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When The Going Gets Tough...The Tough Send A Witch

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Summary: Sequel to 'It's Raining Men...And One Woman'. The Scoobies visit the mountain. No copywrite infringement intended. No money being made.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Willow-CenteredmsgordoFR1316,73042712,50219 Jun 0419 Jun 04Yes
Title: When The Going Gets Tough…The Tough Send A Witch.

Author: Karen

Rating: PG

Synopsis: Scoobies meet Stargate Command, Stargate Command meet Scoobies. May whatever false gods you may or may not believe in have mercy on your souls.

A/N: Okay, gotta be upfront here. This is not only a Fic-A-Thon request, but it’s also a sequel to ‘Its Raining Men…And One Woman.’ The link to the previous fic is supplied below and I had permission from Jinni to do this.

Dedication: For Stacia, ‘cos this be her fic. I’m sorry I crashed and burned on the whole darkfic thing. I did try and work in references to all but one of your preferred genres though!

Author's Request:

Genre: Forever Knight, Harry Potter, Highlander, Stargate, West Wing

Max Rating: anything, Gen to NC-17

Characters: Willow, Methos if the genre is Highlander

Type: anything

Want To See: I'd love to see a gay Willow (not necessarily in a relationship, just canon-Willow from mid-S4), but it's certainly not a requirement. Oh, darkfic would be fun!

Not Want To See: Um, nothing. Really, just about anything goes. I'm slightly giddy at the idea of someone writing a fic for me.


General George Hammond, highly respected and beloved leader of Stargate Command and personal friend of the President of the United States of America, stared at the screen before him and then at his 2IC. “Is this a joke?”

Jack O’Neill looked up from where he was just about to win the snitch for Slytherin on his Gameboy Advance and shook his head. “No, sir. Aw, dammit!” He glared at the smaller screen in his hand and shook the device in annoyance. “That freakin’ Potter kid is working my last nerve. HEY!”

Teal’c raised a taunting eyebrow as he snatched the Gameboy away from his CO and friend and prepared to do battle in his own unique fashion. “You have been playing this game for the last three days, O’Neill and you have yet to be successful. In fact you have yet to score even one point in your role as Draco Malfoy, the insidious creature that leads the snake house. It is painfully apparent that the boy Gou’ald is unfitting for the purpose of leading his troops to victory against the might of Harry Potter and his valiant companions.” The Jaffa sneered. “I will crush him like the parasite he is.”

Jack stared at his friend and then turned to his other friends, both trying not to snigger too loudly in their seats across the briefing room table. “I knew we shouldn’t have taken him to see those flicks. Stick with Star Wars, I said. Give the big guy a frame of reference that he stands a hope in hell of understanding, I said. Did you listen? Noooo! You were all ‘It’ll be okay, Jack. He’ll get it, Jack. He’ll enjoy the experience, sir.’ And now look what’s happened. He’s turned the Quidditch world cup into some kind of psuedo-dumb ass battle against the friggin’ Gou’ald!” He narrowed his eyes balefully at Major Samantha Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson as they continued to snigger. “Looks like I’m not the only one not getting the damn memos around this joint.”

“Colonel!” General Hammond tried to ignore the twinging in his gut that heralded another flare up of his ulcer –as caused by SG1—and slapped a hand on the table top. “I think we have more important matters to discuss than your failure to master a child’s toy.” He ignored the outraged huffing from O’Neill with ease and gestured back to the screen which showed several young people being signed into Cheyenne Mountain and talking excitedly to the much more reserved guards that surrounded them. “Like, perhaps, the fact that in your own words ‘the most powerful force the galaxy has ever seen’ appears to be masquerading as three, small teenaged girls and one young man with an eye patch.”

Jack squinted at the General and then at the screen, now showing Dawn Summers and three other people and their guards making their way to the elevators to bring them to the briefing room. “They’re not that small. And the kid only wears the eye patch for the chuckle value. He has a glass eye somewhere, but their pet vampire kept taking it and using it to play marbles with some guy called Clem.”

Hammond narrowed his eyes. “Marbles?”

Jack nodded and shrugged. “Yup. Apparently in the interests of the Slayer not staking anyone and the witch not pulling something called a resolve face and blasting people through doors, kitten poker’s now a strict no-go in Cleveland.” He shrugged again. “So, marbles are pretty much the only way to go.”

General Hammond stifled his wince as his ulcer gave another warning twinge and promised himself the very next time that Tok’ra hussy Anise came knocking at the Stargate he was tossing Colonel Jack O’Neill through it sans clothes and then locking the gate on the other side out. Permanently. Lord God, he was a good person, he didn’t deserve Jack O’Neill hounding him through his twilight years and smirking at him every time he pulled another ulcer increasing situation out of his BDU covered ass. Although there was no getting away from the fact that the video of Senator Kinsey getting stapled to a wall by a very pretty girl in leather pants and a barely there tank top that SG1 had brought back from Cleveland had brightened his day considerably. It was even rumoured that the President had one of the more amusing scenes as his screensaver. And did O’Neill just say kitten poker? “Did you just say kitten poker?”

“Uh-huh.” Jack was engaged in scowling over Teal’c’s shoulder as the Jaffa manipulated Harry Potter in a crashing victory against Draco Malfoy and the Slytherins. “Its some kind of demon thing. Kinda a ‘my dick’s eviller than your dick’ kinda deal. Or something. I don’t know. Maybe they just couldn’t find any puppies.”

HEY, that’s cheating!”

“It is not, O’Neill.” Teal’c radiated satisfaction as the screen image of Malfoy was kicked squarely into a spectator stand and crashed to the ground far beneath him whilst screen Harry flew in whooping victorious circles. “It is the considered response of a seasoned warrior to his enemy’s weakness and arrogance. I now have possession of the false god’s golden power source and I have won victory over my opponents.”

“Cake-guy!” All heads turned as a joyful voice sang out into the room and Teal’c glared as the young woman he and his friends had mistakenly taken prisoner the previous month bounced across the floor towards them. “Looking much less demon-y under all the harsh lights, go you!” Dawn Summers beamed at Teal’c and then stuck her hand out to Jack as he climbed to his feet. “Hey, Colonel, glad to see you still with a pulse there.”

“Likewise.” Grinning like a loon, Jack shook the hand of the kid young enough to be his granddaughter and then turned to Hammond. “Sir, this is Dawn Summers. Dawn, General Hammond, commander of the SGC.”

George looked the slight young woman up and down and extended a hesitant hand. “It’s a pleasure, Miss Summers.”

“Pfft, call me Dawn. Miss Summers is my sister and I am in no way ready to hand over the last of my teenage hotness and go all Rachel in ‘Friends’ just yet.” Dawn gave the bald man a bright smile and then looked over her shoulder. “Guys, come on, it’s getting lonely here all by myself. Oh cool, is that the Stargate?” She dropped Hammond’s hand and dodged across the room to plaster herself up against the observation window. “That is way cool. Hey, Wills, you gotta check this out!”

“I see it, Dawnie.” The low, amused voice had Jack interested even before he caught sight of the pretty girl that was walking into the room ahead of the last of the Slayer delegation and then he took in the curves and the hair and the eyes and…Whoa, momma! “That’s a big, honkin’ chunk of metal, alright. Hi, Willow Rosenberg.” The white smile faltered as Jack stared dumbly at her hand and then back into her big eyes. “I don’t have to salute do I? ‘Cos I’m not big with the whole military thing, what with the whole abducting my ex-boyfriend and experimenting on my friends gig.”

“Not to mention ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.” Xander Harris beamed at Jack’s frozen face and cocked his head as he looped an affectionate arm around Willow’s shoulders. “Which, it should be noticed, is the exact opposite of our own Scoobie policy. We are *all* about the asking and the telling. So, whereabouts you keeping the little grey men? Can I see ‘em? Not to like slice ‘em and dice ‘em or anything, just to kinda, y’know, maybe do a little light taunting and mocking. Nothing heavy, I swear.”

“Although I did bring my stapler just in case.” A curvy brunette sauntered up behind Xander and did something that had him yelping and his eyes bugging out and then in the interests of equality did the same thing to Willow. “Hey. I’m Faith. One-Eye Jack here is Xander. Pretty cool place. Where’s the aliens you want me to kill for ya?” She eyed Jack up and down and hummed appreciatively. “Or I could do something else. Maybe a little demonstration of some of my less well known Slayer type stuff.”

“Faith, we’re here to help out, not boink them stupid.” Xander snorted and hurriedly made sure his butt was out of reach from any more stealth attacks from Faith’s hand and then peered up into Jack’s glazed eyes. “But, yay, looks like we’re already there on the boinked stupid front. But without the boinking. Trust me, old guy, you get used to the untouchable hotness pretty soon and, hey, its not like you’re in your prime or anything, you’ll get over the stiffener problem in no time.”

“Hey, who you callin’ old, kid?” Jack’s eyes snapped away from Faith’s abundant cleavage and Willow’s limpid eyes and focused on the grinning guy with the unruly hair and sympathetic lone eye. “I’m in my goddamned prime here!”

Xander whistled in commiseration. “Yeah? Man, that’s one tough life you’ve led there, buddy. Hey, Dawnie, come introduce us to the rest of your spankin’ new pals.” His eye brightened as it landed on Sam Carter for the first time. “Scratch that, I’ll take care of it myself. Hey, Xander Harris, all around good guy and sometime co-saviour of the world.”

Sam’s eyes glittered with amusement as her two senior officers glowered in Xander’s wake and Daniel muffled a sudden chuckle into his fist. “Major Samantha Carter, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Xander leered rakishly. “The pleasure is *all* mine. So, can I interest you in getting a cup of coffee sometime? Maybe a little light dancing? Could be some smooching. It’s totally your call.”

“Um…” Sam blinked and then stepped back as Faith suddenly appeared at Xander’s shoulder and glared at her. “Hello.”

Dark eyes looked her up and down and then narrowed. “Whatever. Xander, get your butt back over with Willow. This chick may not be a demon, but I read her file. This is the one that kills off all her boytoys.”

“I do not!” Sam stopped looking amused and just looked outraged. “That rumour is totally unfounded!” Her own eyes narrowed as her team and General Hammond all suddenly developed nasty coughs and found the floor and ceiling very interesting. “Hey, they didn’t *all* die.”

“Well, not right away.” Daniel patted Sam’s shoulder consolingly and then pulled his hands away when she curled her lip at him. “I mean, er, well…Jack?”

“Carter, you suck as a girlfriend.” O’Neill held up his hand as Carter’s mouth fell open in shock and her eyes started to flash dangerously. “I say this as your friend and CO. As an officer of the United States Airforce you undeniably kick ass all over the galaxy; as a woman dating guys, not so much. Hell, sometimes even me and the rest of the team worry when you get a little close, y’know? There we are having a nice bonding moment, getting’ all touchy feely, and then outta nowhere things start getting all loud and stuff starts blowing up.” Jack nodded sagely. “You can almost set your watch by it.”

Willow eyed the tall, statuesque blonde and felt a little ping inside. “Maybe she’s looking for love in all the wrong places.” She pasted a smile on her face as Jack looked at her oddly and walked forward as Xander scrambled hurriedly back with an apologetic expression. “Hey, I’m Willow, and I *am* pleased to meet you.”

“Sam Carter.” Sam tried not to notice Xander now using Faith as a body shield and edging away from her and smiled at the younger woman. “You’re the witch.”

“Uh-huh.” Willow, pinging like she’d never pinged before, beamed up at Sam and idly wondered what she’d look like pink, wet and surrounded by bubbles in a candlelit bathroom. “Although I also go by Wicca. I can swing both ways.”

“A truer word was never spoken.” Dawn, finally tearing herself away from the Stargate, grinned as Willow blushed a fiery red that clashed horribly with her hair and dropped the confused Sam’s hand like a hot brick. “So, Buffy says hi and sends her love, but there’s this thing she had to take care of and she had to blow you off.” She moved to the briefing table and hitched herself up to perch on the edge and start swinging her legs idly. “In the sense of having to save the world again and, y’know, not in any other sense ‘cos that would just be wrong. And kinda sick.” She cast around for a change of subject and by happy chance found Daniel. “Doctor Jackson! Willow, this is him, wordy guy.” She grinned at Daniel and noticed just how hot he was when she wasn’t thinking he was a demon and he had her all tied up on the ground. Although…No, bad ex-Key! Don’t go there.

“Er, hello.” Daniel did his trademark bashful grin and then his trademark panicked stumble when Faith practically leapt the table and shoved her breasts in his face. “Um…”

“Faith, down girl.” Dawn rolled her eyes and yanked the salivating Slayer back by the seat of her pants. “Play nice with the archaeologist, he can be broken.”

“This is my lucky day.” Faith was almost purring as she draped herself provocatively on the table and hitched up the hem of her top to scratch at her flat belly with blood red talons. “Can he be ridden too?”

Willow stifled a giggle as Daniel’s eyes widened and he flushed a delightful rose pink. “Faith, sit down.” She rolled her eyes. “Not on Doctor Jackson!” She smiled apologetically at the man and then her eyes widened as Teal’c unfolded himself from his seat and nodded coolly at the guests from Cleveland. “Well, you’re a big one, huh?” She trotted closer and eyed the gold emblem on his forehead. “Wow, that’s so pretty. Did it hurt?”

“Indeed.” Teal’c bowed to the young woman and tried very hard not to resent the fact that he had just been called pretty. “I am Teal’c. I am Jaffa.”

“I know, Dawn told us.” Willow giggled and patted one bulging bicep. “I kept thinking it was a typo when I read it in your files, but then she said it was real word and there you are, being all chocolately cake guy.” She caught the pained flash in Teal’c’s eyes. “But in a *totally* testosterone-y, I-can-kick-some-serious-alien-butt kinda way.”

General Hammond finally got his jaw to close, and his eyes away from where Faith was pouting and fluffing her hair at an increasingly nervous Daniel Jackson, and tried to take control of the situation. “Perhaps we could all take our seats?” He forced himself to meet the appraising look of the dark haired girl that fixed him with a speculative look and tried very hard not to remember that she had been the one laughing her curvaceous butt off in the video with Senator Kinsey…or that she didn’t take a seat until the redhead smacked her lightly on the calf and raised an eyebrow pointedly. “Right.” He looked along the table which now held SG1 on one side and four seeming rejects from Dawson’s Creek on the other. “Well, firstly I’d like to thank you all for agreeing to meet with us today.”

The boy, Xander, waved a dismissive hand. “Aah, it’s nothing. I mean, the Big Cheese calls and ya gotta come running, right?”

Daniel looked confused and deliberately ignored Faith licking her lips and waggling her eyebrows at him. “The big cheese?”

“Uh-huh.” Xander had apparently got over his worries about Sam and had now gone back to leering stupidly across the table. “El Head Honcho, Mon Capitan, The Pres, our beloved CEO...”

Willow shifted in her seat and smacked Xander’s arm even as she shot Hammond an apologetic smile. “He means President Hayes. He contacted Buffy two days ago and reiterated the seriousness of the situation and asked that we meet with you.”

Jack’s eyebrows shot up. “The *President* called you personally?”

“Uh-huh.” Willow nodded and leaned back in her chair. “I know you got the files concerning the Initiative sent over when you got back from meeting Dawn, so you must know we’re a little screwy about any dealings with the military. When Colonel O’Neill contacted Dawn and asked for our assistance we weren’t happy about it to say the least…”

Dawn snorted. “You’re telling me. Jeez, you get held hostage by *one* crack military unit and dust a couple of vampires and you’re hearing about it for weeks after. I mean, it’s not like I *wanted* to spend hours running around a graveyard and getting tied up and all, and, hey, not exactly my fault that the vamps were all…” She tailed off as she realised that everyone was staring at her. “Sorry. Go on.”

Willow allowed her lips to curve sweetly at Dawn for a moment before she looked back at Hammond. “Anyway, we’ve been burned before and this time around there’s a lot more people depending on us to keep their secrets. When our home town was destroyed we had a lot of extra responsibilities shoved at us and we can’t afford to take any risks with the people that are depending on us.” She folded her hand neatly in her lap and tilted her head. “So with the extra responsibilities comes extra contacts and we called them, they called some friends and it turns out the President was…aware…of the Initiative when it was active. And has continued to be aware of Buffy and the rest of us. When he got the word that we’d made contact with you guys and that you were asking for help he kinda stepped in and called us himself.” Willow’s eyes flashed with humour. “Of course he probably wasn’t expecting the ten minute rant from a pissy Slayer who’d been up slaying all night and really, really didn’t want to discuss previous government screw-ups in regards to the demons. And she’d broken a nail. Not a happy time.”

“The President called *you*.” Jack seemed to be having difficulty grasping the concept. “As in picked up the phone and punched in the numbers and called you. Personally.”

Willow shrugged. “We head the most powerful peacekeeping force on the planet, it happens more than you think.” Her eyes suddenly spotted something over Sam’s shoulder. “Is that coffee?”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Daniel was half out of his seat before she finished speaking. “Would you like some?”


Xander and Jack looked at each other in surprise as their dual shouts filled the room and then shrugged before turning to their respective friends. “No coffee!” They looked at each other again. “Stop that!” Both men scowled. “You stop it!”

Faith stared between the two. “Are they possessed?” She cracked her knuckles, trying for an earnest look but falling short and settling for slutty anticipation instead. “’Cos I could do something about that. I’m a Slayer, it’s my job.”

Jack and Xander recoiled. “No!” They glared at each other again. “Stop doing that!” They both stabbed fingers at Daniel and Willow. “No coffee!”

Daniel and Willow looked hurt and Dawn rolled her eyes. “Hey, as entertaining as the whole Laurel and Hardy routine is, can we get to the demon of the day please?” She checked her watch. “Only I have, like, three hours before I have to make a call and say whether I’m gonna make a date tomorrow night and if I’m gonna be kicking some alien ass then I want to let my guy know as soon as I can. Plus, I need to think up a cover story, I don’t think he’s dumb enough to buy the washing my hair thing twice in one week.”

Daniel looked even more hurt. “You have a date?” He realised he’d spoken out loud and blushed red enough to clash with Willow’s hair. “Um, which is good. Congratulations.”

Dawn eyed him warily. “Thanks.” She shook her head and ignored Xander and Jack communicating by various obscene hand gestures and jerks of their heads that they each thought the other was an idiot and they could go to hell. “So, moving on, what is it you want us to kill and how big is it?”

Despite seeing what Dawn could do the previous month, Sam felt a small niggle of unease as she looked at the four young people staring expectantly around them. “Well, perhaps it might be a good idea to see what your capabilities are and how well you handle a combat situation before…” She broke off as klaxons suddenly exploded into life and sounds of panicked shouts echoed up the stairs. “What on earth…”

“Sir! Sir!” Siler sprinted up the stairs and almost fell over in his haste to get into the briefing room. “Sir, the Stargate’s just vanished! We don’t know where it is…” He looked wildly around as the klaxons stopped as suddenly as they had started and the soothing sounds of ‘Brahms’ Lullaby’ filled the air instead as he concluded doubtfully, “I think we’re under attack.”

Xander, Dawn and Faith looked suspiciously at Willow’s bland face as SG1 and General Hammond jumped up from the table and rushed to the observation window to see for themselves that the Stargate was gone. “That’s just mean, Red.” Faith propped her biker boots up on the table and laughed as she folded her hands behind her head with an admiring look. “Almost bitchy.”

“Wills, it’s not nice to hide the alien technology from the heavily armed military people.” Xander shook a reproving finger at his now giggling friend and watched as Jack and Hammond both started yelling orders at the unfortunate Siler and Daniel and Sam both started to head for the stairs to the control room. “Bad, Wicca. Bad!”

Willow pouted. “Sheesh.” She flicked her fingers in a tiny motion under the table and giggled lightly at the surprised shout from Jack behind her. “Some people have no sense of fun.”

“Sir!” Sam’s eyes were bulging in her head as the Stargate reappeared and proceeded to hover over it’s usual position over it’s ramp all lit up with multi-coloured lights just like a Ferris Wheel. She winced as the light classical music was replaced with the less soothing ‘Macarena.’ “Sir, it’s back!”

“I’ve got eyes, Carter.” Jack’s aggrieved shout had Willow giggling harder and spinning the Stargate in ever-faster revolutions. “And someone shut that damn music off!”

“Cool.” Dawn whistled appreciatively. “Can you make it do the ‘Timewarp’?”

“O’Neill, I do not believe we are under attack.” Teal’c resisted the urge to shoot out the P.A. system and instead pointed eloquently at the sniggering people still seated at the briefing table. “Perhaps we should ask our visitors to return the Stargate to its usual position.”

Willow sighed good-naturedly as she suddenly became the focus of SG1’s undivided attention. “Curses, foiled again.” She whispered something under her breath and the ‘Macarena’ cut off and the Stargate drifted back down the ramp. “There you go, good as new!” From the looks on the faces around her, this wasn’t an appropriate comment. “Um, I could shine it up some? Little spit and polish?”

“No!” Sam was torn between wanting to run to her beloved Stargate and check her baby over or finding out how the light and music show was accomplished. Then she scowled as a small voice at the back of her mind snidely muttered that maybe this is why she didn’t have a boyfriend and the ones she did get kept dying. “How did you do that?”

Willow smiled and thought how hot Sam looked when she was pissed. “Little sage, little motherwort.” Her smile widened as the older woman scowled harder and she tried to keep her mind focused on the matter in hand and not the acres of creamy skin being covered by those terribly flattering combat pants and the tight black t-shirt. “Whole lotta practice.”

“You should have seen what she did when we snuck into the Oval office.” Xander rooted for a moment under his eye patch to get to a particularly annoying itch and shrugged when Jack grimaced in distaste. Or possibly alarm at the news they had been sneaking around the most heavily guarded building in America. “There was a bad moment when we thought the President was going to come into work the next morning to pink walls and an inflatable desk and chair.” He shook his head in mock reproach as Willow turned bright red with guilt. “And she wonders why we don’t like her working the magics when she’s hyped up on caffeine.”

Willow stuck her tongue out at him but kept one worried eye on General Hammond who had gone an alarming shade of purple and was starting to breathe rather erratically. “It was one *tiny* bag of chocolate covered coffee beans. They were a present from Spike and it would’ve been rude not to take them. He was being nice.”

Xander remained unconvinced. “He was being *evil*, because, hey, he’s a vampire. He is *all* about the evil.” He glared as both Willow and Dawn opened their mouths to leap to Spike’s defence. “And don’t try and tell me that he has a soul now, I am so sick of that tune. The guy’s not changed in all the years we’ve known him. He was bored because none of the regular demons will fight him after that business with the evil law firm.” A reluctant look of admiration stole across his annoyed face. “He’s just a lot more subtle about the evilness now.” There was a brief moment while everyone who knew Spike took a moment to think about the ridiculousness of the words ‘subtle’ and ‘Spike’ ever sharing the same sentence and then they all fell about laughing.

General Hammond pressed a hand against over the skin that covered his now throbbing ulcer and finally found the breath to speak. “You broke into the WHITE HOUSE?”

Willow stopped giggling and went back to looking guilty. “Just the once.”

Jack stared at her. “You *redecorated* the White House?”

Willow’s guilty look increased. “Kinda. Only for a few minutes.” She shifted uneasily in her seat under several sets of incredulous eyes and muttered sulkily, “Well, it was just so *gloomy*.”

Daniel shook his head and said faintly, “An inflatable desk?”

“Yup.” Dawn flashed an unrepentant smile. “Also pink. We were big with the pinkness that day.”

“What the HELL were you people doing in the White House in the first place?” Hammond pressed harder against his ulcer and thought longingly of his retirement home in Texas. If he left now he could be there in time for supper. Hell, maybe he’d just call Thor and see if his little grey buddy could give him a lift. Jack O’Neill was *so* going down for this.

Willow looked sideways at her companions who, with the exception of Faith, looked concerned but shrugged permission for her to continue. Faith was far too busy leering at Daniel and tugging the neckline of her top down to inappropriate levels. “Well, see, CJ kinda mentioned to Giles when they met up on their last date that some information had come their way about a friend of ours and it’s not like Meth…Adam has that many people to really look out for him except Dunc…another friend and they did us a couple of favours a few months ago in Paris when we couldn’t get some Slayers over there quick enough and we didn’t want anyone to show up and drag Meth…Adam off to some ooky lab in Nevada somewhere so I hacked into some files and scrubbed the evidence from the files but there was still a hard copy that had been passed over to the President and there wasn’t really a way to get it out without CJ losing her job or something, so we just kinda paid a visit when we were up there to deal with a little problem of dimensional instability and just, uh, took the files back.” Willow sucked in a breath and looked up cautiously from beneath lowered lashes. “And we’re *very* sorry. Right, guys?” Xander and Dawn grunted unconvincingly and Faith started to stroke one toned thigh suggestively. Daniel hid behind Teal’c and tried very hard not to panic.

Hammond’s ulcer seemed to be branching out and making advances on his failing heart, he closed his eyes and whispered weakly, “CJ?”

“Yup, an old buddy of *our* old buddy.” Xander watched with interest as Faith licked suggestively at her lips and Teal’c started to look as alarmed as the man hiding behind him. “She had a thing, he had a thing, and sometimes they meet up once in a while and have a thing together.” He nodded approvingly. “Its good for him, the old guy needs to get out once in a while, shake some wrinkled English booty.” He looked appraisingly at Jack. “Helps him unwind, you should try it. Hey, you’re old and everything, but you still have needs, right?”

“That’s it, I’m gonna shoot him.” Jack reached for where his zat usually resided on his hip and scowled when he failed to find it. He looked around the room. “Hey, Airman, lend me your sidearm.”

Things became very confusing over the next several seconds and when the room became still again Xander had the Airman by the door immobilised on the floor with the requested sidearm pointed right between his eyes, Dawn was covering Hammond and Siler with another liberated weapon, Willow was holding out one slim hand as Sam, Daniel and Teal’c writhed in panic against invisible bonds and Faith was…Willow sighed. “Faith, put the stapler down.” She sighed again. “And the Colonel!” There was a heavy thump as the brunette released the grip she had on Jack’s neck where she held him pinned against the wall and then the slow clicking of a menacing stapler. “FAITH!”

“Aw, jeez.” The slayer pouted and folded her arms sulkily as she glared at Willow. “C’mon, Red, I’m getting’ antsy here. Just let me play a little bit.” She played her trump card and tried, and missed, for a virtuous expression. “He was gonna try and shoot Harris. Maybe even kill him. That’s wrong.” She smirked down at Jack who had wisely remained on the floor. “He should be punished.”

Willow snorted. “Faith, *you’ve* tried to kill Xander; heck, *I’ve* tried to kill Xander. If we went around stapling everyone that tried to kill Xander we’d never have time to do anything else but buy new staples and build new walls to hold all the naughty people that pissed us off.” She shook her head firmly at the sulking brunette. “There will be no more stapling of people to walls unless I say so, understood? No matter what the provocation.”

Xander looked vaguely put out. “Hey!” He frowned at the man on the floor at his feet and mumbled, “All true, but still, hey!”

“Sorry, sweetie.” Willow smiled affectionately at her best friend and then looked calmly at General Hammond. “Now, if I tell my people to stand down, will you do the same? We came here in good faith and we don’t like threats against us, even in the form of lame-ass jokes.”

Hammond looked at the young girl holding a gun on him and then nodded shortly. “Agreed.” He breathed a sigh of relief as Dawn immediately pointed the gun at the ceiling and pulled the tatters of his depleted dignity around him. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Willow shot him a sunny smile and turned to her troops as Sam and Daniel helped a very annoyed Jack off the floor. “Okay, guys, that’s enough.” She nodded as Xander, Dawn and Faith returned weapons and shoved staplers in pockets and then gestured for SG1 and the General to be seated. “Let’s talk turkey.”

Later none of the people of Stargate Command ever really understood how the slender young woman with the slow smile took such easy command of a room that she should be in no way equipped to deal with. They were confounded by the easy telling of a story of courage and loss, as the history of a small town in California was gently unfolded before them and how a group of young twenty something people had come to be the most powerful force for good on the face of the planet. Willow held nothing back as she shared their story, failures were told along with glories and she smiled throughout as though reciting a well-loved fairytale to spellbound children. No apologises were made for human laws that were broken or the security of various nations that she had happily circumvented but when she reached the end they felt a lot smaller than they were used to and not as alone as they had before.

“So, that’s it.” Willow folded her hands neatly before her and tilted her head. “There are always going to be some things we can’t tell you because they aren’t our secrets to tell. When we took that file from the President it was because we couldn’t ask for it back without tipping other people off to what they’d stumbled across. It was better for all concerned that the evidence just disappeared and they were…encouraged…to forget.”

Jack narrowed his eyes accusingly. “You did a spell.”

“Yup.” Willow nodded without apology. “Big old honkin’ one.” She shrugged her slender shoulders. “Our friend has done nothing wrong and he lives a good life, he deserves our protection.”

“And what about us?” Sam leaned back in her chair and regarded the younger woman carefully. “Are we classed as friends?”

“For now. The trust can be earned along the way.” Willow smiled again. “It’s a two way street, we know that. We’ll get along just fine in time. If you want us.”

Jack coughed into his fist and slanted a look at Hammond’s face. “I don’t think we can afford *not* to want you.”

The General shot a poisonous glare at his 2IC and then smiled cautiously at Willow. “In theory I agree with Colonel O’Neill’s assessment and if you have the backing of the President then I don’t see how in good conscience I can ignore your offer.”

Dawn smiled and waggled her eyebrows. “It’s more that he has our backing than the other way around, General.” She giggled at the look of horror on the older man’s face. “It’s okay, we had our fill of world domination when Willow went wacky, now we’re all about the good fight. Right, guys?” She looked around at her friends and narrowed her eyes as they drew out the moment. “*Right*?” Willow, Xander and Faith kept the cool looks on their faces for another moment and then broke into helpless giggles at the increasingly nervous faces around them. Dawn rolled her eyes. “God, who is it that’s meant to be the token kid around here, anyway?”

“Sorry, Dawnie.” Willow looked suitably repentant and then propped her chin on a cupped hand and fixed SG1 with curious green eyes. “So, why exactly did you want us here anyway? What’s the problem?”

Sam waited for the nod of permission from General Hammond and then stood to begin pacing around the table. Jack heaved a resigned sigh and quietly shut his eyes. With a bit of luck no one would notice he’d tuned out and he wouldn’t drool too badly down his jacket. Sam scowled at her CO and made a mental note to do something suitably evil to his computer in payment for falling asleep –again—in one of her briefings. Perhaps a manipulation of a naked Maybourne and some suggestive bits of fruit as a screensaver would be appropriate. Suddenly much happier, she took a breath and began to talk. “Last year we finally managed to defeat one of our strongest enemies. Anubis is gone, but the experimental warriors he was genetically engineering have survived and have been taken by another System Lord by the name of Ba’al. These soldiers…”

“Right. The guys in black that look like really pissy versions of Darth Vader.” Faith, bored already, nodded and looked supremely unimpressed. “How many we talking about here?”

“Uh…” Sam stumbled to a stop and blinked at the dark haired girl. “Um. Hundreds, maybe thousands.”

Jack opened his eyes and took an interest again.

Faith nodded. “Okay. All in one place?” Sam shook her head dumbly and the slayer sighed. “Figures. Red, I can head up a team of ten. Buff another one and Spike can take one more, right?”

Willow was busy thumbing through a small notepad she had pulled from her pocket. “Uh-huh. If we wait until after the weekend, Kennedy will be back from Toronto and her meet with that cop. He might take over the slaying and free up the slayers there to come help out. Xan, how’s Tuesday looking for you?”

“No good.” Xander shook his head regretfully as he studied his own diary. “Got a rising in LA, then I have to get across to New York by dusk to meet up with Spike and co-ordinate the attack on Wolfram and Hart’s latest wheeze.” He brightened slightly. “Looks like I’m free from noon on Wednesday until dawn on Friday.”

Dawn held up her hand. “Ancient Eygptian final Wednesday afternoon, but I’m good to go for two weeks from three o’ clock after that.” She sighed heavily. “Looks like I’m gonna be blowing off my date after all, we’re gonna have to stay here for a couple of days and get things moving, right?”

Willow nodded apologetically. “Sorry, Dawnie.”

Daniel stopped looking so scared of Faith and cheered up immensely. Now if he could only get past the horrific age difference and Jack’s inevitable hysteria that the first woman he’d shown an interest in years was a former inter-dimensional key made of mystical energy he was good to go. And avoid tripping over anything or getting shot. Or knocked unconscious. Or poisoned or possessed.

Actually, he’d better give this one a little more thought before he made any hasty decisions.

Jack swallowed slowly. “Ah, you might need a little more info before you go committing yourselves, these guys are pretty nasty.”

Willow looked up from where she was huddled with Dawn and arguing whether Buffy could safely leave the minor apocalypse scheduled to occur in Michigan that coming Sunday night to a group of more inexperienced slayers and smiled. “They’re false gods, right?”

Teal’c nodded firmly; he was very clear on this point. “Indeed.”

Willow’s smile widened. “Then no problem, we’ll have this wrapped up by the end of next week.” She looked down at her day planner thoughtfully and tapped the page. “Now, how stuck are you on the idea of us killing them all? I’m thinking we might be able to get a little frisky with the dimensional walls and kinda give them a nudge out of ours and into somewhere a little less…human-y.” She grinned at the blank looks surrounding her. “How do you think they feel about shrimp?”

The End.

The End

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