Tara took a moment to think of the best way to explain it. "A Guardian is sort of a Champion on a 'universal' scale. Instead of protecting a specific people, like humans, they guard the interests of the Universe herself. I believe that you are the first human to become a Guardian. Very few humans are ever born with the capacity of self-sacrifice and value of life that it takes to become a Guardian."
"Are you telling me that I'm back under the PTB's thumb?" Buffy asked warily. "I thought I was finished with them."
"No, you are beyond them." Tara reassured her. "If what I suspect is even close to the truth, the Universe manipulated Oma into coming to me, all in order to get you here, where the biggest threat is."
"Why not against the Goa'uld?" Elizabeth asked.
"The Goa'uld aren't as much of a threat as you think they are." Tara told them. "They're like vamps. They are also more interested in enslavement than annihilation. They're bigger, stronger and outnumber us, but their arrogance and in-fighting give their enemies all the advantages necessary to keep them in line, or eventually defeat them completely. The Wraith, however, have advantages that humans can't defend against. At least, not yet. Bullets barely slow them down, they not only regenerate, but they can regrow severed limbs. Also, their in-fighting is so negligible, that it doesn't even matter. They'd rather work towards the common goal, which is getting to Earth, a planet with an almost unlimited food supply. If they reach Earth now, before we can figure out a way to do serious damage, we're going to lose."
Willow suddenly understood, looking at it from the larger scale. "If they manage to take Earth, they'll continue to grow and eventually overwhelm the universe in sheer numbers."
"Precisely." Tara nodded. "Buffy needed to be here to prevent a small, almost minor action that will, in turn, result in the Wraith finding Earth before humans are ready." She quickly turned to Elizabeth. "What Dawn told you was correct. The decision wasn't made without a lot of consideration, and it was the best choice from the ones that you had, but the whole situation came about because of events that 'could' have been prevented. I don't tell you this to make you doubt the choices that you will make in the future, but Buffy will draw certain lines that she will not allow you to cross. One of those lines will affect the change needed to keep the Wraith from Earth before humans are ready."
"You say this as if it is a foregone conclusion that the Wraith will reach Earth." Elizabeth frowned.
Tara gave her a sad smile. "That was, unfortunately, never in question. If it had not been you, then it would have been others. Sooner or later, humans from Earth would have reached the Pegasus Galaxy, and at some point after that, humans and the Wraith would have crossed paths."
"How can you be so sure?"
"We have seen it." Tara said, referring to the Ascended. "The Aschen were correct in some parts. In the future, Humans will
have to migrate off of Earth because of the population alone. Now that space has been reached, how long do you think it will be before personal spacecrafts are invented. Once that happens, humans will travel further and further from Earth, and eventually, someone will reach a Wraith-infested planet. It is inevitable."
Elizabeth considered that, recalled what she had read of the mission reports of the encounter with the Aschen, as well as the reference to the mysterious note. She sighed heavily, realizing that if what Tara said was true about the future population growth, and there was no reason not to believe that she was, then it was
inevitable. As clearly evidenced by the SGC, once people got off the planet they would scatter far and wide if for no other reason than to see what was out there.
"What can we do?"
"Do as you have been doing." Oma answered. "Live your lives and base your decisions as as best you can, with the information that you have. That truly is all that you can
do. We cannot tell you the answers, because if we did, there is a risk that the outcome would be worse than it is now."
“What’s the difference between Champions and Guardians?” Xander asked. “There are lots of Champions on Earth. You mean none of them were capable of being a Guardian.”
“The difference is that, in the end, one life is as important as a million.” Tara answered, turning her head to look at the brunette plastered to her side. “Another Champion would have done as Giles suggested, and killed Dawnie to nullify the Key of Dimensions.” She caressed her beloved’s jaw. “They would have killed a grief stricken witch immediately after her first murder instead of trying time after time to get through to her before she destroyed the world.” She looked at Xander again. “They would have destroyed a former demon for returning to her evil ways instead of giving them the chance to become human again. They would have done these things because that is what would be ‘safer’ for the multitude, without taking into account the individual.”
“From the beginning, even as she fought her destiny with everything she had, she always tried to make sure that the ‘individual’ got what they deserved, and nothing more.” Oma continued. “She did not blindly accept the teachings that ‘all’ demons should be destroyed. Her dedication to life was not limited to humans alone.”
Deciding that the conversation was finished, Oma left them. Tara, however, stayed a little longer, not speaking, just basking in the love and presence of her family before she had to go. Dawn had spent the majority of the conversation glued to her mother-figure's side. Now, the young woman tightened her grip around her waist, knowing that she would be leaving soon, and that there was no guarantee that she would be able to visit them again.
Elizabeth sat quietly as the Scoobies gathered around their Ascended friend. There were tearful goodbyes that she knew they hadn't had when the blonde had tragically died. A tearful Willow took an equally tearful Xander and Dawn back down to the city not long after Tara finally vanished in a flash of warm light. Buffy knelt in from of the commander and laid her head down in Elizabeth's lap.
"Are you all right?" Elizabeth asked, tangling her fingers in Buffy's hair.
"I think so." Buffy sighed. "I guess being a Guardian can't be much different than being a Slayer."
Elizabeth cupped her chin and coaxed her face up so that she could look Buffy in the eyes. "Whatever happens, I'll be right beside you."
She ducked her head and kissed the Guardian softly. Buffy moaned as the heat and need quickly flared between them, and she pushed herself up to deepen the kiss hungrily. Before Elizabeth knew what was happening, strong hands wrapped around her thighs and pulled her off the seat to sit on Buffy's bent legs. With her hands cupping her ass, Buffy pulled Elizabeth flush against her body, shivering at the heat being generated between them. When Buffy pulled her top out of her trousers and slipped her hands underneath, Elizabeth knew that she had to stop her.
She broke the kiss and rested her head against Buffy's, panting harshly as Buffy continued to lick at her lips. Each flick of her soon-to-be lover's tongue made her body clench in need. "Buffy..."
She broke off with a gasp as Buffy cupped her breasts. Buffy took the opportunity to capture her mouth in another searing kiss that nearly sent her right over the edge. She groan and her sex spasmed when Buffy pinched her nipples, the sharp pain shoot straight to her clit. 'Beckett to Dr. Weir.'
Elizabeth gave a strangled moan as she torn her mouth away. She didn't know whether to be pissed or thankful at the interruption. She was ready for Buffy to lay her out on the floor of this ship and take her hard. Panting harshly, she pulled Buffy's hands from beneath her shirt before clearing her throat and activating her comm link.
"I've finished examining Ronan and Colonel Sheppard does not seem to be too badly hurt." Carson reported. "However, he refused to tell me how he became injured."
She could hear the question in his voice, but decided that if John didn't want to tell, it wasn't her place to break his confidence. "I'm sure he has his reasons. If it was a danger to the city, he would say so."
"Very well." Carson accepted. "Well, I've released them both. Major Sheppard has returned to duty, and Dawn came to get Ronan to show him around. She said something about how how cool it was to have a big brother. The poor man looked positively shell-shocked."
Buffy grinned. She had told Ronan about her sister, but neither of them had ever thought that he'd ever have the chance to meet her. She clicked her mic off and ran her fingers through silky blonde hair. Buffy's eyes closed and her head tilted back in pleasure as nails scraped over her scalp. "Where do we go from here?"
"Dinner dates and making out?" Buffy said hopefully.
Elizabeth chuckled. Buffy wrapped her arms around the trim waist and hugged her new mate close. "I don't know how long this thing between us is gonna let us take it slow, but I say we make the most of it. Take you to dinner, or someplace special."
"Isn't that what we've been doing for the last few weeks?" Elizabeth asked with a smile.
It was true. Most nights, Elizabeth stayed up with Buffy as her body worked its way through her insomnia. They talked, took the Machine
out into orbit to just float in the stars or just set her down on the water to bounce with the waves. If they looked at it that why, they'd been dating for a while already.
"So now what?" Buffy asked.
"Well, I liked your first idea." Elizabeth's eyes twinkled playfully. "Dinner dates and making out sounds just right."
She pulled Buffy into another kiss, this time keeping firm control and not allowing it to flare out of control as it had before.