For a timeless moment, Buffy reveled in the sheer joy of the free-fall, before she reached to grab a passing tree limb. With smooth moves reminiscent of her days as a cheerleader and gymnast, she swung from limb to limb, tree to tree, until she dropped soundlessly to the ground just a few feet from the rearguard. Pulling her sword from her coat, she launched herself and the closest Wraith and had cut down several before they could gather themselves to retaliate.
“Razor, I’m coming in from the south.” Buffy reported, hearing the sounds of shooting and bodies hitting the ground.
“Gotcha.” Her friend answered.
Suddenly, one of the Wraith in front of her was knocked off its feet, while another sprouted a crossbow bolt from its throat and a third burst into flames.
“You just couldn’t wait a few minutes, could you?” Willow snapped as she and Dawn ran up next to her. “I could have teleported us all down without all the aerobatics.”
“Don’t knock it until you try it.” Buffy grinned at her. “Free-falling is awesome. Where’s Xander?”
“He’s practicing his marksmanship.” Dawn answered, pointed upwards with her thumb. “He had Willow drop him in a tree.”
Listening carefully, Buffy heard the faint rustling of tree leaves in a tree about a hundred yards in between her position and Ronan’s. She heard a faint pop and, a moment later, the thud of another body hitting the ground. “All right, then. Let’s go.”
They worked their way through the Wraith, with Xander picking off the stragglers that tried to approach from their blind sides. Willow and Dawn concentrated on protecting Buffy whenever she found herself facing one of the Wraith lieutenants. When she could no longer hear Ronan’s weapon being fired, Buffy hailed him again.
“How are you doing, Ronan?” She demanded.
“Kind of busy now, Slayer.” He grunted, and Buffy could hear the faint sound of weapons fire. “Dropped my pack, and I used up the energy cells that I had on me. I’m pinned down.”
“Shit!” Buffy cursed. “Xander, can you give him a hand?”
“You got it, Buff.”
Darkness had fallen by the time they had taken out all of the Wraith. The Scoobies found the exhausted Sadetan warrior catching his breath behind a fallen tree. He was a tall man with dark skin and long dreadlocks. To Dawn, he looked like that Hawaiian model, Jason Mamoa. A sharply arched eyebrow rose when he saw the girls next to Buffy, but he automatically raised his empty weapon when Xander joined them a few minutes later.
“Friends of yours, I hope.” He said by way of a belated greeting.
“This is Willow, Xander and my sister Dawn.” Buffy smiled happily. “Guys, this is Ronan Dex, my adopted brother.”
“Adopted?” Willow and Xander exclaimed.
“Brother?” Dawn gasped at the same time. “You... I... We have a brother?”
“Where are you holed up, Razor?” Buffy asked after laughing at their reactions. She hadn’t felt this happy in a long time. Ronan’s family had been there when she needed, but it was nothing like having her own family around her again. “We’re not heading back to the Machine
“Nowhere in particular.” He told her. “I usually just climb the tallest tree I can find and rest out of possible firing range in case they find me.”
“Well, there are no more Wraith in the vicinity, and I’ll know if more show up.” Buffy assured him. “So let’s make a fire and camp out here for the night.”
~~~ BtVS ~~ SG: Atlantis ~~~
The next morning, it was a solemn group that headed back to Buffy’s ship. Buffy and Ronan had stayed up late, talking about the destruction of Sadeta. Buffy cried at the thought of never seeing Melena or Ronan’s mother, Ezmi, again. Those feelings of loss were joined by fury and guilt when Ronan told her that the Wraith had recognized her hand-to-hand fighting technique in Ronan’s unit, and had tortured them for information. Although all of the men and women had known her personally, only Ronan had known that she was the Wraith Slayer. She had taught him, and he, in turn, had trained the others. Because of that, he had been made a Runner instead of being killed along with everyone else.
“What do we do now, Buffy?” Willow asked as they walked.
“First, we get rid of that tracking device.” Buffy said. “I called Dr. Beckett before we left, so he should be ready when we get there. While he’s doing that, I guess I’d better call back to Atlantis and let them know what’s happening before they send reinforcements.”
They fell into a comfortable silence, enjoying the peace around them. When they arrived at the ship, they found the doctor ready for his impromptu surgery with a makeshift table for Ronan to lie on that had a small side table for his tools. Dawn volunteered to stay with Ronan while the others went to report in to Atlantis.
Buffy dialed the Atlantis address and waited for the gate to open. “Buffy to Dr. Weir.”
“Go ahead, Buffy.” Elizabeth said, nearly shaking in relief. “What’s your status?”
“Everyone’s fine.” Buffy informed her. “We found Ronan and took out all the Wraith that were down here. There were quite a lot of Wraith down here for one Runner, so I want to check orbit for a hive ship while the doc is working.”
They talked for a few minutes more before Buffy disengaged the wormhole and turned to her friends. “Okay, who’s going with me and who’s staying here?”
~~~ BtVS ~~ SG: Atlantis ~~~
After the communiqué with Buffy ended and the gate shut down, Elizabeth retreated to her office to think, closing the door behind her, a clear indication that she was not to be disturbed unless it was an emergency.
Dropping down into her chair, she leaned back, trying to put order to her chaotic thoughts. She was a part of an almost celestial bond-pair. According to Willow, Buffy needed her more than she had ever needed anyone or anything. She sheer magnitude of that thought was unnerving. This was so far beyond her experience that she didn’t even know where to start thinking about it. She knew, from Buffy’s words and reactions, that the blonde wanted the whole relationship, sex and all. She also knew, however, that Buffy would settle for whatever Elizabeth was willing to give her. Even nothing, regardless of the consequences. She wished that there was someone she could speak to about this, someone not involved and completely biased.
Rejecting the mating completely was out of the question, she immediately decided. There was no way she could let that light in the Slayer’s eyes to fade into the bleak nothingness if she could do anything about it, but did she want the relationship to be platonic, or did she want something more. She admitted to herself that she was attracted to Buffy, drawn to her in some indefinable way. Even if it was part of the bond between them, she was wise enough to know that it made no difference. The magnitude of their attraction wouldn’t be possible, mystically or otherwise, if there hadn’t been something there to begin with.
She sighed and turned her chair to stare blankly at the wall. Did she want this mating? How would it affect her life?
Willow had told her that even a partial mating would mean that she would not be able to fully connect with another. On the other hand, she had known when she accepted the mission that it was unlikely that she would return, and she knew that ethics forbade her having a relationship with anyone under her command. If she accepted it, how would it affect her command?
A good question, she realized. She knew instinctively that she would automatically become Buffy’s first concern. That she would sacrifice everyone in Atlantis to save her, but she didn’t have that luxury. These people relied on her to put them first, and she couldn’t, with good conscience, jeopardize that. All of that would be the same with the partial mating as well, wouldn’t it?
Her inner voice chimed in. The real question here is, what do you want?
That, she realized, was the real dilemma. She wanted Buffy, but as a mate? She had not planned on any type of relationship when she accepted this assignment., and had not considered a relationship with a woman at all. She had to admit, however, that in the last few days, she felt more for Buffy than she had in any previous relationship that she’d ever had. Vaguely, she wondered if the connection between them had something to do with that, then dismissed it as unimportant. This might be you last chance for a relationship of any kind.
Her inner voice warned. Even if we do find a way back to Earth, would you go back, and leave the Atlantis program, to have a life with Simon. Even if he knew about the program, what would be the odds of him wanting to leave his family and everything he knows to live across the galaxy. You know him. He wouldn’t do it, not even for you. So it’s either spend you life with Buffy, or spend you life alone.
Put that way, she realized, what was there really to consider?