chapter fifteen *edited*
Three blurs burst through the library doors, the doors swung back into the frames loudly. Sam cringed at the noise as she came to a complete standstill, she wondered whether any of the teachers had heard the racket.
Daniel looked at the stacks of books, there were dozens of them and he bet that they were all full of demon texts and other things to translate, he ran up to the ladder almost immediately after he had burst through the double doors, he grasped the rails tightly and ran up the steps two and a time until he got to the next floor. The archaeologist ran his hand through his hair giddily, his head twisted around in every direction as he tried to decided which bookcase to go to first.
“Hey, Danny,” called Jack from below. “Try not to pass out, okay? We can come back later.”
Jack looked around, “So, where’s Xander and Willow?” the library was completely deserted.
Willow yelped as three blurs of energy shot past almost knocking into her, then she jumped at a sudden crashing sound from behind them, she turned around quickly to look at the library doors. They swung shut loudly, she looked at Xander frowning slightly, “What was that?”
Xander shrugged, “Let’s go check it out.” He looked back and saw that Buffy, who had gone a little ahead of them, was waiting outside. He saw her look back and then start back up towards them. He turned to his redheaded friend but saw that she was already walking back into the library, “Wait up.”
He followed her and saw with surprise that three familiar people were standing around, “No way.” He ran into the library quickly filled with dread and anger; he hoped that Buffy and Giles wouldn’t see.
He strode in to hear Willow asked, “What are you three doing here?!” she sounded as upset as he felt. This could only go wrong, the only thing they had going for them was that Teal’c obviously hadn’t come along for the ride.
“Okay, let me just say that is the stupidest thing you three have ever done,” reprimanded Xander furiously. “And second of all…” he heard footsteps running towards the doors. “…hide!”
Xander grabbed Jack’s sleeve, which he saw had a weird-looking armband covering it, and pushed him towards the library table, “Xander, what the hell-” he wrenched his arm from the boy’s grip which resulting in a pained curse from Xander who was now clutching his arm.
“Geez, are you on steroids or something?!” he exclaimed rubbing his hurt arm. At the corner of his pain-watering eye he saw Willow waving her arms around and hissing at Daniel to hide behind the stacks whilst trying to pull Sam towards the table, she obviously had the same intentions as he did.
“Guys, what the hell is going on?” demanded Buffy taking in her surroundings.
Xander was in the middle of pushing a tall steel-haired man towards the huge table, Willow was gesturing wildly at a guy that looked like he was a cross between Angel and Giles- geeky but cute- to duck behind the stacks while trying to drag a resisting blonde woman in the same direction as Xander was pushing the older man in. They froze immediately and her two friends both had guilty expressions on the flushed faces.
Daniel peeked out from behind the stacks and gave a little wave, “Ah, hi!”
Willow and Xander sighed in resignation, glared at their three friends and then walked towards Buffy. The redhead girl wrung her hands nervously, “They’re, um, they’re online friends, mine and Xander’s online friends; Xander goes online sometimes, y’know I mean he might not look all that bright but I teach him how to work a computer, it’s really quite easy…
Xander groaned and rolled his eyes skyward as his friend’s babbling pushed its way forward, “Uh, Will?”
“….oh, yeah, I forgot. This is Sam, Jack and, uh, that’s Daniel up there behind the stacks…”
Giles, who had came through the doors a minute ago, frowned up at the man holding two very valuable books; the man clutched the books tighter and said, “I’m gonna read your books, I heard they’re very fascinating, hope you don’t mind.”
The librarian spluttered indignantly while Willow continued babbling at Buffy who was looking rather confused and overwhelmed, “Everyone, stop what…” the noise drowned out his words. “I really think you…”
Giles lifted a heavy tome in both his arms and slammed it as hard as he could on the floor, “QUIET!” he yelled. The silence was deafening, he blushed slightly as all of them stared at him, mouths open in shock, he picked up the book calmly and said, “Now, W-Willow, please introduce us to your new friends.”
Willow gulped, shifted slightly, and said, “Um, this is Samantha Carter…” gestured towards the blonde she was standing next to. “…the man standing next to Xander is Jack O’Neill…” she then gestured up at the stacks. “…and that’s Daniel Jackson.”
Giles stared at Daniel, “Daniel Jackson. Doctor Daniel Jackson?” an interesting turn of events.
“Uh, yes of archaeology,” answered Daniel looking confused. “How did you know I was a Doctor?” unless he heard of…
“You were giving a lecture on how aliens had built the pyramids in Egypt, a very interesting theory,” rattled off Giles, he looked intrigued. “Although, your audience obviously wasn’t very open-minded at the time, you were laughed out of the academy because of the theories.”
Daniel smiled wryly, “Yes, because people are usually very open to suggestions about alien-built pyramids.” If only they knew.
Giles blushed at his sarcasm, then he caught sight of the armband on Daniel’s arm, “Um, interesting gadget you have there. May I ask what it is?” it was a very strange-looking machine, he didn’t think it was from ‘Toys ‘R’ Us’, he certainly hadn’t seen them around.
Daniel gaped for a second, then said, “It’s…it’s a project we’re working on…ah…” he looked to his friends for some assistance.
Sam jumped to explain, “We-we work for this computer program company, and well, it’s classified so…”
While everyone was talking amongst themselves Buffy gave Willow and Xander a pointed, rather harsh look and said, “Guys, over here.” She gestured for them to follow her further away from the group discussion. “What the hell is going on?” she asked expectantly.
“W-we told you, Buff,” stammered Willow unconvincingly. “They’re our…ah….online friends.” Oh, she REALLY wasn’t good at lying! Why did she even bother? She didn’t even LIKE lying- especially to her friends; maybe that was the reason she lied so badly.
Buffy gave her a deadpan look and said, “Do you even expect me to believe that?”
The redhead shifted, heck no! She wouldn’t believe herself if their roles were reversed, she sighed and looked at Xander resignedly, “Buffy-
“Will,” he ground out. She knew what the consequences would be like if she told anyone else that knew about the supernatural, she wouldn’t tell; would she? Hell no! Keeping secrets had been the center of their universes, their jobs were centered around lying and keeping countless secrets from their families and loved ones, Willow wouldn’t tell, no way. It was against everything they were taught.
“You remember what happened at Halloween?” Willow started, making her mind up. “With the costumes.” She didn’t have to tell her EVERYTHING, she had to omit a few things.
Buffy nodded slowly, wondering where this was going, “Yeah, that stuff is kinda hard to forget, Will.” She pulled Willow to the steps which they sat down on; Xander sat on the floor near the redhead and prodded at the wooden rails with his thumb.
Willow took a deep breath, “Xander and I dressed up as soldiers, didn’t we?” she wondered how Buffy was going to react to this- how was SG1 going to react to this?
“Yeeess,” drew out Buffy, she waved her hand lightly for her to continue.
“Well, Sam and Jack are with the Air force, Colonel Jack O’Neill and Major Samantha Carter,” she explained carefully. She looked at Xander who continued the details of their Halloween night.
“When Ethan’s spell was cast it didn’t just turn us into any soldiers,” he inclined his head towards the group. “It turned me into Jack and Willow into Sam.” He glanced at his redheaded friend, who continued.
“Since then we’ve received all their memories, their skills as soldiers, their knowledge,” she smiled darkly. “Everything.” Jolinar’s memories came to mind, it was nothing like having three psyches in your head. Hers, Sam’s and Jolinar’s. Swell.
Buffy’s eyes were wide, “Wow, I mean…wow.” No wonder Willow and Xander had been acting differently, she thought it was just because they were growing up; she’d been right, but she’d missed out the other reason. “Wow, so, you know everything that they know?”
Willow nodded, “Pretty much, it’s kinda nifty.” Sometimes, anyway.
Xander nodded, “Yeah, I got higher grades and everything.” He, the dumb-ass goof-ball, was now as intelligent as a guy who flew planes for a living. How cool was that?
The redheaded witch nodded, “Yep, and the only side-effects are soul-crushing night-terrors and a new height of weirdness added to our already freakish behavior.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t matter! Now we got a better fashion- Cordelia should be proud, but ya’know what, she isn’t, surprise surprise!” joked Xander with a tone of complete and utter self-depreciation and self-mockery.
Buffy swallowed, “You guys are kinda stressed, huh?” well, that much was blindingly obvious. How much had these guys changed? Were they even the people that she’d first met? Yes, she knew they were, just a little different and more mature. More jaded.
Willow and Xander nodded, “Mm-hmm.” “How’d ya guess?” the sarcasm came from Xander as usual.
The three of them jumped with shock as a triumphant voice filled the room, “I knew it!” they all turned to see a short, rather bald man staring at the blonde with a gleeful expression, “I knew you were up to something, Summers. What are these strangers doing in here?”
Buffy opened her mouth to reply but found that she had no explanation, “Ah, they’re…ah, friends…from…uh….” C’mon, Summers! You can lie better than that!
The small man looked at her the way a fox looks at a rabbit before it pounces, “So, you let them into the school?”
Willow started to get worried, “Oh, no…she didn’t…they, ah, kinda got lost?” she winced as the last part of her explanation came out sounding like a question. Well done, Rosenberg. “I-I mean, yeah, they got lost a-and, ah, needed directions. So we gave them those directions and ahhh….” She trailed off as Snyder’s glower, which had been trained on her since she’d opened her mouth, got more intense. “They walked in, b-but they’re friends…mine and Xander’s Internet friends, that is.”
Snyder snorted, “You expect me to believe that Harris even KNOWS what the ‘Internet’ is?”
Sam scowled at the man furiously.
“Hey!” Xander exclaimed looking insulted. He frowned as Snyder glared at him.
Giles scowled at the little man, “Now, see here-
Jack grimaced and stuck his hands in his pockets, “I guess we’ll just be headin’ off now.” Had to do some damage control, if he and his team ‘zipped’ out of the school Snyder couldn’t do anything to get Buffy into any trouble whatsoever. “Carter, Daniel.”
Sam looked disappointed, “But, sir.” She and Willow hadn’t even started having fun yet. Jack glared at her, the look said: ‘Are you going to disobey me, Major?’ and of course, she wouldn’t; not this time anyway.
“B-but Jack,” protested Daniel, he held up two books meaningfully.
Snyder glared at them, “Yes, I think that’s a good idea. Don’t think about coming to this school again, if you’re friends with these…these lowlife criminals then I can only expect that you’re just as juvenile as they are; so if I catch you around these premises again I’ll make sure that what you people have got planned will be stopped and you will be punished..” He had a look of self-importance plastered all over his face as he said this. “Dead students found in the locker rooms, the library last year was all but DESTROYED and all this mess points…to…you.”
He said this last part whilst looking at Buffy with nothing short of absolute hatred.
Buffy shifted looking slightly discomforted at this display of animosity, “W-well, that wasn’t me.”
The principle glared, “I can’t prove it was, Summers. But as soon as I find ANY reason for the cops to suspect you of ANYTHING…I’ll make sure they’ll know EXACTLY where you are, and where you’re friends are. Because sooner or later all the massacres and murders that you just HAPPEN to be involved with or near to will be stacked up against you and those too-stupid police cops will corner you and your friends and you will never see the light of day AGAIN!”
As Snyder ranted on and on Sam started getting angrier and angrier; she frowned at the man, how dare he threaten her friends? Over the year and a half he’d given them nothing but trouble at every corner, he constantly stuck his nose in where it didn’t belong. These kids had enough to worry about without this jerk making things worse.
She felt the anger burn at the pit of her stomach, it was like a fierce blue flame coming from a Bunsen-burner, it made her feel sick. She watched as Snyder was pushed off his feet by an invisible force and slammed up against the wall behind him, eliciting a ‘whoosh’ as the breath was knocked out of his lungs. She smiled slightly in satisfaction as the little rat squirmed.
No one noticed that her iris’s had darkened to cobalt-blue instead of the river-stone blue that they had once been, her fingertips tingled with an untamed power that made them twitch; she curled her hands into fists and smirked as Snyder yelled, “You put me down now!” he face flushed with anger. “I mean it! I want an orderly school, disciplined, one with NO funny business! No murders! So when I say ‘put me down’ I mean ‘PUT ME DOWN!’” he finished in a high pitched, rather girlish, screech. “This is you, Summers! Isn’t it!”
Sam’s eyes darkened further to navy-blue as the magic, Naquada and the virus that the armband had released burned inside her and fueled by anger; the lights in the library flickered spasmodically. Some shattered.
Xander and Jack grinned delightedly, and they said “Cool,” simultaneously. It wasn’t everyday you got to see your ‘favourite’ high school principle floating around in midair; that was rather unfortunate, still, they could enjoy it while it lasted.
Willow looked at both Jack and Xander, she rolled her eyes at them and then noticed the look on Sam’s face; it was then she realized that her blonde solider-friend was the one making it happen. She shook her head, amazed at the blonde’s recklessness, and looked upwards at the teacher with wide, emerald-green eyes. She was unable to stop a grin from forming on her face; she noticed that Buffy giggling shamelessly at Snyder’s predicament.
The Slayer turned to Willow obviously trying to sober up, “Ah, Will? You are doing this, right? She hoped it was her friend, she’s hate to think what would happen if it was a demon doing that.
The redhead shook her head, smirking, “It’s Sam, the Halloween thing kinda went both ways.” Maybe she should stop Sam, it could get out of hand. No wait, Sam’s the responsible adult here, she was always careful about magic and required the same level of caution in Willow.
“Oh,” Buffy looked kinda freaked at that. “Great.”
“Oh, don’t worry, she won’t tell anyone.” Neither would her friends.
While they talked both the girls vaguely heard Snyder making a rude-sounding comment, then everyone’s attention was caught when Jack exclaimed loudly, “Whoa! Carter!” they saw that Sam’s hair had darkened to dirty-blonde almost brown, then they heard her say, “Ya know what? I think it’s time you became what you REALLY are and stopped harassing these kids.”
Daniel’s mouth hung open a little, “Uh…”
Sam’s eyes had turned solid, pitch black; she started muttering something under her breath and energy began to swirl around her, she shivered noticeably as the energy strengthened and then it started to dissipate.
Willow felt relief as the magic seemed to disappear, she’d thought that her friend was going to attack Snyder; then she felt the same horror as everyone else, minus Sam, did when the Principle screamed as he was consumed by a sudden burst of flame, “Sam!?”
“Carter?! What the hell…” Jack started yelling, the teenager beside him had a sickened look on his face.
Buffy sprinted towards the woman, intent on taking her down, but was stopped a few feet away from her target by an unseen force; then she was thrown backwards into the wall hard and landed on the floor looking dazed.
Xander ran to Buffy’s side quickly, looking concerned; his eyes roamed over her searching for any injuries. There were none, she just needed to get her breath back.
“Sam, stop it,” he heard Willow say. He looked up and saw that his best friend was inching closer and closer to the blonde- well, brunette now- and was trying not to provoke an attack.
Willow looked at the place where Snyder had been moments ago and then back at her friend, she felt an expression of fear make its way over her expressive face and attempted to conceal it. Of course it proved futile. “What did you do, Sam?”
Why was Sam like this? She knew her, more than anyone, and this was definitely not something the astrophysicist would do. Was it because of the magic? Was magic making her evil? No, how could it- Willow didn’t feel evil.
Sam smirked, “Jeez, Will. Don’t have a heart attack.” God, that girl could be SO uptight sometimes! She needed to loosen up; and as soon as she was done here she would take the redhead out and use some magic, screw the ‘professional’ side of magic- like you couldn’t have FUN with it once in a while.
She saw the girl splutter in horrified astonishment, “’Don’t have a-’ you- you- you- you just killed-” at the corner of her eye see saw Jack stepping cautiously up to Sam.
Guilt settled at the pit of Sam’s stomach as she saw the fear in the girl’s eyes and the tearful look on her face, the soldier’s hair lightened back to blonde and her eyes went back to cobalt-blue, she looked rather guiltily at the pile of clothes under where Snyder had once been, “I…I didn’t kill him, Will, I think I-
Willow frowned suddenly and looked at the pile of clothes….the pile of clothes that lacked the charred look burnt clothes usually had, “But-
Everyone directed their attention to the now-moving pile of clothes and watched in silent surprise as a tiny, pale pink, wiggly nose protruded from out of the garments; whiskers and a tiny furry face soon followed.
Sam nodded, “I think I turned him into a rat.” Damn. Well, he did really deserve it.
Buffy, now fully conscious, looked at the rodent-Snyder warily, she looked up at Giles, “Do you think Snyder like cheese?”
Rat-Snyder looked up at the people and squeaked shrilly, its long tail moved around behind it.
Giles took his specs off his nose and polished them furiously, “I don’t think he has much of a choice, Buffy.”