Actions

Work Header

Second Chances

Chapter Text

Giles looked around the wreckage of the Magic Box.

"I-is everyone all right?"

Willow finally got her knees to stop shaking and answered from the doorway where she and Anya were huddled, "Yes, we're fine."

"Okay, I'm just going on record saying that I really hate earthquakes." Anya was very pale. She'd experienced little shocks since being stuck in Sunnydale but never a major earthquake.

Buffy patted Dawn on the shoulder, "You okay, Dawnie?"

Dawn nodded, "Yeah and I'm gonna have to agree with Anya on this one. Earthquakes suck."

The electricity was out and Giles carefully made his way to the door to look down the block. Bloody hell, it looked like it was out up and down the whole block. He didn't even want to think about going home and seeing what his apartment looked like.

"I should probably patrol. With the earthquake, people might be wandering the streets, which I'm sure the vampires will be taking advantage of."

The Magic Box exploded into sudden brightness.

"Generator's working, Giles." Xander called from the basement.

Spike made his way over fallen debris to the front of the Magic Box and sighed in relief when he saw through the window that Buffy and the Bit were fine. Putting on a mask of indifference he opened the door.

"Thought you might need a hand patrolling, Slayer. Vampires are out looking for easy meals all over Sunnydale."

Buffy grabbed her stake and turned to Dawn, "Stay with Willow. I don't want you home alone tonight."

"I can take care of myself, Buffy. I'm not a kid."

Buffy sighed, she seemed to always say the wrong thing to Dawn any more. "I know you can, Dawn. Just . . .I don't want to worry about you too."

Willow walked over to Dawn and put her arm around her. "Come on, Dawn I could use some help cleaning up the Newt eyes."

"My life is weird." Dawn mumbled as she followed Willow.

"Join the club." Willow looked back over her shoulder at Buffy and winked.

Thank god for Willow, Buffy thought. She seemed to be bridging the ever-widening gap between herself and Dawn.

"Ready, Spike?"

Buffy turned to Spike as they left the Magic Box. "Nothing like a natural disaster to bring out the vamps."

"Yeah, sometimes we like the easy pickings. I always preferred the hunt though."

 

At the end of patrolling, Buffy turned to head back to the Magic Box when she tripped over the uneven ground.

Spike smiled and shook his head, "Another example of Slayer reflexes?"

Buffy smiled wryly up at Spike, "Shut up, Spike." She looked down to see what caused her to trip. There was a deep drop off where the earthquake had split the park.

"Do you still have your lighter?"

Spike felt in his duster pockets, "Never leave home without it." He walked up behind where Buffy was crouching. "Find something?"

Spike held the lighter higher so she could see down the small opening.

There was something sticking out of the dirt but Buffy couldn't quite make out what it was.

"Bring your light a little lower, Spike. I can't quite see what it is."

"Let me look."

Spike flicked off the lighter and crouched down beside Buffy. "Looks like ancient writing or something carved into it. I think it's circular but I can't tell."

"Sounds like a Giles thing to me. He can come look at it in the morning. God, I hope it's nothing Hellmouthy."

 

The next day, Buffy sat back on the grass and watched as Willow and Giles carefully dug around the artifact. She might as well catch a few rays while she was here. Not like she could be any help. She had started to dig the dirt away but Giles had started lecturing her on being very careful and that you had to delicately brush the dirt away or you may damage it. She started tuning him out after a few minutes and let Willow take over.

Willow turned to Giles, "The Anthropology Department probably has better equipment and definitely volunteer students that would love to help. Even if it's a demon language they won't know it and I don't sense any magical qualities to it." Willow paused to ease her aching back, "They could dig it up and you being the resident expert on all things ancient here they'd call you in to look at it anyway."

Giles turned to look at Willow and noticed the exhaustion on her face. She's right. There were better ways to uncover an artifact and he didn't recognize the symbols they had uncovered. He and Willow could try to research what they knew so far and let the students unearth the rest.

"Buffy! Do you have a piece of paper and pencil?"

Buffy's eyes popped open at Giles shouted the question. She had just been drifting into a nice nap in the sunshine and now she had to work. Crap. Buffy rummaged around in her backpack and pulled out her notebook. She dug further for a pencil and brought them both to Giles.

"Whatcha doing?"

"Willow had an excellent idea to use the Anthropology department to uncover this while we research what we have so far. I'm just going to make some rubbing of these symbols and see if we can find anything on them."

"Go Willow! Good job. Give the grunt work to someone else. We can stop by on our way to class to let the Head of the Department know we found something in the park that they might be interested in."

Giles was barely listening to Buffy as he carefully made a rubbing of the symbols. He had never seen anything like it. They weren't hieroglyphs of any kind that he knew of. There were so many demon languages he could look through but where to start? He looked over at Willow, "Do you think you could scan these into the computer and send them to Angel and Wesley to see if they've seen anything like it?"

Willow smiled at Giles, "Look at you, all computer knowledge guy."

Buffy reached over and gave Willow a pat on the shoulder and wiped a mock tear from her eye, "Your baby bird has finally left the nest and knew a computer term all on his own. He's all grown up now, you must be so proud."

Giles gave them a droll look, "Yes, yes very funny. Just for that I'll have a large stack of books for you to look through when you come by this afternoon. I doubt the computer will be of any use to find these symbols."

"Maybe not,” Willow agreed, “but I can do a search to see if there is any prophecy, myth, whatever about a large circular object with symbols carved in it."

"Yay can't wait." Buffy mumbled as she picked up her backpack and followed Willow. "Ya think I can volunteer to dig up whatever this is? Cause I'm thinking we should probably have someone on the inside knowing what's going on."

Willow smiled as she hooked her arm through Buffy's, "You just don't want to spend hours researching."

"Goes without saying."

Chapter Text

Buffy hadn’t realized how long it would take to unearth the artifact. It was a lot bigger than they thought. Giles had finally gotten the call from the Anthropology Department that they’d been waiting for.

"Good lord", Giles breathed at his first sight of the artifact that was found at the park.

"I haven't seen anything like this have you?" Dr. Renald asked Giles.

"N-no, I haven't." Giles walked around the excavation site looking at the massive circular object. They hadn't been able to find any of the symbols in their research.

Only Willow had found a vague reference to gods coming through a gate in ancient days. It was supposedly even before the demons roamed this reality.

"It almost looks like Egyptian Hieroglyphs but not quite. See this carving here." The Dean pointed out with his gloved hand. "It kind of looks like the symbol in the Mayan glyphs but this here is different. The symbol never had this part. It's just a little off from the symbols that I recognize. I thought maybe it was the same symbols just the carver took liberties but they didn't make sense when I tried that."

Giles was thinking that it more closely resembled the demon language of Amtuth. They were the oldest known demons to have come to this reality. Unfortunately their language was lost to time. Just a few scattered examples existed. He had been lucky enough to see it because his great grandmother had one of the known examples from when she was a watcher. He'd look at his example when he got back to his apartment.

"May I?" Giles asked Dr. Renald as he indicated his paper and pencil.

"Of course. The students have already done rubbings on this side. I brought copies along for you. If you'd like when they complete the other side I could give you copies of those or if you don't want to wait you are welcome to make your own rubbings."

"That would be great. I'll just make a few rubbings to research until I receive your copies." Giles smiled as we walked around the massive circle. "Do you think it stood upright originally?"

Dr. Renald bent down to show Giles scrapings in a protected plastic bag. "We aren't sure but I think this would indicate that it indeed stood upright. Also I took a small scraping and sent it to a lab in LA. The results are inconclusive. It isn't made up of any known material that they compared it to. They are sending it to a larger and better equipped lab for further studies.

Giles once again wondered if this circle somehow was connected to demons.

Giles pointed to some triangular shapes that were interspersed along the outer circle. "Have you any theories as to what these are for?" Giles bent down and ran his gloved hand over it.

"I haven't really paid any attention to those. I was more interested in the carved symbols on the inner circle." Dr. Renald admitted. "Do you know what they are?"

Giles felt all around it. "It seems there is a mechanism of some kind. It probably lets the triangles move up and down. But for what purpose I don't know. Something to think about though."

"Do you think it would actually work after all this time? We can't date it of course as there is no carbon but from what I can tell it is easily eons old. Maybe older than the pyramids."

"Possibly, quite possibly. As for it working, I think it highly probable that if someone can work out how it works the mechanics look operational."

"Dean Renald! Larry found something. It looks like it has some of the same carvings. It's broken though." Shelly yelled from outside the excavation grid.

Dr. Renald indicated for Giles to follow him as he carefully made his way over to where Shelly and Larry were waiting instructions. "See, it’s broken here." Shelly leaned down to show the Dean.

It was still half buried in the earth but what was visible had symbols and they were plainly displayed. Giles pulled out one of the rubbings that he had just finished and compared it.

"It looks like the outer circle and the inner circle both have the same type carvings as what is on here. Which means they must be connected in some way. Maybe this is like the Rosetta Stone. Once you figure out one of these symbols this translates what is on the other." Dr. Renald mumbled as he ran his hands over it.

Giles watched as Dr. Renald, Shelly and Larry carefully dug around the new discovery slowly revealing the rest of it.

Dr. Renard turns to Giles, "Would you mind lending a hand? Let's see if we can stand this up."

Giles went into the excavated area and grabbed a side. Buffy and Willow arrived to see them struggling with the weight of the artifact. Buffy rolled her eyes and whispered to Willow, "Amateurs."

Buffy moved to stand near Giles. "Need help?"

Giles smiled over at Buffy, "Yes. Thank you, Buffy."

Before she could grab the side Larry handed her some latex gloves. "So the oil from your hand won't damage it."

Shelly looked around Larry at Buffy, "Or if this thing has microscopic organisms you don't really want it getting under your skin."

"Eww." Buffy slipped on the gloves and grabbed the empty area by Giles. With her Slayer strength the device was easily set upright.

"What is it?" Willow asked as she made her way to the broken pedestal and circular object on it. "Hi, Dr. Renard."

"Miss Rosenberg, did you come to see what it was that you found? I believe you've surpassed your extra credit points with this discovery."

Willow looked sheepishly over at Giles and Buffy. They had decided to have Willow let the head of the Department know about the find since she was taking an Anthropology class and knew the Dean.

"Oh sure I find it but Willow gets the extra credit." Buffy teased Willow. "You know you can make it up to me by helping me with that Psych paper." Buffy gave Willow puppy dog eyes and a pout.

"I was gonna help you any way, Buff."

"You mean I ruined a good guilt ticket on something that you were already gonna do?"

"'Fraid so."

Buffy hooked her arm through Willow's. "So, what is it that WILLOW found?"

"We still don't know. But Larry found this which seems to connect with the other artifact that Willow found."

Willow leaned down and grabbed a pair of gloves. "May I?" She asked the Dean before touching the two circles.

Dr. Renald nodded and watched curiously as Willow traced the symbols. Willow furrowed her brow and tried to move the circles. "Huh. They don't move. I thought it might be a calendar."

"A calendar?"

"Yeah, like the Mayan calendar. These were like constellations in the sky and when you moved them to correspond with the night sky it would be your calendar."

Chapter Text

General Hammond waited until SG-1 was settled before beginning the briefing.

"Sam's computer program has found another gate using symbols from the Abydos cartouche. Planet P3R-473." Hammond hit the keyboard and the monitor displayed the characters.

Teal'c sat up and leaned in a little closer. That was the symbol of one of the planets that were forbidden to the Goa'uld.

"I have seen that symbol before."

Jack, Sam, Daniel and the General turned to look at Teal'c.

"It is a symbol of the world called Niurin. All Jaffa are taught the secrets of Stargate symbols to that world. It was forbidden for Goa'ulds to go there. A great battle occurred there in the time of the Ancients."

"So what you're saying is the Ancients fought the Goa'uld there, the Goa'uld got their asses kicked and then to ensure it didn't happen again, forbade any to ever return."

Teal'c just raised his eyebrow at Jack and turned back to the General.

Daniel's mind raced with the possibilities, "This could be another colony of the Ancients like P4X-639."

"Agreed, which is why we'll be sending a probe through while you're with Dr. Frasier. Be ready to leave in two hours."

The probe had returned and the air was breathable, the pictures from it, showed what looked like a park area so SG-1 was cleared to leave.

"Come on, Danny let's go." Jack called from the corridor to Daniel's room.

"Be there in a minute." Daniel was rummaging around grabbing his notes from P4X-639. He wanted to be able to compare any carvings that might be found on this new planet to what was found there. He had been working on trying to figure out a translation of the Ancient's language but so far it had eluded him.

"Let's go, Jackson." Jack called impatiently.

Daniel grabbed the papers and shoved them in his backpack. "Coming!"

They're all assembled in the gate room while General Hammond in the observation room nodded over at the airman.

"Chevron One encoded."

Jack watched as yet another lock engaged. It was getting to be so been there done that. Maybe after this mission he'd take a few days off and go fishing. He brightened a little at that prospect before turning to look at Hammond one last time before going through the gate.

General Hammond caught Jack's eye and nodded to signal the beginning of the mission. Just as the last of SG-1 entered the gate the red phone beside him rang, "Yes, Mr. President."

"Behind you!" Buffy yelled at Willow as she saw the vamp that had approached Willow from behind.

Willow immediately turned and fired. She smiled faintly as she watched the vamp turn to dust. She didn't have time to enjoy the feeling as she saw another vampire closing in on her.

Giles looked over his shoulder to see how the others were doing. They had seriously miscalculated how many vampires were in this lair. He turned back around just in time to avoid a hit from a vampire.

Spike grinned as he twisted the head of another vampire. He turned his head left and right looking for another victim. Damn, Xapper staked the last one.

Xander sputtered as he wiped vamp dust from his face. "Okay, I need to start brining those pop up wipes on patrol."

Willow grinned and pulled a pop up wipe from her back pocket, "I bought some after the last time I went on patrol with Buffy."

Xander grinned over at Willow as he wiped his face.

Buffy turned to Spike as they left the lair and headed back to Casa Summers, "Where did all those vamps come from? When we were here before there was only twenty."

"Dunno. Haven't heard of anything unusual happening."

"Great! Research time."

Three sets of eyes glared over at Willow.

"What?! Can I help it if I like to research?"

The gang took the shortcut through the park where the artifact had been lifted to its upright position.

Willow stopped to look at it, "Still haven't figured out what those symbols mean yet, Giles?"

"Unfortunately no. They are so close to the Amtuth demon writings that I have but there is no known translation of their language."

A large noise erupted from the circle and the inner ring began to turn.

They all stood in shock as first one and then another of the triangles lit and moved.

"Ummmm. Is it supposed to be doing that?" Xander asked as he looked nervously from Giles to the circle and then back to Giles. "Please tell me this isn't some portal through which another Big Bad will emerge from some hell dimension."

Willow frantically searched through her known spells for anything that she could use in case some big demonic evil did come through.

Giles was both fascinated and nervous as to what this might mean. Maybe the ancient Amtuth were returning.

Spike and Buffy both dropped into fighting stance. Spike raised a crossbow and prepared to fire at whatever came through. It might not kill it but it would definitely injure it.

There was a collective gasp as whirling water began to appear and then tornado out toward them. Giles grabbed Willow as he threw himself to the ground and covered her. Xander dropped to his knees to avoid the whirling water. Buffy and Spike both dove in opposite directions, rolled and then got to their knees before aiming their crossbows back at the retreating water.

"What the hell was that?!"

Giles helped Willow stand and then turned to the others, "Everyone all right?"

"Oh yeah, just peachy." Xander rolled his eyes as he came to stand next to Willow.

There was a ripple in the water and then first one, then two, and then two more figures emerged quickly following the others.

Teal'c activated his staff weapon and pointed it at the strangers with weapons aimed at them.

Jack pulled his zat weapon out and aimed.

Samantha followed Jack's example and pulled her zat out.

Daniel held up his hands and moved in front of Jack.

"Daniel." Jack said through gritted teeth.

Daniel turned to narrow his eyes at Jack before turning back around. "We mean you no harm."

"Says the man wearing fatigues with three people standing behind him pointing weapons." Xander rolled his eyes before turning to look at Giles. "Well I'm guessing they're not hell gods."

Jack powered down his zat and moved closer to Xander. "Did you say hell gods? Are there hell gods here?" He turned back to Teal'c. "I thought you said the Goa'uld abandoned this place."

Chapter Text

"What's a Goa'uld? Is that a demon?" Xander looked over at Giles.

Jack's lips twitched, "You could say that."

"I don't believe I've heard of a Goa'uld." Giles furrowed his brow in concentration.

Spike lowered the crossbow but warily watched the strangers. There was no WAY he was going to be another experiment for the military like the Initiative.

"We're travelers."

"Uh huh. You know as fascinating as that is and everything . . . how 'bout you tell us what the hell just happened and why you came through that circular thingy." Buffy narrowed her eyes and came to stand next to Giles.

"The Chaapa'ai."

"Bless you."

"No. The circular thing is the Chaapa'ai. Or Stargate."

"Stargate?"

"It allows people to travel to other worlds."

"Crap it is a dimension portal thing." Buffy mumbled.

"We are the Tau'ri." Daniel kneeled down and drew the symbol for Earth on the ground.

Giles leaned down to get a closer look. "That's one of the symbols on the artifact. Are there Amtuth where you come from?"

Teal'c stiffened. The Amtuth were spoken of in hushed tones on Chu'lak.

"Amtuth?" Daniel had not heard of them before. He turned to look at Jack who just shrugged.

"Y-yes. The symbols there and over on that pedestal closely resemble the ancient language of the Amtuth."

"Okay as fascinating as this is . . .not. We don't have a lot of time and we need to talk to whoever is in charge of this Niurin planet?" Jack interjected before Daniel could go into geek mode.

Xander started laughing, "Did he just say Niurin planet?" Xander turned back to Jack, "No clue as to what a Niurin is but I think you may be a little confused. You're on Earth. More specific Sunnydale, California."

Jack turned to Sam, "Carter? Care to explain how we could be on Earth?"

"Impossible, Sir. The Stargates can only travel between planets."

"Yet, we seem to be on Earth." Jack pulled out his cell phone but growled in frustration when it wouldn't work.

"Here." Willow handed him her phone. "You can use mine."

"Thanks." Jack dialed the General's number. "What?!" Jack angrily turned off the phone and dialed again. "Damn it."

"What's wrong, Jack?"

"If you'll excuse us for a minute?" Jack indicated the others should follow him away from the curious onlookers.

"I'm going to dial the General's number. Listen." Jack dialed the number for the General.

"I'm sorry, you have dialed incorrectly. There is no such number. Please try again."

"Maybe his phone is not working."

"That's what I thought so I tried calling my house." Jack dialed his house.

"I'm sorry, you have dialed incorrectly. There is no such number. Please try again."

Daniel reached for the phone and dialed directory assistance. "Yes, I'd like to have the telephone number of a Daniel Jackson in Creek Mountain, Colorado." There was a pause, "Are you certain? Yes, of course sorry."

"Let me guess no such listing."

"Not only not listed but apparently there is no such place as Creek Mountain, Colorado."

"Okay what the hell is going on?"

"I have heard of this Amtuth that they speak of. They are as old as the Ancients and as feared."

"Well, they get my vote if they can make the Goa'uld and Jaffa afraid."

"I don't understand it, Sir." Carter wrinkled her brow in concentration. "It is theoretically impossible to jump from the Stargate in Colorado to another Stargate on Earth."

"Do you think it's another reality like that kid said?"

"I don’t believe so, Sir. The Stargate uses space time to create a wormhole that allows us to travel across great distances. It shouldn’t take you to an alternate reality." Sam said, "However the theory for alternate realities is that there are an infinite number of alternate realities. Some are very different, and some are almost identical. So . . . why couldn't some of the planets on the Stargate system develop the same way?"

"You mean a planet similar to our Earth?"

"Exactly. It would explain how we can't get a hold of General Hammond at Stargate Command and why there is no Creek Mountain."

"But why would they call this planet Earth? What are the odds in that?"

"I don't know, Sir but it's the only explanation I have."

"Right, okay." Jack turned to Teal'c. "You say these Amtuth things are the Jaffa version of the boogey man?"

"I am not familiar with that term, Colonel O'Neill. But the Amtuth are feared, yes."

"All right. I say we find out what we can about these Amtuth guys. Carter you and Daniel figure out what the hell is going on."

While SG-1 were meeting off to the side the Scoobies were holding their own meeting.

"Do you think they're demons or just insane?" Xander asked. "Planet Niurin."

"Well, actually Xander, Niurin in an ancient Celtic word meaning Hell. It very well could describe what this planet was like when the demons were taking it over."

"Giles, I don't know about the other three but the tall African American with the Gold emblem on his forehead is making my Slayer sense all a tingling."

"Demon?"

"I don't know just not human."

"I know. Let's have Spike hit them to see if his chip goes off."

"Sod off, moron. I'm not getting a headache just to prove if they’re human or not."

Willow stiffened when she saw they were returning. She smiled brightly at them when they returned. "Hey. Did you get whoever you were trying to reach on the phone?"

Jack handed her back the phone, "No, but thanks. Listen, we didn't introduce ourselves earlier. I'm Jack O'Neill, this is Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson and Teal'c."

"I'm Rupert Giles, this is Buffy Summers, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg. Over there is Spike. So you come from this Tau'ri world?"

Before Daniel could answer, Jack interrupted, "Yes. We're from Tau'ri. So Amtuth? Have a lot of information on them cause they just fascinate me."

"Umm, no. I'm afraid very little survived."

Willow beamed, "But Giles has some of their writing. It's very similar to the these carvings."

"Really? I'd love to see it."

Daniel looked at Jack incredulously and Jack easily ignored him.

Spike and Buffy stiffened and looked around the park. "We have visitors."

Buffy threw a couple of stakes at Willow and Xander. Giles raised his crossbow as did Spike.

Jack and the others raised their weapons when the others did. He hadn’t sensed or heard anything.

Buffy just looked at their visitors. "Stay out of the way and try not to get too close."

Buffy and Spike ran toward where the vampires were just emerging from the shadows.

Willow tossed a cross at Daniel, "Here. If they get too close use that."

Jack looked down at the cross and over to where the fighting was taking place. He looked over at Teal’c. “Teal’c.”

Teal'c fired his staff weapon.

The vamp that had been approaching Willow stopped, twitched and fell to the ground as Teal'c's staff weapon found its target. Willow wasted no time and staked the twitching vampire. She had seen a white light streak by her just before the vampire fell. She looked over her shoulder at the direction that it came and saw that Jack, Samantha and Teal'c were running towards them firing their odd weapons.

Jack stopped as the last of the vampires were staked. "Okay what just happened here?"

Xander patted Jack's shoulder and in a bored voice, "Yes, Jack vampires and demons are real. Welcome to our world."

Chapter Text

Giles rubbed the bridge of his nose as he felt a headache coming on from the information the strangers had given them.

"So, if I understand you correctly, the gods of ancient Egypt are really these Goa'uld beings? They came to enslave but there was a revolt and they left leaving behind a Stargate system that beings known as the Ancients built?"

Jack nodded, "Yep that's pretty much it in a nutshell. At least that's what happened on our Earth."

"Yes, right YOUR Earth." Xander rolled his eyes, "See that's where I'm having a problem. I could believe another dimension or reality but another planet also called Earth? Come on, what are the odds?"

"Well actually, Xander it's theorized that there are an infinite number of alternate realties some developing similarly so it could happen that two planets could develop the same way though slightly different."

"Exactly!" Sam smiled at the red head.

"SLIGHTLY different?" Jack asked, "You call vampires being a reality slightly different?"

Willow nodded, "Your Goa'uld take over a host right? Demons take over the human host to make a vampire. Both seem determined to wipe out the humans, vampires for food and fun. Goa'uld for slavery and hosts. Yep pretty similar to me."

Buffy kept glancing over at Teal'c who was returning her glances with an expressionless look.

"Is there something about me that bothers you, Buffy Summers?"

Buffy looked over at Giles who nodded slightly before she answered. "Well, actually there is. Living among demons kind of gives you a sixth sense when something unusual is around." She looked at Teal'c to gauge his reaction but he just sat impassively waiting for her to continue. Man, she wouldn't want to play poker with this guy.

Jack was watching the interaction between Buffy and Teal'c with interest. If she could tell he had a larva inside of him maybe the others of this planet could as well. Maybe they had some of the Ancients, Asgard or Nox DNA in them that allowed them to detect Goa'uld. Or maybe the missing race of Furlings had something to do with the development of this planet.

Buffy contemplated how to continue, "Um, I get a different feeling when I'm around you than with the others. Are you from the same place they are?"

"You are correct that I am not like the Tauri. I am a Jaffa."

Giles, Xander, Buffy and Willow each looked confused.

"Uh huh, okay. What's a Jaffa?"

"We are warriors that serve the Goa'uld."

"WHAT?!" Xander jumped to his feet.

Daniel held up his hand. "Teal'c fights against the Goa'uld now. He has for a few years."

"Just like Spike." Willow mumbled.

"I'm sorry. Did you say just like Spike?" Jack turned to Willow.

Willow turned wide eyes to Spike and Giles.

Buffy interrupted hoping to deflect away from Willow, "So Jaffa are warriors, that doesn't explain why I feel different around you."

"The Jaffa are bred to carry the larva of the Goa'uld."

Xander and Buffy made an eww face.

"So you have one of those snake things inside you?" Xander asked Teal'c.

"Indeed."

Jack wasn't to be deterred. "You said Spike is like Teal'c."

"I-in that he fights with us now."

"And before he fought for..."

"Oh bloody hell, I'm a vampire."

"You don't look like how the others in the park did." Daniel noted.

"They were in what we call game face." Giles explained. "Vampires look like humans until they let their demon's face come forth."

Daniel and Sam both looked at Spike with interest.

"So why did you 'switch sides'? No longer interested in killing humans?"

Spike growled and narrowed his eyes at Jack.

Willow placed a hand on Spike's arm and turned to Jack, "Spike's a little sensitive about that. Um, he was kinda forced to at the beginning but now he helps us 'cause he wants to."

Before Spike could protest Willow's words Jack had turned back to Buffy, "So you can sense Teal'c's larva?"

Buffy shrugged, "Don't know what I sense just that he's different."

"Do you all sense the same thing?"

The Scoobies looked to Giles to answer that question, leaving it up to him how much he wanted to reveal.

Giles made his decision and hoped he didn't regret it, "Buffy is what is known as 'The Slayer'. There is one born in every generation that is born with the ability to fight demons and vampires."

Jack looked at her speculatively, it seemed that only a chosen few were able to detect those that were 'different'.

Sam seemed fascinated by this, "Are all the chosen female?"

"Yes, the Slayer has always been a female."

"And those that are born to each generation . . .is it only here in Sunnydale or does each country have a Slayer?" Jack had visions of an army of girls all over the world that could detect the Goa'uld.

"T-the girls are born all over the world but only one is called." At the other's confused looks Giles clarified, "A Slayer can be from anywhere on Earth but only one is called."

"When Buffy died, Kendra was called and she was from the Caribbean." Willow volunteered.

All eyes swiveled to Buffy.

"You died?" Jack asked incredulously.

"Only for a minute." Buffy muttered. "I drowned in high school but Xander revived me."

Xander nodded, "Yep, just in time to avert the apocalypse too."

"Apocalypse?" Daniel asked him. "You averted an apocalypse?"

"Apocalypses or is that Apocalyspi, Giles?" Buffy asked and then turned back to the others, "Anyway, I'd say at least four or five. Stopped counting after awhile."

"So, if Buffy is the Slayer and Spike is the reformed vampire..."

"HEY!"

Jack ignored Spike's outburst, "Do the rest of you have special talents?"

Maybe they used other means in which to detect the larva that he could tell General Hammond about.

Visions of the Initiative floated through everyone's mind at Jack's question.

Willow shook her head no at them, "Nope, nothing special here. Just regular humans doing our part cause you know once you learn about vampires and things that go bump in the night it's kind of hard to ignore after that."

Daniel smiled in understanding at Willow. He remembered when Catherine approached him about the Stargate, then learning about the Goa'uld, Shar'e and Skaara kidnapped and changed. "You're right, it's hard to ignore it once you learn of the existence of demons."

Chapter Text

Jack's eyes were beginning to glaze over. They had gone from questions and answers to researching the Amtuth and this planet. God he had never been so bored. This is what he had Carter and Daniel for . . . researching and geekfest. Now he wished he HAD gone with Buffy and Spike when they left for patrolling. They had the right idea. Get out while the getting was good.

His eyes roamed over to where Sam and Willow were gesturing in their excitement in discussing the latest theory of how two planets could have evolved similarly. Like anyone gave a crap. Just accept that they did and move one. Who cared why?

Sam had gone on about how whoever colonized this world probably had taken some poor schlubs from all around Earth and transported them here many millennia ago. Instead of just one from one culture which is how the other planets were inhabited. They took Vikings, Egyptians, Asians, Native Americans, etc. They thought the appearance of demons coming here from another dimension of this planet had been the reason for the divergence. There but for the grace of god. He had lost interest after about the first fifteen minutes of the discussion.

Jack stood and walked around to work the kinks out of his knees. He noticed that Daniel and Rupert had their heads close together discussing the language of the Amtuths. Jack had looked it over hoping to recognize something subconsciously that may have stuck in his brain since the Asgard took the knowledge of the Ancients out of his head. But nada, Jack hadn't recognized anything.

Rupert had theorized that the Amtuths might have been a relative of the Ancients or possibly the Furlings since there were no known records of the Furlings. Daniel had recognized some of the symbols in the Amtuth text that Giles showed him as some of the symbols that Ernest Littlefield discovered. At least Jack thought that's what Daniel had discovered, it was kind of hard to tell with all the excited babbling.

The sound of the doors to the Magic Box bursting open caused Jack to spin and raise his gun in one fluid motion.

"Whoa! Hey! It's just me." Buffy skidded to a stop with her hands in the air when she saw that Jack had his gun raised.

"We've got trouble, Giles."

Sam, Daniel and Teal'c all stood at attention at Buffy's announcement.

Willow tensed. If Buffy thought there was trouble something big had to be happening.

Giles turned to look at Jack, "I thought you said the Stargate was safe."

Before Jack could answer Buffy interrupted, "No, demons coming and lots of them."

Rupert immediately went into Watchermode and Willow and Xander started toward the back of the store to get weapons.

"How many?"

"I'm not sure maybe twenty five or thirty. But Giles they're like a motorcycle gang. Not your let's open the Hellmouth and destroy the world type of demon."

Giles looked confused while Willow and Xander tensed.

An explosion and screams stopped Giles from asking questions as they all ran out into the street.

Demons of every shape, size and color were roaring down the street. They were throwing Molotov cocktails and smashing windows as they rode by.

"Oh my lord." Giles exclaimed as he saw the demons approach.

"I thought they went to isolated places."

"Yeah, well. I'm thinking they changed their minds."

"Where's Spike? Surely he didn't leave you to handle these demons alone?" Giles watched as the demons got closer.

"He's with Dawn."

"Teal'c, you're with me." Jack said as he reached for his zat weapon.

Teal'c fired up the staff weapon while Carter and Daniel powered up their zat guns. From what Willow told them about the demons and vampires on this world, guns sometimes didn't work but Jack figured Goa'uld technology would.

As soon as the demon noticed the humans aiming strange weapons at him he veered the motorcycle to run them down. Teal'c's weapon powered up and he fired as an oncoming demon riding a motorcycle got closer.

The bolt from the weapon caused the motorcycle to flip and the demon to scream in pain as his arm disintegrated.

"Well that's never happened." Jack said with a slight quirk of his lips, which quickly disappeared when the demon's arm grew back.

Sam fired her zat at the demon, which only stunned it, she fired again and smiled as it twitched and fell.

She turned to Willow, "One blast stuns, two kills and with three they disappear."

"Um, you might want to try again." Xander said as he pointed at the demon getting back up.

"Why don't you people stay dead?" Jack asked as he hit the demon with the third blast and watched as it disappeared.

"You know, I think that a lot." Xander grinned over at Jack.

Buffy looked from where the demon had been and then back to Jack's zat gun and then over to Giles, "Think we can get one of those?"

More motorcycle riding demons were bearing down on them as the others continued to fire their weapons. One of the demons took a sip of beer and held up a lighter. With a smirk he spit into the fire he created that caused a large flame aimed right at Sam. She ducked behind a car as the flame flew toward her.

Giles swung an axe as one of the demons rode by, decapitating it.

"Sweet." Jack said as he saw Giles strike his blow before he turned back to fire at yet another demon.

Teal'c watched as Buffy attacked a demon that had fallen off his motorcycle. He was most impressed with her fighting skills.

"You have taught her well, Rupert Giles." Teal'c said as Rupert came to stand next to him.

Giles smiled, "I'm afraid that ability is inborn to the Slayer."

As Daniel fired his weapon he caught glimpses of Willow and Xander fighting demons. Those two intrigued him more than the Slayer, though the Slayer mythology was fascinating. He watched as two 'normal' people held their own against demons stronger than them with weapons that really weren't that advanced. Willow fired crossbow bolts and she seemed to be mumbling under her breath though he couldn't hear what she was saying. Xander was deftly swinging a sword and though not killing many demons he was creating a lot of damage.

With their numbers dwindling the demons began to retreat. Giles turned to Buffy, "You say when they were here before Spike said that they normally kept to unprotected areas?"

"Yep, that's what Spike said and since I wasn't here the last time they came, Sunnydale was technically unprotected."

Willow came to quietly stand with the others. Jack noticed she was leaning on Xander. "You all right?"

"Huh? Oh . . .yeah just a little tired. Fighting sometimes leaves me drained. I'll be okay once I rest." She turned to Giles, "Do you think the activation of the Stargate brought the demons here?"

"It's quite possible or it could be that a demon recognized what the gate meant when it was uncovered and when we raised it, word spread. Or it might have nothing to do with the gate just that they decided to change their habits."

"So? Research on the gate?"

Giles nodded while Buffy and Jack tried to suppress a groan.

Chapter Text

Giles and Daniel hadn't found anything yet on the Stargate in Giles' ancient texts. Willow had been searching the Internet ever since the gate was found but had come up with very little. Buffy and Spike had gone to the demon community but the demons weren't talking. Jack glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost time to send a message to Hammond. They weren't finding much here though this planet could become very useful if it was discovered that it was connected to the Ancients or the Furlings past. Hammond had sent messages to the Tok'ra and the Asgard to see what they knew of the Niurin planet. It was decided that if there were no answers from the Asgard or the Tok'ra they were going to return to SGC.

Jack caught Sam's eye and he gestured to his watch and that he was leaving. Willow watched the silent interaction and rose to follow Jack.

"Giles, I'm going with Jack." Willow whispered to Giles as she grabbed her coat and a stake.

Willow walked quickly to catch up with Jack, "You really shouldn't go out alone."

Jack looked over at Willow and gestured to his weapons, "They seem to work pretty well against your demons and vampires."

"Yes they do, but even Buffy usually takes someone with her when she goes patrolling." Willow cocked her head to the side as she looked at Jack, "Isn't it normal military practice to have someone guard your back?"

Jack raised an eyebrow at her, "And what do you know about military practices?"

"Oh Xander was military Special Ops trained in high school." Willow grinned at him.

Jack's eyes widened, "They trained high school kids to be Special Ops? Is that so he can fight demons?"

Willow started giggling, "No. One year someone cast a spell on our Halloween costumes and we became what we were dressed as. It's the ultimate be careful what you wish for. Buffy was an 18th century lady, Xander was Special Ops and I was a ghost."

Jack scowled at Willow, "Magic? Now you're telling me that magic is real?"

Before Willow could answer Jack they had reached the Stargate. "Oh for crying out loud." Jack huffed as he saw the DHD had damage in the demon attack. He knelt down beside it to get a better look.

"Something wrong?"

"You could say that." Jack said as he took the panel off. The DHD podium was damaged but with luck the crystals inside it were still operational. Yes! It didn't look like any of the crystals were damaged.

Jack straightened and dialed home hoping that it worked.

Willow watched fascinated as Jack hit one symbol and then the others in a particular order. As Jack hit a symbol the Stargate began to turn and then the triangles locked in place.

Jack put his hand on Willow's elbow to draw her back as the Stargate activated and the wormhole tornadoed out.

Willow went a short distance away to give Jack privacy to speak to his CO but close enough that she could reach him in case anything attacked.

"Any news from the Tok'ra or Asgards, Sir?" Jack asked as the link with SGC opened.

"Negative, Colonel. Anything to report on your end?"

"Negative, Sir. Daniel and Carter seem to believe that this planet was once colonized by either the Ancients or the Fulings but haven't been able to find any documentation."

"Any reason you shouldn't return to SGC?"

"No, Sir. There are people here who are researching the origins and we wouldn't really be contributing anything. We've been able to confirm that there haven't been any Goa'uld here in over a millennia. It seems they did indeed abandon this place. I'll explain more in my debrief." There was no way he was going to tell Hammond about vampires and demons until he was face to face with him.

Jack motioned for Willow to join him by the DHD. "We're returning but I wanted to show you how this works in case you and the others find something on the origin of your gate."

Willow stood next to Jack and looked at the symbols. Jack pointed out the Niurin symbol. "This is the symbol for your planet, the point of origin. This is the last symbol that you hit. The six symbols are the address to a destination." Jack began to lightly touch the address to Earth. "I'll have Carter write down our address and how to use this."

Willow smiled wryly as she watched Jack touch the symbols, "I thought this was like a calendar and these were constellations."

"They are constellations." He showed her the Orion constellation that had been the breakthrough for Daniel when he figured out the symbols. "This is the constellation Orion."

Willow couldn't wait to tell Giles that she had been close when they had found the gate. Maybe if they cross-referenced star charts with their research they could find something on the builders of the gate. Angel and Wesley were looking for all information on the Amtuths. They hadn't told them yet why Giles and the others needed that information but maybe Angel's connection to the Powers that Be were related.

They hadn't told Jack or the others about the Powers that Be either. Until it was discovered what, if any, connection the Powers had they weren't volunteering any information.

Willow tensed as she felt something watching them. Jack raised his zat as Willow tensed. "What is it?"

Willow cocked her head and listened. "Something's out there."

"Vampire?"

Willow shook her head no. She felt magic, powerful magic. Magic that she wasn't sure she could deflect alone and Jack's weapon would be useless against. She forced herself to relax and turn to Jack.

"Must have been nothing. I don't feel anything anymore."

Jack looked at her curiously. What did she mean she couldn't feel anything anymore? Wasn't Buffy the only one that felt things? Maybe it was just years of living on the Hellmouth. He knew that soldiers could sense danger.

Willow started walking back to the Magic Box. "So how many planets have you been to?" She hoped he would go with the change of subject. Willow thought that Jack was a lot like Buffy. He was smarter and noticed things more than it looked like.

Jack looked at Willow and then mentally shrugged. Unless she could sense a Goa'uld symbiote he really didn't care how or what she sensed. "I think I stopped counting after the first fifty."

Willow's eyes widened as she looked over at Jack, "Fifty?!"

"Give or take. So, you've been doing this since you were fifteen?"

"Yeah, my friend Jesse was killed by a vampire and I've been helping Buffy ever since. It must get frustrating to not be able to tell your family all about your adventures. I know how hard it was on Buffy to have to keep her parents in the dark about what she did." Willow grinned over at him.

Willow's smile faded as she noticed the brief flicker of pain in Jack's face. Crap what had she said? Willow breathed a sigh of relief as she saw they had returned to the shop. When would she learn to quit putting her foot in her mouth?

Jack shook off the memories of Charlie and held open the door for Willow.

Sam looked up as Jack and Willow returned, "Any news, Sir."

"Negative. Hammond hasn't heard anything so it looks like we'll be returning." Jack went to his backpack and pulled out an object. He walked over to Willow and handed it to her. "I showed Willow how the DHD worked but Carter will write down exactly how it works."

Sam nodded and went to retrieve her laptop so she could transfer files over to Willow's computer.

Willow took the small box from Jack, "Umm, what's this for?"

"If you or Rupert find anything about the gate just slip a note in there, dial the gate and toss it through. We'll know it's from you and that you found something." Jack turned to Giles, "We really won't be much help with the research as you know more about what you're looking for."

"He's as good at getting out of research as you are, Buff." Xander joked with Buffy.

Giles held up a sample of Amtuth writings and handed it to Daniel, "For you. So you can compare with the other languages you've found."

Daniel smiled his thanks and began to rummage through his backpack. "Here. This is a sample of writing of the Ancients. Maybe this will help with your research."

Giles smiled his thanks as he took the sample from Daniel.

"Carter, you about finished?"

"Yes, sir. Just finishing the transfer now."

Willow caught Giles' eye and motioned for him to follow her to the back. She brought the box with her on the pretext of putting it away.

"Giles, while I was with Jack I felt a strong magical presence around the gate. I didn't see anyone but I wanted to get him away so I didn't take the time to look around."

"Was it coming from the gate?"

Willow shook her head no. "At first I thought it might be vamps watching us but then I felt the magic."

Giles didn't like to bring him up but felt he should, "Rack?"

"Not sure. Could have been Amy or neither one."

"Right. I'll let Buffy and the others know so they can be on the look out when we go back to the gate."

When Willow and Giles emerged from the back, Teal'c, Daniel, Sam and Jack were ready by the door.

Sam turned to Willow, "I've transferred files that will allow you to fix the DHD if it gets damaged and the address to Earth."

Willow smiled her thanks as she followed them out the door.

Jack watched Willow as they approached the gate. She was watching the area without seeming to be watching the area. Something was definitely up but they weren't talking.

[Guys, I still feel it. Can you feel it Giles?]

[It's very strong and a little familiar.]

Sam indicated for Willow to follow her to the DHD. "Here you try dialing out."

Willow went to stand next to Sam. She looked the symbols over and concentrated on the order in which Jack had earlier touched them. Willow's hand hovered over the first symbol and she looked to Sam for confirmation.

Sam smiled encouragingly at Willow and nodded. Willow touched the first symbol and jumped a little when the gate began to move.

"Score one for Wills." Xander smiled at her.

Giles was torn between watching what Willow was doing and trying to place where he felt the magic before.

Willow grew more confident as the fifth chevron was locked. It wasn't so difficult to do if you knew the correct order. "Does anything happen if I randomly pick symbols but they aren't an address?"

"No, the Stargate only works if it reaches a destination. So if you pick symbols that go nowhere nothing happens."

Willow silently sighed in relief. She had visions of putting in the wrong address and stepping into oblivion. The seventh chevron locked and the wormhole was activated.

"Do you ever get tired of seeing that or going through it?" Willow asked.

Sam smiled at the curiosity Willow couldn't quite hide. "Not yet."

Jack punched the SG1 code and waited until he was sure that the iris on the other side had been deactivated.

"It was an honor to watch you battle, Buffy Summers." Teal'c said before he approached the gate.

Before Buffy could answer there was a noise to the left of the gate.

"Umm, I'm thinking no to Rack or Amy." Willow mumbled as she noticed a tall man wearing robes.

Jack pulled his gun and watched as the figure approached the gate.

An unnatural wind began to blow and an energy field crackled around the figure. Spike lunged but the man waved his arm and sent Spike flying.

Jack fired but the bullets stopped in mid-air before falling harmlessly to the ground. Teal'c powered up his staff weapon and aimed.

The robed man seemed to be focusing on Buffy. Spike recovered and started to attack him from behind.

Willow nervously watched as the man rebuffed Spike again and came closer. The energy around him crackled brighter the closer he got to the gate. She turned to Sam, "Go! We'll take care of this."

Teal'c fired his weapon but the energy around the man absorbed it. Willow saw the man turn his attention away from Buffy and toward Teal'c. Giles began mumbling some incantation that snapped the attention of the robed figure.

Jack motioned for the others to start to go through the gate.

The robed figure raised his hand and Giles rose off the ground. Buffy went on the attack when she saw Giles struggling in the air.

"Giles!" Willow yelled as she lowered her shields like Giles taught her.

Giles suddenly fell to the ground knocking into Buffy as he was released from the spell.

The figure had turned his attention to Willow completely ignoring the Slayer and Giles.

"Uh oh." Willow mumbled as she noticed she finally got the man's attention.

A feral smile crossed the man's features as he released an energy bolt at Willow and toward the gate.

Willow saw movement out of the corner of her eye and yelled, "No! Go through the gate!"

Jack stopped mid lunge when he saw the bolt stop and scatter just in front of Willow. Her hands were palms out and she seemed to be concentrating.

The robed figure narrowed his eyes and unleashed a larger bolt toward Willow. Before Jack could do anything he felt a push behind him. He turned to see Xander.

"Go! You don't need this guy or any demons getting through the gate to your world."

Jack gave a curt nod before turning back to the gate.

Willow waited until the last moment before lowering her barrier and ducked out of the way of the bolt.

Xander watched in horror as the bolt struck the gate at the same time that Jack dove through it.

"Willow!" Buffy yelled as she saw her friend get caught in the backlash of the energy bolt.

Spike growled and grabbed a limb before he speared the robed figure through the back.

The man gave a howl of rage as the limb pierced his back. With a flick of his arm he disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

The smoke finally cleared from the gate and Xander rushed closer as he saw Jack lying unconscious on the ground.

Giles rushed over to Willow who had crumpled when the energy hit her. Buffy knelt down next to Giles, "Is she going to be okay?"

Before Giles could answer Willow's eyes blinked open, "Oh my head. Remind me to not go up against that guy again."

"Speakin' of." Spike said as he stood by Buffy, "What was that thing and how do we kill it?"

"Giles!" Xander yelled. "We have a casualty over here."

Spike and Giles went over to Xander as Buffy helped Willow get to her feet.

"Should we take him to the hospital?"

"If he doesn't come round soon we will but in the mean time let's get him back. They seem like they'd have the same physiology as we do but we can't be too sure and I for one don't relish trying to explain to doctors why this seemingly human has two hearts or something."

Spike huffed as he put Jack over his shoulder. "Always has to use twenty words when five would be just fine."

Willow was leaning heavily on Buffy. "You think we should leave a note or something so Daniel and the others will know what happened?"

Giles shook his head no, "They'll know to come to us when they come back for their friend."

Chapter Text

General Hammond glanced up from Dr. Frasier's report as SG-1 entered the briefing room. His eyes caught Colonel O'Neill's as he sat down. "All clear?"

"Yes, sir." Jack nodded. "Just some minor injuries but nothing serious."

Jack winced as he sat. His knees were the worse for wear but all in all he was lucky to come through with minor injuries.

"What can you tell me about why the Goa'uld abandoned Planet P3R-473?"

Jack shifted uncomfortably in his chair. This was what he'd been dreading. "It seems that the Goa'uld were beaten by demons, sir."

General Hammond looked from Jack to Sam to Daniel to Teal'c. "Come again?"

"I know how this sounds, General. Believe me, if I hadn't seen it I'd think I was nuts."

"Are you telling me that this planet was overrun by demons? Are you sure they aren't another form of Goa'uld?"

"Yes, sir." Sam answered. "These were definitely demons."

Daniel cleared his throat and the General turned his attention to him. "Um, according to their records their world is very old and for eons demons ruled. We believe that whoever colonized that planet put demons there to discourage the Goa'uld. A kind of protection for the planet."

Jack raised his eyes on that tidbit. Where had he been when that was discussed? Probably zoned out while Daniel and Rupert yabbered about their theories.

"Protection? What moron would put demons on a planet to protect it? What about the humans?" Jack asked Daniel incredulously.

Daniel looked over at Jack when he had interrupted him. "Yes, well it is kind of extreme but it seemed effective. According to myth,s the humans came after most of the demons had already left. I believe some of those demons may have been the Goa'uld since Rupert mentioned that some of the demons are waiting for the old ones to return."

Teal'c glanced at Daniel before turning his attention back to General Hammond, "Daniel Jackson is correct. The Goa'uld were once on Niurin but were forced to leave many millennia ago. As they were thought to be gods we were not told why they left the planet. Only that a major battle had occurred there and as a result the planet was inhospitable."

General Hammond digested the information and sighed inwardly. This was not a Presidential de-briefing that he was looking forward to. But this planet did have significance if the Goa'uld were forced out by the ancients.

"Do you believe this planet bears further study?" The General held up his hand to interrupt Daniel Jackson, "Besides an anthropological relevance."

Jack thought about the General's question. Sure if they could study the Slayer's DNA and why she could detect demons and snakeheads or if it was discovered what the reason was that the Ancients wanted to protect the planet. But otherwise Jack couldn't see any significance to sending a team there again. A brief flash of the robed figure sending a bolt toward the gate and it falling harmlessly around Willow went through Jack's mind before he dismissed it. Magic use could be explained away with ancient technology. He didn't believe in it anymore than he believed snakeheads were gods.

"No, sir. Until the locals find out who used their Stargate system I don't see any reason for our return." Jack answered, "I left a box for them to use for communication in the event they found something."

"Agreed."

Before the team could leave the briefing room the red lights and claxon of an incoming visitor alert filled the area.

"Off world activation."

The General and SG-1 hurriedly made their way to the computer gate room.

"You don't think Rupert or Willow could have found an answer all ready do you?" Daniel asked Sam as they raced into the room.

"Highly unlikely. They were studying for weeks before we arrived. I doubt they would have found the answer in the short time we've been back."

The General turned to the tech running the computer. "Tok'ra or Asgard signature?"

"No sir." He turned wide eyes to look at Jack and the others of SG-1. "It's SG-1's signal."

"Huh?" Daniel said.

"I answer your huh and raise you a what?" Jack looked over at Sam. "Any ideas?"

Hammond looked at Jack and Sam. "There wasn't a code to go with that box was there Colonel?"

"No sir. Just a box."

Sam motioned for the tech to stand. "I downloaded information into Willow's computer on how to contact us. I put a unique signature so we knew it was from them." Sam tapped at the keyboard and looked at the monitor.

A sound graph popped up illustrating the range of sound. "If this were the signal from Willow it would be in this range, sir." Sam pointed to an area that was low on the graph. "This should be here if the signal were from them."

Hammond spoke into the microphone. "SF to the gate room."

The hallways outside the gate room were a beehive of activity. Non-essential personnel were scrambling to get out of the way of SF personnel who were scrambling to get to the gate room.

Soldiers entered the room with their weapons drawn as they moved into position and waited for the General's next orders. They tensed as they heard, "Open the iris."

There was a collective click as all the SF soldiers raised their weapons. "Hands on your head, now!" One of the soldiers yelled at the figures on the walkway.

"Close the iris."

Willow jumped at the sound of the iris closing behind her. Memories of the Initiative flooded her mind as she looked around the gate room at all the soldiers aiming their weapons at them.

"Are you normally greeted like this when you return?" Willow asked her companion.

"Whoa. Stand down. She's okay."

Hammond, Jack, Teal'c, Sam and Daniel finally shook themselves out of immobility and moved quickly to the gate room.

Willow turned at the sound of the door banging back against the wall as Daniel and the others enter the room. Her eyes widen as she sees Jack enter the room.

She turned to her companion, "I didn't know you had a twin working here."

O'Neill answered Willow without taking his eyes off of Jack, "I don't."

Chapter Text

Jack didn't take his eyes off O'Neill, "Well, this explains the no rescue attempt."

"Who are you?" General Hammond asked through his clenched jaw.

"Oh for crying out loud, it's me, Jack."

"You'll forgive me if I find that hard to believe."

"General, your granddaughters' names are Tessa and Kayla."

O'Neill raised his eyebrow, "Do NOT tell me Harlen made another robot me."

Hammond looked over his shoulder, "Security take these two to a holding room and put a guard outside."

"General Hammond, I don't know what's going on but I swear to god I'm Jack."

"Then you won't mind if Janet runs a few tests to prove that."

Jack silently fumed but nodded his head. Willow tensed next to Jack as the soldiers indicated they should go with them.

Sam stepped up to Hammond, "Sir, I don't believe Willow is a threat."

O'Neill watched Willow and Jack leave with the guards, "We don't know that's Willow either."

"Until we know what is going on they both remain under guard." Hammond said to Sam before turning to leave.

Dr. Frasier checked her notes one more time before beginning her report. "I don't know how to explain it but that WAS Jack O'Neill that just came through the Stargate. They are genetically identical."

"What about a clone?" Hammond asked Janet.

"No, Sir. There is no genetic drift. There are slight differences in their genetic makeup but very slight. The results would definitely hold up in court."

"Alien technology?"

Janet shook her head, "I checked his brainwaves. They are as unique as fingerprints, more so since they can't be duplicated. Besides a very small anomaly they are identical."

Sam wrinkled her brow in concentration, "The gate erases the energy buffer from the crystals every time a new wormhole engages. Colonel O'Neill's signature wouldn't still be in the gate to be duplicated. It's how we come out as ourselves on the other side of the wormhole."

O'Neill shuddered at the thought of getting Teal'c's snakehead by mistake the next time they went through the gate. He had stopped listening as Janet and Carter debated how there could be another him. Why did this seem to always happen to him? There was the robot him that Harlen made. Then there was the crystal alien that became him and aliens using mimic devices to name just a few. True the others of SGC were affected by some of those aliens but it just creeped him out to see himself.

O'Neill roused himself out of his thoughts when he heard Janet say, "I did find something interesting that I want to investigate further."

General Hammond turned his attention to Dr. Frasier.

"It seems that the other Jack O'Neill is exhibiting signs of 'de-aging'."

"What?!" Daniel blurted out.

"What I mean to say, General is his cells seems to be reverting back to their prime."

"What? The other me is going to revert back to a burping, diaper wearing infant?"

Sam grinned at that mental image before turning to Janet. "That's impossible, Janet."

"I know, Sam. That's why I've sent his blood work out for another opinion. I can't explain it but it seems we have another Jack O'Neill on base and he is getting younger."

"What about Willow?"

"Of course I have no way of knowing if this was the person you met offworld but her genetic makeup is humanoid with very minor differences to ours. According to all the medical tests she's a female human in her early twenties."

General Hammond looked at Janet, "You're sure that is Colonel O'Neill that came through that gate."

"Yes, sir. Impossible as it may seem we have two Jack O'Neills."

"Thank you all. I'll take this under advisement. Dismissed."

Willow watched Jack as he paced. "What happens now?"

"Hell if I know! I don't know what's going on or how there is another me."

Willow was silent for a moment. "Do you think they'll let me go back?"

Jack closed his eyes for a second and sighed inwardly. With all that had happened since he came back through the gate he didn't even think about how this was affecting Willow. The poor kid, she wanted some adventure and she was now stuck here.

Jack looked into Willow's eyes, "I'll make sure you get back home, Willow. I promise."

Jack stopped pacing when the guard opened their door and General Hammond came in.

"Well?"

"Well, it seems there are two Colonel Jack O'Neills. All Janet's tests came back positive."

Willow leaned into Jack and whispered, "He's got 'but' face."

Jack turned with a smirk and looked at Willow who was blushing as she realized the General heard her. "Sorry, it's just when Giles is explaining something and there's a but at the end…" Willow trailed off.

General Hammond's lips twitched but he quickly schooled his features back. "But, you are not to leave this base until we're absolutely sure of what's going on."

"General!"

Hammond held up his hand. "You're free to roam SGC, within reason, but I'm afraid I can't allow you topside until we're absolutely sure."

"What about Willow?"

Hammond turned sympathetic eyes to Willow, "I'm sorry but I can't allow you to leave until we're sure that there is no threat to us."

"Um, General. Did Sam or Daniel tell you about my planet?"

"Yes they did."

"About odd occurrences?"

General Hammond grimaced, "I take it you’re asking me if they told me about vampires and demons?"

"Yes, sir. Would it be possible to get books about the supernatural here? I'd like to see if I can find out anything from your mythologies that might help us back home."

General looked at Willow for a minute and since he couldn't see how that would do any harm nodded. "I'll see what I can do. In the mean time I'm sure Daniel Jackson may have some books that you can use."

Willow beamed at him and the General couldn't help but smile back. "Thank you."

"We'll have quarters set up for you and Jack. I'm afraid they'll be spartan."

"That's okay. It can't be worse than my dorm room."

Jack waited until the General left. "And I thought Daniel was bad. Do you really think any of our myths will help you in your world?"

Willow grinned, "You'd be surprised how many times myth became reality in my world." This was too Initiative for her to just tell Jack what she was thinking. But she was hoping to find out anything about who was the powerful witch that attacked them at the stargate. She didn't' have much hope in finding anything but maybe something in the books would spark an idea to look up when she got back. And she had no doubt that Jack would keep his word and help her return to Sunnydale.

Chapter Text

Willow looked at the picture in the book in front of her again. She wanted to make absolutely sure of her theory before getting in touch with Samantha Carter.

She opened the door to her room and grinned at her ever present shadow. "Hey, Jim. Which way is it to Major Carter's quarters?"

Lieutenant Jim Cahill smiled at his assignment. If you had to be stuck guarding someone he was glad it was Willow. "Come on I'll show you. It's very easy to get confused down here. I remember my first time walking the corridors. I think it took me a week to find my way around and then I followed the same path, never diverging, until I really knew my way around."

Willow smiled over her shoulder at him, "You didn't drop little pieces of paper to mark your way?"

Cahill raised an eyebrow, "A Spec Ops officer drop pieces of paper? Besides have you ever seen trash here? I secretly think that there are robotic cleaners that as soon as you drop something they come by a sweep it up." He stopped outside Carter's quarters. "Here you go."

"Thanks Jim." Willow raised her hand to knock but before she could Sam opened the door.

"I thought I heard your voice. Come on in, Willow." She turned to Cahill. "I'll take her back, thanks Lieutenant."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Not that I'm not glad to see you, Willow but what brings you by?"

"I think I know what may have happened to Jack."

Sam looked at her curiously. She, Janet and Dr. Patterson, the expert in cellular biology, had yet to come up with a logical explanation for what happened to Jack.

"What would happen if a massive energy bolt hit the Stargate at the exact same time that Jack entered it?"

Sam wrinkled her brow in concentration. She replayed their actions as they went through the Stargate. "But it didn't. There was that robed guy that you and the others were fighting off but there wasn't any lightening or energy fields in the area."

Willow smiled, "It's just a theory, what would happen?"

Sam began to pace, "Well, theoretically it would cause a barrier in the wormhole, which would stop a person from going through. Once the energy passed, the barrier would disappear allowing the person to continue through. This would only last a matter of seconds."

Willow's eyes lit up with enthusiasm as she opened the book. "I was reading through some of Daniel's books on mythology when I found this."

Sam looked at the book that Willow was holding. It was a picture of a wizard. She looked from the picture and then over at Willow. "What am I supposed to be seeing?"

Willow pointed at the magic coming out of the staff like lightening. "When you, Teal'c and Daniel went through the gate the wizard or whatever he was, was concentrating on Giles and Buffy but by the time Jack was going through, he had turned his attention to me. Just as Jack went through the gate his magic bolt hit it."

Sam looked at Willow in disbelief, "You're suggesting Colonel O'Neill was hit by a bolt of magic which split him in two?"

"Yes and No. I'm saying that as Jack went through the gate a magic blast that takes its power from the earth's energy, effectively becoming an energy blast, hit the gate causing it to have a barrier. One Jack went through while the other Jack's signal or whatever was bounced back through the Stargate."

Sam's pacing picked up speed as theories and ideas sped around her mind. The fact that Jack was de-aging hadn't been disclosed to either Willow or Jack. But if Willow's theory was correct an energy blast could explain why Jack's cells were reverting back to their prime.

A knock on the door interrupted Sam's thoughts. Daniel stuck his head in, "Sam! Oh, Willow you're here too. General Hammond wants to see us in the debriefing room."

"What's up, Daniel?" Sam asked as she followed Daniel into the corridor.

"Not sure. But I think Janet may have heard back from the lab."

"I guess I'll see you later, Sam." Willow said as she turned to leave toward her room. "I can find a guard that'll take me back."

"Wait." Sam stopped Willow before she got too far. "I think the General should hear your theory."

Willow shook her head no. She was still uncomfortable around General Hammond. It wasn't anything he said or did. He was just too military for Willow to relax around him. "You can tell him at your meeting. You know more how energy would affect the Stargate anyway."

Before Sam could persuade Willow otherwise Colonel O'Neill joined them, "Good, Willow's with you. General Hammond wanted to see her too."

A small smile spread across Daniel's face, "Will Jack version 2.0 be joining us?"

"Ha, ha very funny and yes he will."

General Hammond looked up when Daniel and the others entered the room. Jack was already sitting at the table with Janet and another older gentleman. Willow smiled at Jack as she sat down. She noticed that Colonel O'Neill scowled when he noticed Jack at the table. Jack smirked back at him. He had deliberately chosen his normal seat when he entered the de-briefing room. Damn it, he already felt like his life had been taken away and he'd be damned if he was going to be uncomfortable in his old meeting room. The other Jack could just suck it up and sit somewhere else. Hell, he already had Jack's quarters.

Willow looked at Jack and then turned to Colonel O'Neill. She hadn't noticed before but there were some slight differences in their appearance. Jack's hair wasn't as gray and some of his laugh lines weren't as pronounced. The differences were very subtle and she didn't think you'd notice them if they weren't glaring at each other across the room.

"It is conclusive. Against all probability two Jack O'Neills came through that Stargate. Dr. Patterson just corroborated Dr. Frasier's findings." General Hammond began the meeting.

"We ran two independent and blind tests to makes sure the readings were accurate. Neither lab knew about the different blood analysis. The labs results were that the samples came from the same individual."

Dr. Frasier looked at Jack, "Jack, have you been noticing anything unusual in the last couple of days?"

"You mean besides there being two of me? My knees aren't as stiff as they normally are."

Janet nodded, "Dr. Patterson and I believe that your cells are rejuvenating as a result of what happened."

"Rejuvenating?"

"You're de-aging. Your cells are reverting back to their prime."

"What? I'm gonna turn into a burping, diaper wearing infant?"

"We don't believe you'll get younger than late twenties or early thirties. Once you hit your cellular prime your body will begin the natural aging process again."

Well wasn't that just great? As if his life wasn't already screwed up enough.

"Are there any theories as to how this could have happened?" General Hammond asked the doctors.

Before either could answer Sam interrupted, "Sir, Willow may have come up with a theory."

All eyes turned to Willow who was shifting uncomfortably under their scrutiny. "Miss Rosenberg?"

"Well, um, it's not really a theory. More of a wild guess."

Hammond smiled and indicated for her to continue.

Willow took a deep breath, "Well, I saw a picture in one of Dr. Jackson's books that made me think that maybe an energy blast may have had something to do with what happened to Colonel O'Neill."

Sam went to the whiteboard to demonstrate. She drew two stick figures, one going through the gate and the other one reflecting back. "What she's saying, General is that as the Colonel went through the gate an energy blast hit the gate causing it to have a barrier. One Jack went through while the other Jack's signature was bounced back through the Stargate."

"That would also explain his cells' rejuvenation. A massive and concentrated amount of energy would rejuvenate the cells."

"Well that's just fine and dandy but I really don't care how it happened. What I want to know is what happens now? Do we flip to see who gets to stay at SGC? I'm thinking we wrestle for it. My knees are feeling pretty good, what do you say, old man?"

Colonel O'Neill narrowed his eyes at Jack, "Who are you calling old?"

Willow started giggling, "Does anyone else see the psychological irony?"

Chapter Text

Both Jacks turned to glare at Willow as she tried to stifle her laugh. Sam, Daniel and Teal'c's lips quirked into smiles as Jack and O'Neill continued to glare at each other.

Before their glaring could escalate into a brawl, the claxon of an incoming signal sounded throughout the room. A voice over the intercom announced, "Incoming transmission."

General Hammond hit the intercom button, "Report."

"The Asgards are sending a message, Sir. Audio only."

Jack and O'Neill immediately stood at attention, "Thor?"

"Patch it through, Captain."

Thor's voice filled the briefing room, "General Hammond, you requested information on the planet Niurin."

Willow sat up straighter and a look of awe crossed her face as she listened to Thor's voice. Sam had told her about the Asgards, one of the four races that comprised the ancient alliance.

"Yes, Thor. What can you tell us?"

"May I ask why you want to know, General?"

"We discovered their cartouche in Abydos and Teal'c told us that the planet was forbidden to the Goa'uld. We sent SG-1 to investigate."

There was a moment of silence and then Thor spoke, "Teal'c is correct. The Goa'uld abandoned Niurin long ago and have been forbidden to return. The planet has been under the protection of the Furlings for many a millennia."

Jack rolled his eyes, "Tell us something we don't know, Thor."

"There are many sects within the Furlings. The sect of Amtuth colonized Niurin with humans taken from other colonies. Some of the humans were gifted with special powers to defeat the demons that also inhabited the planet."

Willow listened intently. It seems this was how the Slayer got her abilities. She wanted to remember everything so that she could tell Giles when she got back.

Sam asked, "Are you talking about the Slayer?"

"Slayer?"

"One female born in a generation that fights the demons."

"Ah, they call her the Slayer…yes. That is one kind but there are others that have an ability. Not just the Slayer though she was the first."

"That still doesn't explain why the Goa'uld are scared of the planet and the Amtuths. Our zats and Teal'c's staff weapon worked just the same on the demons as they do the Goa'uld. They could have easily taken the planet." O'Neill interrupted Thor's explanation.

"The Goa'uld could defeat the demons but they didn't. Their plans were intercepted by the Amtuths and they destroyed the Goa'uld when they brought the humans for colonization."

Questions kept swirling in Daniel's mind, "So, you're saying that Niurin was first inhabited by demons, then the Goa'uld came to take it over but before they could completely the Amtuth destroyed them?"

"The Goa'uld's plans weren't to conquer the planet they were getting demonic allies."

That sent shivers down the spines of SG-1. Jack shuddered as the image of the robed man stopping bullets and Teal'c's staff weapon allying himself with the Goa'uld. They couldn't let that happen. EVER.

"Um, so how come there are demons still on my world? Why not destroy all the demons along with the Goa'uld. Two birds one stone and they couldn't ally themselves with the demons ever?" The question just popped out of Willow's mouth. If they had destroyed the demons there would have been no reason for a Slayer and there wouldn't have had vampires, apocalypses and so many deaths. She was beginning to hate the Amtuths or Furlings or whoever they were.

Willow's question was met by silence. Had she offended the Asgard in some way?

"You are from the planet, young one?"

Daniel spoke up, "Thor this is Willow and yes she is from the planet Niurin."

"The demons escaped into another dimension of your world and the Amtuths could not follow. That is why some of the humans were given the ability to defeat those that would return. How long have you been away from your planet?"

Jack cocked his head to the side at Thor's question. There was something in his voice that didn't sound right. O'Neill raised an eyebrow at Jack. They both wore thoughtful expressions.

"Why do you ask, Thor?" O'Neill asked.

"One of the Niurin leaving through the stargate will attract the attention of the Furlings."

"So?"

"You said Teal'c had been to the planet and now a Niurin native is gone. The Furlings will have been alerted that a symbiote had passed through the stargate and entered the planet. With the young one leaving they would only conclude that the Goa'uld have returned."

"Oh, that can't be good." Jack mumbled.

"They will have tracked where she went."

"Is there a way to intercept them and let them know it wasn't the Goa'uld and Willow is fine?" The General asked Thor.

Before Thor could answer them the gate in the control room began to shimmer. The Iris disappeared and in its place was the sparkling water of the event horizon.

O'Neill looked down into the control room, "I think it's a little bit late for that."

The water began to shimmer and a figure stepped through it. The security forces that were already in the room raised their weapons. There was a flash of bright lights and all the weapons in the room disappeared.

The personnel in the room patted down their uniforms. All their weapons had disappeared, not just the ones that were drawn.

"Huh. I thought with a name like Furling they'd be these cute little furry guys." Jack said as he watched the figure descend the ramp.

"Willow!" Daniel shouted.

All eyes turned to Willow at Daniel's shout.

Her eyes were glazed like she was holding an inner conversation. The air around her crackled with energy and her hair was flowing in an unnatural wind.

A white light flash filled the briefing room and the tall red haired woman that had come through the gate appeared next to Willow. She laid a gentle hand on Willow's arm.

Willow's eyes came back into focus and the energy around her no longer crackled. "Whoa. Head rush. It's like I'm connected to everything."

"You are." The woman said and turned to Teal'c.

The others gathered around him placing themselves between the woman and Teal'c.

"And you are?" The General asked her.

She just smiled gently, "I am Penthesilea." She turned to Teal'c, "Willow told me that while you carry a symbiote you are not fighting with the Goa'uld."

"That is correct."

"Are there others such as you that fight the ways of the Jaffa?"

"There are others that believe in the dream of freedom from the Goa'uld."

"Penthesilea? The legendary Amazon?"

Penthesilea smiled.

"Penthesilea was one of the greatest of the Amazon warriors. She was the daughter of Ares and Orithia and was very skilled with weapons and battle. She was also known for her wisdom."

"Well that explains why the Slayer is always female."

Chapter Text

"Penthesilea?" Thor's voice echoed in the room.

"Yes, Thor. Our council will be in touch with yours shortly. There is to be an alliance meeting concerning the latest developments."

"Latest developments? Care to share with the group?" Jack asked Thor.

Penthesilea answered instead, "It doesn't concern the Tau'ri."

"Excuse me? Since when does anything having to do with the alliance NOT have to do with Goa'uld which is very much our business?" Jack glared at her. "That is just typical, we save your asses countless times but do you keep us in the loop of what's going on? NO!"

The Furling smiled slightly, "Is he always like this, Thor?"

Thor coughed but O'Neill thought it sounded suspiciously like a laugh, "He has given similar speeches before, yes."

"Well, you know...if you'd keep us in the loop you wouldn't have to hear my similar speeches." Jack groused.

General Hammond stepped in. "I believe what Colonel O'Neill meant was that we would like to be kept abreast with the latest developments and offer our assistance in any way."

Both Jacks raised their eyebrows at the General and opened their mouth to reply but before they could offer a comment the General gave them his best shut the hell up look.

Penthesilea looked at the others in the room thoughtfully before alighting on Willow. "This does not concern the Tau'ri BUT it does concern those of Niurin."

Another white flash in the control room and Penthesilea and Willow disappeared.

"What the hell just happened? Where's Willow?" Jack demanded. He had promised himself he'd take care of the kid while she was here and damn it he was doing a piss poor job of it so far.

"Thor?! Thor?!" O'Neill yelled.

There was no answer from the Asgard.

"The open communication has been cut off, Sir." The Captain in the control booth answered O'Neill's hail for Thor.

The General hit the red button causing the claxon to go off inside Cheyenne Mountain facility.

"Spread out and search for Willow Rosenberg and The Furling." The General bit out as he and the others quickly left in search of Willow.

Willow blinked as she and Penthesilea appeared in a wooded glen. "Not that I mind or anything but what just happened?"

"I needed to speak with you privately AND I wanted some fresh air." She answered with a smile.

Willow scrunched up her nose, "It's another apocalypse isn't it?"

She smiled, "No, not apocalyptic bad but there were rumblings before Teal'c's symbiote was detected that some demons were going to return."

"But you defeated the Goau'ld before right? I mean Teal'c said that they were forbidden to come back."

"It's not just the Goa'uld this time but demons from your world that had fled to other worlds and other dimensions are said to be on the move."

"Well, just…just bury the gate again. I mean it's not like we need it. People on my planet think it's an archaeological find. Just blast it with Teal'c's staff thingee and ooops another earthquake destroyed the ring. No more demons or Goa'ulds to come."

"I'm afraid it's not that simple, Willow." Penthesilea said sadly. "The demons and Goa'uld have other means of getting to your planet."

"But…" Willow began to pace. "What about the whole forbidden to come thing. Just, you know, kick their ass again."

"We can 'kick their ass' again as you say, but the demons that will be returning from other dimensions and worlds may not be able to be defeated so easily by us."

The robed figure flashed in Willow's mind.

"There are those in your world that have the ability to fight the demons in the upcoming battle but do not know it yet."

"So activate them."

Penthesilea smiled at Willow, "I have already done so with one."

"Well, what are you here with me for? Go get them and then activate the others. I'll go back and let Giles and Buffy know what is going on. We've fought demons before and won, we can do it again." Willow made a little shooing motion with her hands.

"I have already gathered her and I have no doubts that you, Buffy and the others can help to defeat the demons."

"Okay, I'm confused. Why didn't you want Colonel O'Neill and the others to hear this or to help?"

"Their fight is on another front. The alliance meeting is to discuss the best way to help Niurin. The Tau'ri will be busy with the rise of a new System Lord. In time our fight will become theirs but for now I must show my new sister how to use her powers."

"Your sister is here?" Willow looked around. "I only saw you come through the gate."

Penthesilea held her hands out, palms up and chanted.

Power surged through Willow. She felt a connection like she had in the control booth when the Furling first appeared.

[Do you not feel the power gifted to you?]

[I...I thought it was YOUR power I was feeling earlier.]

[It was and it wasn't. It was the power of our sisters activated in you. You have always had the ability; it lies dormant within your genes until it is needed. Like with the one to fight the vampires and demons.]

Willow's brow wrinkled in confusion. [Why is it that you made the Slayer only activate one at a time?] Willow was thinking of all the help that Buffy could have used if there had been more than one Slayer. As long as they weren't like Faith.

[One at a time? That is not the way of the Slayer. They are like you, activated when needed.]

[But...Giles and the Watcher's Council said that there is only one to fight the forces of darkness and when she dies another is called in her place.]

Now it was Panthesilea's turn to look confused. [That is only half the story. There is only one to begin with but if another is needed to fight, they are activated. There should be hundreds around your planet. Who is the Watcher's Council?]

[They assign someone to help train and watch over the Slayer.]

[The Slayer does not need help in training. When she is activated all the knowledge of how to kill that she needs is available to her genetically. She has no need for a Council.]

[Huh. I wonder how that got started. I'll have to ask Giles when I go home.]

Chapter Text

Daniel opened yet another door that showed an empty room. With all the rooms, armories and floors in this facility they could search for days and still not find Willow, if she was even still there. For all they knew she could have been taken back to her home world. He couldn't help but feel this was an exercise in futility. If Panthesilea wanted Willow, hidden she would stay hidden.

Jack rounded a corner and saw Daniel, "Anything?"

Daniel shook his head no, "Jack…"

Jack held up his hand stopping Daniel. "Danny, I don't want to hear it. I'm gonna find her. If it weren't for me she wouldn't have been stuck here. She'd have had a nice adventure and then gone back home." He turned determined eyes back to Daniel, "I'm gonna find her and then take her back."

The unspoken whether General Hammond allows him to or not hung in the air between them.

Daniel sighed and nodded his head in agreement. Jack had backed him up more times than he could count and if he was determined to find Willow than he'd be right there looking with him. "Right. You go down there and I'll go this way. We'll keep looking."

Colonel O'Neill had stayed back out of sight when he'd heard his "twin" talking to Daniel. Hell he understood his feeling of wanting to return Willow safe to her home world and he'd help his "twin" and Daniel make sure she got back. What concerned him was the something extra that was in Jack's voice. The hint of more than I feel responsible. Was it connected to what had happened to Skaara or something else? He’d have to keep an eye on his ‘twin’.

Panthesilea watched Willow's eyes as the knowledge of the Furlings began to take hold within the witch. Her genetic code was awakening to its heritage.

Willow's mind raced with all the knowledge that was flooding her system. Was this how Buffy, Kendra and Faith felt when they were called to duty? She felt connected to this Earth, her Earth and to the Furling home world. The barriers between the planes of existence seemed to be melting and she felt that she could traverse distance, time and space with just a step. She blinked a few times to clear her mind as the sensation began to subside.

"Do you understand now, why the Warriors against the demons would have no need for a Council once called?"

Willow tried to calm her racing heart and took a couple of deep breaths before answering. "So the Slayers get the same knowledge that I just received when they're called?"

"Not the same knowledge, no. For their skills are different than yours and the other Mages but yes the same type knowledge is given to them when they are called. There should be hundreds if not thousands on Niurin called before we return. A contingent of Furlings is to meet us there after they've gathered the newly called."

"I need to get back home and let Giles know what's happening. They need to be prepared for the Warriors and Mages that are coming."

"There is no hurry. A Mage has recently been activated near the new Warrior. They both have the knowledge that you have just been given. A sister arrived earlier when the threat was first reported. She is part of our advanced guard."

Willow bit her lip and wasn't sure if she should mention Faith in jail or not. Angel had told them that she was making a real attempt at redemption but what if it was too soon and she sided with the new threat. "Ummm, what if one of the One Warriors went against their training and sided with the demons?"

The Furling looked intently at Willow, "There have been times since the beginning when this has happened and our home world has known of them. The threat to Niurin coincided with the last such occurrence. She has retained her powers though her genetic memory will be wiped from the next called. The demons that she fought and how to kill them will be retained but there won't be any memories of the Warrior herself. Each Warrior that is called is given the genetic memory of those before them. ALL their memories are included; their lives they have lived, they learn how to fight against the forces of darkness and how to kill. The elders coded their genes this way to enable those that come after to know how to fight a demon that was previously encountered."

Willow's mind was whirling with the information. The Watcher's Council really didn't need to exist. It sounded like the Furlings put all the information needed into the genetic code of the Slayer. Why didn't Buffy know how to kill a vamp? She remembered Buffy telling her that she had missed the heart the first time she tried to stake a vamp. Why was Kendra raised by her Watcher? Would Giles even know or is this just another example of the Head of the Watchers keeping their own in the dark? So many questions for Giles were swirled in her brain.

Panthesilea put her hand on Willow's shoulder, "I understand this is a lot of information to process, Willow. In time your question will be answered." She paused and grinned at Willow, "Ready to try your new powers?"

"Really? Now?"

"You can return us from where we left. Concentrate on the knowledge given you. Everything is connected, Earth, people, animals, buildings, time, even space. Let your mind feel the connection between them all." She reached down and grabbed a tree limb that had fallen. "These two ends seem far away until you do this." She brought the ends together in a circle to demonstrate what she meant. "Do you understand?"

"Yes, it's very close to a science we call quantum physics."

"Visualize where you want us to go. Once you have the picture firmly set in your mind, you'll know what to do. Let the magic of the sisters guide you."

Willow concentrated and visualized her room next to Jack's. She saw the bed, the small table and the little television and with that vision came the knowledge of how to get them there. A small smile curved her lips as a bright light flashed in the forest.

Sam had just turned down the corridor that led to Willow's room when a flash of bright light caused her to stop. It appeared to be like the flash that occurred just before Willow disappeared. She automatically reached for her weapon and hit air. She had forgotten that the Furling had caused all their weapons to disappear. They hadn't known the extent of the disappearing weapons until it was reported that ALL weapons were missing from the base armories. She tensed and went into fighter stance ready to face whatever had caused the light. It wasn't until she moved closer that she heard Willow's voice.

"Oh my gosh! I can't believe I just did that. That was so cool, can I do it again?"

Willow gasped and turned at the sound of her door crashing open. "Sam!"

"Willow, are you all right?" Sam asked not taking her eyes off the Furling.

"Your friend has not been harmed."

Sam ignored the Furling, "Willow?"

"I'm okay. Really, I'm fine. No harming here."

Sam relaxed slightly but still didn't take her eyes off Panthelisea. She reached for her radio, "Found Willow, Sir. She appears unharmed. Both she and the Furling are in Willow's quarters."

A slight smile spread across the Furlings features, "You would fit in well in our society."

"Roger that, Carter." O'Neill's tin voice came across the radio. "We're on our way."

Chapter Text

General Hammond was not happy. Penthesilea wasn't talking. Correction, she wasn't talking to him or the President. The Alliance meeting between the Furlings, the Knox and the Asgard had begun not long after Willow's disappearance. All the Amazon would say was that the agenda revolved around the situation on Niurin and the Goa'uld System Lords.

This was one of the aspects of his job that he hated. The President had emphasized how much an alliance with the Furlings was desired and as a consequence he was to show her every consideration while she remained on Earth. His years of experience told him that something major was happening. His gut feeling was that whatever had captured the Alliance's attention would eventually affect Earth and his first priority was to secure the safety of this world. As his eyes lit on Jack a plan began to form of how he could work around the conditions the Furling and the President placed on him.

Penthesilea watched Hammond. She knew he wasn't happy with the present circumstances and as leader of her sect she would feel the same way if the roles were reversed. She would even be devising a way to work around those circumstances to her advantage and she was sure the General was doing the same thing.

Willow took a deep breath and answered Colonel O'Neill's question AGAIN. "I'm sorry, I really am. I've tried thinking about the Goa'uld but nothing. Yeah, I can do a fancy light show as I move from one plane of existence to another and I know how to defeat demons but nothing about the Goa'uld. I swear if that knowledge popped in my brain I'd tell you. I don't know how it works I just know that one minute I was plain old Willow from Sunnydale and the next I have all this knowledge floating around in my head." Willow turned to Daniel as he opened his mouth to ask another question, "Believe me for every question you have I have about ten times more. I wish I knew why or how, but I don't."

Jack sympathized with Willow, he knew what it was like to have all this knowledge floating in your brain and no idea how it got there or why.

He still wasn't sure exactly what happened to her but Willow didn't seem to be adversely affected. In fact she seemed to have much more confidence than when he first met her. He didn't trust the Furling. It wasn't anything against HER he just didn't trust any of them. They all had a hidden agenda and used them as pawns for the bigger picture and he was getting tired of being a pawn.

Penthesilea moved to stand next to Willow and interrupted the questioning. "It is time to return you to Niurin, Willow we are needed there."

General Hammond caught Jack's eye and motioned for him to follow him out of the briefing room.

"I've just received word from the President regarding your status with SGC."

"What do you mean my status? I'm a member of SG-1."

"Technically yes you are. However, you and I both know that two Jacks couldn't be on the same team. As much as it pains me to do this I'm afraid I'm under orders to have you removed from SG-1."

"General!"

Hammond held up a hand to stop Jack, "Jack, you're not being removed from Stargate Command just SG-1."

"Perfect. I get split by some energy blast while on duty and bam my life goes to hell."

"I'm offering you a special assignment."

"No offense but if it's a desk job I'll go back into retirement."

The General's eyes glanced over to where Willow was saying her goodbyes to Sam and Daniel. "It's more along the lines of covert ops."

That perked Jack's interest. Ever since this whole nightmare happened he'd felt like his life had been stolen. Sure it was stolen from him by an alternate version of him but it was still stolen. He didn't want to contemplate not being on a team with Carter, Daniel or Teal'c.

"Covert ops?"

"My hands are tied by the President but you've been given a leave of absence until you can be reassigned. I thought you might want to spend your downtime off world. There were no conditions placed on where you spent your leave."

Jack looked through the glass into the briefing room at Willow, "So let me get this straight, you want me to go with Willow to find out what's happening on her world that has the Furlings and the Alliance's panties in a twist?"

"Not quite how I'd put it but yes, I'd like a report of what's happening."

Willow jumped as the door to the briefing room slammed open and Jack came storming in the room.

"It seems you have another traveler on your journey home."

Penthesilea looked from the General to Jack but couldn't see anything except animosity and resignation. "I don't believe you were invited."

"I don't believe I asked your permission." Jack shot back. "It seems my life has gone to hell since visiting your charming world and since I've been told I can't stay here I'm going with you to get answers to what happened to me."

Willow reached out and placed a comforting hand on Jack's arm, "I'm so sorry, Jack. Maybe Giles will know how to fix it and make you one again."

The Furling looked long and hard at the Tau'ri. She knew there was probably an ulterior motive for this sudden development but she didn't think that one Tau'ri would make that much of a difference. She gave a slight nod of her head to Jack. "Say your goodbyes, we leave soon."

Colonel O'Neill was about to object but he caught the General's eyes and with a silent signal from him he kept his mouth shut. It's not that he didn't want the other him to stay, he didn't. The knowledge that Jack version 2.0 possessed made him a security risk but on the other hand Jack WAS him and he knew that Jack would die before betraying the SGC.

Sam embraced Jack, "We'll continue to work on a solution on this end, Sir. I'm sure Janet and I can come up with something."

Daniel was torn, was it possible to miss your best friend yet still have your best friend beside you? "Take care, Jack. Rupert had an amazing collection of research material and I'm sure if anyone can find out what happened, he can."

Both Jacks faced each other awkwardly. Colonel O'Neill put his hand out, "Well. See ya."

Jack shook his hand, "Yeah see ya."

Teal'c grasped Jack's forearm in a warrior's greeting, "It has been an honor fighting next to you Jack O'Neill."

"This isn't goodbye. I AM coming back."

An awkward silence greeted Jack pronouncement before Daniel spoke up, "Of course you are. I'm sure we'll have an answer in no time."

Penthesilea gestured and a flash of white light lit the briefing room. Daniel turned to look down through the observation glass into the debarkation room. He saw Willow place her hand in Jack's as the Furling activated the gate with a wave of her hand.

Jack gave a small salute to the General before walking through the shimmering water with Willow.

Chapter Text

"DOWN!" Dawn yelled at Xander as she took aim and fired the crossbow into the vampire coming up behind him.

"Heh, heh… nice reflexes, Dawn." Xander wiped the dust that had settled on his shoulder before turning around to face the others. "Is it me or is there more vamp activity lately?"

"Vamp and other assorted demons. I'm thinking there might be a convention in town." Buffy said as she staked her fifth vampire of the night.

"Ooh, maybe we should start selling tee-shirts at Willie's… 'My sire went to the Hellmouth and all I got was this lousy tee-shirt'." Xander said with a wink over his shoulder at Dawn.

Before Dawn could make a sarcastic comeback she felt an electric current run through her body. She gasped in shock as her arms stiffened out to her sides while her eyes glazed over.

"DAWN!" Both Xander and Buffy yelled as they rushed to the teenager's side. Buffy reached her just as Dawn's knees buckled and she gently cradled her.

Buffy turned pleading eyes to Xander, "I can't go through this again. I can't lose her, too." She turned her attention back to Dawn and softly stroked her cheek, "Come on, Dawn… Wake up."

Dawn's eyes cleared and she blinked a few times trying to gather her racing thoughts. Buffy's worried face swam into view and Dawn gave her a shaky smile. "Well, that was unexpected."

"Are you all right?" Xander knelt down next to them.

"Yeah, let me just catch my breath. Just a little bit of sensory overload."

Buffy helped Dawn sit up but she couldn't make herself break contact. "You sure you're all right? You gave us quite the scare."

Dawn's head cocked to the side, as she seemed to be listening to an inner voice. "Buff, what does it feel like when you get your Slayer tinglies?"

"What? You want a Slayer lesson now?"

"Just answer."

Buffy rolled her eyes, if she lived to be a thousand she'd never figure out her little sister. "Well, first there's a prickling along my skin. Kind of like when your foot's a sleep and it begins to wake up."

"Then does it make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end and you're filled with this kind of knowledge of how to kill it but you don't know where it came from?"

"Umm, yeah except for the filled with knowledge part. Dawn, what's going on?"

But Dawn didn't answer; she jumped up and scanned the area. "Don't you feel it?"

"Feel what?" Buffy tried to sort through what she was feeling but there were no Slayer tinglies except for the mild one she got around Spike.

A sound to Dawn's left caught her attention. As she turned her body she automatically brought her leg up into a roundhouse kick.

" 'ere now, what's this li'l bit? Tryin' to take my head off?" Spike smiled as he grabbed Dawn's leg before it made contact with his head.

Dawn blushed a bright red and was glad it was dark so no one could see her embarrassment. "Sorry, Spike I didn't know it was you."

Spike's smile faded as it finally registered that he was feeling more than one Slayer.

"What's going on? Why do I feel two Slayers?"

"I think I've just been Chosen." Dawn said shakily. "Oh god…. Do you think this means Faith died?"

"NO! NONONONONONONO. I mean it. You are SO NOT the next Slayer." Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Dawn like it was her fault.

"WHAT?! Do you think I want to be Chosen? I SO DON'T want to be the next Slayer. I can just see it… Poor Dawn can't do anything on her own, has to be a Slayer like her sister." Dawn crossed her arms and glared at Buffy.

"FINE!"

"FINE!"

"Umm, let's go see Giles. Maybe he can figure out what happened", Xander quietly suggested. It was best not to call attention to yourself when the Summers girls were arguing. They've been known to turn their wrath on an innocent bystander.

"GILES!" Buffy yelled as they entered the Magic Box. "Dawn thinks she's been called. Tell her it's not possible."

Dawn opened her mouth to yell at Buffy but the look on Giles' face stopped them all in their tracks. "What? What's wrong?"

"I had a visitor earlier this evening that brought some very interesting news."

Anya rolled her eyes, "Must you be so melodramatic? God, I can't believe I thought I was engaged to you." She turned back to Buffy, "Tara's a mage and aliens are coming."

"Ooookay. I think I speak for all of us when I say, HUH?" Xander turned to Giles for an explanation.

"It seems that Tara had a rather unsettling experience last night. She was meditating when she went into a trance-like state. When she came out of it she had magickal knowledge beyond anything I've seen and she knew of the Amtuths, except she called them Furlings."

"What? How do you know it was the Amtuths?" Buffy asked.

"Because when she came here trying to find out what had happened to her she spotted my books and gave a perfect translation of one of its passages."

"Okay, that kind of explains the Tara is a mage but what about the aliens are coming."

A sudden bright, white light filled the Magic Box causing its occupants to shield their eyes briefly. Dawn, Spike and Buffy went into battle stance while Xander grabbed a weapon from the nearby case.

"That is still a rush."

"WILLOW?!"

"Hey guys, surprised to see me?"

"Uh, yeah. You could say that. Though not so much surprised to see you as how did you just pop in here?"

Willow grinned at Xander, "I've been learning some stuff while I've been away."

Spike's eyes narrowed as he noticed who was standing behind Willow, "Thought you were going to take GI-Joe home."

"Who's his friend?" Anya asked. She didn't like the way Xander couldn't take his eyes off the tall redhead.

"OH, I'm sorry. Guys, this is Penthesilea."

"Penthesilea? Like the legendary Amazon?" Giles asked incredulously.

Penthesilea smiled and gave a brief nod.

"Penthesilea was one of the greatest of the Amazon warriors. She was the daughter of Ares and Orithia and was very skilled with weapons and battle."

Willow grinned over her shoulder at Jack, "Wow, almost word for word what Daniel said. No wonder they got along so well."

"I will answer any question you might have, but first have there been anyone like me here recently?"

Xander gave her a goofy grin, "Believe me I'd remember if there had been anyone like you around here."

Anya hit Xander on the back of the head as she flounced away to greet a customer that had just entered the store.

"P-perhaps we can finish this discussion in the back room." Giles indicated for the others to follow him into the training room.

Chapter Text

Penthesilea waited until the Niurin and the Tau'ri had all taken a seat before turning to Giles. "This place is safe?"

"It is well guarded, yes."

The Furling turned to the door and swiped her hand in an arc causing the door to slowly fade into the wall.

"What the hell is going on?" Buffy tensed and prepared for an attack. The only thing that stopped her from rushing the tall red head was that she had come with Willow and Buffy trusted Willow's judgment.

Jack smirked and prepared to watch the show. He wanted to see how the Furling handled a 'lesser being' that wasn't constrained by military rules or diplomatic regulations.

Penthesilea ignored Buffy's question, instead she concentrated on the pulses that were emanating from her armband. An enemy was in the room with them. Her eyes scanned those that were either standing or seated around the room.

"Demon!"

Spike blinked rapidly as Dawn's hand flew out and caught the stake the red head had thrown within inches of his heart. Giles' eyes widened as he took note of Dawn's Slayer-like reflexes.

"Excellent reflexes, young warrior. But why do you save a demon?"

"He's a friend and besides he's chipped."

"Chipped?"

Willow tried to explain, "A computer chip was put into his body that causes him physical pain if he were to harm a human."

"Ah, you domesticated a demon."

Spike growled, "I'm no one's pet."

The Furling ignored Spike, "Are there more like him?"

"He's one of a kind." Buffy said with a slight smile.

"If the chip were removed would you still have stopped the stake?" Penthesilea asked Dawn.

"Always. Spike's my friend."

The Amazon turned to Buffy, "Would you, warrior?"

Buffy looked over at Spike and a small smile tilted her lips, "Yes I would."

Spike's lips curved into a smile.

The Furling nodded before turning her attention to Willow, "And you, young mage. Would you have prevented this demon's death if the chip were removed?"

Willow thoughtfully looked at Spike. "The answer to that is not black and white. I'd like to think he wouldn't revert back to the Spike that used to terrorize me. I hope that the time he spent with us changed him in some way but neither am I blind to the fact that he is a demon. So I guess my answer is it depends on what happened before the stake was thrown."

Penthesilia smiled at Willow, "See, this is the reason Mages were activated along with the Warriors."

Giles cleared his throat, "Activated?"

The Furling turned her attention to Giles, "Ah, you are Giles of the Watcher's Council."

Giles's eyes widened at that before he realized Willow must have told her something. He turned to look at Willow but Penthesilea's next words brought his attention back.

"Why has a Council of Men interfered with the calling of the Warriors?"

"I-I beg your pardon?"

"Penthesilea said that Slayers and Mages are activated when needed. There is only one per generation called but when another is needed they are activated with the knowledge of the previous Slayers."

Dawn's eyes widened, "So that's what happened to me."

Willow turned to Dawn, "It started out as a tingling sensation and then BAM sensory overload?"

"Yeah. All of a sudden I knew stuff. Lots of stuff." Dawn closed her eyes as she concentrated. "Wait! I know all about the demons that Faith killed but nothing about Faith. I mean besides what I already know. But I know all sorts of things about other Slayers." A mischievous grin split her face, "Oooh, so many new things about Buffy."

Giles immediately went into 'Watcher mode'. "How is it you know about the Slayers and the Watcher's Council?"

"How much do you know of Goa'uld?"

"Just what Colonel O'Neil and the others have told us."

Penthesilea glanced over at the Tau'ri who nodded slightly. "Niurin has been under the protection of the Furlings for many a millennia. There are many sects within the Furlings. I am from the sect of Amtuth that colonized Niurin. Some of the humans that were brought here were gifted with special powers to defeat the demons that also inhabited this planet."

"Why give humans special powers when obviously you're very advanced. Couldn't you have just defeated them on your own?"

"The demons escaped into another dimension of your world, a dimension where we could not follow. There was a barrier that we could not cross. That is why some of the humans were given the ability and knowledge to defeat the demons that might return after we left. The power and knowledge of our sisters became activated in the warriors and the mages. It lies dormant within their genes until it is needed."

"How come when I was activated I didn't get that knowledge? Kendra had a Slayer's handbook, Dawn gets knowledge of Slayers and I get nothing."

Penthesilea held out her arm with her palm facing Buffy. A red and orange light shot out from her wristband and engulfed Buffy.

"Buffy!" Willow cried as she saw the light hit her best friend.

Spike moved to grab Buffy as her whole body tensed but quickly moved his hands back as the light burned and his skin began to smoke. His face morphed into his demon visage as he growled in pain and turned amber eyes at the Furling.

Jack reached for his weapon but before he could raise it the light faded and Buffy's body relaxed. "Whoa, head rush."

"What did you do?" Spike growled.

"She is now as she was meant to be."

"Buffy? Are you all right?" Dawn shakily asked as she moved to sit by her sister.

Giles moved to stand by his Slayer but turned worried eyes to Penthesilea. God, what had the Council done to the Slayers? First the drug testing to dampen their abilities as a 'test', then he finds out the Council had somehow dampened the abilities of the Slayer for thousands of years or at least as long as there was a Council. "I can assure you I had no idea the Council had done anything to the Slayers."

The Furling saw the truth in his eyes. "That is a matter for the Alliance. There are more important matters, your planet is in danger."

Xander rolled his eyes, "When isn't our planet in danger?"

"There is a new System Lord rising in the Goa'uld. She is building an alliance among other lesser know Lords."

Jack sat a little straighter, now it was getting interesting. The Amazon hadn't mentioned this while she was at the SGC. Which new System Lord was rising?

"That's nice but what does that have to do with us and the demons?"

"She wants new and powerful hosts for symbiots. Some of the Jaffa and others are causing difficulties. She is looking to build a new army and alliance with those that can't host."

"But I thought it was forbidden to come here?" Willow asked.

"In her quest for power and dominion she is willing to risk much."

"So all we have to do is defeat the Gold guys?"

"Goa'uld." Giles automatically corrected Buffy who just rolled her eyes.

Before the Amazon could answer Buffy a bright white light flooded the backroom once again. Buffy, Dawn and Willow tensed as Jack stood and had his weapon raised.

"Greetings, sister."

Chapter Text

"Gonna introduce me to your sister?" Jack asked as he kept his weapon trained on the new arrival.

"Antandre."

All eyes turned to Anya who just shrugged. "What? You don't think Vengeance Demons know the legend of the Amazons and those ancient ones that came before us?"

Giles turned to Anya, "but how did you know this was Antandre when you didn't recognize Penthesilea?"

Anya smirked before she answered, "oh, we had a picture of Antandre. Hallie and I were very interested in her past especially as we were vengeance demons for scorned women. She was very inventive when it came to harming the Greeks at Troy. I remember this one time…"

Xander cut her off when he saw how the Amazons were looking at her. "Not now, honey."

The Amazons focused their attention on Anya. "You are a demon?" They were surprised that their armbands didn't signal that this one was a demon.

Anya shot Giles a disgruntled look at his "former demon” comment.

Xander slipped an arm around her waist and drew her a little behind him.

"All very interesting but you still haven't answered my question." Jack interjected.

Anya turned to Jack, "Sure she did. Well, I did. You asked about the new Amazon and I answered."

Jack ignored her but kept his weapon trained on the newcomer. Antandre turned her attention from Anya over to the Tau'ri. "Do you really think, Tau'ri that your weapon can harm me?"

"Ra didn't think too much of our weapons either. Maybe you should ask him… oh that's right, you can't. He's dead. Gee, and how did that happen? Inferior Tau'ri weapons maybe?"

Dawn leaned over to whisper in Buffy's ear, "Issues, much?"

"Enough, we have no time for these tiresome games." Penthesilea concentrated briefly and all weapons in the back room disappeared.

"HEY!" Buffy yelled as Mr. Pointy disappeared with the others.

"They will be returned." The redheaded Furling reassured Buffy and Giles.

Jack debated whether to push the issue. Lack of weapons had never been a problem for him, especially with his Black Ops training. But he also knew when to choose his battles. The ultimate goal was still in mind, he let this battle go.

"So you were saying something about a new System Lord rising?" Jack prompted.

The Furlings didn't have much association with the Tau'ri. What they knew of them were through others such as the Knox or Asgard. But Penthesilea DID know warriors and she recognized this Jack O'Neill for the fighter he was. A warrior wouldn't have given up their weapons without a fight if they didn't have another plan in place. Yes, she would keep a close eye on this one.

Antandre turned to the others and indicated that they should resume sitting. "The rising Goa'uld is known as Sekhmet." She paused to see if anyone recognized the name.

"Oh bloody hell."

All eyes turned to Giles.

Giles' took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. He could feel a tension headache coming on and he REALLY wanted a glass of scotch. All right, a bottle of scotch.

"Sekhmet, an ancient Egyptian goddess also known as the Destroyer. She represented the destructive force of the sun."

Jack's mind was whirling with what he remembered of Daniel's blathering about the myth and the reality of the Goa'uld. Could the destructive force of the sun be the firing from a space ship?

"According to legend she came into being when Ra sent her to take vengeance on those that didn't worship him. Sekhmet slaughtered mankind and drank their blood. Besides the Destroyer she is known to give eternal life."

Just when Jack wished Daniel were there with all his mythological knowledge, there was Rupert Giles to fill in the blanks. Ra. Even dead he seemed to be a pain in his ass.

"A vampire?" Buffy asked.

"Doubtful from what we know of these Goa'ulds but possibly the mother of the first vampire. The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected with the demon's soul. He bit another, and so on."

Willow could barely take all of the information in. Dawn seemed to be a Slayer now. Which kind of made sense since the monks made her out of Summers' blood and obviously Summers' blood had Slayer DNA. Tara was called as a mage just like she was. Goddess, she missed Tara. Even though it had been months since their breakup and they were tentative friends again, she missed being able to call Tara at all hours just to talk. Her eyes roamed over to Jack. She knew he must be missing his old life. Willow inwardly sighed; it didn't look like she was going to be able to help him with his de-aging thing. At least not until this Sekhmet was defeated.

Her eyes narrowed a bit as she watched Jack. She concentrated on what the Furlings, SGC and Giles had told her. There was something…

"Ra!"

Jack raised an eyebrow at Willow’s sudden exclamation, "Ra?"

"Yeah, when you were arguing with Antandre you said that you had defeated Ra with your weapons. Maybe we can use the same weapons to defeat Sekhmet."

Jack shook his head, "I'm sorry, Willow. It wasn't the type of weapon that was easy to get." He wouldn't rule out the use of an atomic bomb when it came to defeating a Goa'uld though.

Giles' spoke suddenly, "Hathor."

Jack's eyebrows rose when he turned to look at Giles, "Hathor?"

"Hathor and Sekhmet were believed to be the same deity. If we research Hathor we should be able to find a way to defeat Sekhmet."

A satisfied smirk flitted across Jack's face as he interrupted Giles, "She's dead."

Jack raised his hand and rubbed the back of his neck. Hathor was still a sore subject. He HATED that he'd fallen under her spell and he HATED that she'd turned him into a Jaffa, even briefly.

"Hathor's dead? Are you quite certain?"

Visions of pushing Hathor into the vat floated in Jack's mind, "Trust me when I say… oh yeah, she's dead."

Giles turned to the Amazons. "Are you sure the new Goa'uld is Sekhmet? If Jack and the others defeated Hathor wouldn't that mean that Sekhmet was also defeated?"

Antandre answered, "Sekhmet is indeed the new threat. It was believed that Hathor and she were the same but they were actually sisters, daughters of Ra."

"How was she defeated the first time? In Egypt?"

"She wasn't. She wasn't as powerful as the other System Lords, however she did align herself with those on the rise. We believe she was waiting until the right time to make her move. She is calculating. She has yet to make a false move."

Chapter Text

Jack sat on the edge of the lake and cast another line out. He had been pleasantly surprised when Rupert Giles had told him that yes indeed there was fishing on this planet and that there was a good spot nearby.

He did his best thinking while fishing. Well, maybe not his best thinking that was reserved for when he needed to think on the fly. But, when he had problems that needed to be thought out he always turned to fishing. And he had a lot of problems that needed to be thought out, not the least of which was his de-aging – stolen life. Every time he'd put his personal problems on the back burner something would happen to remind him. Just that morning when he'd glanced in the mirror he noticed that his hair had just a small spattering of grey in it now. At this rate he'd be at his "prime cellular level" in a few weeks. He hoped the geniuses at SGC were right and he would stop getting younger and then age at a normal rate again if they couldn’t figure out how to fix this.

His thoughts turned to his friends at Stargate Command. George, Daniel, Teal'c and Sam. Sam… would this be an opportunity to find out if they had anything? His career was in limbo until the brass knew what the hell to do with him but he would no longer be Sam's superior. There really wouldn't be a taboo with their relationship but there was now a small problem.

Willow. The things he found attractive in Sam were what he was beginning to find attractive in Willow. She was smart, attractive, funny and emotionally strong. She had survived growing up in a town populated by demons, which forced her to become a fighter at a young age. She was as much a soldier as the others were. There were also qualities that were uniquely Willow.

A smile tugged his lips as he thought about her babbling and the way her mind sometimes worked. She could quote pop culture just as easily as any ancient dead language. Willow was as comfortable researching ancient prophecies with Rupert as she was watching slapstick comedies with Xander.

But before he could wonder about where his life was going from here he needed to address the looming threat of Sekhmet. He needed to contact Jacob to find out what the Tok'ra knew of the new threat. Jack found it odd that the Tok'ra hadn't mentioned anything about a rising System Lord. Not that he really trusted them but he did trust Jacob. Well, sort of.

He also needed to contact General Hammond to apprise him of the situation on Niurin. Penthesilea had said that threat did not concern the Tau'ri yet any Goa'uld is a threat to Earth especially one that hadn't been defeated the first go round. In Jack's opinion, that made her more of a threat. The fact that she was smart enough to wait and bide her time; to look for the opportunity to strike and not be impatient to put her plans in action. That was a formidable foe.

It wouldn't look too out of place if he used the stargate to communicate with SGC. It was perfectly natural for him to want to find out his status and if he slipped some information to the General at the same time, oh well.

A tug on his line brought him out of his thoughts. "Sweet."

Willow stood under the shade of a tree as she watched Jack reel in the fish. Giles had asked her if she wouldn't mind running an errand for him and she'd stopped by the lake when she'd spotted Jack's rental car.

"I see Giles shared his fishing spot."

Jack held up a string of fish and his latest capture. "Not bad for a day's work. Grilled fish tonight?"

Willow wrinkled her nose, "As long as I don't have to clean it, I'll eat it."

"Deal. You bring the cold beer and I'll grill the fish." He cocked his head to the side, "You are old enough to get beer, right?"

Her eyes twinkled, "Get beer or drink beer?"

A smile quirked his lips. He’d remembered a time when he'd had a fake id and bought beer for his friends. It seemed young adults were a lot alike no matter where they grew up. "Don't ask, don't tell."

"Huh?"

"Never mind. So, just in the neighborhood and thought you'd stop by?"

"Nope. I'm being errand girl for Giles. Xander had to work and Buffy 'claimed' she needed to help train Dawn. Hence, me being errand girl."

"Ah, couldn't come up with an excuse fast enough?"

"That, too."

Jack noticed Willow's curious gaze had strayed to the fishhook that he'd just baited. "Care to give it a try?"

Willow shook her head, "I've never fished before."

"No time like the present, then. Come on." He held out the fishing pole to her.

The red head tentatively took the pole from Jack's grasp. "Now what?"

Jack stepped up behind her and placed his hand over hers. "Loosen your wrist, don't hold the pole so tight."

"B-better?"

"That's it. Now lightly flick your wrist and let the pole do the rest."

Willow turned her head to watch the pole and her eyes collided with Jack's. Green eyes stared into brown. It was the clothes fluke with Xander all over again. Time seemed to stop and she couldn't turn her eyes away.

"Uh, let me give you some room." Jack backed away as Willow cast her line. He tried to shake off the sensation. He did NOT need that complication now. Stupid cell rejuvenating hormones.

"Now what?" Willow looked over her shoulder at Jack.

"Now you wait."

Willow looked back at the float as it bobbed in the water. This was it? This is what Jack and Giles did for relaxation and fun? She'd rather code a program.

A sharp tug brought Willow's attention back to the end of her line. "JACK! I think I got something."

Jack quickly stepped up behind her and placed his hands over hers, as he helped her bring in the fish. "Reel it in. That's it, Willow."

A tiny squeal of delight escaped Willow's lips as she pulled in her first fish. Sparkling green eyes turned to Jack as he took the pole from her and removed the hook from the fish. Okay, so maybe this wasn't as boring as she first thought.

"Ready to learn how to clean a fish?"

Willow's bubble of happiness deflated quickly as she made an ewwwww face. "I bring the cold beer, remember?"

"You catch it, you clean it."

"That didn't count. I wasn't actually fishing, I was just learning to cast a line and the fish happened to eat the bait." Willow nodded her head. "Yep. I think it's fishing rule number 451 that whatever you first catch it is considered practice fishing and doesn't fall under the catch it, clean it clause."

Jack smirked as Willow tried to wiggle her way out of cleaning a fish. He had to give her points for quick thinking.

"If I clean your fish then you do the kitchen detail."

"I was planning on doing it anyway. Deal."

"You mean I wasted a perfectly good blackmail deal on something you were going to do anyway?"

"Yep."

"That's okay, I was going to clean your fish for you anyway." He said as he packed up the fishing supplies. "Meet you back at Buffy's?"

"Okay. I have to drop off the supplies I bought Giles first. I'll see you there."

Willow smiled as she walked up to where Jack was manning the grill at Buffy’s house. She popped the top of the cold beer and handed it to him. "Debt paid."

He took a long pull off the beer and watched as Dawn tried to sweet talk Spike into giving her a sip of his. Jack keenly felt the loss of his friends, Teal'c, Daniel and Sam as he watched them and the Furlings interact.

Willow's smile faded as she noticed Jack's silence. "You okay?"

Jack pulled his gaze from where Xander and Anya were arguing. "Yeah. Just thinking."

Before Willow could respond there was a blinding flash of light that filled the backyard. As the light faded she saw that Penthesilea and Antandre were standing to greet the newly arrived Furlings, Slayers and Mages.

"Tara?"

"W-willow. Hi."

A tall black haired Furling stepped away from the group and greeted Penthesilea, "The Alliance meeting has concluded, Sister. We bring news."

Chapter Text

Jack turned off the grill and stepped forward to where the Furlings were speaking quietly. This was what he needed, something he could do. He was tired of being on the sidelines watching while Giles and Willow tried to understand what had happened to him. The Colonel had patrolled with Buffy and Spike and that had helped his thirst for adventure, but it hadn't been enough.

"What did the Alliance say? Where is Sekhmet? Are the demons backing her?"

The dark haired Furling narrowed her eyes in anger at Jack, but before she could answer she turned her attention toward Spike. "Demon?" Her curious gaze turned back toward Penthesilea. "Why is a demon here….alive?"

The Slayers standing with the Furlings tensed and before anyone could stop her, one Slayer broke from the group and attacked. Without thought Willow raised her arm and put a barrier between her and Spike.

The easiest explanation that Willow could think of was Angel's and she went with it. "He was cursed with a soul and now he has to help us. Spike is one of the good guys."

"I am not!" Spike protested automatically and then looked at the furious Slayers and Furlings gathered in front of him. "Er, that's right. I'm a bleeding heart poofter." He vowed to get back at the petite red head before the day was out. He didn't know what he could do with the sodding chip in his head, but he'd think of something.

Penthesilea was pleased with how well Willow tapped into the power of the mage without thought. It was as it should be, how they were meant to be before the Watchers interfered. Her gaze traveled to her sisters and those that were called, her smile turned soft as her eyes connected with the Slayer that had attacked the demon. "You did well…." She paused for a name.

The brunette slayer's muscles were still poised for battle despite the magical barrier surrounding her 'prey'. "Kennedy. My name is Kennedy."

"You did well, Kennedy. You followed your instincts and attacked the demon. We are a team, however, and as a team we have to work together. The Mages, Slayers, Furlings and others need to work as a cohesive group if we are to defeat Sekhmet." She knew the Furlings could defeat Sekhmet along with the alliance, but for the Mages and Slayers to work as they should have been for centuries, they needed to trust the other.

She turned her attention to Ainia, "What news do you bring from the Alliance." Penthesilea hid her smile as she felt Jack move closer to the Furlings.

"The Knox have agreed to help and the Asgard will help on the other front. Sekhmet is rising through the System Lords, but only with the consideration that she can guarantee an alliance with the demons of Niurin."

Willow interrupted before they could continue their discussions. "Wait! Does that mean that the demons are coming back from their dimension and into ours? I mean more than we've already seen?" Pure fear skittered down her spine at the thought of all the demons returning, or even half the demons returning. This was worse than any apocalypse they've faced. This was aliens and demons coming to the Hellmouth.

Ainia nodded her head, "Yes, they are. The Tok'ra have intercepted some communications among the Goa'uld and the other System Lords seemed confident that she could deliver what she promised."

"But…but you defeated them once before here, can't you do it again?"

"We can and we will with the help of the Knox and the others." Ainia acknowledged. "When we defeated the Goa'uld here before, it was before their alliance with the demons. There is already an alliance with Sekhmet and a demon, perhaps others. The battle will be harder this time." Her dark eyes bored into Willow's, "but we will defeat them. It can not be allowed for the Goa'ulds to ally themselves with demons."

Jack took in everything said and even what hadn't been said. He knew the Asgard helping with the other situation was whatever the SGC would be facing. The desire to go through the gate and to be beside Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c again was strong. They'd fought side by side for years and it chafed that it wasn't his place anymore. At least not until they figured out the de-aging. His eyes moved over to where Anya, Buffy, Giles, Xander, Spike, Dawn and Willow were standing. It seemed they were his teammates now. "How much time?"

"Enough time to train as a group, but not enough time that will be needed." Ainia answered the Taur'i.

"But will it be enough time to steal weapons needed?" An idea began to form in Jack's mind. He wouldn't be able to get more zats or even a staff weapon in this world, but he still had his military ID that he hadn't turned in to Hammond. He could raid the nearby military post.

A smirk tilted the corner of Xander's lips as he understood where Jack's question was leading. "I can help with that. I've had practice getting in and out of the base."

Jack cocked his head, considering the young man and finally nodded his head. He remembered what Willow had said about 'soldier guy' and he could use the help. "Follow my instructions exactly or I'll leave you there, understood?"

Xander snapped to attention and gave him a mock salute.

Buffy rolled her eyes at his antics and turned to Dawn and Willow, "I guess that means training for us." She didn't like that Dawn had been called to be a Slayer, but she could no longer deny it. Turning to her sister, she wrinkled her nose, "You know I'm going to remind you every time you complain about the training that you always felt left out when I went to train with Giles."

Dawn stuck her tongue out at her sister, but it didn't detract from the excitement in her eyes. She was finally going to make a difference. Something other than research girl.

Everyone turned to leave, the picnic forgotten with their new duties. "Oi! What about me?" Spike yelled as he tried to walk passed the magical barrier that Willow had erected earlier.

Willow blushed a bright red as she turned toward Spike, "Oh my gosh! I am so sorry. I forgot that I hadn't taken it down yet."

Spike narrowed his eyes at the petite redhead as she moved to dissolve the barrier, adding this to his long list of things to get even for. He was ready to crack some heads even if the only heads he could crack were demon ones. A new thought occurred and he wondered if he would be able to attack the Goa'uld. While they weren't quite demons, they weren't quite human either.

Chapter Text

“Good. You’re all here.” General Hammond began his briefing. “I have just heard from Colonel O’Neill.”

There was a loud clearing of the throat and George Hammond sighed. “Sorry, Colonel force of habit. I have just heard from Jack on planet Niurin. It seems there is a new System Lord rising through the ranks. Their concentration is on the other planet but I have no doubts that it will soon affect us despite what the Furlings’ believe.”

“Who is it? Do they know?” Daniel asked the room at large.

“Sekhmet.”

“But we destroyed her.” At the confused looks he was receiving from Teal’c, O’Neill and Sam he went on to explain. “Sekhmet and Hathor are believed to be the same.”

“Trust me when I say, she is definitely dead.” O’Neill piped up.

“Be that as it may.” The General continued, “whether or not it is Sekhmet, the Furling believe it is, another Goa’uld is never a good thing. SG-4 has just returned from P3X-686 and they have corroborated with Jack’s intel. Not the name of the System Lord but that there is one making a move. Whether or not they will make a move here before P3R-473, it is unclear. There is another complication.”

“Of course there is.” O’Neill muttered.

“Sekhmet or whoever it is means to make an alliance with the demons.” The General still had a very difficult time in calling them demons but it differentiated them from the Goa’uld so he went with it. "Apparently, She wants new and powerful hosts for symbiots. She doesn’t want a repeat of the Jaffa causing difficulties."

The claxon began to sound before anyone could make a comment about what the General had revealed.

“Incoming communication, sir. It’s the Asgard, audio only as before.”

“Patch it through.” The General nodded.

“Thor?” O’Neill asked before the Asgardian spoke.

“I am Aegir, Asgard Commander and Thor’s representative.”

“What can we do for you, Aegir?”

“As protectors of this section of space, in the Asgard Alliance with Furlings, we have agreed to help in their battle with Sekhmet. Expect Asgard ships in your area.”

“Uh, Aegir. Hathor. Cryogenic vat. Ring any bells? She’s dead.”

“Hathor is indeed dead.” Aegir assured him. “Sekhmet is her sister.”

“Peachy.” O’Neill grumbled.

“You are expecting battles here?” General Hammond prompted. “Is that why you are bringing your ships?” He was not looking forward to this brief with the President any more than the last one.

“We are expecting a diversionary tactic of Lower Goa’uld and their Jaffa while she makes her move elsewhere. She has already allied herself with one of the demons of Niurin and we fear more.”

“Yeah, I think I’ve had the pleasure.” O’Neill sighed. “He was able to make our bullets fall like he had some kind of barrier around him and Teal’c’s staff weapon didn’t reach him either. He’s also the one that made another me.”

The General turned his sharpened gaze to the Colonel. “Both weapons were ineffective?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Another you?” Aegis asked curiously.

Sam explained Willow’s theory of the high energy blast that hit the Stargate. “The other Colonel O’Neill is on Niurin with the Furlings.”

“The demon is aware that you went through the Stargate?”

Daniel’s expression was confused as he answered, “I guess so. He was there when we left, why?”

It was Teal’c that answered. “If the demon is the one that has indeed allied themselves with Sekhmet. She too is aware and in no need to arrive by ship as before. She will just dial and arrive.”

“The news just keeps getting better and better.”

 

Jack hadn’t liked to lie to his fellow soldiers, even if they were on a different planet than him, but he had. There was a nice arsenal of rocket launchers and other weapons that while they wouldn’t defeat Sekhmet or her allies, it would certainly slow them down.

“Hey, you guys ready to take the next watch by the Stargate thingy?”

Buffy’s voice had brought Jack out of his thoughts. They’d taken turns to guard it as best they could in a public park with Anthropology students around it during the day.

“You betcha!” Willow piped up. “Anyone want to teleport with me?”

“I’ll pass.” Jack shook his head. Grey completely gone from his hair now. He’d given up on a cure for his rejuvenating cells. They had bigger issues and when those issues were done, unless they could merge him with his other self, cells didn’t matter. “Still like traveling the old fashioned way.”

“You just don’t want to arrive with a third arm or something.” Xander whispered to Jack.

“Let’s just say I’m a little gun shy when it comes to anything alien or magical.”

“Count me in, Willow!” Xander slid his hand through Willow’s arm. “Beam me up, Rosenberg.”

Willow and Xander arrived at the Stargate with a flash of bright light.

“That never gets old.” Xander grinned over at his friend.

It wasn’t long before other Mages and Slayers began to arrive in their own flash of bright lights.

“Nope it doesn’t.” Willow agreed.

“What’s that?” Jack asked when he arrived, the last of the group. He pointed to the sky that seemed to be turning a purple color and the clouds rolled and twisted.

“Weird tornado?” Xander offered.

Before anyone could comment further there was a series of white bright lights as four Furlings arrived and stood battle ready.

“Uh, I’m going to guess not a weird tornado.” Dawn muttered. “What is it?”

“Dimension rift.” Penthesilea explained. “It was the doorway that the Furlings couldn’t cross.”

“So, demons.” Buffy sighed. “Of course it’s demons on my watch of the Stargate thingy. Seriously. I say we use that Rocket Launcher that Xander and Jack got and blow up the gate.”

“Buffy!” Willow admonished her best friend with a look at Jack.

“Well you know send you through it first so you can go home and then blow it up.” Buffy clarified.

“I’m afraid that wouldn’t be of use.” Antandre shook her head. “Sekhmet would just arrive by ship.”

“Uh, isn’t that how she is coming?” Jack asked her.

“Her demon ally would have told her that the gate is no longer buried and she would have no need of her ship. She would arrive via a dimension rift like this or through the Stargate.”

“The news just keep getting better and better.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, can I just say that this new Slayer thing is great.” Buffy grinned and then at Willow’s confused look she added. “I just thought huh I wonder what kind of demon went through that the last time and it was there. Right there in my head! No more researching, EVER!”

Kennedy rolled her eyes and said sarcastically, “yeah did you take a good look at the kind of demon? No way this group will be able to take that down.” She looked at Tara and the others. “No offense.”

“N-none taken.” Tara shook her head. She hadn’t thought that they could defeat it either. “How many more are coming?” She asked the Furling closest to her, Xanthe.

“My sisters will be bringing fifty more for the battle with Sekhmet. Today, ten have been alerted.”

“I like those odds.” Spike tilted his head for side to side to release the tension in his neck. He hated being around all these Slayers. He was sure that one of them, probably the Kennedy chit, would stake him in the heat of the battle and claim it was a mistake. If not her, then one of those Amazons.

“You okay?” Willow had moved to stand next to Jack. “I know you’ve never fought a Big Bad trying to take over the world…. Um, demon big bad not Goa’uld big bad.”

“Same thing, right? Bad guy wants to take over the world and thinks it’s a god. Whether it’s from here or somewhere else. I’m fine. I just wish I had my team here.” He saw the look of concern on Willow’s face. “My other team.” He assured her. He was beginning to feel like the Sunnydale group was his team, too.

“I get it. I would probably feel the same if I was on your world without Buffy, Giles and Xander. You have kind of a second language that you don’t have to say anything.” Though in Willow’s case they didn’t have to say anything. She could communicate telepathically.

“Get ready!” Buffy yelled. “My Spidey Sense just went into overdrive.

Jack powered up his zat gun and watched as the purple sky seemed to produce a rip.

Willow connected to the Furlings around her, the Slayers and her own link to the Earth as power surged through her. It was then that she felt it. The magic from before. The wizard, demon or whatever it was that had attacked them at the gate. Her head whipped around and she tried to see him.

Just as Willow’s head moved, so did all the Mages. It was like they were moving as one.

“What the hell?” Jack tried to divide his attention to the rip and Willow.

“He’s here.”

“Who?”

“The one that hit us with an energy blast.”

Oh Jack was ready for some pay back. He’d let the Slayers and Furlings deal with whatever the hell was coming out of the clouds. That wizard was his. He was going to make him reverse whatever the hell had happened to him.

He knew that the zat wouldn’t work on him if Teal’c’s staff weapon hadn’t. But maybe if he was distracted enough by Willow and the others Jack could get a shot in.

“Bind.” Willow, Tara and the other Mages spoke as one which caused the demon to jerk and stand in place.

“Release.” A choir of voices spoke as they came out of the shadows. A smirk played on the edges of Amy lips. “Nice try, you’re not a match for us.”

For every Mage there was a witch or demon in a dark robe.

Willow also saw Rack standing near Amy but in the very back was ---- “Ethan?!”

“What?” Buffy hadn’t been paying attention, all of her energy was focused on the swirling rip that seemed to be getting closer and closer to the ground. But she had heard Willow say Ethan.

“You were in a cage last time I saw you.” Buffy growled.

“I was.” Ethan agreed, “but the Initiative kindly sent me to Nevada where I was released by him.” He motioned toward the dark figure that had been bound.

Willow couldn’t understand how Ethan, Rack and Amy could match Willow and the other Mages that had the power of the Slayers and the Furlings. She closed her eyes and felt the power that emanated from the coven.

“There’s power. A lot of it.” She looked over at Penthesilea. “Do they have the same power as we do?”

Penthesilea shook her head. “It’s a different magic. Demon magic. It is coming from the doorway.” She motioned to where the edge of the cloud was now touching the ground and creating a doorway. “They are drawing on that.”

“Can we?” Willow asked not sure if they should if it was dark magic. Especially the temptation that she’d had before.

Antandre turned to look at Willow with new eyes and smiled. “Yes. You have enough light magic that the dark won’t engulf you as before. Use all that is available to you.”

Jack overheard the conversation, even if his attention was still on the wizard waiting for his shot. He made a mental note to ask Willow about it later. He still didn’t believe in magic. He put it down to the Ancients genetic manipulation in her, but he did wonder about the temptation to darkness.

Willow felt for the tendrils that Rack and Amy were using and began to weave it in with her and the other Mages.

Tara gasped when she felt the new darkness and looked over at Willow with concern.

“It will be alright, young sister.” Antandre reassured Tara. “Use it with knowledge that the light will guide you more than the darkness.”

“Bind.” As one, all the mages spoke and instead of just the original demon standing still as if they were bound, all of them were. Willow smiled slowly at Rack and Amy.

The ground around them began to shake.

“Uh, is Wills doing that?” Xander looked around. “or is this another earthquake?”

“Neither.” Buffy pointed to the dimensional rift. “It’s that.”

“Well crap.” Xander sighed heavily. “Anyone have a volcano handy?”

Jack spun around, all concern about the demon gone as he watched what looked like a giant Goa’uld worm slide out of the rip.

“Is that the Mayor? Tell me that is not the stupid Mayor again. I killed him!” Buffy felt like stamping her feet.

“It is not.” Xanthe replied. “It is another god. There is no need for a volcano.”

“Sure easy for you to say. What do we use then?” Xander looked between the Furlings and the snake god Mayor thing.

A bright white light surrounded the group and ten more Mage and Slayers arrived along with a HIMAR for Jack and Xander to use.

“Sweet.” Jack pocketed his zat and headed for the High Mobility Rocket Launcher and motioned for Xander to join him. Right at that moment, he liked the Furlings more than the Asgard or Nox.

Chapter Text

“Hey! How come I don’t get one of those?” Buffy glared at the Furlings. “Or at least a mobile rocket launcher like I had with the Judge.”

“It will not be needed.” Xanthe replied, then shut her eyes and pushed some of the Ancients power into the Slayers. They now had the knowledge in how to defeat this dimension demon.

“The being is coming from his world into this one. His power is not as strong as it is used to.”

“Seriously? It feels pretty strong to me.” One of the new Slayers muttered.

“Feel the knowledge given to you. Use it. Feel the power of your sisters. You will fight as one with us.” Antandre instructed them.

“Woah.” Both Buffy and Dawn said together as new knowledge and power went through them.

“This feels like when Willow did that spell and I fought Adam.”

“That is how all of the Slayers battles should have been through time. Slayers and Mages working together.”

“Enough talk, let’s fight!” Spike yelled out before he took off on a run toward the rift. He’d been itching for an all out battle since he’d been chipped and he couldn’t fight the soldiers.

As one, the Slayers turned toward the dimensional rift and ran toward it. Weapons of all kinds appeared in their hands as they ran. The Mages and the Amazons, teleported closer as the white light filled the park.

Jack looked over at Xander. “Ever use one of these?” He pointed toward the buttons that would move the rockets into position and launch them.

“Uh, nope. I mean I’ve loaded a rocket into a one of those mobile launchers for Buffy once but nothing this big. And no button, just put rocket in launcher, hand it to Buffy.”

Well, crap. Jack thought. He couldn’t take the time to teach the kid so Xander was going to get a literal trial by fire.

“Just think of it is a giant rocket launcher and instead of giving it to Buffy, you’re going to push this button here when I tell you to.” Jack would get the rockets in place, he could at least reach that and it would minimize collateral damage. He hoped.

Jack positioned the vehicle far enough away from the giant Goa’uld worm but close enough to do maximum damage. He looked at the readings of what the rockets were and whistled softly.

“Is that a good whistle or a we’re gonna die whistle?” Xander looked over at him.

“It’s a good whistle.” He assured him. “The Ancients gave us Precision Strike Missiles.” The Furlings definitely were Jack’s new best friends now. He could launch all six rockets without fear of the giant worm evading them.

He got the launch pod into position and took one last look out of the top of the cab to make sure it would cause the most damage to the dimension demon or the dimension itself and not to the Slayers and the others.

“See that button to your left.” He instructed Xander. “Yeah that one. Ready? Punch it!”

Xander hit the button and hoped that he didn’t blow up his friends.

The Mage and Ancients put up a barrier between the demon and the Slayers, keeping them safe from the explosion.

[The demon is weakening, strike it now, sisters]

As one, the Slayers moved with speed, agility and determination. For each strike from the worm like being, a Slayer matched it or evaded with ease.

Simultaneously, the Mages raised a hand, palm outward, toward the demon and made circular motions. With each motion, the demon writhed and began to move backward toward the rift.

The Furlings joined hands and began to speak in an ancient language. A glow of red surrounded the battlefield. As the demon began to drift into the fracture, the Amazons made the doorway dissolve.

[Tutefictum Verist Zaiauime Nomayecele Expoaupar]

Once closed, Willow turned toward the coven still bound by the Mages’ magic. Her eyes had a red glow and her voice had a quality of many speaking through her. “You could never hope to grasp the source of our power. You ally with a being that will not honor the pact you made. The choice is yours to do as you wish, but know that once defeated, those that fought with Sekhmet, will be banished to the dimension just closed. We speak both of humans and demons.”

It was the Furlings way of cleansing the world they had populated.

Willow’s eyes returned to their normal green color as her knees gave out from under her and the coven was released from its bond.

“Willow!” Dawn yelled and ran to help Willow stand.

“Well that was fun. Not.”

“Oh no you don’t.” Jack gritted out and pulled out his zat to stun the figure in the dark robe that had been his intended target before the giant Goa’uld worm. The energy pulse found its target and he crumpled to the ground.

The others in robes scattered and left him behind. They were focused on their own survival.

“You wouldn’t want to zap me some rope or handcuffs would you?” He looked over at one of the Furlings.

Instead, she transported both Jack and the demon to the basement of the Magic Box.

“Oh for crying out loud!” Jack glared at Ainthe when he saw that he had arrived in the basement and grabbed a chair to tie the demon to. Now that he was able to see him up close he didn’t look human or humanish so that ruled out Jaffa, Goa’uld, Tok’ra or any others that they had encountered. He wasn’t ready to believe in demon, just another alien race that wasn’t a snake or human.

The door to the basement opened with a crash and Giles was silhouetted with a crossbow.

“Just me and some friends.” Jack said sarcastically up the stairs. “You got rope down here I can tie this thing up with. Caught the guy that hit the Stargate with the energy blast.”

“Was that the noise we heard?” Giles lowered the weapon and descended the stairs to get the rope.

“No, that was some giant worm that came through a hole in the sky.”

Giles blinked. Then blinked again before turning toward Ainthe, “giant worm that came through the sky?”

“What the Tau’ri meant was a dimensional door opened and a demonic god came through the rift. The noise you heard where likely the rockets that were fired.”

“Good lord.” He found the rope and gave it to Jack. It was still disconcerting to see a man that had looked about his same age maybe a couple years older and to now look closer to Buffy and Willow’s age.

White light filled the basement with the arrival of Spike, Willow, Xander, Dawn, Buffy and Penthesilea.

“Hey, Giles. We came, we saw, we kicked some demon ass.” Xander grinned, even as he gently lay Willow on the couch.

“So I’ve heard.” He approached them but looked in concern at Willow. “Is everyone all right?”

“Peachy.” Willow assured him. “Just a little tired. Big mojo, sapped energy.”

Buffy smiled. “Yup, just like fire bad, tree pretty.”

Jack finished tying the last knot and had been completely lost with the conversation. There was definitely a story there somewhere. It amazed him that these kids, ironic calling them kids when he was about their age now, were as blasé about what had just happened as any of the SG teams that went through the gate.

Chapter Text

The demon could keep, for now. Jack thought. The Furlings had assured him that he wasn’t going anywhere and Jack was concerned about Willow. She seemed to be the most affected by the battle.

As the others went back upstairs, Jack hung back and placed his chair next to the sofa. It still gave him a good view of their prisoner. “You all right?”

“Yeah.” She assured him while she bit back a yawn. “It just takes a lot out of me. Last time I was this tired, we defeated a hell god.”

Jack blinked. She said it so casually as he would have about a Goa’uld. Even knowing what he knew and what he’d guessed. Nothing would have sealed how much of a veteran soldier she was for him as much as the casual way in which she’d said it.

“Sorry.” Willow saw his expression. “I keep forgetting that this is all new to you. I mean Hellmouth stuff.”

“Was that Adam? I heard Buffy say his name after getting another power boost.”

“Nope, Adam was part of the Initiative. Um, a secret government group that wanted to defeat demons but to also to use them for soldiers. You know make super soldiers using aspects of the demon in humans. Adam was sort of a demon human Frankenstein.”

“And that would explain some of your body language when you were back in SG Command Center.”

“No offense. I just have a hard time being around military…” Willow blushed and clarified. “Not you or the others that came here. After I got to know you.”

Jack couldn’t stop the smile, “none taken. Believe me I get it. Sometimes I have a hard time being around the military, too. Usually the ones that see career more than they see what’s right. So, if the hell god wasn’t Adam who was it?”

Willow explained about Glory and Ben, Tara, Buffy’s sacrifice, but not Dawn being the Key. That she never told to anyone. She’d just mentioned there being a Key. “Buffy died and I just knew that she was in a hell dimension and I couldn’t let it go. I brought her back.”

“Sorry? You brought Buffy back from the dead? Was that when something happened with dark magic?” Jack apologized. “I heard Antandre say that it wouldn’t engulf you like before.”

Her fingers absently plucked at the material on the couch seeming to be lost in thought.

“Hey, just tell me it’s none of my business. I promise, you won’t hurt my feelings.”

“No, it’s not that. It’s not like it’s a secret anyway. It just --- It doesn’t show me in a good light.”

Jack reached over and stilled her fingers. “Trust me, Willow. We all have darkness in us and the fact that you faced yours and came out the other side of it as well adjusted as you seem to be shows me just how strong you are.”

Her lips curved upward, it was almost the same thing that Riley’s wife had said to her when she’d come to Sunnydale.

“Thanks. Sometimes I don’t feel so strong. I was addicted to magic, like someone would be with drugs. I guess it was my drug of choice. It wasn’t a make the pain go away need, more that I liked the feeling of power.” She paused, and in a small voice continued. “I liked it too much. Sometimes I still do and I’m afraid what I will do if something bad ever happened to someone close to me.” That wasn’t anything that she’d told anyone before. She would have told Tara, but they were still being tentative friends.

“Especially now with what the Furlings unlocked in you.” Jack guessed.

“Especially now.” Willow agreed. “I mean if it happened in the heat of battle, that would be one thing. We all expect to die when we go out there, like soldiers. It’s always in the back of your mind. But if he did something or someone like him.” She pointed over toward the bound demon. “Just because he could, I’d like to think I would look for justice but I think I would look for revenge.”

Jack squeezed her hand and sat back up, “the fact that you are worried about it, tells me that you’ll probably make the right decision. Look I know what it’s like to be in a deep well and never think you’ll come out of it.”

He paused for a moment as he made his decision and quietly told her about his son and the deep dark place he’d been in when General Hammond pulled him back in with Stargate. “If you do go down that dark path, I have faith that someone will pull you back, like the General did for me. Maybe without even knowing they’re doing it.” His eyes met hers, “I promise you, Willow. If I am still here when that happens, I will do my damnedest to pull you back from the abyss.”

It was the first time that he allowed himself to think about what he would do if it was not possible to undo what happened to him. He’d thought about going back to his world. Living there as himself but he knew that he wouldn’t be able to be on another SG team while other him took ‘his’ place. Jack also knew himself well enough that he wasn’t ready for retirement especially now that he had deaged to his late twenties. He could go to another off world, maybe live with Skaara, but the longer that he was here, the more part of their group he felt.

Besides if the Goa’uld considered this place no longer off limits, even with Sekhmet’s defeat. They would need someone here that knew the Stargate. That was what he was telling himself anyway.

Willow reached over and squeezed his hand. “Thanks, Jack. I will take you up on it. And I promise that short of going Darth Willow, I will try to find out if there is a way to fix what happened to you.” She looked over at the demon, and lowered her voice so only Jack could hear her. “But the demon doesn’t have to know I won’t go to the dark side of the Force.”

That brought a surprised chuckle from Jack. “No he doesn’t. Deal.”

She raised her voice so the demon could hear her. “Remind me to tell you about the time the D’Hoffryn wanted to make me a vengeance demon because he thought I would be really good at it.”

Jack couldn’t tell if she was teasing or not. He decided not to ask.

Chapter Text

A slow smile quietly spread over the demon’s features as he watched Willow guarding him. He’d felt the Ancients’ power at the battle and had received the warning loud and clear that he would be sent to the other dimension if they failed. It wasn’t a threat to him. That dimension gave him just as much power as his own and he could bide his time there. Bide it as he had with Sekhmet. Sooner or later, there would come one that would defeat the Ancients if she didn’t and he would be around when it happened.

At first he had dismissed the red haired one at the gate. She had only caught his attention when he felt her power more than the Warrior’s, more than the other magical human. Now, with the power of the Ancients, she was even more his goal. If not now, then later.

“D’hoffryn chose well in you, little one.” He spoke for the first time, watching her.

“D’hoffryn always chooses well.” Anya said from the top of the stairs. It had been her turn to relieve the guard. “He chose me. You can leave now.”

Willow didn’t wait but stood up and stretched her tired muscles. “Thanks, Anya. If he gives you trouble you can hurt him.” There was a moment of pause, not sure she should qualify that, but in the end, she didn’t. She hoped that she wouldn’t regret that.

“You are a vengeance demon?” He asked with some surprise since he didn’t feel any power coming from her.

“Was.” Anya clarified as she took her seat and pulled out her copy of Bride magazine. If she had to sit around, she might as well make decisions about her wedding with Xander.

“She could change you again.” The demon offered.

“No thanks. I heard all about the worm in you.” She flipped a page and looked down at the floral arrangement. Anya made a face and turned the page.

“What about immortality?”

“Nope still have to have a worm.” She glanced up from the magazine. “Why are you trying to make me join you? Humans are lame.” Anya admitted, “but they keep fighting, they don’t give up and if there’s one thing I’ve learned being with the Slayer is I wouldn’t bet against her. And all those Furling Amazons, they are a lot worse than Buffy. I might be human now, but I wouldn’t fight against them. Besides, I’m marrying Xander when this is over and nothing is going to get in the way of that.” There was a small voice in her head that said she’d just jinxed herself, but Anya ignored that.

“Spike might be stupid enough to double cross Buffy and the others, but I’m not.”

Another slow smile spread over the demon’s features.

 

“I’m sorry, Jack.” Giles looked up from the book that he was researching. “The demon isn’t talking and my contacts haven’t come up with anything to help you. We aren’t giving up.” He hastened to add.

“Don’t worry about it.” Jack said. “The demon’s not going anywhere and we’ve got bigger issues. I’ve heard from General Hammond and the fighting in my world has begun. They’re winning, but that means that Sekhmet is closer than we thought. Which means we can’t waste any time trying to figure out my problem, we have to figure out what to do when the Goa’uld gets here.”

“How did you defeat Ra in your world? Maybe with the help of the Furlings we can here, too.”

“I haven’t ruled it out.” Jack nodded, “but I’d rather use it as a last resort and it can only work if she comes by ship or has a ship here for her. That was how we killed Ra. It only worked on his ship.”

Sure he could send the nuclear warhead through the Stargate or use it on a building where Sekhmet was, but the collateral damage would be immense and Jack wasn’t prepared for that. As he said, last resort.

“Maybe the Amazons can open a dimension rift and send all the Goa’ulds through it.” Jack continued. “And that was a sentence I never thought I’d say.”

“We could.” Penthesilea said as she joined them at the table where they were talking. “But, unfortunately, we do not know if the demons that inhabit that world could make a rift for her to leave to another planet. The door here would be closed, but it might not be closed elsewhere.”

“So the all seeing, all knowing Ancients can’t get rid of all the Goa’uld?” Jack asked sarcastically.

"Not unless you would like us to get rid of all the ‘worms’ as you call them.” She held up a hand as Jack opened his mouth. “That would include harming the Tok’ra and the Jaffa. Your friend, Teal’c.”

Jack snapped his mouth shut. Damn it.

“This world and others like it are under our protection just as your world is under the protection of the Asgard. Our main concern is keeping this one safe.”

“What about Jack?” Willow said from the entrance, leaning her weight against the doorway. “Can’t you fix him? Why do we have to keep trying with the demon? I mean I know he’s not from here and he’s under Asgard protection so maybe you can’t do anything because of some agreement. But, it happened to him here and from a demon from this one.”

“It is tied to the Naquadah and the energy that the demon used.” She looked sadly at Jack. “I’m afraid there is nothing that we know of to fix you.” Penthesilea paused not sure that she should elaborate as it was Thor’s secret to share. “There is also a genetic marker placed in your DNA by the Asgard, as the Mages and Slayers have here.”

“Are you saying that Jack has powers like we do and they just aren’t awake yet?” Willow asked surprised but not as surprised as the expression that Jack wore.

“Not powers, no.” She shook her head. “Their world didn’t need the development of powers as yours did. It is how you were able to receive the knowledge of the Asgard.” Penthesilea said to Jack. “It is something ‘special’ but not harmful in any way.”

“Easy for you to say, lady. You’re not the one that’s been manipulated or had their life taken from them.”

Willow walked over to put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “I still promise. I will help you find a way to fix this.”

Xander had just entered the room, not hearing the conversation except for Willow’s comment. “She’s got her resolve face on. Trust me when I say, if it can be found she’ll do it. And pizza is here!”

Chapter Text

Crap. Buffy thought as she woke from one of her Slayer vision dreams. She’d actually hoped that with the Mages activated they’d get the prophetic dreams.

She got out of bed and went down the stairs. “Dawn?” Dawn looked as tired as Buffy felt. “You, too, huh?”

“You know, I used to never understand why you didn’t want your powers sometimes. I get it now.” Dawn poured her cereal in a bowl and handed Buffy the box.

“Hey guys.” Willow said as she came into the kitchen just as exhausted looking.

“Did you get a Slayer dream, too?” Buffy was confused. Why would Slayers and Mages get the stupid things?

“Huh? No. I was just up all night trying to figure out how to help Jack. Wait. You guys had a Slayer dream? It wasn’t cheese guy was it?”

“No. I think worm goddess, Sucrets.”

“Uh…..”

“I think Buffy meant Sekhmet.” Dawn clarified.

“Anyway.” Buffy glared at her sister. “She had glowy eyes. Teal’c didn’t have glowy eyes and he has a worm so, maybe not. Maybe he gets gold on his head and she gets it in her eyes. Whoever it was, she said with a really creepy voice that it was not enough. And then a whole bunch and I mean a whole bunch of dimension rifts started popping up. The sky didn’t look like the what we saw before with the purple cloud, but it kind of shimmered like water and there was a lot of them. ”

“Then.” Dawn continued, “white light comes down and we’re all locked inside. The Slayers and the Furlings” She shuddered. “It looked like a Star Trek transporter but a prison.”

“What about me? I mean the witches that were activated? We weren’t in it? Xander? Giles? Jack?” Willow looked from one to the other.

“Nope just us Slayers and the Amazons.”

“Huh. Well I guess a Slayer dream would be about Slayers.” Willow conceded. “And I don’t care what Sucrets said.” She grinned at Buffy, “I’m so calling her that now, we are enough.”

“You bet!” Both Dawn and Buffy chimed in though not as enthusiastically as they should.

 

When they were all gathered in the Magic Box, Buffy had explained the dream to Giles. “I mean I get it doesn’t involve Hellmouthy things or anything but what does your big Watcher brain think?”

“I’m afraid I have no idea. Perhaps we should ask Jack when he gets here. He knows about the Goa’uld. I do know one of the myths with the goddess Sekhmet was that she was also a healer. I must admit that I can’t see where that fits into all of this, especially with an alien and I never thought I would say that.”

“I feel ya.” Jack said as he entered the shop hearing Giles’ last comment. “Trust me when I say it took a bit getting used to.” Especially after seeing Thor.

“Got a question for ya.” Buffy turned to Jack. “So do these worm guys that aren’t Teal’c have glowy eyes and creepy voices?”

That brought Jack to attention. “the Goa’uld do and the system lords definitely do. Why do you ask?”

She sighed, “because Slayers get these Prophetic dreams. I mean we kind of have to figure them out and they are really weird. Like this one time Willow was speaking French to one of those organ grinding monkeys.”

“What the hell could that have meant?” Jack looked from Buffy to Willow to Buffy again.

“Yeah, never did figure that one out, but the other stuff in the dreams are just as weird.”

“The point is.” Giles interjected. “Since Buffy and Dawn seemed to have apparently dreamt about Sekhmet, we thought that you might be able to help with understanding.”

Buffy explained the dream to Jack and watched the expressions that didn’t cross his face. Seriously, he was as bad as Angel with keeping it close to the chest.

“I get the it’s not enough. That seems pretty straight forward.” Jack began and saw Willow open her mouth to protest. “It doesn’t mean it is.” He said with quick look at her. “They like mind games.” He would keep his doubts to himself. Not that he thought the battle would be lost. He knew better than that, but that he had a gut feeling that they would need more help than what was currently here.

“And since I have no idea how dimensions open, I’ll pass on that except to say it sounds like the center of a Stargate when it’s first opened. The shimmering water. I can’t imagine a whole bunch of stargates suddenly appearing here but maybe it means people from other planets around the galaxy are coming. But that sounds straight forward too and you said your dreams are usually not like that.”

“Well, we don’t know what happened when they were given full powers.” Willow added. “Maybe Slayer dreams became more windows than symbolism.”

“True.” Giles agreed with her though he doubted it.

“Okay then maybe Sekhmet says it’s not enough, we call in more calvary and uh you get locked in a light prison.” Jack said dryly then shook his head. “No seriously. If I had to guess I’d say that your dream was warning you that Sekhmet was coming and coming quick. That she now has an army from different dimensions that are coming here and --” Jack paused thinking of the light prison.

“This light that has you and the Furlings in it. Can you describe it for me?”

“Well it’s kind of like the Beam me up, Scotty but a prison.” Dawn said.

“Asgard transporter. Definitely something more advanced than Goa’uld.” Jack said thoughtfully. “The question is, does the beam come from a more advanced technology of the good guys or bad guys.”

“I vote good guys.” Dawn raised her hand.

“Yep, me too.” Buffy and Willow joined her with their hands raised.

“I really don’t want to think about a Goa’uld system lord getting their hands on Asgard like technology.” Jack had to agree with them. But unfortunately, it was on the scenarios he did have to think about.

Chapter Text

When the Furlings were told about the dream, they reassured the others that Goa’uld would not have that type of technology. However, they also admitted that they didn’t know if anyone from another dimension did.

“You couldn’t have just let it stop with, no the Goa’uld don’t have it?” Xander sighed. “Should have known we wouldn’t catch a break like that.”

Antandre arched a brow. “As a warrior, you must be prepared for anything. Train as if everything you learn also had a dark side to it.”

“Especially over a Hellmouth.” Xander agreed. “What’s one more apocalypse? Right, Buff?”

“You betcha!” She said, but without a lot of enthusiasm. When this was over, finals were over and if the Slayers stayed activated, Buffy was going to take a nice long vacation at the beach. No slaying, no demons, no worm people, just tan and shopping fun times.

A flash of bright light filled the Magic Box and all of the occupants disappeared leaving the demon in the basement alone. His eyes flashed red as he felt the power of the Ancients when he saw his guard disappear. The demon shimmered out of his bonds and waved his hand with a last thought before he disappeared to join his brethren. It has begun.

As Buffy, Willow and the others materialized at the Stargate, they realized that every one was there. All the Slayers, Mages, Furlings and they were all holding weapons. Even Jack, Xander, Giles and Spike had arrived with weapons when they didn’t have them before.

“Uh, I’m going to guess showtime.” Jack said as he looked at the zat gun in one hand and a staff in the other. He clipped the gun to his belt and held the staff. While he was more comfortable with the zat he thought he should probably use the other’s firepower. At least until he knew what all they were dealing with.

“Sekhmet is here.” Xanthe agreed as they watched the last of the chevrons lock into place.

“She’s not the only one.” Jack pointed past the Stargate and to the left where Goa’uld transportation rings had just deposited the first wave of warriors from a Tel’tak. “That means that we’re going to have an invasion from ships and the gate.” He didn’t waste time before powering up his weapon and shooting at the first Jaffa that appeared.

“Hope you can find more of those HIMARs.” He gritted out to the closest Amazon. “And get the civilians out of here.” All they’d need is a bunch of people coming to see what was going on.

“Everything that we need, will be here.” Penthesilea assured him.

Buffy felt a weight in her hands and looked down at a weapon that she’d never seen before. It looked like an axe but with a stake at the end of it. But it felt right. It felt like it should be hers. “Uh…..” She looked around at the Furlings. “I chop their heads off?”

“It is the scythe that we gave the First slayer to kill the last of the Old Ones, the ancient demons in this world. Use it wisely and you will defeat Sekhmet.”

“Sure. How hard can it be, right? Defeated the Master, defeated Glory – uh kind of, defeated the Initiative definitely. I can do this.”

Dawn, Willow, Tara, and Kennedy stepped up next to Buffy. “We can do this.”

“You betcha.” Xander added as he stood next to them with his rifle. “Now let’s go kick some worm ass. If worms have asses. You know what I mean.”

Xander, half of the Slayers and a few of the Mages went to join Jack in his battle with the Jaffa. The Furlings stayed with the Stargate and the battle with Sekhmet.

Giles had noticed the first dimension rift open and he along with the half the Mages, and a few of the Slayers went to battle there. They were getting hit on three sides. Divide and conquer.

Spike had stayed with Buffy and Bit but he was hedging his bets. He might double cross the Slayer and side with the demon or he might triple cross and stay with the Slayer. It would depend how the fighting went. He smirked at that thought. Nice of the demon to deactivate his chip though before the Furlings whisked him out of there.

Sekhmet arrived through the gate with her arm outstretched and the ribbon device glowed. Buffy, Dawn, Willow, Spike and few more were tossed back as if an invisible hand had pushed the group. The only ones still standing were the Furlings.

“Kneel before your queen.”

“Yeah that’s not gonna happen.” Buffy gritted out and ran toward Sekhmet with her scythe.

As the System Lord raised her hand again, there was a flash of bright light and her hand device disappeared. She turned to glare at the Furling. “You dare!”

“We do.” Xanthe said calmly.

Willow stood and felt the power around her. It was like she was connected to all the energy in the Earth. She didn’t know if it was because she’d accidentally touched the scythe when her body slammed into Buffy’s or it was due to the huge number of Mages that were there. Or it could be from her terror, anything was possible. She would take advantage of it though.

“Willow!”

Dawn got her attention to show Willow that other rifts were opening, before she ran to help Buffy.

Willow drew on all the power that she could and used a circular motion with her arms as she had before to begin to close them. “Kind of like Whack a Mole. I can do this.”

Jack had left the Slayers and Xander to take care of the Jaffa. They were taking them down as easily as any SG team. Jack felt that he needed to be where Sekhmet was. He knew that he would be little help with the demons.

He fired his staff weapon at an approaching demon who was intent on getting Willow. “Keep going. I’ve got your six.”

“Six what?” She asked confused though she didn’t take her eyes off what she was doing with the dimensions.

“I’ve got your back, Willow.” Jack said with some amusement. “Keep doing what your doing, I’ll take care of these guys.”

“Okey, dokey.”

Chapter Text

Even without the ribbon device, Sekhmet was still a threat. Buffy wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do with the weapon she’d been given as she ran toward the System Lord. She could chop her head off if she got close enough but she really, really didn’t want to do that.

Just as she had that thought, four cat people came out of the Stargate. “Uh, huh?” They seemed human, they walked like humans, but they had giant metal cat heads and they were carrying staffs like Teal’c.

The one that was furthest out front, suddenly lost the metal cat head. “Oh! Helmets.” That Buffy could fight. “Dawn take the one to the left, I’ll get this one.”

The Jaffa fired up their weapon and shot it at Buffy who easily deflected it with the scythe. “I am liking this weapon!” She called over to the Amazons that seemed to just me standing around. “A little help would be nice.” She glared at them with a pointed look at Sekhmet.

“That is your battle, warrior. We offer guidance, training and help when needed. Help is being provided though you do not see.”

“Oh great, just like the Watcher’s Council.” Buffy muttered as she worked her way toward Sekhmet through the Jaffa warriors.

~*~

Jack’s attention was torn between defending Willow and the Jaffa that had come through the gate. As soon as he’d seen them, he’d known that they were Sekhmet’s elite guard. Buffy and Dawn seemed to be holding their own, but he knew from experience how difficult it was to fight them. Sekhmet’s attention seemed to be on the fighting in front of her and at the moment Willow wasn’t being attacked.

It was the best opportunity they would have and he took it. Jack turned the staff weapon toward Sekhmet and fired.

While it looked like the System Lord wasn’t paying attention, she was, and saw the human fire a staff weapon. A ring on her left hand glowed, the energy from the staff weapon dissipated and it looked like a lightening bolt from the clear blue sky came down and struck right at Jack’s feet.

He was blown back and hard to the ground; Willow while not struck by the lightening, had been hit by the repelling wave. It had affected her like the ribbon device had and she was flung back, just not as hard. She struggled to her feet and ran over to Jack. “Please be okay. Please be okay. Please be okay.” She felt around for a pulse and sighed with relief when she felt it.

Jack opened his eyes and cleared his head with a shake. He was going to kill that Goa’uld. “I’m okay.” He used the staff weapon to stand and stood still for a few seconds to clear the ringing in his ears. He probably had a mild concussion but his anger and adrenaline were enough to keep him steady.

Willow recognized the look in his eyes. It was the same one Buffy got sometimes. “Go get her.” She said with a hint of a smile. “My six will be fine.”

“Copy that.” He looked down at her and raised his hand to put it on her shoulder. “If you need me, unless I’m killing that bitch, just yell.”

“Copy that.” Willow imitated him, then added. “but I think you’ll have to go through Buffy if you plan on killing her.” She jerked her head in the direction of Buffy who had defeated the last Jaffa that had stood between her and her goal.

~*~

Buffy had seen the lightening and for a minute thought the worm lady was going to hit Willow and Buffy was pissed. She’d seen Jack get hit and Willow fly backwards and she wasn’t sure if they were all right, but she couldn’t think about that now. All of her focus was now on Sekhmet.

“She’s mine.” Buffy growled at Dawn and moved with almost inhuman speed toward the gate. She didn’t care if the woman went through or not. She would follow her.

Sekhmet’s eyes glowed and her voice echoed, “you will make a fine host.”

“Why do all the bad guys yabber at you? Seriously. We don’t care.” Buffy grumbled and swung the axe at Sekhmet’s hand that held the ring. “And you are not going to lightning anyone.”

The Goa’uld yelled in pain and clutched at her bloodied stump. “You dare!”

“Yeah I dare.” She wasn’t comfortable with the axe end of the weapon but she was very comfortable with the stake end. Buffy had no idea if it would kill a Goa’uld but it would hurt it definitely.

She flipped the scythe around and stabbed the stake into the woman’s heart.

Sekhmet fell.

“Did I kill her?” Buffy didn’t take her eyes off of the woman but the question was directed at the Amazons.

“You have killed the host.”

“That’s good, right?”

“Buffy, look out!” Dawn yelled as red mist began to escape Sekhmet’s mouth.

Simultaneously, Buffy rolled to the side and pulled the scythe from Sekhmet’s body but not before she inhaled some of the mist.

“Ewww!” Dawn made a face when a worm like symbiote began to crawl out of the System Lord’s abdomen.

Before Dawn could react there was a rapid fire of three energy bursts and the symbiote disappeared.

“That felt good.” Jack said as he holstered the zat gun. He might not have killed Sekhmet but he damn well killed the symbiote. Win/win.

Seeing the war was over, the Furlings joined hands and began to chant, “Tuteuoma Forosis Eperarum Pareyorium.” The dimensions that Willow hadn’t closed began to shrink in on themselves allowing Giles and the others to finish killing the remaining demons without threat of more arriving.

“The rifts have been sealed.” Penthesilea said.

“Then what’s that?” Kennedy asked when she joined the others. She pointed toward the sky that had pockets of shimmering light. “It looks like the dream.”

Just then a bright light seemed to come down from the sky and encompass not only the Slayers and Furlings, but also the Mages, Jack, Xander, Giles, Spike and Anya.

“Here’s hoping it’s the good guys.” Jack said as they all disappeared.

Buffy blinked in surprise. One minute she was in front of the Stargate, her mind kind of fuzzy and the next she was standing in front of a large glass window looking out from Space down to Earth.

“Um I think I’m having a hallucination.” She turned from the window and saw a small man with what looked like grass, leaves and sticks for hair. “Principal Snyder?!?” With that, Buffy fell unconscious to the ground.

Chapter Text

Chapter 28

The first thing Buffy saw when she opened her eyes was the concerned faces of Dawn, Willow, Xander, and Giles. “Oh god, did I die again?” She asked through very dry lips.

When there was no response, Buffy’s eyes widened. “That was a joke. Are you telling me I died again?!”

“Um, sort of.” Dawn told her as Jack came to stand by the others.

“Technically, you might have, but the Nox have healed you.” Jack supplied.

“It is called the Ritual of Life.” A new voice said near where Spike and Anya were standing.

“Buffy, this is –”

“Principal Snyder. I wasn’t hallucinating.”

“I don’t know who this Principal Snyder is but I am Anteaus.”

Now that Buffy could concentrate, she could see the differences between the two men. Besides one wearing nature hair and one being food for the Mayor.

“Sorry, you just look a lot like someone I used to know. And thanks for the ritual.” She pushed herself up to a seated position on the flower strewn table.

“It is our way.”

Buffy raised both eyebrows and looked at Willow, Xander and Giles.

“So, um, what happened? I mean why the ritual? Was it that red smoke Sucrets blew at me after I killed her?”

Jack’s lips twitched at the name, but he let the Nox elder explain.

“The Furlings asked for our assistance. We were able to heal you as they could not.”

“There’s a little bit more to that story.” O’Neill said with a hint of a smile as he and the others from SGC entered the large room. They had just arrived at the Nox ship with the help of the Asgard.

“We would have been here sooner but we had to fight off the strike force that had attacked our Earth. We had a little help from the Asgard.” O’Neill began to explain. “We took out Sekhmet’s ships once we got here, Nox were already here. Not sure why since I am pretty sure you guys don’t fight.” It wasn’t said as an insult, but as an observation.

“The Furlings asked for our assistance.” Anteaus repeated.

“We asked for their assistance in case we were not able to seal the rifts alone.” Xanthe said as she, with the other Amazons entered the large room. “They helped us in the past and when we saw Buffy fall to the mist, we asked them to help heal.”

The Nox were the most advanced of all the Alliance though they didn’t look it.

“So what happens now?” Kennedy asked the room at large. “Is it over or will someone else come here to take up where Snake Lady left off.”

“I do not believe that you will have more Goa’uld.” Teal’c said with a shake of his head. “This is the second time that a System Lord has been defeated by the Furlings and the people of this world. It will likely return as a forbidden planet.”

Spike suddenly gave a loud yell as he grasped his head in pain.

“What? What is it?” Both Dawn and Buffy yelled.

“I didn’t do anything!” Anya held up her hands.

Antandre’s bracelet glowed a fiery red as she held her hand out toward Spike. “You should be glad that I do not kill you where you stand.” Her eyes narrowed at the vampire. “I was out voted. They felt this was punishment enough.”

“Punishment for what? And what did you do?” Buffy demanded as she stood, none too steady on her feet.

“Betrayal and reactivated his chip.”

“Now, you see why the vengeance demons liked her?” Anya said but didn’t say more from the glare coming from Buffy and Spike.

“Reactivated his chip?” Buffy asked in a confused voice.

“The demon deactivated it for a price.”

Xander rolled his eyes. “Why am I not surprised? Sold us out again, huh, Spike?”

“No I bloody did not.” He glared at them all through the pounding headache.

“Let me guess.” Giles began, “the demon offered to deactivate the chip if you would betray us. You agreed but when you saw that we were winning you decided to betray the demon. What could it hurt, he’d already given you want you wanted.”

“Would have worked, too except for the bints.” Spike grumbled and yelled again in pain when the Furling pushed more power at him. Okay he would have to remember not to piss off the Amazons.

“Where can I get one of those nifty bracelets?” Xander asked the room at large. He was enjoying Spike’s pain.

 

~*~

Willow couldn’t help staring, she really couldn’t.

“Do you have a question, Willow Rosenberg?”

“What? Oh, sorry.” She blushed a bright red at being caught. “I do. I mean, I think I already know the answer.”

Willow looked from Jack to where O’Neill was standing with Daniel, Sam and Teal’c. “The Furlings said it wasn’t possible, but I thought maybe since you did the Ritual on Buffy there might be something else.”

Anteaus followed her gaze and sadly shook his head. “I am sorry. Even our technology can’t undo what has been done.”

“That’s what I thought but I had to ask.”

“He is very fortunate to have a friend such as you.”

“He is.” Jack agreed as he joined them. He hadn’t heard the conversation but he could guess what it had been about. “It’s all right, Willow.” He said with a softened expression. “I won’t say I’m happy about what happened, but it is what it is.”

O’Neill scowled as he caught sight of Jack and Willow talking with the Nox.

“What is it?” Daniel leaned in with a lowered voice to his friend.

“She’s young enough to be his daughter.”

“The Nox?” Daniel asked in confusion.

“No, other me.”

Daniel looked at O’Neill in surprise and then a hint of amusement tinted his voice when he figured out what had caused the scowl. “She’s young enough to be your daughter but not his. I’d guess he’s only about five to eight years older.”

“I need a beer.” Was the only response that Daniel got.

~*~

“So this is good-bye?” Samantha asked Jack.

Jack had asked his former teammates and other him to join him away from everyone.

“It is. General Hammond had said when I left to come here, that I could decide where I wanted to go when this was all over. This is as close to our Earth as I think I’m going to find that isn’t our Earth.” He didn’t have to say that he wouldn’t have stayed with SGC even if that had been an option.

“It was an honor, Jack.” Teal’c said. It was the first time that he had not called him Colonel O’Neill. Like the others, he had begun thinking him in those terms when he’d been split into two entities.

“Hey, it isn’t like we’ll never see each other again. There’s still a Stargate here.”

“That’s true.” Daniel agreed. “You never know. I stayed on Abydos, now look.”

There was an awkward silence as they all reflected on WHY they’d been reunited with Daniel.

“Yeah, maybe not the best example.” Daniel added sheepishly.

“Gonna create your own SG team here?” O’Neill asked Jack with a glance over to where Willow stood not too far away from the others with a pretty blonde.

“Not SG.” Jack said easily. “More like DR team.”

“DR team?” Sam asked.

“Dimension Rift. Someone has to make sure they stay sealed and no one else comes through the Stargate.”

“Going to bury it?” O’Neill cocked an eyebrow.

“Nope. Supposedly there’s a place nearby that used to be part of a DoD program. Thought we’d move it down there and create our own iris to close it.”

~*~

Willow sighed softly when she saw Tara sitting with Kennedy. It hurt, but not as much as she thought it would.

“Hey.” She said softly. “Can we talk?”

“S-sure.” Tara got up and walked a little ways with Willow.

“Are you happy?” Willow began and at Tara’s confused look she glanced at Kennedy.

Tara blushed, “we’re just friends.”

Willow smiled sadly, “it’s okay, Tara. I mean I just want you to be happy. I know we’re in a weird place and I know I have to earn your trust again. I’m still fighting it.” She softly confessed, “I owe you that much. It won’t be easy but I think I can control this.”

She hadn’t been aware that she’d glanced over at Jack where he stood with his friends.

Tara slid her hand in Willow’s for just a quick moment to squeeze her hand and smiled softly, “You’ll have help.”