Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or SG1~~~~~
Xander rolled over, and sleepily slid his arm over the warm, solid body lying beside him. He nuzzled into soft hair, and murmured, “Morning, Ahn.” He dimly realised that something was wrong with this picture, but couldn't place what it was. While the rest of his body was preoccupied with dozing, a small corner of his brain went over a checklist. Bed, soft but firm: check. Sheets, clean and over, well, some of him: check. Daylight, creeping around the curtains: check. Anya, warm and alive, and in his arms: check. Wait.
Xander sat bolt upright in the bed, and stared at the blonde he had jolted into wakefulness with his sudden motion. She, likewise, sat up and gaped at him, urgently grabbing at the sheet to cover herself sufficiently. Xander reached to cover his left eye, only to remember the official reason for his presence in the hotel room.
The blonde cleared her throat. “Yeah. Vegas.”
“So,” Xander began, trying to figure out what to do. Suddenly, he put out his hand. “Xander Harris,” he introduced.
The woman smiled slightly, and shook his hand. “Sam Carter. Um. I really should...”
“Uh, yeah. Sure.” Xander stood and found his pants from the previous evening, and dragged them on. Finding his wallet, he pulled out a business card, which he held out. “Look, if you need me for anything, just call. If I'm not available, someone will take a message for you.”
Sam smiled slightly, and took the card.
“I, um, need coffee. Yeah,” he muttered as he headed for the kitchen. “You want any?”
“No. Um, I just... I'll just get dressed and, er, I have to go,” she called out as she found her clothes. “I'm here for a conference, and, well, I have stuff...” She stopped what she was doing as she went over what she had just said. 'Did I just refuse coffee? Must not mention that to Jack.'
“Okay. Well. Um...”
Dressed, Sam made her way towards the door. “Yeah. Well, I'll see you around, I guess,” she offered, then winced when she realised what she'd just said. “Bye,” she blurted out as she dashed out the door.
Xander closed his eyes and began to knock his head against a convenient wall. “That went well.”~~~~~
Sam slipped into her room, and looked around, to start back when she saw Jack sitting on the loveseat. “Ah, hi, Jack. What are you doing here?”
“Connecting rooms,” he offered, waving at the connecting door. “And where were you all night?”
“I'm off duty, Jack,” she responded stiffly. “How I spend my time is my own decision.”
“A very important member of my team was out of contact for over twelve hours,” the man frowned. “Pardon me for getting worried. I hope he was worth it,” he smirked.
Sam blushed brightly. Now was not the time to mention that she had been so drunk the previous evening that little memory of the time remained.
“For crying out loud, Sam, do you even have a name?” Jack groaned.
“Xander,” she offered triumphantly. “Xander Harris. Er,” she searched her memory, “six foot tall, maybe one-eighty pounds, dark hair, brown eyes, fit, but lots of scars, moves well.” Her thoughts drifted for a moment on how well the man had moved as he had walked away from her.
The blush returned as Sam dropped her eyes guiltily. “Um, late twenties, maybe early thirties.”
“Cradle-snatching, Sam?” Jack smirked.
Sam raised an eyebrow. “And if he were that much older than me, it would be acceptable. Or a man my age meeting up with a woman his age would be fine, too, wouldn't it.”
“Oh, come on, Sam,” Jack moaned.
“I had a nice evening,” she hoped, “with a very good-looking, somewhat younger man. That is all. Now, if you don't mind, I have a seminar to prep for.” With that, she moved to her desk and fired up her laptop.
Jack rolled his eyes, and stalked back to his own room.~~~~~
Xander jerked upright when he heard someone pound on the door. He almost hoped it was the lovely Ms Carter's annoyed boyfriend the other side of the door, but knew it probably wasn't. He opened the door to find an assortment of beautiful, smirking women. “Ladies,” he murmured as he opened the door for them.
Faith was the first into the room, having a good look around while Dawn and Willow followed her into the room, Buffy finishing the group. “Don't worry, Boytoy,” Faith purred, jerking a thumb back at the other women, “we've got geeks bearing gifts”
Willow rolled her eyes. “I've got enough for your guest, if she's still here.”
“Oh, what a shame,” Xander began with false regret, “she had to go. Hand it over,” he demanded. When Willow handed over the requested bottle, Xander took it to the kitchen where he poured out half before downing it in one swallow. He grimaced, and waited for the potion to work. “Willow's patented 'Get Out Of Jail Free' remedy,” he muttered. “Tastes like last year's gym socks, works like ambrosia.”
“I've tried to mask the flavour, I really have,” Willow apologised. “I think it's just the way it is. If you've drunk enough that you need it, you just have to put up with the flavour.”
“So what happened to blondie?” Dawn chirped.
“She's here for the conference,” Xander shrugged. “Whatever that is. Or she could have just guessed there was a conference on. Vegas is a conference city, after all.”
“What was her name?” Buffy asked.
“She was human, wasn't she?” Willow asked, scrunching her nose in concern.
“I'm alive, unharmed, in my own room, and apparently not under any spells. I'm setting aside any concerns I might have about the humanity or otherwise of last night's date.”
“Fair enough, X,” Faith agreed. “So just how good was last night?” she leered.
Xander sighed. “Sad to say, I was pissed. Don't remember a thing.”
Buffy tried to hide her grin, but didn't succeed too well. “Poor Xan,” she patted his arm. “You finally meet a nice, kind-of non-lethal woman, and you can't even remember anything about it.”
“Tell me about it,” he sighed. “So what's on the agenda for today?”
“Shopping!” Buffy decided.
“Well,” Willow began tentatively. “There's kind of this conference that I want to go to. I was thinking maybe Xander could -”
“Oh, no. I may not like going shopping with Buffy, et al, but at least I can be pretty sure of my brain not leaking out of my ears if I go. Arms can be de-stretched. Brain cannot be de-gooed.”
Willow narrowed her eyes at her best male friend, and contemplated whether or not to debate his argument. Sighing, she decided it wasn't worth it.
“I will pick you up afterwards, if you wish,” Xander offered. “Escort you safely past all the other nerds and their deadly pocket protectors, back to your room. How's that?”
Willow smiled brilliantly, and stretched to kiss him on the cheek. “That would be fine. Now go and do your weight-lifting exercises … er, help Buffy shop,” she grinned, winking at her blonde friend.~~~~~
Jack looked around the milling crowd, trying to find his favourite astrophysicist.
“Lost your pet geek?” a voice came from over his shoulder.
Jack looked around to see a young man grinning at him. “Yeah. She's about so tall,” he indicated Sam's height, “and blonde.”
The other man rolled his eyes. “At least you've got height on your side. Mine's about half a foot shorter. At least she's a redhead,” he mused.
“At least they're both female. Shouldn't be too hard to pick out in this crowd.”
“'Tis true,” the other acknowledged. “I'm Xander,” he added, holding out a hand.
Jack shook the hand and tried to figure out why the name sounded familiar. “Jack.” He grinned just then, having spotted Sam. “Got her. And, hey, I think your girl is talking to mine. Cute little thing.”
Xander laughed. “Yeah. Sounds like my Willow.”
Together, the men moved through the crowd until they reached the two avidly talking women. Xander smiled at his friend, then turned to look at the woman she was talking to, and promptly blushed. He cleared his throat. “Uh, hey,” he greeted, embarrassed.
Willow frowned at Xander, puzzled, then looked at Sam. Eyes suddenly widening, her hand flew to cover her snicker. “Oh,” she squeaked. “You're, uh, the, uh...”
“Will,” Xander hissed, glaring at his former best friend.
“Oh, you got to be kidding me. Sam, really?” he demanded.
Sam raised her chin at her commanding officer. “I can neither confirm nor deny whatever the hell you're thinking, Jack,” she retorted.
“Oh, hey,” Willow chirped. “We're about to have dinner at the buffet. Would you like to join us?”
“You're pretty cheerful for someone inviting her boyfriend's one night stand to dinner,” Jack offered sourly.
“Jack,” Sam hissed.
“What?” Willow asked, off-balanced by Jack's accusation. “Oh, no. Xan and I aren't dating. We haven't done anything like that since The Fluke in high school.”
“And that was, what, yesterday?”
“Jack,” Sam growled.
“What is your problem?” Xander demanded.
“Oh, I don't know,” Jack began. “Maybe I have a little problem with young gigolos getting respectable women drunk so they can take them to bed.”
Sam gasped, and wondered if she had sufficient justification to get away with assaulting a superior officer, while Xander snorted. “Okay, first? I know better than to try to manipulate a woman into my bed. Even if I succeeded, just about all my friends are female, and each one of them would remove highly important body parts if I even thought about doing anything like that.”
“Amen to that, mister,” Willow murmured.
“And, second, for all I know, she got me drunk, and into bed. No offence, Sam, but I'm really not clear on that part just at the moment.”
“No problem, Xander,” the blonde smirked. “Would it work?”
Xander looked her up and down. “Oh, hell yeah,” he leered. “And I wouldn't need to be very drunk at all. Maybe a little tipsy. Or not even. You doing anything tonight? I think I have time to be seduced.”
“No!” Jack decided. “There will be no seducing. And, anyway, we're having dinner with our friends. Remember them?” he asked archly.
“Oh, that's okay,” Willow grinned, thoroughly entertained. “So are we. The more the merrier.”
“Thanks, Willow,” Sam decided. “That would be lovely. Jack and I will just go and get our friends, and join you in the dining room. There will be four of us.” With that, Sam took hold of Jack, and dragged him away from the younger couple.
“Raow,” Willow leered at the retreating woman. “Mamma like!”
“What?” Xander turned to his friend. “No. You can't have her. I saw her first. She's mine.”
“Yours?” Willow teased.
“Yes. Well, no. But kind of. In a not-owning kind of way. Because she's a fully self-actualised and independent woman who is owned by no man.”
“Good boy,” she murmured as she patted his arm.
“Still mine,” he murmured as Willow walked off. When she turned back questioningly, he grinned and caught up.~~~~~
“You lied to me,” Jack accused.
“I what? How?”
“There is no way that boy is thirty years old. Twenty, maybe. Thirty, no way.”
Sam huffed. “So I made a mistake about his actual, physiological age. He was quite mature in how he handled the situation. No extravagant false modesty, gave his name, and gave his business card in case I need to contact him at a later date. Like any time I'm in Cleveland.”
“What? Why Cleveland?”
“Apparently that's where his office is based.”
“Okay, that's it. Cleveland is off the map. We're not going to Cleveland, not ever,” Jack decided.
“Why aren't we going to Cleveland?” Daniel asked, puzzled.
“That's where Sam's gigolo works,” Jack scowled.
Sam glared at him. “Don't call him that.”
“He never denied it.”
“Wait,” Daniel interjected. “You just met the man Sam spent the night with, and you called him a gigolo? To his face? And he didn't hit you?”
Jack snorted. “He's probably too young to know what the word means. I'm not even sure he needs to shave yet. Shouldn't he be at home? It's a school night, isn't it?”
“Jack, would you just settle down? You're being ridiculous. Xander is an adult, in his mid-to-late-twenties, has a job, has a business card, even, and has a highly intelligent friend who seems more than willing to vouch for him.”
“So why isn't he with the highly intelligent friend?”
“They dated in high school. And I think it's quite impressive that they are still friends after all this time,” Sam retorted.
Teal'c regarded his friends stoically. He wasn't quite sure, but they appeared to be arguing over a somewhat younger man that SamCarter had spent the previous night with. And, for some reason, the word 'gigolo' had been used, and was some kind of insult. He turned to the archaeologist. “What does 'gigolo' mean?”
Danny blushed. “Oh, um, it means, well, male prostitute. Um, a showy young man who offers sex and companionship to older women for money. Like calling a woman a whore. Pretty insulting.”
“I think it's pretty mature that they invited us to join them for dinner,” Sam went on. “Unlike some I could think of at this moment.”
“I can be mature,” Jack argued.
“So prove it. Let's all go to dinner, and you can be nice and mature in front of Xander and his friends.”
Jack opened his mouth to respond, but couldn't think of anything to say in that moment. He closed his mouth, and frowned at Sam, who was smirking at him. “Fine,” he ground out. “So,” he turned to the rest of his team. “Ready for dinner?”~~~~~
All five Scoobies started twitching pretty much at the same time, looking around, unsure what was sending off their individual senses. It was Willow that noticed Sam and Jack heading over with their friends, and it was Willow that picked the weird vibe-age coming from the largest of their guests. “Hey, guys?” she murmured, keeping a friendly smile plastered to her face.”They're here.” Instantly, four other heads snapped around to check out the group approaching them.
“All of this, and you still feel the need to steal my geek?” Jack demanded, smiling, if a trifle grimly.
“Um,” Xander looked at his friends. “Fluke,” he said, nodding to Willow, “Senior year,” he said, nodding to Faith, “always said no,” Buffy, “and babysat, so no way in hell,” he finished, nodding to Dawn.
“So these are the ladies that keep you in line, huh?”
“Oh, yeah,” Faith smirked. “Got to keep the boytoy on the straight and narrow.”
'Boytoy?' Jack mouthed to Xander, highly entertained. Xander rolled his eyes.
“So, introductions. The beautiful redhead to my right is Willow, the lovely brunette to my immediate left is Dawn, the gorgeous blonde to her left is Buffy, and the sexy brunette on the end is Faith. And, for those who don't know, I'm Xander.”
The team smiled at the Scoobies, and found places at the table. “I'm Jack,” the older man introduced, “and this is Sam, who some, at least, of you know. The boy-geek is Danny, and on the end is Murray.”
The heads of all five Scoobies turned to focus on Murray. “Hey there, tall, dark and handsome,” Faith purred.
“Good evening, Faith,” Teal'c responded courteously.
“You look fit. Do you do martial arts?”
“I practice an old system. It is not widely known.”
Dawn tuned out Faith's flirting, and frowned at Daniel. “You remind me of someone,” she mused. “Where would I know you from?”
“Uh, nowhere, probably,” he smiled. “I'm an archaeologist and linguist. Actually, that's how I know Sam and Jack. I work as a linguist with their department.”
Dawn snapped her fingers, grinning. “That's where I know you! You're Dr Daniel Jackson, aren't you? We've been looking for you for ages. I'm from SKI, and we've been looking for linguists with archaeo- or anthro- backgrounds, and you come with a really good rep.” She stood up, and wriggled until she was able to pull out a wallet from her intriguingly tight jeans. Daniel swallowed hard as he watched the performance, and was a little saddened when she sat down again. Dawn pulled out a business card and handed it over. “I know I probably shouldn't try to headhunt in front of your boss, but call me if you're interested. Name your package, and we'll go from there.”
Daniel fingered the card before absently putting it in his wallet. “Uh. Okay. But I'm really not interested.”
“Just keep it. You never know when you might want a change of scene. Or, you know, you might have something that you need translated. We have any number of languages covered. We just want more,” she grinned. “We're greedy like that.”
Jack scowled at Xander. “First you seduce my computer-geek, then you get your girlfriend to headhunt my book-geek right under my nose.”
Xander shuddered. “Uh, so very not my girlfriend. Babysat, remember?”
“I'm yours any time you want me, Xan,” Dawn called across Willow, grinning.
Xander glared at her for a moment, then turned back to Jack. “So what's the deal with Murray? Not often you see a grown man wearing a beanie.”
“Well, you know, he shaves his head, then he goes somewhere with airconditioning, and gets cold. Hence the beanie.”
Xander nodded, and moved on to other conversation.~~~~~
Sam stood at the dessert bar, and contemplated the choice of good (fruit salad and yoghurt) versus naughty (chocolate mud cake, with a side serving of whipped cream) when she heard a voice over her shoulder, causing her to start a little.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Have the mud cake, extra cream.”
“Does that include you?” she asked.
“Probably,” he smiled.
“And are you having the mud cake?”
“Well, duh! It's chocolate.”
Sam watched him take a serving, wondering about his preoccupied look. “Is there a problem?”
“Could be.” He looked at her for a moment, then went on. “You need to get your friend out of here. Faith and Buffy are on the scent, and you don't want them hunting for real.”
“Hunting? Hunting what?”
“There's something off about your friend, not the least of which is that 'Murray' so isn't his real name.” At her surprised look, he explained, “I can tell when people are lying, more-so than you might be used to. It's a thing. Anyway, like I was saying, there's something off about him, enough to set all of us off. Faith and Buffy probably got it the worst. So you need to remove him from the situation.”
Sam looked back to their table and frowned at the intent looks on the women's faces as they talked to her friend and team-mate. “Okay. I'll talk to Jack.”
“You have to wonder,” Xander murmured as she was about to walk off, “what an archaeologist is doing with a special ops guy, and astrophysicist, and 'Murray'.”
Sam turned back to Xander, and noticed the slight frown. “Nothing bad, I assure you.”
“I really hope so.”
Sam returned to the table and spoke quietly to Jack, who then watched Xander as he returned to the table. Jack waited a few minutes, then announced to the table, “Well, folks, hate to love you and leave you, but we've got things we really need to do, so we'll have to see you later.” With that, he and Sam rose, quickly followed by Teal'c. Danny, surprised by the sudden manoeuvre, rose and gave a stammered, apologetic farewell, and followed his team, more out of a sense of necessity than a desire to leave.
“What the hell, Jack?” he asked as they passed into the lobby.
“Apparently T here got all their Spidey senses going. Don't know how, but Harris warned Sam to get him out of here, so here we are.”
“What? Sam?” he asked, turning to the blonde.
“I don't know. But he picked up that Jack lied about Teal'c's name, he picked that Jack was special ops, and he was starting to ask about why we're all working together.”
Jack grimaced. “Okay,” he decided. “As soon as we get back to our rooms, you, Sam, are going to find out more about these people. So far, we've got two business cards – and don't think I didn't see you keep that card, Danny – so we've got somewhere to start on these people. See what you can find out.”
“Sure, Jack. And if we find out something we didn't want to?”
“Then we talk to the General.”~~~~~
“You warned them off, didn't you, Xander?” Buffy demanded.
'At least she waited until we got back here,' Xander grimaced. “Yes, Buffy, I warned them off. The last thing we needed was you two making a scene with 'Murray' in the dining room.”
“There is something way weird with that dude,” Faith decided. “Makes my skin crawl just a little.”
“He made all of us feel off, Faith,” Willow agreed.
“Which is why I think we should check on them,” Xander nodded.
“Check. As in hack?” Buffy clarified.
“As in hack. Will's polished her skills, and added new ones, haven't you?”
“Couldn't let Andrew beat me at my own thing,” she muttered, blushing a little at that confession. “So what do we know?”
“We know that Sam's name, we know that Jack's military, and Sam's his subordinate officer,” Xander began.
“We do?” Buffy asked, utterly unsure of how he made those leaps of intuition.
“Is or was, but I'm putting my money on 'is'. And you can tell he's her commanding officer by the way she acts around him. I think they've been together for a while, since she's comfortable in his presence, but it's still there. The four of them work together, and have done for some time. You saw the way they left: Jack gave the word, and even Daniel got up. He was the last one up, and probably said something as soon as they were out of there, but he went, like the good little Civilian Specialist that he is.”
“Oh, and Daniel's full name is Dr Daniel Jackson,” Dawn offered.
“Okay,” Willow considered as she opened up her laptop. “We've got Dr Samantha Carter and Dr Daniel Jackson working on the same team, led by Jack someone, and some other person, who's name most definitely isn't Murray. Where do I start?” she asked, looking to Xander.
“I'm thinking something classified.”
“Yeah, 'cause that makes it easier,” Willow muttered, making a face.~~~~~
Sam had just placed her coffee order when she heard a voice over her shoulder.
“We've got to stop meeting like this,” Xander murmured.
“Holy Hannah!” Sam muttered as she turned to face the grinning man. “Stop doing that. If you want to talk to me, just come straight up and do it.”
“But it's so much more fun to make you jump,” he grinned, and suddenly Sam remembered how she'd ended up in his bed. There was something about that grin that just went straight to her gut.
She scowled. “Well, don't.” She glared at him for a moment, then huffed. “Do you know how hard it is to find anything on you?” she demanded.
“Probably nearly as hard as it is for us to find anything on you,” he smirked.
“What? How?” she demanded.
Xander shrugged. “You have your hacker, which would be you, and we have our hacker, which would be someone I'm not naming. It's just that our hacker has a few extra tricks up their sleeve that I'm pretty sure you don't.”
“How much did you find out?”
He looked around the crowded shop. “More than I could discuss here. Murray's name, for instance. And you really need a better cover name. The current one is really just too lame for words.”
“And what are you going to do about it?”
“Do? Nothing. You seem to be handling things quite well without us. But you should talk to Major Davis about Project Lilac. It was an NID job, both sanctioned and rogue. We brought it down.”
“My God,” she breathed. “How old where you?”
Sam opened her mouth to speak when her phone rang. Holding up her finger for him to stay, she answered the phone.
“Where are you?” Jack asked.
“I'm waiting for my order.”
“I don't like you being out by yourself. You never know who you might run into.”
“It's a little too late for that, Jack,” she replied wryly.
“He's there? You get away from him right now. We don't know how much of a threat he is, and considering how much trouble you had last night, I don't want to find out.”
Sam rolled her eyes. Just then, Xander's order was called, and he went up to fetch it. When he came back, he shrugged, and pointed to the coffees. Sam nodded at him, and watched as he left the coffee shop. “Well, you don't have to worry, he's just left. With enough coffee to keep me and Danny going for a few hours.”
“That much, huh? Well you just hurry up and get back here. I don't like this.”
“Yes, Jack,” she sighed before ending the call.~~~~~
Xander was enjoying his few moments of freedom by wandering the streets of Las Vegas. He had left the girls in their hotel rooms, going over the results of their hunt … er, shopping expedition. Now was his chance to do something manly. Or, at least, less girly than discussing shoe styles. At least he'd managed to avoid both the Victoria's Secrets and Fredericks stores. The last thing he wanted was to be drawn into those
His phone went off, bringing him out of his reverie. “Yep,” he chirped.
“Wherever the hell you are,” the voice growled, “know that I will hunt you down, and when I find you, I will rip you into many tiny pieces.”
“What the hell?” Xander demanded.
“I know you have her, Harris, don't try to deny it.”
“O'Neill? I don't have Sam. The last time I saw her, she was on the phone to you, at the coffee shop.”
“Don't give me that. Where is she?”
“Are you at your rooms?”
“Yeah,” Jack began.
Xander looked around. “I'll be there in ten minutes. The girls might get there before me, but I don't think so.” At that, he hung up, and dialled Willow. “Sam's been taken,” he began as soon as the phone was answered. “Take my pack and your stuff to their hotel rooms.” Again he ended the call without warning, and started running.~~~~~
Xander did manage to beat his friends to Jack's room, but only by a matter of minutes. “I need her hairbrush,” he stated as he walked through the door.
“And hello to you, too, Xander. Lovely to see you. See the weather we're having?”
Xander simply stared at the older man for a moment. “Sam is missing, and you want to waste time on pleasantries? You want me to order up some tea and cake to go with that? Hairbrush. Now.”
Jack gestured to Daniel to fetch the hairbrush. “Why do you even need it, anyway?”
“We need to find her. Her hairbrush is something personal, without being too personal. Toothbrush could do, also, or lipstick. Anything like that. Hairbrush is just the first thing I came up with.”
There was a knock on the door, and Xander let the women in. Faith tossed Xander's kit to him, and he immediately dumped it on a bed before opening it. Dawn cleared a table for Willow's bag while Willow took the hairbrush from Daniel.
“So what are we doing here?” Willow asked.
“Sam's missing. Jack thought we'd taken her, but she was fine when I left her with the coffee this morning.”
“How long's she been gone?” Dawn asked as she pulled supplies from Willow's bag.
“She never came back with the coffee,” Jack admitted.
Xander looked up, frowning. “That was hours ago.”
“I let her have some time, just in case she'd seen a book or something. She said that you'd gone already, so I didn't think anything of it. When she didn't come back, I tried calling her. Her phone's switched off. We tried looking for her, but we couldn't find her. That's when I started looking for your business card. Thankfully she left it behind when she went out.”
Xander nodded as he shrugged into a shoulder harness. “Okay. I can take one of you with me when I go to get her.”
“One of them, Xan?” Buffy asked. “Why not one of us?”
“It could be NID,” Xander replied, shaking his head. “You know the protocol on dealing with those bastards. Besides, even if it weren't against protocol, I'd rather you two stayed with Dawn and Will while they're in town.”
“Don't worry, X,” Faith smirked. “We'll keep Red and Not-So-Little D company while you're out playing heroes.”
“Don't start something I'd like to watch until I'm back to watch it,” he grinned.
“Um, what's Willow doing?” Danny asked.
Xander glanced over. “Setting up for our SAR op.”
“By taking Sam's hair and mixing it with, what? A magic potion?”
“And blood,” Dawn nodded. “It's always about the blood.”
“Blood?” Jack asked, repulsed.
“Yep,” Willow agreed. “And I need yours and Xander's,” she added, holding out her hand. In her free hand, Jack could see one of those pen-looking jabby things. Xander walked over, and put his hand in the redhead's, not even wincing when she pricked his thumb.
“You know, this always reminds me of that Disney movie,” he grinned as she squeezed three drops of blood into her potion.
Willow snorted. “Like I'm anything like that,” she retorted sourly. “Okay, Colonel O'Neill, your turn.”
Jack stared at her for a moment, before moving carefully over to where she was standing. The blood was quickly taken and stirred in with the rest of the ingredients. Next, Willow took out a needle, and Jack noticed that Dawn had set up a tourniquet on herself. Willow deftly inserted the needle, and measured out a dose of the younger woman's blood before carefully removing the needle. Buffy neatly taped up the small wound, and guided her sister to a seat.
“I didn't take that much, Buffy,” Willow smiled as she poured the blood into the mixture.
“How come she had to give so much more blood?” Jack asked.
“Your blood was just for identification purposes. Dawn's is for another purpose,” Willow answered.
“Could you be vaguer?” Jack demanded.
“Um,” Willow considered. “Yes. Now, are you two ready to go? Do you have your amulet?” she asked Xander.
“Standard or retrieval?”
“Both,” Willow wanted to know.
Xander took a pendant from Faith and put it on. “Now I do. Ready to go, Jack?”
“Yeah. Though I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed by your little blood ritual, or the amount of weapons you've obviously been carrying with you. Or your taste in jewellery.”
“Our line of business, you've always got to be prepared. Even when you're just going to Vegas to celebrate.”
“Celebrate what?” Jack asked idly, patting himself to ensure he had everything he might need out of Xander's kit.
“You talk to Major Davis, it'll come to you. Ready when you are, Will,” Xander added.
Willow carried the bowl over to the two men, and dipped her thumb into the mixture. She daubed the mixture on their foreheads, the backs of their hands, and on their boots, then incanted,
“One of Three,
Turn to thee:
Return to me.”
With that, she said, “Go,” and made a shooing motion with her free hand.~~~~~
'What the hell?' Jack thought. One moment, he was standing in his hotel room, being painted with some magic potion containing BLOOD, and the next he was standing in a warehouse with Harris's hand over his mouth. He turned to glare a the younger man, who smirked, then lifted his hand off Jack's mouth.
“Just wanted to make sure you didn't yell or anything,” Xander murmured. “Sam will be very close by – this would have taken us to the closest possible free space to where she is.”
Jack looked around. “And there she is,” he grinned.
The two men jogged over to where Sam was sitting, tied to a chair in a dark corner of the unlit warehouse. They quickly cut the ropes and checked her over.
“Who was it?” Jack asked.
“NID. I think they're patrolling the grounds, so we don't have much time. And how did you get here? Just all of a sudden you were there.”
“I'm not sure,” Jack shook his head. “Willow did something with your hairbrush, and blood, and a little poem, and here we are. So any thoughts on getting us back, Harris?”
Xander grinned, and pulled off the pendant he'd been given only a few minutes earlier. He took the other two to a clear spot away from the chair, and threw the pendant on the ground. Just before he crushed the glass under his boot, he threw a business card onto the floor. As it skidded across the ground, he stomped down on the amulet, and said, “Return.”~~~~~
“But I don't understand what happened,” Daniel argued. “Nor why you're keeping us over here. Why can't we just move around?”
“Because they will need a clear spot to come back to. That's one of the limitations of the spell. There has to be a clear space of a certain area, otherwise they will just go to the nearest clear space to where they want to go, which is to wherever Dawn is.”
“But, spell... Magic...”
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” Faith intoned. When the others stared at her, she grinned. “What? It's a cool quote. And totally appropriate.”
“It is,” Willow agreed. “It's just that I wanted to say that.”
Faith simply continued to grin.
“What do you mean by that quote, Faith?” Teal'c asked.
“Just that there are more things out there than most people know, big feller. Magic's one of them.”
“So Willow used magic to send JackO'Neill and XanderHarris to where SamCarter was being held?”
“Do you all use magic?” Danny asked. “Does that make you witches?”
“I'm a witch,” Willow nodded, “but not the others. Well, Dawn is learning some magic, but she's got a lot of other stuff she's doing as well, so she doesn't major on the mojo.”
“What about the rest of you, then. What do you do?”
“I think we'll let Major Davis talk to you guys about that stuff,” Buffy decided. “That way it's official and all that. As it is, we're going to have to do some explaining.”
“Not me,” Dawn immediately said. “Oh, hey! Xander. He can tell Giles that we went all mojo-y on some Air Force people.”
“Xander it is,” Buffy agreed. “All in favour, say 'aye'.”
“Aye,” the other three women intoned, grinning.
“Xander it is,” Buffy nodded.
“'Xander it is' what?” he asked.
“That's it?” Jack demanded.
“That's it,” Xander agreed.
“Now that's the was how a SAR op is supposed to go,” Jack grinned. “In and out, zero friendly casualties. Of course, it was a little quicker than anything I've ever done, but I can't find it in me to complain.” Then he noticed the back of his hand. “Oh, wait, I can. Ew,” he grimaced.
“What was that you threw on the ground just before we … left?” Sam asked, rubbing her wrists.
“Business card,” Xander smirked. “I wanted them to know who rescued you.”
“Oh, Xander,” Buffy groaned. “You didn't.”
“Yes, Buffy, I did.”
“Well, it's just as well you're the one explaining to Giles, then,” she smirked.
“What? Not fair!”
“You're the one that called the op, and you're the one who decided to drop his card at the scene, so you're the one who has to explain it all to Giles.”
“Besides which,” he frowned, “you all decided to drop me in it while I wasn't around to argue about it, right?”
“Uh huh. Well,” Buffy went on as she pushed herself up from the couch, “as someone said last night, hate to love you and leave you, but...”
“So that's it?” Jack asked.
“Yep,” Xander nodded. “Sam's back, safe and sound, and I really think it was time we were moving on. So I'll just collect my stuff,” he went on, looking significantly at Jack, “and we'll be off. You've got my card if you need anything, and you now know that the phone number is valid. Major Davis will tell you anything else you need to know.”
“Right. Major Davis.”
“Of course,” Willow picked up the conversation, “you'll need to tell General Hammond what happened, but that should be in conjunction with your chat to the good Major.” She packed all the used spell components into a metal bowl, said a few words under her breath, and they all disappeared in a bright flash. “Certain things really can't be left lying around,” she smiled to the others.
All packed up, the Scoobies filed out of the room, calling out good-byes as they did so. Jack noted that the room seemed suddenly larger and quieter now that the younger group was gone.
“Was that...” Sam began. “Did they...”
“Magic,” Danny said. “Apparently.”
Danny shrugged. “There was a potion, and words, and a gesture, and Jack and Xander disappeared. A few minutes later, the three of you reappeared. Unless it's some kind of technology I haven't heard about, I'm guessing magic. For now, anyway.”
Jack frowned, and walked over to the phone. Hitting a speed-dial number, he waited for the call to connect. When it had done so, he spoke. “General Hammond? Apparently we need to talk to Major Davis.”