“Goddess, Buffy, things really are never easy with you, are they?” A flash of light brought a softly smiling Tara into the small ship, appearing next to Buffy to smooth a lock of hair behind the smaller blonde in comfort. “Things were not supposed to progress like this. Only you, sweetie.”
“Tara?” Buffy looked up at her friend with fresh tears.
“We didn’t know that you were a Guardian, Buffy, but Goddess, looking back, it explains so much.” The Ascended witch sighed as she sat down. “You seem to have slipped through more than one crack. When the current Guardians are ready to pass on their Duty, Guides are sent to their replacements to help them acclimate to their new calling. Oma and I have been looking into it ever since Willow discovered that you are a Guardian, because you still do not register as one. The reason you are acting so erratically is because your essences are already merging at a level that should not be possible yet. You’ve needed grounding for so long that you reached out to her the moment your subconscious recognized her as your mate.”
Elizabeth started in surprise. “What does that mean?”
Tara turned slightly to look her in the eye. “It means that whether you accept the physical aspect of the mating or not, Buffy is already bonded to you. Rejecting it completely is no longer an option.”
For a moment, Buffy looked guilty, until Elizabeth’s quick acknowledgement. “I wasn’t going to, regardless.”
“So, you have made your decision?” Tara asked gently.
“I have.” Elizabeth nodded, looking over at the Slayer, who was watching her in wary hope. “I’ve decided to accept the mating, and everything that goes with it.”
“Are you sure, Elizabeth?” Buffy asked. “If you don’t want this, please tell me. I will find a way to fix it, and figure something else out.”
Before Elizabeth could answer, a light flashed and they were joined by another woman. “I think I’ve found it.”
“Buffy, Elizabeth, this is Oma Desala.” Tara said before the woman could begin. Oma was unused to dealing with normal mortals, other than Daniel, and often forgot to introduce herself.
Oma smiled at them and nodded, then continued her explanation. “It seems that the last Guardian passed on the mantle mere moments before you sacrificed yourself for your sister. You activated right before you jumped. Your body had not yet acclimated to the power, or you would not have died. Your resurrection was only possible because you are a Guardian. Your body was repairing itself, and you would have returned to it eventually, although perhaps not so traumatically.” ‘Colonel Sheppard’s going to be okay.’
Willow’s voice suddenly announced over the communications system. ‘He’s going to be all right. He’s just got a few cracked ribs.’
Buffy and Elizabeth looked at each other in relief before Buffy opened a channel. “Come on up, Will. Tara and her PiC are here with info too. Bring Dawn and Xander with you.”
A few minutes later, the Scoobies appeared in the ship. Willow wasted no time wrapping her late girlfriend in a fierce hug and kissing her witless. She didn’t care if Tara was now an ascended being or higher power or whatever. All she knew was that the one true love of her life was here. She might not exactly be alive, but she was there. Touchable, huggable and kissable.
“Well, gee, Wills, it’s a good thing we didn’t come up here for any specific reason.” Dawn snarked.
“Mm hmm.” Was Willow’s only response as she focused all of her considerable concentration on what could be her last Tara-kiss. After a long minute, to the vast amusement of everyone watching, Willow finally came up for air. She set her forehead against the blonde’s as she whispered, “I am so, so sorry, baby.”
“I missed you, Willow.” Tara responded just as softly, her voice so full of love that the others finally had to turn away to give them some privacy.
“So, Buffster,” Xander began, turning his back on the intimate scene. “I heard that you beat down Sheppard. What’s up with that?”
“That’s actually what we’re up here to talk about.” Buffy flushed and looked away. Elizabeth reached out and squeezed her hand in comfort. “Tara says that I’ve needed her so bad, that I’ve already begun bonding with Elizabeth. When Sheppard got between us, and accidentally knocked Elizabeth into the wall, I reacted instinctively. It’s just like Willow explained to us before. He hurt her, and I wanted his blood.”
~~~ BtVS ~~ SG: Atlantis ~~~
“Thanks, guys.” Willow said when they finally rejoined the others. She appreciated their efforts to give them ‘some’ privacy. “I guess we should probably get started, though, huh.”
“What revelations have ya got for us, Tara?” Xander asked.
“Well, Buffy has inadvertently begun the mating process with Elizabeth.” Tara told them. “She activated as a Guardian right before she died. It’s the only reason we were able to bring her back in the first place. She would have come back eventually, once her body had repaired itself.”
“So, was I really in Heaven?” Buffy asked.
“I don’t know, sweetie.” Tara told her. “I ascended when I died, so I’ve never been to Heaven.”
“At the rate you are going,” Oma interjected. “You will be completely merged very soon. I am surprised that you have not felt the need to consummate.”
Elizabeth and Buffy blushed, both thinking about what would possibly have happened in the hanger if they hadn’t been interrupted. Both Willow and Tara recognized the expressions on their faces, having been interrupted making out on numerous occasions and having to suffer Anya’s remarks.
“What will happen to Elizabeth?” Buffy asked.
“Nothing other than an extended lifespan.” Tara reassured her. “Elizabeth will not be harmed or changed in any way because of the mating. She will always know where you are and how you are, and you will always be her number one priority, but that is how a mating should be.”
Buffy turned her seat to face Elizabeth. “Are you okay with this?”
“We need to take the time to really talk about this, but yes, I think I am.” Elizabeth answered after a moment. “I have decided that I want to mate with you, and I’m not going to take that back, but we do need to talk about how it will affect the base and my command.”
Buffy went down her knees in from of her mate. “I would never do anything to compromise your command, Elizabeth, please believe that. No unless it put you directly in harm’s way. I know these systems better than anyone you could bring here. I’ve spent decades learning them. If they remove you from command, I’ll lock everyone out, and no one will get to use this city. I’ll accept no other commander but you.”
“Okay, now that the important stuff is taken care of,” Xander spoke up, interrupting them before they started something he didn't need to see. “My question is, what, exactly, is a Guardian?”
~~~ BtVS ~~ SG: Atlantis ~~~
For those that don’t know… PiC means Partner in Crime