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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)AvaFR181021,5112012951,5965 Apr 0623 Feb 08Yes

Chapter Five

Buffy had watched as the other’s stripped Anubis of his power but left their knowledge well within his oily grasp. The decision to allow him access to all that they were had been galled the Ascended. She stretched outward until the effervescent cloud that acted as her form engulfed the sky and brought shadows across a gilded field on Earth.

Her place of peace was tainted with her growing displeasure in the life she was currently allowing to unfold before her. She could become what she once was. Embrace what was left of her humanity and become lost in the past. Swallowed by the history of a planet that was hers and not.

A twisting began in the core of her being until she spiraled downward into her first form and stood within the field of wild wheat. It settled around her and brushed against her essence as another presence invaded her world.

She turned to see one of the others quietly watching her. The same female who had offered her a position among them stepped forward and nodded. Buffy resisted the urge to flick her off and simply crossed her arms in irritation.

“Nemesis.” The name made her jaw clench and the other noticed with a sigh. “I know that you do not understand why we have allowed…”

“A killer free reign?” Buffy shook her head, “Yeah, you’re gonna have to color me stupid about that one.”

The other closed her eyes for a moment and lowered her head. “Our rules were established for a reason. The battle that you so easily began would have brought on dire consequences.”

“Such as Anubis’ demise?”

The other raised her head, blue eyes flashing with agitation. “Such a use of power, unshielded would draw the attention of those that wish us and all beings that exist in these galaxies great harm.” She stepped forward and touched a blade of wheat. Her fingers trailed over the stem and the plant shuddered with the movement. “All that you hold dear would be placed within their grasp.”

Buffy frowned, “Whose grasp?”

She shook her head. “You must accept that we have these laws for the good of those that are beneath us.”

“What if I can’t?”

“Then action will be taken to make certain that you do.”

Buffy’s head inclined, “You’ll destroy me.”

“If we must.”

“But not Anubis.”

The other stepped forward until she stood just before Buffy, “If he tries to pierce the boundaries we have established. We will allow you to destroy him.”

Her lips thinned, “And if he doesn’t?”

The other’s gaze moved upward to encompass the sunlit sky. “Then like all creatures he will be allowed to live out his own existence.”

Buffy shook her head, “When he oversteps himself I’ll be there.”

“As shall we.”

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

“Hey…where are you going?”

“I don’t know.”

With those words to Colonel Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson stepped through the shimmering event horizon and ascended—or not. Daniel blinked against the harsh sunlight as his feet hit solid ground and he stumbled. Raising his hand for shade he flicked his blue eyes across a lush park.

Vibrant manicured grass fell over low hills and a few flower bearing trees spotted the landscape. He saw a large sandpit with children’s toys forgotten, cast aside in the ever-changing scenery of the world around him. The grinding of metal pulled his attention toward the horizon. A jungle gym made of wood and steel towered into the perfect blue sky. He blinked at the small woman rocking alone on one of the swings.

As she pushed her form back the grinding returned and a frowned pulled his brows low as he made his way forward. His steps noiseless in the fresh cut grass and he stopped to ponder the silence, everything was at rest except the woman who gently swayed in the sunlight. Her movement, multiplied by the stillness of her surroundings forced him to finish the short space between them as if she beckoned him.

Her head was bowed, long blonde hair covering her features blocking them from his view. Her dress was Grecian in design, made of black lambswool that was molded to her form by silken ropes of silver and gold. She rocked her body backwards and leaned against the metal chain.

“Hello.”

Her head rose and she gazed at him with the clearest green eyes. The very force of her gaze made him pause and glance at their surroundings once more as he wondered where Oma was.

“She had places to be.” He stiffened and turned back towards the other woman who offered him a tentative smile. “Sit.” She motioned to the swing beside her.

He blinked and shook his head. “I don’t think…”

“Sit.”

Her tone held no room for argument, so he sat. “Who are you?”

The chain groaned against its metal ring as she shifted backward and drew her bare feet through the sifting white sand. “I have many names.”

Daniel frowned and swiveled his swing so that he could watch her. “Okay. Where am I?”

“Welcome to the choice of mine.”

“Are you sure you’re not Oma?”

She laughed, a startled sound that had a smile pulling at Daniel’s lips. “Not nearly.”

She continued to rock her swing to and fro, until his hand reached out to grasp the chain just above her tiny fist. She paused to meet his gaze.

“What should I call you?”

Her head angled as she pondered the simple question. Her lips thinned, as she seemed to come to an understanding within her own mind.

“The others call me Nemesis.”

Daniel stiffened at the name but another question seemed to leap before his consciousness.

“What does Oma call you?”

Her lips quirked at his insightfulness, maybe—just maybe—Oma had made a good choice after all.

“Friend.” He sighed at the cryptic answer and her smile spread with his frustration. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She turned from his perusal to watch the clouds move without the aid of wind.

He cocked his head to the side, studying her profile with interest. “Try me.”

“Buffy.”

In that moment Daniel gave a startled laugh to which the blonde raised a brow. He coughed, trying in vain to cover the snort that followed. “Sorry.” His sheepish grin had her shaking her head. “You’re name is…Buffy?”

She lifted her a shoulder and rose from the swing as the park around them shifted becoming engulfed by sand and heat. The once rolling meadow shriveled and died before the linguist’s gaze and he winced. Daniel took notice that the only thing of their previous destination that remained was the swing he currently occupied. With trepid movements he stood and placed himself beside Buffy as she stared into the vast nothingness.

“Where are we?”

She shifted her frame to face his, studying his features with interest. Her right hand rose to remove the glasses perched astride the bridge of his nose. He reached out to stop her and his hand passed through hers.

“How?”

She shook her head. “You look but you do not see.”

Daniel sighed. “Will I start talking in riddles too?”

She raised a brow and he frowned at the fact that he could see the brow rise. That he could see every detail in her face, in her dress, and the soft glow of a swallowed star peaking from beneath her skin. His eyes widened as he turned and looked out toward the desert. The sloping dunes shifted and folded around one another as if striving for his attention.

“Show me what you’d like to see.”

Daniel turned back toward her, his focus shifted inward and he closed his eyes for a moment. The image clear and prefect in his mind and Buffy’s delighted laugh had him opening his eyes to find them in the Embarkation room of Stargate Command.

He laughed with her as he turned to look up at the towering Chappai’ia. He angled his head to trace the smooth walls of concrete surrounding them and the conduit lines that fed the gate’s activation.

“Well done, young grasshopper.”

“I did this?” He turned and looked down at her. His eyes widened as he realized her clothes had changed and she now wore the SGC’s standard uniform. It was blue, like his own and she appeared to be swimming in it.

“Sorry.”

She raised a brow at him. “You’re stronger than I thought.”

Daniel frowned. “Stronger?”

“Your mind.”

“I don’t understand.” He frowned and turned toward her. “I thought ascension gave you infinite knowledge.”

She angled her slight frame so they faced one another. “Your capacity for knowledge is infinite.”

Daniel sighed at the cryptic words. “Still not comprehending.”

“You will.” She smiled and reached out to grasp his hand. Their fingers intertwined and he cocked his head at the fact that she could touch him when his hand had passed through hers just moments before.

He felt the warmth of her palm, the harsh texture of calluses pressed against his own. The raised flesh told him more than words that she had once had a life of labor and as the feel of what was and wasn’t her form, allowed him a brief glimpse of her past. Her mind seemed to ease up from their interlocked hands and ask for entrance within his own.

Daniel’s eyes widened at the feeling of another’s will pressed intimately over his. Again he marveled at the texture of her—that a person’s will could have texture, form. With the tactile connection he was filled with her presence and with only a moments hesitation he welcome the sensation. Pulled her forward and at the same moment delved deep within her psyche. Buffy’s life became his own, her knowledge, her will, opened like a book before his limitless gaze.

He became lost within the shadows chasing her actions. They stood hands intertwined, minds pressed for moments that spread into hours. The infiniteness of another’s thoughts spiraled around them until she eventually pulled back. Erected the walls between them and Daniel followed her example. The sharing of their experiences having taught him the fundamentals of their abilities.

“You’re not from around here.”

She laughed and her hand still grasped firmly in his, tightened. “And you’ve been a busy boy.”

He laughed. “This is amazing!” Daniel’s voice held all the enthusiasm of a small child who had been presented with a brand new puppy to call their very own.

She nodded her head. “Where are we?”

He tilted his head back and allowed the image of Stargate Command to fade from existence and the true appearance of their surroundings to emerge. The ground beneath them became rocky and barren, stretching outward in a desolate line of gray dirt. The air filled with poisonous levels of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The gases made the sky a luminous green as it reflected a red star’s solar glare.

“Oma brings her students here to be taught.” She smiled and nodded for him to continue. “To learn their new abilities far from where they could harm anyone.”

“Like the moon freed from a cloud.”

He arched a brow at her analogy of his discovery as Daniel looked down at his apparel and shifted them into a cream colored sweater and tan slacks. A snort of amusement pulled his attention toward his companion and he frowned.

“What?”

She shook her head and the BDU’s he had created for her shifted back into the Grecian gown she had worn before. No one liked color anymore.

“I swear, as soon as someone ascends they lose all concept of style.”

Daniel raised a brow. “Yes, because the whole reason behind enlightenment is to broadened one’s fashion sense.”

Her eyes widened at his dry tone and she released his hand to brush her fingers along the front of his cable knit sweater so that the color darkened to olive. She nodded at the fact that the shade brought out the blue in his eyes even as he was trying and failing to suppress his amusement.

Daniel took an unneeded breath and reached out to flex his self-control. Try his knowledge on something mundane before truly expressing himself. He focused his substantial will on the dress she wore and her indigent gasp had his eyes opening only to close quickly as a blush stole up his cheeks. Noting to himself that lambswool was transparent in light colors.

Buffy snickered at his bright shade and he slowly opened one eye. She watched his shoulders relax when he noticed she had darkened the dress once more. Her brow arched at his sheepish smile.

“Sorry.”

His sweater disappeared and his eyes widened, but before he could retaliate she spoke. “Do you really want to have a battle of wills with me?”

Daniel stared at her silently and she took a moment of her own to admire the smooth plans of his chest and stomach. Her brows drew downward as her dress began to lighten as a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder rolling over them.

“You wouldn’t.” The sky above them separated and rain poured over their forms as she stared at him in amazement.

He smirked.

Her eyes narrowed.

His slacks disappeared.

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

Author’s Note: I needed some fluff before I delved into the dark again. Besides the last chapter ended on a sad note and nobody likes angst 24/7. Hope this chapter explained my reasoning as to why I think the Ancients/Ascended allowed Anubis to live.
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