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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-CenteredEnergyBeingFR133964,81428545,0512 Sep 123 Feb 13Yes

Chapter Thirty-Two

Willow, having tested her hypothesis, was busy trying to think of some way that she could actually implement it, but wasn't having much success. She found that she kept drifting back to the way Spike had looked when she had shot him.

Willow knew that it had been necessary, that it might save lives in the long run. But, even though Spike had tried to kill Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang numerous times - he'd even broken into Willow's dormitory room, and only the chip had stopped him from turning her right there - but Spike had also stayed up all night with Willow while she waited for Oz to recover from being shot by Maybourne, and had gotten shot himself when he rescued her from the crazed Riley, even though his chip caused him agonizing pain from doing so. And Willow hadn't thanked him for either of those things, but had merely shot him instead.

Which was why Willow couldn't concentrate on anything else, and just kept guiltily thinking about what he'd looked like when she, Willow, had callously shot him.

Then Spike, after a murmured conversation with Sam - evidently neither of them wanted to be overheard - went upstairs, to crash on one of Giles' spare beds. He needed to sleep to accelerate his healing process.

Then Xander, who was normally entirely oblivious to that kind of thing - perhaps dating Anya, who was not only blunt but also couldn't seem to help spelling everything out, even, or perhaps especially, things that people didn't want to hear, had led to Xander being incapable of seeing anything that wasn't explicitly told to him - said to Sam neutrally "So, you and Spike?"

Everyone turned to Sam, eager to hear her answer. Both Teal'c and Daniel knew that there was something going on there - Jack had told them that much - but not whether it was reciprocated, and Willow had already noticed the puppy-dog eyes that Spike gave Sam whenever they were in the room together, and was mildly surprised that no one else had. To the others, this was the first time they'd thought about it, although they were now rerunning over earlier signs and wondering how on Earth they had missed it. Many surmised that they'd been too caught up with Daniel kissing Willow.

Sam shrugged, avoiding everyone's gaze - no mean feat in a room filled with people all looking at you - and said quietly "It's complicated.” Which was true. She didn't know how she felt about Spike, or Jack. And given it had taken her about four years to realise that she loved Jack, despite his unattainability, she wondered how long it would take for her to realise how she felt about the pair of them.

Buffy, as curious as she was to hear more, recognized when someone was not going to talk about that topic now, and probably not in the future either. She'd been like that with her friends about Angel often enough - Buffy had even been like that with Angel - so she attempted to pull the conversation away from other peoples' love lives and back to the task of dealing with Adam. "So, guys, are we going to talk about Adam now? You know, the big Frankenstein's monster thing that threw us around? Willow, you've got a plan? Minimum science speak please." she said brusquely.

"Umm, yes, a plan." said Willow, looking down at her feet. Willow was having an attack of nerves after being put on the spot. She thought that she had gotten over that. Then suddenly an idea came to her, a way to implement the hypothesis that Oz had so neatly put into technobabble. She looked at Sam, and said "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

Sam blinked. "That we can't just plug Adam into a wall socket?" she said.

Willow sighed. "Just once I wanted to say that and have someone actually thinking what I'm thinking." she said.

"Well, if you tell us what you're thinking, with as many words that I'll understand as possible, I'm sure none of us will have a problem in thinking what you're thinking." said Xander helpfully.

"Lightning spell." said Willow simply.

"Thank you, Willow, I understood that. Now why are we talking about electricity and all that stuff? Try not to be too science-y, you know I flunked physics." said Xander.

"That Initiative gun did nothing to Adam, whereas the Zats did. Therefore, the Zats have more power than the Initiative gun. If we find a way to hit Adam with something that has more power than a Zat, he might overload." said Daniel, of all people. When everyone looked at the archaeologist, he blushed lightly and said "What? If you spend enough time with Sam you'll understand some technobabble too."

"Yes, that's all very well, but Willow, you can't do a lightning spell. You'd have to change the entire weather pattern for miles around, and make sure that you don't disrupt the entire global weather system. Only specialist weather mages could try that, and only after training for years, and there haven't been any weather mages since the 16th century, when they killed themselves summoning a storm in Ireland." said Giles succinctly. Willow sighed again. Back to the drawing room.

Daniel's eyes widened in surprise. "1588? The storm that wiped out the Spanish armada? That was magic?" he asked incredulously. Giles just smiled at him mysteriously and didn't answer.

An idea hit Sam. "Tesla coil?" she asked Willow, for once glad that there was someone else around who understood her without her needing to explain, even if she didn't have a degree and was barely out if high school.

"We'd have to make it so that it had high current as well as voltage." Willow mused.

"We wouldn't be able to put it on a timer either, we'd need to lure Adam in close." Sam said, not answering Willow's idea but throwing another problem out there.

"Some kind of shielding?" Willow asked.

"Perhaps for one person, but we would need to be mobile to get Adam to stay in range of the coil, and run away again when it turned on. So who would operate it from inside the shielding?" That time, Sam did answer Willow's question.

"It would need to be someone who could fight Adam if he breached the shielding. Which is basically no one." Willow answered, frowning.

"Or someone who wouldn't be fried by the electricity in the first place." Sam added.

"Spike." They both said simultaneously.

The rest of the room watched the pair of scientists having a verbal tennis game with some interest, but mainly incomprehension. Finally, when it seemed as though they had finished, Daniel said "Okay, would you like to explain to the rest of us what you're talking about?"

"I thought you understood technobabble." said Willow, smiling.

"When you're speaking in full sentences, I understand some of it. The easy stuff. But that went way over my head." Daniel admitted.

Willow and Sam elaborated on the plan, finishing each other’s sentences and generally giving other people a headache and not making things a whole lot clearer. By the end of it, they figured out that they wanted to build some kind of device that would emit electricity that would hopefully overload Adam, and that Spike needed to turn it on, because, as Willow had demonstrated, being electrocuted didn't kill him, merely caused him a great deal of pain.

~*~

While Sam and Willow were drawing up plans for how they would build the Tesla coil, and the rest of the group were planning how to get Adam into Sunnydale Plaza (Sam and Willow had deemed that to be the ideal place to set up the device) Buffy planned to go into the Initiative to see Riley. She was fully aware that her friends would think that that was a stupid idea, which was why she didn't tell them. She just slipped out.

To Buffy's dismay, Forrest was waiting by the hidden elevator in the frat house. He was just sitting there, staring at the ceiling. Buffy wondered what he was thinking about.

Forrest looked up when he heard Buffy enter the room. To her mild surprise, he didn't look hostile, as he had recently seemed to be every time she saw him. "You want to see Lieutenant Finn." Forrest stated rather than asked.

"Would you let me see him if I did?" Buffy hedged.

Forrest nodded. "He left orders that you were to be allowed to visit him if you came by." he said mildly. Buffy couldn't tell what he thought of that order.

"Let's go then!" Buffy said cheerfully.

~*~

Riley was glad when Buffy came, not only because he was happy to see her but because there was something that he wanted to tell her. Adam had come by to see him, and the things that he had told Riley - well, Riley couldn't think about that, simply couldn't believe what Adam told him about Walsh and himself and the whole Initiative project. He hadn't told anyone from the Initiative that Adam had come, but he could trust Buffy.

"Hey." Buffy said gently, taking hold of Riley's hand, who squeezed it gratefully.

Riley's throat convulsed as he tried to force the words out, but he couldn't. Why couldn't he? What was wrong with him? Riley tried again, but no success.

"Are you alright?" asked Buffy, looking at him oddly.

Riley gently took his hand out of Buffy's and scrubbed his eyes with it. Then he put it back down, idly tracing it on the hospital bed. "Yes, I suppose so." he said. He could hardly tell Buffy that there was something wrong and not tell her what it was, could he?

Buffy didn't answer. She was looking at what Riley's hand was tracing on the bed.

Adam came Adam came Adam came Adam came Adam came Adam came Adam came Adam came
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