This is a derivative work. All BtVS characters and concepts belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, and others. Sam Carter, Furling, and all things Stargate belong to a multitude of Big Media Companies. Certainly not me.Spoilers:
Seasons 1-3 of BtVS. Stargate: Indeterminate. Other fandoms: See specific chapters.Pairings:
Joyce Summers/Sam CarterSummary:
Two blondes meet in a bar. Author Notes:
Some parts of this won't make sense if you haven't read the previous story 'Elven Wishes
'. So read that first and come back. This is a Joyce story set in that AU. See end for additional notes.Word Count:
3,520 (Part 1 of 3/4)
This chapter was posted for the 5th International Day of Femslash on July 14th, 2012.
Unbuttoning her wool jacket with her free hand, Joyce looked surreptitiously around the large ballroom in the old mansion. For her first official out of town buying trip since opening her gallery in Sunnydale, she'd picked a three day estate auction in Chicago.
It was something she could fly to and from without being away from Buffy and Dawn for more than several days. While she trusted Buffy to watch her sister, she wasn't quite ready to leave them together without supervision for any longer than that.
There was just something wrong about Sunnydale. No matter how pleasant it appeared during daylight, a shiver ran down her spine whenever she ventured outside after sundown. And Pat, their next door neighbor, was a little too nosy for comfort. She didn't want her snooping while she was gone. As soon as Buffy finished high school and went off to college, she was packing herself and Dawn up and moving somewhere else.
Her vibrating phone was only a brief distraction. Digging the bulky object out of her purse revealed a message from Buffy, texting her to let her know that Dawn was safely in school. Putting it away, she went back to watching everyone else in the room as they milled about.
Joyce nodded to several buyers she recognized from other galleries, traveling art buyers she'd become acquainted with on previous buying trips. But most of the faces in the crowd were unfamiliar. Not surprising, she thought. Very few people could take the pace long term. Hopefully she'd come away from this auction with enough items of the sort popular with her clientele to supplement her local buying trips for another year.
Making herself comfortable, coat off, auction catalog and notes in her lap, coffee in hand, she idly wondered about the small group sitting off to one side. She hadn't seen them the day before at the open house. If they were trying to be unobtrusive they were failing spectacularly, in her opinion. She'd grown up near an army base and recognized the look. Even the tall blonde woman in the group carried herself like the veterans who would sometimes wander into her father's bookstore.
Watching them to see what they were interested in would add to the excitement. She'd discovered years ago that watching the way other people acted as they bid could tell her a lot about the actual value of an object outside her regular expertise. And the more she watched someone, the easier it became to read them. She hoped this skill hadn't deserted her in her time away from the action, though her aunt claimed the ability to read strangers was part of the family legacy.
She hadn't planned on bidding for any of the Egyptian or Greek artifacts included in the second afternoon of the estate sale, instead spending that day wandering around the mansion, looking at the paintings and furniture that would make up the bulk of the final day of the auction.
The more interesting pieces were ones she'd recognized as known forgeries. She'd come across some of them during a brief stint as a research assistant, while working on her MFA. Although there was a market in such things, they weren't something that sold well in a small gallery such as hers, even if she could find room for them in her limited storage in her gallery or house.
But she'd picked up several interesting looking examples of African tribal sculpture, several elaborately carved wooden Hindu boxes, and a pre-Napoleonic Wars painting of the Egyptian pyramids by an obscure English painter the day before. One of her regular patrons would probably pay enough for it to at least cover her expenses for the trip and her secretary's salary for almost a year.
Wandering into the hotel bar after a quick bite at a restaurant across the street, Joyce's curiosity got the better of her when she spotted the blonde she'd seen the first day of the auction. Sliding onto the bar stool next to her, she motioned the bartender over.
"A glass of Chablis," she said, tapping the bar in front of herself, "and a refill of whatever she's drinking," she added nodding at the other woman, giving her a warm smile.
"Thank you," the blonde said, startled at the appearance of another drink.
"Joyce," Joyce said, introducing herself.
"Sam," the blonde said. "Sam Carter." Giving Joyce a puzzled look, she paused before asking, "You look familiar. Have we met before?"
"You were at the auction at the Herzog estate today," Joyce said. "I outbid one of your friends for a painting of the pyramids."
"Oh!" Sam said.
"I hope he wasn't too upset at losing," Joyce said.
"No," Sam said. "What do you plan to do with it?"
"I'm not sure," Joyce said. "I don't usually buy paintings from that era but something about it spoke to me. It'll fit in with several other pieces I own."
"What do you do for a living, if you don't mind me asking?" Sam said.
"I own a small gallery in California," Joyce said. "And what do you do for a living, Sam Carter," Joyce asked. "Something for the government I suspect. Military?" she said, nodding to herself.
"Yes," Sam said, surprised. "How could you tell?"
"You have that look," Joyce said, smiling at her. "So, your friends left you by yourself?"
"Not exactly," Sam said, pointing to three men sitting at a table across the bar, near a large screen TV. "Hockey game."
"Not a fan?" Joyce asked, leaning closer.
Sam shook her head, taking a sip of her drink. "No."
"My eldest at one point tried to follow in Dorothy Hamill's footsteps," Joyce said, shaking her head. "So I'm familiar with the fascination with ice-born activities, but there's a lot less physical contact in figure skating."
"Eldest? So, children?" Sam asked, shifting slightly in Joyce's direction.
"Two daughters and an ex who somehow makes them seem mature," she said, holding up her ringless hand.
"You don't look old enough for children," Sam said.
"Good genes," Joyce said, winking at her. "And chasing after an eleven year old."
"No, my youngest," Joyce said.
"Another?" Sam said, pointing at Joyce's glass.
Joyce looked down at her glass in surprise, having finished it without realizing it. "If you're buying," she said. "Why not."
Joyce groaned, and tried to rub her aching head, only to find she couldn't move her arms. And she was leaning against something smooth that was definitely not bed-like.
"What was in that wine," she mumbled, trying to sit up, blurry memories of her previous night's activities flashing through her mind. It really must have been the wine, she decided, visions of a naked blonde Amazon causing her to blush. She'd thought she'd left her experimentation stage far behind when she'd met Hank.
"Are you okay?" a now familiar, hoarse voice asked.
Opening her eyes, Joyce winced at the bright light, reflexively attempting to rub her eyes, in the process reminding herself that something was preventing her from moving her arms. Squinting up, she followed chains from manacles on her wrists to a large eye-bolt in the ceiling.
Using the chains to slowly pull herself to a standing position, Joyce looked around, finding herself in a small room, empty except for herself and Sam, her delectable companion from the previous night.
Chained to the opposite wall with gold manacles, Sam appeared to be dressed as an extra in a Bollywood musical. Glancing down at her own body she realized that she was wearing something similar herself, but with her manacles a dull grey.
The bright light seemed to be coming from multiple places in the room. A large panel, slightly darker than the rest of the room looked like it might be a door, though how one opened it was a mystery. It was obvious to her, and a little worrying, that the room wasn't intended for long term occupants.
"Not how I'd planned to spend the day," Joyce said, grimacing, not ready to panic over what could possibly be someone's idea of a practical joke, though no one she knew would do something so elaborate. "This happen to you often?" she asked Sam, who seemed overly calm if a little uncomfortable looking.
"Getting kidnapped out of my bed in the middle of the night?" Sam said, her voice still hoarse. "No."
"So that was your room ?" Joyce asked. "Things are a bit fuzzy after we left the bar last night. At least I think that was last night."
"Yes," Sam said.
"Yes, it was my room, and yes, that was last night."
"Not so fuzzy memories?" Joyce asked, frowning.
"No," Sam said, blushing. "I remember every minute of our night, including when we were rudely interrupted."
"Well, we'll have to do that again sometime," Joyce said, smirking. "Wouldn't want you to be the only one who remembered last night. But without the interruptions."
"No interruptions would be good," Sam said, carefully leaning back against her wall.
"Are you okay?" Joyce asked her in turn, concerned about the slight groan Sam made.
"Not too bad," she said, wincing.
"Any idea where we are?" Joyce asked.
"No, they knocked me out," she said.
"What about your people? Think they'll rescue us?" Joyce asked hopefully. Other than a brief introduction after the game ended, she didn't really remember them. There'd been the older man who was Sam's boss - Jeff, Jack, Jim, or something like that she thought. The man she'd outbid for that painting was a Danny or Daniel, and the last one was Murray, though he didn't really seem like a Murray to her.
"They'll try," Sam said. "But finding us might be a problem. Unless they were kidnapped also."
"So it's up to us?" Joyce asked, experimentally tugging on her chains. "To rescue ourselves?"
"Yes. But getting out of these might be a problem," Sam said. "There doesn't appear to be a keyhole. They must be electronic."
"Which isn't good?" Joyce asked.
"No," Sam said bluntly. "I'm not familiar with the costumes but these tend to be used by people it's best to avoid." She gestured with her hands.
"Harem dancers from a Bollywood musical," Joyce told her, shaking her head. "Buffy and her friends like to watch them."
"Ah..." Sam said. "Cassie prefers spaghetti westerns."
"Cassie?" Joyce asked, hoping this wasn't Sam's secret girlfriend.
"A friend's daughter," Sam said. "I'm her honorary aunt."
"Oh," Joyce murmured. "You didn't mention any children last night."
"No. No children. I couldn't do it," Sam said. "Some people might think I'm selfish but..."
"Your job is more important?" Joyce asked.
Sam shrugged, a indecipherable expression crossing her face.
"Okay. So how do we get out of here?" Joyce asked, steering the conversation back in a useful direction, even if she wanted to know more about Sam. That could wait until they were free. "Once we get out of these," she added, shaking her hands.
"If we can get to the door, I can open it," Sam told her confidently.
"I might be able to get out of these," Joyce said, trying to get a closer look at the thin manacles.
"They're Houdini proof," Sam said. "None of his tricks work. I've tried them."
"I know a trick or two that he didn't," Joyce said, twisting her arm. "What are these made of?" she asked, now noticing a familiar faint tingle from her wrists.
"A very dense metal," Sam said. "Possibly a blend of Naqhadah and something else."
"Never heard of it," Joyce said. "But I think I've seen something like it before."
"Really? Where?" Sam asked.
Joyce shook her head. "You never did say who you work for," Joyce said. "Or what you do."
"Air Force physicist," Sam said. "I'm based in NORAD's Colorado Springs facility."
"So... Not anything to do with Area 51," Joyce said with a forced laugh, the chains an unfortunate reminder of what she'd said to Buffy months earlier.
"Uhm..." Sam started to speak, and stopped herself several times. "It's classified. Why do you ask?" she said.
"Really? I was just kidding," Joyce said, staring at her through her manacled hands.
"Some of my experiments need a lot of space," Sam said nonchalantly.
"Oh. Well, pretend you don't see this," Joyce said. "Or it can be our secret."
"Okay..." Sam said, giving her a confused look.
Closing her eyes, Joyce tried to get as comfortable as possible in her position, grasping the chain above her left hand for support, breathing deeply and slowly. She hadn't done this without help, the ring or otherwise, in years. It was going to take some time, she thought. And hurt.
Before she'd taken more than a dozen breaths, and found her focus, she was surprised to feel the process starting. It started with her fingers and toes, tingling as she changed. There wasn't the expected pain but the slight nausea she felt during a shift was still present. She knew there'd be a faint silver glow if she opened her eyes.
"Joyce?" Sam said, her voice soft, though Joyce hadn't told her she needed to be quiet. "What's happening?"
Joyce ignored the question for now, needing her full concentration for the change. She could see it in her mind. She was losing several inches in height and her arms and legs were getting thinner and stronger. And her face was taking on what Willow had called an elvish appearance, though she'd never seen it that way herself, not being a fan of fantasy, especially Tolkien's rather dry male dominated works. She much preferred the detective novels from the Twenties and Thirties she'd grown up with.
The change ended with a uncharacteristic rush of warmth. And the feeling of her pants, already barely staying on, sliding down her legs.
"Oops," Joyce squeaked, opening her eyes and looking down at her bare legs, seeing proof that their captors had skimped a bit on undergarments. "Just a sec," she said, looking back up at her manacled hands and not at Sam, sure she was blushing. "Well, at least they aren't shrink to fit."
"No," Sam said, in a husky tone.
Joyce could feel her eyes as she twisted the manacle around her left wrist. It was substantially looser but her hands were still trapped. "Just need a little leverage," she said, talking mostly to herself. "And lubrication…"
"Saliva?" Sam suggested.
"That or blood," Joyce said, nodding. "Let's try the pain-free method first. A lot safer."
Rubbing her raw wrists, Joyce looked at Sam. "How do we get you out of those?" she asked, frowning.
"I can't make myself smaller," Sam said, raising an eyebrow in clear question.
"No, it's inherited," Joyce said. "As far as I know anyway. And it takes training, usually."
"I'll explain when we're out of here," Joyce said. Or at least as much as she could safely share with someone with Area 51 ties, she decided. "Why are you glowing?"
"Glowing?" Sam said, startled. "Where?"
"Here," she said, touching Sam's manacles, "and here," she added pointing at scratches on Sam's forehead and arms. "And here."
"I don't see anything," Sam told her, twisting around in an attempt to look.
"Huh. Must be something the human eye can't normally see." She shook her head at Sam's look. "Later. Sorry."
"If the manacles are made out of Naqhadah, as I suspect, does that mean you can see it? It does emit particles at a higher wavelength than light. That would be a useful skill to have," Sam said.
"And other parts of you glow because of this Naqhadah? Is it dangerous" Joyce asked, worried.
"It's classified," Sam said. "Sorry."
"Still need a way to get you out of those," Joyce told her, looking around the small cell. "Any ideas?" Her manacles dangled from the ceiling but nothing else had changed.
"You're going to think it's crazy," Sam said.
"I'd like to call home before my daughters know I've been kidnapped," Joyce said. "Crazy is all we have right now. So?"
"Put your hands here," Sam said, holding up one of her own hands. "Touch the metal."
"Why are yours gold plated?" Joyce asked, following her directions.
"It's not important," Sam said, unconvincingly.
"Now what?" she asked.
"Concentrate, and visualize them opening," Sam said.
"Sounds too simple, but okay." Joyce frowned. "How long should this take?"
"I don't know," Sam admitted. Her statement was followed by a click as the manacle Joyce was touching split in half and fell on the floor with a loud crash. "Now the other one," she said excitedly. Joyce quickly repeated her actions with the other manacle.
"How did you know that was going to happen," she asked.
"Educated guess," Sam told her.
"So, the door?" Joyce asked, adding it to her own growing list of questions about Sam.
"What are those?" Joyce asked, letting Sam drag her behind a large crate to avoid several female figures in elaborate armor.
"Jaffa," Sam said.
"Which are what?"
"Minions of the thing that kidnapped us."
"You have that look on your face," Joyce said softly.
"The 'I know it's classified but I should really be telling you what is going on' look," Joyce said. "Buffy does the same thing when she has a secret."
"Yes?" she asked.
Sam pointed behind her.
"We aren't alone anymore, are we?" she said before slowly turning around. "I think we just failed 'escaping from aliens 101'." she said.
"Escaping and not getting recaptured is actually an upper level seminar," Sam told her. "It's not as easy as it looks in the movies."
"I assume you speak from experience?" Joyce said, reluctantly moving in the direction their silent captors indicated.
"Ah, you've finally decided to join us," an indolent voice said as they entered the room in front of their captors. "The infamous Sam Carter of SG-1, and her concubine."
"Well...crap," Sam said.
"Concubine!" Joyce said, glaring at the woman lounging on a cushion covered platform across the large room. "I'm not anyone's concubine!"
"Keep your halfbreed under control, Sam Carter, or it will be punished."
Sam put a restraining arm around Joyce's waist. "Don't bother," she said in a low voice. "That's a Goa'uld. It doesn't care what you think."
"A what?" Joyce asked.
"Alien parasite in a host's body."
"Oh." Joyce frowned for a moment. "So, real aliens? You don't keep them locked up at Area 51, do you? Not very friendly to out-of-towners."
"You're asking me that?" Sam said, incredulous. "You aren't from Earth either."
"Yes I am," Joyce protested.
"Not with those ears," Sam said. "Or the shape-shifting. Those are very un-Earthly features."
"My birth certificate says otherwise!" Joyce grumbled.
"Enough!" the Goa'uld shouted, standing up. "You're wasting my time!"
"Your last name isn't really O'Neill is it?" Sam asked Joyce, as they were pushed into the center of the room by several large Jaffa guards.
"No. Why?" Joyce asked under her breath as the Goa'uld approached them. Sam just shook her head.
"You don't look that impressive," the creature with the glowing eyes said. "Certainly not like someone to be afraid of," she muttered. "Kali does tend to be overly cautious."
"Kali?" Sam asked, receiving a glare in reply as the Goa'uld circled them.
The Goa'uld nodded, smiling to herself. "You will learn proper respect for your god. I believe you will like my methods much, much better than that fool Anubis. I might even allow you to keep your pet."
"I'm not anyone's pet!" Joyce said, drawing some security from Sam's arm around her waist, and another dismissive glare from the alien.
"Fetch my other guest," the creature said, waving at one of her guards, all of whom seemed to be female to Joyce's eyes. She continued to circle the two women while they waited. "You look like a Furling," she said, stopping in front of Joyce, "but we destroyed the last of that pitiful race long ago, even if the Asgard refuse to believe the evidence. Whose experiment are you?" she said, reaching out to touch one of Joyce's ears.
"Don't do that!" Joyce said, blushing, as the creature's touch caused an involuntary reaction. And now Buffy's unexplained comment about ears made a lot more sense.
"Excellent! Your creators even got that detail correct," she said, smirking. The creature tilted her head as if listening to something only she could hear. "Sappho finds you interesting. We shall see."
"Sappho?" Joyce asked Sam under her breath.
"The host," Sam said.
"Lady Arani! Lady Arani! She has escaped!" the guard said, returning to the room.
"And?" the Goa'uld said, waving her hand. "We have her ship, she won't go far."
A firm voice spoke from the front of the room, causing the Goa'uld to turn around in surprise.
"I have decided to decline your offer," the woman said, firmly placing her straw hat on her long blonde hair. "And they will be coming with me," she added, waving a thin metallic tube at the Goa'uld.
Chapter End Notes:
The blonde with the straw hat? She'll be officially introduced in the next part. I don't own her. Her origin is well documented. The Goa'uld? Totally an OC. A minion of Kali who has decided to strike out on her own.