Disclaimer: I own neither Buffy not Stargate Atlantis. If I did I wouldn't be writing Fan
fiction, got it?
Dedication: This is my Christmas present for the wonderful Anneliese
who asked for a continuation of Mirroring
, a plot bunny over at Another Soldier
. It's a lot more fast paced than my usual style and I think it's got some funnier moments as well. I hope you like it and aren't disappointed. Merry Christmas, hun.
Other than that, a Merry Holiday to all of you.Edit, 2/8/2007
: Parts 1 and 2 are now beta-ed. Rest is coming soon.Myself in You
Slayer sighed, running a hand through her hair and frowning at the grime that stuck to her fingers afterward. She needed a shower. And food. And rest. Ah, hell, she needed an epidemic to kill all the Wraith in the galaxy so she could for once, just once, close her eyes without a gun in her hand, stay somewhere longer than 24 hours without being made prey
The word left a bitter taste, even in her thoughts. A taint. And a rage more potent than any she had experienced before that damn portal had dropped her right into the lap of one of the most vile and evil creatures she had ever met. It was a rage that had been boiling in her ever since that day. It had been slow coming at first, suppressed by morals and a yearning for home, peace, love. But one by one, the Wraith had stripped those things from her, leaving her the way she was now.
Not prey. Never prey. It was their mistake to believe that they could break something such as her. No, Slayer didn’t break. She bent and she waited for her time and when it came she painted the walls in red. She was a tiger pretending to be caught behind bars. Bars that were not nearly strong enough to hold her. After three years of running from them, jumping from planet to planet every day to avoid being found and used for sports she was the killer Faith had always known was inside.
She sighed again, wiping her hand on her dirt stained pants. Faith. She wished the other woman could see her now. She’d probably be proud. She’d point at her sister and tell the mini slayers, “See, that’s what being the slayer is all about.”
Shaking her head, Slayer shoved the thought to the back of her mind. She had been gone for three years as far as she knew. She had no clue how much time had passed on Earth. The Scoobies had given up looking for her a long time ago. That had been the deal when they had founded the New Council and started spreading across the globe. If someone disappeared, they spent one year looking for them. After that they stopped.
They stopped because a loss was a loss and there was nothing to be done about it. And Slayer had always had a tendency of shaking everyone off and going on hunts alone, not making contact with anyone for weeks, sometimes months.
Clinging to the past and people she would never see again was helping nothing.
She was here now, she was alive, she was on the run and she was damn hungry. Looking at the soft light of dusk settling around her she decided that she had twelve more hours at least, maybe more. There was no Wraith close to this planet, she knew. Their Trackers, while damn accurate, didn’t reach very far in comparison to the vast space between some worlds. They would not catch the signal from the implant between her shoulder blades tonight.
Unconsciously she rubbed her neck, as if to ease an itch. It was a useless gesture. The thing under her skin was unreachable even for someone as limber as her and the mound of scar tissue above it was all the proof she needed to never let any barn-world doctor near her with a scalpel again.
So a quick wash somewhere and after that a big dinner at the local tavern, it was. Ten hours of restless sleep and then she would jump again. She hadn’t been on Javor in almost thirteen months (according to the Ancient device strapped to her wrist and programmed to Earth’s measures of time) and it was nice this time of the year.
Ronon Dex sat hunched over his beer, ignoring everything around him and yet not missing a thing. The Wraith had been here a few weeks ago, making the planet relatively safe for now but that didn’t mean he was going to let his guard down. There was always someone stupid enough to challenge him.
The door opened to admit a slight breeze from outside and with it came a tiny thing of a woman. Her long blonde hair was in a practical braid reaching her ass and her large eyes scanned the crowd for a bit of space and probably dinner. Her features were childlike and open and in another lifetime Ronon wouldn’t have hesitated half a second before going over there and flirting outrageously.
In another lifetime.
Now he simply envied her for every second she lived without fear and helpless rage crawling up and down her spine and the impotence of a single warrior fighting a vast army squirming in her gut.
She moved toward a free table at the back, sitting down and ordering some stew and water. The waitress looked at her a bit funny, not used to serving anything but beer, but complied and Ronon turned back to his own drink.
Five minutes later there was a commotion where the blonde had just started eating. Turning to watch the scene with careful eyes, he saw a burly, drunkenly swaying man leaning over her, groped at her chest and laughing loudly. She shoved him off with the practiced ease of a woman who travels on her own, but he came back. They repeated the dance three more times before she pushed the drunk idiot away hard enough to send him on his ass. Then she grabbed her food and stood, looking around for something. She seemed to find it as her eyes fell on him because she started moving toward the bar and settled right beside him.
She appeared for all the world like a helpless, innocent woman looking for a protector and she had chosen him. The irony was not lost on Ronon. That, however, did not mean that he was willing to save the damsel in distress.
“I won’t save you, little girl,” he growled as he noticed the calculating looks the drunk was giving him. All he wanted was to be left alone and enjoy one of the rare occasions that he could afford to feel relatively safe. He glared at her, waiting impatiently for her to back off and find another hero for the night. He wasn’t someone she wanted to play with, even if she didn’t realize it yet.
Instead she met his gaze head on and something flickered in her eyes. It was brief and almost invisible to all but those who knew what to look for. And Ronon did. There was death in her eyes.
No, this woman did not expect to be saved after all. She could defend herself. She needed him only for his presence because they were both warriors but the drunk idiots inside the tavern were too stupid to recognize her. They did recognize the dark, tall, brooding man beside her.
Wordlessly they both broke their gaze at the same time, returning to their food and drink.
She paid for his next beer.
As soon as the door to his room slammed shut Slayer was slammed into it, back first. She used the solid wood at her back for leverage as she lifted her legs to wrap around Ronon’s waist and deepened their frantic kiss. His hands were on her sides, nearly encircling her, pulling her close with enough force to bruise a normal woman.
But Slayer was no normal woman and her only reaction was to dig her fingers deeper into the hard muscle of his arms. Ronon stumbled backward, toward the bed in the middle of the room while she tugged at the hem of his shirt, pulling it upward. She released him from her leg hold in order to stand on tiptoe and help him pull it off in one swift motion. Then her hands were back, tracing the top of his leather pants.
She found two knives tucked into the back of the waistband and pulled them out, dropping them with more care than she had his shirt. He hadn’t stopped when she found his knives and she didn’t stop when he found hers. They just kept kissing, groping, needing, knowing without a word that it had been far too long for both of them.
Slayer’s hands crept up his spine, caressing and memorizing until she reached his shoulder blades and froze. There, right beneath her fingers was a mound of scars that was the twin of the one on her own back. The same place, the same scars, the same doom beneath them, silent, invisible and yet enough to break any lesser man or woman. She could feel the low hum of energy it emitted at all times under the pads of her fingers. Ronon did not freeze as he noticed her reaction, but took a step back and went for his last knife, dangling off his loosened belt.
The way he held it told her that he was getting ready to slit her throat as he growled, “Who are you?”
What was she supposed to answer? I’m Slayer, but I was once a girl named Buffy and I hate them like you do? Fight them. Despise them. It was too much after such a long time. The first person that cracked her shell just a little after all these lonely months was just like her. He had the same enemy, the same anger and helpless frustration, the same flicker of horrible things in his eyes. He understood. He was the same and he understood.
The mere idea that there was someone else out there who was like her, who had experienced the same things as she had, threatened to fry her brains. He understood. He was like her.
So she did the only thing she could, gave the only answer she had left by carefully lowering her hands to the bottom of her shirt. She kept them in sight at all times as she lifted the tank top over her head and flung it to the floor. Then she pulled her braid over her shoulder and turned around slowly.
There was a gasp behind her, startled and filled with a sort of crippled hope. He sounded like she felt. She wasn’t alone. He understood.
Ronon recognized the look in her eyes as she turned around again, the look she had given him in the tavern because he now knew that it was his own. She was like him, was him, a mirror held in front of his face. He had never even considered that there might be others, had assumed that this hell was reserved for just him and now there was someone else.
The knife hit the ground with a clatter as he grabbed her shoulder and pulled her forward, devouring her in a kiss.
Sunlight was already trickling into the room when Ronon woke with a groan. That woman was a devil, he thought and then the rest of the night came rushing back to him. The scars on her back and, oh gods, the way she looked at him, her eyes filled with hope suppressed so hard it was barely there. He’d returned the look and seen himself in her.
He was suddenly overcome with the need to see if she was still there, but he needn’t have worried. As soon as he opened his eyes she was there, leaning on one elbow beside him, smiling down at him. Or as close to a smile as either of them ever came these days.
“Hey there, sleepy head.”
“Hey yourself,….Slayer.” He hesitated for a moment, hoping to draw a real name out of her, but she didn’t take the hint.
“I should get going. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been here for almost 24 hours and it’s time to get moving.” The look of badly hidden regret on her face made up for not telling him her name.
After the revelation the night before, they had spent hours seeking solace in someone they had never thought existed, but they knew it wouldn’t last. Two people were easier to track, slower on the move, forgot caution easier. Alone they could continue as they had, hiding, biding their time until they were free to slaughter every last one of the Wraith and paint planets in their blood. Alone they would survive long enough to gather what they were owed.
Besides, the voice of reason in Ronon’s head whispered, they didn’t know each other at all. He told the voice to shut the fuck up. Then he nodded, “Yeah. We should move.”
As they dressed quietly side by side, Slayer kept sneaking glances at Ronon. Time and time again she opened her mouth to say something, to ask one of the thousand questions that lay on the tip of her tongue. She always closed her mouth again before he noticed. She didn’t dare ask those things.
He was like her. He was a fighter, a survivor, a hater. A man living on borrowed time. She would not get attached, would not get to know him. Not now that she was finally cold enough to start forgetting about the life she once had.
“How long are the days where you’re from?” The question came out of the blue, startling her.
“How long are the days on your home world?”
She shrugged, not seeing the point but not seeing any harm in giving him the information either. Most planets in the Pegasus galaxy had their own measures of time. One some worlds, a day lasted up to forty hours.
“24 hours. Why do you ask?”
“And a year?”
She raised an eyebrow at his strange questions, “Something over 300 days.”
He pulled out a small pocket computer, much like the one she was just strapping to her wrist again, but not Ancient. He fed it some data before looking up through his dark hair. “300 of your days?”
Finally Slayer caught on and she couldn’t stop the grin from taking over her face. They could not stay together and they both knew it, but to have the assurance that somewhere out there someone is waiting for you….She tied her hair into a messy bun at the nape of her neck.
“Do you know Javor?”
Ronon looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding in agreement.
“There’s a cave about two miles from the gate. I crash there every once in a while.”
As she made her way toward the Stargate, Slayer gave the mental order to her bracer (which she called FAT, short for Freaky Ancient Thing) to sound an alarm in exactly 300 Earth days. A small beep from her forearm told her that her orders were received. She shook her head in mild amusement. Three years ago she hadn’t been able to write an e-mail and now she used the computer on her arm for the smallest thing. But then it was also a lot easier to handle than Earth computers. All she had to do was concentrate on what she wanted and voila, instant service.
She linked the bracer with the Stargate as she walked, dialling Javor and walking straight into the gate. At the last possible moment she turned her head enough to see Ronon’s large figure a quarter mile away and ruthlessly stomped down on a wave of hope flooding through her.
The first year they met in the cave two miles south of the Javor gate. She told him her name was Buffy.
The second year they met in an abandoned Wraith shelter three miles east of the Stargate on Sator. They spent hours tracing each others’ scars and whispering the tales that went with them.
The third year they met in an old watch tower on Aura. She taught Ronon how to use a sword and for a month they stayed together.
The fourth year they met in a tavern on Anleez where he started the biggest bar fight she’d ever seen because a drunk soldier dared to grope her ass.
He didn’t come the fifth year.
John Sheppard stepped into Atlantis with a wry smile on his face, followed by a smirking Ronon, a blank faced Teyla and a bitching McKay. What else was new, he wondered silently as he waved to where the geeks were typing away on their toys. Elizabeth waved back from her place right in front of the platform the gate stood on.
“How did it go?” She asked.
John’s grin grew broader. “Those people are tough. They’re settling in well. They did almost drive McKay up the walls though. Something about wanting to get a detailed explanation about how our computers work right now
. And then-”
He was interrupted when one of the geeks came jogging into the room, beeping wildly. Or rather, whatever he was dangling from his forefinger and thumb was beeping. He stopped in front of Ronon, out of breath and squeaked, “This went off while you were gone. It won’t stop and we didn’t think we should be playing with it because, well, it’s yours and so we locked it up because it was loud, but it still hasn’t stopped and-“
Ronon effectively shut the geek up by grabbing the hand held unit from him and asking in that slow dangerous tone he sometimes got when something bad was happening, “When?”
“Sorry?” The geek frowned while the rest of the team came closer to listen to the conversation and interfere if necessary. They’d all heard the dangerous-voice before and knew not to take it lightly.
Suddenly the big man moved, grabbing the scientist by the throat and shoving him into the nearest wall hissing, “When did this start to ring?”
“Al…almost as soon as you were gone. Twe…twenty hours maybe? Could you pu…put me do…down please?”
Ronon let go just as John and two Marines grabbed his arms, trying to pull him off the innocent messenger. He spun to look at Elizabeth. When he spoke his voice sounded strained, like he really wanted to do something else entirely. “I need to go through the gate again. Now.”
Dr. Weir crossed her arms in front of her chest, putting on her best oh-no-you-don’t-look. “Why?” she demanded to know.
“I need to.”
“You are not going to leave this city until you slow down and tell me what this is about.”
He stared straight ahead for a few seconds, seeming to consider something before he forced his body to relax. He was still tense but didn’t look like he was going to explode any second now. Instead he held up the still beeping device in his left hand. “I was supposed to meet a friend when this began ringing.”
“You just came back from a mission,” Elizabeth reasoned, “Get a few hours of rest, then you have my ok to go meet your friend.”
Ronon shook his head, making his team worry. It wasn’t like him not to see reason, unless there were Wraith involved. He pulled at his hair, giving a frustrated sigh that made John wonder just who this friend was and why they were so important.
“No. I need to go now. The time frame was twelve hours. She’s probably gone already. If I don’t catch up with her now, I’ll never see her again.”
Rodney frowned from where he’d hidden behind Teyla when things started getting out of hand. “She’s a shy kind of girl?”
The glare he received in return was enough to fry a lesser man where he stood. “She’s been running from the Wraith for longer than I have.”
At that everyone straightened. Longer than…
Ronon had stayed out of their grasp for more than seven years. He’d run every single day of those years, never settling anywhere, never resting, never letting down his guard. Even after almost six months free of the Wraith, the usually fearless warrior could sometimes still be found wandering the hallways at night, unable to sleep. To have run for longer than that seemed impossible. By the time they had found Ronon there had been little human left about his behaviour. He had been a ruthless machine, killing anything in its wake, caring for nothing and no-one. But even though no-one would ever say it out loud, Ronon had been close to breaking point, close to giving up. To survive what had almost broken him for more than seven years seemed too horrible to consider.
Elizabeth felt a shudder go through her at the thought, but then her conscious spoke up. No matter how broken or cold this friend of Ronon’s was, they would not sink to the Wraith’s level and leave her on her own when it was well within their power to help her. She turned to the scientist.
“Could you get Dr. Beckett, please?” She gazed at Ronon, “Find your friend. Help her. John, are you fit enough to go out again?”
Ronon reached the ruins where he’d been supposed to meet his friend a full five minutes before the rest of the team came stumbling into the clearing, wheezing and, in Beckett’s case, cursing everyone who hadn’t helped him carry his kit.
They found their friend frantically searching the area for any sign of life. All he found was a corner in the farthest room, clear of debris and leaves. She’d waited. She’d been here. He felt the same relief wash over him that he always felt every year without fail, when he lay eyes on her and knew that she was still alive. It did not, however, help with the guilt he felt for forgetting about their meeting. Sure, there had been a lot going on since he had come to Atlantis, but that was no excuse. Not for forgetting Buffy. Never that.
“She’s not here anymore, is she?” John asked as soon as he found Ronon standing in the middle of a caved in room, staring blankly at one corner. The tall man looked desolate.
“No. But-“ He moved toward the corner he’d been staring at suddenly. John followed him, looking closely, trying to see what his team-mate saw. Then he did and…it looked like gibberish to him. It was obviously a message, but not written in any language he had ever seen.
“You can read this?”
“What does it say?” He asked empty air. Ronon was already gone and judging by the groaning coming from Rodney and Beckett outside, he was on the move again.
John caught up with Teyla as they were nearing the Stargate. She sounded wistful as she said, “This seems very important to Ronon.”
He looked at her sideways and nodded slowly. “Let’s hope we find her.”
They’d certainly try. If not to give Ronon back his friend, then because no-one, absolutely no-one deserved this fate.
Inside the abandoned ruins two words in an almost forgotten language gleamed in the fading daylight.Year One
Two hours later the team was nearing the cave Ronon’s friend was supposed to wait for him. It was apparently the same place they had met during the first of these annual meetings they had going on.
Suddenly Ronon stopped and turned to face John with a serious expression. “I want you to wait here for me to get back.”
A raised eyebrow, “Why?”
“She knows you’re here.”
Dr. MacKay snorted and kicked up some rotting leaves. “Then why should we wait? If she already knows we’re here that’s a bit useless, don’t you think?”
He earned himself a round of annoyed looks from his team-mates, but ignored them. He got them too often to still be offended by them.
“She doesn’t like guests.”
As John shifted his gun from one hand to the other in order to reach up and scratch his head he wondered just who exactly this woman was. From what little Ronon had let slip, he imagined her to be about six feet tall, more male than female, grumpy, quick with the trigger finger and not what was generally considered friendly company. Well, things could only get better, he thought with a shrug. Besides, he could empathise with her situation. He didn’t think anyone was much for small talk after being captured, tortured and cut up by Wraith.
He received a curt nod in thanks as well as some more grumbling from his resident genius while one fourth of his team disappeared into the dense forest around them. He snapped at Rodney to shut up, counted to five and a half and motioned for everyone to follow him.
Buffy lay in the middle of the cave, one hand behind her head, the other on her gun as she stared at the high ceiling silently. She could feel the nervous energy pumping through her system, demanding that she go out and find out what happened to her lover, but she couldn’t. She’d already broken their agreement by leaving the message and coming here to wait twelve more hours. Javor was dangerous right now. The last culling by the Wraith had been more than fifteen months ago and the villagers were expecting them every day now, looking at the skies in fear.
The first time they’d met here after their one night stand 300 days earlier, she’d promised herself not to get attached because she was Slayer and he was strong, sure, but he was human. The Wraith would get him one day and he would leave her alone again. Better not to let her guard down in the first place. And then he’d spend a full day trying every possible way to worm her real name out of him. It had been so…human, so normal of him, reminding her of times when she actually had
a name, besides Slayer.
It had taken five years for her to admit it, but now she couldn’t deny it any longer. She’d gotten attached after all. She had one more hour until she had to jump between planets again and only two more safe places she could go, three if she counted their very first meeting place as safe. That gave her, what, 36 hours?
36 hours until she would have to accept that the Wraith had gotten him, that he was dead. It wasn’t enough.
That was when her FAT started beeping and her spidey-sense tickled down her spine, letting her know that someone was coming closer.
Ten minutes after Ronon went ahead, the team found him waiting for them in a small clearing. He glared at them, but didn’t object to their presence again mostly because short of tying them up, there was nothing he could do to keep them away. He didn’t have enough rope to bind and gag them all. So he listened to Rodney’s snarking.
“How does she know we’re coming anyway? I didn’t see anything that indicated that there were sensors in the vicinity and that disgusting wildlife all around us should make it impossible to notice us from any distance.”
“She knows,” Ronon repeated for the fifth time in a suspiciously blank voice. He had gone increasingly cold the longer they searched for his friend. It was almost like he was slipping into old patterns again, his answers getting shorter, his tone harsher and his overall demeanour was jumpier and edgier.
MacKay threw his hands up and howled in frustration, “Yes, but how
“I just do.”
The answer came from the tree directly above the frustrated scientist, followed by some rustling leaves and a blonde slip of a woman landing directly in front of Sheppard, who stared stupidly. Ronon’s friend was short, long haired, green eyed and absolutely stunning in a distant kind of way. She wore clothes that seemed made for fighting and distracting men and a bag over her shoulder as well as at least six different kinds of weapons, two of which the pilot had never seen before, but seemed much too big for someone that small and skinny.
The blonde stepped around the dumbstruck members of the team and stopped in front of Ronon, hands on hips. There was a barely restrained energy and relieved anger coming from her; she seemed to vibrate with it. It reminded John of a ticking bomb seconds short of exploding and tearing everything around it to Kingdom Come. Not a comforting image.
“First you’re late and then you bring unannounced guests with you. Didn’t your momma teach you that’s rude?”
Everyone felt the temperature drop several degrees as the tiny woman went very still, giving Ronon a look sharp enough to cut metal.
“We don’t have friends.” There was a note of steel in her tone that suggested that it was unwise to contradict her as her hands left her waist and moved toward her holstered guns. She was getting ready to kill with no incentive at all. That, more than anything spoke to John of the way her life was.
“They removed the Tracker.”
Her stance faltered for a second and there was a flicker of something
behind her cold green eyes, so brief it took John a moment to recognize it. Hope. He couldn’t imagine what it felt like to have something you fought for, for years upon years, drop into your lap suddenly, without warning. He guessed it was too good to be true.
“What did they get in return?”
Armed with his new insight John rested his gun on his shoulder and took a step forward. “I think I can answer that. You see, where I’m from, we have that saying, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.”
She looked him up and down, boots to hair line and back, eyes flickering briefly at the sight of the flag on his shoulder before asking, “Is he?”
Whatever she would have said next never let her mouth as the bracer on her left arm suddenly started blinking like a Christmas tree. She didn’t even look at it before announcing, “Several Wraith darts just passed through the gate. They are in full culling mode.”
Everybody tensed. They needed to get off the planet if they didn’t want to end up as a snack and they needed to do it now
! There was no time for long winded explanations and arguments with the woman they were trying to save.
Rodney yelped as he caught the high pitched whine of the darts in the distance. They had only a few more minutes, five tops.
Buffy checked her data with a few concentrated thoughts and came up with much the same results. The nearest village was miles away and fair to bursting with food, but sooner or later the darts would catch the signal of the Tracker embedded in her back. They would come, their culling beams would catch them and she would be a prisoner once more, treated like a toy, a game. She would be back in that hell, and she’d rather be dead.
She looked at Ronon and found him staring straight her. Their gazes locked and Buffy took a deep breath and a leap of faith after eight years of living without it. She trusted Ronon, trusted him with the only thing she still had left to give. Her life.