Disclaimer: Still don't own them or claim any rights to them. Same warnings as before. There are non-graphic slash scenes, this chapter is a major turning point and has been sitting here haunting me for a while, so I'm going to publish it as is, it's about six pages. Maybe some feedback will jump start the stubborn muses who are on vacation. Yep that's a hint, reviews are nice folks.
Approaching the throne where D'Hoffryn was lounging Hallie silently hoped that he was in a reasonable mood, as what she was about to ask was risky enough at the best of time.
"Lord Father," Hallie began softly and hesitantly. "I've come to ask you for a favor. It involves a matter that lies partially in my own domain, but a formal wish has not been made as the one who would need to make it can not speak freely."
"You know the rules Halfrek, unless a wish is spoken, we can not grant such," D'Hoffryn said not bothering to look at her. "So why come begging for an exception to the rules. If I grant yours, everyone would want one."
Holding back a sigh Hallie spoke softly knowing how dangerous the ground she was treading on was. "It involves Alexander Harris Lord Father. If he dies it will prompt a dangerous chain of events. It could even lead to the False One's returning. The Slayer and the Red Witch already are prepared to interfere with those who work to defeat the False One's, and if the boy dies they will have even more reason. Plus the Witch has been dabbling in even darker lore of late. It's possible she will try to resurrect him thus leaving an opening for The First to gain a foothold here."
D'Hoffryn shuddered at that reminder of the distant past. "That would not be good... Still, it's not that simple of a matter Halfrek. I can not give you permission to grant an unspoken wish. Should you do so, I would be required to punish you, if you were caught or such was reported."
Cocking her head ever so slightly at D'Hoffryn's carefully chosen words Hallie mulled them over. "I... I believe I understand Lord Father. I will keep your commands in mind. Is it permitted for me to use my own innate skills, as long as I do not use my powers as a Justice Demon?"
"If they were skills you possessed before you entered my service, then they are not the skills of a Justice Demon, are they?"
Smiling at that, Hallie nodded. "I thank you my Lord Father, for sharing your wisdom with me."
D'Hoffryn smiled at that. "Now go, and you might speak with Anyanka. After all friends should keep in touch, you know."
Raising a single eyebrow at the pointed hint, Hallie nodded once before bowing and leaving D'Hoffryn behind. She had much to consider before she acted.
Sitting in the living room at home, Jack stared at his laptop computer that he'd splurged and purchased. It made it a lot easier to keep in touch with Daniel, if he could see him. Carter had been a great help when it came to picking out the features and such that were needed and after making a careful note of all her suggestions he'd ordered two of them. The one for him and the other for Daniel.
The month that they'd been apart now, was a strain on the both of them, for all that they'd spent years before now just being friends, it was completely different.
Smiling as he saw Daniel accept his invitation for a chat.
"Hey, what's going Daniel," Jack asked as he finally saw his lovers face appear on the screen.
Daniel sighed. "Not much yet. It's still a case of wait and see Jack. It's just so frustrating waiting, hoping and praying for some kind of miracle. Hell I'd almost be tempted to ask Sam to try the Goa'uld healing device if it wouldn't arouse too much suspicion."
Jack frowned at that. "I'll see if I can hint at the idea to Hammond, but it's not too likely. Then again, maybe Janet could bolster the idea, after all she'd know if it would be too suspicious or not."
Daniel just shrugged at that. "It's just a thought. It's so frustrating just sitting here talking to him and not knowing if he can even hear me, let alone that he can't respond. Plus he's come close a few times to waking, or at least he shifted briefly for a few times to a more or less 'normal' sleeping brain wave pattern or such. They say that it's a good sign but..."
"But you don't want to get your hopes up. Because if you do and you loose him..." Jack said slowly trailing off as he realized what he said.
"Exactly. I know I never really had him in the first place, but this is so frustrating. I'm so close and yet so far away at the same time."
"What are they saying as far as moving him at the moment? Cause I gotta say I'm really missing you Space Monkey," Jack said offering a small grin. "Plus there have been a few people hinting that you really should be here, rather than there. I've emphasized that you're still doing the work, regardless of where you are. As well as the fact that family comes first."
Daniel let out a groan at that. "I'm sure, some people need smacked upside the head. As far as moving him, they're hesitant to approve it and for now unless there's a major reason to do so, I'd rather not. Call it a gut feeling or whatever, but I'd like to try and limit the changes that he has to deal with when he first wakes up. Not to mention dealing with all the idiot paperwork all such. I swear to god, I never imagined there would be this much crap to deal with."
Jack laughed at that. "Welcome to the real world Daniel. Government thrives on red tape, paperwork and everything in triplicate or worse."
"Yeah, considering how much you hate paperwork, I should ask for you to be sent to help fill all this crap out."
Shuddering theatrically at that Jack shook his head. "Hell no. Not even for you would I willingly do paperwork. Speaking of, Davis is going to be heading out your way in the next few days with updated paperwork for you to fill out and all the rest of that fun stuff."
Groaning at the thought of yet more paperwork Daniel closed his eyes. "Can't somebody just shoot me now and save me the headache."
"Nope, not a chance Danny Boy," Jack shot back with a smirk. "Besides which, Steve promised me that he'd keep an eye on you. Seems that he's got a lover who tends to run towards trouble, rather than away from it the same as you do."
"Uh huh, keep it up and I’m sure I can get him to tell me some good stories about you Jack," Daniel shot back with a grin of his own at Jack's shudder. "I'm sure he's got to know at least one or two good ones."
"Don't you dare Daniel," Jack said with a growl. "Or else I swear, I'll find a reason to fly out there immediately and spank you senseless."
"Sit down Buffy, Willow," Giles said wearily as he took a seat himself in a comfortable arm chair. "I've finally heard back from the Council about the information that you two managed to dig up."
"And," Buffy asked impatiently as she sat down next to Willow.
Blowing out a breath, Giles clamped down on the impulse to polish his glasses. "The initial reports aren't good. It does indeed appear that the Gate of the Gods, as it's called in the records was dug up and that the United States took possession of it. Further reports are that a second one was discovered by the Germans during World War Two and that the Russians are in possession of that one, as well as a device that allows them to control the gate as well."
"That doesn't sound very good," Willow said hesitantly. "I mean if those snake demons can take over a person, how do we know that they haven't done that already?"
"For now the Council is digging further, but I do expect it will take a fair amount of time to get all the answers, and even longer for them to fill me in, as it's not a direct and immediate concern for Sunnydale," Giles said at last. "Regardless, if there is anything unusual that you run into, do let me know immediately."
"What about Xander," Willow asked. "I mean... it's been a while and we still haven't heard anything."
"I'm sure if there was any news we would have heard, since we haven't yet, it probably means there's been little to no change in his condition," Giles said with a weary sigh. "A coma isn't a simple matter Willow, so don't even consider trying to use magic to heal him. The outcome could be completely unpredictable unless you knew exactly what was causing the problem. And even then the risks would be enormous."
"Well I suppose the only good thing is that he's in a real hospital now, instead of Sunnydale General, since they don't know what they're doing and mostly serve the things that I have to hunt," Buffy said with a shrug. "Plus he's not in any greater danger being there, than here, as there's less things to hunt him, I'd guess."
"But I'm still worried about him," Willow said pouting. "I mean it can't be that hard to do a simple healing spell, can it Giles?"
"Yes it can Willow and you will not attempt such. I hope that I won't have to repeat myself yet again on this subject?"
Taking a seat in the chair beside Xander's bed, Hallie gently placed one hand on Xander's forehead, while she grasped his limp hand in her other hand. Speaking soft words, she focused her will and personal energies as she forced a connection with the young man's mind. Her eye lids fluttered as she slowly forged the link and merged her own awareness with Xander's.
Glancing around the gray fog, Hallie slowly shook her head as she called upon skills that she hadn't used all that actively in years and years. Imposing her will slowly on the limbo that Xander's mind was floating in she slowly shaped it into a reality that the young man would more readily recognize and find at least a little bit comfortable.
"Hello Xander," Hallie said as he let out a startled eep at the sudden appearance of the old library that had been blown up in the explosion that had been graduation. "No need to panic, as this is just an illusion, so that you can more easily see and interact with me."
"Who.... what are you? What's going on here?"
Offering a tiny smile Hallie shrugged. "I'm Hallie, well technically you could call me Halfrek, but to those who are friends or who I'm working with closely it's Hallie. As for what's going on, you're in a coma Xander. The swirling fog or mist is where you’re not aware of the world and are drifting in a sort of limbo."
Drawing a slow breath Xander shuddered at those words. "So why am I not dead then? I mean it's not like my parents would bother with any special measures to keep me alive..."
"I know, that's why I'm here Xander," Hallie said slowly holding up a hand to still Xander's objections. "I'm sure you remember Anya, well like her I am a Justice Demon. Unlike her, I don't deal with frivolous calls. My job is over lost childhoods. Which in your case is answer enough, I'd expect."
Xander shook his head slowly at that, not willing to deal with that topic.
"Yeah, I've been waiting for years for someone to make a wish for you, or for you to make a wish, now well, it's complicated," Hallie said. "I've bent the rules a bit here and there so far, but I can only bend them so far. If I go too far, well the results would be very unpleasant for me."
"So what, you want me to make a wish then? How do I know that I won't make things worse if I do that?"
Hallie shrugged at that. "Because you know about the most likely outcomes of what might happen. You know what not to change, if you listen to your instincts that is. Plus, keeping you alive is in everyone's best interest Xander."
"Why? What's so important about me, that you're willing to bend or break the rules, when it could kill you or worse?"
Shaking her head at the question, Hallie just sighed softly. "I can't, not won't, but can't answer that. There are things that can't be spoken of freely Xander. Let's just say that you're a wild card, you've altered many things without intending to, and well there are certain parties who aren't happy about that."
"Uh huh, so because I'm a wild card and I've screwed up prophecies the Powers That Be are pissed and want me out of the picture?"
Hallie slowly nodded at that. "I can't answer but you're on the right track. And yes, you're very close to dying right now, it's a very slim time to play with and one wrong move....well then its game over and no second chances or resets."
Xander considered that and slowly nodded. "So how am I still alive then?"
Hallie let out a pained sigh at that. "Because, I cheated and interfered a bit. You're friends didn't make a formal wish, they just had a deep seated yearning and desire in their hearts. The young witch especially, so I bent the rules a bit. I can't say how exactly, but one or two small things were changed to ensure you'd survive this long."
"So if I make a wish to live?"
Hallie offered a wistful smile at that. "You would, but that general of a wish.... well it might be better to be a bit more specific. After all, there are others who would love to twist the specifics if they aren't covered and locked in. Not that I can help you figure out how to phrase it."
Xander chuckled softly at that. "Yeah, that would be much too easy. How long do I have?"
Shrugging Hallie held her hands out. "Not long, but I don't know precisely when the point will be reached. Even if I did, saying it would set up a paradox and let it be broken or cheated on."
Frowning, Xander considered that. "Can you tell me anything of what's been changed or that I should know?"
"I can't.... if I could, I'd offer you at least a little warning, but I can't. I can tell you that there are a lot of changes ahead for you, because of what's been changed, a chance at a better, brighter and happier future. By doing this, by changing what's happened, there are some events that are being blocked off from happening, but at a price."
"What price and what events?"
"I can't answer Xander," Hallie said with a sigh. "The only thing that I can tell you is you can not return to Sunnydale after you awake again. If you do, it will break the original alterations and then things will happen as they would have. You can help them, but not directly and in person. Only by advice, suggestions, ideas and such."
Xander slumped at that. "That's not a lot of help there. They don't want to listen to me in the first place and have been ignoring me all along."
Hallie just shook her head at that, "It will change in time Xander, I can't promise more than that. You will have a brighter future though, one that will be full of new challenges to overcome."
"Any hints beyond that," Xander asked pulling out his famed puppy dog eyes. "Cause I really should know what I'm choosing between right?"
Hallie just laughed richly at that. "Nice try Xander, but I've seen many a child try that look before. I will say this much, and it's risking much to even offer this hope, but there's someone who will be right for you. A chance for true love and happiness. Beyond that I absolutely can not speak."
Pouting at her Xander just upped the intensity of his expression, finally giving up in a few minutes. "Fine... if you won't tell me, I suppose I'll just have to wait."
Hallie snorted at that. "Nice try, but you're not young enough to pull it off. You'll find out when you wake up. Just give events a chance before you start complaining. There were a few required alterations, but they are for the most part minor and ensure a better future for you. Just give things a chance please."
Rolling his eyes at that Xander just shook his head. "Why do I have a feeling that those few 'minor' changes are going to uproot and revise my whole life?"
"They are Xander, but for the better I promise," Hallie said as her attention shifted off into the distance for a moment. "I have to go, just work on the phrasing of that wish. Be very careful and don't leave any loopholes, all right?"
With that the scene slowly dissolved back into a gray, swirling mist as Hallie disappeared.
Staring at the young woman apparently visiting his son, Daniel frowned. She definitely wasn't someone he knew, and her pose suggested a certain level of intimacy.
Frowning ever so slightly as he saw her eyes flash for a bare second once they'd flickered open, he stared at her frowning. "Just who are you?"
Letting out a sigh, Hallie shook her head before closing her eyes for a few seconds more, then slowly opened them once more. "Sorry about that, I wasn't exactly expecting visitors, Dr. Jackson."
Daniel sucked in a shocked breath at that. "All right, just who and what are you? And how the hell do you know my name as well?"
"You can call me Hallie," Halfrek offered with a hint of a smile. "As for what I am, that's a bit more complicated. But I can promise you that I'm not one of the False Ones, or as you would call them the Goa'uld. Beyond that, I'm afraid you aren't quite ready for the answers to your questions, but that will come in time."
"Uh huh, and how do you think you're going to get out of here, if I yell for security and complain about a strange 'woman' visiting my son?"
Hallie just grinned at that and vanished with a thought, as she teleported away using her own powers as a demon, leaving behind, quite deliberately a book that would provide some of the answers that Daniel dearly needed.
Staring at where the young woman had been sitting and now was completely gone from, save for a book that had appeared out of nowhere a few seconds after she had vanished, he slowly reached out trying to see if he could feel anything in case it was just a simple cloaking device.
After a few fruitless minutes of this, he hesitantly picked up the book and examining it, frowning as he translated the name on the spine of the book from the Medieval Latin that it was written in.
'Of Vengeance Spirits and Their Natures' definitely didn't sound like a good thing.
"OK," Daniel said slowly as he considered the impossible nature of the whole encounter. "This definitely isn't good, but it probably could be worse... I think. Then again, when Jack hears the whole story he's going to wonder about my sanity. Hell, I'm wondering about it at the moment."
Yep a very evil cliff hanger moment, what would people like to see happen next? Suggestions and/or ideas are welcome as the muses are hiding at the moment.