Disclaimer: is at the beginning of this story…
A/N - Okay, okay, I’m pond scum who should be shot, drowned, electrocuted, gassed, poisoned, and then shot again. In other words – it’s been a little while since I updated last.
In my own defense, Real Life has attacked with a vengeance AND I’ve had a fairly serious case of writer’s block. Which explains why I’m not doing this professionally – REAL authors have to suck it up and keep on writing anyway when their characters keep misbehaving and refuse to play nice. As a writer of fan-fiction I have the luxury of hiding in my apartment and snuggling any/all cats that come within range and eating pints of ice cream instead of buckling down and getting to work on this :-P
So anyway, rant over and on with the saga…
Sam and Willow found Daniel in his office. Not that this was a difficult search, at any given point the odds were definitely in favor of Daniel being in his office. They had headed straight there after a quick stop at one of the many storage lockers to pick up a few walkie-talkies that Sam knew for a fact had been used by various NID moles.
Now that she was the center of attention of two brilliant people Willow could feel her blushing rise to new heights of redness, but forced herself to speak. “O-okay, I kinda had an idea that maybe I could use some of the technology that you are certain NID has used to spy right back at them. What I’m hoping that you can do is teach me how wire-tapping normally works so I can try and make magic do the same thing. I want to help AND I want to avoid getting drugged again, this seems like it might take care of both things.
Daniel looked thoughtful for a moment and then got up to rummage through some books on an overstuffed shelf without a word. Sam smirked at his back for a moment and then stood up and went over to Daniel’s computer where she began typing rapidly.
In just a few minutes both Daniel and Sam had some preliminary research ready on the ins and outs of basic wire-tapping and Willow was reading as fast as she could while they went to find more information. In a very short time a steady rhythm was achieved and the three worked together smoothly enough to make Willow homesick for the rest of the Scooby gang.
None of them noticed when Jack poked his head in to remind them about dinner and then slowly and quietly back out to go search for his Game boy before the high level of geekiness in the room sucked him in and put him to work. He shuddered, even filling out mission paperwork was better than that fate.
Several hours later Willow’s head felt stuffed to the brim, but she also felt like she had a fairly good grasp of the concept. She had drawn out several rough schematics and was tapping her pencil on the top paper while staring at one of the walkie-talkies. “Do either of you know if any of these were used by someone who got away?”
Sam thought for a moment, then shrugged. “Probably, but I have no idea which they would be. Why?”
“Because it would make it easier to connect with what NID is doing now if I could be reasonably certain that whoever used one last was back with them. Oh well, I think I know what I want to do. Now let’s see if I can actually do it.”
Daniel spoke up, “um, what exactly ARE you going to do? You never did say.”
She frowned as she tried to find a way to put it into words. “Basically, I’m going to link these radios with one that is currently being used by the bad guys. It should allow us to listen in regardless of what frequency or scrambling methods they are using since we’ll be in sync with the original message not the received message. Think happy thoughts for me.”
She cleared off a small, low table in the corner and set the walkie-talkies on top of it. With one last look at her notes, she sat in lotus before it and slowly drew her magic up. She could feel her hair start to move in an invisible wind and closed her eyes to concentrate. In her mind’s eye she could see the devices and could also see a faint, dark gray trail leading away from them. Deliberately she worked to strengthen the trails and re-establish contact with their original purpose.
The trails remained stubbornly wispy and Willow frowned as she poured more effort into trying to build them up. It was like trying to grasp clouds, so she changed tactics and tried to surround the trails with power and then squeeze her intent into them from all sides.
Nope, still not working but she could hear some restless movement from behind her along with a few whispers too low to understand. The frown deepened and she put yet more effort into making this work. The whispers became a bit louder.
“Do you think they are supposed to smoke like that?” Willow blocked Sam out and concentrated on the machines.
“I don’t think so.” Daniel this time, and almost she lost her focus.
“Maybe we should disturb her.” Willow threw her will into the mental battle and heard a loud “whoosh” from in front of her. Her eyes flew open to see the radios merrily burning and rapidly melting in a puddle of plastic and metal bits. Footsteps pounded behind her and then Sam was leaning over her shoulder and aiming a fire extinguisher at the tabletop.
Willow slumped, exhausted and defeated. “Damn, why can I only work magic properly when I DON’T think about it! It’s just not fair.”
Later, Willow sat with Teal’c in her room; supervising while he focused on lifting objects with magic. He was learning so much faster than she had when she was first learning – heck, he was learning faster than she was NOW! Half the time she still overcompensated and whatever she was trying to lift ended up flying too fast in whatever direction she was concentrating; and that didn’t even touch on the fiasco with the walkie-talkies. She should be working on her basics too right now, but was too disheartened.
A deed sigh escaped her and she propped her chin on her hands, which were loosely clasped over her pulled-up knees. After a few moments she realized that Teal’c was looking at her with an expression of grave concern.
“Is something troubling you, WillowRosenberg?”
Willow sighed again, “lots of things, I guess. I hate feeling helpless. I hate sitting around doing nothing when there are things needing done. I’m worried about my magic. I’m kinda worried about your magic. I want to be out hunting down the people who keep grabbing me and Spike, and I know I’m not ready to do that yet.” Yet another sigh. “I guess I’m just frustrated by everything.”
Teal’c sat silently and thought for a bit. “Hmm, I can do nothing about most of what you listed; but I am curious, why are you worried about both your and my magic? Am I not learning well?”
“Well, sure you are. That’s part of what I’m worried about. I learned too fast and didn’t learn proper control along the way, then things went bad and I went all “Darth Willow”. I was so evil I was even going to end the world, except my best friend stopped me.” A brief smile appeared, “Goddess, I miss Xander. He always could make me feel better.”
“I believe I understand, JackO’Neill has allowed me to watch ‘Star Wars’ and I have learned of Darth Vader.” He paused, “I had not known that you had at one time turned to evil.”
“Oh yeah, totally evil; I even had the scary, black veins and everything. My girlfriend, Tara, was killed right in front of me. And the worst part was that she was just in the way. A bad guy was trying to kill another friend of mine and missed. Tara was the sweetest, gentlest person I’ve ever known and when I lost her I went sorta crazy. I killed the man who killed Tara, but I was still hurting and decided that I would end the pain by ending everything.” Willow smiled a bit wistfully, “Xander found me as I was performing the ritual and stood in front of me and told me if I was going to kill everyone I would have to kill him first. I tried, but I wasn’t so far gone that I could kill my oldest and bestest friend in cold blood.” She shook her head, “anyway, that’s kinda actually the reason I’m worried about you. You’re learning so fast and I’m afraid that it’s too fast if you know what I mean. As for me, I feel like I’ve gone back to square one. I had finally gained control and now I can’t even be sure that I won’t mess up a basic levitating spell.”
“Indeed I can understand your concerns. But there are things that you may not have considered. You were –and still are- quite young in all of this; and from what I have deduced from listening to you, you were unused to such levels of power and responsibilities and did not know how to cope with your heightened abilities. In contrast, I am older and I am aware of the potential danger. Also, I have already mostly come to terms with the darkness within me. It is doubtful that you know of my history, but I was once First Prime to the false-god Apophis. I was aware of his duplicity, but I served him anyway as I saw no other choice until I encountered the members of SG1. I believe that with my self-knowledge and your guidance I can avoid most of the pitfalls that seem to be inherent with the working of magic. You should simply require patience and practice to return to your previous level of control.”
As Willow considered what he had said a sense of relief flowed through her, releasing tension from her shoulders that she hadn’t even realized had built up. “Well, that sounds logical. And I really do hope that you’re right, I would hate to have to try to stop you if you went wonky the way I did. I would really hate to try if I weren’t up to snuff beforehand.”
A lazy drawl came from the doorway. “Sounds like you and Red have more in common than I thought.” A match flared as Spike lit a cigarette while he slouched against the doorframe. “I probably should be more surprised, but somehow I’m not. Always thought you had a bit more ‘oomph’ than the rest o’ your team.”
“Spike, how long have you been there?” Suspicion warred with welcome in her voice.
“Long enough, love. ‘Adn’t realized just how much you were bottlin’ up inside you since last year.” A bright blush stained her cheeks and Spike smirked. “Don’t worry, even with a soul I still like people better with a bit o’ darkness in ‘em. Too much light is just plain boring.”