A/N: The Slayer was going after Teyla because she has Wraith genes like they have the Ancient gene. It says so in the show.
Buffy glanced back at the woman in the ship, confused for a moment. She sensed Wraith, and her Slayer instincts demanded that she destroy it, but the woman she was focused on was not a Wraith. She shook her head to clear it, as more of her human consciousness awakened. The woman was Wraith, but not Wraith, kind of like how some of the people, even she herself, was Ancient, but not Ancient, and she realized that the woman must somehow have Wraith genes.
As she worked all this out in her head, she remained steadily balanced on the angled hull of the ship, crouched and ready to strike.
“How d-did you get here, Dawn?” Buffy managed, focusing on what was important. “Who are these people?”
“Come down, Buffy.” Willow coaxed. “These are our friends.”
It took them a few minutes, but Willow and Dawn were able to talk her down. As she landed silently on the floor, Weir motioned for Sheppard to take the Puddlejumper up and dock it. When he joined her in the control, he told her what had happened to Colonel Sumner. She caught her breath at the loss, but nodded and motioned for him to follow, then she made her way down to the Gateroom floor. As the soldiers shifted to make way, Buffy immediately tensed, and without thinking, Dawn, Willow and Xander were at her side, instinctively providing support as they had always done. Weir smiled.
“Ms. Summers, my name is Elizabeth Weir.” She introduced herself. “On the behalf of the President of the United States, it is my honor and privilege to present you with this.”
Weir pulled a slim box out of her jacket and opened it. Inside was a platinum medal, crafted in the shaped of a stake and a sword crossed in an X. “President Hayes knew that he could not publicly acknowledge what you do, but he felt that he could no longer let your sacrifices go unrecognized.”
The Scoobies gasped in surprise. No one had told them.
“He also wanted you to know that, with the help of Mr. Giles and what was left of the Watchers’ records, a memorial to the past Slayers has been erected at Arlington Cemetery, and the land where the Watchers Council once stood is being remade into a cemetery for Slayers and Watchers, starting with the posthumous graves of the Potentials and the Watchers that were killed in the last battle.”
With shaking hands, Buffy reached out and took the medal being offered. Her eyes filled with tears as she took in what the President had done. While she had never sought recognition for fulfilling the duties of her calling, it made her heart feel a little lighter to know that the names of those who had given their lives before her, and those who were risking their lives now, would not be forgotten, even if the reasons behind their recognitions were.
“Thank you.” Buffy said simply, before quietly walking off, her friends following in silent support.
“Dr. Weir, what’s going on?” Sheppard asked. “Who was that?”
“That’s what I want to know.” McKay threw in.
“Come with me, gentlemen.” Weir said. “I’ll tell you what little I am authorized to tell of Buffy Anne Summers from Sunnydale, California.”
Dawn, Willow and Xander followed silently as Buffy made her way back to her chambers, only vaguely noticing the P90’s cut in half that littered the halls. They entered a chamber that looked nothing like the rest of the city. The room was filled with wall hangings and rugs. There was artwork and sculptures and pottery. On one table were what looked like photos, though they couldn’t imagine where she’d gotten them. There was one of Buffy, Dawn and their mother. One of Buffy, Willow and Xander. One of Giles in an embrace with Jenny Calender. There was one of Willow and Tara where Willow was looking at her girlfriend with a look of adoration as she smiled at something. One of Xander as he was watching Anya with that same look. There was a picture of Angel standing in the snow and a picture of Spike leaning against a headstone with that cocky smirk. There was even a picture of Faith, sitting between Cordelia and Oz in what looked one of their happier nights at the Bronze before she turned into Psycho-let me go work for the mayor who wants to be a fifty foot demon snake-Slayer Faith.
All the pictures showed their subjects at their best. When their smiles were the biggest and most genuine. When their love was most obvious. Moments of happiness stolen from their hard lives of constant fighting.
“Wow, Buffy.” Willow was amazed. “Where did you get these?”
Buffy smiled softly. “There was a civilization about sixty years ago what could pull images from memory and capture them like a photograph. I discovered them on one of my trips and had them made.”
“Do you remember the address?” Dawn asked. “I bet a lot of those people out there would like some memory photos of their loved ones.”
Buffy’s smile faded. “They were wiped out during the last culling before I awoke. The Wraith don’t like their food to get too advanced in technology or science.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Buffy.”
“It’s okay, Dawnie.” Buffy hugged at each of them in turn. “How did you get here? And why are you with the military?”
Before anyone could answer, Tara appeared in a flash of light. “That would be my doing.”
“So, you’re telling me that girl saved the world from destruction and everyone thought she died in the collapse of Sunnydale that just happened a couple of years ago.” McKay said. “But somehow she ended up way out here, light years from Earth.”
“That’s right.” Weir answered.
“And you can’t tell us what she saved the world from?” Sheppard questioned.
“That’s right.” Weir said again. “I’m not authorized to tell you that. If you want to know, you’ll have to ask her yourself.”
“Elizabeth, that girl can’t be more that five foot two.” Sheppard dropped the formality in his astonishment. “She looks like a strong sneeze could blow her across the room, yet apparently she managed to disable fifteen military trained men and women and put them in the infirmary and nearly punched through the Puddlejumper’s front windshield, which is bulletproof I might add. Damn it, there are P90s cut clean in half all over the place. This girl is clearly a threat.”
“Buffy Summers is not a threat to us as long as we’re not a threat to her.” Weir assured them. “You have to remember, she was here before we were. She probably saw us as intruders, armed intruders no less, and yet she has killed no one. Not to mention that she has already had bad experiences with the US Military. I was told that she would probably be here. Colonel Sumner was informed as well. She is the reason that Ms. Summers, Ms. Rosenberg and Mr. Harris are here. They are the last of her family, and were given special permission, by the President himself, when they were told she was here.”
“Told by who?” McKay asked.
“The young lady that appeared in the control room, Tara McClay. She was Willow’s girlfriend before she was accidentally killed in an attempt on Buffy’s life. She is now an Ascended Being.”
“Aren’t they supposed to be all non-interfering or some crap like that?” Sheppard asked.
“Yes, but apparently these kids have a problem with rules that could get people needlessly killed.”
“Well, that gets all sorts of automatic points in my book.” Sheppard acknowledged.
“When you agreed to continued to fight, you asked that they be given the chance to join you if they wished.” Tara explained. “I told you that I had already put plans in place that would give them that opportunity if you agreed. With Oma’s help, I arranged for them to speak with the President and the people responsible for getting this team out here. Faith is doing a great job on the hellmouth and they’ve even gotten several Slayers into the Stargate program on Earth. They thought this out very carefully before decided to come here.”
“But Tara, it’s dangerous here.” Buffy protested.
“It’s dangerous there too.” Dawn cut in. “At least here, we’re with you.”
“Yeah,” added Willow. “Even though agreeing with Faith in not a favorite, she was right when she said that you need your family. You tell everybody all the time. The Watchers Council, Giles, even your enemies. Your family is the reason why you fight. Your family is the reason why you stay alive. You needed us, and we came.”
“Besides, we couldn’t let you have all the fun.” Xander grinned.
Everybody laughed. Then Tara continued. “There are other reasons why it is better that they are here, and before you ask, no they were not ‘encouraged’ to come in any way. The Goa’uld Anubis is half Ascended, and the Ascended can sense the Key.”
Dawn’s whole body jerked.
“Don’t worry, honey. We can only sense it’s presence, not anything specific. Even standing right next to you, I only have the sense that it’s on this planet. If I didn’t already know the truth, it could be on the ocean floor and I’d never know the difference. If Anubis had reached Earth, however, he would have sensed the power, and he would have stopped at nothing to get his hands on it. And Willow, you’ll be able to better control your power here. There are no hellmouth to draw the dark magick.”
“Is that why I’ve been feeling more stable?” Willow marveled. “I noticed that I can wield the magick without the constant temptation to continue. I created my fireball and put it out, and I didn’t feel like I had
to do more.”
Tara nodded. “One of the reasons dark magick is so addictive on Earth is because the dark energy from the hellmouths and hell dimension hotspots are constantly feeding it. Its always there and has always been there, so no one has ever been able to tell. If you were to return to Earth right now, you would immediately feel the difference.”
Buffy sat back and listened. This felt good. It felt like it did back in high school before everything else got in the way. This was the closeness that she had been missing for a very long time and she hadn’t realized how much she missed it until now.
“One more thing before I go, Will. When Dr. Beckett creates the Gene Therapy to give everyone the Ancient Gene, you need to really think about it before accepting. There’s no telling how it will affect your powers. I won’t be able to visit you very often, so please, be happy, you guys and take care of each other.”