Reflections Through Time
Title: Reflections Through Time.
Category: Stargate SG-1/BtVS
Disclaimer: I own nothing apart from this story (and a rather large student debt). The characters (aside from anyone I’ve obviously made up) and the worlds they hangout in, do not belong to me – however the situation that I have placed them into, is mine. All mine.
Spoilers: Season three for Buffy, and up to season seven for Stargate SG-1. This is an AU, be warned. : )
Feedback: Gratefully received (and replied to), no flaming please.
Summary: Stargate/BtVS crossover. Sequel to ‘The Magic of Wormholes’. Willow is slowly coming to terms with her and Giles’ new lives – danger is on the horizon however, with Kinsey pulling the strings, and a troubling discovery soon tears SG-1 apart across realities.
WARNING: This is the sequel to ‘The Magic of Wormholes’. This story may initially be confusing if you don’t know what happened in MOW. I will not be spending time going over the plot-line to MOW in detail during the introduction to this fic. I recommend that you at least ‘skim-read’ MOW, or read this at your peril…
MOW can be found at TtH (tthfanfic.org) or FanFiction.net in the crossovers section. Alternatively you can drop me your email in a review and I’ll send you the complete (re-edited) story.
Enjoy – lyapunov.
** ** Prologue ** **
This wasn’t a place that had seen many humans.
Most avoided this part of the jungle. The locals told of strange spirits that would drive a man crazy, of monsters that prowled its dense canopies. Crouched in the near darkness was a man who had those stories at the forefront of his mind as he tried to regulate his breathing, and listen to the sounds around him.
The air was sticky and humid, and the man was sweating heavily – even in the relatively cooler dawn temperatures. In daylight he would have normally been able to see a grand total of five metres, but in the darkness, visibility was almost nil; he was only just able to keep a visual of his team-mates. He knew they shouldn’t have been trying to track in the dark, but they had little choice in the matter.
He wasn’t sure whether they were tracking the creature anymore, or being tracked by it themselves.
If it had been lighter, he would have sent a team member out on either side to flank them as they made their way, so as to avoid any ambushes, but he was concerned if he did that he would lose touch with them and they would become easy targets. No, keep everyone together, keep everyone alert and ready for action.
The canopy was low and thick in this part of the jungle, a mere twelve metres from the ground, so that even in the early morning sun hardly any light penetrated the interlocking branches of the trees. It also made attack from above a strong and worrying possibility.
The extensive aboveground root systems and overhanging vines made travel difficult, especially as the man and his colleagues were trying to move without leaving too much sign of their passage through the undergrowth. Through the tropical rainforest it was only possible to move about one thousand metres in a day – the man was pushing this, travelling night and day to catch their quarry before it found another plantation.
They had lost the trail sometime soon after four that morning; he could only assume that the creature had taken to the trees. It had been decided that its most likely destination was water, and they had continued towards the river, finding their route by dead reckoning and making primary use of the compass. It was in the last half hour that the man had suspected that they were no longer the hunters in this game of cat and mouse, and he led his team as carefully as possible through the nearly impenetrable vegetation, making sure he never followed game trails or the high ‘easy’ ground that would make following them a simple task.
It would probably track them by scent, but he didn’t want to make it too easy.
He could hear little above the constant singing of the insects that swarmed through the jungle, almost unbearable in their numbers, munching on every part of his available skin. They carried the possibility of malaria, yellow fever, or cholera to those without the correct medication or immunisations.
He hoped they would hit the river soon. The light would be better there, filtering down through the gap in the blanket of trees. He reckoned it would take perhaps another hour or so to hit low ground, but he wasn’t sure. The maps they’d been issued with were almost useless in the rapidly growing vegetation, and they degraded quickly in the heat and damp of the climate, even with the plastic coating.
The man looked back at his team, seeing them spread out behind him, waiting for his signal to proceed. They made no sound as they patiently watched him and their surroundings, alert, ready and still. They were the best there were, he should know; he’d trained them. His second in command had been with him for over four years now – they could read each other instantly these days. Taking a last bearing he changed direction once again, heading east towards the border with Venezuela, hearing the faint rustle as his team moved after him.
As he wove slowly through the undergrowth he stroked a finger of his right hand against the trigger of his weapon, held ready in his arms. He could feel the oil from his gun coating his fingers, intermingled with the dirt, sweat, and blood from the tiny scratches that covered his arms, legs and hands; a testament to the number of days he had spent travelling through the jungle. It was important that his weaponry and equipment were correctly protected against the environment; lubricants were slathered over any surface susceptible to rust, spare ammunition stored in sealed pouches. Tasers, which would have been ideal for combat with the creature, had been ruled out from the offset; battery life was reduced in jungle conditions, and electrical connections corroded quickly. No, it was semi-automatics and knives for this hunt, he himself choosing a Khukuri Gurka knife in addition to the mandatory machete.
He bit down his revulsion as he remembered the scene that had greeted them three days ago, when they had come across the remains of a small farm. Bodies decomposed swiftly in the stifling humidity of the rainforest, rapidly being devoured by carrion eaters, and these had been no exception – what was left of them anyway. There was no doubt in his mind that what he and his team were doing was vital, these creatures, demons, were highly dangerous and bred so fast it was hard to keep their numbers under control.
The man’s clothes hung damply from his body, saturated with a mixture of salty sweat and the rainwater that coated almost every surface around him. His Bergen was heavy on his shoulders, rubbing the material of his shirt against his back, grinding the cotton into the red welts of bites that covered his skin where the DEET had failed to protect him. Although it would have been easier to travel light, the man knew what he carried was essential to his survival. Aside from his weapons and equipment, he carried a dry change of clothes, spare socks, lyster bags for water, countless purification tablets, rations, salt tablets, and a large supply of antiseptic – the heat and humidity increasing the likelihood of infection in even the smallest cuts.
He hesitated suddenly as he placed his foot on top of a large tree root, straining with his senses into the gloom before him. His attention was caught by the scream of a Howler monkey somewhere overhead; answering cries echoing throughout the jungle. A flicker of motion flashed passed the edge of his field of vision, and he smartly swung up his weapon to follow the Jaguar that darted out of the gloom, scattering the team as it bolted through their midst.
Not normal behaviour for the big cat, he thought; something had scared it. His suspicions were confirmed moments later, when there were loud crashing sounds somewhere to their right as a Suvolte sprang from the shadows towards his second in command.
“Miller,” he shouted in warning, but Miller had already seen the demon and ducked agilely away from it, rolling as he hit the ground to land on his knees, weapon pointed at its huge monstrous form, letting off a controlled burst of bullets that set the birds shrieking wildly in the trees above. The man’s adrenaline kicked into overdrive as he darted towards the Suvolte, shrugging the Bergen from his shoulders and abandoning his gun, useless in such close quarters, placing too much risk to his team-mates, and drawing the Khukuri from its sheath on his belt.
The demon lunged for Menke, his radio-operator, who stumbled backwards, tripping on a tree root as he became tangled in the vines that hung down all around. The man launched himself at the back of the demon, dodging around at the last moment to bring his knife across the front of the torso of the huge creature, and slice deep into where its guts should be. He dropped to the ground after his attack and scrambled clear of the demon as it roared in anger, Menke forgotten, turning with vicious speed towards him, the horrific jaws snapping at his retreating heels.
Caine, the newest member of his team, took the opportunity to pump another burst of bullets into the back of the Suvolte. The man, lying on his back, watched as the demon ignored the projectile metal that hardly penetrated the thick hide of its rump. As its claws flashed towards him he twisted aside with practised ease, reaching forward suddenly and dragging the knife expertly across the rear of its right leg, severing the tendon. Miller sliced at the other leg with his Bowie knife as the man dived clear of the infuriated demon, climbing to his feet hurriedly and assessing the situation.
The man signalled to his second in command to divert the Suvolte’s attention, and used the distraction to plunge his Khukuri into the belly of the demon and jerk it upwards with all his strength, collapsing under the body as it fell forwards, and rolling out at the last second, just before the demon hit the jungle floor with a soft thud. Miller, drawing his side arm, quickly emptied his magazine into the skull and neck of the Suvolte at point blank range before it could recover, cutting off its screams as the bullets from the large caliber handgun severed its spine.
They had been lucky, this time, the man thought as he accepted Miller’s hand pulling him to his feet. He quickly retrieved his weapon and stood still, rotating his head slowly as he took in their surroundings, raising a hand to silence his team as he made sure there were no more attacks to follow. He was fairly confident there had been only the one demon, but it paid to be cautious, the scar he bore across his left cheek was a reminder of that.
He sensed nothing else preternatural lurking in the lessening gloom, hearing only the hum of insects and the calls of the dawn chorus as the birds awakened to the new day. He glanced at each member of the team, checking that they were all uninjured, his gaze finally resting on the remains of the demon, sprawled face down, its innards spilling out from under its shredded torso. He grinned at the others, who stood around the corpse, panting tiredly as the adrenaline left their systems.
“I make that thirty-five, Grae,” he said, nodding at the demon. He carefully drew an oiled rag from his Bergen and ran it over the Khukuri after he had cleaned off the worst of the demon juices that passed for its blood. “Menke, radio in our position – we make for the clearing we crossed earlier,” he ordered, shouldering his pack with a grunt. They would leave the body here; it would be devoured quickly. Already ants and other insects were crawling over the hide, the smell beginning to permeate through the stagnant air.
They reached the clearing within a few hours, and paused to rest, drinking heavily from their supplies, and grabbing a rather unappetising breakfast of army issue rations. The GPS placed them about 20 kilometres from the boarder of Colombia with Venezuela. They would make base camp near water and wait for the next shipment of supplies before starting after the next assignment. They needed new clothes and bivy bags – cloth rotted fast in the jungle climate – boots, weaponry, medicine – as most compounds broke down after time in the heat – and importantly, soap, cigarettes and candy. Command should radio the location of the next demon sighting soon, and they’d start planning the mission – he couldn’t plan much, however, until he knew whether they would need to be airlifted to the site or not.
“Sir,” said a voice behind him, bringing him out of his reverie. He looked up at Miller, who was searching the sky with his eyes, hearing the faint throbbing drone of a helicopter, which grew gradually louder as it zeroed in on their location.
“Light a flare,” he said, grinning as he saw his 2IC already had one in his fist.
The helicopter hovered over the small clearing as a rope snaked from its belly, falling to the jungle floor, the downdraft from the ‘copter blades a welcome relief from the suffocating unmoving air. A figure abseilled efficiently down the line, pausing to unclip himself, before turning to the four pale and pasty men that waited patiently for him in the stubby thick vegetation.
“Agent Riley Finn?” called the man from the helicopter, obviously American, and obviously military.
“Correct,” said Riley, stepping forward from his men to greet the visitor.
“We’ve been trying to locate you for over two weeks,” said the man, flashing Riley his NID identification. “You’re being reassigned immediately to Colorado.”
“Whose orders?” asked Riley, confused. They were best demon hunters the US had, and he knew this terrain like his own back yard. Why on earth was he being reassigned?
“Kinsey,” replied the man, his voice making it clear to Riley that he didn’t approve of his questioning the orders.
“I don’t go anywhere without my team,” was Riley’s only reply.