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The Essence of Us

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Summary: BtVS Stargate xover. Response to Shadi's Challenge #287 at TTH. Falling in battle is not the only way a warrior can be defeated. Buffy is plagued by self-doubt, and drawing dangerously closer to self-destruction...only one person can save her.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Daniel JacksonSheilynnFR13116,861343713,30813 Jun 0413 Jun 04Yes
Disclaimer: BtVS and Stargate characters do not belong to me, and I claim no rights to these copyrighted material

OK…so I’m posting another story I hadn’t planned on writing. Yeah, yeah…I know I’m supposed to be updating my other stories, but this idea got stuck in my head as soon as I read one of the challenges posted at TTH. I don’t think this story is quite up to the same standards as “Change” and “Destiny”, but I don’t think it’s that bad either.

Life has been a little…weird…lately – kinda hectic, and kinda not…I can’t decide which. I’m taking Calculus this summer, and can I just say ARGH!!? As many of you probably know, summer college courses tend to be fast-paced, due to the shorter term – unfortunately, not only is it fast-paced, but the teacher is requiring us to memorize not only the Calculus formulas, but the Trigonometry and Algebra ones also. At this point, I have another test coming up (our 2nd), in which we have to know approximately 50 formulas – a combination of Calc, Trig, and Algebra – and my head is about to explode. And we’re no where near what we’ll have to know for the cumulative final! Can I faint now?

In any case, I hope you enjoy the story. It’s a response to Challenge #287 issued by Shadow (Shadi) at TTH. The title of the challenge is “Joined at the Core”, and the requirements are as follows: Two people trapped in one person's body. You'll need a BtVS/AtS character for this one and a Crossover character. Whose body they get trapped in and how is up to you. Requires Romance (even if just a little), someone feeling awkward wearing panty-hoes, and the line, "Is this a medicine pantry or a drugstore?"

I have a feeling he/she meant for the response to fall under the “humor” category, but I wasn’t exactly feeling very humorous when I read the challenge, so this is what came out. (Don’t worry, there are some humorous scenes!) I should warn you, though…it may seem to jump around quickly, but I didn’t want to waste time re-writing the last three episodes of BtVS – it would have gotten too long – so, many of the scenes were just referenced in short blurbs, just so you could keep up with where the BtVS storyline was during the progress of my story.

Summery: BtVS Stargate xover. Response to Challenge #287 at TTH. Falling in battle is not the only way a warrior can be defeated. Buffy is plagued by self-doubt, and drawing dangerously closer to self-destruction...only one person can save her.

The timeframe falls somewhere near the beginning of “Touched” for BtVS, and right at the end of “Fallen” for Stargate.

Have fun!


The Essence of Us

“Got any Tab?” Buffy called out to the man she had left in the living room.

She heard no response except the slamming of the door and quickly receding footsteps. A moment later, a car started up and the tires squealed as the driver drove off.

“Guess not,” she answered her own question in a flat voice.

Shutting the refrigerator door, she listlessly made her way further into the house, finally ending up in a somewhat tidy master bedroom – surprising, considering the décor screamed ‘a MAN lives here’, and men were not generally known for their neatness.

She removed her jacket, then dropped heavily on the bed. Curling into herself, she laid the jacket over her like a blanket, pulling it up to her chin.

Waves of misery and doubt wracked her body, and she dropped off into an uneasy sleep, tears slowly trailing down her cheeks.



Hovering over a pool of water, two solemn figures, dressed in togas and glowing with a sparkling blue luminescence, watched in alarm as one of their appointed warriors fell victim to believing the harsh words that had been spoken to her.

“She wavers from her path,” a female voice spoke.

“She doubts herself,” a male voice responded.

“The others have caused this self-doubt,” the woman said, tilting her head thoughtfully. “Is there nothing we can do for her, brother? Her presence in the final battle is needed, if the side of light is to triumph.”

“You know we are forbidden to interfere, sister,” the male said firmly, then he too looked thoughtful, “Though…”

“Though?”

“There is one who could help.”

The male looked over to his female counterpart, cocking his head as he gave her a slight smile.

A look of understanding came over the females face, and she gave an answering twitch of her lips, “He who was once one of us? Would he not tip the balance?”

“Yes, but only if he was there…physically.”

A look of surprise crossed the female’s face, “You wish him to share his essence with her?”

“As she will share hers with him…what better way for him to understand, if he is to guide her back to the path and ease her doubts?”

“The day of battle is nigh upon us, is there time?”

The male nodded his head, “If we act now, there will be a chance.”

“Then do so, brother.”

Bowing his head to her, the male figure disappeared.



Daniel watched Jonas Quinn and the other Kelownan’s heading back to their home planet, relieved to know that he wouldn’t have to mediate another council meeting – at least not for some time, he hoped.

Just as he was about to turn and exit the Gate room, a figure appeared at the top of the ramp, alarming him.

“Security breach!” he yelled as he drew his firearm from the holster attached to his belt, pointing it at the silent figure.

A soldier ran to the wall and pressed the red button to activate the alarm, as several other soldiers reached for their weapons, then hesitated in confusion.

“Where is it, sir?”

“He’s at the top of the ramp,” Daniel said exasperatedly. “Are you blind?”

“Um…sir…there’s no one there,” a soldier near him said slowly, but pointed his weapon in the same direction as the archeologist’s…just in case – something like this had happened before, after all.

“He’s right there! In front of the Stargate! Can’t anyone see him?!”

Several soldiers shook their heads.

By this time, the Colonel O’Neill, Major Carter, and Teal’c had arrived, weapons drawn, and General Hammond was ensconced in the Control Room.

“What is it Dr. Jackson?” the General barked through the intercom system.

“We have a security breach, sir, but apparently I’m the only one who can see him,” Daniel responded, weapon still pointed unwaveringly at the male figure. “I hope I’m not going crazy…again…but he’s hard to miss, what with the toga and blue glowing skin.”

“Do you know what he wants?”

“Not yet, sir,” Daniel replied. Turning his attention towards the still silent man, he asked, “Why are you here?”

“We have need of your assistance,” the male responded calmly.

“Our assistance for what?”

“No…only your assistance, Daniel Jackson,” the man respectfully nodded his head at him.

My assistance?” Daniel responded uncertainly. “For what?”

“Our warrior needs your guidance.”

“What? A warrior? No disrespect intended, but I don’t think I would be the best candidate to help him…I’m not the most experienced in combat situations.”

She…does not need assistance in the battle itself, Daniel Jackson – she needs your guidance.”

She?!” Daniel asked, gob-smacked. Since the man wasn’t making any threatening actions, he lowered the gun to his side, but didn’t put it away yet.

“Dr. Jackson? Would you care to tell us who or what this being is, and what it wants?” General Hammond asked.

Daniel briefly glanced back at the General before turning his attention back to the oddly-dressed man.

“Who…” he began.

“We are the Oracles…a voice for The Powers That Be…readers of the auguries of man,” the man, the Oracle, responded before Daniel could even complete his question.

“We?”

“I speak for myself and my sister, who stands at my side in our duty.”

“And you want me to help your warrior? How am I supposed to help her?”

“She is losing her way...and though she has been victorious in her battles for many years, she has begun to doubt herself. She needs your guidance, you who were once one of us, you who guided others onto the right path – only you may be able to bring her back from the brink of self-destruction. Her presence at the final battle is of vital importance, or your world will cease to be.”

Daniel’s expression looked disturbed as he turned to look up at the General in the Control Room.

“Sir, he claims to be an Oracle…a voice for some other beings who call themselves ‘The Powers That Be’. He says they need my help for one of their warriors – to give her guidance, and if she isn’t at some battle, our world will cease to exist.”

“I am unaware of any major conflicts that would threaten the existence of Earth, unless they’re talking about the Goa’ulds.”

“I don’t believe they are, sir.”

“Where is this battle, Dr. Jackson? If there is a threat to humanity, why are we not aware of it? Is there time to mobilize our soldiers to where the battle is taking place?”

Before Daniel could turn and ask the Oracle the General’s questions, they were answered.

“Your people must not become involved, or all will be lost – their very presence at the location of the battle could tip the scales in our enemy’s favor. This war is not yours to fight.”

“But if there’s a threat to Earth, it is our war!”

“This is a battle that has been fought since the beginning of time, and it will continue to be fought until the end of time – it is a war of Good against Evil. Our warriors are specifically chosen, and only they can hold the darkness at bay. There is not much time, Daniel Jackson, will you assist our warrior?”

“I’d be happy to help, of course, but I thought you said our presence there would adversely affect the course of the war?”

“Yes…your physical presence, but you will not be there in that capacity. We must leave now, Daniel Jackson,” the Oracle responded as he lifted a hand and pointed a finger at the archeologist.

“Wait! What do you mean I won’t physically be there?!”

But it was too late. As Daniel Jackson’s essence left with the Oracle, his physical body crumpled to the ground amid shouts of alarm from the rest of SG-1 and the soldiers.



“He’s not responding to any stimulation, sir, and his brain-wave activity is sporadic – if it wasn’t for the occasional appearance of normal readings, I would say he was affectively brain-dead,” Dr. Fraiser said in frustration. “Even with the information you provided, any diagnosis I could make would be a guess, sir.”

“Anything would be more than what we have now, Doctor,” General Hammond said in a worried voice.

“Well, sir, you said that his last words were a question asking the ‘Oracle’ what he meant by not physically being wherever he going to be taken. I can only assume that this Oracle took Daniel’s soul, essence, or whatever word you want to use to describe what fundamentally makes us more than just our physical body, to wherever this warrior is that he’s supposed to help. The sporadic brain-wave activity may just be a slight tie to his physical form, in order to keep the general disassociation of his essence from creating any permanent damage to his body.”

“Is there anything we can do to get him back?”

“I’m sorry, sir, this is beyond me. Nothing else seems to be wrong – his body is functioning normally otherwise, he’s just not…there.”

“In other words, the lights are on, but nobody’s home?” O’Neill quipped (which he often did to hide his worry).

“Effectively…yes,” Dr. Frasier answered. “And, to be honest, sir, anything I try could end up making things worse. I suggest that we leave things as they are, but keep a close eye on him.”

“Very well,” Hammond said curtly. “Colonel, I want you and the rest of your team to find out where this supposed battle is taking place.”

“But, sir, didn’t Daniel say something about our presence there adversely affecting the course of the war?” Carter asked worriedly.

“We just had an unseen person claim there was a battle that could destroy our world. This same being did something to Dr. Jackson. For all we know, this being could have been a Goa’uld using some unknown technology to take out the one person who could figure out their plans. Find out where the battle is…that’s an order, Major. Dismissed.”

“Yes, sir.”

With one last worried look at their friend, the remainder of SG-1 left to find out what they could about the supposed battle.

“Take good care of him, Dr. Fraiser,” the General said gruffly before he too left…to make an important call – if there was one person who would be aware of an impeding war, it would be the President.



Daniel was disoriented for a moment, as his really odd…trip…finally came to an abrupt end. When his mind finally stopped spinning, he took stock of where he was.

Everything was dark, but he could get a generally feeling of where he was…and it didn’t feel right.

He deduced that he was in someone else’s body…possibly that of the warrior he was supposed to help. It felt…small. At least he thought so, as he had the vague sensation of being curled up in a ball, with his knees pressing against soft rounded…’Oh, don’t go there, Danny-boy’.

Just as he broke off that thought, he was slammed with an intense wave of emotion – predominantly misery and pain. He let out a figurative ‘whoosh’ of breath as the powerful feelings almost overwhelmed him before he was able to steady himself.

‘My God! If this is the warrior the Oracle was talking about, no wonder they asked for help!’ Daniel thought.

For a moment, the next wave seemed to hesitate before crashing over him again.

‘Oh boy…I don’t know how many more of those I can take!’

The next wave of emotion seemed hesitate again, which Daniel thought odd.

‘Maybe it can hear me?’

The emotion backed away a little.

‘It must! Hello? Can you hear me?’

The emotion backed away even more, and Daniel unhesitatingly followed it, thinking that maybe it could take him back to the source.

‘I’m here to help…if I can.’

He kept speaking, following the emotion back as it continued to retreat, until it finally stopped. Since he still couldn’t see anything, he depended on his own sense of self to feel where he was.

Not quite prepared, he figuratively staggered back as the intensity of the person’s personality swept over him.

‘Woah! Yep, this is her…the warrior the Oracle spoke of. No doubt about it.’ Daniel thought as he sensed the fierce-warrior aspect, along with the decided femininity that confirmed her gender. It was also impossible for him to ignore the misery that literally radiated off her. ‘Man, she’s a mess!’

Taking a moment to just feel her emotions, he was compelled to reach out with his own in comfort. As soon as his essence touched hers, he could feel her consciousness stir.

‘Who’s there?’ a groggy voice queried.

‘My name’s Daniel…Daniel Jackson. Who are you?’

‘Buffy Summers,’ the young woman responded, still groggy, but becoming more alert by the second. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘I was sent here to help you.’

‘I don’t want any help. Just…leave me alone,’ Buffy responded miserably, so far gone in her melancholy that she didn’t even react to having someone else in her head. Her essence pulled away and curled back up into itself.

‘I can’t do that, Buffy. You’re too important.’ Daniel said softly.

She just curled tighter into herself.

Before Daniel could attempt to get her attention again, they were interrupted by…something. He felt a pang in his stomach – actually, he felt an echo of the pang the young woman felt.

He felt her start awake in alarm, her eyes popping open and looking directly at the door.

It was an odd sensation, seeing through someone else’s eyes – it was like viewing something from the opposite end of a telescope. Things were smaller, as if they were at a distance.

‘Woah…weird It’s probably because I am seeing things from a distance – they’re her eyes, after all,’ Daniel mused.

‘Shh…something’s coming,’ Buffy shushed him.

As he quietly observed, he could feel the tension in her body. It became apparent that the pang was some kind of ‘early warning system’, when a figure entered the doorway that Buffy was watching so closely.

The figure revealed himself to be a bleach-blonde-haired man, who was wearing a long, black leather jacket, and seemed to know Buffy. Daniel felt her recognition of him, and the name ‘Spike’ floated through his mind.

Daniel kept silent through their exchange, only breaking it when he chuckled at some of this Spike person’s comments. While some of the remarks confused him, such as Buffy’s comment about being the Slayer and Spike’s about his age, he had to admire the man’s persistency in trying to convince Buffy not to give up.

He was surprised at Buffy’s asking Spike to stay and hold her, having felt her conflicting emotions with regard to the unnaturally blonde man.

As the two settled, Buffy closed her eyes as she rested in the arms of Spike. Daniel reminded Buffy of his presence again.

‘Buffy?’

‘I’m kinda tired, Daniel…can this wait?’

‘I’m afraid not.’


Buffy mentally sighed. ‘What is it then?’

‘He’s right…you can’t quit. That’s why I was sent here.’

‘What? To give me a pep-talk? I’m really not up to feeling peppy right now.’

‘I was sent to get you back on the right path, and to ease your doubts…though I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do that, if I don’t know what the heck is going on,’
Daniel responded in a frustrated ‘voice’.

‘That’s just it…I don’t have a path anymore – my friends kicked me off it. And the doubts? I’ll get over it…eventually,’ Buffy replied despondently. ‘Why do you care anyway?’

‘Apparently, the world will end if you’re not at the final battle,’ he said bluntly.

‘I don’t care anymore. I’m tired, Daniel…tired of being The Slayer…tired of being the leader…tired of having my heart stomped on. You just don’t understand.’

‘I can, if you’ll let me,’
he said softly.

‘What do you mean?’

‘I think I can read your memories…if that’s all right with you, of course.’

‘Knock yourself out…I don’t care,’
Buffy answered tiredly.

Daniel took a moment to center himself, then drew himself closer to what he perceived as her ‘essence’. He vaguely remembered doing something like this when he was ascended, and hoped his instincts would kick in.

‘I’m not sure if this will work, but here goes…’

He wrapped himself around her essence and let himself sink into her. It took only a moment before he was rapidly moving through the memories of her life. They whirled by with such speed, he was surprised when they ended and he actually understood everything…knew every minute detail of her life. It was both disturbing and exhilarating.

Daniel separated himself from her, though he kept his essence cocooned around hers…wrapping her in mental arms of comfort, just as the…vampire…had his arms physically around her.

‘I understand now,’ he said softly.

‘Do you?’ she asked gruffly.

‘Yes…I do. I may not have had as difficult a life as you, but I have gone through some tough times that were just as bad as some of yours.’

Buffy’s mental voice was thick with tears as she asked, ‘How do you keep going?’

‘Why don’t you see for yourself,’
he offered quietly. ‘Let yourself sink into me, then open yourself up to my memories. It’ll feel strange, but it’s really easy if you don’t fight it.’

Buffy followed his instructions and soon found herself watching his life unfold before her. It was over sooner than she thought 35 years of memories would take.

She was silent after she emerged from his essence, but let herself lay within his cocoon of comfort. After a few minutes of quiet, she finally spoke to him again.

‘You had friends to help you through it all, Daniel – I thought I did too, but they…’ Buffy broke off with a mental sob. ‘I can’t do this anymore, Daniel. I’ve fought for seven years straight, without any breaks…and I have nothing and no one to show for it. I thought the Scoobies and I would be a team forever – or at least until I… But they don’t want me anymore…I’m alone…again…I-I just can’t do it anymore…I need to get away from it all…at least for a while.’

‘You have me, Buffy…at least for as long as the Oracles will let me stay…and I’ll take you away when your finished…you just have to do this first.’


Daniel felt her essence stir within the cocoon of his, and felt her spark of child-like hope.

‘Promise?’

‘I promise, Buffy,’
Daniel replied fiercely. He hesitated a moment before he softly asked, ‘Will you be going after Caleb again? To find out what he’s hiding?’

‘I-I don’t know…what if the others are right…what if there’s nothing there…that I’m walking into another trap?’
Buffy said uncertainly.

‘Don’t! Just don’t, Buffy!’ Daniel whispered forcefully. ‘I was there…in your memories, remember? I felt what you felt…saw what you saw. Your instincts are strong on this one…it’s like you know it’s there…you can feel it calling you…I felt it too! Don’t doubt yourself…trust those instincts like you always have!’

Buffy was shocked into silence at Daniel’s outburst.

‘But…’

‘When have your instincts ever let you down?’

‘The last time I went to the vineyard,’
Buffy retorted bitterly.

‘The only reason you didn’t succeed was because you had inexperienced children watching your six – children who didn’t have the same faith in your abilities as your friends did! You all spent more time protecting them, than you did trying to find what Caleb is hiding. I can’t say that it would have turned out any better if it was just you and your…Scoobies…who had gone to the vineyard, but it sure as hell would have been a lot less chaotic…and you would all have gotten out alive. Your group knows when too call it quits, Buffy, but when there are too many people trying to prove themselves, you loose that perspective.’

Buffy was silent.

‘Trust yourself, Buffy…because, in the end, you’re all you have.’

Daniel fell silent, hoping he had gotten through to her. He left Buffy to her thoughts while he pondered on what her memories had shown him. From all that he had seen, he was surprised that more people, including himself, weren’t aware of the existence of these monsters that were the things of nightmares.

He came back from his musings when he became aware that Buffy had opened her eyes once more, and was now staring into the vivid blue eyes of her vampire ex-lover.

Daniel could feel her sadness of not being able to love the man named Spike in the way he wanted her to…though she did love him. After having seen the destructive nature of their previous relationship, he was glad to see that Buffy was beginning to recognize her emotions for what they really meant now – friendship and family.

He watched as her eyes closed in sleep, leaving him once more in the dark he had originally arrived in, and felt her essence relax within his. He let his own consciousness relax, though he didn’t feel any real need to sleep himself – it must have something to do with not being tied down with the limitations of his physical body.

Daniel was startled to feel her essence begin to sink in and mingle with his, but since it seemed to be doing no harm to either of them, he let it continue until it was hard to tell where she ended and he began. In a way, it was…comforting…



‘Buffy.’

‘Go ‘way. Sleeping,’
she muttered.

‘It’s time to get up, Buffy. You have to go find out what Caleb is hiding,’ Daniel prodded Buffy’s essence, trying to get her to wake up.

‘Already know what he’s hiding,’ Buffy responded groggily.

Daniel started. ‘You do?!’

‘Yeah…a really kinky collection of thong underwear.’

‘Ha Ha…very funny, now get up,’
Daniel said firmly.

‘Slave-driver.’

Daniel snorted in amusement before nudging her essence with his. ‘I’m afraid that we got a little tangled with each other while you slept, so you’re going to have to pull yourself out.’

At his words, Buffy became aware that she had sunk into him again at some point.

‘Oh God…I’m so sorry!’ Buffy exclaimed as she carefully pulled her essence together and separated herself from him.

‘No problem…it was kind of nice, actually.’

‘Just so you know, I’m blushing now,’
Buffy responded with a small mental giggle.

Daniel chuckled, but prodded her again, reminding her that she had places to go and secrets to find out.

Buffy grumbled the whole time, but she eventually got up. Carefully extracting her physical self from the sleeping vampire, she silently looked at him.

‘I do love him, you know,’ she said softly to Daniel.

‘There are all kinds of love, Buffy. It’s not bad to feel love for one of his kind – it shows you can see past the boundaries set by others, and perceive what he truly is…a good and loyal person, even if his true nature is that of a demon.’

Buffy pondered his words, then nodded as she smiled. ‘He’s a good friend to have…when he’s not purposefully being annoying.’

She could hear Daniel chuckling in her head.

‘I should leave him a note before I…we…go.’

After quickly scribbling something on the back of a flyer, she left it on the pillow next to the blonde vamp. With one last regretful look in Spike’s direction, Buffy left to follow her instincts.



Being in the body of a Slayer as she fought was an exhilarating experience for Daniel – the blood pumping more quickly to keep up with the physical exertions demanded by her body, the pain from injuries that faded away as quickly as they had come, the precision of movement as she drew upon deeply ingrained skills…even though he was only a passenger in Buffy’s body, Daniel couldn’t help but be in awe of the Slayer legacy.

Leaving Buffy to concentrate on the cat and mouse game with Caleb, Daniel used his own perspective to scout the wine cellar in whatever direction Buffy happened to be looking at. It was a unique experience…almost like a ‘picture-in-picture’ television.

Daniel saw a flash of something in the current direction Buffy faced, but it was too quick to make out, and he lost it as she turned in another direction.

‘Buffy! When you can, face the back of the cellar again.’

‘Kinda busy, Daniel, but I’ll see what I can do.’


Buffy ducked as Caleb punched towards her again, and his fist went into the rack of wine bottles behind her. Running up another rack as Caleb ran towards her, she jumped over his head then ran towards the back of the cellar.

Daniel saw the flash of light again, but Buffy’s gaze was too high to see it properly.

‘I think I see something towards the floor, Buffy!’

‘You whore!’ Caleb called out to her.

Buffy stopped in her tracks and turned to face the ex-preacher.

“You know, you really should watch your language. If someone didn't know you, they might think you were a woman-hating jerk,” she mocked.

‘Don’t get distracted now, Buffy! Look back where I saw the glow!’

‘Yeesh, Daniel…get a grip,’
Buffy responded, but looked into the back corner.

‘There! There it is! The opening in the floor, Buffy!’ Daniel exclaimed excitedly.

‘I see it!’ Buffy responded, grinning. Ducking under Caleb’s next punch, she slid across the floor and into the opening.

The hatch crashed shut behind her, and Buffy could hear the sound of several objects falling on top of it. She knew she only had seconds to find whatever was calling her.

Walking into the cave-like structure, her gaze immediately locked on to an object in the middle of the room.

As she walked up to the rock where the Bringers had been working, she gazed in awe at the weapon embedded in it…it sang to her.

Buffy smiled.

Before she could retrieve it, though, Caleb opened the hatch and walked down the stairs. Buffy turned to look at him.

“So…you found it. Not impressed. 'Cause the question now, girly girl, is can you pry it from solid rock before I come over there…” Caleb began saying in a confident voice.

Buffy grabbed the handle and pulled the weapon out of the stone one-handed, with ease. She looked it over as she felt its power course through her…humming along her skin.

‘…and King Arthur rises again…’ Daniel spoke softly, a trace of awe in his voice. He felt like purring as the thrum of power washed over him.

“Hmm…darn,” Caleb said as he exhaled worriedly. “Now, before you go hurting yourself with that thing, why don't you do yourself a courtesy and hand it over now?”

“Yeah?” Buffy cocked her head to the side and hosted the weapon up. “You want it?

Caleb smiled nervously at her as he took a step back. “You don't even know what you got there.”

“I know you're backing away.”

”You think wielding some 2-sided doodad's gonna make a difference?”

Daniel kept quiet during their exchange, not wanting to distract Buffy from her watchfulness of the abnormally strong man, but he couldn’t hold back his exclamation of shock as he saw Buffy appear behind Caleb – she was frowning and had her arms crossed over her chest.

‘Buffy? Is that…’

‘The First? Yeah…surprise, surprise…it’s me again – don’t know why it likes my form the best,’
Buffy responded with exasperation.

“Let her go, Caleb,” Buffy/First said. When the preacher hesitated, it repeated, more firmly, “I said, let her go.”

“If I let her go, she slices me open with that thing,” Caleb replied.

“No, she doesn't. She hasn't got time. She has friends…”

The real Buffy looked at her worriedly.

“…and her friends are in trouble. Faith go boom,” Buffy/First said mockingly.

Buffy froze.

‘She can’t mean…’

‘A bomb,’
Daniel whispered in horror.

“I'm not letting her out of here with that thing,” Caleb said, shaking his head slightly.

“Sure you are. Then you'll come back for it later...when she's got her back turned,” Buffy/First responded confidently.

‘Go Buffy! You have to go NOW!’ Daniel said, spurring Buffy into movement.

Buffy ran out of the cellar carrying the weapon.

Caleb and the First watched her go.



‘Oh God…Oh God…what if I’m too late?!’ Buffy said frantically as she, once again, followed her gut instincts to where she was being drawn.

‘Just keep going, Buffy. You couldn’t have known…there was nothing you could have done,’ Daniel said soothingly.

‘I should have kept an eye on them!’

‘You wouldn’t have been in any shape to help, Buffy. If you remember, you were on the verge of giving up when I arrived!’

‘But…’

‘Don’t get stuck in the ‘would have/could have’ loop, Buffy! Just do what you can now.’


Buffy ran.



What followed was almost surreal. After having experienced the memory of Buffy being kicked out, it bothered Daniel at how those same people quickly latched back onto her – almost demanding that she pick up the reigns of leadership again…and without one word of apology or regret.

They acted as if it hadn’t happened at all.

‘Don’t, Daniel,’ Buffy said softly, as she climbed the stairs, carrying a first-aid kit, along with her new weapon.

‘What?’

‘It is hard being back after…’
she trailed off. ‘But they’ve just gone through a major shake-up, and are looking desperately for a leader. If it’s me they want…well, I have to try and get them through this – I can’t just leave them on their own.’

‘And after?’

‘We’ll deal with after when we get there. Right now, I need to help them re-group…and try to give them something to hope in.’

‘You are truly amazing, you know,’
Daniel said softly.

He could feel her blushing.



Daniel listened in as Buffy spoke with Giles and Willow about the weapon, but was a little distracted by the weapon itself. As Buffy’s eyes followed it, he too looked at the bladed weapon closely.

He was no mineralogist, but if he wasn’t mistaken, it almost looked like naquadah – at least, he didn’t know of any metal that could emerge unscathed after chopping through several bones and being dropped on the floor…there wasn’t even a scratch or blemish on it.

‘Are there any markings on it?’ he asked excitedly.

‘I didn’t see any, but they’ll let me know what they find,’ Buffy responded as she exited the room, leaving the weapon with the two brains of her group. ‘I need to talk to Xander.’

‘So you’re still going with the ‘get the sister out of Dodge’ plan? It’s not going to work you know.’

‘Why not?’

‘She’s just as stubborn as you are,’
Daniel said with a smile in his voice. ‘Believe me…she’ll be back in less than an hour after Xander leaves.’

‘I have to try,’
Buffy said, scowling.

Carrying the first-aid kit she had used to take care of Faith’s injuries, she moved into the hallway and went to the small closet between the Master Bedroom and her own.

Opening it up, Buffy went to store the kit back in its original place.

‘Whoa! Is this a medicine pantry or a drugstore?’ Daniel exclaimed in surprise at seeing all the medical paraphernalia ensconced in the small area.

‘What? Oh…no, it’s just all the stuff we collected over the years. Half of it’s probably been expired for some time now – we just haven’t gotten around to cleaning it out,’ Buffy said with a shrug.

‘What do you need all this for anyway?’ he asked.

‘Slaying’s not exactly a friendly sport, you know…it’s more an excessively violent contact sport that includes sharp object instead of pigskin,’ Buffy smirked. ‘When you’ve got over four different people playing on our side, the injuries add up. A lot of this stuff is probably a combination of prescriptions for Willow, Xander and Giles. The rest is the community pool – and we laugh at band-aids.’

Even though he had all her memories, it still disturbed him to hear her speak so off-handedly about the number of injuries she and her friends received over the years.



“…Thank God we’re hot chicks with superpowers.”

“Takes the edge off,” Buffy responded, straight-faced.

“Comforting.”

“Mm-hmm.”

‘You two are too much.’ Daniel said, chuckling in Buffy’s head.

‘We can’t help it,’ Buffy replied, giving a mental shrug. ‘I want to tell her about you…do you mind?’

‘Why?’


Buffy hesitated a moment before saying, ‘If…when I survive this, I…can’t stay. I’d like at least one person to know where I’m going, and why…I mean…if your offer is still open?’

There was a some uncertainty in her voice, so Daniel quickly reassured her.

‘The offer’s still open, Buffy,’ he said softly.

“B?”

Buffy looked at Faith, surprised to see a serious expression on her face.

“Yeah?”

The brunette hesitated for a breath before she asked, “Why’d you come back?”

“When The First made a comment about the bomb, I knew I had to find you guys – to get you out, if I could,” Buffy said, shrugging.

“That’s not all, is it?” Faith said perceptively.

The blonde wrapped her arms around herself as she moved to the window and looked out. “I found out that it’s important that I’m at the final battle. For some reason, we’ll lose if I’m not there.”

“Damn…way to put the pressure on you. Who told you that?”

Buffy moved back to the bed, and sat down beside her sister slayer. In as few words as possible, she told the dark-haired woman about Daniel, the intervention of the Oracles, their warning, and how Daniel pulled her out of her slump and encouraged her to trust her instincts again.

As the other woman looked stunned after her explanation, Buffy softly said, “I’m not coming back after this one, Faith. I’m done.”

“I don’t blame you. When the time’s right, I’ll tell the others,” the brunette said, nodding in understanding. A mischievous look crossed over her face. “So, what’s this guy look like? Is he a cute?”

Buffy looked startled at abrupt change of subject but then grinned wickedly at the eager-looking brunette, her eyes sparkling.

“He’s a major hottie!”

She could feel Daniel blushing.

“Hey…just had a thought – he sees through your eyes, right?” Faith asked. At the blonde’s nod of confirmation, she grinned slyly. “When you take a shower, are you gonna show him your goodies?”

“Faith!”

Faith howled with laughter, which was eerily echoed by Daniel’s laughing in her head.

‘I promise I won’t look, Buffy,’ Daniel said, still chuckling.

As soon as she caught her breath, Faith asked, “So what’s he think of you?”

“I don’t know,” Buffy said, shifting uncomfortably on the bed.

‘My first thought was ‘Wow!’,’ Daniel interjected.

Buffy blushed. ‘Was? It changed?’

‘Yes,’
he said with a smile in his voice. ‘It changed to ‘Double Wow!’ followed by ‘Can I have you?’ with a footnote of ‘Remind me to make you smile…a lot.’

Buffy’s cheeks flushed brighter, and a wide smile crossed her lips.

Faith sat on the bed, watching as the blonde slayer blushed. She sniggered.

“I take it he likes what he saw?”

“Shut up, Faith!”



After another pain-filled, emotional moment with Spike in the kitchen, Buffy withdrew to her room again, to find a little silence and privacy.

Faith was still in there, of course, but as she was dozing, it didn’t bother Buffy.

‘I should probably get some of my stuff together,’ Buffy said to Daniel. ‘I’ll put it into the car and drive it out past the city limits, just in case the whole town goes up this time. When this is all over, I’ll just…disappear.’

‘Mmm,’
Daniel said neutrally, not wanting to influence her decisions.

‘I mean, with the Mayor, we had to blow up the entire school…I have a feeling this one’s going to be on an even bigger scale. All the residents have left, after all…that’s gotta be a pretty big sign,’ Buffy rambled as she began pulling things from her drawers.

She walked into her closet and pulled out a several duffle-bags.

‘You don’t have to explain anything to me, Buffy,’ Daniel said softly, watching as she haphazardly began tossing her clothes into the bags.

‘I know. I just…if I talk, that means I don’t have to think about how I’m just going to turn my back on my own sister!’ Buffy blurted out.

‘She’ll still have your Dad…or I’m sure Giles and your friends will take care of her…at least until you’re ready to see her again.’

‘I want to take her with me, Daniel…but I just know I’ll end up resenting her,’
she responded miserably.

Buffy abruptly sat on her desk chair, looking down at the sweater she still held – it was one that Dawn had given to her the Christmas before last…just a few short months after she had been ripped from…

‘Things used to be so easy, but now…’

‘That’s just part of growing up, Buffy. You can’t keep living your life in the past.’

‘I know…I just wish I had Mom here with a few of her road signs. You know, the ones that said ‘This Way is the Right Way’ and ‘This is the Wrong Choice’…’


Daniel chuckled. ‘My Grandfather had a few of those…except his were painted on rocks that he threw at my head.’

Buffy laughed.

‘Growing up is never easy, Buffy. I can’t say it will get any better, but you have to keep trusting yourself, or you’ll just keep running in place and never get anywhere.’

‘If you start singing ‘Put One Foot in Front of the Other’, I’m not talking to you anymore!’


Daniel chuckled, and let Buffy get on with her packing.

Faith woke up during Buffy’s closet raiding, and silently watched as her sister slayer packed away her life in small, insignificant bags.

When she saw Buffy finish shoving the bags out the window, she finally spoke.

“Don’t forget to take some of your photos too…I have a feeling the town’s not gonna survive this one.”

Buffy nodded her head in agreement, then exited the room. She came back a short while later, arms full of precious mementoes of her mother, her sister, and her friends, among other things.

She stuffed them into another duffle-bag, packing more clothes around them. Her closet and drawers were fairly empty by then, and over a dozen duffle-bags lay outside on the roof of the house, waiting for her to pack them away in the SUV.

“I’m going to drop off the car outside the city limits and hit the cemetery on the way back. I need to find that temple Giles told me about.”

“Good luck, B.”

Buffy gave her a small smile as she climbed out the window and began dropping the bags onto the lawn as quietly as she could. After packing the SUV, she hopped in and stuck the key into the ignition, then hesitated.

‘Uh…Daniel?’

‘Yeah, Buffy?’

‘I’m not that good at driving. Is there any way you could…um…’
Buffy trailed off in embarrassment.

Daniel chuckled. ‘I’ll try.’

After a few awkward attempts, Daniel was finally able to control her body for the most part, as long as she kept herself relaxed.

They managed to drive the car out to the city limits without hitting anything, but that may have been because they had free reign of the entire city and no cross traffic.

‘Well, that was an…interesting experience,’ Daniel mused. ‘I never thought about how different a woman’s body was.’

‘At least I wasn’t wearing a dress,’
she smirked. ‘You were driving me nuts every time you let my legs just fall open.’

Daniel shuddered. ‘I just had this awful vision of how awkward panty-hoes would feel.’

Buffy laughed.

It was going to be a fairly long haul back to the cemetery, so Buffy picked up her pace – there wasn’t much time left.

As she jogged along, the two chatted about other things besides the upcoming battle. While they had shared each others memories, and knew everything there was to know about each other, there were still things they didn’t know about the other’s life, like outside influences, such as their friends.

‘You and Jack are either going to absolutely hate each other, or get along like a house on fire…I don’t know which scares me more,’ Daniel chuckled.

‘Yeah? Well, I’m never going to let you and Giles into the same room…I’d never see you guys again!’ Buffy retorted.

‘He’s the Watcher from England, right? Studied ancient mythology and cultures? I’d love to get my hands on some of his books I remember from your memories!’

‘Down boy!’


At a thought, Buffy came to an abrupt halt.

‘Dammit!’

‘What?!’

‘I just realized that, if the town goes up, so does Giles’ store.’


Daniel blanched at the thought of all the knowledge that would be lost if her fears came true.



It was an interesting meeting with the Guardian, and Daniel was excited at the information she was giving them. He was now almost positive the scythe was made from naquadah…everything pointed to it – the general location of where it was forged, the time period, and he couldn’t ignore the obvious Egyptian influences around the tomb. Carter was going to go ballistic if the mineralogical tests came back positive!

Daniel watched in dismay as the Guardian’s neck was snapped by Caleb. His dismay quickly turned into fear for Buffy as the two fought…Caleb was a lot stronger than when they last met, and something was wrong with his eyes.

As Buffy lay on the ground, Caleb standing above her with the scythe ready to strike, he thought it was the end.

‘Buffy!’

Before he could say anything more, someone else interrupted with a well-placed punch on Caleb’s jaw, knocking him down.

“I was never much for preachers,” the man said.

“Angel.”

Daniel watched silently as she spoke with her first love…feeling her rush of warmth run over his essence. She seemed both happy and sad to see him…he wondered if she still loved him.

After getting back into the fight with Caleb, and subsequently slicing the ex-preachers stomach, Buffy watched as her foe laughed in disbelief before falling to the floor, dead.

“See…under control,” she quipped.

“Well…at least you could tell me you’re glad to see me,” Angel replied as he walked towards her.

Buffy dropped the scythe to the floor and walked up to tall man. She pressed herself against his body and captured his lips in a deep kiss.

Daniel mentally cleared his throat.

‘Is that really a smart thing to do, Buffy?’

‘Shhh…I’m having a nostalgic moment here. Nothing wrong with nostalgia…as long as it doesn’t get pelvic.’

‘Didn’t I say something to you about not living in the past?’

‘Hey! I’m not living in the past – I’m just remembering it fondly…with lips.’


Daniel burst out laughing – he had to remember to tell Jack that one.

His laughter was brought up short as Caleb knocked Angel out with a statue. His fear for Buffy’s safety returned as the ex-preacher fought with a strength greater than before.

Buffy eventually broke free from Caleb’s grip and knocked him down to the floor.

The man stood back up as he said, “Stupid girl. You’ll never stop me. You don’t have the ba…”

Daniel cringed as Buffy swung the scythe up between Caleb’s legs, and mentally crossed his legs in commiseration.

“Who does nowadays?” she said before swiftly pushing the scythe up and through his body.

‘Remind me to never get you mad,’ Daniel muttered, cringing at the remains of the ex-preacher.

Angel finally regained consciousness, and after getting over his initial anger at being bludgeoned over the head, he revealed that he had brought some information about the upcoming apocalypse…and a butt-ugly amulet necklace.

The vampire wasn’t too happy at Buffy’s decision that he couldn’t fight beside her in this one, and voiced his displeasure as he followed the Slayer out of the tomb.

Daniel was appalled that a 240-some-odd-year old vampire could be so…so…petulant, and he echoed Buffy’s sentiment about him acting like a 12-year old.

He lost it, though, when Buffy started on her cookie-dough analogy. Daniel couldn’t stop laughing, no matter how many times she told him to shut-up. After a while, she couldn’t help joining him, even though it was only mentally.

Poor Angel, he’d never know that she was laughing like a loon inside, the whole time they were supposedly having a serious discussion.



Daniel wished Buffy would just avoid Spike altogether. Every time they met up, her emotions ping-ponged around him – it made for a very uncomfortable stay.

After mentally berating her for being a tease to the vampire, he stomped off angrily to a far corner of her mind – he may not personally know Spike, but no one deserved the blowing hot and cold act from any woman.

Only after Buffy apologized profusely would he speak to her again, though he still voiced his disapproval at her using the vampire for comfort again…especially after all her protestations that she had no interest in the man, other than friendship.

When the vampire had gone back to sleep after a visit from The First, Daniel was able to cajole Buffy into taking a closer look at the scythe. She examined it from top to bottom.

‘There! Near the base of the blade…there’s some symbols!’ he said excitedly.

‘I see them,’ Buffy said. ‘Hmm…I think it says ‘From one, many’. What do you think, Daniel?’

He peered closely at the symbols.

‘They are hieroglyphs! I knew it! The Guardians must have made it in Egypt!’ he exclaimed before a thought startled him. ‘Hey! I thought you couldn’t read any other languages?’

‘I can’t.’

‘But you just read…Oh!’

‘What?’

‘Nothing…I was just wondering if you were able to read it by using my language skills?’
Daniel mused.

‘We’ll have to deal with that later, Daniel…one thing at a time, and I think the apocalypse takes precedence.’

‘Mmmm?’
he hummed distractedly before her words penetrated his musing. ‘Oh…yes, the apocalypse. ‘From one, many’…what’s that supposed to mean?’

The two mentally debated the meaning, proposing a wide-variety of ideas, no matter how outlandish. But it wasn’t until Buffy remembered her other title, ‘Chosen One’, that the last pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

‘That must be it…nothing else really matches,’ Buffy said confidently.

‘Even if that’s what it means, how are you supposed to do it?’ he asked curiously.

‘Magic, of course…and we have one bad-ass wicca right under our roof.’

‘Will she be able to do it? She doesn’t exactly have the best track-record, from what I saw in your memories,’
Daniel said dubiously.

‘We don’t have a choice, Daniel. She has to…or we’ll all die.’



Daniel could tell Buffy was nervous as she laid out their solid, but unconventional, plan. It was met with amazement at first, then slowly, but fully, embraced…though, with a little hesitation on Willow’s part.

After Buffy’s speech to the Potentials, everyone went their separate ways to take care of their assigned duties, leaving Buffy to find a moment of peace and quiet.

‘Are we doing the right thing, Daniel?’ Buffy said softly.

‘You’re doing the only thing you can, Buffy…the rest is going to be up to fate.’

‘I just wish she wasn’t so fickle.’

‘It’ll work…it has to – I think fate owes you a few by now,’
Daniel said quietly. ‘I just wish I could be there with you…’

‘I think you’re right where I needed you to be…the one place where I can’t hide anything.’

‘Still…’

‘I know,’
Buffy said understandingly. ‘Just do me one favor?’

‘Anything.’

‘When you get back to your own body…never ever use the words ‘I wish’ again, OK?’


Daniel chuckled quietly as he remembered the memories of her experiences with Vengeance Demons.

‘I promise.’



Day had finally arrived…THE day.

The others moved quickly to their appointed place in the high school, as the original Scoobies gathered together for what was possibly the last time.

In any other situation it might have been amusing, but the banter the four Scoobies shared hurt Daniel to hear. He could feel Buffy’s pangs of heartache as she went through the motions of joking like they all used to, but it was just a shadow of the closeness they all used to share.

And finally they were there…inside the mouth of Hell itself.

When Buffy and the rest walked to the edge of the cliff, he finally saw what they were up against, and blanched.

It was the last thing he saw, as he felt his essence ripped from Buffy’s body.



“You should have removed him earlier – he has influenced her too much,” the male Oracle admonished.

“Not unduly so,” the female Oracle responded.

“We will lose her as one of our champions, sister.”

“We already had, brother. She would not have lasted long without Daniel Jackson’s intercession.”

“How so?”

“Her heart was no longer in the fight.”

“You speak truthfully, sister,” the man bowed his head to his counterpart, “though it is a regretful that we should lose such a powerful warrior – our champions number too few.”

“I believe she would return, should the need arise, and there will soon be more to chose from.”

“Though none of her caliber.”

“True.”

The two peered at the young woman in question, within the shimmering pool of water that held the auguries of man, and watched in satisfaction as the battle played out as had been foretold.

“Tell me, sister…why did you allow him to remain so long within her?” the male Oracle asked curiously.

“He made her do something that she has not done for the last few human years, dear brother.”

“And what would that be?”

A slight smile appeared on her face, as the female continued to watch the battle unfold.

“He made her laugh.”



“He’s coming around sir,” a female voice said. “He should be waking up any moment now.”

“No!” Daniel rasped as he felt himself back in his own body.

“Just lie still Daniel. You’ll feel a little disoriented, but that should pass,” Dr. Fraiser said calmly.

Daniel opened his eyes and bolted upright.

“No! You can’t do this to me now! She still needs me! I need to know…please!” he said frantically, trying to get out of the hospital bed.

“Whoa there, Danny-boy…you’re going to fall on your face if you’re not careful,” O’Neill said, grasping the arm of his friend before he toppled out of the bed.

“I have to get back there, Jack…you don’t know what she’s facing!” Daniel said panicked. He brushed away the Colonel’s hands and stood up.

Ripping out the IV that was still attached to his arm, Daniel moved as quickly as he could out of the medical facility, ignoring Dr. Fraiser’s protestations. O’Neill and the others followed him with worried looks.

“Who are you talking about, Daniel? We couldn’t find anything out about this impending war while you were…gone,” O’Neill said, being careful to stay nearby, just in case his friend stumbled.

“You wouldn’t, Jack…it’s a mystical one that I don’t think many people in this world know about,” the younger man responded as he continued his trek toward his quarters on wobbly legs, his hands following the wall of the corridor, using it to keep his balance. “I have to get back there! She still needs me! There were so many!”

“So many of what Daniel? You’re not making any sense!” O’Neill barked out.

By this time Daniel had reached the elevator, and motioned Jack to swipe his card through the security panel. O’Neill scowled, but did so.

The Colonel let Daniel step in, then motioned Teal’c and Carter to enter before stepping directly into the path of the doors, his body not allowing them to close yet.

“We’re not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell you’re talking about!” he barked.

Daniel grabbed the front of Jack’s shirt in fury at the delay, and snarled, “God dammit Jack! She’s facing thousands of demons! Thousands Jack! With only children to back her up!! Now get in this God Damn elevator and get me the fastest transportation to Sunnydale, California, NOW!”

The younger man yanked the Colonel into the elevator and smacked his hand on the button for the level that housed his quarters.

O’Neill looked both perturbed and irritated at the younger man’s outburst, but allowed the doors to close.

“Who are you talking about, Daniel?” Carter asked tentatively.

“Her name’s Buffy…she’s the warrior the Oracles sent me to help. I’ve been in her head for the last couple of days – she was a mess when I arrived.”

Daniel quickly gave a brief explanation of what he had been doing, and had just finished describing the last thing he had seen when they arrived at his level.

As they exited the elevator, Carter asked, “How could we not know about this? You’d think a demon would stand out pretty well.”

“Most demons stay in remote areas and only move around at night…it’s the vampires that can blend in well with humans, since they can hide their true nature behind the human ‘host’ they’ve taken over.”

“Sounds like another type of Goa’uld to me,” Jack muttered.

“When we get there, don’t go all ‘military’ on her Jack…she’s already had a bad experience with some group called the ‘Initiative’.”

Jack looked at him sharply. “The Initiative? I thought that was just a story some rookie put together to pull everyone’s leg.”

“They’re real Jack.”

“Dammit…I’ve got to brief the General on this! Even when I thought it was fake, those stories gave me the heebee-geebees,” the Colonel shuddered. “Go…take a shower and get dressed. I’ll set us up with the fastest plane I can find. Be ready to go in 15 minutes.”

The Colonel abruptly turned back to the elevator, Carter and Teal’c following in his footsteps.



Freshly showered and dressed, Daniel entered the General’s office only to see the man himself looking very upset. Carter and Teal’c stood were standing to the side of the room as they waited for the rest of their team to arrive.

“Dr. Jackson, it’s good to see you up again. The Colonel’s pulled some strings and has a Blackbird standing by – you should arrive in Sunnydale in a little over an hour.”

“That’s not going to get me there in time, General. The battle is going down now, sir, I don’t think…” Daniel broke off with a gasp, leaning heavily against the General’s desk.

“Dr. Jackson?” Hammond asked, worried.

“I feel her…It’s faint, but I can still feel her,” he whispered happily. “She’s still holding on…”

O’Neill entered the office as the younger man spoke.

“Who’s holding on?”

“Buffy,” Daniel said, smiling softly as he closed his eyes, concentrating on the link. “She’s fighting…it’s like poetry in motion…”

The General gave the archeologist a sharp look. “Buffy?! Are you talking about Buffy Summers?!”

“Yes,” he said softly, eyes still closed.

“You know her, sir?” O’Neill said, surprised.

“Yes I do…and so do you, Colonel. You read the reports about her in the Initiative files, though the ones you had didn’t state her by name.”

“She was the recruit that Agent…Finn, was it…brought in?! The one that kept the facility from becoming just a lot of dead meat?!” he said in shock.

“She’s the one, though very few officers know her real name…and I’d like to keep it that way – that’s an order, by the way,” the General said seriously.

Daniel’s eyes popped open as he cried out in pain, grabbing his side. He started to fall over, but Teal’c and the Colonel quickly grabbed hold of him, lowering him into the nearest chair.

“Oh God…Oh God…she’s been stabbed,” Daniel panicked, grasping Jack’s sleeve in desperation. “I can feel her slipping away! Don’t! Hold on, Buffy! I’m coming…I swear! Just hold on!”

The other’s exchanged worried glances.

“I don’t think the Blackbird’s going to get you there in time, Jack,” Hammond said softly.

The Colonel gave him a pained look before his eyes widened as a thought came to him.

“Thor! I still have that rock…thing he gave me to contact him. He can get us there in time!”

Without waiting for a response, the Colonel took off for his quarters.

In less than five minutes he came back, holding a smoothly-polished, milky-white stone in his hand.

“Carter? Would you…uh…”

Major Carter rolled her eyes as she took the communication device from her CO’s hand and activated it. Thor immediately appeared.

“O’Neill, how may I assist you?”

“Thor, buddy…good to see you! I hate to cut the pleasantries short, but we need you to transport us to a place called Sunnydale, California,” Jack rattled out quickly.

Thor cocked his head as if listening to someone.

“I must apologize, O’Neill, but I cannot. I have been informed that no one is permitted to approach that location until we are told otherwise.”

“Come on, buddy…Daniel said there are only children fighting – what’s the harm if a few soldiers show up for the finale?”

“The Asgard have long had an agreement with the powers who watch over this planet, O’Neill – we are not allowed to interfere, in any capacity, with the mystical nature of your world. There are no exceptions.”

“Can we watch?” Daniel gasped out, still breathing heavy from the echo of pain he felt coming through his link with Buffy.

“That I can do,” Thor responded.

In a wink of light, SG-1 and General Hammond were transported to the Asgard ship.

Still seated in the chair that had come with him, Daniel said, “I’m going to try something, Jack…I can still feel her losing strength.”

“Daniel?” Jack asked in a voice that said ‘I know I’m not going to like what you’re going to say’.

“She needs energy, so I’m going to try and send her some of mine,” he replied.

Daniel closed his eyes and concentrated on the link he could just barely feel. He took a deep breath and attempted to send his own energy to her. For a moment, nothing happened, but then he felt himself weaken as his strength left him, and could only hope it had worked.

Daniel slumped back into the chair in exhaustion. After a moment, he tried to feel Buffy through the link again.

His eyes shot open as he felt her getting up.

“It worked! I can feel her fighting again!”

“Thor?” Jack called out. “A picture would be nice right about now.”

“There is not much to see yet, O’Neill, though the battle draws nearer to its end,” the small Asgard replied.

The alien moved a few of the stones on the control panel, and a three-dimensional picture of a town appeared in the middle of the room.

Daniel weakly stood up, Carter moving to help him as he shuffled towards the hologram.

Pointing at one of the buildings, he said, “That one, Thor…can you get a close-up of that building? It’s the local high-school, where the Hellmouth is located.”

Thor adjusted the picture, focusing on the school and the surrounding area. Nothing was happening just yet – the town looked normal, if empty. A quick thought flashed through Daniel’s mind.

“Thor? Is it possible for you to transport an entire room full of inanimate objects all at once?”

“If we are able to lock on to a specific item, it is possible to encompass everything within a set of parameters. Why do you ask?”

“There’s a store that belongs to Buffy’s Watcher. It has a vast amount of knowledge that will be lost if something happened to the city – a lot of the information is vital for her to know how to defeat what she fights. Would you be able to retrieve the contents of the store? Or even the entire store itself?”

“If you are able to provide its general location and an item within its walls, I will see what I can do, Daniel Jackson.”

“It’s about a mile east of the school, and a block south. If your sensors are able to pick up mystical vibrations, you can lock on to that – it’s a magic store. If not, look for a small item that weighs a couple of tons…it’s a Troll Hammer that’s stored near the front of the shop.”

“I have located it, and will transport the store to our largest cargo room. Transporting,” Thor intoned.

“Thanks, Thor! I know Buffy would thank you herself, if she knew,” Daniel said gratefully.

“Hey! I think something’s happening…sensors are picking up heavy tremors within the city, and the epicenter seems to be located right under the school,” Carter said as she moved a few of the stones on the control panel.

The hologram once again focused on the high school, and they were just in time to see a bright blue light burst through the top of the building.

“What the hell is that?!” Hammond barked out.

“They must have gotten the amulet to work!” Daniel said.

“What amulet?”

“Shh…I think this is it,” Daniel said in a hushed voice. “Come on Buffy, I know you can do it!”

They all watched as, a short time later, several girls and four males spilled out of the building and headed towards a bus.

“Where is she? Where?!” Daniel said as he frantically looked for a familiar head of blonde hair.

As the last of them hopped on the bus, it took off. Daniel staggered back in shock.

“They left her! She’s still alive…I can feel her…and they just left her!”

“Hey! Who’s that?” Carter shouted, pointing a finger at a figure that had just popped up onto the roof of another building.

Daniel quickly moved back to the hologram, trying to find the person Carter was talking about. His eyes locked on to a familiar figure, and a smile spread across his face.

“It’s her! It’s her! Come on, Buffy…run! Run!”

They watched as the small woman ran across the rooftops, jumping from building to building as she attempted to catch up to the fleeing bus.

“Twenty bucks says she makes it,” Jack said, grinning.

“I cannot bet against you in this, O’Neill,” Teal’c said stoically.

“Why not?”

“I too believe she will make it. She is moving at a great speed, and will soon overtake the large yellow vehicle.”

“It’s called a school bus, Teal’c,” Jack said as he slapped his hand companionably on the larger man’s shoulder.

They all continued to watch as Buffy drew closer and closer to the speeding vehicle until she finally dove off the building, landing heavily on the roof of the bus.

“Yes!” Jack punched his hand into the air.

Daniel grabbed Carter in a boisterous hug as he yelled out joyously, and even the General punched his fists over his head in a sign of victory.

“They are not out of danger yet,” Thor said quietly, garnering everyone’s attention with his statement.

They all turned back to the hologram and gasped in surprise as the picture panned out, showing that the entire town was quickly collapsing foot by foot, and the bus was in danger of falling in.

Though it only took less than a minute, it was a tense moment as they waited breathlessly for the bus to reach safety – there was no knowing how far the ground would collapse outwards.

Their eyes were locked on the bus as it moved quickly away from the devastation that nipped at its wheels, until the vehicle slowed and finally came to a halt just a few feet past the edge of the newly formed crater.

They breathed a collective sigh of relief as they watched Buffy jump off the top of the bus and several people spill out of the large yellow vehicle. The group walked to the edge of the basin.

“I want a copy of that, Thor! That was just…just…” O’Neill waved his arm in the air as he tried to come up with a word to describe what had just happened.

“Exhilarating?” the General said, trying to help.

“Amazing?” Carter supplied.

Even Teal’c offered a suggestion. “Awesome?”

“All of the above, and then some!” Jack grinned.

“I would be pleased to provide you a…copy, O’Neill,” Thor offered.

“Can we go there now, Thor?” Daniel asked quietly, his eyes still locked onto the figure of Buffy.

“You may, Daniel Jackson. The battle is over, and the side of Good has won – though not without a heavy price. Contact me when you are ready to return to the SGC,” Thor said as he placed a milky stone in the young man’s hand. “And give my regards to Buffy Summers…she has done well this day.”

“How did you…” Daniel started, but they were all transported away before he could finish his question.



“…you're not the one and only chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a person. How's that feel?” Faith said in a knowing tone.

“Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?” Dawn asked happily.

As the others chattered around her, Buffy just stared straight ahead at the hole formerly known as Sunnydale. She smiled as she realized where her next step would take her.

Someone shouted her name in the distance, and Buffy turned from the crater to see who was calling. She started as she saw a male figure running towards them from half a mile away – he looked familiar…very familiar, though she had only seen him in her mind. Her smile widened.

Buffy and Faith locked gazes, and the taller brunette gave her a nod of encouragement.

“Go for it, B.”

The blonde slayer nodded her head, flashing a grin at her sister slayer as she ran past her, heading towards the man who was still shouting her name.

“Who’s that?” Willow asked curiously.

“Her new life…and none of you are going to interfere, or I’ll start breaking heads,” Faith said threateningly.

The others could see she was serious…very serious, and made no move to follow the quickly retreating blonde.

“What do you mean her new life?!” Xander ground out, pinning her with his one good eye. “We made our peace with her before the battle…things are good with us again!”

Faith gave out a harsh laugh. “What…you think a moment of joking made things all right? That she’s just going to forget how we all turned our backs on her?! Get real! She only came back because she was told that we would lose if she wasn’t there at the final battle. She got along with us because we needed someone to follow…someone to pull us through this one. There’s no ‘making peace’ with her…at least not yet.”

“But who is that man?” Giles asked.

“He’s the guy who pulled her out of the pit we all knocked her down into – that’s all you need to know,” the brunette slayer said scathingly.

“Will we see her again?” Dawn asked tearfully, knowing everything Faith said was the truth.

Faith watched as Buffy wrapped an arm around the man and gave him a deep kiss, and a small smile crossed her lips.

“Yeah, someday…when she’s ready to forgive us.”



As SG-1 and the General were beamed to the location of the battle they had just watched come to its end, they were appalled to see, first hand, the resulting devastation – it was one thing to have seen the crater form like the end of an action-packed movie, and quite another too actual realize it with their own eyes.

“Woah!” Jack gasped, wide-eyed.

The others also looked agog at the large hole in the ground…all except Daniel – he only had eyes for one thing…a small blonde woman. He quickly took off in her direction, calling out to her.

The rest of SG-1 moved to follow him, but was stopped by General Hammond, who even went so far as to block O’Neill with his arm.

“Stand down…let Daniel have a moment with her.”

“But sir…!” O’Neill began to protest.

“I said, stand down…that’s an order,” the General said firmly. “Dr. Jackson just spent two days in her head – that has to create a pretty deep connection between them. Give him a few minutes to reassure himself that she made it out safely.”

“Yes, sir,” Jack said a bit petulantly.

The General and SG-1 watched as the two finally met face-to-face for the first time, and were grinning by the time the two finally reached their group. Daniel was up for some pretty hefty teasing in the very near future, but Jack figured they could give him a little time before they started in on him…five minutes sounded good.



“Buffy!” Daniel shouted as he ran. He saw her head turn in his direction, and hoped she would realize who he was.

Seconds later, the blonde woman was running in his direction, and they met in a space that was half-way between their two groups…both coming to a halt a few feet from each other.

They stared at each other for a moment before Buffy finally dropped the scythe she was carrying and launched herself at him. Daniel grasped her in a desperate hug, clasping her body closely to him as he buried his face into her hair.

“I thought I was going to lose you, Buffy! I felt you get hurt,” Daniel whispered fiercely.

“I felt you too, Daniel…I felt the energy you gave me…you saved me,” Buffy responded brokenly, her face tucked into his neck.

They held each other for some time, reassuring themselves that the other was really there. But, all good things have to come to an end, and when they finally released each other, there was one of those really terrible things that happen to everyone at one time or another…an awkward moment.

While they had ended the hug, Daniel still clung to her hands…reassuring himself that she really was alive. He had no idea what to say next, though, but Buffy’s ingrained need to fill any awkward silence came to the fore.

“So, dead languages and cultures is your thing, huh?” she said nervously.

“Yes, among other things,” Daniel replied just as nervously.

“You gonna have any problems interpreting my California-speak?”

“I think I can manage…once I stop convulsing over your misuse of grammar.”

“Hey!”

Daniel grinned unrepentantly at her, and she couldn’t help but return it.

And with that small banter, the awkwardness melted away.

“So, 27 languages, mostly from Europe,” Buffy said thoughtfully, moving to pick up the scythe again, as she tried to remember exactly which ones. A look of surprise came over her face. “You learned Tolkien’s elf languages?”

He flushed self-consciously, muttering something about being bored one day, but Buffy wasn’t paying attention as she looked confused.

“Wait…how did I know that?! Why…? Hey! Why do I know the language?! Why do I know several languages now?! What the hell did you do to me?” she yelped, looking in wide-eyed shock at the handsome man.

Daniel looked at her in surprise, then said something to her in another language. She socked him in the arm.

“That’s disgusting enough in the English language, Daniel – I don’t think it was ever meant to be said in Ancient Summerian,” Buffy responded in the same language, trying to scowl, but couldn’t through her laughter.

“At least that answers my question of whether or not you could also speak the languages,” he responded (in English), chuckling. “Maybe my consciousness being in your body created an impression on each other’s essence, leaving behind information we didn’t already know.”

“I wonder if it’s permanent? I hope so…it would be so cool to be able to swear at someone in so many languages,” she grinned.

“Well, I don’t think knowing everything about Gucci fashion will be of any help to me…Ow!”

Daniel rubbed the arm she had socked again, giving her a mock scowl.

“I don’t think fashion tips are the only thing I…impressed…upon you,” she said, raising an eyebrow at him.

Buffy took a couple of steps away from him, then tossed him the scythe. He gave her a confused look as he held it in his hands.

She waved a hand at the weapon, saying, “Give it a twirl.”

He hesitated a moment before slowly beginning to spin the scythe in his hands. As he grew more confident, so did his movements, until he finally ended the intricate dance with the edge of the weapon a hair’s-breadth away from her neck. She didn’t move as her eyes locked with his surprised ones.

“That was…”

“Cool?”

“To put it mildly,” he said as he let out a surprised breath, removing the blade from against her neck and holding back out to her.

Buffy grasped the handle and accepted the weapon back.

There was another moment of awkward silence.

“So…what now?” Buffy asked softly.

Daniel hesitated, then shuffled his feet as he nervously stuck his hands in his pockets.

“You could…um…come home. I mean my home…in Colorado…with me, that is. Not that I mean you have to live with me, or anything. I…Oh God…this isn’t coming out the way I mean,” he said, blushing as he removed a hand from his pocket and ran it through his hair.

Buffy giggled.

“I’m sorry. It’s just so…different…talking to you in person than it was in your head…I wasn’t so distracted by your body,” Daniel stuttered, then groaned in embarrassment, slapping a hand over his eyes. “Oh God…please stop me.”

By this time, Buffy was outright laughing in delight.

“Why would I want to do that?” she giggled. “You look so cute when you’re flustered.”

“Very funny, Buffy,” Daniel gave her a look of reproach, cheeks flushed. He sighed before continuing more calmly, “I guess I should ask if you’re finished with what you needed to do here first.”

The smile dropped from her face, and a look of sadness replaced it.

Daniel’s shoulders slumped in disappointment. She was a warrior – one that was needed here – and he couldn’t expect her to just forget her duty to the world…no matter how much he wanted her to.

“Yeah…I’m finished here,” she said sadly as she looked over at the group by the ‘borrowed’ bus.

His head whipped up in surprise. “But…you’re the Slayer! You can’t just turn your back on it, can you?”

“No, but my fight here is over. The Hellmouth is permanently closed, so I’m no longer tied to Sunnydale anymore.”

“But won’t you still be needed?”

“Possibly, but I’m not the only one who can fight now, Daniel,” she said as she gave him a small smile.

At his look of confusion, she explained.

“‘From one, many.’ I’m no longer The Slayer…I’m a Slayer,” she said, her smile growing wider. “All the potentials were activated…the spell worked…that is what it meant. I’m free, Daniel…free…though I have no idea what I’m going to do now.”

Grasping her into a fierce hug, he whispered into her hair, “Come home with me, Buffy.”

“I’d like that,” she said softly into his neck. “But what will I do? I’ve kinda gotten used to all the fighting.”

Loosening his hold, he looked down at her with a smile.

“I think we could keep you busy at the SGC.”

“Ooo…kicking alien butt?! I’m game!” she said happily.

Daniel laughed at her eagerness, then gave her a serious look.

“Are you sure this is what you want? To come home with me?”

The smile she gave him was the most peaceful he had ever seen crossing her face.

“I think our merging of essences is equivalent to about two years of dating, Daniel. I know you as well as I know myself, and I like…no, I love what I’ve seen. I can’t just let you go – you’re too much a part of me now. I still feel the essence of us,” Buffy said as she cupped his cheek with one of her hands. “So…Whither thou goest, I will go and whither thou lodgest I will lodge, thy people are my people, and thy God my God.”

Daniel smiled in delight at her response, and he stroked her cheek before softly placing a kiss on her lips. He then wrapped an arm around her shoulders and steered her towards where his team…his friends…were waiting patiently for him (or impatiently, in Jack’s case).

As they walked, arms wrapped around each other, he gave her a teasing grin. “I’ve always loved that quote, but can we leave out the part about God?”

“Oh…yeah…don’t want anyone to think we worship any of those snakey people…gotcha. How about we replace God with…bed?” she gave him a coy smirk.

Daniel almost tripped on his own feet as he came to an abrupt halt.

“B-bed?!” he stammered, blushing.

Buffy just grinned as she looped an arm around his neck, pulling him down for a toe-curling kiss.

When she finally released him, he gave her a goofy grin.

“Bed…I can deal with that.”

The group from Sunnydale watched sadly as their friend walked away from them before she finally disappeared in a wink of light.






Epilogue:

After several weeks of training and being brought up to speed on all the missions to date, Buffy replaced Colonel O’Neill as the fourth member of SG-1 (a highly coveted spot, even though it wasn’t the commanding position), when the Colonel was promoted to General and took over the entire SGC program after a really nasty political shake-down.

Jack and Buffy did get along extremely well, much to Daniel’s dismay, and twin gleams of pleasure could be seen in their eyes whenever they had a battle of wits. The betting pool saw a lot of action whenever the two were caught up in a game of one-upmanship.

It was six months after the final battle in Sunnydale when she was contacted by someone from her old life…Faith. Apparently, Willow had tracked Buffy down based on Faith’s information (which she finally revealed after things settled and everyone calmed down), and sent the dark-haired slayer as their official spokesperson.

“There’s a woman named Faith at the front gate who wishes to speak to you,” an unknown soldier announced through her speaker phone.

Buffy glanced at Daniel with a look of apprehension. He placed a comforting hand over her own and gave it a squeeze.

“I-is she alone?” Buffy stammered nervously.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

She hesitated a moment before finally answering, “Could you please clear her, and have someone bring her down to the Briefing Room on Level 02?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

After the soldier had hung up, there was a moment of silence before Daniel spoke.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“Would you?” Buffy asked, giving him a relieved look. “I don’t know that I’m ready to face anyone from my old life yet...at least not alone.”

“Of course,” Daniel said as he stood and kissed the top of her head. “Come on…let’s see what she wants.”

The trip up the lift was quiet, and Buffy clung to Daniel’s hand like it was a life-line.

As Buffy entered the room, the first thing she noticed was that Faith had finally toned down the make-up, though her penchant for leather hadn’t changed.

“B, you’re lookin’ good,” Faith said smoothly, her body taking the typical tough-girl stance that Buffy remembered – the one that the dark-haired girl usually used to hide her uncertainty.

“Hey, Faith…you too,” she said awkwardly.

The looked at each other for a long moment before Faith finally broke the staring contest.

“Dammit B! Screw this awkward crap.” The dark-haired grabbed her into a hug. “I missed you…we miss you!”

Buffy tensed for a moment before she relaxed and returned the embrace.

“I miss you guys too, Faith,” she said softly as they released each other.

“When are you going to call them? Little D’s hurtin’ from all the avoidance, though she understands why.”

“I-I can’t…I’m not ready to talk to any of them yet. I’m sorry,” Buffy stammered as she backed up to where Daniel was standing silently. He placed a comforting arm around her waist and she leaned against him.

“I get ya, B. And I think the others are finally understanding just what they did too – what we all did,” Faith nodded sympathetically. “After you left, they all started blaming each other once we got temporarily settled in Angel-babe’s place – that’s where we’re all still at, by the way. After a few days of that, Little D finally had enough of all the finger-pointing, and smashed some expensive doodad of Dead-boy’s and yelled at all of them really loud. You’da been proud of her.”

Buffy gave her a fleeting smile.

Faith sighed. “I’m not here to talk you into coming back, B…well, I was supposed to try, but even I can see that’s not gonna happen, so we won’t even go there. How about we all just relax and I catch you up on the news? That is…if you want to know.”

The smaller woman gave her a relieved smile and gestured for her to sit at the table, as she and Daniel took seats across from her.

The next couple of hours, Faith told her everything that happened after Buffy had left – the most notable being the re-emergence of the Watcher Council’s lawyers, who bequeathed control of the Council funds to Giles, and Kennedy’s come-uppance.

“Willow stripped her Slayer power? She can do that?!”

“She could only do it temporarily, but Kennedy didn’t know that – it was too funny! Miss High-and-Mighty thought that, with you gone, she was the one in charge. She took on this Supreme Goddess ‘tude, where all must bow before her – Red knocked her off her pedestal with her mojo and sent her in to fight Angel. She learned her lesson and is behaving like a good little puppy now…and Giles is eternally grateful for that fact, seeing how he’s the one who’s supposed to be in charge.”

Buffy and Faith laughed, and even Daniel chuckled.

“So, B…you ever gonna introduce me to the hottie? If he’s not yours, can I take him for a ride?” Faith said, leering at Daniel, who blushed to the roots of his hair.

“Geez, Faith…isn’t Robin keeping up with you with the happies?” Buffy said in exasperation.

“Oh yeah…he’s been keepin’ this ride well-lubed, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking for other passengers.”

“Faith!” Buffy said laughing. “Stop embarrassing Daniel – he’s not used to someone like you.”

“What? Truthful?”

“Blunt.”

Faith snickered.

Buffy shook her head in amusement, but finally got down to introducing her to the man who had sat silently by her side the whole time the two women were talking.

“Daniel, I’d like you to meet Faith…what is your last name, by the way?!” Buffy said in surprise, finally realizing that she never actually knew it.

Faith looked uncomfortable, hesitating before she answered with, “I’m going by…um…Summers now.”

The blonde stared at her in shock.

“I hope you don’t mind – but with…uh…you know, I had to get ID somehow. And then there was Dawn…she didn’t want to stay with your Dad, so we killed two birds with one stone. Red created a whole new identity for me…including family, which is…uh…you too, by the way. I can move around freely now, and Dawn doesn’t have to worry about Social Services, seeing as she still has a ‘guardian’,” Faith trailed off, unnerved at Buffy’s non-response other than shock. “B…say something…”

“I-I’m shocked…and honored, Faith,” Buffy said softly after she shook off the initial shock. “But, in truth, we are sisters…to the core.”

Faith looked relieved.

“I mean, not only as Slayers, but…well, we had that whole love, hate, and jealousy thing going on when we were younger,” Buffy said as she giggled.

“Not to mention the parental unit sharing…if you want to consider Giles as the ‘Father Figure’.”

“The boyfriend stealing…or should I say boyfriend boffing!”

“Hey! I thought we’d gotten over that by now. Besides, he wasn’t that good anyway,” Faith scoffed.

“Tell me about it…oops…did I say that out loud?” Buffy said mock-innocently.

Faith cracked up.

“At least we’ve gotten over the hate thing.” The blonde gave her a sharp look. “We have gotten over the hate thing, right?”

“Yeah…hate got booted out the door a long time ago,” Faith responded with a sincere smile.

“Good,” Buffy said firmly, then gave her a mischievous look, “Then that means you can take care of Dad when he contracts Alzheimers.”

“Only if you’ll help me hide the body.”

The two girls exchanged looks, then burst out laughing.

Daniel chuckled at the two, causing Faith to remember that he still hadn’t been formally introduced to her.

“So, B…introductions?”

“Oh! Yeah, right. Faith Summers, I’d like you to meet Dr. Daniel Jackson…my husband,” Buffy said apprehensively.

Faith’s mouth dropped open in shock.

“B?”

“We…uh…got married two days after we got here…which is why I didn’t call anyone,” the blonde explained nervously.

“You don’t need to explain things to me, B. I understand more than you know,” Faith responded quietly, then shook her head in amusement. “But damn, B…you sure move fast! He that good?”

Buffy blushed. “His being in my head was like dating for two years, Faith. We learned all we needed, and knew we were what the other wanted.”

“Yeah…yeah…hearts and flowers, blah blah blah. What I want to know is…is he that good?” the dark-haired girl smirked. “Come on, B! I just told you Robin was an animal in bed…gimmee the goods on your hottie!”

Both Buffy and Daniel were blushing brightly by this point, and Faith kept egging her ‘sister’ into giving her an answer. Buffy finally capitulated with a muttered ‘Energizer Bunny’.

“Ha! Go you!” Faith said gleefully.

Daniel was beet red.

“Now that you’ve thoroughly embarrassed me and my husband, Faith…what are your plans now?”

“Robin and I are heading up to Cleveland to check out the rumblings we’ve been hearing about – we think the Hellmouth may be becoming active up there.”

Buffy looked apprehensive.

“Don’t worry, B – we’ll handle it. We’ve gotten tabs on over 100 mini-slayers around the globe, with more popping up every week,” Faith said reassuringly. “I’m not here to recruit you back into the scene. I actually just stopped here to drop off a couple of things on my way to Cleveland.”

The dark-haired girl bent over the side of her chair and picked up a large, rectangular, semi-hard bag. She set it on top of the table and pushed it across to the blonde slayer.

“What’s this?” Buffy asked curiously, as she pulled the case to her.

“A top of the line laptop, courtesy of Red and Little D, set up with an active email account, with excessive amount of mail already in the in-box and filing cabinet…including some from the technophobic G-Man,” Faith rattled off, her gaze locked on the blonde, waiting for her response.

Buffy’s hand quickly snapped back from the item before her, as if she was burned.

“I…I…,” she stammered, her face pale.

Daniel grabbed the handle of the bag and pulled it off the table, setting it at the side of his chair.

“When you’re ready, it’ll still be there, hon,” he said soothingly.

“Yeah, B…Red and Little D are making sure to file the emails until you’re ready to read them, so you won’t lose any. I’ll let them know to keep it up until you say otherwise,” Faith said quietly.

“You said there were a couple of things, Faith?” Daniel said softly as he placed an arm around his shaken wife.

“Yeah! And this is the best, B. I swear you’re gonna like this one!” the brunette said enthusiastically as she shifted in her seat to reach into the leather jacket hanging on the back of her chair. She pulled out an envelope and handed it over to the silent blonde, grinning madly. “You wouldn’t have heard yet, but when the lawyers crawled out from under the rocks where they were hiding when the Bringers went all homicidal, Giles was given a current statement of all the Council’s holdings. Get this…the ungrateful bastards were Billionaires! Now that Giles has control, he thought you should be given your rightful compensation for all the crap you had to deal with. It’s retroactive, and includes several ‘Apocalypse Bonuses’,” she sniggered.

Buffy’s eyes widened as she looked at the check in her hand. “Are you sure there’s supposed to be this many zeros?” she replied faintly, as she swayed in her seat.

Faith waved for her to hand the check over, and Buffy gave it to her before Daniel could even see how much it was for.

The brunette glanced at the slip of paper with a frown, then looked up at the ceiling as she mentally calculated it. Bringing her gaze back to the blonde, she nodded her head, smiling.

“I think Little D twisted his arm into including the two death and one resurrection bonuses she said you deserved, so it looks about right,” she confirmed as she handed the check back to the stunned blonde.

As she gave Faith a flabbergasted look, Buffy held the check loosely in her hand, which allowed Daniel to easily nick it from her fingers.

He choked as soon as he saw the amount.

“Oh…My…God!”

His eyes widened so much Faith thought they might fall out.

The dark-haired Slayer laughed as she rose from her seat and pulled on her leather jacket.

“Well, lovebirds, that’s all I’ve got for you – I gotta get on my way.”

Getting no response from the stunned couple, she laughed again. She pulled out a slip of paper from another jacket pocket and set it in front of Buffy.

“That’s the number of the hotel I’ll be staying at in Cleveland. Give me a ring when you get yourselves together again,” Faith said, then paused for a moment before continuing softly, “After Cleveland, I may be going back east for a while…I’d like to keep in touch, if you’ll let me.”

Buffy shook herself from her dumfounded shock and jumped up from her seat, leaving Daniel to continue staring in awe at the check.

“Of course, Faith – I’d like that too!” she said sincerely. “I may not be ready to talk to, or correspond with the others, but I’d still like to know what’s happening. Will you keep me posted?”

“You got it, B.”

The two girls shared another hug before Faith left with her escort back to the surface.

“One…two…three…four…five…” Daniel softly counted.

Buffy laughed and grabbed the check from her husband.

“Stop counting the zeros, sweetie…the number’s not going to change.”

Daniel turned to stare at her in awe.

“Can we get the house?”

“Yeah, we can get the house.”

“And the car?”

(Sigh) “Yes, you can get the car too.”

Daniel pulled her down onto his lap and captured her lips in a searing kiss. When he finally let her up for air he gave her a boyish wide-eyed look.

“Will you get me a pony?”

Buffy laughed.



One Year Later

“Honey?”

Daniel looked up from the book he was reading, alarmed at the shakiness of his wife’s voice. At the expression on her face, he jumped up from his seat and rapidly went to her.

“Buffy? What is it? Are you feeling sick?” he asked in concern.

“No…I just…I think it’s time,” Buffy responded. She held up a laptop for him to see. “I-I didn’t want to read them alone.”

A look of understanding dawned on Daniel’s face.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah…I should start now, so I’m ready when…” she trailed off, knowing her husband would understand.

Daniel nodded. Kissing her forehead, he took the laptop from her hands and drew her to the couch.

After stretching out their cable line, they got comfortable and began to read the hundreds of emails that had been building up within the account Willow and her sister had set up over a year ago.

It took several days to get through them all. Some were sad – speaking of the death of several slayers over the year, including Kennedy, who had gotten too cocky one night and was taken out by some fledglings. Others were happy – where Dawn wrote about being accepted to several selective colleges, and Xander dating someone special. But, no matter what the news, all of them ended with how much they missed her.

All-in-all, it felt like Buffy was right there with them – knowing her friends so well, she knew exactly what they had gone through, and how they would have reacted. In some ways, she wished she had been there to help, but knew that she had needed her self-imposed silence to heal.

“Are you going to respond?” Daniel asked softly after they had finished the last email, which had been dated just a week ago.

“I-I don’t know…I’ll think about it,” she answered hesitantly. “I need a little time to take it all in right now.”

“Whatever you decide, honey,” Daniel said, placing a soft kiss on her lips as he stroked her hair.

It was a week later before Buffy found the courage to reply to her friends.

In the early hour of one Saturday morning, she sat in the quiet home-office she shared with her husband, staring at the blank email screen which only had the address of all the Scoobies’ emails entered into it at that point.

She dropped her eyes downward and smiled, placing a hand over the slightly protruding bump on her stomach.

“Well, Scrappy…I think it’s about time I mended some bridges with your aunts and uncles. It would be a shame if you missed out on Uncle Xander telling you about his funny Syphilis, or Aunt Willow telling you about the time she set fire to her bed when she was first learning magic, or Aunt Dawn telling you about her first date that turned out to be a vampire, or even Uncle Giles telling you all about the stupid things I did when I was younger…I wonder if he would prefer Grandpa Giles, though…I’ll have to ask. But I’m not gonna let Uncle Spike or Aunt Faith near you…at least, not where I can’t censor them.”

Buffy smiled as she stroked the small swell that marked the amazing presence of her first child. The others would be so happy for her – she knew this…and now it was time they knew too.

Placing her hands on the keyboard of the laptop, she began to type…

Dear Scoobies (and that means you too, Dawnie!)…
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Daniel quietly closed the door to the office with a smile on his face, leaving his wife to begin healing the rift between her old life and her new one. If all went well, his family would soon be growing to include several brothers and sisters. Even though most of the members would not be blood-family, it was all just relative to what the heart knew.

Things were going to get interesting.

…and loud.

…and chaotic.

Daniel looked forward to it.

It was going to be fun.
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.
Yeah! Happy ending!

I’m still working on my other stories, never fear! Since this weekend is being spent mostly studying for my Calc test on Tuesday, I probably won’t get back to either “Change” or “Destiny” until next week. I’ve got about 10 pages of each (I usually post about 30 pages for each chapter, just so you have an idea), but “Change” is the only one that’s really going smoothly, though – probably because I have the “Bullet Points” already written for everything that’s going to happen in the next chapter, whereas I don’t have anything for “Destiny” yet. (It’s SO much easier to write when you know exactly what’s supposed to happen in each scene, and just have to ‘flesh it out’.)

I hope this little one-shot helps you get through the wait! I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that updates at both TTH and FF.net have been a little sparse these days. Where are the authors?! You can’t let little things like summer vacation get in your way, you know!

Remember to review! I LIVE for reviews!!

The End

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