Shadows of the Soul
Shadows of the Soul
Disclaimer: Buffy is property of Mutant Enemy or whoever has bought the rights by this point and Stargate is property of MGM and SciFi. They are not mine, however this is a non profit effort and I intend no harm. If you wish me to stop tell me and I will.
Category: Crossover SG1/Buffy
Rating: PG 13 maybe low R
Summary: Two worlds collide causing Xander to gain a hitchhiker and a family, but to lose any hope of contentment or peace.
The claws glittered in the moonlight as they swept toward him, the thing an angular sculpture of crystal, somehow brought to life. They chimed, delicately, as they met Xander's hastily raised sword.
The grooves they left in the metal were anything but delicate.
Before he could return the blow the demon faded back into the shadows and once out of the moonlight it was translucent, nearly invisible.
He lost sight of it and retreated a step to the center of his pool of moonlight, straining his eyes and ears into the darkness surrounding him. The museum displays were half-familiar shapes in the darkened room, remembered only from glimpses before even the emergency lighting had died. Trickles of moonlight seeping through the high windows were his only refuge now from that beautiful and terrible thing that flickered in and out of the shadows.
A beautiful demon. There was a rarity. He could name a lot of demons that could "look" beautiful but when they showed their true face it always reflected what they were inside.
This demon was different. It was like a fevered dream; beautiful and nightmarish all at once. A lethal ghost of crystal, light, darkness, and whispering chimes.
It scared the crap out of him.
His searching senses found nothing.
Damn it! Where was it? He had to find some way of killing it before some clueless security guard wandered in on a check and had his guts taken out and shown to him.
He almost missed the faint sound of chimes from the far darkness. Jerking his head around he gazed past the moon kissed marble of a Greek statue.
Great. It was going into the Egyptian section.
He let out a silent sigh and shifted his grip on the sword.
At least it wasn't Incan Mummies.
He crept across the chamber, skirting the displays, being careful to keep close to the cold glow of the moonlight.
After all, how much worse could Egyptian undead be?
* * *
"All exits have been secured and the security guards have been evacuated." The faintest bit of static intruded on the words as they exited the small speaker.
"Roger that." Jack released the transmit key on his radio and glanced to his teammates. "Teal'c, you've got point."
"Jack," Daniel said, "They haven't opened it yet. If he's there he's still trapped inside."
"No chances, Danny," Jack said as they moved up the museum steps. "There hasn't been time for a full briefing or prep for this Op, and that's always when the surprises bite you in the ass."
He halted them in the museum entry. "Okay kiddo," he looked to Teal'c. Sam continued to watch the the room, but he could tell she was listening. "Time to tell me what's got you so spooked."
A single eyebrow climbed.
"Don't give me that look. You damn near jumped out of your skin when Daniel told us this guy was imprisoned on Earth. This Ab... Omoboshi..." he glanced over at Daniel."
"Abeth Ushi," Daniel corrected him. "It means-"
"Old Night." Teal'c's voice rumbled over Daniel's.
"What is it with that anyway?" Jack looked between the two of them. "I've yet to hear of a Goa'uld without a gaudy over-the-top name."
"He has no name, O'Neill. All feared him far too much to give to him that which he had not taken for himself."
Daniel said, "So others used titles they thought were descriptive of him."
"Old Night? So, what, he take old dark skinned guys as hosts?"
Teal'c, apparently wasn't in the mood for sarcasm; the edges of his mouth turned down fractionally, and as he turned away to proceed deeper into the museum he said, "Perhaps you would prefer another of his titles, O'Neill... Father of Demons."
* * *
Xander twisted aside as claws slashed through the space his right shoulder had been an instant before.
It was playing with him.
The demon moved so fast that the air, shivering around the crystal panes of it's body, gave voice not to chimes but to an eerie sort of music. Air breezed through rents in his clothes produced by delicate strikes of those razor claws, fluttering the fabric when he moved. But his skin was unmarked.
It was playing with him.
He grimaced, trying to catch his breath. How the hell did he get into these situations? He took one step toward one of the three exits of the room, and halted as he caught the flicker of motion in the darkness between him and the door. It wouldn't let him near the exits, keeping him boxed in the center of the room.
For an instant he allowed himself to wonder if this was where he was going to die. Then he discarded the thought; Wills would resurrect him and let Buffy kick his ass. Well, maybe she wouldn't, given the whole heaven "snafu" but-
His back thumped up against something solid, stopping his backward motion. His heart nearly stopped. Shakily he reassured himself, No, the demon's in front of me. He hadn't taken his eyes off the translucent form in the shadows. So...
He'd noted it going into the room. It was the centerpiece of an unfinished display. A massive thing, standing upright, carved with hieroglyphics that were unnervingly suggestive in the dimness.
Not sure he was comfortable with that at his back, but it was probably the one display in here that could keep that thing from getting behind him.
The demon moved, silently, ghosting along inches above the floor. His gaze followed it, nearly loosing it again in the dark, and he shifted his sword to keep it between them. The weapon wasn't much better than a club now, the metal scared and twisted by the slashing of the things claws. He got the impression that the demon could have taken the sword away from him easily.
It hadn't. Which probably meant the sword couldn't hurt it.
This was not turning out to be a good night.
The demon disappeared behind a chariot that had some wax posed pharaoh riding in it. His heart sped up; out of sight was not good. A second passed and another.
Shit. His eyes flicked from shadow to shadow.
Maybe it had gotten tired of playing and decided to return to wherever it had come from.
Yeah right. It-
The faintest shiver of noise almost above him was all that warned him. He dropped. There was a gentle tugging on his back, before he hit the floor, and a sudden wetness. Then the pain hit.
A thought flashed through his mind: it had gotten tired of playing. Only it wasn't going away, it was going to kill him.
Gritting his teeth against the burning in his back he came up swinging, sword whistling though the air as he spun... and hit nothing.
It took his eyes a moment to find it. The demon was hovering several paces away, seemingly uninterested in him. He was about to leap at it when motion caught his gaze.
It was opening.
"Ah come on! I was kidding about the mummies!" The words echoed in the room.
He tried to move away but his legs wouldn't work. The burning in his back had spread and a tingling was creeping into his extremities.
He started to laugh; he was going to die here.
A figure stepped out of the sarcophagus. Clothed in things Xander had only seen in movies the man looked like something out of one of the exhibits. Only gaudier.
A pair of dark eyes swept down to meet Xander's, a chill settled into his gut, and his laughter choked off.
Gaudier. And scarier.
The eyes moved away, dismissing him, to stare at the demon. Xander realized the sound of the chimes had shifted sounding... agitated.
The man spoke, his voice distorted, resonant, "Kree Mashatur! Shal pa Ka'ree, Ushi." His eyes glowed.
The demon's reaction was violent. It's musical sounds blended into one high pitched shriek that seared into Xander's eardrums and in a blur of motion it surged toward the man, claws outstretched.
A single hand snapped up. Light flashed off metal from the chain that joined the hand piece to the bracelets and a gem winked from the center of the palm. Energy exploded outward, smashing into the demon.
But didn't stop it. It seemed to stager but the crystal plains of its body fragmented the brunt of the blast, scattering it off in different directions to wreak destruction among the contents of the room.
* * *
Sam jerked her P-90 up at a sound she heard regularly in her nightmares. To her right she heard the Colonel say, "Crap. Was that..."
She answered, "A ribbon device." even as Teal'c said, "Yes."
As the Colonel grabbed for his radio he said, "See, Daniel. Surprises. I hate surprises." Then he mashed down on the transmit button and said, "Code bravo, people. The target is active. Over."
A string of acknowledgments filtered back over the air.
As they resumed moving deeper into the building she spared a glance at Teal'c's back. Anyone who didn't know him as well as the three of them wouldn't have noticed, but she could see it in the set of his shoulders, the way he moved, the way his eyes jumped from shadow to shadow.
Teal'c was afraid.
She'd never know him to be afraid of one of the snakes. But there was something different about this Goa'uld. She knew it, too. Jolinar knew it.
Some fragmentary memory passed on in her brief time as a host whispered to her... of fear.
* * *
The demon grappled with the man, claws biting into flesh, and blood flowed.
"Sha pa kree!"
A flash blinded Xander and the concussion knocked him back to the floor. He blinked furiously, trying to clear his vision. The man swayed as the air around him shimmered and crackled. Xander could see horrible wounds on the man's torso. White bone showed through in several places. Yet as terrible as the wounds appeared Xander could see no fear on the man's face. Only rage and... annoyance?
The demon tried to reach the man again, but this time it was hurled back by the glowing sparking field.
As he watched Xander realized the demon was wounded as well; the crystal of it's body was cracked and scorched. The cracks were weeping a clear fluid that sparkled in the light. It threw itself at he man again, apparently determined to batter through the shield.
A wave of energy from the gem on the man's palm hurled it back, and then another pounded it to the ground, and another, and another.
Deflected bits of energy scattered in all directions pulverizing artifacts and models. Shattering protective glass and wrecking treasures thousands of years old.
Through a growing numbness Xander watched it all with detached amazement and considered that it might not be Willow to resurrect him and kill him again, but Giles, for taking this fight into a museum. He winced as a sandstone statue cracked under a blast and then crumbled under the next. He wondered how the museum was going to explain that away.
Vandals probably, they-
Blearily, he realized it was quiet.
The demon was a pile of shattered crystal on the floor. A floor that was cratered from the force that had been hammered repeatedly into it. Even as Xander watched the pieces of crystal broke down further until only a faintly glittery sand remained.
Huh. Demon problem solved.
Of course that left scary sarcophagus guy.
Who was swaying on his feet, and looked to have more blood on the outside of his body than in. Slowly the man turned and took a shaky step back toward the sarcophagus, only to have his legs give out under him. As he fell to his knees his eyes met Xander's.
They flashed with a golden light.
Right before he pitched forward onto Xander's legs.
Okay. Problem two solved. Now if only Will would show up in the next few minutes he might just live. Maybe the old Harris luck was taking vacation ton-
Something burst out of the neck of the corpse across his legs. Something both snakelike and horribly other.
It squirmed up his body.
Frantically, he tried to swat it away but his numb limbs wouldn't respond.
It reached his neck and he felt a piercing pain as it burrowed in. He felt it writhe inward, moving beneath skin and muscle.
* * *
That wasn't good.
The screams choked off after a couple breaths. Sam kept her grip on the P-90 loose enough not to jerk the trigger if she was startled. A glance showed her the tightening of Daniel's jaw. She knew that in other circumstances he'd be enthusiastically investigating the contents of the room the were in. But right now there was a Go'uld not more than sixty feet away. Just through the doorway ahead, in fact.
She keyed her radio to give the distinctive triple click that would inform the Colonel that they were in position, having split off on one of the corridors to circle round the room and enter on the opposite side.
If a double click came back that would be the signal to-
There it was. She brought her weapon into a ready position and she stepped into the room. Sweeping her quadrant with both eyes and weapon she fell into the familiar pattern drilled into her by training. She could sense Daniel doing the same close by.
Devastation. The room was destroyed. Pieces of artifacts, displays, glass littered the floor. Something that must have once been a sandstone statue was in pieces to her left. Even the walls, ceiling and floor had been chewed into by what she could only assume was a ribbon device's energy discharge. The only object in the room still whole was a massive thing in the center of the room that she recognized as some sort of variant on a Goa'uld Sarcophagus.
It was upright and bulkier than the standard and there were other design changes she didn't recognize. Daniel had implied it was a prison.
Her area was clear. She looked to Daniel. He was finishing up his sweep and in a moment he nodded to her and they continued further into the room.
Something wasn't right. If the Goa'uld was here he should have challenged them already.
There was a pattern to the destruction. It radiated outward from... there. An area of the floor had been hammered downward, the reinforced concrete was cracked and pulverized. A pile of fine dust rested at the center of the depression. And slightly off from it and the sarcophagus-
She snapped her weapon over to cover the two still figures on the floor. One was obviously a Goa'uld, but it looked like it had mauled by some form of very large, clawed animal. Blood was everywhere.
The other, lying on his back, expression frozen in a grimace, was a civilian. Obviously injured, but still alive.
"Damn it!" The Colonel's voice.
She took her eyes, if not her aim, of the bodies and looked a him as he stood across from her near the sarcophagus. Teal'c circled round the other side, moving to avoid both her line of fire and the Colonel's.
The Colonel's voice was furious. "The museum was closed, what the hell was he doing in here?"
"I do not know, O'Neill," Teal'c said. "But he has clearly been taken as host when the Old One discarded his previous body."
Sam grimaced, seeing where the Goa'uld must have erupted from the neck of the one of the men, and the bloody trail up the body of the other. Her eyes moved from the Goa'uld's entry wound to the man's face. God. He couldn't be more than twenty five, at the most. She prayed he'd been unconscious when the Goa'uld had struck. It would have been some small mercy.
The Colonel was on his radio calling in the other extraction teams. Teal'c stepped closer to the two on the floor.
Daniel asked, "Teal'c?"
"Something is wrong, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c was gaze was intent upon the young man. "He has been taken by a Goa'uld, but it is not yet in control."
Come to think of it, every time she'd seen a person taken as host it had been almost instantaneous. Yet the man had to have been lying on the floor for at least two minutes now.
Daniel said, "Can he be resisting?"
Teal'c shook his head. "I have never heard of such a thing."
That left another option. "A natural immunity?" Sam asked.
"It doesn't matter right now." The Colonel said. "Teal'c, get him restrained. The other teams will be here in a minute to help us get him out."
* * *