stiff she was? How it was ‘yes sir' and ‘no sir'?"

Willow nodded.

"She was the perfect example of isolation. She had had no one except an old man for company. Because of that, Watchers and Slayers sometimes ended up having a relationship."

"Oh," said Willow, her eyes round, looking from Buffy to Giles.

"Eeww," Buffy said shuddering, noticing where her eyes rested. "It's Giles," she said with a shocked air. "We would…I would never have a relationship with him. It's like eeww. It would be like incest."

"Thanks Buffy," he said dryly.

"Under that tweed, you're probably a stud, but you just don't ring my bell," she said to him.

"Can we change the subject?" he asked plaintively, taking off his glasses and pulling out his ever'ready handkerchief to start polishing them.

Joyce smiled behind her coffee cup. It was great to see Mr. Giles flustered. Since that incident several weeks ago when they had sex, he had been avoiding her like the plague.

Buffy took a deep breath. "But I digress. We have Major Samantha Carter and Colonel Jonathon O'Neill, Jack to his friends. And I don't know if you remember Duncan McLeod and Joe Dawson. And I know you definitely remember Adam, Angel. He definitely remembers you," she said wryly.

Angel arched one of his eyebrows.

"Is this the same husband that I heard about a couple of days ago?" Faith asked, eying Jack up and down.

Buffy nodded, with a slight blush.

"Dang B, you got yourself a stud. I can't understand how you could leave this fine specimen to wither on the vine."

"Faith!" said Giles groaning aloud.

Teal'c's eyebrows rose. He didn't understand what the young lady had said, but O'Neill seemed to be blushing. He looked around the room noting the grins on everyone's faces.

"Did I hear you mention ranks of Colonel and Major?" Faith asked surprised.

Buffy nodded.

"The Military?" asked Faith with a frown. "What is the military doing in Sunnydale? And what branch of the military are you?" she demanded.

"Air Force," Jack said, taking note of the Slayer. Without even having an introduction, he would have known she was a Slayer. It was the way she talked and the ways she walked, although with her, she oozed sex. She was a predator, a warrior. She had the same kind of look like Bella. That look said she had been to war, but she had survived. He wished that Carter and Daniel could see that same look in Bella's eyes, then they would understand that she would make a great leader.  But they only saw the outer surface that she liked to show to the world. He glanced at Teal'c. He didn't think he would have made the same mistake as Danny and Sam. But he noticed that part of Bella's appeal as a great soldier was that others always underestimated her, not only for her appearance but also for the way she acts.

This Faith seemed the same but different. Vastly different, he thought, noting the tight leather pants and the faded black t'shirt that had some sort of writing on it. He squinted trying to make out the words.

Faith saw Jack's eyes on her chest, smirked, and gave him a wink.

Jack glanced up in time to see that wink, and with a brief grin, acknowledged her wink with his own.

She seemed wild, unpredictable, Jack thought still trying to make out the words on her shirt. She hasn't reached Bella's measure of maturity yet. Maybe like all things, wisdom came with age because he remembered that Bella was like this once. Eons ago. Bella had told him a little about her life in Sunnydale and most of all about her sister Slayer. Physically, she and Bella were night and day. Finally, he saw what was written of the shirt: "Vampires like to do it in the dark."

"You want me to start at the beginning?" Buffy asked.

They nodded.

She sighed. She started pacing around. Start at the beginning, she chanted under her breath. She took a deep breath and told them why the military was in the Sunnydale. She also told them about the Goa'uld and why they were dangerous. She admitted that she thought she had left that life behind her, but there was that picky thing called destiny, karma, or fate. She didn't know which. But it was using her to fight the wrongs that needed to be fought. It was her job – and Faith's and all those Slayers yet to come – to maintain the balance. Faith and Joyce could only sit there and stare at them in disbelief. But Angel had known about this before.

Buffy continued to tell them about Stargate Command and what it stands for. Then she dropped a bomb:  in their midst, there was a living alien.

"Oh my God," Joyce gasped, looking around the room.

"Teal'c, show them," said Buffy.

"No!" both Daniel and Sam protested.

Teal'c eyed Buffy for a moment and came to an internal decision with a nod. He stood and unbuttoned his shirt to show his dark skin.

"Whoa!" said Xander scrambling back. "You mean to tell me, he has a baby Goa'uld inside there," Xander pointed, looking at the x'shaped mark on Teal'c's stomach.

"Yes indeed." Teal'c said with mild inflection. After all this time, he thought he had gotten used to the curiosity of others. At least he was able to hide the mark of a Jaffa, but not the gold emblem on his forehead.

"How can you stand it?" asked Willow appalled. "Does it hurt?"

"No," he said. "I have no other choice, Willow Rosenberg. It is my life; without it, I would die."

"Oh," she said.

"The reason I'm telling you this," said Buffy, "is that a Goa'uld is in Sunnydale."

"What?!" said Faith, jerking up in surprise. Aliens, she thought. Nothing more should have surprised her. She frowned; she thought she was jaded, that she had seen and heard it all, but she's been proven wrong.

"Yeah, that is why I'm back so early. A Goa'uld is in Sunnydale."

"Why Sunnydale?"

"The Hellmouth," Buffy said succinctly. "It's a mecca of weird things. But since the Goa'uld look ordinary and act human until it is too late, everyone is vulnerable to attack except for me, Major Carter, Teal'c, Adam, Jack, and Angel."

"Why not Angel?" Daniel asked puzzled. "Was he host to a Goa'uld?" he asked.

No," said Carter frowning thoughtfully. "I would sense it, although there is something different about him."

"So would I, Major Carter," said Teal'c.

"Angel is a vampire," Buffy said.

"What?!"

"Angel is a vampire," she said. "Show them."

"Buffy, this is not show and tell," said Jack dryly.

Buffy gave him a speaking glance.

He held up his hand in surrender.

She turned back to Angel and said, "Show them."

Angel looked at her for a moment and showed his true face. The monster within. His forehead ridged, his teeth elongated, and his eyes turned gold.

"Oh dear God," said Sam scrambling backwards in her chair.

"As I stated earlier, Sunnydale is a mecca for demons. When you are not watching out for Goa'uld, you need to watch out for vampires and demons. Most vampires are night creatures, but the older ones can be out in the day as long as they avoid direct sunlight. Just like the Goa'uld, some demons looked human. But if they attack you, then you attack them back."

"Buffy O'Neill, how do we kill a vampire and a demon?" asked Teal'c.

"Most vampires are easy to kill. Sunlight can kill them or fire. You can decapitate them and the trusty stake will work. Just aim for the heart."

"Thanks Buffy," Angel said dryly

"What about garlic and a cross?" asked Daniel, who seemed to be taking notes.

She smiled. "Well, some of the myths are true.  Garlic will annoy the hell out of vampires, and the cross represents religion, so that will hurt them. With that in mind, I want each of you to wear a cross. I have some holy water, which you guys can carry somewhere on your person. It is like acid on a vampire's skin. Regarding the average demons, guns might work on them, but swords or a sharp knife would probably work best," she said.

"How about a Zat'ni'katel?" asked Daniel.

"A Zat'ni'katel," Buffy mused.

"It's a weapon, like a stun gun," he said. "We call it a Zat for short."

"I know what a Zat, is," she said.

Daniel gave her sharp look.

"Mmm," she murmured, biting her lip in concentration. "It might work," she said thoughtfully. "Whatever you want to carry as weapons is your choice. But remember, not all nonhuman'looking demons are the bad guys and not all human'looking demons are the good guys. So you have to be careful you don't hurt the wrong person."

"I am still puzzled about the idea of demons," said Carter.

"Aren't we all," she said dryly. "What do you want to know?" asked Buffy.

"You stated that vampires are also demons…"

Buffy nodded.

"…but I heard you dated Angel," asked Carter puzzled.

Buffy gave Xander and Willow a speaking glance.

Xander found his shoelaces fascinating and Willow avoided Buffy's gaze.

"So," she said, shrugging negligently.

"But you are a Vampire Slayer, you kill demons," said Carter.

To stave off the inevitable fight he could see coming a mile away, Giles said diplomatically, "Buffy always was different and so is Angel. He has a soul."

"A soul?" Carter questioned.

"All vampires are demons and they have no soul, no conscience if you will. They will attack anyone just to survive. But because of Angel's soul, he is able to differentiate right from wrong. He is not a mindless monster.  To survive, he is able to get blood from the local butchers. Also his help is valuable in our endless fight against evil."  

"But aren't any of you afraid?" asked Carter.

"Yes," said Willow.

"Of Angel?" Buffy said nonplussed.

"Willow," Angel said quietly, his face dark with pain, "I would take off my right arm before I would hurt you."

"But you did before," she pointed out.

"I was Angelus," he said as if that said it all.

"What guarantees that you wouldn't hurt me again?" she asked, one eyebrow raised.

"Me," Buffy butted in quietly. She frowned; she didn't like where this conversation was going. She needed to nip it in the bud. What is going on with Willow? She rather expected something like this from Xander, not her. "Before, it was emotion that stopped me from doing my duty. But I learned my lesson. I would do what it takes to stop him."

There was an acute silence, broken only by Joyce asking if anyone wanted more coffee.

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

After thirty minutes of talking and hashing out a plan on where they needed to look for the Goa'uld, Angel walked towards the front door. "It's time for me to leave," he announced. "It will be sunrise soon."

"I'll walk you out," Buffy said, struggling to get out of the comfortable chair she was snuggling in with Joyce.

"No, let me," Jack said walking over to the other man.

Buffy eyed Jack considerately for a moment. "Are you sure?" she asked.

He nodded and opened the door.

"Jack," Buffy called, as he followed Angel onto the porch. "Behave."

"Don't I always?" he said with a brief grin, shutting the door on the curiosity seekers.

She frowned at the closed door.

"So?" Jack said as he walked over to stand beside Angel, his hands stuffed in his trousers' pocket as he looked out at the night.

"So," echoed Angel.

"Still a vampire, eh?" asked Jack.

"Still an asshole," Angel snapped, "I see?"

"Hey," said Jack placatingly. He promised he would be good. He took a deep breath and turned to Angel.  "How are you?"

Angel nodded. "I'm fine."

"I heard about what you went through several weeks ago. That must have been rough," Jack said sympathetically.

"It was, it was, but with Buffy's help, we dealt with it."

"So I heard," Jack said.  "I'm sorry about how everything worked out."

"Are you?" he asked pointedly.

"Of course," Jack said surprised. "I love Bella, and I know you love her too. It has taken fifty years apart to appreciate how wonderful she is. And yes, I begrudge you for being with her those fifty years, taking care of her and loving her."

"I thought I smelled you on her and her on you," Angel said with sigh.

"Yeah," he said with a smile. "We made up."

"You know she was always in love with you," Angel said quietly. "For awhile there, because you weren't here, both of us deluded ourselves into thinking that she was in love with me."

"I don't think it was delusion," Jack protested, his eyebrows furrowed. "I know for a fact she loves you."

"Yeah, but not like she loves you."

"Maybe or maybe not. I can see the bond between the two of you, a bond I could never erase even if I tried. She loves you, man. I accept that. It kills me, but I accept it," Jack said quietly.

Angel nodded, turning up the collar on his coat, and blended into the night.

Jack watched for a few minutes, opened the door, and walked inside.

"Are you alright?" Buffy asked quietly. She was waiting beside the door as he came in.

"It's fine. We talked about stuff. Things that needed to be said. It's all out in the open," he said gathering Buffy into his arms for a tight squeeze. 

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

Buffy lay on the bed in her bedroom that no longer felt like hers. Just like the living room, there were subtle signs of change. Like the chair. She liked the chair next to the bed, but now it's across the room.

She lay there staring at the familiar ceiling trying to sleep. She tried counting sheep, but it wasn't helping. One of the sheep refused to jump over the bed. She shifted, muttering under her breath, and her hand bounced off the back of Faith's head.

"What," Faith said groggily. "B? What time is it?" she asked peering at the bedside clock.

"Five o'clock," Buffy said, listening to the morning outside. She could hear traffic and birds, and people's voices as they rose to start their morning ritual.

"Five? In the morning?" Faith said in disbelief, blinking at the digital numbers on the face of the clock. "What are you doing waking me up? Wake me up in couple more hours," she grumbled, turning to go back to sleep.

She lay on the bed for a few minutes until the question burst out of her. "Are you okay?" Buffy asked quietly.

Faith stiffened. "Of course I'm okay," she said with a surprised air. "Why shouldn't I be okay?" she said, pounding her pillow into shape.

Still speaking to the back of Faith's head, Buffy leaned on her side and gazed down at her. "With me I mean. You heard some freaky things before I left a couple of days ago, and here I am telling you some more freaky things."

Faith shrugged. "I'll deal," she said.

"I don't want you to deal," Buffy snapped fed up.

Faith eyed her for a minute and jumped out of the bed, and Buffy followed suit. They stood five feet apart with the bed in'between them. "What do you want from me?" Faith retorted her eyes narrowing.

"I don't know," Buffy said throwing her hands up in frustration. Maybe that was why she couldn't sleep, she thought. Everything about the situation with Faith seemed up in the air.  "Something," she admitted.

Faith snorted and sat on the edge of the bed. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes and when she opened them, there was a world of pain in them. "I thought you were my friend," she said bleakly.

"I am," Buffy said walking over to kneel at the other girl's feet.

"But you never told me anything about yourself," she said in a pain'filled voice.

Buffy sighed. "I never told Xander and Willow either," she said calmly.

"It's not like I chose to tell them, but not you. No one knew except Angel. And the reason Angel knew is because we have known each other for about a hundred years."

"Were you planning to tell us?" she asked quietly. "I mean me. Were you planning to tell me?"

"Of course," she said with a frown. "You're more than a friend; you are my sister. We understand what it is like to live in the dark. No matter how long Xander, Willow, or even Cordelia live, they will never understand what it's like to be a Slayer. Remember, we are the Chosen Two," she said with a smile.

Faith returned her smile. "Yeah?"

"Yeah!" she said, clasping the other girl in a hug. "Forgive me?" Buffy whispered in her hair.

"Yeah, everything is five by five," Faith said pushing Buffy away.

"Enough of this touchy feely shit, I need my beauty sleep," she said walking over to her side of the bed and getting into it.

Buffy smiled and followed suit. Ten minutes later, as she was drifting off to sleep, she heard Faith.

"Your Jack is a stud."

"Faith?" Buffy mumbled.

"Yeah?"

"Go to sleep."

"Will everyone please shut up? Trying to sleep here," Willow announced.

Feeling a great weight off of her chest, Buffy sighed and let the cacophony of noise from outside and the weight of the bed lull her to sleep.

Chapter 23: Introspective.

The morning dawned bright and clear, and Adam Pierson, a.k.a. Methos, stood on the Summers' front porch sipping a cup of black coffee. After everyone had gone to bed early that morning, he had lain awake, unable to sleep. He inhaled deeply, scenting the heavy air filled with ozone and dead things. ‘What a life' he thought wryly. He looked over the quiet street, gazing around him in amazement. He could not believe this was the same town Bella had described as a mecca of evil. It seemed like an everyday small town, in one sense boring and the other ordinary.

He nodded at a man who came out on his porch to retrieve a newspaper that was nestled in the shrubs. The man gave him a suspicious glare that Adam could see from the distance between them and scurried back inside his house. Adam grinned briefly, saluting the closed door with his cup. He gave a contemplative sigh as he watched life come onto the street. Not for the first time in days, he was feeling introspective. He shook his head, marveling at how his life had changed in a matter of a couple of days.

It had started with a phone call. He gave a derisive laugh. It sounded like the first line to a novel. It had started with a phone call. He had thought he had put his past behind him. Some of it was good and some was definitely bad. And for the last odd years, he had been trying to make up for it, to redeem himself. "Hah," he said aloud in the clear morning. When Bella had told him that Angelus, one of the most vicious persons he was likely to meet, was atoning for his sin, he had laughed in her face. Angelus atoning? Even now, he still didn't believe it, he thought with a frown. But If Angelus could do it, so could he.

Over the years, he had mostly hid, not participating in the Immortal game. But that wasn't atoning, that was hiding. That's why he had more or less become friends with the Highlander, he thought ruefully. And he knew that around the Boy Scout, he had to be good.

As an Immortal he had encountered people from his past that still had grudges against him, but that didn't faze him as much as the thought of being a Goa'uld, he thought with a shudder. He thought he had left it behind him, but since he came to Colorado, all that pain, doubt, and fear had come rushing back. Sometimes in the middle of the night, he would wake up screaming as if he felt Onuris burrowing its way through his neck and attaching itself to his spinal column. That day he had felt helpless. His hands tightened on the brown coffee cup. He never wanted to feel that way again.

Bella had told him, what the Watcher's Council had done during her fictional eighteenth birthday. She had told him how she had felt that day. Helpless. She had felt helpless.

She had described the feeling as if part of her was missing, like an amputee. And someone out there right here in this picturesque little town was having the same problem. He never wanted to visit that particular memory, and he frowned. He felt as if the rug had been jerked out from under his feet. He, Jack, and Bella had sacrificed a lot all those years ago to get Ra to leave Earth. Friends and family had to die. He didn't want to sacrifice any more family. He knew both Jack and Buffy would probably agree.

He remembered the last time he had seen Bella before this. It was a couple of months ago; a distraught Bella had come to him, telling him that she had to kill Angelus. At the time, she was like the walking wounded, and he knew he never wanted to see that look upon her face again. But if Robert Gannon had really killed his sisters and was in league with a Goa'uld, then Bella was going to be in a load of pain no matter what she thought.

Thinking about Bella made him think about Jack. He had to smile; at least something good had come out of them going to Colorado. Bella had stopped lying to her friends about who she really was somewhat. And most of all, Jack and Bella had reconnected once again. He knew they had done more than reconnect, because whenever they were together, they couldn't help but smile.

He didn't have to have Angelus' sense of smell to figure that one out. But they weren't the only ones. He had noticed how Rupert was getting friendly with the blond Major. He sighed. How could love be so complicated? Around the base, he had picked up rumors about the Major and Jack. Having known Jack O'Neill for years, he knew if Jack had wanted to be with Major Carter, no amount of regulations would have stopped them. Then he shrugged - if they were meant to be, they were meant to be. Regulations or no regulations.

Even though he had been married several times, he had only loved a handful of them. The others he had married for companionship. He wasn't lucky like Jack and Bella. But if love was like theirs, then forget it; he didn't need it. "Right," he snorted into his half'empty cup.

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

Inside the house, Samantha Carter stumbled into the Summers' kitchen. "Coffee," she moaned, her eyes partly closed. She pulled up short when she spied Buffy at the table sipping her own cup of coffee.

"What are you doing here?" Carter demanded, looking around.

Buffy's eyes narrowed. "My kitchen," she said.

Carter blushed, chagrined. "I meant, why you are up? When I went to bed, you were still awake."

"I'm a Slayer," she said with a polite tone. If Major Carter wanted a fight, she wasn't going to give her one. "My body doesn't need as much sleep as the average human," she admitted eying the other woman over her coffee cup.

"Really?" said Carter, her steps slowing as she pondered Buffy. She cocked her head curiously. She wondered if they studied Buffy and were able to duplicate her strength, what it would mean for the program.

"Yes, really," she said nodding. "And I'm not a lab rat," she murmured, seeing the zealous look in Carter's eyes.

Carter's blush deepened.

"Morning, B," a voice chirped from the doorway.

"Case in point," Buffy said pointing to Faith who wandered in wearing a t'shirt and multi'patterned boxer shorts.

"I see," she said speculatively.

"Major Carter," said Faith, bending to open the fridge.

"Faith," she acknowledged with a nod.

"What do you want for breakfast?" asked Faith.

"You cook?" said Buffy in disbelief, eying the seemingly'domesticated girl.

"Joyce is showing me how," she said holding up a bag of wheat bread.

"So what can you do?" Buffy asked, again eyeing the other girl.

Faith grinned. "Let me see," she said. "I can do toast and…toast," she said with a wide'eyed innocence that looked incongruous on her face.

"Mmm," Buffy murmured. "What should it be," she murmured tapping her teeth in a thoughtful manner.

Faith rolled her eyes.

"Toast it is," Buffy said with an infectious grin. "How about you, Major Carter?"

"I wouldn't mind some toast," she said, noting that the tension between the two women the night before seemed to have dissipated.

Buffy nodded. "Here," she said to Faith, walking over to the fridge. "Let me help. I think toast will be great with eggs. Scrambled or sunny side up," she asked peering into the fridge.

"Sunny side," said Carter.

"Go B," said Faith admiringly. "Ms. Domestic Goddess you."

"You don't have to be a genius to cook eggs," she retorted, whipping a few eggs in a bowl. "Where's everyone?" Buffy asked, lighting the stove.

"Teal'c is doing kel'no'reem in the living room."

"Kel'no what?" asked Faith, her mouth around a buttered toast.

"Kel'no'reem," Buffy said absentmindedly. "It's a deep meditative state."

Carter shook her head. "Sometimes I forget you were once a Goa'uld."

"It isn't something one forgets in a hurry," she said bleakly.

Carter nodded in understanding. "Although Jolinar was Tok'ra and not Goa'uld, it is weird having something inside your body making decisions for you," she said.

"Yeah, it is," said Buffy and for the first time their eyes met in agreement.

Carter was the first to turn away. "Daniel and Jack are still sleeping," she said. She turned back to Buffy and took a deep breath as if she was getting the courage to do something she didn't want to do. "What's going on between you and Jack?" she asked point blank.

Buffy eyed her contemplatively. This is it, she thought, the typical confrontation between two women who wanted the same man. "We're together," she said noncommittally.

There was an acute silence for a minute.

Carter bowed her head and thought of all the things she wanted to say, but what actually came out of her mouth was, "You better take care of him or else."

Buffy nodded. "Fine, but you must extend the same courtesy. What's going on between you and Giles?"

"Giles?!" sputtered Faith, spitting orange juice across the table.

They both ignored her.

Carter blushed. "I really don't know, yet," she admitted, tormented by her confusing emotions.

"When you do know, please don't hurt him. He deserves someone who will love him wholeheartedly."

Carter sighed, what happened to the levelheaded young woman of yesterday? She could blame it on the Jack and Buffy situation, but she was the one that chose to kiss Rupert Giles, no one else. "Touché," she acknowledged with a wry smile, walking out of the kitchen with her toast and coffee.

"So B, what's up with you and the Major?" asked Faith, her eyes speculative as she watched the woman walk out of the kitchen.

"Nothing," Buffy said with a surprised air as she frowned. Part of her was surprised to say it was true. It felt as if the tension between them was a thing of the past, with just a few little words. She and Sam didn't roll around and punch each other like two cats in heat, but they had settled their differences in a few worded sentences. Wouldn't the guys be disappointed? she thought with a hidden grin.

Buffy didn't expect to like Carter but she did. Maybe it was because both of them were alpha females. They would continue to butt heads, but now there would be respect in it. She still couldn't picture Giles and Carter together, but love is blind and to each his own... and all those clichés, she thought with a frown. Both deserved happiness, and she prayed that each of them would get it. If not with each other, then, she hoped, with someone else.

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

Major Samantha Carter walked through the living room and around the snoring men to open the front door with one hand, while sipping her coffee. She was surprised to see someone else on the porch. "I'm sorry," she said, blinking. "I thought everyone was sleeping. I'll go back inside," she said while turning towards the door.

"No," said Adam startled out of his reverie. "If you want to catch your breath, this is the right place to do that," he said with a wry smile that crinkled the little laugh lines at his eyes. "I'll have myself some more coffee," he said motioning to her steaming cup.

"It's good," she acknowledged. "Buffy and Faith are in the kitchen making eggs and toast."

"Mmm," he murmured. "My favorite," he said walking through the open door.

What a handsome man, she mused. Whoa, she thought startled, where did that thought come from? She could see that he was handsome, but she was noticing a lot of things lately. Like Rupert's eyes, they were like melted chocolate, and she loves chocolate. One could say she might even be addicted to them.

She thought back to the day before and what they had done on the plane and she blushed. She could not believe she let down her guard like that and in public. What does he think of her? she wondered.

Sipping coffee, she reflected on what had happened the past few days. Wasn't it a surprise, she thought sourly, that the Jack O'Neill they thought they had all knew turned out to be a stranger.

With her eyes bleak, she gazed out at the waking neighborhood. All of these years, they had depended on Jack for leadership, for friendship. For God sake, they were family. SG'1. To find out that he had being lying to them for years. Part of he could have forgiven the lie easily enough because everyone has secrets, but what she couldn't forgive as easily was the wife, because that was the worst sin in her eyes - more so because he wasn't free, free to love another person, but most of all he wasn't free to be with her.

But what other secrets isn't he telling us? she wondered as she continued to sip her coffee. She sighed. Adam was right, she thought ruefully, this is the place to think.

The door behind her opened. She heard footsteps echo behind her, but she didn't turn around. It seemed her peace was about to be broken. The other person walked up to her and rested a warm hand on her neck. She inhaled deeply then turned around to gaze into the warmest chocolate brown eyes that saw everything.

"Hey," Giles said softly, massaging her neck.

"Hey," she said with a slight blush. She stepped a few inches away from him, feeling as if he was disturbing her peace of mind.

Giles eyes narrowed. "It is not good for you to be alone out here," he said in mild tones that did not show a hint of what he was feeling.

"What can happen?" she said with a frown. "I can take care of myself."

"I thought with both my conversation and Buffy's you had gotten the gist about the town last night," he said.

"I did, but it's morning," she said.

"Yes, but not all demons roam in the night," he said taking in the beautiful, serene morning.

She shivered slightly.

"Why have you been avoiding me?" he said softly, his eyes on the newly awakened neighborhood.

Her eyes widened. "I'I haven't been avoiding you," she denied, taking a quick glance at his face, but what she saw must have made her uncomfortable because she quickly looked away.

"Yes, you have," he said. "You can barely look at me right now, and last night you rushed off to bed like the hounds of hell were after you."

"I was just tired," she protested.

"How about now?" he demanded moving to stand before her.

She backed up slowly.

Giles paused and cocked his head to one side. "See, even now you are retreating," he said dryly.

Major Carter stood there willing her body not to flee. She was a soldier, a warrior that had been in combat situation, and she had never backed down from danger. But now she was a scared woman fighting the instinct to leave. Everything is happening too soon, she thought. She wasn't sure of herself. Is she using Rupert as a buffer between Jack and her feelings? And if she is attracted to Rupert, does that mean all of her feelings for Jack were an infatuation?

She stood there trembling as the bright sun seemed to disappear. She squinted as a shadow mist hid the cloud from view. She ran her stiff arms across her shoulders, her body half'turned towards the door.

"Why?" he asked softly, running a finger up and down her face. "Such soft skin," he murmured to himself. "Such a beautiful face. She is so fascinating. Sometimes tough, the solider, and others times, when she lets her guard down, the vulnerable woman inside. Why are you afraid," he asked gently.

"I'I'm not," she stammered.

"Yes, you are," he countered.

She took a deep breath and wandered away from him. "We're going too fast," she said, her back towards him.

His eyes watched her gently. "Why do you say that?" he argued

Her eyes widened in disbelief. "We practically attacked each other; it's as if I was possessed or something," she protested.

"So," Giles said with mild inflection in his voice. "You think you have to be possessed to find me attractive."

She sighed, her brows furrowed. "You are putting words in my mouth," she said.

"What am I to think?"

Her eyes snapped to his and then looked way. "That's what I felt," she mumbled. "Look, Mr. Giles."

"Mr. Giles?" he asked, eyebrows raised. "I had my tongue down your throat… isn't that enough to call me something else?"

"Ru'rupert," she said flustered. "I mean, Giles."

"Call me either one," he said, helping her out. "But I'd rather you call me Rupert in intimate moments, and we'll be intimate," he warned, giving her a deep look before moving towards the closed door. He opened it and went inside.

Samantha stood there for a few minutes, feeling Giles' hands lingering on her face. She took a long deep breath, before she too stepped inside the house.

Chapter 24: New Watcher

As Giles entered the double doors of the library, Principal Snyder waylaid him.

"Mr. Giles, there you are," he said, his mouth twisted in a frown and his small brow arched in curiosity. "I've been looking for you. Where have you been?"

Giles sighed, looking down at the toad-like man. "Principal Snyder, remember I had asked for a couple of days off several days ago," Giles said exasperated.

"You did?" he said surprised.

"Yes," Giles said. "You signed off on me taking a few days. I have papers to that effect," Giles reminded the man.

"Yes, well," he said waving his hands in dismissal. "That's irrelevant now. Come on, I want to introduce you to your assistant librarian."

"An Assistant librarian?" Giles asked, puzzled. "I didn't ask for one."

"Well, you got one," Snyder snapped. "Meet Mr. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce," he said, gesturing to a man in his late twenties, early thirties.

Wesley was a somewhat foppish looking man, with dark brown hair and wire rimmed glasses that obscure his hazel eyes. He was sorting books on the table.

Giles groaned. Just what I need, he thought, a Council crony.

"Mr. Giles?" Wesley said with eagerness in his tone as he rushed to clasp Giles' hands, almost tripping over his feet. "I'm a Watcher," he whispered.

"I wouldn't have guessed," Giles murmured, shaking the other man's hands.

"Well, I will leave you two to get acquainted," Snyder said sourly, as he walked through the door. Giles didn't seem as upset as he should, he thought. If suddenly a younger man came on the scene, he would be upset. "Why do we need two librarians?" he muttered to himself. "…and another British one at that."

Wesley smiled a sickly sweet smile at Giles.

Giles bared his teeth, letting him see Ripper.

Wesley flinched and busied himself with some books.

They could hear Snyder in the uncomfortable silence that followed. "You there," he could be heard yelling. "Pick that up! This isn't your home."

As his voice trailed off, Giles turn towards Wesley. "I don't need another Watcher," said Giles with a frown. "I have being doing a fine job."

"No, if you had been doing such a fine job, you wouldn't have been fired," Wesley stated.

Giles winced and didn't go into his usual denial about quitting. Whom was he kidding? he thought, walking to sit on a nearby chair. He was fired because the love he holds for Buffy is the love of a father.

In the last few days, he had felt his age: Buffy lying to him, to them, had taken a toll on him; then there was the situation with Samantha, denying there was something between them.

What a kiss, he mused with a small grin. What a spark that had caused. It had shown that the heart he thought long dead was still a beating mess. Earlier, he felt as if Samantha had retreated. For one brief moment, both had let down their guards and brought someone else into their heart. After Jenny and Jack, both never thought they would find someone else that could complete them. But Samantha seemed stubborn, willing to deny that she had let her guard down.

"Mr. Giles, Mr. Giles," Wesley called.

"What?" Giles snapped, shaking his head and focusing his gaze on the other man.

"I've been calling you for the last ten minutes," he whined in an annoyed tone.

"Pardon me," Giles answered dryly.

"As I was saying," Wesley responded briefly looking up from unpacking some boxes. "Of course, training procedures have been updated quite a bit since your day, much greater emphasis on fieldwork."

"Really?" said Giles with a bored stare. He crossed his arms.

"Oh, yes," he announced with enthusiasm as he walked around a box. "Not all books and theory nowadays," he said as he reached in the box for some books. "I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself – under controlled circumstances, of course."

"Well, no danger of finding those here," Giles said dryly as he uncrossed his arms.

"Vampires?" Wesley questioned looking up with a thoughtful frown on his face.

"No, controlled circumstances." Out of the corner of his eyes, he sees Buffy enter the library. "Hello…Buffy."

Wesley, overhearing, looked at her and smiled condescendingly. "Well...," he said stepping to the head of the table. "Hello."

Buffy gives him a quick look up and down.

"New Watcher?" Buffy asked, one eyebrow arched.

"New Watcher," Giles agreed with a nod.

Wesley took a step towards her and held out his hand in greeting. "Wesley Wyndam-Pryce."

Buffy made no move to return the gesture but continued to eye him critically.

A moment later, he stepped back again. "Uh, it's very nice to meet you," he admitted with a slight embarrassed blush.

Buffy stepped over to Giles, never removing her eyes from Wesley. "Is he evil?"

Wesley looked perplexed. "Evil?" he wondered.

Giles gave her a brief grin. "Not as far as I know."

She shrugged.

"What are you doing here? I thought you were going to check…"

"What?" Wesley asked eagerly. "Is it something I can help with?"

"There you are, Giles," Cordelia interrupted, pushing the door open. "There was some guy looking for you, said he's a Watcher."

"He's right here," said Giles.

"Oh," she said abashed.

"Hello, Cordelia," Buffy said, giving her a brief nod. It seemed like a lifetime ago when everything was sane. The only thing she had to worry about was having a life outside of being a slayer. Now in the last few days, everything had changed. Giles, Willow, and Xander (and even to some extent Oz) had become less innocent. Of course, they had known evil was in the world, but their lives were insular.

She frowned and wondered what would have happened if she hadn't come to Sunnydale. Would they have had a normal life? "Everything changes," she mused, except for Cordelia, who still focused her life as the popular cheerleader in the midst of chaos.

"Oh, Buffy, you're back," Cordelia said. "Did you get everything straightened out?"

"Yeah, we got in early this morning," Buffy replied. "Listen, I was wondering if you don't mind coming by the house tonight. There's something I want to tell you."

"Sure," she said with only a slight hesitation. "What time?"

"Seven o'clock?" Buffy said looking at her watch.

"Alright," Cordelia answered walking out the door.

"Giles, I got to book," said Buffy in a causal dismissal.

"See you later?" she asked. "Same time?"

"Yes," he said with a nod.

Watching the camaraderie between the slayer and her friends, Wesley felt left out. "Mr. Giles," he called. There was a thin smile on his lips as he said, "You don't have to be jealous that I will be a better Watcher."

"A better Watcher?" said Giles dumbfounded, watching the other man leave the room.

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

Willy's Bar.

"Hey there… Slayer," Willy said loudly and half his costumers went out the back door.

Buffy strolled into the dingy bar; ignoring the mass exodus her presence had caused and walked up to the bar. "Hey Willy, long time no see," she said casually, feeling the presence of the odd demon in the room.

"Buffy," Willy said, clearing his throat, wiping a damp cloth across the bar.

"So," she said looking around. "Have you noticed anything weird going on…lately?"

"Weird?" he asked apprehensively, his eyes darting around the room with a frown. "What do you consider weird? We live on the Hellmouth."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "How about humans disappearing?"

Willy gave her a strange look.

"More than usual," she snapped.

"As a matter of fact," he said with a pause, "some of the guys have been complaining that there hasn't been enough food. But you know me – I like to keep myself to the background," he said with a shrug.

"Yeah," she said dryly. "Hey!" she said out loud, walking to the middle of the room. "It would be worth a lot to someone if they tell me if they find or know about something weird going on. Something out of the ordinary."

"Like what," someone yelled back.

"What's in it for me, if I tell you anything," a Lor'ash demon growled.

"Your life," Buffy said dryly, walking out the door and into the sunshine beyond.

Chapter 25: Amanda.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Nick Wolfe asked as he eyed the five pieces of luggage stacked neatly on the porch.

Amanda, a medium height bleached blonde with short hair turned a sweet smile towards him.

"Of course," she said. "When was the last time I didn't know what I was doing?"

Nick rolled his eyes.

"Small town," she mused with frown looking around. "Doesn't even have a decent theater or museum."

"When did you love those?" he asked dryly.

She gave him a look. "When I was robbing them," she admitted.

He smiled. "We did pass at least a movie theater and what I believe to be an art gallery and museum on the way here."

"I wonder if the gallery or museum has anything worthwhile to steal," she mused.

"I thought we came for a visit," Nick asked, eyebrows arched in question.

"We did, I mean we do, but that doesn't mean that we cannot mix a little bit of business with pleasure. Darling, I love culture," she cried.

"Yeah, only if it benefits you," he commented sardonically.

Amanda gave him a mysterious smile.

"Are you sure you have the right address?" he asked changing the subject.

"Of course, I had to coax it out of Ritchie. I was told that Duncan called and said he was in Sunnydale, California, and he's staying at 1630 Revello Drive."

"What is he doing in California, any way?" inquired Nick. "I mean he was in Paris several months. Why go from Paris to a dinking town called Sunnydale?"

"You don't like suburbia?" she mocked.

"Who can like a place called Sunnydale; it just screams Stepford Wives and kids." Nick shuddered.

"That's the city in you talking."The city," he mused. "At least you know what to expect in the city. The bustling, the smells…"

"…the crowds, that gray pall that seemed to hang over every city," Amanda countered. "But not here; smell that fresh air, that sunshine. This place screams Americana."

"It is not normal," he muttered.

"Yes, but I could get used to place like this," she mused, taking a deep breath.

"Yeah right," he scoffed. "After a few days, you will be begging for the city and its entertainment. Weren't you the one complaining earlier about the lack of theaters and museum? Culture.".

"I'm fickle," she admitted with wry smile. "I'm a lady. I am allowed to change my mind."

"A lady," he snorted. "That will be the day. Are you sure Duncan is here?" he asked for the third time. "This place doesn't seem like a hotel," he added looking around. "He could have moved since he called Ritchie."

"Since last night?"

"Well, yeah."

"I don't think so." She pressed the doorbell.

"What are we doing here anyway?"

"I am visiting Adam and Mac."

"You couldn't wait until they are back in Seacover?" Nick asked. He was a handsome man in early forties with shaggy brown hair that needed trimming and hazel eyes.

"I won't be left out of the action," she said with her hands on her hips.

"Why are you sure, there is action to be had?" he demanded.

Amanda rolled her eyes.

"Because Mac and Adam are both here. Duh! Plus Joe. When is the last time Joe Dawson left his little pub?"

Nick opened his mouth to respond.

"Well-- never," she commented while pounding on the door.

"Hey not so loud!" he said with a wince, as the door was opened by an attractive woman in her late thirties or early forties.

"Yes," Joyce said cautiously, having learned not to invite anyone inside, no matter the time of day.

"Hi!" Amanda chirped with a blinding smile. "I am Amanda Montrose," she said using one of her aliases. And this is Nick Wolfe; we are friends of Adam Pierson and Duncan MacLeod. I am wondering if we could speak to them."

Joyce eyed them for a few moments and soundly shut the door.

"She closed the door!" Amanda exclaimed incredulously.

"Shh!" Nick whispered. "You can't be too careful in this day and age." He stiffened and felt Amanda do the same as they both felt an immortal on the other side of the door. A powerful one, too. They looked at each other, backed away from the door cautiously, and went for their swords. But before they could draw their weapons the door was abruptly opened.

Standing before them silhouetted by a circle of sunlight was one of the most stunning women Nick had ever seen. His mouth dropped open in stunned surprise.

Buffy grinned. "Amanda!" she squealed.

"Isabella?" Amanda questioned, her hands releasing her sword back into its secret place.

Buffy nodded.

"Isabella!" Amanda said rushing to give the other woman a quick hug. "What are doing here?" she demanded. "I haven't seen you since that time in Belize in 1882. You haven't change a bit," she paused to carefully look her over, "…except your hair," motioning to Buffy now blonde locks.

"We all cannot stay the same, but look who's talking," she commented eying Amanda short bleached ‘do.

"Like?" She preened, twirling around in a half circle.

Buffy eyebrow arched in contemplation. "It's definitely you," she said with a laugh.

"Oh God," said Amanda. "This is the last place I expect to find you. Nick," she said turning to her silent boyfriend. "Nick?"

"You are beautiful," said Nick walking over to kiss Buffy's hand.

"And she's mine," said Jack, hearing the last sentence.

"Johnny?" questioned Amanda.

Jack grimaced as he walked over to kiss her on the cheek. "Amanda, how many times I asked not to call me Johnny?" He frowned, but his eyes held a mischievous twinkle.

"I like the name Johnny," she pouted.

Buffy rolled her eyes as she said to Jack, "You know she only called you that to rile you up."

"Wait a minute," said Amanda. "You are still together?"

"Yes," said Jack proudly.

"Sort of," Buffy added.

"What!?" Jack turned to look at Buffy in surprise. "What do you mean sort of?"

"Not now, Jack," she said dismissively.

His eyes narrowed. What's going on? he wondered, eying her thoughtfully. "We have to talk," Jack ordered.

Her mouth tightened and she gave him a dry stare. "Later."

Amanda eyed them for a minute, as she felt tension between them. "So," she said casually. "...are you together or what?"

She followed them in the living room. Buffy shrugged.

"Then you wouldn't mind if I made a go at Jack," Amanda provoked.

Buffy stiffened and opened her mouth.

"Gotcha," Amanda crowed, holding up her hands, placating. "I have my own boy toy. I don't need yours."

"How long have you guys known each other?" Nick asked, ignoring the term boy toy. Amanda could be outrageous at times.

"It's been a while," Buffy said noncommittal.

"It's definitely being a while," Amanda agreed with a laugh. "Nick, if you think I'm wild. Bella here puts me to shame," she admitted with a smirk.As stains of scarlet appeared on Buffy's cheeks, she grew angry at herself for being embarrassed. She had nothing to feel embarrassed about. Yes, she done things she wasn't proud of, but who hadn't. Then there was that tension that sprang up between her and Jack. It was all her doing, of course.

Earlier she had Jack set out to find the Goa'uld with high hopes then they decided to split up. It was a great strategy, but it enabled her to start thinking without the cloud of lust that surrounded her. Thinking had aroused her old fears and uncertainties. She had changed from the old Bella everyone knew. Adam saw it; even Angel saw it, but not Jack. She couldn't go back to being the old Bella.

She won't, but more importantly, she can't. Plus, what did they know about each other. Nothing, even though they had made love. Everything wasn't right between them. He couldn't expect that they would just pickup where they left off fifty years ago. Could he? She thought glancing at his stormy face. Apparently he could.

Also noting the tension that seemed to spring up in the room, Joyce quickly brought cups of coffee into the room.

"Mr. Wolfe, are you an immortal?" she asked.

"Yes," he said.

"Really?" she inquired, slightly surprised. The immortals she had met seemed different to her somehow. "How old are you? If it's not an imposition," she quickly amended, her eyebrows rising curiously.

"No, it's not," he assured her. "I'm forty-two. I became an immortal last year."

"Oh," she said sympathetically, knowing that an immortal's first death was always shocking and violent. She didn't mean to bring up unhappy memories, so she searched the room for something to do. "Does anyone want more coffee?" she asked, poised to rise up from the sofa.

"No, Mom," responded Buffy, as she sipped from her cup. "We didn't even finish our last cup."

"Mom?" Nick questioned, taken aback. He looked from one woman to the other. They didn't seem like mother and daughter, plus Bella was an immortal. And all immortals were foundlings.

"It's a long story," Buffy said wryly.

"Where are Mac and Adam?" Amanda asked abruptly. It didn't seem like Bella's scene, she mused, taking in the cozy looking living room

"They are checking on something for me," Buffy replied.

"Well, since the people we came to see are not here, we might as well hear the long story," said Nick before sipping his black coffee sweetened with one sugar, no cream.

Buffy looked around as if searching for something to distract everyone, but seeing no obvious distraction, gave a huge sigh. She then proceeded to tell Nick and Amanda how she met Joyce. "…and that's how she became my mom," she concluded as a shuffling sound came from the front door.

Having sensed the Immortals, Buffy walked to the front door and unlocked it. "What did you find?" she asked impatiently as they set a foot over the threshold.

"Nothing," Duncan grumbled as he strolled into the room. "Bupkis."

"Me too,'" mumbled Adam as he followed Mac to the living room. "Maybe we're getting too old," he mused. "Because our powers of persuasion aren't what they used to be."

"Speak for yourself," Mac scoffed. "I could tell that they were afraid."

"They didn't show it. They could have acted more scared," Adam insisted; his brows furrowed in a frown. "Instead they clammed up."

"Have you been torturing peons, Methos?" said Amanda, smiling slightly. She was happy to see her friends.

"Amanda!" Adam walked over to give the woman a tight hug.

"Amanda?" said Duncan, startled to see the woman. "What are you doing here?" he asked in bemused frown taking note of the living room full of suitcases."I've been asking her the same things, since she dragged me out here."

"Nick!" he exclaimed. "Did she drag you here too?"

"You know I can't tell her no," the youngest immortal said with a wry smile. "How are you Adam? Mac?"

"Good," said Duncan. "I'm just surprised to see you, that's all. What are you doing here, anyway?" he asked, bending to give Amanda a kiss on her lips.

"I couldn't let you run off on another adventure without me," Amanda protested, returning the kiss.

"What adventure?" Mac asked mildly.

"Who were you torturing for information?" she demanded, giving him ‘are you kidding me' look.

"None of your business," he said, without any heat.

"You see," she objected gleefully. "You are having an adventure. When I heard that Joe Dawson took a vacation with you two, I knew something was up. And if that was suspicious enough, the place you guys are staying is with Bella. Where Isabella goes, chaos is sure to follow," she said almost triumphantly.

"Are you sure you aren't talking about yourself?" Buffy retorted, irritated.

"I'm sure," retorted Amanda, smiling sweetly.

Buffy and Amanda had met years earlier, when they both went after the same priceless jewelry. At the time, both women had different reasons for stealing the jewel. To Amanda it was its worth; at the time, the jewelry, a sapphire big as a robin's egg was worth 10 thousands marks. But Buffy had been stealing it for her own brand of justice.

The sapphire had originally belonged to a duke's family for generations. But the young heir believed that he was in love, gave it to his sweetheart before the wedding vows, to later find out that he was been cruelly used. Buffy, as always a champion for mankind, had came upon the distraught young man and promised that she would retrieve the jewel without any fuss. After thoroughly investigated the story and the jewelry, Buffy embarked on a life of jewel theft.

However, Annalisea, wife of Dagon the Conqueror, an immortal Viking, closely guarded the jewelry. Annalisea was mortal and greedy. Feeling neglected by her husband, she would seduce young men promising that she would leave her husband for them, but her fears and lack of purse would disable her for leaving. She would choose a prize jewel, one that was surely in their family for generations. When they protested, she would cry that they didn't love her. To show their love, they would comply with her wishes.

Buffy decided the young duke would be the last of such young men this woman would seduce. And she had a plan. But the plan didn't include Amanda, and most surely didn't include Annalisea who cried thief when she unexpectedly came upon both Buffy and Amanda in her house. In the midst of getting away, Annalisea was struck down. It was also happenstance that Dagon came home during what Buffy conceded to be the debacle of a lifetime. Having missed Amanda's escape, he only took note that Buffy was alone with his wife when she died. And so even now, he constantly chased Buffy, wanting to take her head.

Buffy didn't have time to worry about being chased for something she hadn't done, she needed to find Amanda who had escaped with the jewelry. When Amanda was found, she wasn't willing to part with such a rare find, unless Buffy could give a replacement of equal or greater value. That was the start of unusual friendship, that fifty years was nothing between them.

"Where is Joe?" Amanda asked, eagerly looking behind both Adam and Duncan. "Is he behind you?"

"No, he's not with us," responded Adam, walking to sit beside Buffy and Jack on the opposite sofa.

"A friend of Bella owned some obscure books," Duncan said. "…he and a couple pals of Jack's went to visit him."

"Listen," interjected Buffy, she sounded curt. "…since some of us are here, we needed to make several decisions. School will be out soon and the rest of the gang will be here soon, we need to coordinate what we need to do. And we also have to talk about the rooming situation," she said gesturing around the crowded living room.

"If you could direct us to the nearest hotel, we will be satisfied," Nick said lightly.

"We don't actually have a hotel," Buffy admitted.

"What!?" mocked Amanda, aghast. "Sunnydale has a theater, why not a hotel?"

Buffy shrugged. "Weird town" she said dryly. "We don't have hotels, but we have motels, but they're not fit for fleas. I wasn't going to mention this until the others are here, but I met up with Angel earlier, and we both decided it is better if we are all under one roof. He has plenty of space at his place, and he's willing to put us up until our situation is resolved."

"What kind of situation?" asked Nick.

"Angelus is in town?" Amanda mused, licking her dry lips.

"Yeah," Jack said dryly.

"Who is this Angelus?" asked Nick, not like how Amanda said the other man's name. He knew that as an immortal, she had many lovers, but he couldn't help but being jealous of her past.

"A friend," said Amanda, smiling enigmatic. "A really old friend."

Chapter 26: Who is he?

Across town, Samantha Carter followed Daniel, Teal'c, and Joe reluctantly through the doors of Sunnydale High School's library. She was literally dragging her feet; she didn't know what she was doing here. After the awkward meeting she had earlier with Rupert, she was feeling a little apprehensive.

As she entered the room, she saw him out of the corner of her eye, but she decided to ignore him for a moment, favoring instead to look around the library: it was a traditional looking, with shelving done in cherry veneers.

She felt his gaze fall upon her, causing her to fight to quell a shiver. Why on earth did he have this effect on her? She frowned as she began to tense. She tried not to look at him as she wandered around the room, but it wasn't working, she could feel the attraction between them bubbling just beneath the surface. Now that she'd tasted him, she didn't think she could get over the sensation.

He looked up, and their eyes met and for a second, she felt trapped in his gaze causing her to turn her face away, flushed. What am I doing here? She wondered. We should be looking for the Goa'uld.

"So, Rupert," Daniel inquired, eagerly looking around. This is where I belong, he thought, smelling the musty odor of un-used library. "…is this where you work?"

Giles tore his gaze from Sam's face and gave a brief nod. "This is where all the action takes place," he admitted, trying to see his beloved library through their eyes.

He knew it was small and not impressive, unlike many of the libraries he had worked in before coming to Sunnydale, but it was his…and Wesley's. He frowned, as he thought about the interloper he had met that morning and then as he shook of his melancholy mood he gave his visitors a warm welcoming smile.

"Welcome to Sunnydale High."

Daniel wandered around the library like a delighted child, his hands touching the books reverently, while Sam and Teal'c stood in the doorway watching him like benevolent parents.

Daniel drifted out from the stack where he found himself. He gave a deep sigh of appreciation. If only he had time, he mused, fingering a book on Ancient Rome. He could spend all day in the library just lingering… but he cannot loose focus, he was here on business, he reminding himself with a shake of his head. He was here for a specific book, not the entire library.

"Rupert, where is that book, the one you were telling me about this morning?" he asked as he moved towards the other man.

"It's in my office," Giles offered with a gesture behind him. "Right this way." He led Daniel to an empty room filled with books and papers.
A few minutes Daniel yelled for Sam through the open office door. "Sam! You have to see this."

"What?" she yelled back.

"Come on, you need see this," he replied, walking out the office to drag her towards the door.

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

One hour later, Sam came out of the office feeling bored. She never thought she would be in that situation, she rivaled Daniel in doing research - She wasn't like Teal'c and Jack, bored with book learning, instead she had the best of worlds, warrior and scholar though right now she found that she couldn't concentrate.

It was her love life. She never thought she would see the day that her love life would take precedent over research; in the last few years, the job had become everything and her love life was lost in the shuffle. Well not exactly lost, but put to one side, being left to exist in daydreams of a possible life with Jack O'Neill.

As she sat in one of the hard back chairs, Sam thought she may have made a bad bargain in visiting the library. At first, she hadn't mind leaving the house, especially since she hated the idea of being alone with Buffy and Jack, but now she wasn't so sure.

Although, come to think of it, she noted a slight tension between them, which was weird because when everyone had went to bed the night before, everything seemed hunky dory. She hoped they hadn't had a falling out.

‘But what if they had?' she thought, causing her to frown. Shouldn't she have felt some elation that they may have broken up? However, she wasn't, instead, what she feeling was sadness, not for herself but for them. But wasn't she in love with Jack? Right now, she didn't know.


In the past twenty-four hours, her perception of almost everything had changed, except one thing – she loved Jack O'Neill and she believed above anything that he deserved a chance of happiness, even if it wasn't with her. But seeing him with another woman hurt and although she could tell that he genuinely cared for Buffy Summers her heart broke more than a little when she thought about what ifs.

However, after what had happened in the past twenty four hours and the dull pang of regret in her beat in her chest when she watched Jack and Buffy, she was no longer sure if she was ‘in' love with him.


Yes, she loved him, part of her always would, but the Jack she knew was only part of him, there where so much he had kept from her. Not that she blamed him for it, she understood his reasoning behind it – but shouldn't she be angry? If she was ‘in' love with Jack O'Neill, shouldn't she be screaming inside that he had kept so much hidden from her – and now there was Rupert.


That morning, as she and Buffy had come to an unspoken understanding, she had decided to let Jack go, to let him live his own life and more importantly to begin to live her own. At first she thought it would be hard letting go, but it hadn't been; she only felt a twinge in her heart when she thought of what could have been – did that mean that she hadn't really been ‘in' love at all.


Today was be a brand new day, a new start, it would be hard but she could do it, she could face being alone, not living each day in the hope that Jack would say ‘To hell with the regulations'. Although the thought of this would be easier if she didn't find herself attracted to Rupert Giles, she mused.


She could admit when it came to her love life she was scared. Scared of being hurt, scared of losing control, but mostly she was just scared of what it meant, if what she was feeling right now for Rupert Giles was real and not a rebound thing from something that hadn't existed in the first place. Although she would deny she was scared with her dying breath.


She was tired of thinking about her love life when she could be thinking about the Goa'uld that might be taking over an un-suspecting Sunnydale right this minute. She stood up and began to wandered around the room, touching items willy nilly.


She frowned, as she paused, "What I am doing here, when we should be looking for the Goa'uld?"


"Goa'uld?" a voice asked in inquiry.


"Wesley?" questioned Giles, as he came out of the office to face the young man, who'd entered the room. "I thought you had gone on your lunch break?"


"I did," the younger Watcher admitted. "…but I forgot some notes that I had wanted to look over during my break."


"Oh," Giles remarked, nonplussed.


"Who are your guests?" Wesley asked, with an ingratiating smile as he moved fully into the room.


"Guests?" Giles echoed, looking blindly around.


"Yes, your guests," Wesley said as he gestured to Daniel, Teal'c, Joe and Sam.


"Oh yes, my guests," Giles repeated, slightly flustered. "T-this is Joe Dawson, Murray …he mumbled with a hand covering his mouth as if he uttered Murray's last name and Daniel Jackson.


"The Daniel Jackson?" reiterated Wesley, looking startled. "…the same Daniel Jackson who had published a theory that someone beside the Egyptians built the pyramids?"


"You've heard of me?" Daniel asked.


Of course," Wesley remarked, surprised, as if everyone had heard of Daniel Jackson. "We may not travel in the same literary community, but academia is pretty small, and we in the United Kingdom have heard of your theory."


Daniel grimaced.


On seeing Daniel's pained reaction to Wesley's statement; Sam pushed herself into Wesley's line of sight.


"Hi, I'm Samantha Carter and Dr Jackson doesn't like to talk about the reception his theories received because that's in the past," she warned, as she tried to protect her friend from the memory of the ridicule he had endured because of his theories, even though he was right. "But I can help you, if you need any information."


"No, that is fine," Wesley acknowledged. "But my I ask; why are you here?"

With slight hesitation, Daniel replied. "Visiting Mr. Giles."

"No," the young Watcher expressed with a frown. "Not here in the library. In Sunnydale?"

Daniel shrugged. "Visiting friends."

He frowned, wondering why the other man wanted to know. He opened his mouth, but was preventing from speaking by Giles who interrupted.

"That's enough," Giles declared, his tone coolly disapproving, as he addressed Wesley. "They are friends of mine; they don't have to answer to you." Giles brows furrowed into a frown. "Don't you have something you need to do?"


"Yes," he replied, shrugging negligently while studying them under his brow with a curious intensity. "I have some books that need cataloging." Then with only a slight hesitation, he walked away.


Giles closed his eyes and gave a huge sigh. "That couldn't have been more awkward," he muttered under his breath.


Across the room, Wesley paused and turned around to face the room. "When I first came in the room, I heard mention of something called Goa'uld."


There was a shocked silence as everyone tried to search for a plausible explanation.


"Ghouls?" Giles asked. "You are a Watcher, and you don't know what ghoul is?"


"Of–of course," he sputtered.


"Instead of asking stupid questions, maybe you should mind your own business," Giles snapped.


"Yes, Mr. Giles," Wesley muttered, his eyes angry. "I must have heard wrong," he admitted, stepping reluctantly away.


Everyone turned to look silently at one another.


"Who's he?" Sam demanded, her eyes narrowed suspiciously on Wesley's retreating back. "He didn't just say Ghouls, but Goa'uld."


"I heard," Giles muttered. "His name is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, a Slayer's Watcher. He's now both Buffy and Faith's Watcher, since I am no longer with the Council."


Samantha frowned, something about Wyndam-Pryce set off warning bells in her head. "What do you know about him?" She grabbed a note book off a table, making a note to call the General.


"Not much," Giles admitted, also frowning. He thought back on what he knew about the young man - nothing. "I found him here this morning and the Council confirmed that they sent a Watcher to the states."


"Do you think he might be a threat, Major Carter?" Teal'c questioned, looking thoughtful at the young man across the room.


"He might be," she admitted.


"He's not a Goa'uld, I would have sensed it," he replied.


"I would have sensed it too, but I still want to find out about him," she declared, making a mental note to call the General. "He seemed pretty casual with the idea of the Goa'uld."


"Oh come on," Giles scoffed in disbelief. "You don't believe Wesley isn't who he says he is?"


Sam shrugged. "In my world we can't be too careful."


Giles sighed, his face pale. "In mine too," he admitted, feeling sick. "If you can get as much information as you can, I would grateful."


"Uh Rupert," asked Joe, before clearing his throat. "I know this is the wrong time to ask, but can I use your phone?"


Giles blinked. "Certainly, help yourself."

Joe nodded and walked to the office, closing the door.
Giles looked around the room and on seeing that everyone was distracted whispered softly, "Samantha, we need to talk."


Hearing a peculiar note in Giles's voice, Daniel declared, "I have to cross reference some data, I'll use the computer."


"I will help you, DanielJackson," Teal'c suggested, watching both Giles and Sam with a keen observant eye.


Samantha stood motionlessly as if she was rooted to the floor, her eyes darting nervously back and forth.


Giles walked forward, stopping a few inches away from her.


She took a deep, unsteady breath as she stepped back. His eyes narrowed, as he gave her an enigmatic look.


‘We need to talk,' the most mis-used words in a relationship, she thought. That's if you are in a relationship. "What about?" she asked


"Us."


She dropped her eyes beneath his steady gaze. "There's no us." Her heart thundered in her chest. She could remember the sensation of his lips and hers, so soft one minute then hard the next.


Giles reach out and encircled her waist, one hand in the small of her back. "Don't you feel it?"


"What?" she asked, looking up to discovered he was looking at her lips. They throbbed, and instinctively she licked them. "No offence, but I hardly know you, though I…."


"I don't know what this is," Giles drawled in a silky voice. "But there is definitely something."


He pulled her closer and the air around them grew thick, so thick that Sam could hardly breathe. He felt warm, firm and inviting; and from the look in his eyes he was going to kiss her. And she wanted it, his lips on hers. She wanted it desperately. He cupped her face with his hands and his thumb traced her mouth. His lips were close.


"It's lust," she said, in a broken whisper.


"If it is," he answered indulgently, "…then maybe it can change to something else. I want it to. How about you?"


"I don't know," she answered bleakly, pushing him away. She scurried across the room to join Teal'c and Daniel at the computer.


How long he stood there gazing at her retreating form, Giles never knew, however, when he finally looked up, it was to see Wesley looking at him strangely.


"What are you still doing here?" he snapped, bridled anger in his voice. It was humiliating; he thought to be standing here like a callow youth, with his heart resting on his sleeve. He felt angry enough to spit, Samantha was twisting up his insides in a way no woman had done before; not even Jenny.


"Isn't it time you went home," Giles muttered to Wesley, who he was also angry at. Wesley, who might not be what he seemed.


Giles was tired, tired at second-guessing people's motives. He still hadn't forgiven Buffy for keeping such important secret from him the past two years. He had thought of her as a daughter, only to find out that she was older than he was, not twice his years, but ancient. He sighed, trying not to feel a little bitter about her deceit.


"I wanted to catalogue these books," Wesley fussed, holding up several books in his arms. "I don't know why you left such important books out."


"Maybe because no one comes into the library," Giles countered, icily.


"Be that as it may, but we shouldn't leave should valuable objects lying around." The insolence in Wesley's voice was well concealed.


"Suit yourself," Giles advised, suppressing his anger under the appearance of indifference. "I'm going home."


"Mr. Giles," Wesley called. "If you see Ms. Lehane before I do, please let her know that I'm here for her."


Giles ignored him and nodded to the others to follow him.

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


Wesley waited until he heard the footsteps receding down the hall before he walked in Giles office and picked up the phone.


"Mr. Quentin Travers, please."


"Mr. Travers?" he announced into the phone. "This is Wyndam-Pryce. I am at my post in Sunnydale, and I thought you might be interested to know Mr. Giles has been entertaining a number of guests including one Dr. Daniel Jackson." He grew silent for a few seconds. "Yes sir, that Daniel Jackson. I overheard a conversation today and believe the Goa'uld are in Sunnydale."


He listened for a few more minutes. "Yes, I will keep you posted."

After he put down the phone, Wesley left the office and walked into the library to go home. He turned off the lights and closed the door. Now in a good mood, he hummed cheerily.

Chapter 27: Meet and Greet

Meanwhile, in the Summers' living room, Amanda had trapped Buffy in a corner.

"What's going on, Bella?" Amanda asked as she looked around the cozy little house, with a frown on her face. The house was literally homey, a place she didn't expect to see Isabella: it was suburbia for God sake!

The Bella, Amanda knew loved the party towns; she knew people changed, but not this drastically.

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked.

"This place doesn't seem like you," Amanda noted.

"What do you mean?" Buffy questioned again, her brow arched.

Amanda shrugged. "Where did the fun loving Bella go?" she wondered aloud.

Buffy winced. "I had to grow up sometime."

"I'm not knocking Sunnydale, but… this place doesn't seem like a somewhere where you can let your hair down.

"You would be surprised how this place keeps us hopping," Buffy said in a wry tone.

"What?" Amanda questioned, looking puzzled.

"Nothing," Buffy murmured.

"I sorta expect you to be in somewhere like St. Barts, Fiji or Monaco," Amanda mused, as she thought about those far flung places and the fun to be had there. ‘The beaches, the sand, the beautiful villas, begging to be robbed,' she thought hiding a grin.

"I've been to those places," Buffy replied. "When you've lived as long I have, places begin to blur into one."

"Maybe; but that doesn't answer my question," Amanda pointed out.

"I live here," Buffy said simply.

"Don't we have to talk about that, Bella?" Jack interjected as he came into the room.

Buffy stiffened, "Why do ‘we' have to talk about where I live?"

Jack clenched his jaw and his eyes narrowed. ‘What's going on, now?

It seemed every time he mentioned anything about possibly getting back together, she changed the subject.'

He wanted to ask her if something was wrong, if he had done something. Instead he grabbed her by the shoulder, his hands digging painfully in her flesh.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" he snapped, "Every time I mention anything about a life together, you changed the subject."

Buffy lifted her chin, her gaze meeting his blazing eyes as she shrugged out of the hold.

Across the room, Adam on seeing the argument muttered, "Uh oh."

"Did Amanda and I come at a bad time?" Nick questioned uneasily, his gaze moving from Buffy to Jack.

Jack closed his eyes, took a deep breath to calm down before he opened them. "Bella, we need to talk," he said in a calm tone, although through gritted teeth.

"What about?" she demanded as she rubbed her hand up and down across her tender shoulder. ‘Not now', she thought, her eyes darting around the room as she looked for some sort of an escape to avoid questions she knew that Jack had, questions she wasn't ready to answer.

"Outside," Jack muttered, noting the curious expression on the faces of his and Buffy's audience. He grabbed Buffy's right arm and maneuvered her toward the front door.

"Hey!" she protested, flaying her arm. "Don't mangle the Buffy."

"What's going on with you?" he demanded in a furious whisper as they cleared the door way.

"I don't know what you mean," Buffy protested, avoiding his gaze.

"That," Jack pointed out exasperate, gesturing to Buffy's profile. "Look, one minute we were hot and heavy, now you are cold as ice. If you get any colder you'd be an iceberg."

She turned and glared at him. "I've been thinking."

"Then don't!" he snapped, glowering at her.

"Comments like that make me love you all the more," she spat out the words contemptuously as her temper flared.

Jack winced, raking his fingers through his hair. "I'm sorry, and I didn't mean it to come out as hard as it did," he muttered unconvincingly, "What I want is to know how you feel."

"How I feel?" Buffy sighed and as some of her anger evaporated, all that was left was confusion. "Jack, you demanding things like that and the way you just acted in there make it plain to me that we don't know each other."

"Don't know each other?" he cried, looking at her in disbelief. "What about four hundred years of being married?" he pointed out to which she stood there is silence.

"What about what happened a couple days ago," he mentioned, there was a possessive desperation to his voice as he drew her close to his hard body.

She stiffened, trying to push him away.

"You let me inside you, body and soul the other night, honey," he added huskily, "We're more connected as two people can be because the way you were calling my name, it didn't sound like you didn't know who was there," he said before his lip curled into a wry smile, "You even did that thing; the thing that you know that turns me to mush. The thing you promised that you'd never do with anyone else, even though if you did I couldn't blame you."

Buffy's breath quickened as her cheeks warmed, she crossed her arms and glance at the ground, "I never have."

"Have what?" he asked, waiting for clarification.

She looked up at him, "You know what I'm talking about."

"There is something between us," he said plaintively. "I can't be around you without wanting to touch you, without wanting to … hell without being hard." He drew her hands and guided it between them their bodies. "Even the smell of you when you leave the room is enough to get me going."

Buffy closed her eyes as she felt the heat between them, it was too much and it was distracting. With much effort she pushed him away from her causing him to stagger slightly.

"That's just sex," she said softly. But as she said it, she knew she was lying, it was more than that. She closed her eyes, remembering the passion and the closeness between them. It was as if the fifty years apart had never happened. Being with him again – it felt as if she had come home.

"Sex?" Jack echoed; his mouth dropped open in disbelief.

"Yes," Buffy said firmly, teeth clenched and her eyes glittering. "It has been fifty years Jack and I'm not the same person that I once was. Neither of us is!"

"Bella?"

"Buffy!" she growled. "My name is Buffy."

"But you will always be Bella to me." Jack's voice was low and composed.

"That's the problem Jack, I'm not and you're not willing to accept that. I'm a different person than I was before, and until you see me as Buffy and not as Bella that won't change," Buffy said with a shake her head. "I'm not the same person I was fifty years ago. Hell I am not even the same person I was, ten years ago. Amanda sees it, Methos, whom I kept in touch with, he sees it. Why can't you?" she demanded. The question ended up turning into a wail.

Jack opened his mouth to try and refute what she was saying, but Buffy walked around him too entered the house.

"Damn it!" he muttered, with feeling.

Buffy closed the door behind her. She rested her head against the door for a brief moment as she tried to come to grips with her emotions.

The S.G.C.

General Hammond entered his office as the telephone began to ring.

"Hammond," he called out as he pushed a button on the phone.

"Sir, there is a phone call for you," a voice replied.

"Thank you," he acknowledged, moving to sit in the chair behind his desk. He settled for a few minutes then lifted up the receiver.

"General Hammond," he said into the phone.

"Sir, it's Major Carter."

"Well Major, I didn't expect you to be checking in so early," he admitted.

"We arrived in Sunnydale last night, sir. This is the first time I've had an opportunity to call," Mayor Carter stated.

"That's all right, Major, I wasn't really expecting to hear from anyone for a few days," he said as he settled comfortably into his chair. "Now, what can I do for you, Major Carter?"

There was a slight pause.

"Any leads on the Goa'uld?" he questioned.

"No sir."

"Why not?" he questioned with a slight frown. "From what I understand about the town of Sunnydale, it's not very big. Theoretically you could cover it in a day."

"Yes sir." Sam agreed with a nod, even though the General couldn't see it. "We haven't detected any sign of a Goa'uld, but we haven't exhausted all possible leads, yet sir."

"Okay," the General acknowledged. "Keep me abreast of the situation there."

"Yes, sir. Sir?"

"Yes, Major Carter?" General Hammond asked. So far the conversation between him and the Major hadn't informed him of anything that he didn't already know.

"One of the reasons I called was there might be some sort of complication."

"Complication?" he asked concerned; his brows drew together. ‘What could have happened? They had only been in Sunnydale a day' he thought.

"What sort of complication?" he asked.

"Today Daniel, Teal'c, Mr. Dawson and I, we went to check out Rupert—I mean." She cleared her throat. "Mr. Giles' workplace at the Sunnydale Library. Mr. Giles had mentioned he saw something mentioning of a Goa'uld Queen in one of his books."

"Yes," he said as he remembered that conversation.

"Was the information missing?" he wondered, thinking that was why the Major had phoned him.

"No sir, we found the information, exactly where Mr. Giles said it was".

"So, this conversation is about the Goa'uld Queen?" he asked, "Is she on Earth?"

Major Carter sighed. "Sir, I am not calling about the Goa'uld. There is another problem."

"Spit it out, Major," Hammond growled, impatiently.

"There was a young man from the Watchers' Council at the Library."

Hammond scowled. "Watchers' Council?" he mused. "Isn't that Mr. Giles' old employers?"

"Yes, sir."

"I don't see the problem, Major. The Watcher's Council may be a concern to Mr. Giles, but not a concern to us. From what I understood, Mr. Giles no longer works for them

She nodded again, even though she knew he couldn't see it. "The Watchers' Council now appears to be represented by Mr. Wesley Wyndam–Pryce and officially his job is the new Watcher to the current Slayers, Faith and Buffy."

Hammond pursed his lips thoughtfully. "I understand Major. That doesn't seem as a complication to me; maybe to the Slayers and Mr. Giles, perhaps, but not to our search for the Goa'uld."

Carter sighed. "Yes sir, but earlier we were talking about the Goa'uld and apparently, he overheard us."

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

"Sir?" she asked. "We were talking about the Goa'uld."

"What's the problem, Major?" he asked boldly.

"Sir, to everyone else, it might be just ordinary conversation between us. But he specifically asked about the Goa'uld, as if he knew exactly what it was."

"What did you tell him?" Hammond questioned. He closed his eyes as he let out a sigh. He began to rub his forehead; he could feel a headache coming on.

"Nothing sir, Mr. Giles turned the conversation to something else. Though I am slightly worried sir; if it was anyone else, or anywhere else I would've shrugged it off," she said. "Sir, what I've learned in the years we've been fighting the Goa'uld is to be on my guard, not to take things on appearance whether it be people or the surroundings I find myself in and the town of Sunnydale is one such place. Things here aren't what they seem. Last night I heard and saw things that would have driven me insane if I was a different person"

"I understand Major," the General replied. "What's this gentleman name again?"

"Wesley Wyndam-Pryce."

"How do you spell that?" he asked, as he wrote down the information on the pad on his desk. "Okay, here is what I'm going to do. I will check out the Watchers' Council more thoroughly. It maybe a simply coincidence that they're in Sunnydale as the same time as the Goa'uld."

"Maybe," she said, sounding doubtful.

There was small silence, as each thought of the ramifications of the Watchers' Council, a civilian based organization knowing about the Goa'uld, which had been classified by the government as a national secret.

"Do you think they could be working with the N.I.D or the Trust?" Carter asked quietly.

"I don't know, Major, but I aim to find out. Check back at 1200 tomorrow and I will see what information I can find on Wyndam–Pryce."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." she agreed, before she hung up the phone.

General Hammond, on his end, slowly put down the receiver, his mind unfocused. Suddenly the alarm klaxon made him jump a little in his chair. "What now?" he cried, exasperated.

He knew he didn't have time to think about the complications or the ramifications of having civilians know about the Goa'uld. He got up from his chair and moved quickly to the observation window that overlooked the Stargate.

He frowned as several soldiers rushed to the gate room. "Airman?" he called, barking into a microphone.

"Sir, it's the Tok'ra," the airman replied.

"Stand down," he said, to the soldiers, as Selmac/Jacob walked out the Stargate and down the ramp.

"Permission to come aboard, George," Jacob said with a salute and a snappy grin.

"Permission granted," Hammond replied in the microphone.

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

"Jacob," Hammond said as he greeted his old friend in the conference room a few minutes later. "I didn't expect you this soon," he revealed, shaking the other man's hand warmly.

"I wasn't planning to be back this soon, but I found more about Ammut, and I thought you might want to know in person."

"Already?" he said, blinking with surprise. "That is good news. Sit," he said with a gesture to an empty chair.

"I don't know how good it is," Jacob warned.

"Why you say that?" Hammond asked as his eyebrows rose inquiringly as he moved to settled into his own chair.

"The information we found is very disturbing."

Hammond leaned back into his chair wondering if he was up for more bad news. "How so?"

Jacob took a deep breath. "You know that with the exception of the queen both the Goa'uld and the Tok'ra are asexual creatures," he began.

The other man nodded.

"Well they tend to stick to a host of one sex, be it male or female. However, we found out that Ammut tended to go from one sex to the other."

Leaning forward in his chair, General Hammond said in a clearly authoritative voice, "Don't tell me."

"We don't know if Ammut will be using a female or male host," Jacob said bluntly.

"I said don't tell me, damn it," he stated with a scowl on his face. He blew out a breath in frustration. Hammond was not a person who liked his emotions to get the better of him and this was the second, within a week, he wanted to bash something, preferably someone's head.

"Another thing," Jacob said, his voice tentative as if he knew that Hammond was contemplating violence.

"More?" Hammond groaned softly.

Jacob nodded. "The System Lords just didn't lose Ammut, they kicked her out."

"Why?" Hammond demanded, stirring uneasily in his chair.

"They considered her too cruel."

"Oh dear lord," General Hammond muttered with a stunned look on hisface.

Chapter 28: In the Loop

"Are you okay?" Adam asked Buffy as she entered the house.

She blinked a few times, before she took a deep breath, trying to stop the tears that threaten to fall. She gave a brief nod, "There was something that needed to be said," she murmured.

He gave her a deep look, noting the strain and the paleness of her face.

For an instant, wistfulness stole into Methos' expression; then it was gone. He smiled and gave her a decisive nod, and then they both walked back to her guests.

Jack walked into the house, closing the door gently behind him. He moved stiffly to an empty chair in the living room, he glanced quickly towards Buffy, before turning his gaze elsewhere.

Was she right, he wondered? When he saw her, everything in the past was gone and all he could think about was being with Bella.

Buffy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She could feel that Jack was watching her, so she tried to keep her features deceptively composed. But all she wanted to do was crawl into a corner and cry.

She didn't know she would have felt this way - raw. It was as if her insides had been scraped over a rock. But what she said to Jack needed to be said: they couldn't just pick up where they had left it.

At least that was what she was telling her head, but her heart was saying the chemistry was still there. It was going to be tough being near him and not touch him.

Should she listen to her heart or her head, she wondered. Her eyes flickered over to Jack and their eyes met. It lasted less than a moment, but their eyes conveyed a world of want and need in that split second.

She blinked and turned her face away; she cleared her throat. "You know, I was going wait until everyone was here," she said. "…but it is fortuitous you got here when you did."

Everyone turned to look sharply at Buffy.

"Wow Buffy," said Xander as he walked into the house. "…look at you using Giles like words."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Just because I'm blond doesn't mean that I am dumb," she retorted. "What are you doing here?" she wondered, looking at the slim time piece on her wrist. "Shouldn't you be in school? By my watch, you still have two more hours to go."

"I cut out after lunch," he admitted with a shrug. "I couldn't concentrate."

"Xander," Jack said, a slight edge to his voice. "What did we say about school and the Air Force?"

He blushed, looking abashed at his feet. "I forgot," he mumbled.

"See that you don't forget in the future," Jack reminded him.

He took a deep breath. "Aye sir," he said seriously, glad that Jack wouldn't penalize him because of one infraction. "Is there any food?" he asked, moving towards the kitchen. He was growing boy and lunch was an hour ago. He stopped suddenly, noticing for the first time that Buffy had a visitor.

"Hey!" he exclaimed. "We gain another person…no," he pointed out. "Two people."

"Xander, this is…," Buffy began, but was interrupted.

"What did I miss?" Willow questioned loudly as she rushed in the house slamming the door behind her.

"Didn't anyone decide to stay in school?" Buffy muttered to herself as she turned her attention to the young redhead. "You didn't miss much, I was about to introduce my guests," she said. "Let me guess," she said with an inquiry smile as she looked into Willow's flush face. "You cut class."

"I-I didn't miss much," Willow said with a blush. "Anyway it's the end of the school year, we don't have a lot to do anyway. "I want…"

"…to find out what anyone finds out," Buffy concluded.

"Yeah," she agreed.

"Well this is Nick Wolfe and Amanda…" Buffy added. "What name are you using these days?" Buffy asked Amanda, her eyebrows raised in inquiry.

"Montrose," Amanda said, smoothly.

"Montrose," Buffy said dryly.

Amanda smiled, "Yes, Montrose?"

Buffy sighed, and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I…" she began, but once again she was interrupted, this time by the doorbell ringing. "Now who's that," she growled, exasperated.

"I'll get it," Joyce announced, walking out of the kitchen. She wiped her hands on a damp cloth and strolled towards the door.

Buffy frowned. "Be careful," she warned.

Joyce gave an understanding nod, before she cautiously opened the door.

"Hello," she said, stepping aside from the open door.

"Hello Joyce," he said.

Joyce gave him a polite nod.

"I am sorry, Buffy," Giles began without preamble as he walked into the house, followed by Teal'c, Sam and Joe. "But I couldn't find…" he stopped short as he took note of strangers in the house. "…anything related to what we had discussed earlier," he said smoothly, trying to be circumspect.

"Look who I found loitering outside," Daniel announced as he enter the house. He was dragging someone behind him.

"I wasn't loitering," a voice protested.

"Does she belong to any of you?" he asked mildly, pushing the person forward.

"What do I tell you about picking up strangers, Danny?" Jack chided, his lips twisted into a cynical smile. "Especially in Sunnydale?"

"I have a name," Cordelia snapped, her eyes blazing as she pushed Daniel out of the way to walk into the room.

"You said don't," Daniel said sourly as he replied to Jack's sarcastic remarks.

"But, you still pick up strangers."

"Jack, I'm not a child," Daniel announced.

"Cordelia, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked, ignoring the byplay around her.

"I noticed that both Xander and Willow weren't in class, so I asked to be excused to the bathroom then I sneaked out," Cordelia said matter-of-factly. "I am tired of being left out in the loop. "

"You chose to stay in Sunnydale," Buffy pointing out the fact that Cordelia had stated that she was staying in Sunnydale because as she was head cheerleader, she wanted to stay for a big game.

Cordelia shrugged and walked into the living room. "Well, that doesn't mean I like to be left out of the loop."

"Yeah, Buffy," said Xander. "It's not nice to be loopless."

Buffy rolled her eyes.

"Amanda?!" There was a note of surprise in Joe Dawson's voice as he took note of his friend in the room. "…and Nick. What are you doing here?"

"I couldn't let you have all of the fun without me," Amanda said, greeting Joe with a hug.

"Fun?" Joe questioned with a puzzled look on his face.

"Joe, you don't take vacations," Amanda mentioned with a flourishing gesture. "But, here you are."

"I see," he said with a small grin. "I wouldn't call this a vacation. But I'm glad to see you anyway," he added as he extend his hand to greet Nick.

"Mmm," Amanda murmured her eyes alight as she caught sight of Daniel, Teal'c and Giles. "Bella, where did you get such delicious men?" she asked, although she didn't wait for an answer. "You always have the devil's luck."

"I could say the same," Buffy acknowledged with a grin, as she gave a quick nod in the direction of Nick, "Don't worry though, I'll introduce you. Everyone this is an old friend of mine, Amanda Montrose and her friend Nick Wolfe. Nick used to be a cop," she added.

"Really?" questioned Daniel, in an eager tone. "We probably could use someone of your experience."

"With what?" Nick asked, eyebrows raised.

"Danny," Jack warned, with a quick shake of his head. It was reminding the younger man, what he was about to say was national secret.

Daniel looked blank for a second, than flushed. He threw at look at Nick and Amanda with a thoughtful frown. Jack always cautioning him to think, before he speak, but sometimes he has some many question in his brain, that they pour out before he realize it. But in this instance, it was Buffy's fault. How could he have known that she hadn't mention what was going on? It's wasn't as if she didn't tell every Tom, Dick and Harry everything, he thought exasperated. He sighed.

Buffy cocked her head staring at Jack and Daniel trying to identify the nuance she detected between the two men. She frowned, then a light suddenly dawned in her eyes. She snort inwardly; National Security.

"I haven't time to say anything," Buffy said curtly. "Because each time I open my mouth someone interrupt me, plus I was waiting until everyone was here."

"You know you can't say a thing," Jack protest. "Until they sign a nondisclosure form."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Look, "she said exasperated. "Call your boss and have them fax the papers over, because in the meantime I'm going to tell them. Especially, since I think they can help us."

Jack open his mouth, then closed it, turning to his team for help. He was not on his game, he thought as he snorted inwardly.

Samantha returned his look with a shrug. "It's up to you sir."

"Yes, Jack," Daniel said, nodding in agreement.

"I agree with both MajorCarter and DanielJackson," Teal'c stated.

"What's going on?" Nick asked with a puzzled look on his face, though he was ignored.

Jack throws up his arms in exasperation. "What the heck," he muttered sarcastically. "The more the merrier. But when Hammond and the ‘people that be', come down on me like a ton of bricks, I am taking it out on someone's hide," he mumbled.

A few feet away, Giles had tuned out the conversation around him. When he had first entered the room, he had been surprise to see two extra people. After notice the attractiveness of the woman, he got an idea to make Samantha jealous. "Hello," he announced moving towards Amanda to take her hands into his. He slid a quick glance at Samantha, taking note that she was watching.

At the other side of the room, Samantha eyes narrowed, then sensed Giles she quickly turned her face.

"How do you know Buffy?" Giles asked; a hint of smile on his lips at Sam reaction.

"Bella and I go way back," Amanda admitted, with a hint of smile. "And I have known Joe and Adam for a while now and….Duncan," she said drawling out his name while flashing a mysterious smile at Duncan who just entered the room from the kitchen.

"…how long have we known each other?" she asked.

Duncan flashed his own secret smile. "Over a hundred years or more," he admitted huskily.

Sam looked from Amanda to Duncan, her brows flickered a little. "You are immortal?" she questioned, entering the conversation.

Amanda hesitated for a second. "I guess you know about us, since you know Bella and Johnny."

"Johnny?" Samantha asked with a puzzled look.

"Me, Carter," Jack said, in a dry tone.

"Okay--Johnny," she said as a flash of humor crossed her face. "I'm Samantha Carter," she announced, then turned to introduce her friends. "And this Daniel Jackson and…" she looked toward Jack who gave a brief nod. "…Teal'c."

"Teal'c? Interesting name," Amanda said, her eyes flicking over the gold emblem on his forehead.

"Indeed," Teal'c said with an incline of his head.

"I will tell you more about that later," Buffy promised.

Cordelia pushed her way between Daniel and Teal'c. "Since it looked like no one is going introduce me, I'll introduce myself," she announced.

Xander rolled his eyes. "Yes, we know how you love talking about yourself."

Ignoring him, she said as she moved to sit beside Willow. "Hi! I'm Cordelia Chase."

"Okay," Buffy said, clapping her hands. "Listen up.," she called, her voice ringing in command. "Since everyone is here, we can get this meeting started."

Willow looked around the room counting the heads. "Faith's not here," she announced.

"Neither is dead boy," Xander mentioned, his mouth full of chips.

"Dead boy?" Amanda questioned.

"Later," Adam mouthed.

Buffy sighed. "We'll fill them in, later," she said.

"B," Faith yelled as she came rushing through the front door.

"What now!" Buffy exclaimed, throwing her arms up in exasperation.

"You won't believe what I'm going to tell you," Faith remarked, panting, out of breath.

"What?" Buffy ground the word out through clenched teeth.

"It's about the Mayor."

Buffy glanced sideways at Faith in surprise, "Of Sunnydale?"

"Yep," said Faith.

Buffy stared at her, baffled. "What about the Mayor?"

"The Mayor is going to kill us all during graduation."

Chapter 29: Monsters are real.

Unconsciously Buffy furrowed her brow.

"The Mayor is going to kill us all during graduation," Faith had announced. Buffy hadn't met the Mayor, so why did he want to kill them? She looked around the room and she noted the shock and disbelief on everyone face.

"Does this happen all the time?" asked Daniel.

"What?" Buffy asked.

"That someone wants to kill you."

Buffy shrugged. "It must me be Tuesday."

"How can you be so blasé?" Sam asked in disbelief.

Buffy snorted. "If I thought about everybody who wanted me dead, I wouldn't want to get out of bed."

"You have that many enemies?" Daniel wondered.

"The longer you are here on this Earth, the more time you have to collect enemies," Buffy admitted dryly.

"That's kind of sad," Joe muttered.

He frowned as he glanced towards his friends; for the first time, he got it. For years, he had been envious of Macleod, Methos and Amanda immortality, especially when his body would ache due to the ravages of time.

"But it's true," Adam agreed with a nod and a slight bitter smile on his face.

Buffy turned to Faith, who was gulping down a bottle of water. "What happened? Why are we on the Mayor's shit list?" She frowned before dryly adding. "I assume he's planning to kill the graduating class, rather than just us."

Faith nodded. "I just finished patrolling, when I literally bumped into the Deputy Mayor, stinking drunk," she remarked, wrinkling her nose as she remembered the sickly smell of booze and vomit. "…he could barely walk. Would‘ve been easy pickings for any vampires or demons, if I hadn't come along, so I ‘escorted' him home. Gave him a nice little talking to about the evils of drinking on the Hellmouth, not that I'm sure he'll remember it, considering…"

"Faith, what has that got to do with the Mayor?" Buffy asked, cutting Faith off.

"Well, on the way he wouldn't let up. Let me tell you, he's one chatty drunk."

"Faith?" Giles asked cleaning his glasses. "Are we to believe that the Mayor of Sunnydale is going to kill students?"

"Yep," she replied.

"Are–you-sure?" he asked, spacing out his words as if he was talking to mentally defective person.

Faith rolled her eyes.

"It could be a hoax," he continued.

"It could be, but…"

"You said this fellow had been drinking?"

Faith gave a nod.

"Are you…"

"Giles!" she snapped. "I've lived with a drunk! I know when it's the booze doing the thinking as well as the talking. The bourbon got to his tongue, but it wasn't joining the dots in his brain if you get my drift. He wasn't spinning me a tale for the fun of it, he really believed what he was telling me," she said, her voice firm.

"Why graduation day?" Buffy wondered.

Faith shrugged.

"What's been going on here?" Buffy asked with a scowl. She sounded tired.

Faith looked at Buffy matching the other Slayer's scowl perfectly. She wondered if Buffy was blaming her, as if she couldn't take care of the Hellmouth for a couple of days.

Buffy sighed. "I am not blaming anyone," she said, taking note of the young girl's reaction. "I was just wondering where I was, or where ‘we' were when all this happening."

"You don't think this couldn't be a random event?" Daniel questioned with a look of surprise.

"No, nothing is random in this town," Buffy said with a shake of her head.

"I can't believe you all talking about your Mayor killing you," Daniel continued.

"If you live in this town long enough, someone or some thing will try to kill or worse, said Giles.

"What's worse?" Daniel questioned his eyes rounded, "Rape?" he asked in a whisper.

Buffy grinned. "Nope. How about world endage?

"That would definitely be worse," Jack snorted.

Buffy turned back to Faith. "What happened?"

"Nothing much," Faith replied with a frown as she tried to remember if something important had happened in the last three days. "Just the usual, slayed a couple of vamps," she said with an indifferent shrug.

"I have my laptop with me," Willow said quietly.

"What has that got to do with anything?" Sam wondered.

"I can check the newspaper archives, as well as the police and coroner reports," Willow said.

"Isn't that illegal?" asked Daniel, looking appalled.

There was no answer.

"What's going on here?" asked Amanda.

"Sunnydale," said Buffy bitterly.

"The town?" Amanda questioned, her eyebrow arched. "What about Sunnydale?" she asked, regarding Buffy with a quizzical frown. "It seems like any boring little town. That's why I am puzzled to why Duncan, Joe and Adam are here, not to mention you, Belle."

"Seemed' is the operative word. Because as we all know, appearance's can be misleading," Buffy murmured. "Remember the old adage ‘don't judge a book by its cover'?"

"Oh yeah?" Amanda asked with a puzzle look.

"Well, Sunnydale is that book. On the surface you see a pretty little town, where you wanted to spend your life raising two point five kids, but what you don't expect is the underbelly. Underneath, this town is really a cauldron of evil, waiting for the dark to eat you alive. This is where the monsters live."

Nick nods his head knowledgeable. "I understand monster," he said. "When I was a cop, I saw plenty of sick things that people had done to one another."

"I don't think you do," Buffy said dryly, shaking her head. "I wasn't just talking about human monsters."

Nick frowned. "What do you mean? What other monsters are there?"

Buffy gave him a dry stare.

His mouth dropped open and he peered around the room in disbelief. "Oh come on," he snorted. "You don't actually believe that monster-monsters really existed? His eyes returned to Buffy's face for a hint that she was kidding, but she looked intractable.

She spared him a look of pity.

"You really believed that…?" Nick asked, giving her a look of suspicious bewilderment. They were really talking about vampires. Vampires are a myth are they?

She nodded. "Monsters are real in every sense of the word," Buffy replied.

"Amanda?" Nick questioned, knowing that the immortal wouldn't lie once again to him. Several months before, Amanda had known he was pre-immortal and she hadn't told him. When he had found out, he thought he could no longer trust her. But time and distance had made him see it was for his own good.

Now they were here at another impasse, and he knew she had to tell him the truth. Their relationship depended on it. If they cannot trust each other, what type of relationship can they have? None.

She sighed. "I promised to never lie to you again, and although you probably don't want to hear this, but it is the truth. Monsters are real, as real as you and me," Amanda said, before smirking. "And we have in our midst a super hero who fights them."

"You are all nuts," Nick said.

"No, we're not," said Buffy. "I understand it is a lot to take in. Everyone is a virgin until the first time."

Buffy was suddenly the recipient of some strange looks.

"What?" she said, in reply to the stares.

"I know how you felt," said Sam, to Nick sympathetically.

"You?" said Nick.

Sam nodded. "We were in the same boat as you," she said encompassing the small group of her, Teal-c and Daniel. "Just like you, we doubted and I even doubted my sanity until Buffy killed a vampire in front of me."

"Buffy?" asked Amanda. "Who's Buffy? Is there another Slayer? I thought there can be only one."

"Like an immortal?" Nick asked.

"As a matter of fact, there can be more than one Slayer," answered Buffy. "Faith is one as well, and to answer your question. I'm Buffy."

"Buffy?" asked Amanda, looking appalled. "You've picked some bad ones in the past but what kind of name is that?"

Amanda turned to the room at large. "I remember when we were in England in 1701, she called herself Iphigenia, after some English noblewoman," she said with a shudder. "If that wasn't bad enough back then, but Buffy?"

Buffy rolled her eyes in exasperation. "That's enough," she said firmly. "What you people have against my name?"

Adam smiled, "It's weird."

She gave him a stare, that say drop dead.

Adam shrugged and his smile widen.

"Jesus, Buffy," Amanda muttered to herself. She took a deep breath and shook her head before turning to Nick, who still had a dumbfounded look on his face. "Everything you had heard and consider to be a myth is real. I may not be as old as Jack and Adam," she said. "…but I've seen my fair share of monsters."

Meanwhile, Willow had been working diligently on the computer on the other side of the room.

"Are you sure you know what you are doing?" Sam asked quietly, as she moved to stand behind Willow.

Willow jumped. "Major Carter," she said. "I didn't see you there."

"Samantha or Sam," she corrected.

"Okay Samantha," Willow said, her fingers flying quickly over the keyboard.

"This must be a really weird place to grow up," Sam mused, trying to find a common ground with the young girl. She hadn't been around too many teenagers, with the exception of Cassie, and Cassie... was well, Cassie. The girl in front of her had shown so many sides that Sam wasn't sure, which was really Willow.

Willow nodded. "Yeah. If you can survive being a teenager in Sunnydale, you're ready to take on the world."

Sam eyebrows rose, as she watched Willow worked. She knew the girl was smart, hadn't Willow helped her when they had to check the diagnostics on the gate. But watching her work now, Willow was showing a different type of confidence as she typed; it was almost as if she had done it a thousand times.

"I do this all the time," Willow confessed as she saw the expression on Sam's face.

Sam pursed her lips. "Aren't you afraid you'll get caught?"

"There's always a first time," Willow admitted, giving the older woman a shy smile. "But so far I've been lucky," she added, before tapping on the table she was working on, "Knock on wood."

"Willow, have you found anything?" Giles asked.

Willow shook her head.

"Mr. Giles," Daniel questioned. "Do you think it's wise to allow a teenager to hack into government files?

"Allow?" Giles asked before snorting indelicately as he wiped his glasses. "I don't allow anything."

"Willow is the best," Xander added, beaming proudly.

"Almost there," Willow called out.

"Danny is right," Jack said with a frown on his face, "I am not sure; I like Willow messing into Government property."

Buffy shrugged. "She's done it before."

"What!" Jack exclaimed.

"Jack," Buffy drawled. "…don't worry she knows what she's doing."

"What she's looking for anyway?" Joe asked.

"I found something," Willow yelled, causing everyone in the large room to look at her.

"That," Buffy murmured.

"What?" Jack asked as he moved towards where Willow was seated.

"This," she said, turning the monitor around for everyone to see.

"Isn't that the Mayor?" Giles asked, looking at a picture of an innocuous looking man. "He doesn't seem like the devils incarnate," he mused.

"Yes," Buffy said. "I haven't met him before, but I have seen pictures."

Everyone looked at the picture on the screen which had legend written underneath, "Richard Wilkins III: Mayor of Sunnydale. Richard Wilkins the third, is the grandson of the founding father Richard Wilkins, the first."

Willow tapped a few keys on the keyboard, and several pictures pop up. Each picture showed the same face, but underneath each picture were captions that stated that these pictures were of the current Mayor's parents and grandparents.

"Isn't it weird that the Mayor looks exactly likes his father and grandfather," Buffy observe, with a frown, as she took note of the similarities between the men .

"What's weird about that?" Xander asked.

She shrugged. "It's not weird per se'," she admitted. "But everything about him, right now, is suspect."

"Do you think he could possibly be an immortal?" Adam asked.

Buffy shrugged again. "It's possible," she said, her eyes narrowing in thought.

The webpage went on to list the current Mayor's achievements and those of his ancestors.

"That's it?" Buffy asked with a scowl.

Willow nodded. "I can't find anything else."

"What's he is hiding?" Buffy wondered aloud.

"Why do you think he's hiding something?" Sam asked as she tried to follow the logic of Buffy's thoughts.

"Yes, Buffy it's not everyone who likes this infernal machine," Giles said gesturing to the computer.

"Uh?" Sam asked. "What does not liking computers have to do with the information that we don't have?'

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Prejudice," she snorted. "Giles," Buffy said, with a smile. "Everyone is not a techno-phobe like you. But back to the Mayor…something is off about him, and I aim to find out what it is."

"I'm sorry, I wasn't much help," Willow commented.

"Don't worry," Buffy said, soothing the girl. "You'll probably get to help sooner than you think."

Willow nodded.

"On to other news," Buffy murmured her eyes alight with mischief. "Faith, guess what," she said, making no effort to hide her grin. "You have a new Watcher."

"You mean us," Faith asked, with a frown.

"No, I mean you," Buffy counted. "I don't need a stinking Watcher," she sneered, even though her eyes were alight with laughter.

Giles sighed. "Buffy."

"Oh, kill me now," Faith groaned.

"He might do just that," said Giles dryly.

"Really?" said Buffy, her tone grew chilly. She didn't like to hear someone might kill her friends.

"Yes, apparently he might be evil," Giles said.

"Really?" Buffy repeated, this time her grin was feral.

"Aren't you worried about anything?" Carter asked her tone frustrated.

Buffy grinned. "I thrived on chaos."

"Relax Carter," Jack counseled. "We've been in worse situations than this and come out alive."

"Yes sir, but by the skin of our teeth," Samantha agreed.

"Well," said Buffy. "I think with this situation, I think we'll manage to get away by more than the skin of our teeth."

"Tomorrow's prom," Xander suddenly announced.

Everyone turned to look at him.

"What!" he exclaimed, noting the stares. "Just because it's the end of the world doesn't mean we can't party, does it?"

Giles sighed. "Is this important to you?"

"Yeah," Xander said with a sigh. He pushed his hands into the pockets of his baggy corduroy tan pants. "You know, for the last few years, I've sacrificed my youth and other things for this town. If we're going to die on graduation, I don't want the prom to be another thing that I didn't get to do because I was saving the world."

There was a small uncomfortable silence.

"Besides," he said a huge grin. "It's a right of passage. It's like drinking on your twenty-first birthday or a birthday spanking."

"No to birthday spankings," squealed Willow.

Everyone turned to look at her.

She blushed. "My birthday is in two weeks," she admitted. "I'll be eighteen."

"Okay," Buffy agreed. "Birthday spanking aside, I think we can find at least one hour to party."

"Buffy!" Giles scolded.

Buffy sighed and shook her head with a frown. "What I'm saying is that once in a while we all need a break," she said noting the looks on everyone face. Since they found out that the Stargate had been re-opened they hadn't had any time to stop and think. "Go to the prom," she said. "Tomorrow is enough time to find the Goa'uld."

"Robert's Watcher is dead," Joe Dawson announced abruptly.

Chapter 30:Hazardous Duty

Hazardous Duty.

"Robert's Watcher is dead!" Joe had announced.

Everyone turned shocked gaze towards him.

Earlier, while in the library, Joe had excused himself to use the phone. That's when he learned the devastating news. Shock had held him in it's grip for how long , he didn't know until he could held it in any longer.

"How? Buffy questioned, taken aback. Outwardly she looked calm, but inside she was seething with despair and anger. Had the world gone mad in the last few days?

Joe gave a deep sigh, Denny Watson; Robert's Watcher was a friend of his. Several years ago, he had encouraged Denny to join the Watchers. What he told the other man was, even though some Watcher's duties were hazardous, most were benign; what had he told Denny, ‘become a Watcher, see the world.' Now he's dead.. Their job was exactly what it sounded like, watching. Who get kill watching people -- Denny Watson that's who.

"Remember I had told you I was still in contact with the Watchers," he began.

There were several head nods.

"Denny Watson was assigned as Robert Gannon's Watcher two years ago. Couple of months ago, they lost all contact with him. At first they believed he might have gone rogue."

"Not Denny!" Adam denied hotly.

"Did you know him?" Sam asked.

Adam nodded, he had met and like Denny Watson. He could picture the other man; Denny was in his early thirties, with red hair and freckles. He could be likened to the puppet Howdy Dowdy or Ron Howard.

Denny was young looking for his age, and had a way about him that allowed him to easily blend into his surroundings: that had made him a good Watcher. Recently he and his wife had a child, a girl, the first in a family of boys.

"That's what I said," Joe admitted with a frown. "From what I could figure, they no longer believe he had gone rogue."

"How come?" Giles questioned.

A pained look came over Joe's face as he continued, "They found his body with several cuts on it. They believe he was tortured."

"Tortured?" Sam asked, with an appalled look on her face.

Joe nodded.

"Oh my dear lord," Giles muttered.

"Who would do some thing like that?" Willow asked, horrified.

"Was it an immortal?" Mac wondered. He too had known Denny. It had been several years now, since he'd learned about the Watchers and both Adam and Joe's life in it. Part of him knew that they were necessary, but he also had met and dealt with several rogue Watchers in the past, as well. But he never thought Denny would go rogue, he had seemed like the good guy.

"They don't know." Joe shook his head, his face haggard, drawn and full of pain.

"Watchers are people who watch, but they know at least a liberal amount of self defense. They are able to take care of themselves. How did someone get the drop on Denny?" Adam demanded.

A tense silence began to fill the room.

"What's going on here?" Amanda asked. She felt as if she had come in at the end of a movie, where the rest of the audience all ready knew the plot, while she was left to guess what was going on.

Buffy frowned, then her brow smoothed. She looked around the room and her gaze rested on both Amanda and Nick enquiring faces. She shrugged. "I forgot some people weren't here when the story was told. Okay, here is what happening." Then she proceeded to tell them one was going on.

There was a shock silence for about ten second. Then, Amanda and Nick bombarded everyone with questions that seemed to last several hours, but in reality, forty minutes.

"Let me guess," Amanda said dryly. "Not only have we had to worry about your Mayor, but this Goa'uld as well."

"Yep, don't you just love Sunnydale," quip Buffy.

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

Several minutes later Joe walked through the front door unto the porch. He stood looking over the neighborhood for a few minutes before he was joined by Duncan.

"Are you okay?" Duncan asked, his eyes following the other man gaze.

Joe gave a jerky nod. "You know I recruited Denny. There was something special about him…" he said thoughtfully as he continued to stare out at the neighborhood in the waning light.

Duncan nodded.

"….so eager. He loved his job. He thought he was making a difference." There was a cold edge of irony in Joe's voice. "I know there are rules about not interfering, but I want to see those who did this punished."

Duncan moved to rest his hand on his friend tight shoulder and both stood there, in silence, grieving for a friend.

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

Inside the house, Buffy moved purposely towards the front door. "Come-on Faith lets patrol."

"Do you think that's wise?" Daniel queried. "If the Mayor is out …"

"I don't know if it's wise or not," Buffy admitted. "…but we can't let impending disaster stop us from doing our jobs; and the citizens of Sunnydale can't wait for us to be sure if it's wise or not. It'd would be a free for all, or happy meals on legs," Buffy added dryly.

"Happy meals?" Nick questioned with a frown.

"Food," Buffy stated bluntly. "We're food to a lot of demons, not too mention the vampires. So don't go out at night without some sort of weapon and don't pick up strangers."

"I'm not a child," Daniel muttered.

"It's better to be safe than sorry." Buffy turned to Faith, her brow arched. "Coming?"

"Right behind you, B."

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

Faith tried to do a roundhouse kick at a vampire, but he caught her leg right before it connected with his head. He grabbed her shoulder, and spun her halfway around before he threw her against a tall gravestone. She hit the ground hard, though she immediately got back up. Buffy ran to circle them as the vampire, that had attacked Faith, pulled out a sword from nowhere.

Whoa! Buffy thought. When does vampires carry sword?

He heard Buffy behind him and spun around. She stopped and watched him, looking for an opening. There, she thought, moving forward only to pull up short as the vampire swung his long sword in a wide arc, slicing off the tip of the stake she had in her hand.

Buffy jumped back, but quickly dropped what's left of the stake as the vampire swung his sword toward her. She blocked the attack with her left arm, before grabbing his arm with her right hand, forcing him to drop the sword. She punched him in the head and tried to follow up with a double roundhouse kick by alternating her leg.

But vampire gained the upper hand by grabbing Buffy by the shoulders, moving closer for a bite. Suddenly Faith was behind him and he was dust.

"That's the way to do it," Faith announced with a grin.

Behind them both Slayers heard a rustling sound; Faith took a determined step towards it, her arm raised.

"Faith no!" Buffy yelled, but it was too late.

TBC

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