AN: A little bit of sap, some Tok'ra bashing, and ohh, the
beginning of the intrigue...
Disclaimer: I have no claims of ownership on Stargate or Buffy,
but oh how I wish I did.
*************** Trick-or-Treat: Chapter Thirteen *****************
Emily tossed back the bottle of Jack Daniels and swallowed, savoring
the burn of liquor as it slid down her throat. Her elbows rested on
her knees as she sat on the front porch of the Big House, staring out
at the neighborhood, occasionally craning her head back to peer at
the stars through the oak trees shadowing the yard. She could hear
the din that came from eighteen girls sharing a house, and the
distant thuds of sparring from the backyard.
It was never quiet around here and usually, usually that was a good
thing. Usually Emily preferred not to think. Not to sit in
contemplative silence. She was an action girl, all fight- no play.
Fighting had kept her alive until she started Slaying. Fighting had
served her well AS a Slayer.
But someone had shown her that fighting wasn't all there was to life.
Someone had shown her how important laughter, playing, could be years
ago, when she had first come to THIS life. When she had come home.
Emily drank some more and shuddered as she wondered if she could
filch some Scotch from the secret supply Giles kept stocked for when
he visited. The empty Jack Daniels bottle clinked loudly on the wood
porch as she jarringly set it down. She ignored the front door as it
banged open and silently closed. Ignored the soft footsteps that
stopped by her side. Ignored the warm body that crouched and joined
her in the study of the front yard. Was secretly pleased that Faith
didn't chide her for the alcohol.
Tried to hide her tears as well because Xander would have railed at
her in a heartbeat. If he had been home.
"He'll come back, you know," the older Slayer offered haltingly, her
awkward form of comfort, "he's the X-man."
And Xander always came back. Always came home- just not with perfect
depth perception. Emily choked on irrational laughter and knew that
Faith wouldn't understand.
Faith and Emily were usually on the same page. Emily's life had been
remarkably similar to the dark haired Slayer's. They had suffered a
lot of the same pain. Been shaped by common experiences- held many
of the same views as a result. But Faith had never been touched by
Xander, moved by Xander, like Emily had.
Xander, for all his history with the troubled woman at her side, had
never made Faith laugh.
Emily had been the third arrival to the newly created Booty House
four years back. Before it had been named. Had been there for that
first Halloween, when Xander and Buffy and all who had survived the
fall of Sunnydale had still been shadowed, haunted, by that last
Had dressed up like a damn pirate because she wanted to see Xander
laugh like he made her laugh.
Would always be grateful, in a way she never could to her sister
Slayers, that Xander had given her something other than fighting or
pain and death. Emily, so much like Faith it sometimes hurt,
embraced her Destiny. But most nights she held Xander's lessons
that much dearer because they had been harder learned.
They had been learned by heart.
She thought fleetingly of the girl who shared her name. The other
Emily living in the Booty House. Thought of the shy creature with
her propensity to tears and mostly felt pity. Faith would put a
backbone into the girl, she had no doubt of that, but if Xander was
lost that would be all the girl received and that, that meager legacy
was a sad prospect indeed.
Faith reached into her jean jacket and pulled out a clear decanter,
yanking the top off with her teeth, before she passed it over to her
charge. "If Giles asks, don't tell."
Emily gave a faint smile and silently accepted the offering of
Scotch. She didn't speak as the older girl rose and slowly made her
way back into the house. She and Faith were alike in so many ways
but there was one fundamental difference: Emily had had Xander's
influence early on in her life, Faith hadn't.
Emily tilted back the Scotch and stubbornly ignored the tears
streaming down her face. Xander had to come back, he was the X-man,
and he was needed.
General George Hammond could honestly say that in the four years he
had known Teal'c, that he had never seen the Jaffa so completely
unnerved by something, and that was saying something. The big man
was pacing the briefing room, hands clasped behind his back as he
wore a path into the carpet.
"So your symbiote reacted how?" Samantha Carter asked, trying to get
the disturbed Jaffa to clarify his reaction to Alexander Harris, an
ordinary human who was growing more and more extraordinary by the
"My symbiote was greatly disturbed when my skin came into contact
with Xander Harris's."
"Like with the Retu?" Daniel asked, curiously.
Teal'c paused in his pacing and regarded Dr. Jackson for a long
moment before shaking his head decisively and continuing. "Not
precisely. With the Retu, my symbiote reacted to that species being
out of phase with our physical parameters. My symbiote's response to
Xander Harris is not for the same reason."
"So Junior didn't want to play nice?" Jack O'Neill asked lazily,
through lidded eyes that saw more than most people dreamed of.
George wondered idly if his 2IC would ever see fit to permanently
drop his charade of stupidity. He doubted it though- Jack enjoyed
it way too much.
George resisted the urge to roll his eyes. It wasn't dignified and
he was trying to set an example, some members of his senior staff
still needed it. "Major Carter, do you have any theories?"
Samantha frowned as her brow furrowed in thought. "I... I'm not sure,
sir. I think it might be helpful to ask some Tok'ra to come through
to the base and try to see if contact with Xander upsets them as
well. Dad reacted to the Retu as well and perhaps Selmac, or one of
the other Tok'ra might better be able to articulate the exact cause
of Juni... Teal'c's symbiote's distress in regards to our patient."
George really shouldn't have been amused by Jack's snickering at
Samantha's near slip. Especially since it made the poor woman blush
to the roots of her hair. Speaking of poor people, what HAD been
done to the young Mr. Harris? He had no doubt that it had been
extremely unpleasant, not if the NID, even the legitimate branches-
which he doubted- had been involved.
On the other hand, George Hammond had lived through too many wars,
and lost too many good people, to look a gift experimental guinea
pig in the mouth. Xander Harris, for better or worse, appeared to
have been made immune to attempts by the Goa'uld to take him as host.
So immune that mere exposure to his skin caused a feeling of
discomfort. As General in the United States' Air Force, and part of
the first line of defense against hostile alien invasion, he
couldn't sit idly by and let such a potentially useful means of
planetary defense be ignored.
Blacked out records or not, they had two and a half weeks to make
sense, and use, of Xander Harris.
"All right, Major, I give you permission to go ahead and try to
contact the Tok'ra..."
"Not Anise, not Anise!"
"Colonel O'Neill," he warned firmly. Jack glowered petulantly and
George, with difficulty, swallowed his bemusement and continued with
his orders. "See if any operatives are available to come and test
out your theory. In the mean time, I want you to start in with tests
to see if we can determine what kind of alterations Mr. Harris has
undergone. I also want you all to continue to research and try to
fill in some of the blanks in Mr. Harris's past."
Teal'c stopped in his pacing and met his questioning gaze. "I would
like, with your permission General Hammond, to continue contact with
Xander Harris. My symbiote remained unharmed despite its distress
and I wish to ascertain if prolonged physical contact makes a
"Prolonged physical contact?" Jack quipped with a cocky grin.
George stifled another sigh. Jack O'Neill could be a royal pain in
the ass. Entertaining, but definitely a pain in the...
"I was thinking of sparring, or some similar form of physical
Sam was grinning at Teal'c bland rebuttal and Jack's subsequent
"Would Mr. Harris be open to such a suggestion?"
Teal'c turned his attention to him once again. "I believe so,
General Hammond. He has expressed his... exquisite boredom to me
quite vocally on several separate occasions. I believe that
anything that allows him increased freedom of movement would be
"Very well then. You have my permission to make use of the gym.
Just make sure that it's cleared of all personnel first. All right,
people, you have your orders, get to it!"
Jack sidled up to Sam as they filed out and George caught the tail
end of their whispered conversation. "The Tok'ra?" his 2IC hissed.
"Sir," Sam hissed back, "its essential to know if Teal'c reaction was
unique and we can't very well ask Katar..."
"Well, at least request Jacob, please, Carter. You know Anise
The briefing room door closed behind them all, leaving one
exasperated but amused General in its wake.
Agent Samantha Finn glared at her husband as she washed the dishes.
"You have to call it in Riley, there's been an Initiative security
breach and the NID has to know."
Her husband glared right back as he snatched a wet dish away from her
and toweled it dry angrily before putting it in the kitchen cupboard.
"The NID can take care of itself, Sam, Xander can't."
"Xander isn't a child Riley Finn! He was taking care of himself
quite nicely eighteen years before he met you, and six years after
you walked away from Sunnydale. This O'Neill is not a monster."
Maggie Walsh's name hung unsaid between them.
Riley looked away from her and rested his clenched hands on the
countertop, his broad shoulders a rigid, uncompromising line. His
voice, when he spoke, was distant, as cold as it had ever been with
her. "You don't understand Sam. You weren't there. You didn't see
your men die because of what your program had created. You didn't
see the civilians die. See a bunch of god damn innocents pull our
asses out of the fire!"
The words hurt. But Sam knew, with the stubbornness of a pit bull,
that she was right. She threw her dishtowel in the sink and faced
her husband's back, hands on her slight hips. "You're right Riley,
I wasn't THERE. But I've seen good men, my men, die, and I've seen
civilians killed. I've fought by YOUR side for six years and I
fought by myself long before that.
"This isn't some pissing contest over sob stories though. This is a
breach in national security and as a soldier of the U.S. Government,
it is your DUTY to relay such vital information to your superiors.
The Initiative was a mess that should not resurface. Nothing would
be gained from it but more deaths and you know that so stop being so
pig-headed about it!"
His back muscles twitched. "And what about Xander, and the girls?
What about Buffy and Dawn? Hell, what about Willow?! If I raise the
alarm files are going to be reopened, re-examined, reread and I
guarantee you that someone, somewhere, will start to wonder if things
had been handled differently, how much use the government could get
out of an army of pet Slayers. How much tactical advantage such a
powerful witch could add to the cause of freedom and patriotism.
And those asshole will spend the last of their waking moments hunting
down some of the world's few remaining heroes in order to turn them
into lab rats."
"You're being irrational," she said softly.
Riley turned slowly and looked down at her, face immobile, eyes sad
with the kind of knowledge that only two years living on the cusp of
Hell could provide. Nothing else could disillusion you to humanity
quite so completely but seeing it slowly stripped away. "What would
you do to keep Haley safe?"
Samantha Finn stared up at the man she loved and wondered how, even
after all these years, she could still not know so much of his soul.
"It isn't the same. Haley is OUR daughter. Our child."
Riley sneered. "And the only reason she hasn't seen the end of the
world is because all of those girls, those Slayers, that you want me
to endanger, chose not to have a life. Not to stay with the parents
who loved them in the safety of their childhood homes. They chose to
fight the same fight we do every day. The fight that gives us, US,
Special Ops trained troops, nightmares- and to fight it with bows and
arrows. Bits of wood. Swords."
"But that's THEIR choice Riley."
"And it's mine to protect them, even from a distance, the best I know
how. I'm not making the phone call Sam."
It was her turn to show her husband her back as she walked away.
Malcolm flipped open his cell phone on the third ring. "Agent Barrett
"Hi, this is Agent Finn, I have some information on a leak within the
He frowned. "Agent Finn?"
"Yes... Agent Samantha Finn."
AN2: Yes, I know, Barrett doesn't appear until fifth season canon SG.
He's making an early appearance (my timeline goes AU fourth season SG
anyway). I needed an agent.