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Adjustment Phase

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Scoobies & Stargates". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: When Willow joins the SGC, you might think they'd ease her in a little. But no, she's pushed into the deep end with an Atanik bracelet. And it's not until after that that things start getting really strange.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Willow-CenteredEnergyBeingFR133964,81428444,4802 Sep 123 Feb 13Yes

Chapter Eighteen

Ethan stood by, rather uncomfortably, whilst not-Willow examined him. He was trying to come up with some way to convince her to turn her power over to him - he was sure it was transferable, given that, during the couple of times he had met Willow before, she hadn't shown even a hint that she had such power. Willow had had potential, yes, but nowhere near this - because, with it, he no longer needed to fear Wolfram & Hart. He could run, and keep running, long enough that they would never find him.

Meanwhile, not-Willow was thinking "Here is a body with magic, one that won't be so relentlessly searched for. But how can I convince him to share it with us?". Although, of course, they didn't need his permission, they could just take it from him as they had taken Willow's. But it seemed as though sharing might be the better option.

Not-Willow also noticed that, while Ethan had power - although it was far less than Willow's had been whilst under the effect of the Atanik armbands, or even as much as Willow would have grown to have had, had they not stolen her body - he had the same dark taint that had exacerbated Willow's violent tendencies enormously when she had been under the influence of the armbands. They wondered vaguely if all magic users had it - they knew, from Willow's memories, that in the days when Giles had used magic regularly he hadn't exactly been a knight in shining armour, and hadn't become the paragon of virtue he was today until he had almost entirely given up magic.

"What do you want?" not-Willow asked eventually, breaking the uncomfortable silence.

"You. Well, not the body you're in, I'll pass on that, but your power. I've got some people after me, you see, and they won't stop chasing me until they force me to do what they want. Then they'll kill me. But with your power, I can run far enough that they'll never catch me." Ethan said simply, deciding that the truth might be the most convincing plea.

"That's right, Rayne. We will keep after you, and not even your alliance with this - abomination will stop us." said Maybourne, having emerged from his hiding place in Giles' garden.

"Do I know you?" Ethan asked, for the second time that day.

"Did you really think Wolfram & Hart would trust you enough to find out about 314 all by yourself?" Maybourne sneered.

"Oh. You must be the inside man Vail mentioned." Ethan said, then promptly ignored him, turning to face not-Willow. "You see what I have to put up with? They'll just keep coming until they catch me - or you help me."

Not-Willow concentrated for a moment, and Maybourne suddenly found himself in impenetrable darkness, without sound or even a glimmer of light to guide himself by. He scrabbled frantically for the gun at his hip, but unbeknownst to him, not-Willow calmly walked over to him, took his gun from him and casually tossed it to the floor.

Then not-Willow turned her attention back to Ethan. They had originally wanted a body that wouldn't be chased, but Ethan's plight was so similar to the fate they would've had in their home dimension that she couldn't help but take pity on him. Anyway, he was a willing host.

So not-Willow took the opportunity to shuck off Willow's body, taking on the appearance of a fine mist of impossible colours. Willow's body dropped to the ground, dead now that it no longer had a mind to power it. Unfortunately, after they had left Willow's body, the illusion they had placed on Maybourne wore off, and he cast about for his pistol before seeing it on the floor, where he scooped it up and aimed it at Ethan.

Of course, SG-1 and the rest of the Scoobies were teleported in by Willow (leaving Daniel feeling considerably worse than he had even than after Jack's flight here) at that very moment.

However, before anyone even had a chance to do anything, even for Maybourne to fire his pistol, the nebulous mist slowly faded away, as mist does under sunlight. It didn't seem as though it had entered Ethan. Nevertheless, Ethan tried to open a wormhole, to anywhere, he didn't much care where, but with absolutely no success.

Maybourne laughed shortly, before pulling a set of handcuffs out from a pouch at his hip and marching towards Ethan with them. "Ethan Rayne, you are under arrest for treason. You are not obligated to say anything. I'm sure that there's an entire firm of lawyers that would like to try your case." he said. Maybourne might not have been able to get the entity for Wolfram & Hart - although Kinsey would be glad the thing was dead - but Rayne was a good consolation prize.

Jack naturally went to challenge Maybourne actions - he would've done that no matter what Maybourne was doing, but he hadn't got a clue as to why he was suddenly acting like a policeman - but Giles seized his arm and said quietly "Let the man take him." Jack hesitated for a moment before obeying the older man. At that, any hope of a rescue evaporated from Ethan. Not that he'd really expected one, not after what he'd done to them.

~*~

Oz stood outside Giles' house, revelling in the feeling of the moonlight and the fact that he wasn't off savaging everything that moved. And working up the courage to actually knock on the door, of course. He was pretty sure that Willow was in there, and if she wasn't, someone was bound to be able to tell him where she might be.

On that note, Oz finally summoned enough nerve to take the final few steps up the drive, where he saw that the front door was ajar - as though someone had burst through it. At that, all trepidation dropped from the diminutive werewolf - someone might need his help - and he threw open the door and went in.

~*~

Ethan didn't have a lot of magic left - it had taken a substantial amount to form his protection spell, stop not-Willow from wormholing away, and summon the golden boat to get all the Scoobies and those military types out of here. It was a damn shame it had all ended up being useless. Anyway, he didn't even have enough magic to escape - not that he would have had much chance with the magic dampening amulet Maybourne had around his neck, which he guessed Vail must've given him.

Which was why he was immensely happy when a werewolf came through the front door. Ethan had never set eyes on him before (although something told him he had) but he knew a werewolf when he saw one. And this one was one of those rare types that had managed to control his inner wolf. Oh goody.

It only took a thin trickle of magic - all that Ethan had left, unfortunately - to push him over the edge, and suddenly there was a slavering wild animal in the room.

Instinctively, all the military people went for their guns, whilst the Scoobies scrambled for the weapons cabinet. But Willow, having seen that it was Oz before he'd suddenly changed, screamed "No!" and everyone halted.

Everyone except for Maybourne, that is. He had no compunction in shooting the creature, several times, until it collapsed. Then he noticed the shocked silence, and said "What? They weren't silver bullets, he's not dead. You should be glad - he'd have torn your throats out as soon as look at you."

Then he turned back to Ethan, who had barely made a step towards the door. He quickly put handcuffs on the warlock - and Ethan knew, as soon as they touched him, that they bound his magic. Which meant that he was screwed - and said "Come on, I've got a car waiting outside."

"You just happen to have a car outside?" Jack said incredulously.

"It's a small town, and the people I work for have a lot of cars. There's one on every street." Maybourne answered shortly, frog-marching Ethan outside.

~*~

No one was unduly surprised to find, sometime later, a car wrapped around a lamppost, the driver dead and Maybourne unconscious with a broken arm. When he woke up, he said that they had been driving straight down the road, and had no idea what had happened.

In the back, there was nothing but a pair of broken handcuffs - shorn through, as one might expect to see by something half left in the event horizon of a wormhole before it closed.

~*~

Author’s note: I had originally thought to have a conclusion and then finish the story there, but because I've got so many loose threads that need tying, and the story I planned as a sequel is rather short, I thought I'd combine them. So, prepare for part two.
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