Wizard of Oz
AN: Its' been a VERY long couple of weeks, and not just because
I'm going into computer withdrawal. That's right, the resurrection
has failed. Will be getting a new one eventually. Don't worry,
I'm as annoyed as you are. But look, new chapter, yay me!
Also, I answered reviews from the last chapter a couple of days ago
(the update I kept blathering on about would be this one by the
Hope you enjoy and continue to enjoy. I'd love to get some more
feedback now that things are heating up. I get paranoid about my
inability to construct plotlines.
You guys rock. Seriously. Thank you for your patience, and in
some cases, your technology related condolences.
10/9/04- Slightly amended in order to fix some details in reference to the
Wizard of Oz (as pointed out by jedibuttercup in a review if you're truly
curious). Thanks for the heads up, and I make no claims up front to be
an expert on *any* show, especially Stargate which I see less of than
********** Trick or Treat: Chapter Twenty-Four ************
"What do I tell my men to look for? Someone on a broom stick?"
Xander's lips twisted into a grimacing smirk. "With flying
Jack's eyes narrowed. He wasn't a chimp fan. "Flying monkeys?"
he asked suspiciously.
The younger man snorted. "Dude, Wizard of Oz. Pop culture much?"
Jack smiled grimly. "Apparently not."
Xander's gaze grew unfocused for a moment before he blinked his
good eye and shook his head. "Judging from Willow's spaciness, I'd
say you're looking for a glowing white woman who can kick you ass
and walk through walls."
He glanced at his team. Carter and Daniel were showing more signs
of life, consciousness even, and Teal'c was starting to twitch.
Jack was going to take that as a good sign. "When you say glowing,
are we talking radioactive?"
"All right, sir, yes, sir, I understand."
"What the hell was that about?"
Richard Dorn hung up the base phone and frowned as he turned to look
at his friend and fellow guard to Cheyenne Mountain's gated entrance.
"I'm not sure Mike. But that was Colonel O'Neill. We're on orders
to stand down and not obstruct the entrance of any glowing white
woman- with or without flying monkeys."
Michael Perisky whistled. "Monkeys?"
Richard shrugged. "The Colonel's words, not mine."
The two men shifted position as they stared uneasily down the road
leading up to the mountain. Mike ran a nervous hand through graying
hair. "Ever notice that all the weird shit involves SG-1?"
"I dunno, SG-11 got that bizarre alien fungus a few months back."
"Oh yeah, I remember that. They all had antennas for weeks."
"Kinda makes you glad for guard duty once in awhile, huh?"
Mike snorted. "Not when the weird shit is planning on coming through
the front gate."
Richard grinned. "True."
Willow reached out and ripped a seam in reality with one smooth
movement and stepped through the hole her power had made. Magic
was singing in her ears, a glorious cadence of the earth, of life
and death and that all that lay in the gray between. A flick of
her wrist mended the tear behind her as she looked down, over the
landscape of Colorado.
White hair billowed behind her as the wind, rising to greet her,
tugged at her clothing. Power poured out of her and concentrated
in an arc that lead her downwards. Willow, eyes glowing hotly,
drifted downward from the sky, circling, flaming gaze narrowed as
she fixated on one mountain peak.
Mouth pursed now she descended more. 'Xander... I'm coming now.'
Richard looked up and felt his mouth drop open as his gun titled
towards the ground. And there she, whatever the hell she was,
floating, about a dozen feet off the ground- a GLOWING white woman
in a hippie era peasant blouse and Gap chic slacks. White hair
billowed out behind her and her eyes, well blindingly bright eyes
were definitely up there on the creep-o-meter scale.
"Richard!" Mike hissed furtively as he elbowed him, "What in the
hell do we do?"
Richard thought about it for a moment, closed his mouth, and rested
the butt of his weapon on the pavement before replying, "We let her
The woman, thing, WHATEVER, didn't so much as deign to look at the
two wide eyed guards as she drifted downwards to the level of the
fence, and proceeded to walk THROUGHT it. The two men watched in
white lipped silence as the glowing woman floated to the entrance of
Cheyenne Mountain, her bare feet several inches from the ground,
before she went THROUGH the walls again, into the SGC complex.
They looked at each other, shaken, before Richard managed a weak
smile. "Well, at least she didn't have flying monkeys..."
"Don't shoot, don't touch, don't..."
Jack glared at the younger man at his side, the younger frazzled,
very trepidatious younger man. With friends like this Willow, who
the hell needed enemies? You'd think she skinned people alive or
Carter, still a bit woozy from the leftover magic (ignoring the
ramifications behind THAT for a little while longer in this
suspension of reality), stood slightly swaying at his side.
Daniel, a little green around the gills himself, was on Jack's
other side, while Teal'c stood staunchly at Jack's back. He threw
a worried look back at the jaffa- apparently magic and Junior
didn't play nice. Staunch or not, the big guy wasn't his normal
The twitching gave him away.
Which made Xander's little Goa'uld repelling trick all the more
interesting in retrospect. Jack would believe in fairies if they
spit up Goa'uld symbiotes like Xander could. 'Yes, sir, the secret
to repelling the Goa'uld is fairy dust. Tell the United Nations to
think happy thoughts and they can fly to Never Never Land as well...'
God, some days Jack really pitied Hammond.
Only Xander had said that he hadn't been working any of the mojo
going on. But Xander was friends with a woman who thought that
ten feet thick concrete walls presented as much difficulty to go
through as tissue paper. It kinda made him wonder what ELSE the
kid's friends were capable of.
Kinda made him wonder about that troupe of overly protective pirates
with their grim determination and fierce love for Alexander Harris.
Most normal girls, especially those in a Home, didn't have Special
Ops Agents like Riley Finn at their beck and call. But Jack
definitely got the impression that the pint sized, sword wielding,
Goa'uld chopping munchkins could tell certain branches of the U.S.
government to jump, and the most powerful government in the world
would ask how high.
Frightening stuff considering the fact that those girls probably
didn't like him and his that much. Even polite kidnapping tends
to sour people.
The rest of the men who had joined SG-1 in the briefing room, a
contingent of several of the on-world teams, including Ferretti,
shifted as Xander trailed away abruptly in his litany of warnings.
The younger man frowned, eyes unfocused, as he stared at the far side
of the room.
A crooked, dashing smile suddenly split Xander's features in two as
the wall shimmered for a moment before melting away to reveal, well,
his very first witch. Willow Rosenberg glowed with enough power that
even JACK could feel it rolling off of her in waves. He heard Carter
gasp from beside him, but Jack couldn't tear his eyes away. Willow's
greeting smile, directed solely at the one she had come to retrieve,
was eerie because of her power, the hollow voice that thundered
through the room eerier still. "Xander..."
The curse that left softly Jack's lips was an involuntary measure of
his own discomfort about the rapidly escalating situation. "Fuck."
Willow ignored the other men standing in the room. They didn't
matter. Nothing mattered but Xander. He held out his arms,
welcoming her as she went to him, burying her face in the crook of
his neck as he kissed her gloriously white hair. "Why did you keep
this from me?" she asked, demanded, in an agonized whisper that
warmed her voice and dimmed some of her power.
Not enough to quiet the magic thrumming in her veins, but enough to
return her to humanity long enough to be held by her best friend.
He held her tighter before responding softly, familiar voice gentle
and tight with things he wouldn't say. "Because I wanted to keep
you from them." She looked up, troubled gaze meeting one sad brown
eye before she looked, really looked with newly aware eyes that
didn't shine quite so brilliantly, and saw the military men standing
in shock around them, jaws scraping the floor.
The first vestiges of power began to stir. How dare they kidnap
Xander and bring him away from this place... How dare they take him
from his girls and... Her best friend's voice interrupted the inner
"I knew you wouldn't let me stay, if you knew I was here, and I
needed to stay, for all of you."
Willow choked on her anger suddenly. He needed to stay because he
was protecting them, the only way he knew how, by sacrificing
himself. Damn him. Damn him for being right. But right and
wrong didn't matter, not when Ashley was hurt and needing Xander.
Nothing could really matter besides that, even the loss of their
preciously guarded secrecy.
Willow would deal. It wouldn't be the first time she and hers had
been hunted by a secret government organization. And Xander had
said these were good people. Maybe she wouldn't have to kill them.
He smiled crookedly and kissed her brow. "I'll make things all
She believed him. She always did. Xander promised things so
rarely- he was too pragmatic for that. "We... we need to go."
Her best friend's face tightened at the reminder and he turned to
one of the Initiative knock offs, obviously the one in charge. "Be
seeing you Jack. Sorry I had to cut our fun short."
The man, Colonel O'Neill Willow presumed, started to walk forward
before stopping himself. "I can't let you just leave, Xander. I
mean, the things you know, the things you haven't even told us."
He paused and waved a hand in her general direction. "I mean,
hello, Wicked Witch of the West is like your best friend!"
Xander snorted. "And you denied any knowledge of pop culture."
This Jack's lips quirked, obviously despite themselves. "I'm a fast
A sandy haired man standing nearby rolled his eyes. "Oh please, Jack,
so modest- King of all Simpsons, Worshipper of Toto and all that
"Shut up, Daniel. Things more important than maintaining my
reputation over here..." O'Neill glared without heat at the man
before focusing his attention back on Xander.
Willow stared the Colonel down as Xander simply said, "Either way, learn
this- you don't have a say in the matter." The gray haired man
seemed to think this over for a moment before nodding, once,
briefly, as his wary gaze flickered to her. Oh yes, he may be an
Initiative knock off, but he wasn't a stupid knock off.
"Be seeing you, Xander."
Her best friend snorted again. "Yeah, yeah, big surprise there. How
long will it take you to catch up, two or three days?"
Jack O'Neill shrugged, the movement hard and quick despite his
attempted nonchalance. Willow wasn't the only one who wasn't
fooled. He paused again and Willow could tell he was struggling
with something. Finally, "Do you know anyone by the name of
Xander frowned slightly at the question and Willow wondered if she
was the only one who didn't get why this question seemed so important
to the Colonel. "Am I supposed to?"
O'Neill's jaw locked in an angry line as he turned his face briefly
away from them. "Fucking, lying Maybourne." She raised an ivory
brow at Xander who shrugged.
The older man reigned in his unexplained temper with visible effort
before tilting an imaginary hat brim towards Willow. "Very nice not
to meet you, ma'am."
Her best friend snickered and Willow elbowed him sharply before
fighting off a brief spell of dizziness. Okkaayy, the magic buzz
was starting to wear off. "Not funny," Willow whined.
"But Wills..." She cut him off suddenly by speaking a word of power
that activated a distance portal. She was suddenly impatient to be
gone- away from all these people with prying eyes and meaningless
questions. They had more important things to worry about, like
Ashley's health and her own waning power. Xander's protestation
turned into a curse. "Damnit, I hate when you do that!" She
leveled a baleful glare, just on principle, at the dumbfounded room
as her hair flickered and bled, if only momentarily to red, before
grasping Xander's hand and pulling him through the vortex of
Xander was really, really glad that his best friend was a genius.
He knew that HE wouldn't have had the presence of mind to dump them
in the gardens of the hospital, instead of inside where the
spontaneous appearance of two people would definitely be noticed.
It probably wouldn't cause widespread panic because, hey, Cleveland
WAS an active Hellmouth and the hospital staff had seen weirder,
but Xander was quite thoroughly sick from being the center of
He was totally ready to play it under the radar. Though that was
hard considering the fact that he was carrying said best friend
through the hedge-maze of Santa Ruiz Hospital like some sort of
martyr. Willow was, well, Willow again. Her hair was red, her
voice back too normal, well it would have been if she had been
One of the nasty side effects of tapping directly into Earth's White
Magic was that it seriously tuckered the most powerful witch in the
world out. He didn't think that she had expended this much energy
but, from the signs, she'd sleep like the dead for a good two or
That was a relief in many ways because it gave him some time to
figure out how NOT to get her to play Level the Mountain, just on
the principle that the military made him their guest alone, but on
the other hand, Dawn had had to call Willow in because there was
something that the girls and Faith couldn't handle.
If Xander couldn't handle the situation either, well, then they
were up shit creek without a paddle. Apocalypses were usually
pretty time sensitive and two to three days was a time frame of
wishful thinking. Hell, the LAST Apocalypse had come down to the
ten-minute mark before they had even KNOWN about it.
Made him long for the days of Codex prophecies. Well, not really,
but, even having cryptic portends of death and destruction were a
lot more reassuring than being surprised by an evil army randomly
trying to enslave the world.
They were garnering more than what Xander would have considered
their fair share of staring from the other patients as he strode
out of the gardens and through the back entrance. It probably
should have been disturbing that he knew the hospital as well as
he did, but instead Xander greeted the familiarity of the white
washed walls with something akin to relief.
Funny how much home had become associated with the smell of
Willow turned her head inward, towards the crook of his arm, as her
brow wrinkled. He grinned ruefully as her pale lips moved, silently
murmuring, 'frogs... no frogs...' as she slipped out of
unconsciousness and into a deep sleep. Xander took the elevator
up to the third floor, resignedly ignoring all the eyes that studied
his borrowed, and somewhat rumpled, B.D.U.'s and the red haired witch
in his arms with long sideway glances.
Dorothy, the no nonsense night nurse who ruled the hospital with
an iron fist, greeted him with a smile she reserved for her favorite
patients as the elevator dinged open and Xander walked to the
nurse's station. "Why hello Mr. Harris. Good to see you not
bleeding for once. Does Miss. Rosenberg...?" Dorothy let the
statement trail away as her professional eyes studied the sleeping
"No, no injuries, just exhaustion."
The large woman tsked in the back of her throat but didn't offer
any more commentary than that. The nurses of Santa Ruiz weren't
nearly as unobservant as the doctors. It hadn't taken THEM long to
figure out that by watching out for the Big House and the Booty
House, they kept a lot of their hospital beds empty. "Well, it's
been a slow night. We have a few beds open. Why don't you put her
in room 304? Most of your girls are in 302. Do you want to see
them or Ashley first?"
Xander's first, gut, instinct was to go the Ashley. But he'd
learned a lot of things over the last eleven years. One of those
harshly learned lessons was how to lead. And that meant that he
couldn't see the blonde imp until he had gotten a report from the
girls. Until he knew what in the HELL was going on.
Suddenly weary, Xander sighed, and managed a wan smile for the
sympathetic night nurse. "Let me drop Willow off and I'll check in
with the girls first. Then I'll go see Ash."
Dorothy nodded before hesitantly reaching out to pat his shoulder.
Xander stared at the formidable woman in surprise before she
quietly said, "The doctors say she's doing better. Stabilizing a
Stabilizing? Since when was there a question of a Slayer stabilizing
His stomach clenched with heavy dread at the implication behind the
gruffly offered reassurance. Dorothy was a competent woman who
had seen a lot of injuries inflicted on his girls over the years.
Had seen a couple of them die in Xander's arms in this very hallway.
Reassurances weren't her style. Not when it came to them.
He swallowed numbly as he made his way to room 304 and gently
deposited Willow on the empty hospital bed. Xander stood by his
best friend's side for a minute before he carefully brushed
tangled red hair away from her soft face.
His hand was shaking.
"What happened when I was gone?" he asked the sleeping witch. "What
happened BECAUSE I was gone, and why didn't you mention the
whole 'still a butt-monkey' thing to me?"
Willow didn't have his answers, and she mumbled one last diatribe
against frogs in her sleep before rolling over onto her stomach, her
face pointing towards the back wall of the room. Xander closed his
eye, took a deep breath, before making his way towards room 302.