Chapter 10: Control.
“George, I didn’t know that your plate was this full,” said Jacob in a mild, curious voice. “I would have called at another time,” eying the other man considerately.
“Yes, well it was unexpected, just like your visit,” General Hammond, admitted with a brief smile. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
“Time is of the essence,” announced Anise, in her rather emotionless voice.
“What?” Hammond demanded baffled.
Jacob and Anise exchanged looks.
“What is it?” he demanded again, studying both of them with a puzzled frown.
“Goa’uld,” said Jacob succinctly.
General Hammond stiffened, and took a deep breath. “I need SG-1 to be here,” he announced through stiff lips.
In the V.I.P. room, Buffy huddled comfortably into Jack’s arm.
“Are you okay?” Adam asked eying her in concern.
She took a deep breath, and gazed around the drab room. It was a basic room painted in cream and beige. The furniture was a sturdy mud color, a small table and two chairs, and full size bed covered by olive colored linen. Her gaze finally touched on her family, who was watching her warily. “I’m okay,” she muttered, avoiding their gaze. She took another breath. “I can’t believe that I lost control.” To her dismay, her voice broke slightly.
“It happens,” said Jack, his voice a deep murmur as he gazed down on her.
“Not to me,” she said shuddering. “We were born with free will, and it was up to the individual to choose the path they wanted to take. When I was made host to a Goa’uld, my choice was taken away from me. When I got a second chance at life, I reveled in an orgy of pleasure. Some of the choices I made weren’t the right choice, but they were my mistakes to make. That is what free will’s about.” She turned to look at Jack. “One of the reasons I had left all those years ago,” Buffy said. She spoke in a weak and tremulous whisper. “Was that you took the decision away from me.”
“I didn’t mean to,” Jack admits. “I was jealous.”
“Jealous?” Buffy scoffs, her eyes narrowing. “What did you have to be jealous of?” she demanded, pulling reluctantly away. “I loved you. We had three hundred plus years together, why would you think I would leave you?”
His brows flickered a little. “But you did,” Jack pointed out.
Buffy waved a dismissive hand.
Jack’s eyes darkened with an unidentified emotion. “At the time, I saw something special between you and Angelus.”
“Uh,” said Giles, clearing his throat awkwardly. “Maybe you both needed some privacy.” Giles could see that they had many things to work out. He could feel the tension between them and although there were things about his Slayer he didn’t know, one thing he did know was she was very stubborn.
“Shh,” said Methos, with a half grin on his face.
“Yeah, friendship,” Buffy retorted.
“It was different,” he muttered impatiently. “I can’t explain it.”
“I’m friends with Methos and you never seem to feel threatened about our friendship.” she leaned back into his arms and closed her eyes. She didn’t want to see his expression. Part of her knew they had to talk about what went on fifty years ago. However, it still hurt, even just the mention of the circumstances.
“No,” Jack said thoughtfully.
“What am I?” demanded Methos, shooting them a withering glance. “Chopped liver.”
“Of course not,” Jack denied, with a frown.
“When Methos and I became intimate, you didn’t seem to be jealous,” she said blushing slightly at the Scooby’s interest at that little tidbit.
“It’s not about jealously with you and Methos,” Jack admits, with a frown. He was trying to put what he was feeling into words, so that he and everyone else could understand. Over the years, both during and before their marriage he and Bella had indulged in threesomes and foursomes and sometimes orgies. Methos was always a partner of choice. So, he understood jealously. He sighed. It felt good to have Bella in his arms again, but she was being so pigheaded. He knew it wasn’t the right time to discuss what went on all those years ago, but she had brought it up first. “Look,” he said exasperated. “There was just something about the way Angelus looked at you,” he said, his thought filtering back to fifty years ago. “Like a dying man eating a last meal or like you was his salvation.”
“Probably she was,” Giles mused thoughtfully.
“What?” Buffy said stiffing. She looked askance at Giles, wandering what he was talking about.
Giles took a handkerchief from his pocket and started polishing his glasses. “I said you were probably his salvation,” he said. “From what I have read about Angelus and what I know about him, I know for a fact that it was your love and friendship that shaped him onto the path of redemption.”
“So Buffy, your having sex with Angelus was to redeem him,” Xander said snidely.
“Xander!” said Willow appalled.
“What?” said Jack.
“Shut it boy!” thundered Giles, he threw his hands up disgusted. When would Xander learn? “For once in your godforsaken life, think before you speak.” Giles pinched the bridge of nose and gave a big sigh.
Both Adam and Oz shot Xander a disgusted, appalled look.
Xander turned purple with embarrass resentment and walked to the corner of the room. He couldn’t seem to help it; he was always inserting his foot into his mouth.
Buffy head snapped around to look at Jack.
“What’s going on?” asked Joe, eying everyone in disbelief. “Did I miss something?” he asked.
“I am sorry,” said Giles, taking a deep breath.
Jack frowned. “That’s okay,” he said. “Bella had already told me about her and Angelus.”
Giles eyed Buffy surreptitiously and she gave a tiny shake of her head.
The air was heavy with tension and Willow wanted to change the subject. She was quite angry with Xander. Yes, even she had to admit that she resented the fact that Buffy had lied to them. But she knew that they didn’t own Buffy, she was her own person. But Xander didn’t see it that way. He was acting like a horse ass. To Xander’s way of thinking, Buffy could not have any friends or any relationship without the circle of the Scoobys. Even within that friendship, there seemed to be conditions applied to it. She remembered that frightful time, when Angelus was loose. How they had turned their backs on Buffy, although it didn’t seem so at the time. Sure, they had never talked about it, but she was sure that was why Buffy had left. But there they were in their self-righteousness talked about sacrifice and duty as if they knew what they meant.
As she watched and listened to Buffy, she now saw a depth that was always apparent under the guise of the bubbly air-headed teenager, now that she was looking. Because of that, she had to look inside herself, and revaluate the things she had done. They. She wasn’t the only one. Xander had done things for Buffy’s own good. All her life she had made excuses for Xander’s behavior, but he had gone too far this time. She had supported him when he started dating Cordelia, who had, had a love, hate relationship as far back as Kindergarten. She had supported him in so many ways, especially when she knew he was wrong. But that’s what friends were for. During the trip, he’d whined and moaned about how it wasn’t fair that Buffy had lied to them, and how Buffy had probably slept with both Duncan and Adam. She was so tired of him. She gave him an evil eye to show how angry she was with him. She turned to Buffy and inhaled a deep breath. “Buffy what happened in that room,” she asked in a rush.
“I lost control,” Buffy said again with a grimace
“Yes, yes,” said Willow impatiently. “But why?”
Buffy gave a deep sigh, and pushed her way out of Jack arms.
Jack watched her for a few minutes making sure she was steady on her feet.
“In Sunnydale, I could tell the difference between a vampire and human, because they give out this vibe,” Buffy said tiredly. “And the fledglings and minions wear their true face. No one could mistake them for anything else. However, there’s not much different between a Tok’ra and any garden-variety Goa’uld. They all feel the same. A Goa’uld is a parasite that lives within a human body and so is a Tok’ra. They look human. If you walked into a room with a Goa’uld and an ordinary human, you could not tell the difference.”
“That’s what makes them so dangerous,” Adam said matter of factly.
“So how do we tell them apart?” asked Duncan, his eyebrows slanted in a frown.
“You don’t,” said Jack flatly. “No one can truly tell the difference between a Goa’uld and a Tok’ra. Because Methos, Bella and I were blended, we can sense a Goa’uld. In Bella’s case, her senses are more heightened because of being the Slayer. But I think it’s all about a level of trust. We know Jacob, so we trust him to a point. But Anise is a scientist and she has her own agenda.”
“Why the man, and not the woman?” asked Giles.
“Oh,” said Jack with a surprised look. “I thought you knew. Jacob is Major Carter’s father. On a routine mission through the Stargate, we met the Tok’ra. To show faith we had to produce people willing to be hosts. I was not willing to go through being blended again,” he admitted. “Carter’s father was dying of cancer and we asked him if he was willing to be a host and he said yes. And because of the natural symbiotic relationship between the hosts and the parasite, Jacob has some say in regard to how the Tok’ra deal with humans. But Anise is different, she’s not from Earth, so her priorities are different and so is our trust level.”
“So how do you know the difference?” Willow argued.
Jack shrugged. “It’s usually the one shooting at me first that’s a Goa’uld, that’s how I know. Most Goa’uld are power hungry and mad. They treat everyone as peons or slaves. They never have enough of anything; they will kill, lie, cheat and manipulate to get whatever they want. Each of them has tunnel vision. Do they love? I don’t know. When I was host, I don’t recalling the Goa’uld loving anyone.”
“Well that’s depressing,” said Giles.
“Yes it is,” said Joe. “So we can’t do anything to them.”
“I never said that. They are still vulnerable to human foibles. They can be hurt enough to cause death. As long as the body is dying, the Goa’uld will leave. They can be shot, staked, decapitated, burned, whatever. But like vampires, they are strong, cunning and fast. And unlike vampires they have technology and they also use Jaffas as shields,” said Jack.
“Jaffa?” asked Methos. “I had never heard that term before,” he said with a puzzled frown.
“I hadn’t heard of them until we found their home world,” Jack said. “They are genetically altered humans that carried baby Goa’uld inside a pouch almost like a marsupial.”
“Wow,” said Oz, looking at Jack in amazement, he was imagining kangaroo shaped humans, hopping back and fourth. His mouth quirked in amusement. “Are there really a planet full of these Jaffa’s,” he asked.
“Yes,” said Jack with a nod.
“Isn’t that dangerous?” asked Giles, his brow furrowed.
“Why haven’t you destroyed this planet,” asked Mac.
“One, at a time,” Jack announced, putting his hands up in a stop motion. “Unlike vampires and the Goa’uld, who are predators. Only some Jaffa’s are dangerous. You don’t kill every demon you meet do you? And the most important reason, that we hadn’t destroyed the planet is, when it all said and done, they are human. They still have the genetic makeup of humans. Even I frown on the killing of innocence people,” Jack admitted sourly.
“What does these Jaffa’s look like?” asked Willow curiously. “I know you said that they were human, but aren’t they are still aliens?” she questioned. Like Oz, she was imagining what they looked like. In her head, they looked like the Roswell grays or E.T.
“You met one earlier,” said Buffy tartly.
“What?” said Willow, her eyes rounded in surprise. “Where?” she asked, thinking back on the people she had met during the time she had entered the SGC.
“Murray,” said Jack, smiling faintly.
“Murray?” said Willow squeaked, thinking about the quietly man she had met before. “The big guy?”
“Yep,” said Jack. “Snake carrying, lovable big guy.”
“No wonder,” said Methos in startled amazement. “At first, I thought I was going crazy. I was feeling his Goa’uld larvae. Just like, I felt around the lovely Major Carter. Because as she has explained, she was blended with a Tok’ra, which is similar to a Goa’uld.”
“Yes, Murray is a Jaffa. His real name is Teal’c. Several years, ago when Daniel opened the Stargate, the first planet the SGC gated to was the planet Abydos where Daniel met his wife Sha’ure. After a short moment of time, Danny decided to stay on Abydos with his wife. However, a year later the Stargate was opened by Apophis another Goa’uld who had kidnapped a female staff sergeant. That’s when the SGC founded there were several planets out there. At first, there was a concern about RA reappearance, but it was determined that it was false. When we gated back to Abydos, where Daniel wife and brother in law was also kidnapped. We found the right address and ended up on another planet, this time Chulak, the home world of the Jaffa’s. That is where we met Teal’c who was the first prime of Apophis. Being first prime is a big deal for a Jaffa. So to give that up is another big deal. And that’s what he did.” And Jack went on to tell the story of how they met Teal’c and how he came to work for the SGC.
“Shol’va,” said Adam.
“Yes the Goa’uld considered him so,” said Jack.
“What’s a shol’va,” asked Giles, testing the unfamiliar word on his tongue.
“A traitor,” said Buffy absentmindedly. She didn’t notice the surprise looks she received from both Giles and the Scooby gang. Her thoughts were on what Jack had told them. It’s not so much about Murray, Teal’c, but about the Chappa’ai. No, she thought the Stargate. She had to get used to calling it that. She didn’t have to fear it, as much as she used. She smiled to her self. Buffy imagined that if Giles or Willow knew that she was afraid of something as simple as a object made of metal and stone, they would lose all respect. She wasn’t afraid of it as an object but of what it represented, the pain and degradation of being not herself. On the other hand, maybe she was viewing it through a child eyes. Years had passed, and if Jack who experience the same thing she had gone through, physically able to go the gate, so too she can accept the Stargate is operational again.
“Buffy what are your plans now, that you’ve seen for yourself that they are using the Stargate for good?” Giles asked mildly. But before she could answer, he said. “Remember, we need you on the Hellmouth.”
“No you don’t,” she said, scowled. The momentary joy she was feeling dissipates.
“Of course we do,” Willow piped up, a sudden stab of anxiety swelling up in her stomach. “You belong with us.”
“No I don’t,” Buffy said forcibly, a shadow of annoyance crossing her face. “I am not a thing, I belong to my self.”
“I-I didn’t mean __,” Willow stammered, blushing a bright a bright red.
“Buffy!” Giles admonished.
Buffy sighed. “I know what Willow meant. Although I retained my Slayer powers, Faith is the true Slayer. I haven’t been the Slayer since my first death. You guys don’t need another Slayer; it’s my time to leave. Sunnydale is her turf now. She’s a nice girl and she will need your support, just as you supported me.”
“But where would you go,” Willow asked, her voice thick and unsteady and her green eyes shone with the bright shine of tears.
Buffy shrugged. “I guess I could travel,” she admitted glumly. “Visit friends that I haven’t seen in years. Suddenly she felt depressed. She had no reason to stay. The high dungeon she had stormed Colorado with had deflated. Yes, the Chappa’ai was open, but Jack and the SGC were managing it, so far. She had her own contacts and she could find out more about the Stargate, especially in light of any danger. But right now, she felt useless. Sunnydale is no longer hers, but Faith’s. She and Angel are no longer in a sexual relationship, although you couldn’t call sleeping with a man once a relationship.
They would always-remained friends, but that chapter of her life was over and she saw how he looked at Faith when he thought she wasn’t looking. If she left, they wouldn’t feel as guilty hooking up. Plus, not being around, Faith would have the chance to grow into the young lady she needed to be. If someone deserved a chance, it was Faith. She sighed again. She didn’t want to leave Joycie, or Giles and Willow. Or even Oz. Right now, she wasn’t so sure of Xander and Cordelia. One thing she had regret about was, that Joyce never had any children, although something tells her Hank wouldn’t be the best of fathers. However, Joyce would be a great mother. Maybe she should put Faith and Joyce together. Faith needed the discipline and support of a regular home life, and Joyce needed a child to mother. Yes, Buffy thought brightening up to the idea. When she got a chance, she would call Joyce.
While Sunnydale was no longer her home, she thought Colorado could be it. But she didn’t want to step on anyone toes by suggesting it and she was waiting on Jack to make an offer. Even though she hadn’t seen him for fifty years, the chemistry was still there. He still got her hot. If he didn’t say anything, should she make the first move? Seeing him again reminded her of how much she had missed him. His touch, his smell, his face. Everything about him. She knew pride was the cause of the fifty-year separation, but did she have the courage to say I want to stay. She opened her mouth.
“Bella, if you don’t have to be in Sunnydale, I would love for you to stay in Colorado,” Jack said without the hint of nervous he was feeling.
Thank you Lord, Buffy thought, as she turned and looked at him. “Really,” she said equally as nonchalantly, as if her heart wasn’t beating a mile a minute.
“Yes really,” he said with a twisted smile. “I have an empty house; I don’t mind a roommate, so what you think?”
However, before Buffy could answer him, a knock sounded at the door and a solider pushes the door open. “Pardon me Colonel, but General Hammond would like to see you right away in the briefing room.”
Jack hesitated at the door waiting for her answer.
Buffy smiled tenderly. “Okay,” she said. “Colorado seems so nice, I don’t mind seeing more of the city,” she said. “Especially since you have an empty house and all.”
Jack’s face split into a wide grin as he walked to the door. He turned back to her and asked. “Are you going to be okay?”
Buffy blinked. “Yeah I’ll be fine,” she admitted, her heart swelling in anticipation. “Go do your job,” she said, motioning him through the door.
“I will be back,” he said following the Sergeant to the door.
She gave him a mock salute.