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Magical Cage

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Magical Cage". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Jack hates it when missions go wrong. Having a vampire with a couple of civvies show up after a wormhole/portal disaster is just the icing on the cake.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Xander-CenteredlitgalFR181542,48532164126,36926 Jan 0718 Mar 07Yes

Chapter One

Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be *sob*. Joss Whedon (or whoever he sold it to) owns the rights to Buffy and someone owns the Stargate franchise... not me.

This takes place season 3 of Stargate, season 5 of Buffy (with a slightly AU season 4) and before Atlantis starts at all.

Jack came tumbling out of the wormhole cursing about routine missions and their habit of going FUBAR. Not only were they not on the tropical planet the MALP had surveyed, but he found himself propelled toward the dialing device at a frightening speed. He caught his balance just in time to not go headfirst into the stone dialing device that controlled the Stargate.

Unfortunately, a body hit him from behind and sent him face first into the stone floor. God he was too old for this. He’d retired. He could be sitting on his dock fishing. Instead Jack turned around to find his unit’s archeologist laying on the back of Jack's knees scrambling to get his glasses back on.

Jack pushed up, and Daniel quickly rolled off to the side while Jack flexed his hand. He always held his P-90 ready when coming to a new world, and the fall had trapped his hand between the stone floor and the weapon. Now his fingers quietly throbbed in time with his knees which had hit the stone floor just a little too hard for comfort, not that there was a comfortable way to fall on a stone floor. He should know, he'd fallen on damn near every stone floor in the universe.

Quick check of personnel: Daniel finally picking himself up from the floor, Carter still lying in a blonde pile, Teal’c…well Teal’s still looked remarkably Teal’c-like and Jack found himself wishing that the warrior would look flustered or clumsy just once. It was bad on a man’s ego to fall flat on his face while Teal’c managed a graceful exit from an out of control wormhole.

Jack continued his scan of the room and trained his weapon on the far side of the chamber where a quiet argument seemed to be taking place by an unknown number of figures in the shadows who were picking themselves off the floor. Jack moved in position between the figures and Daniel even as Carter groaned herself into consciousness.

“Listen fangless, one more complaint and I’ll….I’ll…”

“Nice comeback witless. Want me ta come back in a few hours when you’ve come up with somethin’?” A British voice demanded. Okay. That was unexpected. Jack hadn’t met anyone in his travels to other worlds with an accent that so strongly linked them to an Earth culture, so he had to consider the possibility that this was an actual Brit.

“I’ll put orange hair dye in your shampoo,” the other male voice threatened grimly. Jack glanced over at Teal’c who seemed equally confused if the single raised eyebrow was any indication.

“There’s an explanation; there has to be. I used the right spell, so this shouldn’t have happened.” Jack watched a redhead separate herself from the shadows before spotting him and promptly squeaking. Squeaking? The words sounded like Carter, except for the spell part which Carter would have replaced with technogidgietty flipit-thingy, but he couldn’t imagine Carter ever squeaking. The girl held her hands out in front of her either in surrender or an unconscious attempt to defend herself.

“Oi, got soldier boys over there, Red.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” the girl said without moving, and Jack lowered his weapon and rested his arm on the butt of the P-90 in a gesture of good will. He could afford the gesture; Teal’c stood behind him with a staff weapon ready to fire.

“I’m Daniel Jackson and this is Colonel O’Neil and Major Carter and Teal’c,” Daniel stepped forward with his hand extended. The girl took it without ever moving her eyes from Jack. That made Jack’s threat assessment hairs tingle: she had identified the threat, and she kept her eyes on it.

“I’m Willow Rosenberg, and this is Xander Harris and Spike.” A boy with dark brown curly hair and wide eyes stepped out of the shadows. Jack supposed he shouldn’t call him a boy since Jack had joined the Air Force by eighteen and the boy looked to be about that age, but then again, he didn’t look old enough to be traveling such dangerous territory, and the sword strapped to his hip didn’t seem like particularly good defense against goa’uld technology.

“Um, hi,” the young man said with a nervous expression, but Jack trusted Daniel to put the group at ease and then he could get some answers. “Xander Harris,” the young man offered even though the girl had just introduced him, and Jack wondered what culture the name ‘Xander’ came from.

“Hi there,” Daniel answered, imitating the lad’s informal language. Despite Daniel’s complaints, Jack did know *how* to make people comfortable; he just didn’t usually bother.

“If you’re through with the tradin’ helloes, you mind gettin’ to work on fixing this mess. I’m missing Passions here,” the third voice…Spike….offered from the shadows. Jack shifted to one side in order to better watch the figure in the shadows. Anyone who didn’t respond to Daniel’s meet-n-greet routine made him a little twitchy on the trigger.

“I don’t know what to fix. The portal spell shouldn’t have pulled other people in…it doesn’t work like that.” Portal spell…even Jack could tell that was a primitive culture’s description of a Stargate so he did what he did anytime technology came up.

“Carter, you want to compare notes on portal spells?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered, and Jack had to smile that he still had one member of the unit that treated him like a colonel. God knows Daniel ignored him, like now as Daniel wandered into the shadows in pursuit of the third person. Damn it, how many times had Jack told him to avoid dark places with unknown personnel. You’d think that command was common sense, but as much sense as Daniel had in some areas, in the area of common sense, he was seriously lacking.

“I’m Doctor Daniel Jackson,” Jack heard from the shadows, and Jack moved in toward the voices in order to better cover his archeologist. The boy immediately spotted his movement and mirrored him, moving in on the place where Daniel was trying to befriend the mysterious Spike.

Oh yeah, these people might look like kids, but their movements and their awareness of their surroundings suggested that they were from a culture where the young learned battle early. He felt his customary pang of regret at children having to fight, but few humans had the luck to grow up on Earth where they could actually be children. Entirely too many were trained by the goa’uld to fight in alien wars or trained by their people in how to fight the goa’uld.

“Heard ya well enough from over there mate,” the Brit snapped back. Jack was surprised; Daniel could usually convince the toughest chief on the most embattled primitive world to invite them to dinner within five minutes.

“This is Spike. He’s an equal opportunity master of the rude, so don’t mind him,” the young man offered, and Jack almost laughed at the way the language had shifted. Sure, he understood the meaning, but an English teacher would have choked over the boy’s use of adjectives. “So, doctor of what?” The boy’s voice held some strange tightness now.

“Archeology. I study ancient artifacts and languages and provide translation when we visit other planets. We’re from Earth.” The red-head had been talking quietly with Carter, but now that background noise stopped as the boy—Xander—gasped.

“We..but…we’re on another *planet*?!” the girl Willow finally gasped. “Oh goddess.”

“Wills, I hate to put the pressure on or anything, but what the hell did you do?”

“Nothing!” Willow nearly squealed. “It was a simple trans-dimensional portal drawing from the local energies.”

“Trans-dimensional?” Carter asked, picking up on the word that had interested Jack as well. If they were from another dimension, their own experiences in dimensional travel proved that these people had only a few days to get back to their own dimension before they became unstable and started suffering from entropic failure. Not a pretty death.

“Oh god, we are so screwed," Xander suddenly exclaimed. "What if it didn’t work? What if Glorificus is still…all Glorificusy with her goddessy powers of worldly destruction? Or what if she's not? Oh … shit…I should have called in to work, but I just figured we would either win or there wouldn’t be a boss left to care.” Jack almost laughed at the strange mixture of apocalyptic and mundane concerns. He could relate. Of course, he hadn’t gotten that jaded until after several years in special ops.

“Not like there aren’t other pizza places lookin’ for morons, you’ll get another crap job,” Spike pointed out, and Jack was even more confused. Someone trusted with saving the world from destruction worked at a pizza place? And he knew that he occasionally didn’t pay attention to the cultural sights, but he couldn’t remember ever traveling to a world with pizza places which, with the whole trans-dimensional comment, suggested he was looking at Earth kids here, and what kind of Earth could have created these fighters? With their youth and their low-tech weapons, Jack couldn't imagine a poorer line of defense for a world that just might not even exist any more.

"So, you're from Earth?" Jack asked in an easy drawl. He edged closer to the side of the stone wall. Yep, one more planet, one more temple, one more screwed up mission.

"We're from Sunnydale, California," Xander said, and a low growl came from the Spike person who still stayed to the shadows. Jack sighed with relief when Daniel actually took the hint and backed away. Sometimes that man was completely oblivious when he was in danger, but even Daniel didn't miss the threat in that growl. The hairs on Jack's arm didn't just stand up, they stood up, saluted, and went to parade rest.

"Not exactly a California accent there," Jack pointed out as he moved deeper into the shadows to get position on British member of the group. Unfortunately, the boy seemed to understand his strategy because he moved into the line of fire. If the boy had an actual weapon he might be a threat, but with that sword, he just made himself a target. Of course, he might not recognize a gun depending on how different the dimensions were. Based on the strange language and the antique weapons, Jack guessed that their home dimension was quite a bit different.

"Bloody hell, don't give a rat's arse where you're from and don't give a shite about you knowin' anythin' about us. Red, put this right."

"Um, yeah, okay," the girl offered. "Only I don't really know what to put right what with the me not knowing how we got here. The spell is supposed to work between dimensions, not planets, not that you couldn't probably alter the spell to use it spacially because this one guy in one of Giles' books, the ones he thinks I never look at, he altered the spell temporally, so it makes sense that it could actually be used to..."

"Wills," the boy shouted with panic in his voice.

"Right, babbling. Okay, the spell is supposed to work between dimensions. Something must have changed the direction of the force."

"That might actually have been the Stargate."


"The Stargate is an alien device that uses wormhole technology to connect a vast network of planets. We use the DHD device to set coordinates... six symbols that tell the Gate which planet we want to travel to and then one symbol to make the planet of origin. The gate opens a wormhole that dematerializes matter at one end and literally flings the particles through to the gate on the other end."

"Oh cool. Very Star Trek. I wonder if our government is doing this." Now the boy abandoned his post as self appointed guardian of the mysterious Spike to wander back toward the main group. When Spike moved with the boy, keeping Xander between himself and Jack's gun, Jack knew he was facing trained fighters even if they were using swords instead of P-90's.

"Wait," Jack said suddenly. "You have Star Trek?"

"Original, Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine. I own a whole set of comic books based on Kirk and Spock."

"Oi, not really pertinent here, ya ninny. Red, is any of this makin' sense to you 'cause idiot boy here is never goin' to follow Madame Curie's explanation."

"At least I can use a washing machine," Xander grunted under his breath.

"This is so exciting. I know that Riemann postulated the existence of wormholes, or dimensional cuts actually, but to really observe them. And we traveled one!" the girl suddenly squealed. "Oh goddess, we actually traveled a wormhole which might actually explain the things being not of the good with the spell." Her energy drained out like used up battery. Jack exchanged a quick look with Sam that suggested that she was just as confused by the girl.

"You think your... spell and our wormhole interacted?" Sam asked, and Jack had to congratulate the woman on her flexibility. Other than a slight pause before the word spell, she hadn't even batted an eye at the thought of magical powers.

"It makes sense because the spell was a transportation incantation that used local energies to open a dimensional rift and basically push us through."

"It's just that the pushing was a good deal harder that second time, Wills."

"You noticed," Willow said almost apologetically to Xander.

"Have to be soddin blind to not notice the sudden ripping pain there in the middle, pet."

"Our passage was equally difficult," Teal'c offered from his side of the room where the man still watched the newcomers warily. Jack felt another pang of annoyance that Teal'c still managed to come out without a scratch while his hand was starting to swell and both his knees ached with the force of his fall out of the gate.

"Exactly. If your wormhole and my portal spell somehow did a kerbang in the middle... I mean if we assume that both functioned as waves, the intersection might have created an interference pattern..."

"Which would explain why we missed our destination, a construction wave distortion could have produced increased amplitude and overpowered the safety protocols," Carter took over with an enthusiastic conclusion. Carter had actually angered a lot of people with that habit of jumping on people's ideas, but the redhead smiled and bobbed her head as though honestly pleased. Well at least he wasn't going to have to babysit another science nerd show-down.

"Could have been worse, we could have produced a destructive wave distortion." The Willow girl and Carter both laughed grimly, and sure, he got the general idea that it could have been worse, but he'd played dumb colonel way too long to change now. But then the young soldier got to his punch line before he could.

"Um, Wills, you mind translating that into English for us townies?"

"Oi, bloody hell no. Don't need another soddin' headache from listenin' to the witch explain things that I don't bloody well need to understand. Hate this mojo crap. I should've made Peaches come on this end of the tour. So, whatever you and blondie-chit figured out, just figure out how ta undo it and get us back."

Jack couldn't even begin to untangle the first half of Spike's statement, but he couldn't argue with that logic of the last part. The longer these three were here, the more his threat-assessment instincts set off warnings up and down his spine. This was FUBAR. Unknown address, possible goa'uld forces, three questionable civies, and science screw ups he couldn't even hope to understand.

"I suppose we could try to duplicate the wave interaction by duplicating the original conditions," Carter mused, and Jack cheered on his favorite little scientist--not a problem in the world she couldn't figure out. Hell, not a problem in the galaxy as she had shown over and over and over again. Willow picked up her suggestion, commenting in a distracted voice that Jack had come to recognize as Daniel's 'I'm busy now, don't bug me' tone.

"But we would be just as likely to create a destructive wave distortion. Heisenberg's work clearly implies that the more control we try to exert over the forces or predict their position..."

"The less likely we are to predict the momentum of the atoms meaning that aligning the wave amplitudes would be like trying to line up two halves of a broken sunbeam," Carter finished

"Let's leave the sunbeams out of this," Spike suggested flatly as he finally stepped out of the shadows. Slicked back, bleached hair, a long leather coat, and possibly even a bit of eyeliner combined to make him look more like an escapee of a seventies punk concert than a warrior. The sneer the man threw him didn't make him feel any less suspicious, and Jack moved over a step to keep him in range as Spike paced nervously.

The young boy similarly shifted his stance, and Jack would have complimented the boy if it had been one of his trainees and if he had been armed with something a little more effective than a sword. His movements clearly marked him as a soldier, but yet his current stance left him out of range and utterly irrelevant if a fire fight broke out. The young man's obvious competence paired with his total incompetence left Jack even testier since Jack couldn't easily place the lad in a category.

"Right, so not goin' anywhere now, I take it?" punk boy asked.

"Not unless you have a portal in your pocket, fangless," soldier boy answer.

"Sod off. And get behind that stone thingy."

"Uh, Spike? What's up?" Xander asked, but Jack noticed that the lad also reached over and grabbed the redhead by the arm, pulling her back behind the stone platform.

"Demons. Lots of demons," Spike answered. "Like him," the blond nodded his head toward Teal'c and Jack traded a look with the warrior.

"Jaffa?" Jack asked. No need to assume here.

"If that's what he is, sure. So, these friends of yours then, mate?"

"Unlikely," Teal'c said in a droll voice and Jack resisted smiling. And oh boy wasn't that an understatement. "And I too hear them approach."

"Incoming, take positions." Jack noticed with pride that Daniel pulled his weapon and retreated behind a substantial column. Jack would have preferred to put Daniel behind the platform, but given Daniel's track record for trouble, he wasn't going to chance losing his linguist to those two already back there. Wait. Jack looked again, and sure enough the punk still leaned against the dialing device.

Shit, what the hell did he think he was doing? "Take cover," Jack hissed toward the punk, but the blond just looked over and cocked an eyebrow up in an expression of obvious amusement.

"Don't take soddin' orders from soldier boys, so you can just shove...."

"Spike!" Willow hissed.

"Right, demons now, soldier boys later." Spike turned back toward the entrance right about the time a unit marched into the chamber with their characteristic clanking and shuffling. Jack squashed an urge to yell at them about making targets of themselves and proper positioning in order to catch enemy in cross fire. Of course, that same stupidity gave his unit the ability to kick Goa'uld ass every time they met, so he wasn't going to complain.

"Halt in the name of Sokar," the lead Jaffa ordered as he brought his weapon into firing position. Spike looked around as if confused.

"Wot? Me? If you're talkin' to me mate, I'm not bloody movin', so tellin' me to halt doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So, I'm Spike and you are..." The blond leaned back against the dialing device and from this own position behind a pillar at 3 o'clock relative to Spike's position Jack could see the sly smile. It made his blood run cold. Every instinct said that this man posed a substantial threat. The Jaffa commander just seemed confused.

"We are in the service of the god Sokar and you will yield," he announced grandly.

"Let's see, the only god I've met is Glorificus, and I kicked her godly arse. So, why should I care who you soddin' serve?" Jack watched as the Jaffa leader turned to his companions in confusion over a target that neither yielded nor fought. Jack could have told him that was a mistake.

With blinding speed, Spike threw himself at the entire unit. Several of the Jaffa went down immediately; their heavy armor and long staff weapons made this sort of hand-to-hand fighting almost impossible. A few Jaffa fell back and brought up their staff weapons. Jack raised his weapon to fire when the boy suddenly stepped right into his line of fire.

Jack cursed and gave up cover to try and save the young man, but before he could even get a clear line of fire, the boy was wrist deep in Jaffa with a sword stuck up though the Jaffa's symboite pouch, and Jack nearly laughed at the expression of shock and horror as Xander pulled his sword back out with a loud "ewww." Of course that didn't stop him from repeating the maneuver on the Jaffa who grabbed his shirt.

Raising his P-90, Jack took out two Jaffa just as he heard Teal'c's staff weapon fire from behind him. Xander turned to face the battle with bloody sword and he called out just as he went after a Jaffa pointing a weapon at Spike's back. "Willow, some help please."

"I'm trying; nothing's happening," Willow cried, and Jack glanced over to see her making motions with her hands that reminded him of trying to snap a chicken's neck only without the chicken. Jack didn't have time for her though. He turned back and picked off a Jaffa going for the doorway just as Spike grabbed the last Jaffa and held the larger warrior against his chest as he turned around.

The sight of Spike's face made Jack clutch his weapon and pull it up into battle position. The blue eyes had been replaced with yellow, the nose and brows and forehead had developed inhuman bumps and ridges, and the sarcastic grin now featured two long fangs and sharpened front teeth.

Before Jack could do anything, Xander stepped between them.

"Hey, I know he's ugly and all but he's on our side, remember. Besides, shooting him doesn't work, I tried it once."

"You said that was a soddin' accident," Spike snarled, his teeth changing his voice just slightly so that it was more sibilant, and Jack suppressed a shiver. He knew full well what that thing looked like, but they were children's stories, fairy tales, and Jack hadn't believed in fairy tales for a long time.

"Yeah, well you didn't die so don't whine." Xander snapped back at Spike without turning his head. Jack had a momentary flash on an image of Daniel doing pretty much the same thing, stepping between danger and some precious artifact or misunderstood alien without anything more than good will to deflect the bullets. Every soldier instinct he had screamed at Jack to shoot the boy and the monster that the boy defended. Every father instinct he had said to pull the boy away from the monster. Every SG-1 instinct he had said trust the geek, he usually turned out to be right even when him being right turned out to be really, really annoying.

Jack risked a glance at Teal'c who watched impassionately. No danger signals there. A glance toward Carter and Daniel revealed exactly what he expected: overt curiosity. Hell, Daniel was almost bouncing. Daniel stopped bouncing and blanched a disturbing shade of white at the sudden sucking sounds, and Jack looked back to see Spike's face buried in the Jaffa's neck.

"Okay, that's not exactly helping our case here, fangless," the boy complained. The sucking continued until Spike raised his head again.

"Not seein' a stack of bagged blood around, ya moron. I either feed or I starve and leave you twits to fend for yourselves."

"Okay, we'll deal with this later. Daniel, dial home," Jack ordered. He could sort this all out from base.

"Um, Jack, small problem."

"Daniel," Jack said in his best 'get moving' voice.

"Jack," Daniel mimicked his tone, and Jack turned and gave his archeologist his attention and an exasperated look. "I don't have the point of origin." At Daniel's words, Jack looked around and realized that all the walls were blank. Without an idea of where they were now, they couldn't dial Earth's address. Shit. FUBAR and more FUBAR.

"Well we can't stay here. Let's move out and find some cover. Folks keep your eyes open for trouble and give a shout if you see anything with writing. We need to find the symbol for this planet before we can get back to Earth." Jack quickly briefed the newcomers before trotting toward the exit.

"Oi, don't care about going back to your Earth, and I'm not walkin' into some government lab."

"Well if we want to figure out how to get you back to your dimension, we need access to Carter's lab. Right now, though, we need to get clear before Sokar sends more troops. Jack reached the archway where warm red sunlight shone down.

"Right, don't think I'll be joinin' ya for a walk in the sun. Vampire here," Spike leaned against the pedestal and waved a dismissive hand toward the entrance.

"We'll catch up to you later then, maybe," Xander offered as he leaned against one of the walls, and Jack wondered if the boy even realized how he mimicked Spike's gesture.

"These Jaffa, they're not people you want to take on alone," Daniel tried, and Jack kept silent despite his rising desire to get his own people to safety with or without the newcomers. Willow was looking at him with wide panicked eyes as if expecting him to somehow fix things, but Jack didn't exactly have a solution for the vampire issue. "Maybe Spike could catch up to us later."

Xander didn't answer, but he crossed his arms in a gesture that looked like a cross between a pouting child and an angry warrior. Jack had seen that same gesture on Daniel when the man was feeling insecure or frightened.

"You go on then, I'll catch up to ya easy enough," Spike said with a nod toward the exit. "Just wait for sundown."

"Spike, you know in some dimensions the sunlight isn't deadly, so maybe since this is a different planet..." Willow let her words trail off.

"Oi, good head on your shoulders, Red," Spike pushed himself into movement so quickly that Jack found himself pressing himself to the stone of the temple in alarm as Spike pushed by him. Standing at the edge in the shadow, Spike reached toward the light tentatively.

When the sun bathed that pale hand with its long fingers, Jack half expected it to burst into flame. Instead the hand acted like a hand was supposed to in the sun. Jack decided that his life had obviously taken a detour when he was surprised by a lack of spontaneous combustion. There was a day when meeting a real vampire would have made him doubt his sanity, and now it made sense in a bizarre sort of way. Of course, that didn't mean that he would trust any of these people, he decided as Spike wandered into the sun with a delighted expression without even checking for enemies first.

"Right, so where can I find more of these Jaffa?" Spike suddenly asked.

"Shelter first, recon second, Jaffa only if we can't avoid it," Jack ordered tersely. Spike opened his mouth to argue, but suddenly the young soldier, Xander, was between them.

"I really don't want to get caught out in the open with an oversized knife against Storm Trooper laser weapons. So unless you're offering to throw yourself between me and the Jaffa..." Xander started toward the trees that started just beyond a half circle of stone. Jack opened his mouth to call the boy back: there was no way he was sending a kid on point, but Teal'c hurried out and started walking at Xander's side.

"Not bloody likely," Spike complained as he took up position not far behind those two, and now Daniel and Willow started following. Carter gave him a questioning look, but Jack nodded at her to follow. Jack took rear where he could watch the strange newcomers at the same time as he covered their trail. Normally he and Teal'c would have reversed their positions, but right now Jack was grateful that he didn't have either Xander or Spike at his back. The boy had too many moves straight out of military training, even if his weapon did make him seem borderline bumbling, and Spike was just... Spike. Jack had no basis of comparison for the mysterious man. He just knew he wouldn't trust Spike at his back.
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