Authors Note: This takes place a week or so prior to The Fourth Horseman. Also I am trying very hard to interweave this between the current season of SG1, but I did want to point out I wrote the Ba’al aspect BEFORE I saw this weeks episode. ~grins~ Other than that enjoy. Let me know if I make any glaring errors.
Faith looked at him, and then violently wiggled her finger in her ear. “Okay I thought I just hear you say something about spirits inside you?”
“Yep.. that is what I said.” Replied Xander, trying to not fidget, as such he was unprepared for Faith standing up, grabbing him, and pulling him down on the bed with her.
“Okay Mister, spill, what the hell are you talking about?”
A deep breath “How much do you know about my Hyena and Solider possessions?”
Faith blinked “Umm.. nothing really, at least not that springs to mind.”
“Hmm.. would have thought someone had ratted me out to you. Oh well… my sophomore year, during a trip to the zoo, I and some other kids were possessed by hyena spirits, I got lucky and got the pack leader, a female. Eventually they cast them out of us, but mine never completely left, but slowly faded. Then at Halloween one year, a chaos mage, an old friend of Giles, cast a spell that made us into what our costumes were. Buffy became a 17th century noblewoman, Willow a ghost, and I became a solider. When the spell was broken, they lost most of it, but I never really did, it just kinda faded.”
Faith nodded slowly listening to him. “Okay.. but it sounds like it was a long time ago and they faded out.”
“Yeah.. and that is what I thought. Until lately. Once we got away from the Sunnydale I started noticing things, nothing major just my reactions were a bit faster, I could hear a little better, knew odd things. But really I chalked most of it up to just not being on the Hellmouth. But after what Thor said, I started thinking. I think they started coming back, more developed and more intense after Caleb took my eye. Then getting off the Hellmouth removed any dampening effect. So I’ve been thinking about it, and trying to remember stuff Anya talked about and all those books we read during research parties. I know Thor said I was related to Grimnir.. who was a human, but over time I think people mixed him up with Odin? Well the myths say he had two ravens, you know what Thor mentioned, and they were called.. um. Oh yeah. Hugin and Munin, thought and memory. And.. well…. I am beginning to wonder if the Solider and Hyena are my versions. Cause trust me, they are there with their own personalities and ideas of what I should do.” Xander sighed after this long rambling speech and looked at Faith not sure what he would see on her face.
Faith was frowning and thinking. While she was not at Willow’s level, all the training and studying with Sam had taught her how to think, and she was finding she rather enjoyed logic puzzles and figuring things out. “Okay, I can accept they are there and have their own goals. While creepy I will grant, what exactly are you asking?”
Xander shrugged and flopped down on the pillows. “I guess I am trying to figure out if I should tell the people here, or just keep it my little secret and work out a balance between the three of them… and.. well.. I wanted to make sure you were okay with it, cause well… “ Xander pulled his pillow over his head and muttered into it.
“Huh? Xander I did not get that last part.” Pulling the pillow away from him.
He muttered again, but this time a bit louder. “theyreallylikeyou”
A slow smile spread across Faith’s face. “They really like me hmm? And how about you?”
Xander kept his arm covering his face “I always liked you, even when I was mad at and scared of you.” His voice low. “I just.. don’t want to rush.. and make another mistake with you. So… friends for now… until you decide you want more.”
Faith was stunned she did not know what to say, usually guys only wanted sex and cared about nothing else, but Xander wanted her to decide when… she just looked at him stunned.
Xander misinterpreting what the look meant, changed the subject. “So what do you think tell the brass about my visitors or keep mum?”
Faith struggled to get her mind back on track, ~oh yeah.. spirits in head~ “Well.. why don’t you talk to Daniel? He said he was ascended once right? So he might have a broader view of this type of stuff than most, and know how to tell the brass.”
Xander thought about it and nodded. “Sounds good, but means I am going to go through a Giles like interrogation on everything about how it happened and everything after that.” Sighing mournfully. “oh well…. Thanks Faith.” With a quick smile he was out of the room before she could come up with anything to say to stop him.
She flopped back on the bed with a stupid smile on her face. “Xander likes me, apparently his spirits like me, and… “ The smile grew even bigger. “And.. he wants me to choose him.” Faith felt warm and safe like she hadn’t ever, she suspected she might be loved, but that would be jinxing it, so for now she was going to luxuriate in the knowledge that Xander liked her. She giggled, then clamped her hand over her mouth horrified, what if someone had heard that. So she just lay there smiling. Then she sat up and started to really laugh. She was still in his room. Figuring he probably went to hide in the cafeteria, she followed, more than willing to let this evolve slowly.
The familiar whooshing sound of the Gate echoed through the room. Xander nervously patted his pockets, internally reviewing everything, and then followed Teal’c, who strode calmly through, into the ring, and Faith who all but danced through. They were going to visit a world that the Ori had converted, but not until about fifty percent of the population had died fighting them. This world had been chosen to research because the gate was far from any population center. They were all in local style clothing, which meant no comforting rifle in his hand, much to Xanders' discomfort. But they all had weapons stashed about their person, and this was to be a simple information gathering trip, not an attempt to do anything.
Once they were through the gate Xander stopped, not sure what was wrong. The area around the gate looked as if bombs had hit it, in fact they probably had. But something else was nagging at him, and the other two paused as he looked around. “There is something here, around the gate, but I am not sure what it is.” He frowned staring hard with his eye, until finally he saw tiny white shapes that floated and bobbed towards the gate, like dandelion sees, slowly gathering at the gate as if waiting. What was odd was some were pure white while others were tinged with grey.
“Do you guys see those?” Xander asked pointing at the air above the gate.
Teal’c and Faith both looked around but saw nothing out of the ordinary. “Nope Xan, why what you see?”
Xander shrugged. “I’m not sure, could be spots in front of my eyes, or something else. Not going to worry about it now, but will put it in the report.
Faith and Teal’c looked at him, a bit worried but nodding they kept walking towards the village. Faith was troubled by what she saw, there were very few people with smile, most just looked scared. They wandered around listening to people talk, but no one mentioned the priors or the Ori. Off to one side of town was a new building with a man standing outside with a book in his hand.
Xander jerked his head towards him. “How much you wanna bet that is the Book of Origin?” It was a rhetorical question.
Teal’c nodded. “Let us go the other direction, I dislike the idea of attracting any attention of who associate with the priors.”
“Yeah, lets wander a bit more.” Xander replied. Faith was being very quiet, as she had noticed the women seemed very subdued. This trip was turning out to be much more depressing than she had supposed or expected.
They spent 6 hours, listening but saying little. A sign of the level of depression and fear was that Teal’c and Xander spent two hours in the local pub; they heard nothing about the Ori. In fact the only thing people talked about at all was the weather or crops. By the time they left Xander was seeing lots of grey tinged balls float out of the bar. Curious, he walked out and got in a position he could watch the building at the end of town. After a while he saw white balls floating out of the building and floating down towards the gate. “Very interesting.” He muttered to himself and went to join Teal’c again.
Faith in the meantime had joined the women who were watching children and working on small crafts. She joined in quietly by picking up a crying child and soothing his tears. Changing the local equivalent of a diaper. Her calm assistance soothed the women and they soon accepted her. The women talked in hushed voices, but what they said to their children gave away the most.
“Yoren, shush, the priors will take you away if you don’t follow the rules.”
“Remember Sansi, always be polite to the priors, never look directly at them, and do what they ask.”
“But mama, I don’t want to go to worship them, I don’t like them.” Pouted one little boy.
That reaction was followed by a hard slap and a harsh whisper to the child. “ NEVER say that, don’t even think it or you might die too.”
Faith would have loved to think they were making the priors into the boogey man, but the women’s haunted faces, and furtive looks over their shoulders made her think otherwise. The level of consequences dealt to the children who talked about the priors was severe, and delivered with fear for their lives.
When they met back up all of them looked drawn, and the joy and excitement of gate travel had left Xander and Faith’s demeanors. The gate opened and the glowing balls just floated there as if waiting for something. Xander looked at them frowning, making a note of how they behaved. They walked through the ring, back to the familiarity of SGC. Xander felt better just being there and he relaxed a bit.
Same, Daniel, and General Landry were waiting for them in the conference room. “Well what did you find?” Asked the General.
Everyone took seats and the General looked at the drawn faces. “Why do I think this was not a productive mission?”
Teal’c nodded. “We learned little from them, though Xander and SlayerFaith may have seen more.”
Faith glanced at both of them and began speaking. “Xander and Teal’s were in the local bar, but I decided to go hang with the women. That was… depressing. The priors are the boogey man for them, and not just threats. I saw violent punishment for talking about them, and warnings that they would die, if they crossed the priors in any way. They were not idle “be good or else” threats, the women were serious and very scared.”
No one at the table looked happy about that news. Then Xander spoke up, “Basically we saw unhappy very tightly controlled people… but I saw something else that apparently Faith and Teal’c could not see. Little balls of white or grey energy, light, or something like that. They floated so I am inclined to believe they had little substance to them. But what was really interesting is the local pub we were at, little balls of the grey tinged type floated out, but out of what we assume was the local Ori church, balls of white floated out. It was very… odd. They gathered at the gate as if waiting for something, and when we traveled through they just sat there floating.”
Sam narrowed her eyes, and thought. “That sounds odd, but if no one else saw them. Did you get a sample?”
Xander shook his head, “There was not really any way I could catch one. I did try to touch one, but my hand just passed on through it as if it wasn’t there.”
Teal’c and Faith were finishing relaying their opinions of what they saw where the overhead speakers blared out “OFFWORLD GATE ACTIVATION.”
That grabbed everyone’s attention and had them up and moving towards the gate room. By the time they got there Anise and Selmac/Jacob had walked through looking serious.
“We must talk to you immediately.” Stated Anise. “We have word that Ba’al has moved off your world and may be making alliances.” Her voice was very strident and commanding.
Landry forced a smiled, “Anise, Selmac/Jacob how nice to see you. Unfortunately right now Ba’al is the least of our concerns. The Ori and their Priors are taking over more and more worlds. My teams” gesturing to Xander, Faith and Teal’c “just returned from one planet, and the news they shared is grave.”
Anise scoffed, “What? You believe the ramblings of children and a traitor as to importance, rather than us?” Arrogant, offensive, and supercilious as always, Anise was so busy sneering at the General she did not see Faith move, or realize anything was wrong until she hit the wall behind her. One of Faiths hands at her throat, holding her up against the wall, the other hand, had Anises’ right hand in her crushing grip. Anise’s feet kicked feebly in the air, she was trying to speak, but Faiths grip was too tight.
“Ramblings?” You weren’t the one to listen to mothers warn their children to believe or they would be killed. You didn’t see women slap babies for asking why questions about the Ori, slapping them to save their lives.” At each sentence Faiths grip on Anise’s hand got tighter and tighter until bones were grinding together. “So drop the goddess role, you don’t register as human to me, ‘cause of your snake, so I have no problem killing you.” The last words were hissed and only Xander knew Faith well enough to know she was bluffing.
The guards had been frozen watching, unsure whether to stop Faith, if they could, or cheer her on. Anise was not a popular visitor. After Faith said the last words, she dropped Anise and stepped back. Anise fell to the floor gasping for air. The General spoke as Faith released her, having taken a moment to decide what to do.
“Ms. Revere! Report to your quarters at once! You are under house arrest, until I deem suitable punishment.” His voice harsh. “Airmen escort Ms. Revere to her quarters.”
“Yes Sir! The airmen responded, turning and gesturing to Faith. She winced a bit but went along quietly, her face a stiff mask.
Landry turned to Anise his manner formal and stiff. “I apologize for her behavior, it will not happen again.”
Anise rose to her feet unsteadily, still shocky from the speed and power of the attack, but her symbiote responded instead. “No General, I apologize, what was said was uncalled for. Perhaps this incident will warn Anise to not treat others so callously. If nothing else the three broken bones in her hand will remind Anise that your people are not to be treated so dismissively. For now we will work on the Ba’al issue from our end. Please let us know if there is anything we can help you with in regards to the Ori.” Both Tok’ra nodded to General Landry and left. With Anise cradling her broken hand.
General Landry watched them go, then with a slight smirk turned to Xander and Teal’c. “Could you please convey to Ms. Revere, I believe she has been suitably punished. But remind her than generally when you attack allies, you tend to piss of the brass.” With that he turned and walked out trying not to laugh.
Xander did start laughing and turned to Teal’c. “So you thing we can get the video clip of that? Wanna come with me and spring the prisoner?” Almost bouncing in amusement.
Teal’c arched an eyebrow. “Indeed, the sight of Anise cowed was most enjoyable. However, I believe I shall let you ‘spring’ SlayerFaith yourself, I need to prepare a report for the Jaffa council.” With that Teal’c turned and headed to his own quarters to write his report about the Ori. He was becoming concerned about Gerak’s view of them, and hopefully this might make him rethink his stance.
Sam and Daniel had been standing in the far corner watching this all unfold, and when Xander and Teal’c finally left, they slide to the ground in peals of laughter. Finally when they stopped laughing they looked at each other. “So.. should we email this vid clip to Jack, or make him come here to see it.” Ask Sam still chuckling.
Daniel shook his head “Nope.. tease him with it, don’t give it him, and finally offer it as a bribe for something we really want. We have the ultimate barter material.”
Both of them got up and headed to the security center to secure a copy of this clip, and see what it would cost to make sure they had the only copy.
Mouth still twitching with amusement; Xander turned and headed down the hallway to Faith’s room. Knocking on the door he waiting until he heard a faint “Come in” and pushed the door open. Faith was laying face down on the bed her head buried in the pillow. Xander frowned and walked over, and sat next to her. “Hey Faith you okay?”
Faith shook her head, not looking up and mumbled through the pillow. “I blew it, they are gonna kick me out now.”
Xander almost thought he could hear tears in her voice, and that kept him from laughing. “Not quite. The General wanted me to tell you and I quote ‘you have been suitably punished.’ And to remind you …” Smiling as Faith raise her head from the her pillow “That attacking allies tends to piss off the brass.” The look of relief that flooded Faith’s face almost broke his heart.
“Ya mean I don’t have to leave, and leave you and everyone else behind?” Almost begging for reassurance. Xander smiled softly at her and leaned down to kiss her cheek. “I don’t plan on ever leaving you behind.” He blushed and pulled back, clearing his throat. “Why um… why don’t you wash your face and then we can go get some ice cream to celebrate putting Anise in her place.”
Backing out of the room, he missed Faith touching her face and slowly smiling, “Someday Xander I am going to make up for our first time, even if it takes a lifetime.”
There is a dark space with a dimly lit area in the middle, no walls, no doors, no source of light, just darkness and light. Yet the darkness is friendly, hiding, cloaking, no menace lurking in its depths. A voice with a soft southern drawl speaks out from the dark. “So… wadda ya think, the kid’s got promise, and good choice of people to work with.”
There was an answering growl form the darkness and a raspy voice replied. “Need pack, girl good, warrior good, alpha male but not alpha. Pup need work on strengths…. Develop … mature …. mate help with that.” Breaks and pauses between the words.
The soft voice replied thoughtfully. “Ya think? I mean I like the girl, she has great legs and a rack, but never held much ‘count of women on the battlefield.” A short sharp growl answered him. “Yeah lady, I forgot that you are one. Well she’s a Slayer and has moves I wish I had, so okay. We start training the kid in earnest then. No more pussy footing around? Just… it’s got me worried, how long before the nosey ones realize we ain’t never left and try to yank us out?”
Silence from the dark, then the creepy sound of a hyenas laugh filled the darkness. The growling voice “Like see try, my home, I stay with pup, train, never leave, protect, guide… I mother.. you wise elder, he ours, they not want my rage.”
The voices owner talked into a lighted area. A battle scarred hyena female in the prime of her life. A man walked out to join her, clad in fatigues, an experienced face, dark hair with grey streaks, kneeling down beside the hyena to scratch her ears, smiling at the whimper of pleasure as she leaned into his touch.
“So they come, we kick their asses. Sounds good to me.” The man kept scratching and looked around. “Ya know we really go to get the kid trained so we can get some decorating done round here.”
Xander tossed and turned muttering softly “landscape… running plains… prey.. nice couch… cold beer.. some tv…” He rolled over nodding his head in his sleep.
Thank you everyone for the reviews, glad you are enjoying.