(Warnings and Disclaimers in Chapter One, and once again Thank you everyone for your reviews, you can’t imagine how much I appreciate them. Author note at the bottom, but one tiny warning before this chapter begins: getting back into some angst here.)
Chapter Thriteen: Surfacing
‘So, this is what the Tauri have become without the influence of the gods. Pitiful that we could not draw out this potential years ago,’ She thought to herself as she walked around the small California town. The host body she was using was strong, and she had been weakened from her many years of confinement. The Goa’uld knew at any moment her host’s consciousness could rise up and push her into the background once more. Most humans were easily taken over and forced to watch from inside themselves, yet she found herself barely able to access even the memories of this particular girl. What the Goa’uld symbiot saw around her in the world, made her wary about showing her self. Humans were performing acts that in times long past they never would have been able to.
Things like this so-called ‘Magic’ her host used, was especially intriguing, and the goa’uld set about using it as much as possible in her little outings. The concept seemed easy enough to grasp, but the practice of it was difficult on such a time constraint. Also, there were other races of beings she hadn’t heard of or seen before.
She was patient, though, and knew in time she would be able to control the host easily. But for now she was content with small forays out into the streets and discover what she could. One thing truly worried the Goa’uld however, there appeared to be no sign of the Stargate, only something her host referred to as a Hell Mouth. As of yet, she could not break through the hosts mental barriers to find out anything more…
* * *
Tara looked up as the bell above the door chimed. She had to do a double take after almost glancing away. Since the incident with Glory the blond witch began doubting her abilities in reading aura’s as well as her own magic. After the spell to bring Buffy back, and seeing how powerful Willow had become, caused the young woman to question magic in general. For a moment there, Tara had not recognized the person who walked in by the aura surrounding them. When she looked again and saw her lover coming towards her, Willow’s own aura fully in tact.
“Hey baby!” The red head greeted with a smile, “How’s the sociology homework coming?”
“F..fine,” Tara managed to stutter out with a smile of her own. “What did you do today?”
“Oh you know, stuff,” Willow responded with a shrug. In truth she couldn’t seem to remember anything after leaving campus earlier that afternoon. Not wanting to cast any more stress on the already tightly wound group, she kept her recent bout of memory lapses to herself.
“Ah, stuff. Was it at least interesting stuff?” The blond inquired.
Willow simply shrugged again in a slightly defensive manner, “You know, it was just… stuff.”
“Maybe,” The red head responded simply, hoping that would be the end of the questioning. She felt Tara’s gaze upon her and sighed heavily, “What is it baby?”
Tara shook her head slightly, she and Willow had already argued about the magic issue once. The red head’s reaction made it clear the subject was off limits. That was the first time Tara had seen the aura around her girlfriend start to waver and change.
Giles looked suspiciously at his slayer as she concluded her phone call. “Who was that, and why would I have a candy bar?” He asked taking off his glasses to polish the lenses.
“Oh, just my mom,” Buffy said innocently.
“Oh dear lord,” The watcher muttered, rolling his eyes as he tried to push the memory of the incident away. He half sat on the edge of the office desk, “How are she and Dawn?”
“Good, mom’s getting married, so she seems happy. I guess Dawn really likes the guy too. He’s got a daughter about the same age as well,” The blond said trying to sound enthusiastic.
Leveling his gaze on Buffy Giles asked, “But?”
“But… mom’s sick again. It’s weird too, I guess Dawn thinks it has something to do with me,” Buffy looked away, her voice dropping to almost a whisper, “I can’t help but think maybe she’s right.”
Giles sighed, “As I said before, I am sure its just coincidence.” Although his words sounded certain, a part of the watcher had seen too much in his life, especially on the Hell Mouth, to be completely convinced himself.
“On the plus side, my mom and Dawn are going to come out soon for a visit.”
“Oh that’s wonderful news,” Giles took off his glasses again, pretending to clean them as he tried to form his next words, “I wish I were going to be here to see them.”
“Huh?” The slayer asked with shock.
“Buffy, I’ve been doing some thinking and research on…some things, and unfortunately most of my personal books, well, I took them back to England when I went last time. Plus, I also have access to the Council’s library there as well.” The more he saw of Willow lately, the more his concerns had grown about the young witch, as well as his worry for those around her.
“So, you’re leaving me, alone, after everything I’ve been through?” Buffy whined a part of her wanting to tell her watcher how much of a hell she was living in. She couldn’t begin to express the slight relief Giles gave her, as a watcher and a father figure. He was truly the one constant in the turmoil, which was her life outside of heaven.
“I can’t imagine what it was like in that hell dimension you were sent to, or what you’re going through now with your mother. I need to do this Buffy, please try to understand.” He pleaded with her, “I’ll only be a phone call away.”
Nightfall came quickly over the town, and soon the streets seemed all but deserted. A scantily clad auburn haired woman walked down the middle of the street as if she had nothing to fear, and no one bothered her because of it. Movement down a shadowy side street caught the woman’s interest and she turned towards it. Her curiosity peaked when the figure she saw, a middle aged, strung out man, seemed to disappear before her eyes.
Following after him the Goa’uld was more than surprised to find herself in a reception room of sorts, a door behind her obviously leading to the outside world and another one to her left. Even with her limited access to her host’s abilities, she could still feel the reserve of power filling the room. She looked with disdain at the few humans occupying the space.
The inner door opened and a tall hideous looking man pushed an even more repugnant looking creature out into the waiting room. The middle-aged man walked quickly over to the tall one and demanded that it was his turn. The tall one, obviously the owner of the establishment, ignored the others insistence, instead turning toward the Goa’uld with a pointed finger, “You’re next, strawberry…”
(AN: I’ve been trying to figure out how to integrate the two worlds a bit more and realized that to do so, I need to go a bit farther AU in the Buffyverse than I had originally planned and so a few of the episodes I enjoyed from S6 have been tossed to the cutting room floor. *sighs* I just couldn’t figure out how to fit the musical in L LOL … ANYHOO!
And just a quick Timeline note to help you keep up with where my mind is - Chapter one I envisioned taking place around April, C4 (Operation Proposal) is set in late august, C7 (Tok’ra and Consequence) is around mid-September, C13 –this chapter- (Surfacing) is in mid-October. So anyone with concerns that Joyce and Jack are moving too fast, the have been together about 6 months now. My hubby proposed after only 3 months, sometimes when you know the persons right, that’s all that matters.)