Unraveling the Gordian Knot.
Earth, Multiverse 37686: Just before midnight, Halloween.
Giles, Buffy, and Willow had convened in the library. Giles and Willow were sitting down. Buffy was pacing, slowly. Giles wiped his glasses, a deep frown on his face. “So, then. Xander hasn’t been found yet.” It wasn’t a question.
“I looked everywhere,” said a clearly agitated Willow. “We’re going to find him, right?”
“I honestly don’t know, Willow,” Giles said. “But we will certainly keep looking.”
Buffy stopped, looked at Giles and said, “This is really frustrating. I checked the cemetery, the hospital, the morgue …” She looked up. Willow had wrapped her arms around herself and her eyes were very, very wet. “Oh, God, I’m sorry, Will. It’s just … I couldn’t figure out where else to look.”
“It’s okay,” Willow sniffed. “It’s okay, Buffy. You did the right thing.”
“Anyway,” Buffy continued, “Angel is asking around, but … so far, nothing.” She resumed her slow pacing.
Giles put his glasses back on, blinked, and studied Buffy for a moment. “Yes, well, I tried asking some of the students if they saw anything unusual.”
Buffy stopped and looked at him quizzically. “Other
than the Halloween from Hell?”
“Yes, of course,” Giles said impatiently. “Other than that. But no one remembered seeing, um, Xander. Most likely there was entirely too much confusion and panic for anyone to notice.”
Buffy sighed. “But why
is Xander missing?”
“That does seem to be the question,” Giles replied. “Perhaps Ethan’s chaos spell did more than just turn people into their costumes. I’ll check my sources. One of the other Watchers may know something more about this Roman god Janus.” He paused. “It’s all I can think of at the moment. Buffy, would you talk to Angel again?”
“On it,” Buffy said.
“Maybe I can find something in the police records and … and stuff,” Willow said, a little brightly.
“Excellent, Willow.” Giles paused. “Let’s meet here this afternoon at two,” he added. “And both of you. Get some sleep if you can. We need to stay focused. We won’t find him if we’re exhausted, and this could take some time.” He looked at Buffy, then Willow. “I’m sure we’ll find him. Eventually.”
“Gee, thanks for that little ray of sunshine.” Buffy said sarcastically.
“Buffy, I –“
She cut him off. “Sorry, Giles. I guess I’m wound up pretty tight.” She paused. “I’m really worried about Xander.”
“Yeah, disappearing isn’t very Xander-like,” Willow added, trying to be helpful.
“No. I suppose not. Well, all right, let’s get going,” Giles said, rising from his chair. “We have a lot of ground to cover.”
As they left, Willow whispered to Buffy, "Are you going to sleep?"
Buffy replied "Nah. You?"
Willow answered, "No. Not till we find Xander."
P7X-9491, Multiverse 618553
“Jack,” Daniel said, “how far do you think he could go? We’ve been following these tracks for at least an hour.”
“Well, that depends on whether or not he had a full tank, Daniel,” O’Neill responded a bit harshly. “I’m going to make a wild guess and say he probably did.” O’Neill stopped. Daniel, Teal’c, and Carter came to a halt alongside him. “I don’t know about you, but I’m thirsty.” He opened his canteen and took a quick swallow of water.
“Sir, it’s getting close to noon on this planet,” Carter said. “The temperature’s going to be about fifty degrees Celsius by late afternoon. I don’t think we should be out here when it happens.”
“I’m guessing that means it’ll be … hot?” asked O’Neill. “Well, we can’t keep going on foot.” He looked at no one in particular. “Let’s head back to the Stargate,” he said with a resigned tone of voice.
“Indeed,” said Teal’c.
Suddenly, Daniel exclaimed, “Wait! Jack! Do you see that?” He pointed to a spot on the horizon.
Everyone stared at the place Daniel pointed to. “Nope,” O’Neill said after a moment. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Colonel Jack O’Neill,” said Teal’c. “There is something approaching our location.”
“Sir,” Carter said, “I see it too. Teal’c’s right. It’s coming this way.”
Squinting, Daniel said, “I think it’s the guy with the motorcycle.”
O’Neill tilted his head a little as he looked at Daniel. “I thought you wore glasses to correct bad
“Uh, they’re good glasses?” Daniel replied.
O’Neill fished around his belt until he found his binoculars. He leveled them at the spot on the horizon and adjusted the focus until he was satisfied. “Yep, that’s him, alright,” O’Neill said. “Dressed in black. Big dust trail.” O’Neill paused. “He’s headed our way.” He passed the binoculars to Teal’c.
After looking through the binoculars for a moment, Teal’c wordlessly handed them to Carter. She did the same and, after a moment, handed them to Daniel.
“I got a good look at his face, Jack,” Daniel said. He handed the binoculars back to O’Neill. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think his apple fell very close to our genetic tree.”
O’Neill leveled the binoculars at the distant figure again. “Huh. A face only a mother could love. And what’s that? War paint?” O’Neill asked incredulously. “He’s wearing black, so I guess that means he’s one of the bad guys, or stupid.” He lowered the binoculars. “Or both.” Teal’c raised an eyebrow. “You know, the heat and all that.” The black-clad motorcyclist grew larger and appeared to approach more quickly, a trick of perspective. “Heads up, people. He’ll be here in a minute,” O’Neill added, bringing his rifle to the ready.
“Jack, please don’t shoot him until after
we’ve had a chance to talk to him,” Daniel said agitatedly.
“Oh, don’t worry, Daniel. You can talk to him and then
I’ll shoot him.” Daniel stared at O’Neill incredulously. “I’m kidding, Daniel!” O’Neill said. “I think.”
The cyclist slowed as he approached more closely. He wheeled to a gradual stop as O’Neill and Teal’c raised their weapons. He got off the bike, and, paying close attention to the sand as he dismounted, said, “Thank god someone else is out here. I am so lost.” Seeing the weapons, he held his hands out in front of him and yelled “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t shoot! I didn’t do it, whatever it was, I swear!” He paused. “Really!” He stopped, looked at the SG-1 team members more closely.
Daniel walked a little closer to the biker and said, “My name is Daniel Jackson. The guy with the rifle is Colonel Jack O’Neill.” O’Neill nodded and began to ease his grip on his weapon. Xander looked closely at the SG-1 team members.
“Rrrright,” the biker said. “Oh, now I get it. Stargate SG-1! The big guy with the tattoo on his head is, uh, Teal’c, and the blond is Captain Samantha Carter!” He grinned. “Wow, girls in uniform really are
hot!” After a second he added brightly, “Does this mean I’m going to be in the show?”
“You know who we are?” O’Neill asked suspiciously as he raised his rifle to shoulder level. “How do you know that? Who are you
?” O’Neill stopped. “Show?” he mouthed silently to Sam. Carter shrugged. O’Neill turned his attention back to the motorcyclist.
“My name is Xander,” he said. “Short for Alexander. Xander Harris.” He stopped for a moment. “OK, I know I screwed up your shoot and I’m really sorry about that. But, hey, I don’t even know how I got here.” He paused, and hearing no one else say anything, he added “Aaaaand I’ll just go away and no one has to get mad.” He waited for an answer. No one moved. “Okay,” he laughed nervously, “I know you have to stay in character and all that, but, really.” Hearing no answer, he asked, “Well, can you give me directions to Sunnydale?” No answer. Xander turned to leave. He froze as he heard the distinct sound of a staff weapon powering up. He turned around, saw it, and said, “Now that
is cool! I thought it was all digital, but somebody put a lot of work into that. Sweet.” He walked forward, grinning. “Can I hold it?”
O’Neill fired two rounds into the sand near the Xander’s feet. “No.”
Xander quickly took a couple of steps backward. “Hey, watch where you fire that … were those real bullets?” Xander asked, startled.
O’Neill replied sarcastically, “Oh, I don’t know, what do you think, Xander?”
“I think if you do that again, my friend Buffy is going to kick your butt all over this desert.” He said, hotly.
“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but you’re either stupid or …” O’Neill paused, blinked. “Really stupid.”
“Jack,” Daniel interrupted. “He sounds and acts like he’s from Earth, but he doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before.” He stared at Xander’s face. “Maybe he’s a Goa’uld experiment. They love to play with DNA.”
“Perhaps he is a rogue Jaffa. But he looks like no Jaffa I have ever seen,” said Teal’c.
Carter looked at Xander, then O’Neill, then Daniel, and said, excitedly, “Muscle growth density increase, visual alteration, epidermal modification. It makes sense. This is just the kind of thing the Goa’uld would do. But why?”
“Does it matter?” asked O’Neill. “Either way, he can’t go wandering around with classified information in his head. Or … wherever.” Jack looked a little confused.
“Look, I know I’m not the most handsome guy in Sunnydale, but for crying out loud ease up!” Xander practically shouted. “That was harsh
“You said you were from Sunnydale?” queried Daniel. “Where is that?”
“Sunnydale … California?” Xander answered. “You know what California is, right?”
“Of course,” Daniel replied, a question forming in his eyes. “Are you saying you are
“No, I’m from Uranus.” Xander was exasperated. “Do you have some water? I’m really
thirsty. And hot.” A few seconds ticked by. “And really, really scared.”
“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” O’Neill quipped. “You’re wearing black clothes. Think that might have something to do with it?” Daniel offered Xander a canteen of water. Drinking quickly, Xander handed it back and said “Thanks.”
He looked at O’Neill and quickly said “Oh, yeah. Black. Right.” Xander looked at his cloak, shirt, and pants. “When did that
happen?” he wondered quietly. “Ooookay. Right. And off with the black clothes.” He removed his cloak and caught a glimpse of his hands. He held them closer to his face. “What the –“
“Problem?” asked Jack.
Xander lowered his hands, “… did I get tattooed or something? This better be henna, or I’m gonna be really
“So,” O’Neill said, “if that’s henna, how do you explain the horns?”
“Horns?” Xander asked. “Again with the kidding.” O’Neill stared at him. Xander slowly raised his hand to his head. “Or, not.” He pulled at one of the horns. “Oh, god. Horns. I’ve actually got horns.” He thought for a moment. “Oh, wait,“ Xander said, snapping his fingers. “I remember reading something about vengeance demons. Oh yeah. It would be just like her to do it. Cordelia kept calling me a horny little bastard.” O’Neill looked at Daniel. “Now I hate
vengeance demons. Why did I have to get nailed by a vengeance demon?”
“A … vengeance demon?” O’Neill asked. “Stop. Enough. Daniel, do you know how to drive a motorcycle?”
“Yes, but it’s been a while, Jack.” Daniel replied. “Why?”
“I need you to drive the motorcycle back to the ‘gate and wait there.” He looked at his other team members. “Carter, keep an eye on him. Teal’c, check him for weapons.” He looked pointedly at Xander. “General Hammond is going to love
this.” Teal’c jiggled one of Xander’s light sabers and asked “What is this?”
Xander said, “Oh, those are toy light sabers I made for Halloween.”
Teal’c handled a light saber, carefully. “It does not appear to be a toy.”
Xander challenged, “Flashlights and plastic cones do not a light saber make.” He took a long look at the light saber. “Wow. Real light sabers. How did that
Teal’c looked askance at O’Neill. O’Neill nodded. Teal’c removed the light sabers.
O’Neill said “Okay, smart guy. Let’s go.”
“Go where?” Xander asked.
“Back to the ‘gate, you moron. The one you came through?”
“The Stargate is real.” Xander said. “The Stargate is real? Is Teal’c’s, staff weapon real too?”
Teal’c looked at Jack and said “Colonel Jack O’Neill, may I demonstrate?” O’Neill nodded. Teal’c lifted his weapon and fired a blast near Xander’s feet, sending up a little plume of sand. A small area instantly crystallized into glass.
Startled, Xander dropped down on the sand, hard. “Ow.” He looked at nothing in particular, stunned. “This can’t be real.” He pinched himself, hard. “Ow! Okay, that hurt. I’m not dreaming.” He looked up at the Jaffa looming over him. “Oh, shit. Cordelia – or somebody – is pissed off really
bad,” he said. Xander stared up at the sky and counted three moons. He looked at O’Neill. “This isn’t Earth, is it?”
Teal’c intoned, “Indeed.”
“Where am I?” Xander asked.
“Uh, P7X-9491,” Daniel offered. “We haven’t named it yet.”
“So. Where am
O’Neill interrupted. “You’re on a different planet than Earth,” he said to Xander. “Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away.” He tilted his head to one side. “You do look a little like Darth Maul.”
“You know Star Wars.” Xander said, excited.
“Sure,” O’Neill shrugged. “Doesn’t everyone?”
Carter interjected, “Sir, he really does
look like Darth Maul. I should’ve noticed that right away. Daniel?”
“Uhm, sorry, what?” Daniel replied.
She repeated, “Doesn’t he look like Darth Maul?”
Daniel answered, “Who?” He looked at Jack. “Am I missing something?”
“Oh, nothing much. Just two generations of great science fiction,” O’Neill replied. He pointed at Xander. “Even he
knows Star Wars, and he’s not from around here.”
Xander tried to process that. “I’m in a universe where the Stargate is real, most everyone knows Star Wars, and … wait.” He looked frightened. “I think I turned into Darth Maul. That’s really
weird,” he said, “because I was dressed kinda like Darth Maul.” A pause. “It was a cheap costume. You know - Halloween?” he added, hopefully. “We were baby-sitting a bunch of little trick-or-treaters.” Xander shook his head from side to side, trying to get a grasp of what had happened. “This is so
“Halloween was six months ago,” said Carter. After a direct glance from O’Neill, she added: “Sir.”
“Teal’c, get him off the ground,” O’Neill ordered with exasperation. Teal’c offered a hand to Xander, who gratefully took it and stood up. “We’ll sort this out at the SGC. Let’s go,” O’Neill said.
Xander exclaimed “Wow! I get to see the SGC!”
Daniel shook his head, got on the bike, and rode back to the ‘gate. Carter and Teal’c took up positions behind Xander. Xander quickly figured out what he was supposed to do and followed Jack.It can’t possibly get any stranger,
thought Xander. Can it? Where are Buffy, Giles and Willow? Are they looking for me? Will they find me?
Xander trailed along behind O’Neill. It sure was a lot easier on the Ninja,
he thought. Walking in deep sand really sucks.
(A/N: I know events in both timelines are not in canonical order. That’s because both of these
Earths are in different dimensions and timelines from the Buffyverse and Stargate-verse we have come to know and love. It’s the same but different, because I added those little sprinkles they put on top of cupcakes.)
This chapter has been approved by Beta Reader Station 14, manned by SisterD.