Willow leaned against the elevator wall as it made its way down to level 28.
This was the time she hated most. Right after she was called in. It was not knowing who, what, where, and how that drove Willow to distraction. Once she knew who was missing, she could handle it, plan… but until then she could only worry.
Today she had even more to worry about because one of the teams currently off-world was SR-1.
If they were the one's missing, she'd kill them.
SR-1 were three of the four people Willow cared deeply about at the SGC. Their job made it impossible for the four of them not to bond. Risking your life with the same people time and time again… you got attached. The Air Force frowned upon it, but it was something you
Willow couldn't imagine walking through the Stargate without Major Kawalsky, Captain Hayes, and Lieutenant Grogan on her six. The thought filled her with fear to be honest… not just because she didn't the other teams weren't as good, but because Willow knew that SR-1 were loyal to themselves.
Translation; the guys knew when to look away and not ask questions.
The first three missions together had been difficult. Willow's reputation from training had gained her a position with SR-1, her `talent' for finding things was well documented. Working with SR-
1 really brought reality down on her. Using her magic in front of the team was easy enough. All she did was close her eyes and let her magic do the walking, and she'd find someone.
The problem actually came from explaining to her team HOW she knew where people were.
Or if, for some reason, her magic suddenly led her in a different direction. The question `How do you know, Lieutenant?' was one Willow had really come to hate.
It was only on the fourth mission that things changed. Hayes had been captured by the same locals that had taken SG-2. Time had been of the essence so Willow had no choice but to beg Major Kawalsky to let her lead them to Hayes and the missing Stargate team.
When Kawalsky asked how she knew where they were, her reply had been – instinct.
Kawalsky took a risk and trusted her.
Since that day, Kawalsky, Hayes, and Grogan followed her without question. They never asked, and she never told. It was kind of an unspoken agreement with them all. They thought she was psychic or something, but they never said anything.
Not even to Colonel O'Neill or the General.
And for that Willow loved them.
They minimized the risk of using her magic. It wasn't smart, she knew that. In fact, it was pretty stupid to use her magic in her job, but Willow thought the benefits outweighed the risks. The risks were more than worth it, if it meant the difference between living and dying.
Her magic saved a lot of lives.
Willow would never be able to live with herself if someone died just because she didn't want to be discovered, or because she hated the mystical force inside her. There was so much death in her life already, Willow couldn't be responsible for any more.
She only ever used it for searching for people, so there was no other risks of exposure. Honestly? Willow wasn't even interested in exploring the depth of her power. She didn't care how powerful she had become. Willow remembered very little of the magic she learned
back in Sunnydale and she had no desire to relearn any of it.
If her magic hadn't found a way out of her by locating people, Willow wouldn't be using it at all.
She had lucked out with SR-1. Not only did they look away at the right moment and not ask questions, but they also covered for her when the attention got a little intense.
Hayes had taken the credit for at least three rescues to avoid drawing excessive attention to her.
Would another team back her up like that? She doubted it. Like any work place, there was some overtly competitive people at the SGC, only one or two but Willow knew if she was every sent out with their team, everything she did would be relayed – verbatim.
Though, if SR-1 were the reason she had been recalled, then Willow would expose her `instinct' to the entire SGC if it would help them…
Or if it was Dr Jackson who was missing.
He was the forth person who Willow cared about. Though, her relationship with Dr Jackson, if you could call it that, was somewhat different to the one she had with her team.
Everything about her and Dr Jackson was confusing.
HE was confusing.
Willow wasn't really sure exactly where she stood with him. It wasn't until she had started at the SGC that she realized just how important Dr Jackson was.
He was a legend on the base.
The entire team SG-1 was.
Willow was mortified when she read the mission report from the team's various missions. She couldn't believe that out of everyone on the base, Willow had lost it with him. The man wasn't just an archaeologist. The missions he had been on, the lives he had saved…
It was astounding.
And it scared her to death. For months Willow waited for Dr Jackson to shatter her world by revealing what happened that night, at his apartment, but he never did. Dr Jackson kept her secret.
In fact, he acted as though he didn't know her when they were on base or with a lot of personnel.
Which, when she thought about it, he didn't. The last time the two of them had spoken, at length, was seven months ago when he picked her up from the airport after her first visit with the AI team.
He had gone off-world the next day.
They were both extremely busy with their teams, most of the time they weren't even on the planet at the same time, so seeing each other outside work was almost impossible. But that didn't mean he wasn't a part of her life. Which was where the confusion came in. She and Dr
Jackson didn't speak except to say hello, but he was always there for her when he could be… in a confusing and subtle way.
No one noticed just how much he was there for her.
Sometimes it was a look, a smile, or even a nod. The man could communicate anvils with a simple gesture. When Dr Jackson was on base, he would always be there when she went on a mission or when she came back. Always there.
And when she was hurt, he'd sit by her bed while she slept.
She was the same with him. Not so much when he left on missions, but whenever he was hurt. Willow found herself sitting by his bed in the middle of the night. Dr Jackson never knew…
It felt like they had this entire relationship that consisted of not talking.
Willow knew Dr Jackson was following her progress at the SGC at a discreet distance. He knew how important her career was for her, and did what he could to not start rumors about the two of them, which would damage her reputation before she even set her foundations here.
Dr Jackson meant a lot to her, mostly because he had caught her when she had fallen, when she had been lost.
Willow wanted to return the favour, any way she could, except by rescuing him. She didn't want to ever have to rescue him, the thought scared her more than she was willing to admit. She was
frightened she'd choke. Not only that, his friends and team, SG-1, intimidated the hell out of her.
Just being in the same room as SG-1 caused her to freak.
Not so much Major Carter, but Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c, and Dr Jackson.
If anyone would see through her façade, it would be them. SG-1 were the elite, premier, team of the Stargate and you didn't get that way by turning a blind eye. Plus, they had seen some pretty intense shit over the years, different races of aliens who had abilities, strangely enough, similar to hers.
Willow didn't want them to spot anything different about her.
But on another level, she didn't want anything to happen to Dr Jackson either.
Her life was so complicated.
So many secrets.
Still, if Dr Jackson was missing, she wanted to be the one to look for him. She would find him, not to say the other teams wouldn't, it was just she would find him faster.
Actually, when she thought about it, it was strange that SR-1 hadn't yet rescued SG-1. SG-1 was also known for getting into deep shit on a regular basis. Usually they got themselves out, but for a team THAT prone to danger, it was a little odd that they hadn't had to save their asses.
Please, god, don't let today be that day.
The doors to the elevators slid open. Well, at least the torturous wait was over. A quick briefing with General Hammond and whatever team she was assigned with, hopefully SR-1, and she'd be on her way.
When she arrived from the airport, Willow had been told to report directly to the General, instead of going to her lab. The order had her a little worried, usually when she was called in, she skipped the briefing in an attempt to save time. Kawalsky or Hayes usually told her what she needed to know.
The fact she was told the General was expecting her, kind of made it obvious that her team wasn't here.
Or maybe they were on their way back from their mission with the Tok'ra. Not likely, but a girl could dream right? Willow stopped just outside the briefing room door and returned the salute the airman gave her.
Please, god, don't let it be her team or Dr Jackson missing.
Taking a deep breath, Willow opened the door, instantly regretting it. She should have knocked, or done something. "I'm sorry, General," Willow snapped to attention and saluted the General. "I was told to see you as soon as I arrived on base."
Her eyes went to the four men sitting at the briefing table with the General. Colonel O'Neill, Dr Jackson, Teal'c, and their Pentagon liaison Major Paul `Disaster' Davis.
Willow saluted Colonel O'Neill and Major Davis. "Sirs, I apologize for interrupting your briefing."
She felt like a right ass.
Especially since Dr Jackson was here.
Why was he always around when she did something stupid?
"Actually, Lieutenant, you're right on time. Why don't you take a seat?" the General told her.
Take a seat? What did he mean? "Sir?"
"Lieutenant, sit," Colonel O'Neill ordered her.
Willow took the empty seat next to Teal'c. "General, SR-1, they're…"
She couldn't even say the words.
"They're not missing," the General told her.
Thank you, God!
Actually, she had both her wishes granted. Which begged the question, why was she in a briefing with SG-1 and Disaster Davis? Hang on… SG-1 was missing a member…