Fighting to Fit In
Faith and Teal’c stood looking at each other, the background noise fading away quickly as each became the others entire world. Then Faith moved; Xander was aware of the unconscious gasp that arose from the spectators as they saw her speed. Mentally he cataloged it ~about ¾ of full slayer speed, about perfect for this audience, note to self, she needs to focus on her surroundings more, lots of weapons around here to use if this was a real fight~ his solider prompting his thoughts. Xander still didn’t realize how much of the solider was merging with him as a familiar environment helped to re-solidify the memories, habits, and thoughts of another persons’ lifetime. Xander was unaware of all of this, simply watching his Slayer move.
Faith focused on getting Teal’c down, she moved sweeping the staff up, looking like she was going in for a head shot, then back down at his knees. Teal’c went down hard, but was rolling as soon as he hit the mats, coming back with a swing at Faith’s legs. She jumped up and over the swinging staff, her own staff in her hands moving, down, hitting Teal’c across the back. A muffled ‘oof’ came from him, but he rolled with the blow, coming up swinging.
The audience was silent, few had seen this level of sparring before, and watching the small frame of Faith, especially compared to Teal’c, keep up and more than match him was astonishing. Xander just smiled watching her, having no doubt as to the outcome, regardless of Teal’c being an alien, he just didn’t compare to a master vampire.
Faster, slap, crack, thud, sounds reverberating off the walls, then Teal’c was diving on the ground to avoid a blow, he tried to come up, but there was a staff at his throat, and a smiling Faith standing over him, breathing a bit hard. “You’re dead.” Faith was smiling at him with a happy grin. Teal’c looked up at her with a raised eyebrow. “Indeed, I would have been. Congratulations SlayerFaith, you are a fine warrior.”
The room went wild and Cameron stood there in shock. “Holy Shit Xander! She cleaned the floor with him. Her time was… my god… 1 minute 45 seconds. Holy fucking shit.” He just stood there blinking in absolute surprise.
Xander snickered “That she did. Wait… you said a minute 45, damn I won.” Xander grinned thinking a few extra dollars wouldn’t hurt, watching Faith stride towards him as Mitchell dealt with bets, collecting and paying out money. “Hiya.. have fun?” Knowing full well what the answer to that question was.
“Oh hell yea… that was a blast, hardest part was not going for the heart kill strikes, so many openings, but something I need to get out of the habit of, from the feeling I’ve gotten from these guys,” Waving her hand around to encompass the whole room “killing is something they do only as last resort.” Her breathing was back under control and she just looked happy.
Mitchell walked over shaking his head and handing Xander a wad of money “Here you go, Xander, remind me to never bet against you two. Just damn.” He was grinning and obviously not mad, holding his own bunch of money.
Xander looked down at what he had been handed and almost choked “Sir, there is a few hundred here. That can’t be right.” He was very confused and surprised.
A soft snort from Cameron “Try closer to 800, hell everyone wanted in on betting Faith would not take him down in under 2 minutes, I was only betting she would win.” Flashing a quick grin at Teal’c “No offense, but Xander was way too relaxed for me to even think she might lose, I always go with that type of calm confidence, usually means they know something I don’t.”
Teal’c smiled slightly and nodded his head. “There is no offense ColonelMitchell, SlayerFaith is a fine warrior and I would be willing to spar with her at any time.” His voice rich and deep, you could sense there was no shame in Faith having beaten him.
Xander blinked he had been staring at the money, completely blown away by the amount in his hand, but that brought him back to the real world. “Oh… yeah.. um… about that?” He looked around, Sam and Daniel were headed their way, but most everyone was headed out, talking about the fight. Vala waved and winked at him and slipped out, before he could say anything, causing a slight frown of confusion, but nothing to worry about at the moment. “Um... Can you close the door behind the last people, we wanted to show you something, something we didn’t really want as public knowledge.”
Mitchell glanced at Sam and Daniel, shrugged, and went to the door, shutting it firmly after the last airmen left. He headed back and looked at the two of them expectantly.
“Teal’c you willing to do one more sparring match with Faith? It’ll be quick.” A funny wry smile was on Xanders’ face as he said that.
“I would be honored.” Teal’c turned and walked back to the mat, Faith walking after him with a decidedly wicked smirk on her face.
“Teal’c, Faith is going to take you down. Try and stop her. Ready Faith?” Xander instructed, staying well away from the sides of the mat. Cameron, Sam, and Daniel were all looking at him funny.
“Isn’t that what we just saw a little bit ago?” Asked Daniel looking at the smirk on Faith’s face, and funny smile on Xanders with a considering look.
“Not exactly, that was just for show. Teal’c you ready?” After waiting for a nod of assent from Teal’c, he snapped out. “Faith, GO!”
It was like she had been hit by a jolt of electricity. Faith grabbed the staff she had been holding, with both hands, snapped it in two, and leapt towards Teal’c. The snapping of the two inch thick staff had the SG1 members flinching, but they barely had time to do more than that as she dropped, swept Teal’c’s feet from under him, and was on top of him, knees holding his arms down, and the broken end of the stake at his heart.
“That is slayer speed.” Xander commented quietly as Faith grinned and hopped back up, pulling up a quite startled Teal’c from the floor. “Granted she had surprise and none of you really expected her to be able to move that fast, but that is a Slayer.”
“She broke the fucking staff.” Mitchell said flatly, looking at the two pieces in her hands, “She broke it in half.” Sam and Daniel both stood there with a look of shock on their face.
“Yep, I have seen them bend steel bars for their use, a Slayer is chosen to fight demons. They have to be stronger and faster. We needed to make sure you understood that, but we didn’t really want everyone to walk out of here shell shocked. I hope that’s okay.”
There was a long moment of silence then Daniel spoke up. “Wise of you, this sort of information would spread too fast. Right now everyone is just talking about how Faith beat Teal’c and there will be bets on re-matches. If most of the base saw this, I doubt they would believe you were human Faith.”
“Hey… 100% human here, just a little on the mystical side, not my fault.” Protested Faith still standing next to Teal’c. “Teal’c you okay? I know I moved fast, but… wanted to prove a point.” Shrugging a little.
Teal’c looked at Faith for a long time then bowed deeply “If I was not already bonded to Ishta, I would be honored to ask you to be my mate.”
Most of the room froze, especially Faith.
“Um... marriage... uh no thanks, not ready for that... hell I am still trying to find someone to date.” Faith babble out, completely blown over by that statement.
“Perhaps you look too hard SlayerFaith.” Teal’c replied with an enigmatic smile.
Daniel meanwhile was choking “Okay you guys are going to kill me with surprises. No one has EVER impressed Teal’c like that… that was a very big compliment he gave you Faith.”
Xander was quiet during all of this having been the only one to notice the half quirk of an eyebrow in his direction as Teal’c turned away.
“Um.. thanks Teal’c, um… more than ready to spar with you some more, you have some wicked cool moves I would love to learn, but for now uh.. you keep busy with, Ishtar was it?” Stammered out Faith, with an actual blush on her face.
“Indeed I shall, she is a fine warrior also, but none I have seen ever matched you.”
Faith snorted a bit and muttered softly, “You haven’t seen Buffy with PMS.”
Teal’c frowned, but did not follow up on it, turning his attention back to the quiet Xander and the still surprised Mitchell, Carter, and Jackson.
“Sparring is over, I am going to shower.” With that Teal’c turned and headed to the lockers, not waiting for anything or anyone else.
Xander laughed a little, looking down at the sweat drying on his shirt. “That sounds like a good idea. I believe our schedule had me with Dr. Jackson after lunch? Cool, then I’m for shower and then meet you where Dr. Jackson after food?”
Daniel blinked “Oh please, Daniel… especially since you won’t let us call you Mr. Harris, I would feel very old being called mister all the time. My office.” Daniel rattled off the level and room.
“Cool… see you there after chow.” Xander snapped a salute not thinking and turned headed towards the locker.
Cameron’s eyes narrowed a bit at that, ~more bloody clues, okay these two are either going to give me grey hair or I am going to pull it all out, before this is through I just know it. At this rate I’m going to end up looking like Jack or Gen. Hammond.~
Faith grinned and headed to the lockers, planning on enjoying a long hot shower, with no one yelling about her using up all the hot water. That was still a bit of a luxury.
After a shower and eating lunch with Faith, both of which they spent getting kidded or congratulated by SGC personnel, to the point Faith was blushing and Xander was in a state of shock.
“I still can’t believe only four other people on base have ever beaten Teal’c and that most people rarely hold out that long against him. I’m not that good.” Xander muttered confused and flushed at the same time.
“Xan listen, you tend to fight against the creatures I was CREATED to fight against, and you’re still alive, personally I bet you’re a hell of a lot better than you think, or you’d be dead.” Faith replied in slightly amused tones. “So quit stressing it, and enjoy the fame.”
“Easy for you to say ‘Miss Only Cilvilian and Only Female to ever beat Teal’c’.” Xander teased, as he finished up his large helping of food.
“Yep it is, you are better than you think, you are better than you think. See how easy to say that is?” She grinned at him.
“Ha-ha very funny.” Xander sighed and stood up with his tray. “Okay I am off to talk to Daniel, and you get the lovely Sam for GED stuff.”
Faith wrinkled her nose. “Joy, school. Oh well, at least Sam is nice to look at.” Teasing Xander a bit.
“True, but Vala has more of that bad girl thing going on.” Xander smiled back at Faith, enjoying the by-play and ordering his very active imagination to quit generating images of Faith and Vala.
“That she does, girl has just as good taste in leather as I do, wonder if I can get her to take me shopping where ever it is that she goes?” Faith remarked thoughtfully.
“Who knows, you can but ask. Okay heading out, see you later gor..” Xander stopped and just smiled and quickly walked away.
~gor?? Hmmm… I wonder if he meant gorgeous?~ Faith grinned and humming happily to herself picked up her tray and headed towards Sam’s office.
Xander got lost twice on the way to Daniel’s office and by the time he got there was royally frustrated and upset. He knocked on the door, and heard Daniel’s voice “It’s open.”
Xander pushed opened the door, “Sorry I’m late, got lost twice, and had to have an airman show me where I messed up.”
Daniel looked up and snickered “Not really an issue, I have been here for way too many years and occasionally I still get lost, come in, grab a chair.” Waving around the room absently there were piles of document papers, all over the chairs and tables. Artifacts in various stages of wholeness were piled all over the room, from various planets and times. Books were everywhere, on bookshelves, chairs, even piles on the floor.
“Wow, and here I thought Giles was bad when it came to books everywhere.” Xander remarked absently looking around as he headed for a chair.
“Giles, who is that?” Asked Daniel, keeping his face down over the document he was working on.
“Our high school librarian.” Xander answered absently, then looked up and grinned “And a Watcher if that is what you were looking for.” Watching Daniel closely with a slightly amused look.
Daniel could almost hear the capital W Xander placed on Watcher; grinning back “Maybe if I knew what a Watcher was. So talk to me, I get the feeling there is a lot of stuff that I dismissed as pure fiction that actually has much fact in it.”
Xander finally found a mostly empty chair, pointed to the stuff that was piled there, “Where do you want me to put this, Sumerian I believe?” A wry smile on his face. He was rewarded by another grin from Daniel.
“On the pile on the table with the other Sumerian documents please?” Xander nodded, finding them quickly and placing them there neatly and with due care. He had been yelled at enough by Giles to show proper appreciation for old documents.
“So what do you want to know?” Xander asked taking a seat across from Daniel straddling the chair with easy nonchalance, watching and waiting.
“Everything of course.” Answered Daniel surprised. “What else would I want to know?”
A snort of humor emerged from Xander. “Well asking me structured questions is usually better, otherwise we’ll be here for four years as I talk, and it’ll be so disjointed and unstructured, you’ll have no idea how half of it relates to anything else.” Xander shrugged. He knew how his mind worked and linear was not part of it.
Daniel nodded slowly, his own mind worked like that, so he could understand. Thinking for a moment he came up with specific questions. “I believe you mentioned that mythology often had more than a kernel of truth to it. Why do you say that?”
Xander smiled at him. “Okay, I am going to give you the Watchers speech. This is the same speech they give to most new slayers. Remember I don’t necessarily know everything or anything, just what I’ve learned or ….deduced from what I’ve seen.” Xander took a deep breath “This is the canned speech the watchers give and I’ve heard this so often I have it memorized.” Xander smiled wryly and started:
"The world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their Hell. But in time they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for man. All that remains of the old ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures. The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another, and so they walk the Earth, feeding. Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind. Waiting for the animals to die out, and the old ones to return. For as long as there have been vampires, there's been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One"
Daniel was madly taking notes as Xander spoke, copying the entire speech almost word for word. “Hmm.. okay this relates to a few creation myths mentioned by the Sumerians, and even Babylonian mythologies. But they believe that demons existed? Any chance they are aliens instead and a virus or some sort of infection?”
Xander frowned thinking about it. “I don’t know, religious mythology is easier to believe than aliens. Do I think they are aliens? No… cause aliens shouldn’t fear or be burned by crosses or holy water. That really shouldn’t work on them.”
Daniel blinked thinking. “True most races we have found tend to give our religious beliefs simple acknowledgement and nothing else. Okay then you wanted me to ask you specific questions, so tell me about all the demons you have met and their characteristics.”
Xander paled and held up a hand “Whoa.. we really don’t want to be here for a year with me hemming and hawing through that crap, tell you what, Wi..umm. my Witch friend is a geek, and she is mostly done compiling all the demons, their characteristics and weakness electronically, how about I get you a CD of it when she’s done?” Xander offered as he was trying desperately to avoid becoming a walking demon dictionary.
“Ooh… on CD? That would be perfect, how soon can I get it?” Daniel’s eyes had lit up at the thought of searchable information.
Xander shrugged, “Umm.. Probably a week, but where do I have her mail it to? I assume I can’t get mail here.”
“Not a problem, here.” Daniel scribbled a PO Box address down on a piece of paper. “That will get it to me ASAP.”
Xander shrugged, slipping the paper in his pocket and making a mental note to send an email to Willow tonight. The rest of the time with Daniel was spent finding out how much he knew about languages, and where his strengths and weakness were.
“Hmm.. not bad, better in fact that some of the archeology students I’ve had in the past, so are there any other tricks up your sleeve?” Daniel asked after three hours of interpreting various scripts and tablets.
“Um… language wise? Just this I guess.” Xander grabbed a blank piece of paper and a pencil and carefully drew out a few character groupings. ~wonder if he has ever seen any of this before, hope Giles doesn’t kill me, but this is too important for them not to know~
Daniel looked at it, for a long moment frowning, then his eyes widened. “Wait… you know that?!? Wait a second.” Scrambling up Daniel ran to his desk, digging through a drawer, and came up with a folder, bringing it back to the table, and opening it to see a bunch of photos of pictographs on walls in the same type of script that Xander had written out on the paper. “We found these images over a year ago, and I have never been able to decipher them, they don’t match any language form I’m familiar with. What is it?”
“Toltash, most common language used in demon prophecies. See look, this writing on this wall says ‘Black Son of Sun God leads to false life, beware that which hides inside, those who guide the light, all will die.’ Typical prophecy stuff, means nothing until you have already lived through it. But where is this?” Xander commented looking at the pictures of the walls, frowning.
Distracted Daniel answered “PX-3542. So demon language? The demons have different languages?”
“Another planet?” Xander paled and sat down hard. “Shit. Okay someday you and Giles are really going to have to have a long talk. And of course they do, humans have multiple languages, there are multiple types of demons, so why wouldn’t they have their own languages?”
Daniel blinked and blushed a little “Oh.. yeah, guess that would make sense wouldn’t it?”
A shrug “It seems logical, but I am just the donut boy, so hell if I know.” Xander replied flipping through the pictures, trying to see the rest of the writing.
“Donut boy??” Daniel exclaimed truly surprised. “Xander do you realize that only a small percentage of people ever learn to read ancient scripts much less be able to translate them?”
Xander directed a solid look at Daniel thinking for a moment. “Maybe, but I learned out of self preservation not a desire to learn, so I discount that a lot, maybe I am more than I thought I was, this place is slowly showing me I may not be the loser I thought I was.” He made a show of looking at the clock. “Hey chow time, I am out of here, see you Monday for another round of quiz the Xander.”
With that Xander was out the door before Daniel could formulate a reply, but leaving a puzzled Daniel standing there. After a moment he nodded briskly and headed down to Sam’s office to talk to Faith, maybe she could explain it.
While Xander had been ensconced with Daniel, Faith had been learning and enjoying it, much to her very great surprise. Sam had focused on getting her math and science skills up to par, and gave her experiments to do that showed how basic physics worked, which bolstered her math and research skills. All in all the three hours sped by so quickly that Faith was still immersed in her last experiment -- trying to figure out why things in a vacuum fall at the same rate but outside they don’t. She was hovering over a small vacuum chamber you could pump air out of and had a piece of paper, a marble, and a feather in it, and was very busy changing variables, and recording everything. It was fun and that amazed her, she had expected book work and everything to be dry and boring.
Sam smiled to herself as she watched Faith. After having seen her in action, and knowing about her past Sam guessed that book work would drive this woman insane, but the hands on experiments would intrigue her and make her want to learn, and so far she was right, Faith was having a blast and was busy learning more than she thought. Sam looked up to see Daniel standing in the door watching both of them. “Hey bookworm, you done with your prisoner already?”
Daniel grinned, he has missed Sam. “Yep, he ran away like he was being chased, so thought I would come down and see how your prisoner is doing.” Faith had looked up from her experiment, flashed him a smile and went back to recording her results.
“Pretty good, think she was relieved I wasn’t doing the whole school marm thing. But she is very smart and learning by leaps and bounds.” Sam smiled at Faiths’ bent head, writing furiously.
“Never had a doubt. Hey Faith, think I could talk to you for a moment when you are done, maybe walk you back?”
Faith looked up for a moment, and something crossed her face that Daniel couldn’t identify, but then she smiled, “Sure, about 5 more minutes.” And Faith went back to finishing up, then putting everything away.
Sam and Daniel stood and talked for a few moments, still trying to figure out what to do about the Ori, though Sam thought it was hilarious the way Daniel avoided even mentioning Vala. (note: Beachhead has not occurred yet).
Faith finished up, dropping off the ‘assignments’ with Sam “Thanks, that was fun, see you on Monday.” Grinning, then a bit more warily turned to Daniel. “So lets go Four Eyes.” Smiling a bit to show she did not mean to hurt, but still wary.
“Four Eyes? Oh God it is Jack in a female body, I am dead.” Daniel said looking at her in astonishment, half expecting her to call him SpaceMonkey next. ~note to self, NEVER let her talk to Jack.~
“Who’s Jack? And sides you are the whole science/language thingy guy, sounds right to me. So what’s up?” Replied Faith, stance a bit wary as they walked.
“Jack was my former commander, and a good friend. He got promoted.” Daniel complained a little. He then continued with this reason for talking to her. “Xander.. I wanted to ask you some questions about Xander.” Daniel replied taking in her posture.
Faith relaxed for a moment, then tensed up again. “What about ‘im?”
“Okay first I have to ask, why were you so tense a minute ago, I can understand you being worried when I asked about Xander, but why about the just wanting to talk to you?” Daniel was confused, and not sure if he was reading the body language properly.
“oh… well thought the other shoe was about to drop, and I was gonna have to pay for getting t’stay here.” Faith shrugged not looking at him at all.
“Pay? Pay what?” Daniel stopped in the hall looked at her, and first turned white, then red “You thought I was going to demand you have sex with me, for the right to stay HERE?!?” His voice had risen as he talked, and the last word came out as a strangled yelp. He looked around quickly wanting to make sure no one was overhearing this conversation. He did not want Faith compromised in any way.
Faith shrugged “Well yeah… this is a pretty cool set up, and you guys are letting us in, I thought that might be part of the price.” Sounding matter of fact and cool about it, but he detected a hint of fear.
“Faith look at me.” Daniel waiting until she stopped and looked at him. “You will never have to do anything sexual or anything you find morally repugnant while you work here. If anyone EVER tries to convince you that you have to have sex with them in ANY way to keep your job, you come tell me, Sam, Mitchell, or the General, immediately. That is not why you are here, you two are turning out to be VERY valuable members of SGC, and we don’t work that way.” Every word was honest and true, and Faith blushed a little at thinking that of Daniel.
“Okay… got it… and thanks.” Faith shrugged a little, trying to appear strong and unaffected, and started walking again. “So what did you want to know about Xanman?”
Daniel walked with her, trying to get back on the original topic he had come down here for. “He puts himself down a lot, calling himself donut boy, and doesn’t seem to realize how rare the ability to understand ancient languages is, much less survive against Teal’c or tell when someone lies. Why does he think so little of the amazing things he can do?”
Faith turned and looked at him for a long moment, her dark brown eyes piercing, then started walking again. “I can’t answer fer sure, but I can tell you what I suspect. You gotta realize Xan and I were not on really good terms for a quite a while, I hurt him really badly and made some REALLY bad choices, but he seems to have forgiven me, he did drag me along on this adventure after all. You have to understand he spent almost 10 years with a powerful witch, slayer, vampires, demons, military special ops guys, and a watcher who seemed to know everything. He was put down a lot and told to ‘stay back cause you might get hurt’ regardless of how much he helped. So here he is this normal guy, surrounded by peeps with powers or training or skills, he didn’t have. I think he just got used to thinking of himself as useless good for nothing but… getting donuts.”
Faith spoke quietly as they walked, glad someone was asking about Xander. “He’s a great guy, and has a heart bigger than any I’ve ever seen, he just don’t think he’s worth much.”
Daniel listened to her and thought ~what would it be like to have someone like Faith to spar with, who can clean the floor with Teal’c or the Red Witch who makes Sam’s logic go haywire, or demons who grant wishes. Hell I might develop and inferiority complex with people like that in my life~ Out loud he replied to Faith after a moment. “I see.. yeah I might get rather down on myself with those influences also, but he is smart, and gifted. I hope he realizes that.”
Faith tilted her head “He might… If’n he get friends who value his skills, he might start to also.”
Daniel nodded again, hiding a grin at her non-subtleness. “I will keep that mind. See you later Faith.” Daniel turned and headed back to his office, as Faith headed to the cafeteria and Xander.
Finding him sitting there, she flopped next to him, draping an arm over his shoulders “Heya boytoy, wanna do some romping?” Grinning as more than a few airmen glanced their way envious of the attention Xander was getting from the gorgeous young woman.
“Thanks gorgeous.. but my brain is fried, and all I want is food, then a chance to dream of how I am spending my money tomorrow on our shopping trip.” Replied Xander, testing to see if she would blush again. Her delighted grin just made him smile a bit more. ~good warrior, good mate~ Was the quiet thought that floated through; and he almost choked. ~where the hell did that come from??~ Xander thought looking around furiously. ~they didn’t tell me there were any telepaths here.~
Faith was grinning at his compliment, but frowned at his choking and looking around. “What up?”
Xander couldn’t find anyone looking at him, most eyes were on Faith and shook it off “Nothing, just thought I heard something. So whatcha going to buy?” The rest of the meal was spent idly talking about dreams and the idea they might have a home.
Authors Notes: As always you see where I messed up let me know. Not possible to follow cannon perfectly, I am trying to make a reasonable attempt. Enjoy