Nightmare and Breakpoint
A Buffy: the Vampire Slayer/Stargate: SG-1
Email: Sirius@wolf-walker.net Disclaimer: Lest I forget to mention, none of the recognizable characters are mine, and if the PTBs for the shows actually wanted the plot, they're welcome to it.
Rating: Let's call it PG-13 for now, though it might be R later.
Spoilers: General spoilers for Stargate: The Movie
and Stargate: SG-1
through Season 5. I tend to ignore Season 6 for fanfic purposes. General spoilers for Buffy
through “The Gift,” with major spoilers for the episode “Halloween.”
Author’s Note: This whole thing started when I spent an entire workday in front of a copier, bored out of my mind. Also, this is the heavily revised
Author’s Note 2: This fic presumes that Major Louis Ferretti died in the Season 1 finale (Stargate: SG-1) – “Within the Serpent’s Grasp.” This may not actually be the case (I haven’t seen the episode), but seeing as this was the last episode in which this character appeared, I’m going to presume that he’s dead – at least for this particular story.
Author’s Note 3: This is just a minor note, but I will be using the movie spelling and pronunciation for Daniel’s wife (Sha’uri) rather than the TV spelling (Sha’re).
A/N 4: Spike got to Dawn before the portal was opened, thus no Buffy death.
Since Willow did not bring Buffy back from the dead, there was no addiction to dark magic. This is a Post-Season Five
Fic. As of this point, for the purposes of this fic, Seasons Six and Seven do not exist.
Giles is still in Sunnydale, and Anya never came back to town after “Graduation.”
A/N 5: As this story does take place only a few months after “The Gift,” my writing reflects my belief that Tara could not have simply “bounced back” from the mental scrambling she received at Glory’s hands. Recovering from such a trauma takes time, and I have taken that into consideration in my writing. The actions which may at first seem out of character will be explained at the proper time.
Summary: How much does Xander really remember about “military guy?”
Part I: Nightmare and BreakpointXander couldn’t see much – halls decked with gold, creatures with tattoos of gold… gold, there was a lot of that. If he hadn’t been running for his life, he might have cared. And sand… there was a lot of sand. “Kawalsky, get your ass in gear!”
Wait a minute, was that my voice?
Being fired on by fighters unlike anything he’d ever seen.
Death-gliders. They’re called death-gliders. The people beside him were only boys, led by Ska’ara… his older sister was Dr. Jackson’s lady friend – Sha’uri?
He knew their name now – Goa’uld. Snakeheads. False gods. Parasites. Every man’s worst nightmare taken form.
They had Sha’uri Jackson. She was only a vehicle for Ammonet now… queen to the “god” Apophis.
Apophis… bane of the SGC. His queen had taken Sha’uri. Hi son –
kid? Do Goa’uld have gender? – had taken Ska’ara. O’Neill loved that kid. They’d done something stupid. He just knew they’d done something stupid. If he made it back alive, he was going to get his ass chewed by Hammond along with the rest of the team. Damn snakeheads.
Damn. This is not good… at least he’d miss the lecture.
Xander woke with a scream, though only a whimper escaped. Damn it,
he thought, shaking. I thought I was done with these damn dreams. They were strong the first few months, but they went away. They went away!! So why are they back now?
The young man ran his hands through his dark hair, kicking off sweat-soaked sheets. Hey,
he thought, chuckling slightly, maybe it has something to do with fighting a goddess. Gee, Harris, you think?
Bit by bit, his breathing slowed, and he picked up the notebook he kept on his nightstand, writing down the words he remembered from the dream… adding them to the bottom of an already lengthy list. O’Neill… That has to be Colonel Jonathan (Jack) O’Neill. He’s already in here. From what I can gather, he’s a very… interesting… guy. Note to self: Never cross him. Military Guy liked him, though. Then again, they watched each other’s backs often enough.
Dr. Daniel Jackson – already here, brilliant anthropologist and linguist. Giles would like him.
Kawalsky… strange that I can miss someone I’ve never met.
The rest of the names, though… they’re new – Sha’uri and Ammonet.
He put the pen down for a moment, and then added the names ‘Ska’ara’ and ‘Apophis.’ ‘SGC’ was already on the list, noted to stand for ‘StarGate Command.’ And ‘Hammond,’ well… Hammond was someone Xander would never want to piss off. ‘Death-gliders’ is a new term, though. Those things didn’t show up the last time I had these damn dreams. They’re an excellent tool if someone’s looking for an instrument of terror – and that sounds like the Military Guy coming through, not that I mind, most of the time. What the hell is going on with me?
Xander didn’t realize he had set out the exercise mat until he had already started working through his basic kata, the one he’d known since that Halloween when he’d become something other than the goofy Scooby. Going through the motions that would normally calm him, he let his mind wander – not for the first time – to the idea of telling the other Scoobies everything that had happened that night.Would they accept me? They accept ‘Donut Guy.’ They accept ‘Key Guy.’ I know that, but would they understand that this wasn’t an instant thing? That I had to completely dump the ‘zeppo’ image when I was alone, so that I could work on these skills and actually do something with the knowledge that was in my head? That won’t even be the problem. The problem will be that I never let them know what was going on.
Finishing the kata – and not feeling much better than he had beforehand – Xander rolled and stored the mat. After a shower and a shave, he made his way to The Magic Box.
He stepped through the door only to walk into the middle of yet another argument between Buffy and Dawn, just one in a series of disagreements about boundaries, now that Buffy was having to be a parent – of sorts – instead of a sister. Xander could understand that neither of them had taken Joyce’s death well – he hadn’t, either. God knows she was more of a mother to him than his own had ever been.
The latest dream had shaken him, though… more than he wanted to admit. He wanted the shouting to stop and he wanted a Tylenol. God, my head is killing me. Those dreams scramble whatever is left of my sanity. And, as it turns out, the shouting really isn’t helping.
Boxing away any sense of self-preservation, he stepped between the two sisters, taking both of them by the hand and leading them to the table.
They followed him without protest, still shouting. Xander didn’t wince, but the pounding in his head intensified and his face paled another shade. He took a deep breath, and then spoke in a voice that would have made any Drill Instructor proud.
“Enough! Both of you, sit down!” The young man kept from flinching at his own tone of voice, ignoring the shocked looks the sisters were giving him as they complied with his order.
“Dawn,” he said, softening his tone of voice when the shouting stopped. “Buffy is your sister, but she is also the Slayer. This, by nature, makes her exceedingly over-protective. She’s not trying to control you; she’s trying to keep you safe. I know you miss your mother, Dawn. We all miss her, but she was your mother and you want her back. I can understand that. So can Buffy. But… she was Buffy’s mom, too. You aren’t the only person here who would give anything to have her living and breathing again, and I wish that I could change everything so that she was here, but I can’t do that. I’m not the Big Guy, and I don’t want to be.”
He took a deep breath and turned to Buffy. “Buffy, the same thing goes for you. You’re not the only one hurting here. Dawn is, too, and she doesn’t have as many memories of Joyce as you do. Share them with her. Talk things over. Buffy, Dawn is not a child. No one who knows what really goes on in this town could be. Accept that you cannot keep her safe and completely away from the evils of this world and this town… but you can
teach her how to be safer. Teach her and let her make her own choices with the tools you’ve given her. You’re her sister, Buffy, not her warden.”
He took another deep breath, enjoying the silence that had permeated the store since he began to speak to the two. “Just to wrap this thing up… I trust you both. I love you both. You are not going through this alone, because all of us – Giles, Willow, Tara and yours truly – are here for you. You’re family, and that’s not going to change. That’s largely a positive thing. The down-side of it is that – Dawn – if you take the trust we’ve given you and actively decide to do something stupid, we will all ground you until you hit thirty. Does everyone understand me, here?”
Dawn laughed a little at Xander’s last statement, despite his serious tone. Xander could hear her softly muttering something about being grounded by the entire
Scooby Gang – that, and strange mental pictures. The laughter dissipated the remainder of the tension and Buffy got back to work in The Magic Box.
Xander rested his head in his hands and let the complete silence wash over him. Noting Giles standing by the front counter, he broke the silence to ask, “Hey, G-man, would you happen to have any Tylenol around here?”
After downing the pain killers, the younger man took one more quick look at the two sisters. Then, he moved to the training room in the back of the shop – not to work out, but to sit somewhere that would be undisturbed by the sound of any customers. Taking several deep breaths, he chose a spot in the room that gave him a clear line of sight to the door, sitting with his back against the wall. His eyes drifted closed of their own accord, shutting out the brightly lit room.
Images rolled through his head again, and Xander couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down his cheeks as he was engulfed in a burning pain. It’s not me! It’s not me. The pain is his. The death is his. Damn it all to hell; it just hasn’t been a good day, and it’s not even nine, yet.
The ‘thunk’ of his head hitting the wall echoed through the open space. It succeeded in distracting him from the images, but didn’t do anything for either the headache or his mental state.
“Xander.”One thing you gotta admire about G-man,
Xander thought. He’s always quiet… usually… except when he’s angry. Hell, I know what I mean even if I can’t think straight!
“Are you all right? You look, well… as though you’re in quite a bit of pain.”
“Headache,” Xander answered. “I didn’t sleep well, got stuff on my mind, had a nightmare last night… pretty much ‘same old, same old’ for Sunnydale.”
Xander, keeping his eyes closed, heard the door shut, but didn’t realize Giles had moved to sit next to him until he heard the whisper of cloth rubbing on the wall and felt the Watcher touch his shoulder. “Xander.” He paused, nervously. Xander thought that if he opened his eyes, he might see Giles cleaning his glasses. You gotta love the old habits.
“Xander,” Giles continued. “Are you sure you don’t want to talk about whatever is on your mind?”
The younger man sighed. “I’d love to, Giles, but some of those things aren’t mine to reveal… and some of them… Well, some of them could lose me my friends, and I’ve been debating for a long, long
time about how I should talk about this, and even if I should talk about it. It’s complicated.”
He could still feel the Watcher’s hand on his shoulder, and would guess that the older man was watching his face and doing some mental debating of his own. He waited – silent and worried – for Giles to speak.
“Xander… are these secrets any threat to Buffy, Willow, Tara or Dawn?”
“Absolutely not, Giles. In fact, some of them have helped the Scooby Gang a great deal, especially when it came to getting rid of a certain mayor.”
“They have to do with your soldier memories, then?”
“Yeah.” Opening his eyes finally, Xander could see the somewhat confused look on Giles’ face.
“Why on earth would anything about Halloween and those memories make us turn our backs on you?”
“I never told you everything that was going on, G-man, didn’t let you know the full effect of Rayne’s spell, about the knowledge, the dreams… some of it I still can’t tell you, because it would endanger people that he knows.” Xander’s voice faded to a near-whisper, and Giles leaned in closer so as to catch what the younger man was saying.
“And I lied to you… After graduation, I told you that the memories were fading, that I was forgetting what I’d had downloaded into my head that night. But only the dreams were fading. The knowledge was still there, and I worked on my own to increase it. The dreams were gone, so I didn’t think I needed to talk to anyone about it, but… now they’re back. They’re worse than before. Part of me wants to tell you guys everything. The other part of me, the one worried about his team, his oaths, his cause… that part wants me to keep my mouth shut and keep going as I have been. That part says the dreams will fade again, in time… but they weren’t supposed to come back in the first place.”
Throughout Xander’s monologue, Giles sat silently listening. Xander had no way of knowing what he was thinking, no way of judging his mood, so all that was left was to sit and wait for some response, a response that could either be supportive… or start him down a road that would lead to him parting ways with the Scoobies.
“What would you say to a compromise?”