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Fragmented Path

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Summary: The final battle brings a loss that the white hats never foresaw and with it a hero may learn another form of peace.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Theme: Friendship(Moderator)AvaFR181021,5112012952,6625 Apr 0623 Feb 08Yes

Chapter Three

She stood motionless as the ocean rolled back seamlessly into itself. The soothing cycle of Earth’s tides never failed to calm the Ascended when Buffy felt at odds with her new life. Her brows drew downward as the sun was engulfed by the curvature of the planet and darkness began its short reign.

It had been one hundred and twelve revolutions of the Earth’s orbit around the star that had killed the demonic in her old reality since her merger with this reality and at times she still felt lost. Buffy watched as a gull swept downward and smiled as a gust of wind forced it to falter in its course and the agile creature plunged dangerously toward the water. A dip of its tail and the bird shifted effortlessly to accommodate the up draft. If only her own fate had been that simple to master.

In the first twenty cycles she had watched over the people of her old life. She had seen the utter delight in Willow’s eyes when she and Kennedy had been granted adoption of a beautiful girl named Joyce Anne. Her essence had darkened when she watched Faith fall fighting the last of the vampires. After the final battle Buffy’s family had driven them completely underground, they had won. And Faith had died free but still wrapped within the heated embrace of Ares. The call of the war boiling in the grace of her form as she strived to do the right thing.

She had been happy.

Xander, her knight had watched over her sister, her hope as if she were his own. Her husband had hated their closeness. Had never understood a bond that transcended blood, sex, marriage. The pair had proven that there was still good in this world. Dawn’s husband had misinterpreted their relationship and Xander’s wife hadn’t faired much better but the pair had stayed at each other’s side until Dawn’s end.

Rolling clouds began to form across the magnificence of the setting sun and Buffy flinched as her emotions spiraled through the world around her. For a moment she ignored Oma’s teachings and welcomed the darkness engulfing the beach. She allowed her grief to spread outward as her form melted with the first drop of rain.

The sand dented with each of the powerful compressions as she lost all semblance of control and the tide’s pull strengthened tenfold. The water began to recede drastically around her as she recalled Dawn’s last moments. She had survived numerous apocalypses and only to have been defeated in the same manner as their mother.

It was a flawless human death and bitter moment as Buffy had watched Dawn’s last breath. Unable to comfort the beautiful woman, unable to embrace the last tangible link to her old life.

A wave began to build with a steady infusion of a flash surge and it rose upward as the systematic momentum brought the wall of water toward the beach. The sky lost all pigment as the clouds thickened into larger capacitors for the Slayer’s grief as the negatively charged electrons separated from the falling rain and the positive, still trapped in the cycle of evaporation, rose upward.

As the collisions of positive and negative continued above her, Buffy’s volatile emotions added to the Earth’s natural response for the cloud above. She unconsciously helped the negatively charged electrons repel deeper into the shell of the planet. With her grief reaching its peak she broke down the air around her and allowed a clear path for nature.

For a moment she felt a small sense of release as the air iodized and became plasma. The brilliant flare nearly matching her ethereal light as the charge ate across the sky and lit the way of the tidal wave as it crashed ashore.

The world around her stilled and the sonic thrum of the thunder shuddered the expanse of beach, echoing through her essence and Buffy shifted back as several wraithlike clouds surrounded her. Their combined light casting the surrounding area in shadow as they merged into their first forms.

The Slayer frowned at the people watching her silently as the effects of her grief diminished and the planet righted itself once more. She had a sinking feeling these were the people Oma had strived to keep her from meeting. Perhaps they had come to end her life, she tried to ignore the painful tug at the thought of her final death.

“You are powerful at the most primeval of levels.”

She blinked at the male form and the first words ever spoken to her by the others. “Bully me.”

Another stepped forward, this one female, “You allow grief to rule your being. The one you loved died decades ago.”

“Has it really been that long since you lost someone you cared for?”

They shifted and inclined their heads in unison and Buffy had a sneaking suspicion they were talking amongst themselves. Feeling like a kid that was having its punishment discussed over their head had her glaring. She spun in a circle to include all of them in her ire.

“Is this the part where you call me child and say that the way of the universe is still far beyond my comprehension?”

The same female moved to stand before her and Buffy flinched at how startlingly beautiful she was. A perfectly proportioned face, dominated by blue eyes watched her in way that made her feel at peace.

Maybe this one wasn’t a complete ass.

“You follow Oma, do you not?”

“Yeah.” She flinched at the nasty way she had spoken; the grief of Dawn’s death still did wonders for her hospitality. She amended, “Yes, I do.”

The other inclined her head, “You are of the few we agree should have been enlightened. Though, perhaps too soon.”

“I’m sorry?”

“You were very young.”

“Twenty-nine is young?” Buffy paused, “Okay, to a race that is like a bazillion I’m thinking twenty-nine could be considered youthful.” She paused and glanced around, “Is bazillion really a number?”

The other offered her a faintly amused smile and she was instantly remained of Oma, “You are a weapon.”

Buffy sighed and her face thinned. “No.”

The other’s brow arched high as she contemplated the sudden influx of anger with her statement. “A warrior?”

The Slayer relaxed somewhat with her correction but her eyes remained narrowed. “I helped those that couldn’t help themselves.”

“At a great cost to yourself.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Why the twenty questions?”

The others shifted again at her lack of respect and Buffy frowned as the woman before her shook her head. “It is not our own fate we are deciding in this moment.”

Buffy flinched, “What gives you the right to decide my fate?”

“We simply do.”

A harsh laugh escaped the blonde, “You’ll stand idly by as the Goa’uld enslave a race you helped create but if I make a cloud you want to destroy me.”

“Do not judge what you do not understand.”

“Ditto.”

The woman inclined her head in thought and her image flared like a dieing star as she nodded, “Fair enough.” The others around them shifted, “We have come to offer you a way to dispel your rage and grief.”

Instantly distrustful Buffy asked, “How?”

“There are those that do not follow the path we lead. They wish to use grand gestures to right the wrongs of the natural universe. We wish you to stop them.” Her posture stiffened and the woman instantly read her mistrust, “Oma is not seen in the same light we are referring.”

“What would you want me to do?”

“Do as you have always done. Right wrongs.”

Buffy flicked her gaze around the circle and felt the weight of the others. The nearly corporeal presence as it swirled around her and she felt oddly humbled. They were neutral, far more neutral than the Powers that Be and as she felt the first stirrings hope at having a focus, an outlet for the battle cry continuously tearing through her essence. Buffy smiled and accepted their offer. The others moved forward but it was the female that still watched her, considering.

“What?”

The woman arched a brow as Buffy felt the first sweep of the others power and her form shuddered. “I believe we will have to think of a worthier title than Buffy.”

“But I like my name.”

“We do not.”

~~~@~~~@~~~@

She had watched as Oma helped another student toward enlightenment. Though Zhang Doaling had been further along the path than most of her students and had not need Buffy’s aid in his adjustment to his new understanding. His followers were less enlightened but their thoughts and hearts were in the right place as they followed his grandson, who began a revolution. And Buffy finally understood Giles’ obsession with the past as she watched it unfold before her.

Oma had waited several centuries until her next pupil and Buffy had learned the passing of time began to take great leaps. A year now seemed as long as a day as she watched the expansion of the human psyche. Her amazement at the evolution of a planet she now recognized had been taken for granted.

And humanity was far more resilient than even the others knew.

Oma was sending another to her for guidance and in nearly a thousand years she had helped her teacher with her most delinquent of students. Buffy found that she enjoyed watching the wonder on the face of the newly enlightened. How they initiated such joy in the simplest of discoveries, the expansion of the cosmos. The death of a star and the birth of a civilization were treasured experiences and she remembered her own awe with what this universe and the next had to offer.

The star above her expanded to a critical stage of its death and its gravitational pull fractured the planet beneath, raising the surface temperature as the molted core released its own pressure though the fissures it created. She willed the Chappai’ia to open and allowed her form to swell and expanded. The tendrils of light ebbed back from the natural destruction and she felt the minute pull as she was fazed out of this dimension for a moment’s time and reintegrated on another planet.

Her essence folded inward, reshaping into her first form and Buffy welcomed the warmth of a stable star as her new destination laid baron and dead around her. Finely arched brows lowered at the desolation spread out far from the Chappai’ia, a rolling wasteland of clay and rock.

A presence sent a chill through the core of her and she turned expecting to see the coming darkness, the press of night. Trying to devour the radiance that gave life to all worlds, instead tendrils of light splayed outward in an ever-widening pattern. They arced hypnotically as if trying to lull her by their steady movement. The other Ascended moved swiftly forward and the moment before it would have struck the effervescent cloud melted into a male form with such an influx of power that the backwash rolled over, through her and spread the image of her hair into a halo.

The man that stood before her was strikingly arrogant in appearance but the affect of his aristocratic nose and prominent blue eyes were ruined by his welcome. Oma’s newest charge stepped forward and offered Buffy a charming smile meant to abolish all of her pessimistic thoughts.

“Hello.”

She inclined her head toward him, “Welcome to the choice of mine.”

His lips quirked again as he reached out to take her hand. Buffy absently noticed how pale his flesh had been. The nearly translucent skin complemented her golden tan as she allowed her form to have shape, constancy. He brought the limb to his lips and slid a gentle kiss along the back as he whispered softly,

“Once I lived in negligence.”

A small tendril of unease began to coil within her as she welcomed him with the name the others had given. “I am called Nemesis.”

He gave her hand a gentle squeeze before allowing it to fall to her side. His striking eyes flicked to stare beyond her shoulder as if considering her name or finding it amusing. His gaze turned back to her as a slow, predatory smile graced his lips and the tendril of unease snaked upward, darkening her core and cast shadows across her vision.

“And I am Anubis.”

~~~@~~~@~~~@

Author's Note: Thank you for reading and I thank those of you kind enough to review. Buffy's story is going to fast forward but the important moments will be touched on and SG-1 will eventually make an appearance.
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