Stargate to Heaven
Willow was having a heated discussion with Tesla about the best place to position his knock-back machines when everything began to slow down. Willow wasn't entirely unfamiliar with that feeling - it was something that she recognized from when she'd used so much magic that she had passed out. However, since she'd lost her Ancient gene, Willow had barely been able to do magic at all, let alone enough to make her lose consciousness. Besides, this feeling was a lot longer and more drawn out than her passing out had ever been.
Willow thought about asking Tesla if he was seeing the same thing that she was. However, a quick glance at him revealed that he had slowed almost to a complete stop. Apparently this phenomenon, whatever it was, was only affecting her.
As she watched, everything came to a stopped moving. And then Daniel appeared. Or at least, she assumed he was Daniel. He was wearing some kind of white robe that Willow knew Daniel would never, ever wear, and his skin also seem to be emitting some kind of diffuse light. Daniel didn't normally glow. At least not that she'd ever noticed.
"What's going on?" Willow asked, a little nervously.
"I can't tell you that." Daniel smiled sadly. "I just came to say goodbye."
"Why? Are you going somewhere?"
"In a manner of speaking. Try not to take it too hard, Will."
Daniel waved his hands as though he was trying to physically grasp the words that he couldn't quite manage to say. "I can't tell you. Don't look at me like that, I want to, I really do. But this is the best I can do. I can say goodbye. So that's what I'm saying."
Willow blinked, as time sped up again. Daniel had vanished as suddenly as he’d appeared. Tesla continued speaking as though he'd never been interrupted - which, in a way, he hadn't been. However, Willow wasn't really paying a great deal of attention to what he was saying. She was worried about Daniel. Last thing she knew, he'd been headed off to meet the people of... Kelowna, she thought. So, what on Earth had been doing appearing clothéd all in white like some sort of angel?
Willow knew that she wouldn't be getting any answers here. She needed to go to the SGC and find out exactly what had happened. So she went through the door, hand reaching into her pocket to get her phone so that she could call Hammond.
She didn't make it through the door.
While Willow was technically still capable of magic, ever since she'd lost her Ancient gene she had barely been able to use it. Only occasionally could she muster the focus to levitate a pencil.
However, Willow was still an immensely powerful witch, even if she could barely access her power. She was, for example, more than capable of opening a portal to a top secret military installation in Colorado.
Willow didn't even know that that was what she was doing, of course. All she'd done was automatically reach for the source of her magic for comfort, like she had always done, even when it was more accessible. She hadn't intended to do anything with it.
So Willow was pretty surprised when she found herself in Hammond's office. She felt dizzy, and she automatically fell to her knees. It had been a long time since Willow had cast so powerful a spell. It was draining.
Hammond leapt to his feet. "Ms Rosenberg! What's going on?"
"Daniel." Willow said quietly, barely able to force the words out past her lips. She was really, really tired. A side effect of barely using any magic for the last few months, she supposed. Her magical 'muscles' had atrophied. "Daniel." she repeated, a little louder. "Where he is he?"
"He's still on Kelowna. Why? Has something happened in Sunnydale?"
Willow shook her head, and instantly regretted the movement. "No. Something happened to Daniel. Can you contact Kelowna? Need to find out what."
"I can ask Major Carter. As far as I can tell, there wasn't anything untoward going on."
"Sam... isn't on Kelowna?"
"No. She came back to run some calculations on our computers. Apparently, the Kelownans have found a mineral, something similar to Naquadah, that's apparently capable of generating a massive amount of energy. She wanted to see just what it's capable of."
"Something's happened to Daniel. Contact Kelowna." Willow said, gritting her teeth and forcing herself upright.
Hammond wasn't about to use the Stargate on an unsubstantiated hunch of one of his subordinates. Even one who had just appeared in a flash of light. "How do you know?"
Willow shrugged. "A vision, I guess."
Hammond felt sceptical for a second, but after a moment's thought he didn't quite understand why. He dealt with aliens on a daily basis, and the woman in front of him was a witch. Visions weren't really that farfetched. Besides, he'd been about to contact the Kelownans again soon anyway, so that Sam could share her findings with them. It couldn't hurt. "Alright. Go to the 'gate room. I'll contact Major Carter."
"Thank you." Willow said, then made her way to the 'gate room, leaning heavily on the wall for support. The spell had really taken a lot out of her.
Willow was so preoccupied thinking about the possible catastrophic events that could've befallen Daniel (some of them were even possible, knowing his luck) that she didn't even notice that the wall gave way to a door. The door did what doors normally do when they're leaned on, and opened. Willow, deprived of her support, toppled over, crashing to the floor.
Sighing in exasperation, Willow grabbed the edge of the nearby desk and hauled herself upright. She had almost forgotten how much she hated overusing magic.
It wasn't until Willow was standing up that she realised that she'd blundered into Daniel's office. It was clearly his - no one else had a desk so covered in artefacts with pieces of paper covered in Daniel's scrawl stuck to them. It was a wonder that Daniel could find anything.
Willow smiled, and was just turning to leave when a certain artefact caught her eye. It was a cube, covered in the angular script of the Ancients. She remembered that cube. It had appeared on her bed after her first encounter with Caelus, back when he'd been genetically bonded to three different species. It had been the catalyst that had led to her joining the SGC. She'd completely forgotten about it, and hadn't even thought about mentioning it to Caelus when he'd last shown up. She wondered if Daniel had.
She remembered the inscription on it. "Break only in need." Well, she was in need now, wasn't she? Seeing some kind of angelic Daniel suggested, at least to her, that... something unpleasant had happened to him. While she should probably wait to find out if something actually had
happened, what if it was too late by then?
Besides, this was Daniel they were talking about. He wouldn't wait if he thought there was even a tiny chance that she was in trouble. So she wouldn't either.
So Willow picked up the cube and hurled it at the floor. It vanished. Nothing else happened.
Willow looked up, disappointed, then yelped and took a step back in surprise.
Caelus was standing in front of her. He was wearing the same blue, quasi-military clothes that he'd been wearing when she last saw him, but his leg wasn't twisted. He didn't have his scythe, either, which was the first time Willow seen him willingly without it. On top of that, he wasn't moving, which was unusual. When Caelus had been working in the solution that had destroyed her and Jack's Ancient genes, he'd never been still. He'd always been moving, even if he was only drumming his fingers on the table. Now, it didn't even look like he was breathing.
"What happened to you?" Caelus said, his odd accent just as strong as it had been last time. However, while he definitely spoke - Willow could see his mouth move - that was all he was doing. There wasn't any extraneous movement. Only
his mouth was moving. It was mildly disconcerting.
"Well, quite a lot, actually." Willow said, licking her lips and wondering where to begin.
"How did you lose your Alterran gene?"
Willow looked at him incredulously. "Uh... you destroyed it."
"No, I didn't. I tried to use you to destroy all the ascended beings. I did nothing that would've altered your genetic structure."
"You did it last time you descended."
"Did I? Why?"
"Don't you remember?"
"Why should I? I wasn't there."
Willow frowned. "Hang on. What do you mean, you weren't there? Aren't you Caelus?"
"Only in a manner of speaking. I am the part that cannot ascend. The genetic nexus, if you will. I am the part that bonded Caelus to the vampires, Goa'uld, and the Ancients. I am tied to this plane, but the rest of me is not. Caelus ascended, and I am here."
"So... you're the part of Caelus that nearly wiped out his own species?" Willow said, taking another step back. While Caelus had saved her life, he'd also nearly taken it.
"No. I'm not sentient."
"You sure sound it." Willow said, confused.
"I am the memory of everyone that Caelus ever bonded with. I am a collection of his thoughts. But I have none of my own. I do not even have a corporeal form." Caelus lifted his hand and thrust through Daniel's desk.
"Okay." Willow said, not really understanding, but willing to put it aside for the moment. "Can you help me with Daniel?"
"What has happened to Dr Jackson?"
Willow explained, as concisely as she could.
"Are you certain?"
"Your kind cannot have advanced nearly enough to ascend."
"Wait, what? He's ascended? How is that possible?"
"I do not know. But we can find out."
"Take me to your astria porta
." Caelus said calmly.
"I don't think that's a good idea." Willow protested. "People will see you."
"Not if I don't want them to."
"I am barely here to begin with. It is hardly a big step."
Willow hesitated for a moment, then shrugged. "Okay, let's go."
Walter hadn't begun dialling Kelowna when Willow and Caelus arrived. Sam, however, was waiting to go through. Or, at least that's what she had been doing. As soon as the pair arrived, she turned and walked back, heading to the computers that controlled the operation of the 'gate.
"Major? What are you doing?" Hammond said through the intercom.
Sam didn't reply, just strolled into the room and began doing something to the computers.
"Major! What are you doing?" Walter said, alarmed. "You'll overload the 'gate!"
"Are you doing this?" Willow asked out of the corner of her mouth. Unlike Willow's her Ancient gene, Sam still had the Goa'uld genetic market that Jolinar had left her. That meant that Caelus could control her.
"Yes. It is easier to do it with her hands than asking you to do everything."
When Sam didn't reply, Walter tried to pry her away from the computer. Sam shoved him away, barely pausing what she was doing. "Stop, human. I have been using astria porta
since before your species even evolved. I know what I am doing."
Instantly, the guards in the room drew their guns and pointed them at Sam. They knew a possession when they saw one. All they were waiting for Hammond's order, Willow wondered if she could cast a spell to make their guns jam.
Before she could even try, Caelus said "Tell them to stand down, General Hammond. Major Carter isn't doing anything dangerous."
Hammond whirled around, surprised by Caelus' sudden appearance, and several guards pointed their guns at Caelus instead. "Oh, it's you." Hammond said shortly. "Are you behind this? Is the universe in danger again?"
"No, it isn't. I'm just finding out what happened to Dr Jackson."
"Why? Aren't you ascended? Can't you just find out?"
Caelus didn't bother to explain, and Walter interrupted Willow before she had a chance. "That's impossible!" he exclaimed, staring at the computer screen. "The 'gate can't hold that much power. It'll explode. You have to stop."
"You are wrong." Caelus said simply. Sam moved across to a different computer and began dialling an address.
The first seven chevrons engaged without a problem.
So did the eighth.
And the ninth.
Instead of the standard blue wormhole, the event horizon was a blinding white, so bright that it hurt just to look at it.
Caelus turned to Willow. "Well, Ms Rosenberg, all your answers are through there. Will you go?"
"Wh-what's through there?"
Sam pressed a few more buttons then stood back and shook her head as though to clear it. Evidently Caelus had released her.
"The realm of the Ancients." Caelus answered. "That is the doorway to plane on which ascended beings dwell."