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The Three Warriors

By: Hakuchihirolover
RATING: PG-13 MAY GO UP LATER ON

DISCLAIMER:
Buffy DOESN'T BELONG TO ME. STARGATE DOESN'T BELONG TO ME. HIGHLANDER DOESN'T BELONG TO ME. HAPPY NOW?
AN: THIS STORY IS IN ANSWER TO A CHALLENGE BY THE SAME NAME THAT I ISSUED ON MYSELF ON FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, I WILL GIVE THE DETAILS OF THE CHALLENGE BELOW, IF NOT INTERESTED, SKIP TO THE NORMAL LEGAL MUMBO-JUMBO AFTERWARDS.

The Three Warriors Challenge (btvs/sg-1/hl)
Basically:
Jack, 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 symbiotes
Buffy and Jack are both at least as old as Methos, although one of them could have been taken as a 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 Have:
At least four 4000 word chapters
Set in Season 3 Buffy and any time before season 8 sg-1
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 an ancient/alien dialect
Buffy's immortality being revealed when she dies in front of the other Scoobies
One of Jack's past lives being somebody famous
Joe and Giles talking about being Watchers
Jack and Buffy having a past relationship, your decision as to whether it is still going on
Angel being the only Scooby to know about Buffy's immortality
Include at least three of the following:
Teal's and Buffy sparring
Buffy having slept with Ra
Willow hacking into the SGC
Anise passing out when she sees Buffy
Multi-coloured jello
General Hammond banging his head against his desk
Methos and Buffy yelling at Jack for letting the Stargate become operational
Daniel having an allergy attack the first time Jack tries to tell Sg-1 that he's immortal
Janet trying to get Buffy to undergo basic tests and Buffy running around the base in a hospital gown trying to get away
Somebody 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 One

'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

A blond, a brunette and a redhead are sitting in the middle of the graveyard. The uninitiated may think that this line is the start of a bad joke that will end up with a tasteless reference to sexual activities, however, those with foreknowledge are perfectly aware that this is just another night in Sunnydale. The uninformed may also be disturbed by the stakes, crossbows, bottles of holy water etc. that these seemingly young teenage girls had lying at their feet.

However, in Sunnydale, a town that actually has 'being stabbed in the neck by a barbecue fork' as a major cause of death, this is not that unusual. Even the inhabitants of Sunnydale who are not aware of the unusual nature of their town, know that Sunnydale isn't the usual town. This of course is rather obvious, for it is not often that a small town in Southern California has an obituary page instead of a column.

However, even for Sunnydale, the three girls sitting in the Sunnyrest cemetery at 11:45 on a school night are not anything resembling normal. Going back to the bad joke begun at the beginning, two slayers and a witch are sitting in a cemetery. This statement should of course be impossible, as there should only ever be one slayer at a time, for another slayer is only called when another one dies. Of course, the two slayers in question have never exactly been fond of playing by the rules.

The witch was perhaps the most entertaining character of the group, in denim dungarees and a green top; the slender redhead showed no hint of her true power. The only thing more surreal than the appearance and facts of this group, is their conversation.

Willow was not only wearing the aforementioned dungarees and long-sleeved top; she was also wearing a light coat and sneakers. Her knees were tucked up to her chin as she rested her back against a headstone. The two slayers with her, Faith and Buffy, were both dressed to kill, literally, in black leather from head to toe.

Willow sometimes wished that she had the guts to dress as her two friends did, well she didn't yet know Faith well enough to class her as a friend, but she had decided that she wanted to be able to call this new slayer a friend. However, Willow knew perfectly well that if she dressed all in leather as the two slayers did, she would spontaneously implode from sheer embarrassment.

Faith was perched on top of a headstone near to the one that Willow was leaning against, casually estimating the balance of a deadly looking dagger by balancing it on the tip of her finger. Buffy lay sprawled on the grass, boredly sharpening the point of a stake into nothingness. Willow was absentmindedly floating a pencil in the air, trying to decide whether she would be able to project it into a vampire's heart with enough force to dust it. With this question on her mind, she spoke,

"Hey, do you reckon I could dust a vampire with a pencil?"

Buffy thought it over for a minute before glancing at her sister-slayer,

"I think it's definitely possible, what about you, Fay?"

The younger slayer thought about it as well,

"It's definitely possible, Red, as long as there was enough thrust behind the pencil to penetrate the heart, not get stuck in the flesh."

Willow made a face at that image,

"Way to go with the unnecessary imagery, F. A yes or no would have done just fine."

Faith smirked at the Wicca,

"Well, you know me, Red, sometimes I just can't help myself."

Willow smiled,

"That much, I knew."

Buffy rolled over slightly and looked at her two friends,

"Hey, Wills, how's the witchynees going for you at the moment?"

Willow was just about to answer when she saw something that made her gasp. Faith looked up from her dagger in the hope that something interesting might be happening. When the other slayer saw what had made the redhead gasp, she raised an eyebrow and spoke,

"Hey, B, where'd you get the killer scar?"

Buffy looked up at the two stunned girls,

"Which scar?"

It was Willow who spoke now,

"The long one on the back of your neck."

Buffy scowled and raised her hand to touch the offensive mark,

"This one?"

The other two nodded and Buffy frowned,

"Trust me, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you."

Faith scowled at her sister slayer, sensing that there was a long story involved,

"Well, there's not much happening, B, so make with the story telling."

Buffy sighed,

"It was something that happened after I was called."

Willow gasped,

"You mean with Merrick?"

Buffy nodded,

"Yeah, with Merrick."

Faith scowled.

"Hey, B, who's Merrick?"

Buffy sighed and turned to her sister slayer,

"Merrick was my watcher when I was L.A. before I came to Sunnyhell. He was killed by a master vamp named Lothos."

Faith frowned,

"You never told me that you had a watcher before Giles."

Buffy shrugged,

"It never really came up, I try not to think about Merrick and Lothos too much, that was not a good time for me."

Faith sighed,

"Still, you could have told me. Anyway, where'd you get the scar?"

Buffy sighed,

"You're not going to drop this, are you?"

Faith smirked and shook her head,

"It's not like there's anything happening tonight. I'm only here 'cause the G-man will freak if he hears we didn't patrol."

Buffy raised an eyebrow,

"The 'G-man'? You've been hanging round with Xander too much, Fay. Boy, Giles is going to be pissed when he finds out you've picked that up. Well, as long as you don't start with the calling Angel 'Dead-boy' I'm cool."

Willow smiled at her friend,

"How's things going with you and Angel, anyway?"

Buffy flinched,

"I don't really want to talk about it."

Faith smirked,

"Well, then tell us how you got that scar."

Buffy sighed,

"Okay, I'll tell you what's going on with me and Angel."

Faith smirked,

"You really don't want to talk about that scar, do you?"

Buffy frowned,

"I really don't, it's not something I'm exactly proud of."

Letting the other two think about that comment, she began to talk about the current state of play between her and Angel,

"Well, me and Angel's not of the great. He's mostly over the whole 'wanting to kill himself' deal that the First Evil had him on at Christmas, but he's still not great. He's still having nightmares about the summer as well as the usual. He's now on this whole thing where he's avoiding me for my own good and it's driving me mad."

Willow sighed, feeling very sorry for her friend and the ensouled vampire she loved.

"I wish that there was something I could do for you two."

Buffy smiled sadly at her friend,

"You brought him back, Willow, that's more than enough."

Faith looked at the two in confusion,

"I thought we didn't know how A came back?"

Buffy shook her head,

"We don't know what brought Angel back from hell, although the first tried to claim the credit. No, Willow, brought Angel back to me by giving him his soul back."

Faith nodded, not quite understanding fully, but having a better idea of the picture than before. Then Willow gasped,

"Oooh, I know."

Buffy and Faith turned to the witch,

"What do you know, Wills?"

Willow practically bounced with excitement,

"I know how I can help you and Angel deal. I'll find a way to change the curse so there's no clause, then you two can sort things out."

Buffy smiled sadly,

"That'd be wonderful, Wills. But somehow I think that Angel's problems won't be solved by us making love again."

Willow frowned again, downcast,

"I guess you're right. I just wish I could do something."

Buffy smiled at her friend's disappointment,

"Maybe when me and Angel have sorted things out, I'll ask you to help us with the curse. You're the only one I'd trust to do it."

Willow's face practically glowed with pleasure and Buffy smiled.

"So, enough about the Buffy and Angel soap opera. What's going on in the worlds of Willow and Faith?"

Faith shrugged,

"Nothing big here, B. Town's been quiet recently."

Willow sighed,

"I've kinda cut back on the magic thing recently. I'm working on improving my computer skills at the moment."

Buffy quirked an eyebrow,

"Really. Been doing anything interesting? And when I see interesting I mean illegal."

Willow giggled slightly,

"I've been seeing how long I can hack into the Pentagon for without being noticed."

Buffy stared at her friend,

"Wills, you're one of my best friends, but that's one weird hobby you've got there."

Faith nodded,

"I gotta say, Red, I have to agree with B, that's one cool hobby."

Willow raised an eyebrow,

"I hate to be boring person, but since when did weird equal cool?"

Faith smirked,

"Red, B and I are slayers, for us, weird is cool."

Willow giggled slightly at that, and Buffy sighed in a mock put-upon fashion.

"That's not what I meant and you know it, Fay. But anyway, Wills, found any interesting government secrets out yet?"

Willow smiled slightly,

"Well, I haven't found anything majorly wiggy yet, but I'm trying to hack into this really hard to get into project thing in Colorado."

Buffy quirked an eyebrow,

"Colorado, huh? What's the what?"

Willow's eyes shone as she began to talk about her favourite hobby,

"Well, whoever designed the code is a genius with computers, I think I'm gonna have to use magic to get any further without getting caught. It's amazing."

Buffy held up a hand to stop Willow's babbling,

"Sounds very cool, Wills. But what's the project actually called?"

Willow blushed,

"Oooh, sorry, I just really want to find out who did the code, it's brilliant. But, the project itself, it's kinda weird. The mountain facility's supposed to be Deep Space Radar Telemetry, but that's just a cover, as far as I can tell. From what I've been able to find out, there's this facility under the mountain called Stargate command…"

Before Willow could say anymore about the mysterious, top secret project, Buffy was on her feet. Faster than even Faith's eyes could follow, Buffy raced to her friend, grabbed the witch by the shoulders and shook her fiercely,

"Surely you lie. Tell me what you know."

Willow looked at Buffy and flinched. The woman who stood before her was a stranger, with anger and hatred in her eyes. The Wicca had never seen such hatred and anger in anyone and it scared her to see it in her friend. Buffy's hands were like steel on her shoulders and she winced at the strength of the grip, for the first time understanding the fear that demons felt when they encountered the slayer.

Faith saw the fear in the young Wicca's eyes and laid a hand on her sister slayer's arm. Buffy's eyes whirled around to the younger slayer and fixed on hers. Faith tried not to shiver when she saw the cold fury in the hazel eyes that were normally so very friendly, or so very sad. These were not the eyes of the girl that Faith had come to call her friend, there was neither passion nor compassion in the hazel orbs, and it scared the other girl.

"Hey, B, what's the deal with this Stargate thingy?"

Buffy blinked, her expression closing down even further for a minute. Then she turned back to Willow; the only sign that Faith had even spoken being the slightly less psychotic look in her eyes.

"Tell me what you know about the Chappa'ai, what you know about the Stargate."

Willow frowned at Faith, then spoke,

"I haven't found out that much yet. I've only just managed to work out that it exists. They have loads of people working there, and loads of people die there without any real explanation. I haven't found out who works there yet, but I know who the two top guys are."

Buffy's expression was so cold that Willow shivered before she continued her explanation,

"The first in command is this guy called General Hammond, I've done a little research on him and he seems to have a good record, but the Second in Command is just weird."

Buffy stared at her so coldly that Willow frowned as she continued,

"The Second in Command is this Colonel who's record's so classified I can't access it, and believe me, I've tried."

Buffy scowled,

"Who is he?"

Willow flinched,

"His name's Jack O'Neil, he's Special Ops and worked in Black Ops."

Buffy whirled away from Willow, releasing her shoulders so quickly that Willow gasped. Buffy's expression was so cold now that it made her earlier expressions look positively temperate in comparison. When she spoke, Buffy's voice was so cold that Willow shivered, for the first time, afraid of her friend,

"I'm going to kill him. How could he let them work out how to use it? He betrayed us both. I should have kept a closer eye on him, or got Adam to do it. Zut, what's Adam going to say? How dare Jack be so irresponsible?"

Faith and Willow stared at the older slayer as she stalked around the graveyard, mentioning names and places that they had no idea of. All three of them were so shocked that they did not see the demon with the sharp sword that had been creeping up on them until it was too late.

Buffy looked so surprised when the metal of the sword protruded through her stomach. The demon also seemed surprised, as if it had not been expecting to actually hurt the infamous slayer. Willow screamed, while Faith stood frozen, unable to move at the sight of the older slayer on the edge of death.

Willow screamed again, as Buffy reached one hand behind her back and gripped the handle of the sword that was still penetrating her guts. With a wet slurping noise, Buffy pulled the sword out of her own inside, not even flinching as the metal scraped against bone.

The demon responsible stood frozen behind the dying slayer, not able to comprehend what it had just done. Buffy turned to face the demon, its sword in her hand, the whole length of the blade slick with her dark blood. Willow turned green as her friend turned her back on the other two girls, revealing the wet wound in her back, with blood bubbling up from it.

The demon looked into the eyes of the slayer and screamed. He had, of course, heard the stories of the slayer who had died, killed the master, defeated Lothos, blown up the Judge, survived being attacked by the order of Taraka and been the lover of Angelus. He had envisioned the slayer as at least six feet tall and dark, but this pale haired warrior was something else entirely. Even before he had dared to approach the slayer, he had seen her, watched her with her friends, and known her to be a consummate warrior.

But he had never expected this. He had never expected to look into the eyes of the slayer and see the inhumane anger and fighting instinct that was bestial. Blood bubbled up at the corners of the Slayer's hardened mouth, but she moved as if she either did not notice, or did not care.

The pale lips twisted into a nearly insane smile, as the Slayer hefted the sword, still sticky with her own blood. Then the lips parted and the slayer spoke in a voice that chilled all that heard it,

"That really wasn't very nice. It was also very stupid. You dare to try and harm me? You will now know the wrath of Sekhmet."

And with that cryptic comment, the Slayer swung the sword with practised ease, a spray of her own blood splattering onto the ground even before the sword cleaved off the demon's head, causing a fount of dark blood to burst up from the severed neck, staining the grass around it black.

The tableau was frozen like that for what seemed like hours, although it was really only a matter of seconds. Then the blood-slick sword fell from Buffy's hand to the grass, and the slayer crumpled in on herself. The demon's body, which had remained standing, even after Buffy had decapitated it, disappeared in a wisp of smoke, the blood that had been spilt from it burning up the ground like acid.

Willow took one look at her friend's broken body and the pool of blood that stained the ground, turned to one side, and vomited. Faith heard the young witch whimpering and tried in vain to comfort her. Then the slayer turned to the corpse of the blond who had been her best and first real friend.

Ignoring Willow's whimpers of protest, the Bostonian slayer hoisted the corpse over one shoulder, dragged Willow's shaking form from where she was shivering in her own vomit, slung the protesting redhead over the other shoulder, and set off at a run for Sunnydale High library and the others of the self-appointed Scooby gang.

Rupert Giles had always considered it a very telling fact that more people visited the Sunnydale High library after dark than during the school hours.

As a watcher, he had always understood the necessity of keeping irregular hours in his work of guarding and training the current slayer, but the individuals who kept his vigil with him owed no duty to the slayers other than the duty of friendship, affection, and, in one case, love.

Xander Harris was in the library that night, not out of any extra skills that he possessed, or a sacred duty imparted to him, but out of the sheer desire to help his friends, and to fight against everything that was evil in the world.

Daniel Osbourne, or Oz, as he preferred to be known, was there for Willow, pure and simple. Despite the little clothes fluke between Willow and Xander, the werewolf would die a hundred times for the young witch whom had captured his heart. Willow followed Buffy, so Oz would stand by the slayer beyond death.

The absent witch followed the slayer because they were friends, because she wanted to use the powers she had to help her friends, because she wanted to do something and be something more than what she had always before aspired to be.

Cordelia Chase's reasons for helping the Slayer were a mystery even to her. She, unlike Oz, had not forgiven Xander for his clothes fluke with the red-haired witch, so she was not there for him. A cynic might say that she cared for no one but herself, so she was not there out of a desire to do help others. Truthfully, Cordelia's motives were a mystery, but, whatever they were, they kept her in the library, researching demons, or out in the cemeteries, fighting vampires, when she could be anywhere else.

But, out of all those who helped the Slayer, the dark-haired vampire that stood in the shadows of the library was the greatest mystery to the watcher. Nothing he had ever read of, or experienced could have prepared him for the dark, ensouled vampire that loved the slayer with all the passion and emotion that his unbeating heart was capable of.

Giles tried hard not to hate the vampire, simply out of respect for the love that Buffy had for this creature of the night. But it was not easy. It had been hard to work with the vampire when he had first come to Sunnydale, the mysterious stranger who helped the slayer and then disappeared. But then Buffy had found out the vampire's true identity, yet somehow she had still not killed him, as a slayer should, soul or no soul.

Even when the slayer had fallen as much in love with the vampire as he obviously loved her, Giles had still shivered at the thought of working alongside the re-animated corpse that had been cursed with a conscience. Giles had been becoming used to the vampire though, even beginning to enjoy his company and the intelligent conversation that they could share, a blessing when all the others the man worked with were Americans and teenagers.

But then the vampire had lost his soul, killed the woman Giles loved, as well as countless others, tormented Giles' charges, especially the slayer the demon's soul had loved, and tortured Giles himself. But perhaps the worst thing that the vampire had done was to have returned from hell, to have returned and have just as easily as before entrapped the love and loyalty of the slayer.

Giles was drawn out of his thoughts as the vampire sniffed slightly, breaking the silence of the library. Xander turned to Angel and scowled,

"Need a tissue, Dead-boy?"

Angel ignored the youth with practised ease and turned instead towards the doors to the library, as if waiting for something that none of the others knew about. Whatever it was that the vampire had heard or scented, however, soon became obvious to the others in the library.

Oz was the first to pick up on it after the vampire, his heightened sense catching the sounds and smells that were too far away for human senses to distinguish. The werewolf growled; a sound that was very unusual for the usually stoic teen.

Last to hear the noises that had attracted the attention of the vampire and werewolf were the three humans in the library. The heavy footfalls came closer and closer to the library, fast enough so that Giles knew that it was either Faith or Buffy. Giles groaned as the distinctive metallic smell of blood floated into the library and he went into his office, retrieved a cloth and placed it over the long table.

When he had finished covering the table, the doors to the library swung open and Faith ran in, Willow panting behind her. Cordelia gasped when she saw the corpse of the blond slayer slung over Faith's shoulder and Giles paled, whispering,

"Oh dear Lord."

He had failed in his duty to protect his slayer, to prepare her for anything. He numbly gestured for Faith to place Buffy's body on the covered table and almost vomited when he saw the gaping wound in her stomach. The Slayer's friends gathered around the table, and, although he knew it was hopeless, Giles pressed to fingers underneath Buffy's chin to check for a pulse.

There was none, Buffy was dead, and this time no amount of CPR could bring her back.

All of the teens in the room could not speak, could not make a sound as they saw the dead body of the girl who had fought to protect them for so long.

Only Angel made no move towards the body, and Giles turned towards the vampire in anger,

"Can't you see she's dead?"

The vampire frowned,

"I can see that."

Xander whirled away from Buffy's corpse,

"And you don't care?"

Angel sighed,

"I never said that."

The boy scowled furiously,

"You didn't need to."

Xander made to attack Angel in his grief, but Cordelia stopped him, and then ran across the room herself. She lifted one arm and swung it back, bringing her fist forward in a move that either Buffy or Faith had obviously taught her. Before her fist could collide with vampire's jaw, however, Angel lifted one hand and caught the fist.

The tableau was frozen like that for a long time, then Willow shrieked from where she stood by Buffy's body. As one, the others all turned towards her immediately, all except Angel gasping as bolts of blue electricity danced across Buffy's flesh, knitting the torn flesh together, without leaving a mark on the pale flesh.

Giles would like to have thought that living on the mouth of hell had prepared him for any occurrence, but nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.

Buffy sat up on the table and opened her eyes.

Everyone except Angel screamed. Loudly

Buffy took one look at her vampire lover and scowled,

"I died in front of them, didn't I?"

Angel nodded,

"Yes, you did."

"Damn."

Buffy swung off the table and Faith reached for a crossbow. Buffy shook her head,

"That won't work, Fay."

The slayer stared at the blond and said,

"What the hell are you, B?"

Buffy smirked,

"Long story."

Ignoring the fury on the girl's face, Buffy turned to Willow and asked,

"You're certain it was the Stargate and Colonel Jack O'Neil, one l?"

Willow nodded silently, unable to speak, Buffy swore quietly. Giles stared at her,

"Buffy, did you just swear in Ancient Sumerian?

Buffy nodded,

"Yeah."

Giles shook his head,

"I'm not even going to ask."

Buffy smiled,

"Good idea."

Buffy turned away from Giles and stalked up to Angel,

"Have you told them anything?"

Angel shook his head,

"Good."

Then Buffy turned back to the others and spoke coldly,

"If anyone's interested in finding out what the hell that was all about, pack enough for a long trip."

Faith stared at the other woman,

"I'm coming, but who's gonna watch Sunnyhell?"

Buffy thought about it for a moment,

"I'll get Joyce to watch out for anything. I've been training her since vampires killed all her family in '63, she'll cope."

And with that, Buffy headed for the door, Angel following her. Xander spoke just before the two left,

"Where the hell are we going, Buff?"

Buffy smirked as she turned back to them,

"Seacouver, we're going to pick up a young friend of mine, before going to Colorado to yell at another friend of mine for being an irresponsible ass. Anyone coming?"

Chapter Two

'Women never have young minds. They are born three thousand years old.' Shelagh Delaney

It was days like this that made Joe Dawson wish that he had never become a watcher and stayed doing something non-hazardous, like working on a nuclear waste plant.

Being a watcher wasn't always bad, particularly when he was working in the field. Normally, the worst he had to expect was morose Scotsmen, the occasional visits of immortal kleptomaniacs, and five thousand year olds who had a bar tab that filled its own ledger.

However, the aforementioned bar tab having immortal occasionally caused far more trouble than any one man could deal with. If Methos wasn't getting into trouble somewhere else, then one of his former lovers, friends, wives, enemies, slaves etc. was turning up in Seacouver and making trouble.

And if someone from Methos' past wasn't turning up to make trouble, then the immortal was all too skilled at making without any outside assistance. After five millennia, the immortal had developed an innate skill for pissing off the most level minded of people.

It was all too likely that this habit was intrinsically related to Methos' sarcasm, irony, sometimes-unbalanced temperament, chequered past, and keen appreciation of the absurd. Methos' habit for getting into fights in the middle of Joe's bar had already cost the watcher more in damages than he liked to think about when sober.

He supposed that he ought to have expected something to happen soon. Methos had been in Seacouver almost a month, and there had been a distinct lack of incidents. When he had mentioned this to the insufferable man, Methos had had the audacity to pout and insist that he didn't only come with trouble on his heels.

When Macleod had heard this statement, the highlander had snorted into his beer, causing Methos to attempt an affronted expression.

But, all other factors aside, Methos had returned to form with fantastic style.

The evening had begun ominously peacefully, without Methos, Duncan or Richie having been challenged by anyone during the day. Methos had then promptly ordered himself a beer and gotten into an argument with Macleod over the relative benefits of a one-handed or two-handed grip.

When it happened, it was near closing time, and there was no one in the bar except Joe and the three immortals. Joe had known exactly when the events had started, for the three immortals had looked up at exactly the same moment.

Joe had groaned, knowing all too well the expression on the face of an immortal feeling the approaching presence of another. He had groaned once again when Methos had paled rather rapidly and begun getting up from his seat. Richie had turned to the older man and asked,

"Someone you know, Old Man?"

Methos had nodded,

"An old friend."

Richie had groaned under his breath, knowing all too well that most of Methos' old friends wanted to kill him,

"I don't suppose they're just here to talk?"

Methos groaned as well,

"Not a chance, she was furious with me last time I saw her."

Richie groaned again and banged his head against the table,

"No chance she's here to apologise?"

The other immortal had shook his head,

"Her, apologise? That would be my job. She never apologises. I have to go to her on bended knee and apologise. I think she enjoys that more than she is actually angry, but she's somewhat temperamental."

Methos had quickly pulled on his coat and made for the back door, but, before he could go two steps, the door began to swing open. Methos paled and dived behind the bar.

Duncan and Richie had sighed and drawn their swords, facing the opening door.

Of all the people that Joe had been expecting to see at the door, an irate blond dressed in leather and a rather confused group of teenagers, with an older man and one who looked to be in his late twenties, was not one of them.

The blond immortal had looked at Richie and Duncan, with their swords drawn, and had rolled her eyes expressively,

"I'm here to yell at him and maybe give him a kick up the ass, not decapitate him, you can put those away."

Richie had smiled at her and begun to put his sword away, but Duncan had scowled and made no move to do the same. The woman had laughed,

"Look, I've known Methos since he was born, I might kill him a bit, but nothing permanent. I happen to like him the way he is."

Duncan's scowl had softened slightly, but he still made no move to put away his sword, his experiences with Methos' other friends teaching him wariness. The blond snorted,

"Chivalry really is dead. Look, if I give you my sword will you let him get up from where he's hiding behind the bar?"

Duncan had raised an eyebrow, but had put away his sword. The woman had smiled and then reached into her trench coat. With a clink, she had withdrawn an elegant long katana, which she placed on the nearest table.

"Feel free to have a look, just try not to hurt yourself, kid. Oh, and Methos, you can stop hiding behind the table now. If I wanted to kill you, I would have done it a long time ago."

The blond had plopped down into a seat, crossing her legs and leaning back indolently. Duncan had mouthed 'kid' at Richie, who shrugged, then the Highlander went to pick up the katana. The Scotsman picked the blade up with reverence, easily able to tell that it was the masterpiece of a true genius.

The Scot took a few practice strokes with the blade, testing the balance and weight of the blade, finding them both to be flawless. Then the Scot began to slowly bring the blade through the elegant dance of a kata, gradually getting faster and faster, until the sword was only a humming blur of silver.

Then, as the whirling dance of the blade came to an end, the Scot threw the sword at the blond immortal, whose back was to him. The entire group who had arrived with the strange immortal gasped, all except the strange dark-haired man.

The strange immortal merely waited as the deadly blade approached the back of her head. Then, at the last minute, she shifted her head slightly to one side, so the blade went past her. Then, as the hilt came level with her ear, she raised one hand and wrapped it around the ornamented ivory grip. The sword stopped dead in her hand.

There was complete silence as everyone watched the strange immortal slowly slid her sword back into the ebony scabbard. Methos had stood up during Duncan's kata and now walked around the bar towards the group. The strange immortal looked Duncan up and down once and laughed slightly,

"You're not bad with a sword. If you're still alive in fifty years, look me up. I'll teach you how to really use a sword."

Duncan scowled at the stranger and Methos swallowed a laugh. The highlander then turned his stare on Methos, before speaking again to the stranger,

"I'll do that, if you'll tell me your name."

The stranger rolled her eyes expressively,

"And isn't that just the question of the hour?"

Duncan stared questioningly at her,

"Pardon?"

The woman groaned and turned away from him to Methos,

"Stop looking like a deer caught in the headlights, Methos. I'm just here to talk."

Methos moved slowly from the bar towards her,

"I suppose it's too much to hope for that you're just here to catch up about the good old days?"

The stranger rolled her eyes again,

"Very funny. No such luck though. It's about the kid."

Methos sat down at the same table as the stranger and groaned loudly, before beginning to swear, extensively, in every language that he knew, which was a lot. When he had finished, the stranger arched an eyebrow and stood from where she was sitting,

"Very eloquent, but it won't do anything to help with the trouble your charge has started."

Methos glared at the stranger,

"My charge?"

The woman smirked,

"Yeah, remember, Paris 1675, you agreed that you watched him during even-numbered centuries, I did the odd-numbered ones."

Before Methos and the strange immortal could debate the issue, the stranger's red-haired friend spoke,

"Buffy, could you explain stuff now?"

Methos snorted,

"Buffy? Where'd you think that one up?"

The strange immortal, Buffy, scowled,

"I didn't. I got the name back in the fifties. I was going as Bethany Winters at the time. Then I met this girl called Joyce whose parents had died. I adopted her, but she couldn't pronounce my name and called me Buffy, it kinda stuck."

Before Methos could comment on this, the redhead spoke again,

"Joyce, as in your mum?"

The immortal nodded,

"Well, she's not my mum, I raised her since her parents died, as I told you. But she's pretending that I'm her daughter, who really died at birth. That's the problem with looking like a teenager for eternity."

The redhead made a face,

"I still don't get how you're alive."

The immortal made a face. Methos turned to her,

"They don't know?"

The immortal frowned,

"Well I kinda died immediately after I found out what the brat was doing. Then I came here immediately, so I haven't had time to explain."

Before the strange immortal could sat anymore, the dark-haired boy who had some with her asked,

"Well, now's as good a time as any, Buff."

The immortal made a face,

"It’s a long story, so I'll give you the Cliff's notes version. I was one of the earliest slayers. Then I died, and became immortal."

'Never explain- your friends do not need it and your enemies will never believe it anyway.' Elbert Hubbard

Xander was very confused.

It was not that this was unusual for him, or a difficult accomplishment, but this level of confusion was strange even for him.

The day had started as usual for the boy, waking to hear his parents shouting at each other, their voices slurred with the alcohol they had already consumed. He had quickly dressed and slipped out of the house, managing as usual to avoid saying more than two words to either his mother or father before going to school.

He had arrived at school two minutes before the bell had rung and had snuck into his homeroom with three seconds to spare.

The day had passed as usual, with him pretending to understand his way through classes, all the while making a mental note to ask Willow what was going on in whatever lesson he was in. He had then cut his afternoon classes to watch Faith and Buffy training in the library with Giles.

He had gone with all the others to the Bronze, where they had stayed until sundown. When night had fallen, Faith, Buffy and Willow had decided to patrol together, while the others went to join Giles in the library.

The evening had then passed as normal, the only interruptions being the stealthy arrival of Angel and the cutting comments Cordelia had directed all too frequently in his direction. Of these two occurrences, Xander had difficulty deciding which was worse.

He hated the dark vampire with a passion that sometimes surprised him, but Cordelia's comments had gained an acerbity since the two of them had broken up. He had mostly been able to ignore the ensouled vampire, but the guilt he felt over what he had done to Cordelia made it harder to ignore her well-chosen jibes.

But, for an evening of researching about how to kill different demons, the evening had passed into night in a perfectly normal fashion. Normal, that was, until Faith and Willow had turned up in the library carrying Buffy's blood-soaked and mutilated corpse.

Xander had had to physically restrain the urge to vomit. He had seen a lot of things since Buffy had arrived in Sunnydale, but there was something about seeing the girl he had thought to be invincible battered and broken had hurt more than anything he had ever known before.

Living in Sunnydale meant that Xander had seen a lot of strange things, although he had discounted most of them before Buffy had arrived and he had known what Sunnydale really was. But there was nothing that could have prepared him for what happened next.

He had been on the point of attacking Angel for not caring about Buffy's death, when Willow had attracted their attention back to the table where Buffy's corpse had been placed. Thus they had all watched with morbid curiosity as Buffy's gaping wounds had knitted themselves together again, as blue light danced over them like electric currents.

Even Giles had been lost for any words of explanation as Buffy sat up at the table.

There had been no doubt that the slayer had been dead when Faith and Willow had brought her to the library. But there was also no doubt that when Buffy sat up she was just as alive as she had been earlier in the evening.

Only Faith had asked the question that was prominent in all their minds: what the hell was going on, but Buffy had brushed the question off with what was obviously practised ease.

Only Angel had been unsurprised by Buffy's seemingly inexplicable resurrection. The vampire had remained perfectly calm as Buffy had stalked towards him. The situation had only become more surreal when Buffy asked the vampire if she had just died in front of them.

Xander's already over-worked brain had almost exploded when the vampire had answered quite calmly that Buffy had died. Buffy had then sworn and asked Angel if he had told them anything, a question to which the vampire answered the negative. Buffy had seemed pleased by this response and then had turned to Willow.

After asking Willow something that made no sense to the others in the room, Buffy had calmly informed them that they were going to a place called Seacouver and then to Colorado Springs. When the matter of the hellmouth had been brought up, Buffy had stated that Joyce would look after things, and that Buffy had been training her since the 1950s.

None of them had dared to ask questions as Buffy had requisitioned Oz's van, they had merely piled into the van, all but Angel brimming with curious questions.

Buffy had driven northwards like a maniac, swearing under her breath in languages not even Giles recognised.

When Willow had shakily requested that they stop for breakfast, the figure that had turned in the front seat was someone that none of them recognised. But Buffy had relented and stopped at the nearest roadside diner.

All of them but Angel, who had fallen asleep in the back of the van, piled out of the car, blinking in the bright sunlight. Buffy had ushered them all into the quiet diner and informed them that they could order whatever they wanted, as long as they ate it quickly.

As they consumed their breakfasts, Buffy sat and drank her way through six cups of black coffee. The slayer then lit a cigarette as they finished their breakfasts.

They had barely finished their last swallows of food as Buffy paid the waitress for their breakfasts, using what appeared to be a platinum card. They were then ushered out of the diner and back into the van.

The second part of the journey was very different from the first, as if the coffee and cigarettes had mellowed the slayer. Buffy had slipped a queen cd into the van's sound system and had switched to swearing in languages that Giles and Willow could understand.

With less persuasion than before, Buffy had pulled over again a few hours later, at yet another nondescript roadside diner.

Buffy had not made any comments about time during this meal; she had merely made a point of taking poignant looks at her watch during key intervals in the meal. Once again, Buffy had paid for the meal as she ushered the others out of the diner and back into Oz's van.

Buffy had been quietly morose during the next part of the journey, her silence adding an uncomfortable tension to the already stuffy van. The uncomfortable silence had continued, with Buffy ignoring any questions as they crossed state lines into Washington State.

The sun had set as they drove north, and Angel woke just before they made their final stop for dinner.

Buffy had turned in her seat as she noticed that the vampire was awake. Angel had quirked his lips at her in recognition, and she had pulled into the next roadside diner.

They had all piled out of the car once again and had traipsed into the diner. Buffy had led Angel to a booth in a corner of the smoking area and had glared at the rest of them until they had chosen their own booths.

Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Faith and Oz had chosen the largest booth they could find, whilst Giles sat at a table to himself, reading the paper and drinking tea.

After the five teens had ordered their meals, they had sat and watched the vampire and vampire slayer in their corner booth. Both had ordered black coffee, and sat there, sipping at the scalding liquid whilst smoking cigarettes and talking together in low voices that not even Faith's enhanced hearing could distinguish.

Xander had watched them even after the others had lost interest. As he munched his way through a cheeseburger and fries, and then a slice of chocolate cheesecake, all paid for once again by Buffy, he watched Angel as the vampire made Buffy laugh as she had not laughed in ages.

Fortunately for Xander's sanity, or what was left of it, they had left the diner as soon as Buffy had noticed that they had all finished their food. However, his temper had not improved when Buffy had asked Angel to join her to ride shotgun, claiming that the vampire had the best night vision and would able to stay awake longer.

Thus Xander had had to watch in disgust as Buffy and Angel sat together, their hands touching even as Buffy drove ever northwards. The two talked in a strange lilting language that Willow had recognised as a derivative of Irish Gaelic that was no longer spoken.

Even though he did not know what was going to be within, Xander was therefore very glad when Buffy pulled the van to a final halt outside of a building whose neon sign declared it to be Joe's Blues Bar.

When Xander had followed Buffy into the bar, he had not expected to be greeted by two men holding swords, one who could not be much out of his teens. A third man had been standing by the bar, obviously in the middle of an escape attempt. The bartender had been sitting down watching with a resigned look on his face. Buffy had made some comment about not coming to permanently kill someone, then both men had put away their swords.

Then Buffy had withdrawn an elegant katana from out of what appeared to be nowhere and then handed it to the older man. The stranger had then performed an elegant kata with the sword at a speed and excellence the likes of which Xander had never seen before. Then, to his shock, he had thrown the sword straight at the back of Buffy's unprotected skull. Buffy had done nothing to prevent he passage of the sword at the back of her head until the last moment, when she had tilted her head slightly to one side and caught the sword, bringing it to a dead stop, no pun intended.

Katana sheathed, Buffy had then turned towards the man who had been trying to make a run for it before they had entered. She had spoken to him, addressing him as Methos and the following conversation Xander had understood very little of. Then the conversation had turned to the subject of Buffy's mother. Finally Willow had asked the question they had all had on the tips of their tongues ever since Buffy's miraculous resurrection earlier in the library. Buffy's answer had surprised them all speechless for a moment, and Xander then asked the question he knew to be foremost in all their minds,

"What are you talking about?"

Buffy smiled, but it wasn't a smile that was either comfortable or familiar on her, it was an almost feral smile than he did not recognise. As she answered, there was also a unfamiliar edge to her voice,

"Gee, Xander, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to understand. I'm immortal, therefore I neither age nor die. But before my first death, I was one of the earliest slayers, therefore my slayer powers remained after I died."

Xander had frowned, both at the sarcastic tone to the explanation and to the explanation itself. He had spoken then, asking again what he thought to be an obvious question,

"But, you did die. The Master killed you in his lair."

Buffy had rolled her eyes and sat down on one of the tables,

"I am immortal, not invulnerable. I was killed by the Master, but I came back. Death isn't permanent for me, I just come back afterwards. Unless I am decapitated, that is. I would have left immediately after I came back to life, but I was drowned as well and then you came to rescue me, I hadn't thought you'd do that, so I decided to stay for a time."

Xander frowned,

"So, you're not Buffy?"

Buffy, or whoever she was, sighed

"I am Buffy, or as much of Buffy as there ever was. If you're looking for Buffy, I'm all you're ever going to find. But I'm not really the Buffy you know, I haven't ever really been that person. But that isn't the point, and certainly not why I came all the way up here."

Willow spoke then,

"But, Buffy, if you never meant for us to know about this, to know about what you are, then why did you bring us all the way up here?"

Buffy sighed,

"Because I may need your help."

The stranger that Buffy had called Methos spoke then,

"How can this lot possibly help to clear up whatever mess the kid's made this time?"

Buffy sighed and turned back to Methos,

"One, they're more helpful than they look and, two, we're gonna need all the help we can get with this particular mess of his."

Methos sighed and asked,

"I probably don't want to know, but what has he done this time?"

Buffy slipped into a chair opposite him and leant towards him, keeping her eyes fixed on his,

"You wanna know what the brat's gone and done?"

Methos nodded,

"Well, then. I'll tell you what the dratted idiot did. He first joined the USAF and then he helped open the Chappa'ai."

Xander did not see any significance in this statement, but obviously Methos did, as he paled rapidly and banged his head hard against the table. After spending a moment doing this, he lifted his head from the wooden surface and said,

"Please tell me those two statements were at least mutually exclusive actions?"

Buffy smirked and shook her head,

"I'm afraid not, the Stargate, as they call it, is now under the control of the United States Air Force."

Methos groaned even louder and his face turned very serious,

"When you say that he helped them open it, to what extent have they discovered the knowledge that it reveals?"

Buffy scowled,

"You mean you want to know what they know of the Goa-uld?"

Xander did not recognise the word, and from the looks on the faces of the others, none of them did either. However, the word was obviously more than familiar to both Buffy and the stranger Methos. Methos nodded and Buffy sighed,

"I'm not sure precisely what they know of the Goa-uld, but the fact that the Stargate has been opened again is reason enough to track the kid down and take him to hand."

Xander swallowed slightly at the ominous tone in Buffy's voice. He did not want to know what Buffy meant by taking the kid to hand, but he was sure that it could not be pleasant. Finally, the stranger who had thrown the sword at Buffy spoke,

"Methos, what are you talking about?"

Methos scowled,

"It's not really important, Mac."

The man Mac, frowned,

"Well, I want to know."

It looked like Methos was not going to answer, but Buffy punched him and said,

"Just tell him Methos, we might need his help."

Methos frowned,

"I can't imagine why we would need his help, but I suppose telling him won't hurt."

Buffy frowned and punched Methos again, causing the man the rub his now injured shoulder,

"I do wish you would stop that. Some of us are only ordinary immortals, unlike you."

Buffy smirked,

"Yeah, well, I'm one of a kind."

Methos sighed,

"Thank the Powers for small mercies."

Buffy made as if to punch Methos again, and he held up his hands in a defensive position and she lowered her raised fist.

"Fine, tell them all now. But I want my friends to know as well."

Methos frowned and began to speak,

"If you're so keen on everyone knowing, you can tell them yourself."

Buffy sighed and spoke,

"Fine, if you're going to be that way. I will tell them."

Buffy gestured for them to sit down, which Xander reluctantly did, noticing with some pleasure that Angel for the first time that day looked as curious and confused as the rest of them. Buffy cupped her chin in her hands and began to speak,

"First, I guess you should know a little more about me, information without which this explanation would be quite fruitless. I do not remember the name I was born with, or even if I was born with one. The first name I remember having is not even my own. The first name I used was Sekhmet, which was the name of the Goa-uld symbiote that took over my body."

Angel spoke then,

"Buffy, I'm confused, what's a Goa-uld?"

Buffy sighed sadly,

"It's complicated. Basically the Goa-uld are an alien race…"

Before she could continue however, Macleod interrupted,

"Aliens, lass, you're trying to convince me that there are actually aliens out there?"

Buffy scowled dangerously and leant towards Macleod,

"I suppose that you'll be telling me you don't believe in aliens."

Macleod snorted,

"Of course I don't believe in aliens. You'll be talking about vampires, demons and UFOs next."

Buffy smiled in a predatory manner that made Xander and her other friends from Sunnydale shiver. They had not seen that smile many times, but it was not a good omen. When Buffy spoke, her voice was overly sweet and condescending such that even Angel shivered slightly,

"You don't believe in vampires, Scotsman?

Macleod snorted, seemingly oblivious to the threat in Buffy's soft tone,

"Vampires are no more than a bedtime story."

Buffy smiled even more sweetly and then turned from Macleod to the silently observing Angel sitting behind her,

"This charming gentleman here possesses a scepticism relating to the existence of the respiratory challenged. Would you be kind enough to make an amendment to his opinion on this matter, in which I know you to be expert."

Angel sighed and Buffy turned around to face him, genuine love and affection in her eyes, as well as a healthy dose of apologetic sorrow. She brushed his cheek with her hand and said,

"I know you don't like doing it, Angel, but it's only this once and we will need MacLeod's assistance if we are to face the Goa-uld."

Angel sighed,

"Just this once."

Buffy smiled,

"Have I ever lied to you?"

Angel opened his mouth as if to reply, but Buffy placed a finger on his lips,

"That was a rhetorical question love. But, despite certain things I said when we met in Vienna, I have not lied to you since I met you after you had your soul restored. Anyway, I swear that I will not lie to you about this. Please, we're going to have enough problems with the military, Methos, the kid, the Goa-uld, etc. I don't have enough time to deal with MacLeod's self-righteous scepticism."

Methos snorted with amusement and an injured expression slid onto Mac's face. Angel shook his head, allowing as he did so for his face to shift to his true demonic visage. MacLeod swore loudly in Gaelic, making Buffy, Angel and Methos laugh, something that was very disturbing with Angel's demonic face at the fore.

Buffy smirked and then turned to MacLeod,

"Okay, so now we've established that vampires and aliens exist, we really ought to get to Colorado, I'll explain the rest of the story on the way there, but we really can't wait."

Chapter 3

'History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.' Abba Eban

Colonel Jack O'Neill was sitting at the table in the briefing room, listening to Senator Kinsey make his usual diatribe about the impropriety of the conduct of all the personnel. He was tempted to either start banging his head against the briefing table, or to painfully murder the good Senator. Seeing as the second option would result in a prompt transferral to Leavenworth and the first would confirm the Senator's suggestion that he wad insane, he settled for merely making insulting comments about Kinsey's ancestry and sexual practices under his breath in a long extinct Sumerian dialect.

Then Teal'c began looking at him in a manner that suggested the Jaffa shared Kinsey's doubts concerning his sanity. Thankfully, Daniel, who could have a) recognised the dialect and b) translated it, was sitting on the other side of the table, conversing quietly with Major Carter. The questions that would have been raised if Daniel had heard him speaking that particular Sumerian dialect were not ones he particularly wanted to answer, now or ever.

He had once thought about telling the other members of SG1 about his history, but had dismissed the idea after Daniel had started sneezing the first time he tried to explain. He did not particularly want to entertain any conversation starting with an explanation about how he was over three thousand years old and used to be a Goa'uld host, but used magics to hide himself from other symbiotes.

Thus, not wanting to arouse suspicion, Jack switched from cursing in Sumerian under his breath to cursing in an obscure Ugaritic dialect, but this time in his head, he wasn't going to take the chance to see if it was one of Daniel's twenty-three languages. He was just mentally expounding the complex relationships one of Kinsey's ancestors had had with a three-headed goat, when the phone rang.

General Hammond, looking more than a little bit grateful for the interruption, apologised to the Senator and turned the phone onto speaker-phone,

"Hammond here."

The voice that answered was that of the sergeant at the checkpoint outside Cheyenne mountain.

"General, there is a group here, demanding to see you and Colonel O'Neill. Most of them are teenagers and refuse to identify themselves. Two of them gave their names as… Sekhmet and Methos. What should we do?"

Jack started to curse, loudly and in the same Ugaritic dialect he had been using earlier. From the look on Daniel's face, it was one of his twenty-three. He spoke to the sergeant,

"Try to keep them contained, but try not to do anything to aggravate either of them, it's bad for your health, very bad. Tell them that I'll be up their shortly."

And with that, Jack turned to Hammond, ignoring utterly the sputtering Senator Kinsey.

"The two visitors are former Goa'uld hosts."

If Jack had declared himself there and then to be deeply in love with Colonel Maybourne, he wouldn't have been met with more surprise. Teal'c spoke, finally breaking the silence.

"O'Neill. It is said that both of these Goa'uld died during the rebellion against Ra."

Jack nodded,

"They did, Teal'c. Their symbiotes did, at least. But the hosts survived."

Daniel frowned,

"But they must have died millennia ago."

Jack shook his head,

"No such luck, space-monkey. They're immortal. We go back a long way."

Hammond interrupted then, well as much as a commanding officer can interrupt his subordinates,

"Dr Jackson, what can you tell us about these people, Sekhmet and Methos."

Daniel frowned,

"I know of Sekhmet, she was an Egyptian goddess. But I've never heard of Methos."

The others turned to Jack, who sighed, knowing that his secret was now thoroughly about to be busted,

"I'll let Danny tell you about Sekhmet, but Methos was Death."

Seeing the confused looks on their faces. He explained further,

"You know, Revelations 6:8. 'and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death and Hades was following close behind him'. The Biblical horsemen of the apocalypse. They were real and they wreaked havoc over the world for almost two thousand years. And Methos was Death."

Hammond frowned,

"These riders were all Goa'uld?"

Jack shook his head,

"No. Kronos, Silas and Caspian weren't Goa'uld and neither was Methos, when he rode as Death."

Hammond frowned harder and Jack knew he would have to start explaining, fast.

"Methos lost his symbiote with the rebellion against Ra. The process killed him, but because he was immortal, he came back. A millennium or so later, he got bored and took up with Kronos, Silas and Caspian, and thus the horsemen were born. But he was perfectly human, aside from being immortal that is."

Daniel paled,

"He became Death because he was bored?"

Jack nodded,

"He was the brains and the leadership behind the horsemen. But, that was the way the world worked. He was bored of people killing him, so he started killing them instead, and he started enjoying it, and the people he killed couldn't come back like he could."

With that comment, Jack rose from his seat and crossed to the door,

"I have to go and get something from my office, but I'll be back. Danny, tell them about Sekhmet, if you would. And the thing about immortality and losing her symbiote applies to her the same as Methos."

For a moment, Daniel looked totally shocked, then he managed to ask,

"You know where your office is?"

Jack smirked,

"Of course I do. Where did you think I went to do paperwork?"

And with that, Jack left the room. Daniel gazed round at the others,

"Jack does paperwork?"

Hammond frowned,

"Sekhmet, if you please, Doctor Jackson?"

Daniel nodded,

"Oh yes, Sekhmet. She was a character from Ancient Egyptian religion. She was the lioness goddess. In contrast to the other feline goddess, Bastet, Sekhmet ("The Powerful") was a terrifying deity and often the agent of divine retribution. For example, she was sent by Ra to punish the rebellious human race but had to be restrained from wiping out humanity entirely. Infectious disease was believed to be the goddess's messenger, and criminals were occasionally sacrificed in her honour. She was traditionally depicted in human form with the head of a lioness. Some translations also give her the role of the goddess of war, though vengeance and retribution were her traditional domains."

Hammond turned to Teal'c then,

"You have heard of these Goa'uld?"

Teal'c nodded,

"Indeed. Methos was known as the companion of Sekhmet, who herself was known and feared by all the system lords. DanielJackson's explanation was thorough, but it is known that even Anubis feared and respected Sekhmet. She was said to be the consort of Ra for many generations and her torture is said to be unspeakable."

Hammond was just about to enquire further when Colonel O'Neill re-entered the briefing room, with a sword strapped at his hip. Aside from the sword, there was something very different about the Colonel and Major Carter soon identified it,

"You're a host."

Jack shook his head,

"Was a host, emphasis on was. It was a long time ago."

Carter frowned,

"How long?"

Jack sighed and shrugged,

"About three and a half millennia ago. Don't worry, I got over it."

Daniel gaped,

"Three and a half millennia."

Jack nodded,

"One of that bitch Hathor's. She was calling herself Inanna at the time, the whore of Babylon. Methos and Sekhmet got the damn thing out of me by about 1300 BC, by modern reckoning. I turned out to be immortal, so I hung around until I found out the Stargate had been uncovered. Then I came over here and kept an eye on the damn thing, until I found out the military were trying to open it.

Daniel frowned,

"But, three and a half millennia…"

Jack shrugged,

"Immortality, Danny. I don't die, permanently, and I don't age."

Daniel wanted to ask more questions, a whole lot more questions, but Jack shook his head,

"Later, Daniel. First we have to go upstairs before Sekhmet decides to stop waiting and come down and find me herself."

Major Carter spoke then,

"This is something we don't want to happen?"

Jack shook his head,

"Most definitely not. Making Sekhmet wait makes her angry and an angry Sekhmet is not something you ever want to see."

Senator Kinsey was fuming, a sight that would have been a lot more impressive if he weren't the shortest person in the room.

"Colonel O'Neill, this is utterly unacceptable…"

Before Kinsey could say anything more, Jack crossed the room and stood towering over the little politician. When he spoke, his voice was little above a whisper,

"Senator Kinsey. Allow me to offer you a piece of very good advice, Do shut up. Sekhmet is waiting for us and she is by no means as patient as I am, and is much more inventive. I would most sincerely recommend not pissing her off. Most people who did, never did anything else ever again."

Kinsey bristled visibly,

"Are you threatening me?"

Jack shrugged,

"No, I'm just giving you some good advice."

The Senator spluttered further, but couldn't seem to think of anything further to say, so descended into silent sputtering. Jack smirked slightly and turned back around to the others, now thoroughly ignoring the pompous windbag. Nodding at the general he spoke,

"Permission to go and collect our guests, sir?"

This return to protocol returned some order to the confusion of the briefing room. Hammond nodded,

"Bring them and any of those accompanying them down here. And, Colonel, we will be discussing this further."

O'Neill nodded, and pressed a button on the speakerphone. He then ordered the NORAD sergeant to bring the group 'upstairs' down, and to provide them with all appropriate security passes. Silence descended on the small group in the briefing room, until Daniel spoke,

"Jack, what's the…"

Jack shook his head,

"I am not playing the greatest invention in history game with you, Daniel."

Daniel scowled,

"Why not, the historical knowledge you and the other immortals must possess…"

Jack shook his head,

"If you want to bug anyone about history, ask Sekhmet or Methos, they've seen more of it than I have. You'd be safer with Methos, probably, he doesn't have Slayer strength."

Daniel frowned,

"What's a Slayer?"

Jack groaned,

"I knew I shouldn't have told you about that."

"Telling more secrets out of school are we kid?"

Jack whirled around, as did the others in the briefing room, apart from Teal'c, who was a Jaffa and what he did could not exactly be described as whirling. Jack groaned when he saw the petite blond standing in the doorway, with a youngish looking man with a very memorable nose standing behind her.

"How many times have I told you not to call me kid?"

The blonde shrugged her shoulders and quipped,

"I don't know, I lost count after that argument with Socrates."

The other stranger groaned,

"Don't start talking about Socrates, Buffy. He was such a terrible bore."

'Buffy' smirked and said,

"Why do you think I was arguing with him?"

Buffy rolled her eyes,

"Knowing you, kid. You'd argue with anything."

Jack scowled in a mock-offended fashion,

"I would not. But do I even want to know what you're doing here?"

Buffy smiled dangerously,

"Well, kid. I have this friend and she has this computer, And she accidentally found her way into some files at the Pentagon, and we found out that you had helped the military open the Chappa'ai!"

As Buffy spoke, her voice got louder and Jack paled,

"Would it help if I said I was sorry?"

Buffy frowned and crossed the room, where she proceeded to punch Jack solidly in the face, causing his neck to snap back slightly. The Colonel groaned,

"Damn it, Sekhmet. Was that necessary? Anyway, I didn’t open the Stargate, Daniel did. I didn't even help dig the damn thing up. All I did was come here when I found out they were trying to and helped in the fight against the Goa'uld when they did."

Buffy scowled,

"You always spoil my fun. How's it going?"

Jack rolled his eyes,

"Same as always."

Buffy rolled her eyes,

"That bad, huh?"

Jack groaned,

"You've been watching too many movies."

Buffy smirked,

"And you haven't?"

Jack sighed,

"When I quote Star Wars and you get the quote, it tells us that we've both been undercover for too long."

Buffy quirked her lips into a half smile,

"At least I haven't been working with the military, Jack."

Jack rolled his eyes,

"At least I'm not calling myself Buffy."

Buffy grimaced,

"I didn't chose the name, but it kind of stuck."

Jack smiled slightly,

"So, I take it you're slaying again?"

Buffy nodded and slid into a chair at the briefing table,

"Yep, I'm guarding the Hellmouth. The current Slayer is here as well."

Jack paled,

"You brought a Slayer to a military operation?"

Buffy nodded,

"I also brought a four hundred year old boy scout and Methos, not to mention my friends from the Hellmouth, including my watcher. What are you going to do about it, Ramesses?"

Daniel stared at Jack and asked,

"Ramesses?"

Jack groaned,

"Now you've done it, Sekhmet."

Buffy rolled her eyes,

"You hadn't told them?"

Jack grimaced,

"I had only just told them that I was immortal. I don't suppose you went around giving out your identity either."

Buffy scowled,

"That's not important. Aren't you going to introduce me to your friends?"

Jack rolled his eyes,

"Aren't you going to introduce me to yours?"

Buffy sighed,

"If you insist, you insufferable bastard. You already know, Methos, but your friends don’t, so he's the cocky bastard behind me. English is Giles, my Watcher. Brunette in leather is just as deadly as she looks, that's the Slayer, Faith. The short kid with red hair is Oz, our resident werewolf, and the shy looking red-head next to him is Willow, our favourite witch and resident genius. The two humans with dark hair are Xander and Cordelia, they help me out with slaying. And that's…"

"Angelus." Jack hissed,

Angel closed his eyes sadly and nodded. Jack made towards the vampire with his sword drawn, but Buffy stepped across his path with her own sword drawn.

"That's enough, Ramesses."

Jack growled,

"He's a murdering monster."

Angel flinched and Buffy glared at Jack,

"You're not exactly innocent yourself. Or do I have to remind you of what you did in Babylon, Sennacherib?"

Jack flinched,

"You're no saint, yourself, Sekhmet. Anyway, Babylon was a long time ago and it was a different world."

Buffy continued glaring at him,

"You still had your soul then. That makes what you and I did much worse than anything Angel ever did under the influence of the demon Angelus."

Jack frowned,

"I don't understand how you can defend this demon."

Buffy sighed,

"The same way I can live with myself when I think of what I did as a host. It wasn't me doing those things, it was the symbiote inside me. And Angel is no more responsible for the actions of the demon Angelus than I am for those of the Goa'uld who took control of my body."

Jack frowned,

"You keep talking about Angelus as Angel, what's the difference?"

Buffy smiled sadly,

"Angelus was cursed with his soul about one hundred years ago. He is unique, a vampire with a soul, and he's a good man. And he's called Angel now."

Jack looked closely at her,

"You're in love with him."

It was not a question, but Buffy answered anyway,

"Yes, I am. With all that remains of my heart and soul."

Jack sighed,

“You never exactly advocated falling in love, Sekhmet.”

Buffy flinched slightly,

“It was a long time ago, Jack.”

Willow frowned,

“You two were together?”

Buffy nodded,

“A few millennia ago.”

Giles stared at her,

“Exactly how old are you, Buffy?”

Buffy flinched,

“I can’t tell you exactly, because I don’t know, but probably somewhere around twelve thousand.”

Daniel gaped,

“Twelve thousand years old?”

Even MacLeod looked shocked at her calm stating of her age. He had thought that Methos was the oldest immortal and even when he had discovered that this woman was older he had not imagined how much older she was. Buffy sighed,

“Twelve or twelve thousand. It’s all the same. People are born, they use up oxygen and then they die. Regimes rise and fall and nothing is sacred. Depressing but true. All that happens in history is humanity endlessly proving itself to be utterly flawed. Treaties are broken before the ink even dries and a man who is one day your enemy will most likely be your friend the next.”

Daniel frowned,

“But you must have seen so much, so many great achievements.”

Buffy rolled her eyes,

“The greatest thing that humanity ever did was to throw Ra off the planet. Their skills have gone steadily downhill from there.”

Daniel scowled,

“Surely you can’t mean to say that?”

Buffy sighed,

“I don’t know you Dr Jackson. But let me tell you that the history of human-kind has been one long list of massacres and atrocities.”

Daniel looked like he wanted to say something more, but Jack interrupted him,

“She’s right, Space Monkey. Don’t attribute some high value to the history of this world, all it teaches us is that humans are utterly flawed.”

Daniel frowned, but subsided back into his chair. Buffy turned to General Hammond,

“You’re the guy in charge here?”

Hammond nodded,

“Yes, I’m General George Hammond. I’m the commanding officer at Stargate Command.”

Buffy smirked,

“I don’t suppose you’re looking for any new recruits?”

Jack groaned,

“She said it, she just had to say it.”

TBC.

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