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Secrets: A Father Goose Tale

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Father Goose Tales". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Just a happy little story about culture clashes, deceit, trickery, dancing girls, snakes, toads, witches and the law of unintended consequences. With beheadings. Featuring Xander, Faith and company, and the friendly folks of SG1.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > General > General: SG-1litmouseFR1822125,49669613188,2352 Apr 0717 Jan 08No

Chapter 1: Close Encounter

A/N:
Disclaimer: Buffy and company belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Stargate SG-1 belongs to Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. Alias characters belong to JJ Abrams. And not me.


Warnings: Violence, strong language, lust. I mean, you read the prologue first, right? Although that was probably the max point for the gore factor. Probably.

TIMELINES:

FATHER GOOSE VERSE: Chronologically this is the third story, following Loyalties, before Viva Los Xanders. See series intro for timeline. Not necessary to read the first two to understand this one, but there will be a few references to past events, and infrastructure established in the earlier stories will be presented with minimal explanation.

BTVS: Post Chosen, Not Fade Away; canon as broadcast, subsequent novels, comics, etc by Mr. Whedon et al cordially ignored.
The Hellmouth is in Cleveland, Giles runs the Council from London, Willow’s calling all slayers spell remains in effect. Angel, Wesley, Spike and Gunn are dead, Illyria is AWOL.

STARGATE SG1: My view of the characters has been formed as much or more by the excellent stories on this site as by the show. In fact it’s only because of those stories (and my cable company recently adding the Sci-fi channel) that I’ve taken an interest in the series. I’m catching up, but I must admit that my grasp of the details of Stargate continuity is often secondhand and a bit shaky. Corrections welcome. Without tying it to any specific events I’d place this story somewhere in late season four. In terms of actual years, the entire series is simply shifted forward to accommodate the BTVS/Father Goose timeline.

The Goa’uld appearing here may be a bit AU, but I don’t think they will run contrary to canon (given the existence of Seth,) simply out of the mainstream.

If you’re not familiar with Stargate SG1 the wikipedia entry has a reasonably succinct summary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_SG-1

ALIAS: probably only making cameo appearances, Alias characters are AU post mid-season three. Syd and Jack and Agent Weiss are no longer with the CIA, Irina accepted Faith’s offer. For details see Loyalties.

Finally, a word to the wise, research is fun, but also a black hole that can suck up limited writing time so... So, while corrections are appreciated and will be made to the text when feasible, I wouldn’t, if I were you, base your dissertation on my descriptions of, for example, Voodoo ritual, or the nuts and bolts of MMORPG’s.

Nuff said?







Secrets: A Father Goose Tale

A BTVS-SG1 Crossover



Chapter 1: Close Encounter




Colorado, October 2007



“Everyone okay?” Colonel Jack O’Neill asked.

“Yes, sir, fine, sir,” the (almost) always proper and correct Major Samantha Carter replied. Jack thought he saw the ghost of smile slowly replacing her initial surprise. I knew I should have made her drive, he thought.

He checked the back seat. Daniel Jackson was blinking and rubbing his eyes, he’d probably slept through the whole thing and only been woken by the cessation of movement. Jack decide to take his befuddled,

“Whuh?” as a ‘fine.’ He looked to Teal’c.

“I am uninjured, O’Neill,” the Jaffa replied. “I am unsure of the purpose of the maneuver, but it was indeed an interesting experience.” Jack stared at him. Joking. Had to be. You’d think by now he’d be able to tell. Had to be joking. Jack faced forward, let his head sink down onto the steering wheel. This was going to be embarrassing, he could already hear the “SG1 can cross galaxies but not their back yards” jokes.

“So, didja hear about Search and Rescue saving SG1 again?”

“Goa’uld in Abydos?”

“No, cold in Colorado.” Hurhurhur.


Jack sighed. He sat back and zipped his bomber jacket up to his neck, found gloves in the pockets, pushed the door open and clambered out of the SUV. The wind bit at his exposed skin and flecks of snow began to make their way down the back of his neck. He took a couple steps back and surveyed the situation. He walked back and forth a little, checking the rear and front, bending down and peering at the snow packed in the undercarriage. He came to the same conclusion he’d come to sitting in the nice warm seat. They were screwed.

Well, it was always the little things. In this case a little bit of black ice, had to be. Yeah, he should have paid a little more attention to the weather reports, yeah it was a little early for a nice high plains blizzard, but not unheard of. But he was handling it, they were going to beat the worst of the storm, be home in time to enjoy the whole being inside where it’s warm and toasty while the storm rages outside thing. And then a little bit of black ice and a quick 360 spin and here they were off the road and stuck in a snowbank. Off the road and down a little bit of slope and leaning, only the snow keeping the SUV from tipping. They could dig a bit, but even with Teal’c pushing…. No way. Screwed.

He opened the door and climbed back inside. “We’re screwed,” he said.

Without much hope, he shifted back into a low gear and, mostly for the form of it, spun the tires a couple times. Yep. Stuck.

He pulled out his cell phone and sat thinking about who to call, the Mountain or 911. The SUV was official Air Force transport he’d requisitioned on grounds that anywhere Teal’c went was official Air Force business. Hey, it had worked for the Avalanche games. It wasn’t as if calling 911 would save him any grief. All emergency traffic was monitored. Somehow the word would filter down that Colonel O’Neill had called for a tow truck. Probably the most highly security conscious, classifed-out-the- wazoo base in the country, but nothing stopped a bit of good gossip. The worst part, the whole base would find out that SG1 had spent the weekend at the Durango Cowboy Gathering. Just because some idiot had convinced Teal’c that Star Wars movies and Avalanche games weren’t the be’all and end’all of Earth culture and some other sadistic bastard had slipped a flier under his door. Only natural that Teal’c would find some kinship in the image of the lone cowboy, standing tall with his six gun and his pride. Impossible to explain that they wouldn’t really be meeting anyone out of a John Ford movie there.

Oh well, it had been worth it to hear Daniel trying to explain the nuances of Cowboy poetry to the Jaffa warrior. (“I do not understand, DanielJackson. How is it that he can offer hay for sale at five dollars a bale when he has no hay to sell?”) And hell, the food had been good and the beer had been good and Carter had even managed to shut her laptop off for a little while and come out to dinner and a show, in civvies even, her face changed so much when she relaxed, smiled, laughed… whoa now, better abort those thoughts pronto, buckaroo… But still, the company had been good. It had been a good time, really, it just didn’t do much for a guy’s rough and ready reputation. A glance at his phone told him the who-to-call decision was moot without a signal. Of course. He was just reaching to try the two-way radio when Teal’c spoke.

“Someone has stopped.”

Maybe somebody with a hefty 4 x 4 and big fat tires, or failing that a state trooper, with the storm the highway patrol would be out in force, he thought hopefully. He used his sleeve to wipe the condensation off his window and found himself staring into a pair of bright blue eyes framed by rosy cheeks and long waves of white-blonde hair. Not, Jack suspected, a trooper. The girl appeared to be in her late teens, she was wearing an unzipped, fairly light blue coat and seemed wholly indifferent to the cold. He rolled his window down about halfway.

“Hi there,” he said.

“Hello,” the girl answered, her voiced tinged with an accent Jack could imprecisely place as Scandinavian. She turned and called back over her shoulder, “They’re cute. Can we keep them?”

Looking past her shoulder Jack was disappointed to see a rather small, older model sedan …. damn, he thought suddenly, that’s an old Jaguar, isn’t it? Cool. But not really the ideal vehicle under the circumstances. And then he wasn’t looking at the car anymore as a brunette emerged. A brunette, as the fellow said, to make a bishop kick down a stained glass window. She was all in black, motorcycle boots and leathers, the jacket swinging open to reveal a well-filled tight black tank top underneath, amply visible skin glowed with a deep tan very much out of place in the snow. She seemed as indifferent to the cold as the angelic blonde. Interesting pair, Jack thought.

The brunette stalked, no other word for it, up to the window, her eyes roving quickly, pausing a moment to stare at Teal’c, then shrugging slightly,

“So, soldierboy, you got a chain in the back there?” she said.

“Soldierboy?” Jack said.

“General, flyboy, whatever. You got a chain or not?”

“I’m sure we do and I appreciate the thought. But I think we’re a in a little too deep for your car to help much.“ The brunette stared at him a moment, then shrugged.

“Suit yourself. You got somebody you want us to call when we hit civilization?”

“Faith,” the blonde protested, “we can’t just leave them here.”

“Hey, cupcake, I promise, there’s lots of cute guys in Denver, you don’t have to pick up strays along the way.”

“Faith.”

“Yeesh.” The brunette reached out to cup the blonde’s chin in one hand and present the girl’s smiling face to Jack, “So, sergeant,” she said, “you gonna say no to that face? Whip it out.”

“What?”

“The chain, private. Let’s have it. This storm’s gettin’ worse before it gets better and I got places to be.“

Jack turned and stole a glance at Carter. She wasn’t laughing. It was costing her, but she wasn’t. She was grinning. He opened the door and clambered out and turned back,

“Well, don’t just sit there Carter,” he said, “Get the lady her chain.”

With the snow blocking her door, Carter had to slide over and climb out as Jack held the door open for her. For a moment he thought he heard her say,

“Yes, sir, private, sir,“ as she passed him but decided it must have been the wind.

In the end of course it was Teal’c who insisted on, under Carter’s guidance, retrieving the chain from the well in the back. As that was going on Jack watched two more people emerge from the Jag. These two clearly did not share their companions’ indifference to the cold. They were both wearing oversized parkas clearly supplemented by several layers of clothing underneath. The smaller of the two revealed about three square inches of café au lait complexion and bright red lipstick so Jack assumed it was a she despite the shapeless figure. The larger of the two was revealing even less skin, in fact he had the fur-lined hood of his coat pulled so tight over his face all Jack could see was a single eye peering out of the darkness. He walked with a limp and had a cane, Jack noted with interest that after slipping once on the freezing snow he gave the silver handle a twist and nasty looking blade slid out of the end and he didn’t slip anymore.

The cold man spoke to the brunette, “What’s the sitch?”

“Miss Sweetness and Light here insists we pull these poor lost lambs out of the snow.” She paused and stared at him and shook her head. “Geez, Xan,” she added, “it ain’t that cold.”

“Yes, it is,” he answered. “California boy here. Cold cold cold,” his voice emerging hollowly from the depths of his coat.

“Oh come on, it sharpens you up. Haven’t seen a good snow in years,” she pushed out her chest and posed for the cold man, “Besides, don’t you like the way it makes my nips hard?” Jack heard Daniel snort behind him.

“I can think of better ways,” the hollow voice replied.

But the brunette had lost her leering grin and had turned cat-like again, watching Teal’c as he finished attaching the chain to the SUV. Jack found his eyes roving over her again, this time looking for weapons. Living in a military town as he did Jack was quite familiar with the genus Tough Biker Chick, but there was something….. more about this girl. If they’d met her on another planet he would have kept the P-90 handy whenever she .… but this wasn’t another planet and he was being paranoid. As for her intense interest in Teal’c, she wouldn’t be the first woman to find the alien attractive…

Of course there was also the hat factor. Teal’c in his new black felt, ten gallon hat, with which he was quite enamored, was very much the striking figure.

Teal’c brought the other end of the chain past them toward the car, stopping as he came to the end.

“Marisol,” the cold man said, and the cold girl eagerly ran for the driver’s door. “Carefully!” the man called after her, with a certain resignation in his voice as the car revved. But the Jag crawled slowly backwards until the man waved for her to stop. Teal’c knelt and after searching a little, found a place to secure the chain. He stood and turned to Jack.

“I am concerned, O’Neill,” he started, “I believe that we may damage….”

“So maybe you better push too, big guy,” the brunette said taking the startled Jaffa’s arm and dragging him toward the back of the SUV. “You too, Admiral. That means you’re drivin’, blondie,” she said to Carter, giving her a not too gentle shove toward the SUV. Carter was too surprised to do anything but gape and stumble toward the drivers’ door, and finally it was Jack’s turn to grin.

The brunette lined them up behind the SUV, Jack and Teal’c in the center, herself and the slim blonde on the corners, she waved at the cold man who waved for the Jag to take up the slack in the chain. The cold man waved his hand again, a meaningless gesture to Jack’s eyes but he noted that the brunette clearly understood, those two, Jack thought, are used to working together in silence.

“On three,” the brunette said and counted, and on three, to Jack’s amazement, the SUV began to move forward and almost before he knew it the big vehicle was back up on the highway and the cold man was waving for the car to stop and back up to release the chain.

Jack looked at Teal’c. He knew the man was strong but…. No. Not that strong.

Maybe the Jag had been rebuilt with a seriously heavy duty chassis and engine….

Maybe the SUV just hadn’t been near as stuck as he’d thought it was….

Except bullshit to all of that. But what the hell? He watched as Daniel went forward to gather up the chain, he watched the brunette conferring with the cold man, jerking her head back toward Teal’c who was thanking the blonde girl, who was in turn giving him a lecture on the dangers of not taking blizzards seriously. Then the cold man was limping toward Jack, drawing him a little ways back up the road, standing hunched against the wind and stomping his feet,

“Hey,” he said, “Don’t mean to get in your business, but the black guy… you know him, right? You didn’t pick him up hitch-hiking or anything did you?”

“Why?” Jack asked, staring at the man, still only able to see the single eye peering out of his hood. The man shrugged.

“My friend,” he said, “she’s a big fan of America’s Most Wanted, that’s her dream, to spot somebody from the show. Anyhow, she thinks your friend there looks like this guy who was some kind of armed robber or something….. but if you know him…. “ he trailed off.

“Yeah,” Jack said after a minute, “we know him.”

“Well, okay then. Drive safe.”

And then they were all back in the SUV, watching the Jag’s taillights slowly disappear in the blowing snow.

Teal’c spoke first. “That was a most unusual experience.”

“Ya think?” Jack couldn’t help but reply.

“Their vehicle must be made of an unusually strong alloy,” Teal’c added. “I am relieved we did not damage it. They were most kind.”

“I don’t see how we could have, Teal’c,” Carter said. “I was watching. The chain never really went tight. We weren’t pulled out, we were pushed.”

They rode in silence for awhile.

“Did you get a license plate?” Jack asked. Carter held up a small notebook. “Make a note, on Monday, we need to have someone get copies of all the episodes of America’s Most Wanted broadcast in the last six months. Have one of your gofers watch them, I want to know if any one of the episodes has a fugitive that looks like Teal’c.” He was pretty sure they wouldn’t. “T, did they ask you any strange questions?”

“Not strange, O’Neill. The dark haired, dominant one asked me where I was from. I said Mozambique. I do not think she believed me, but she did not question me further.”

“Faith,” Jack said. “The blonde called her ‘Faith.’ And she called the guy …sounded like Xan, though I guess it could have been Stan or Dan. And the other girl was Marisol. Anyone get a name for the blonde?“

“No,” Carter said after glancing around. “Faith, her leathers were genuine high end road worthy stuff, bit of natural wear and tear. There were shifter marks on her boot, so we know she rides…..”

“Wait a minute,” Daniel said. “We’re going to investigate them? Because they pushed us out of a snowbank?”

“Well, you know what they say, Daniel,” Jack said. “No good deed goes unpunished. “



Xander set the map aside, pushed himself forward to lean over the front seat, stared a moment past the hardworking wiper blades out at the blowing snow and spoke to the blonde girl driving,

“Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Sassa, take this next exit, should be one forty, should put us on Colorado Springs’ motel row.”

“Ah hell, Xan,” Faith grumped, fumbling with the map, “there’s only another sixty miles…”

“And that’s over two hours at this rate and we don’t really need to hit Denver in the middle of a snowstorm. C’mon, pizza, HBO, brown carpet and tiny shampoo bottles. What’s not to love?”

“Whatever, still think we should have ‘ported,” Faith muttered, turning to stare out the ice-rimed window.

Xander sighed and let his head sink down onto the front seat. Marisol flashed him a shy, sympathetic smile and he mustered the strength to give her a wink and a smile back. He was beginning to think they should have teleported as well. They had three jumps left on the ‘porter Will had given them and of course Will or Thiago could add more. But he knew that even though Will made it look easy, it was serious magic and not without cost. Better to save it for when they needed it.

Besides, Sassa was from Sweden, Marisol from Guatemala and he’d thought it would be nice for them to see a bit of the country before taking up their posts in Denver. Hell, he’d wanted to see some of the sights himself, with all his traveling he’d missed a good part of the US, weird to think he knew some parts of Africa better than his own country. And they’d chanced on the cool car … well, it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

And hell, it had been. Even Faith had been into it at first, booming down the back roads with the music blasting, the two girls who were still young enough to think being allowed to do most of the driving was the coolest thing ever so Xander and Faith could lounge in the back and play lover’s games.

But the girls were young, eager, both away from their parents for the first time and alive with excitement. Sassa absolutely incessant in her cheery chatter, Marisol wide-eyed and full of questions, both qualities which got on Faith’s nerves after awhile in the close confines of the car. Plus the girls’ taste in music … made Xander feel old. He took Faith’s side in those battles and had to put up with the resultant, albeit intermittent, pouting for hours afterward.

They’d stopped to pay a courtesy call on some of Will’s contacts in Sedona, awestruck wiccans whose excess hospitality soon grew wearing, plus they’d practically had to drag the girls kicking and screaming out of the artsy-fartsy shops. Then Sassa had fallen in love with Santa Fe, insisting on visiting every gallery in the square, darting off down this little alley, then the next until Faith was threatening to put a leash on her. Xander would try to move them on and they would give him the big eyes and the “But we won’t be able to come back for like, ever,” and he would weaken, to Faith’s irritation.

Weaken, but not give in, not totally. And hell, if it hadn’t been for the storm he would have had it timed just about right. They would have arrived tired, ready for a change but still with mostly happy memories of the trip. But the last few hours poking along as the snow thickened was pushing the growing tensions toward a breaking point. Probably should have stopped in Pueblo but he had still had hopes of reaching the end before things broke… but the storm had really caught up with them now, they would just have to survive one more night together.

A lot of other people had been wise enough to get off the road, and smart enough to do it sooner, the first two places they stopped were full, the third only had one room free, Xander sighed but grabbed it. At least it had two beds.

The pizza places he called couldn’t promise delivery anytime soon, if at all, but there were several restaurants in walking distance. He bundled himself back up and took the protesting girls with him, leaving Faith to have the room to herself for awhile.

They found a Chinese place that looked good and Xander placed a big takeout order and while they were waiting Sassa decided now was the time to get weepy and ask Xander why Faith hated her.

“Oh sweetie, she doesn’t hate you,” he’d semi-lied, “she’s just not much of tourist….”

“She hates me,” Sassa replied.

But after twenty some minutes of intense, slightly exhausting heart to heart he managed to talk her around or at least had her dry-eyed. By an odd coincidence the food was ready and they gathered up their packages, added handfuls of mustard and soy sauce packs and chopsticks, Xander and Marisol tightened their hoods and they went back out into the wind.

As was the way of it, HBO had had a pretty good movie on the night before, and another one the next night, but tonight, bupkis. Faith announced she didn’t give a shit so Xander handed the remote over to Marisol, and concentrated on running the tiny microwave and distributing the warmed food, biting back his irritation as Princess Faith sprawled on the bed and grudgingly accepted the twice-cooked pork and the crab puffs he brought her. He went down to the vending machine for sodas and came back to find Faith in a predatory pose, watching Sassa carefully separating the components of her beef and broccoli.

“Kid,” Faith said, “If you don’t like broccoli how come you ordered it?”

“I like broccoli,” Sassa answered, “I just like to eat it separately.” She began making a new pile for the onions.

Xander sighed, bundled up again and pulled his coat on, picked up Faith’s jacket and tossed it to her.

“What?” she said.

“C’mon,” he said. “Let’s go kill something.”



Staff Sgt. Martin Dahlgren, (deceased), lingered in the lea of a building. The cold, of course, didn’t bother him anymore, but the wind still irritated. So why stay here, out on the high plains where the wind was endless, he often wondered. Because it was home, he always answered himself. There were a couple bars that weren’t too big on mirrors he could go to, drink a few beers, shoot some pool. He could wear the uniform, the regulars called him Sarge, he knew the magic words to use if anyone started get nosy about how come they’d never seen him on the base. He just had to say he worked on Deep Space Radar Telemetry, whatever the hell that was, and they’d back off in a hurry.

He stayed because it was home, because there were a couple lady vamps who didn’t mind if he came around without calling first. He stayed because he had all the time in the world and he’d move on when he felt like it.

But maybe the time had come. Rumor had it the damned council was setting up a slayer house in Denver, which would be no skin off Dahlgren’s ass except a lot of Denver vamps were leaving town, at least for awhile. And a lot of them weren’t going very far, figuring they’d hang out in his town until they got a clear sitrep, then they’d either go back or move on. Meanwhile, being transients not only were they taking the all the easy meals, they weren’t being as careful as they could be. He’d already policed up a couple bodies that had been dumped too close to his lair for comfort, and damned near got himself dusted bitching out one FNG only to have four of his buddies come around the corner. In the summer when the mountains were full of tourists to snack on he would simply have gone camping for a month or so but now… Maybe it was time, go on a little trip at least, maybe down to New Orleans, see what cajun tasted like.

Just at the moment he was feeling a bit peckish but not really hungering. The storm was keeping the people indoors so he was thinking maybe he’d hit a motel, where the damned invite thing didn’t get in the way. Or maybe he’d just say the hell with it and eat tomorrow.

Or maybe, he thought as he heard voices approaching, he’d just have dinner delivered. He clambered up the side of the building to crouch on the roof so he could watch the couple approach. He smiled, pleased. The woman was choice, young, hot. Nice leather jacket, too. Probably too small for him, but he knew a vampiress who would be pleased to have it. Get him a little easy gratitude. Maybe she’d even consider taking a little trip with him.

They were having a nice fight, too. Almost didn’t need the vamp hearing to catch the show. Probably had witnesses at their motel, so when the girl goes missing the cops will already have a suspect. Very nice. Normally he didn’t kill, simply taking a meal and leaving them weak but alive. But perhaps tonight he would indulge himself. Put the body in the right place and they wouldn’t find her ‘til spring. He listened.

“What the fuck do you want me to do, put them in the trunk?” the man shouted.

“Wouldn’t kill them. I’ve been in worse places.”

“Oh, don’t even go there.”

“Fine, just stop being such a fucking pushover!”

“They’re just kids. I know, I know, so were we but that’s the whole fucking point, isn’t it? So they don’t have to go through the shit we did. They can be kids, and have a little fun along the way.”

“They just get on my fucking nerves, Xander can I have this, Xander I want that, Xander can we in eat in a nice restaurant… Xander can we stay in a real hotel...”

“So she has a little princess in her. She isn’t the only one.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“You don’t think they aren’t wearing me out too? You sitting in the corner making faces doesn’t help any. I mean, you got somewhere to be I don’t know about, cause what difference does an extra day in Santa Fe make….”

Dahlgren walked along the rooftops above them as the fight peaked and reached the expected finish.

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

“Don’t wait up!” The woman whirled and stomped away, picking up speed, moving too fast for the man who seemed to have a bad leg to follow, he tried for a little bit then threw his hands up, swung his cane viciously at an innocent bit of blowing paper. Dahlgren picked up his own pace and went after the girl, quickly reaching the end of the building he was on and looking down, expecting to find her leaning against the wall and crying her eyes out. But there was nobody there. He looked left, right, where the hell? No way she could get out of his sight that quickly, even with the blowing snow. He jumped down to the sidewalk and ran a little ways to the right, the way she’d been heading, moving at a pace that would easily catch her up. But nothing. Damn. He looked around. She must have ducked into one of the buildings somehow. He stopped and listened. Nothing but the wind. Crap. He’d have to make do with the guy. He went back.

He was still in sight, no problem, a sad bulky figure hunched against the cold. He’d clearly stood and dithered and waited a bit before giving up and starting back the way they’d come.

Damn. He’d wanted the girl. Oh well, no point dicking around now. He clambered up the roof again, sprinted along until he was above the man, waited until he neared the end of the block and dropped lightly behind him, grabbed the hood of his coat and ripped it back to expose the man’s neck and bit down hard…

And found his mouth full of …. wool. The fuck? He tried to pull back and found his fangs were caught in the fabric, he shook his head trying to get free but he was well stuck, he felt the man shift and twist then and felt a padded elbow slam into his sternum, the blow was not without force but far too cushioned to probably do much damage to a human, let alone a vampire. He reared back, again trying to free his fangs but managed instead to yank the man backwards and his foot slipped and they went down in a heap. Dahlgren fought the urge to laugh but, fuck this, he grabbed the man’s shoulder and held him steady and pulled hard and this time he ripped through the cloth and came free, he rolled backwards and came to his feet. He retracted his fangs and stood trying to spit out the dry strands of wool that insisted on sticking to his tongue and inner cheeks.

Dahlgren looked up as his, temporarily belated, victim levered himself back to his feet and stood holding the cane in a ready position. Dahlgren stared a moment, something seemed off… Oh, yeah, guy was wearing an eyepatch, standing the way he was minimized the access to his blind side. Could be tough in a fight, Dahlgren thought, if I was playing fair, that is.

“Damn, buddy,” Dahlgren said, “how many scarves are you wearing?” and was surprised when the guy smiled and answered,

“Three. It’s cold out here, in case you didn’t notice. You know, with the snow and the wind and all.”

Dahlgren stepped forward, paused just out of reach of the guy’s cane, then stepped forward again, going into vamp face as he did, figuring the guy would freeze at the sight just long enough …fuck. Guy didn’t even blink, just suddenly sprouted a nasty blade on the end of his cane and lunged at him, going for the heart and damn that was close, hell, if the guy hadn’t slipped just a little in the snow as he lunged he might have had him. As it was Dahlgren, vampire reflexes and all, was just able to deflect the blow, feeling the tip of the blade scrape his ribs as it passed. He grabbed the cane then, ripped it out of the man’s hands, broke it in two and flung the pieces out into the night. He ducked a heavy punch and went in, this time pulling the damn scarves away from the man’s pulsing neck. Fucker was still fighting, Dahlgren blocked a knee to the crotch, those years of hand-to-hand practice still coming in handy. He got a grip on the man’s armpit and slammed him hard back against the wall, pinned his other arm and went for the bite again, this time with a clear shot…

And then he felt himself suddenly lifted, spun three sixty and found his own face slammed into the bricks, then something hit him in the small of the back. He thought maybe it was a cement truck. Then it hit him again and he lost all control of his legs. He was spun around again, had a momentary vision of a woman’s enraged face and a fist came up and broke his jaw and for a moment his sight was nothing but stars and black spots and pain. Slowly the stars and the black spots cleared. The woman hit him again, he felt his ribs breaking. Again, more ribs, suddenly the pain was so great it was gone, he felt vaguely separate from his body, his mind drifting … he could sort of feel his bones breaking but it seemed to be happening in the distance somehow. The blows continued, his body was literally being hammered flat. He could hear a voice,

“Faith… Faith… Faith…”

“It’s a little late for that I think,” Dahlgren tried to answer.

“Faith…” the voice repeated, growing clearer, “Faith! Enough! Faith!… I think he’s done, Faith.”

Dahlgren had a moment of clarity. Faith. Xander. Faith. Xander Harris, one-eyed guy. He would have laughed. Of all the fucking luck.

The blows had stopped, she released him, he felt his body fall, slide, slump, settle into a twisted lump in the snow. He knew vampires could survive starvation, drowning. Gunshot wounds. He’d survived a few broken bones since turning, even with vamp eyesight night skiing had its dangers. But he’d always healed quickly and back to normal. But he’d never been hurt like this, maimed like this. He wondered if he’d live. He wondered if he wanted to, if his body would return to normal or simply fuse as it was. He heard voices.

“Xan are…”

“I’m fine….”

“Oh god I’m so sorry…”

“I’m fine, Faith, really…”

“No, I mean about before. Everything. I’m sorry.”

“Oh. Yeah. Me too.”

“I was being a bitch…”

“Faith…”

“No, don’t say anything, just…”

“Now? Here? You want me to freeze them off?”

“Now. Here. I’ll keep them warm…. Hurry, baby, I need you … Damn, Xan, how many pairs of pants do you have on… ah, there he is…. Now, baby, give me, yes baby, yes, right there, YES!“

Now that, Dahlgren thought, is just rude.

“Oh GOD, Xan, yes, yes, love me baby, hold me hard Xan, Yes! Yes, like that Xan, yes lover yes….”

Dahlgren felt a sharp slice of pain reach out and touch his floating mind. The sunuvabitch had stepped on his foot.

They went on. And on. God damn the woman had lungs. Finally, a wailing climax descending into some heavy breathing, incoherent mumbling. Voices.

“So waddya think the chances are there’s any egg rolls left?”

“Not good. … Faith?”

“Yeah baby?”

“Don’t forget our friend here…”

“Oh, yeah.”

And then there was a brief vision of the woman’s face, cheeks still flushed, nostrils dilated, eyes half-closed and yet gleaming in that unmistakable post-coital tranquility. There were, the vampire thought, worse views to have as you left the world. And then there was the blessed peace of the stake and SSgt. Martin Dahlgren, (deceased), was a patch of dirty snow, drifting lost and scattered in the endless high plains wind.



Jack stopped the SUV in front of Daniel Jackson’s house and turned to look in the back seat where the archeologist was again fast asleep.

“Hey Danny boy…. Give him a push would you, T? Unless you want to carry him in and put him to bed?”

Teal’c reached over and gave him a gentle shake. Daniel snorted, shook his head and began blinking.

“Where….?”

“Home, Daniel,” Jack said.

“Oh. Yes. Good.” He opened the door, stepped out, reached back to gather his things. “Yes. Well. See you all tomorrow.”

Jack waited as he went up the walk and opened the door, just to be sure he hadn’t lost or forgotten his key. He put the SUV in gear and started for Carter’s place. The driving was getting a little interesting on the residential streets where the snow was beginning to accumulate in significant amounts.

“So T,” he said as they neared Carter’s street, “you want to bunk at my place tonight and we’ll go up the mountain in the morning?”

“Actually sir,” Carter said, “If you just want to avoid the trip, I think I’m going to go up now, while I still can. There are some things I want to work on in the morning.”

“You know, they’re pretty good about plowing that road, Carter.”

“Yessir. But they’re not so quick about clearing mine. I just want to be sure.”

“You do know that that’s not sane, right?”

“Yessir.”

“Just so you know. Up to you, T?”

“I thank you for the invitation O’Neill but I believe performing Kel'No'Reem would be the best use of my time this evening so that I will be fully prepared for my duties tomorrow.”

He waited at Carter’s until she got her car started and assured him the Volvo could manage the current conditions. Then he went home. The house was quiet. Empty. Maybe he should have invited them all over, finish the weekend with an informal supper. Probably the world wouldn’t actually end if Carter was late to work on Monday, even if some people would see it as a portent of imminent doom.

Or maybe not. Maybe there had been enough SG1 togetherness for one quiet, amazingly uneventful weekend. Even if sooner or later something would have to be done about Teal’c’s new hat.

He opened a beer and made himself a sandwich and ate it looking out the window at the falling snow. Inside looking out the night was quiet, clean. Peaceful.

-30-


Next: Chapter 2: Distant Echoes

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