“As it is, this may be the virus bouncing back against treatment. I hate having to say this but there’s nothing I can do.”
“But there is something I can do.”
Daniel looked up from Mitchell, his eyes widening at the sight of Buffy standing at the head of Cam’s cot. Her hands grasped tightly in front of her and lips pulled into a grim line as she gazed down at the man struggling to live.
Vala breathed the name as Dr. Lam took a discrete step back from the being that had disarmed the SGC’s security team with a single thought. Hazel green eyes lifted to the thief and she offered Vala a small smile, “My name is Buffy.”
Daniel pulled himself up straighter as Teal’c’s brow rose in response to the new title. The linguist stepped forward, “If you do anything—”
“The others will strike me down.” Her eyes closed, head falling forward as she began to give off a faint glow. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Her eyes opened and she met Daniel’s gaze unafraid, “I am no longer doing nothing.”
Her head fell back, the illusion of her hair slipping around her shoulders and the glow beneath her skin brightened. Stretched to engulf Cam and then it shuddered, bent inward before exploding out to wash over the village and filled them with the will, the ability to live. Cam’s spine arched and his eyes opened, pupils contracting as he gazed up at the light filled ceiling.
Daniel shuddered under the brush of Buffy’s power and watched her form waiver; pull back and out of focus. Her head came forward and she met his gaze one last time before she faded into the soft illumination of her true form and was pulled away from them, from him. His stomach tightened and he felt Vala lay a comforting hand on his arm but he couldn’t bring himself to care—or check his pockets.
Cam struggled to sit up and Dr. Lam was there at his side, helping him pull the line of oxygen from beneath his nose and over his head. He could see the barely concealed shock on Lam’s face through the plastic of her Hazmat suit and he looked up, past Daniel’s shuttered expression to the bleak set of Vala’s usually cheerful features. Teal’c inclined his head to him and Cam’s chin dipped toward his chest as he asked.
“I missed something big didn’t I?”
She had known as soon as she materialized before Daniel that those would be her last moments and she had done her best to shield her actions from the others. To stop their ever present gaze from noticing her meager efforts, her last chance at doing what was right in a universe that seemed to thrive only for those that did wrong.
When her vision, her perception had tunneled Buffy had known and closed herself off to the Daniel, to his team and felt herself be dragged though the sky and into the ether. Her next moment of awareness was filled with the clear and startling light of the others. They surrounded her, their beauty stunning and so very nearly perfect that for a moment she was silent and awed before one parted, slipped forward to stand alone.
That iridescent cloud slimmed, once again taking the form that she had held before her ascension and Buffy followed her example. Melding back into the façade of her own humanity as the other continued forward until she stood before Buffy. Her eyes wide, emotionless as she stated simply and with great authority, “Your protection of Earth is forfeit. This is the price of your transgression.”
Those startling blue eyes narrowed, “You perceive little of the threat we truly face.”
“I don’t give a damn.” Buffy stepped back, turned her focus outward. “I will continue to break your rules. I will continue
to save every lower that I am capable
“Then you shall be—”
“Then smite me and be done with it. I’m tired. Tired of watching…” Her words trailed off as she noticed the others around her begin to take shape, form. They appeared so human and yet they weren’t, they couldn’t be. The closest any of them had come was Oma. Oma.
She turned back to the other that stood before her, watched the confusion sweep up from the depths of her gaze and make its way forward to spill across her features as she felt Buffy’s sudden clarity, her resolution. “Don’t forgive my transgression.”
A finely shaped brow rose and the other inclined her head, “You wish for us to destroy you?”
Buffy locked gazes with her, “That’s really not the point.”
Her brow rose, created an elegant slope. “Then what is the point?”
“Free Oma. Don’t forgive me, forgive her. Forgive the only one among you that had the ability to think beyond your rules.” Her voice dipped, the words nearly lost to the stillness, “She’s the one worth saving.”
The others around them shifted as her head inclined, “You would sacrifice yourself—”
“Every time. Destroy Anubis and free Oma.”
Another stepped forward and her eyes, a light hazel, focused on Buffy as she moved to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other. A narrow chin dipped and those strangely pale eyes narrowed on Buffy, who offered one of the few Ancients who actually spoke with her a bemused smile. “Ganos Lal.”
The other smiled faintly but ignored the greeting and stated, “Agreed.”
Her brows pulled together as the air around them iodized and ignited, burning a brilliant white before it vanished. Through the thinning vapors she saw Oma, her shoulders slightly hunched, her features draw, tired and she still wore that damn smock.
Her slim frame straightened and her brown eyes settled on Buffy as she took in her surroundings, “What have you done?”
She smiled. “I’ll miss you.”
Ganos Lal stepped forward. Her hands rose to cup Buffy’s face, fingers pressing lightly into her temples and she allowed Buffy one last moment to gaze at her mentor before the world around her faded away.
Even with the salvation of P8X-412 and Col. Mitchell’s miraculous recovery there was a somber air to the briefing room that had Gen. Landry shifting forward to rest his forearms against the polished wood of the table separating him from his best team—and Vala.
“We’re sure this Ascended sacrificed herself?”
The set of Dr. Jackson’s jaw had the leader of the SGC regretting his choice in words but the linguist sat up straighter against his high-backed chair, “She broke their laws.”
“She saved that planet!”
Daniel’s lips lifted humorlessly with Cam’s outraged statement. “It won’t matter. She interfered in the lives of lower beings.”
Vala snorted with his words and used that spark of annoyance to help hold the tears at bay as her arms tightened around her knees, tucking them closer to her chest. She swallowed twice to help keep the waver from her voice before stating, “I don’t see the point.” The other’s turned toward her and she shrugged, digging the heels of her boots into the leather chair to keep her balance. “She did something good and they’ll punish her for it. That’s senseless.”
“The others actions this day do lack all facets of sense.”
Her lips pulled up at the corners with Teal’c’s easy agreement with her deduction. “Thank you, muscles.” His eyebrow rose with her nickname and she managed a real smile before reality set back in and her shoulders dropped, the room settling into silence once more.
“Why don’t we convene at a later ti—”
The general’s words were cut short as light filled the briefing room, slipping into ever corner and blinding the depleted members of SG-1. The brilliance surrounding them brought Daniel to his feet as the light dispersed as suddenly as it had appeared, folding inward, toward one focal point in the room and Daniel’s eyes narrowed before widening.
Cam’s startled, “Whoa!” was ignored as the linguist made his way around the table and toward the entrance of Gen. Landry’s office where an unconscious and nude Buffy lay curled on the floor.
His shoulders rolled as he neared her, helping him to shrug off his regulation jacket to drape it over her. His brows drew low as he caught sight of the scars that riddled her now shivering frame before he covered her. Hazel eyes opened, frightened and more than a little wide as she stared at up at him.
He offered her a hesitant smile as the rest of his team came to stand around him. “Hello.”
Confusion slowly replaced the fear as she pulled the jacket tighter to her chest and attempted to cover her upper thighs before she stated softly, “I seem to be naked.”
“Yeah, she is.”
Daniel’s lips quirked at the smack that followed Cam’s response and he was more than certain Vala had been the one to give it. She looked past him, her eyes growing wider and her knuckles turned white where they gripped his jacket and Daniel realized belatedly she had thought they were alone.
“Buffy…” Her brows drew together and Daniel felt his chest tighten before he redirected, “I’m Daniel.” Her mouth opened and then closed, lips forming a thin line and Daniel reached forward, laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You don’t remember do you?”
Her head shook, “No,” she blinked, lips tightening before she stated, “You know me.”
“I-we do and we’ll help you to remember.”
Her head cocked, spilling some of her hair forward as her mouth loosened into a faint smile, “I believe you.” Then her gaze shifted to look past him, toward those surrounding them and she asked, “But can I get some clothes first?”The End.