Buffy watched Daniel comfort his friend as he lay dieing in a field of his people. The newest member to the ranks of the Ascended was having a hell of a time cutting his apron strings. She had stayed silent when he let his friends know he was alright with that little gust of wind and she didn’t make a peep when he aided the one called O’Neill—okay maybe Jack reminded her of the man that Xander had become and maybe she understood Daniel’s attachments and couldn’t fault him for wanting to aid them, but dammit she was Nemesis.
The others’ enforcer of their strictest laws and Daniel continued to break the non interfering one. They turned a blind eye to Oma, allowing one of her own mistakes to be her punishment, allowing Anubis to retain his knowledge rather than wiping it clean after his descent from their ranks.
Buffy frowned at the knowledge that they had stopped her from destroying Anubis and even now they allowed him to desecrate everything they had helped conceive—stupid higher powers. She ignored the voice in the back of her consciousness that reminded her she was one of those higher powers now and had been for over two thousand years.
She didn’t want to have to stop Daniel. She didn’t want to become Nemesis to him, so she called out to him. Willed him from the Jaffa’s mind and brought him before her to give to her annoyance.
He blinked and her name fell like a sigh from his lips. “Buffy.”
He winced at the fact that her tone had taken on the same infliction Jack’s got when he was at his wits end with him. “I know what you’re going to say…”
He winced at her shout and averted his gaze. “Buffy, I can’t…” At her glare, he amended. “I shouldn’t have to stand by while my friends suffer. Not if I can help them.”
Her shoulders dropped and the agitation left Buffy with his pleading tone. “Daniel, we’re not Gods.”
He winced. “I know that! Don’t you think I know that?” She turned her back on him and he sighed, moving forward. “You can't just ask me to allow this to happen. I won't.”
Her arms rose to wrap around her slight frame. “The others will stop you. If you continue on this path, they will stop you.”
He frowned. “Let them.”
She turned back to him, sorrow etched into the smooth contours of her features. “They will send me to stop you, Daniel.”
He frowned, startled by her words. “You follow Oma.”
She shook her head. “Oma helped me to ascend. Taught me, but the others…they gave me a purpose. A name.”
He stepped back. “Nemesis.”
She avoided his gaze. “It is my role to enforce the laws they have created. To help keep order and judge those who step out of line.”
He frowned at her tone. “What changed?”
She ignored the voice whispering to tell him Oma’s secrets and gave a half answer instead. “The world has become blind.”
Daniel reached out and Buffy allowed his essence to make physical contact. His fingers pressed tightly into her shoulders as he forced her to meet his gaze.
“This is ridiculous. These riddles are useless! Why must every conversation we have lead us here, to this place.”
“Because I have no person for my counterpart.”
Daniel frowned and tightened his grip. If she had still been human Buffy would have worn the bruises for hours. Now she was just a ghost.
“We have the ability to do good, the right thing and we waste it.”
Startled by his words that echoed hers to Oma so long ago she reached out and pressed her fingertips to his chest. “Preacher.” She retracted her hand and lightly touched her own. “Choir.”
Startled by her admission he lifted his head to meet her haunted gaze. Daniel searched her saddened face for the answers he was positive she possessed. Her thoughts remained unreadable and her walls intact as he let his head fall forward so that their foreheads touched. The silent moment of understanding was interrupted by a strangled cry from the larger Jaffa. Daniel pulled back and turned his attention to his newest mission.
“I have to…”
Daniel stepped back from her and moved to stand beside his friend. She watched him kneel at Teal’c’s side and her face hardened, she moved toward the other wounded male.
Daniel watched stunned as Buffy lowered herself so that she could whisper along Bra’tac’s jaw and engulf his mind within hers. The older Jaffa’s brow released its tension and his form sag against Teal’c.
Bra’tac tilted his head back and inhaled the crisp scent of fresh growth. The forest rose high and towering above him as his gaze fell on the infinite sky. His dark eyes traced the glittering stars as they winked down at him, motionless.
A shift in air gave notion to the fact that he was not alone. His body rolled easily into a stance of awareness but his neck remained bent back as he watched the wind drag a formless cloud across the moon. Shadows descended over the small clearing the Jaffa heard a soft voice call out to him.
He lowered his head to gaze in wonder at small human female, her smile was one of welcome but her eyes remained impassive.
“Perhaps I am not in need of a friend.”
Buffy smiled at the easy answer that mirrored her own to Angel in another life and stepped forward, cautiously into Bra’tac’s mind.
“I am Nemesis.”
“I do not know that name, nor the being attached to it.”
The woman inclined her head in acknowledgement of his statement. “We share an ally.”
Bra’tac frowned. “May an old Jaffa ask, what ally could we share?”
His confusion melted into surprise as he stared at the frail woman before him. “Daniel Jackson?” A true smile filled her face at his amazement, one that Bra’tac found unable to resist until understanding filled his gaze. “I am dieing.”
Bra’tac found his attention riveted to the way her skin shimmered in the night, the darkness around them making her appear more ethereal. “You have come to show me the way.”
Buffy arched a brow. “You are already know the way, you choose not to follow it.”
Bra’tac sighed. “There is still much I wish to see finished before I die.”
“Then the path will elude even you.”
The Jaffa nodded in agreement. “Why have you come?”
Buffy blinked at him unsure of her place. She had not simply spoken with a being of the lower realms without the intention of aiding them in ascension in far too long. With a sigh she fell back on what she knew best, her voice taking on the echo of her pervious life.
Bra’tac stiffened. “You wish to do battle?”
She shrugged. “It’s a way to pass the time.”
A slow smile split his lips. “It is.”
The world came back to Bra’tac slowly. His mind clouded and his thoughts helplessly intertwined. His mouth was as dry as the sand fields of Chulak and he winced away from the brightness above him. He blinked his eyes and tried to focus past the blurred shapes before his gaze.
A soft feminine chuckled eased his exhausted mind. He turned his head to the side and winced at the stiffness he found there. He was becoming too old for the heat of battle and the repercussions that followed.
“Never.” He blinked trying in vain to bring the face into focus. “Here, let me help.”
A soft light built behind the voice and Bra’tac felt warmth seep into his face and work it’s way slowly through his body. He sighed as the pain eased and his vision cleared to reveal the warrior from his hallucination.
She smiled softly at him and he watched the light of happiness fill her eyes. “See, not dead.”
“It would appear so.” He allowed his gaze to study her without the limitations her mind had set. “You are Daniel Jackson’s friend?”
“Sometimes. When he’s not being a complete pain in the ass.” The Jaffa laughed and stiffened at the influx of pain from his temples with the simple reflex. She winced realizing the cause of his discomfort. “I’m sorry…”
He held up a hand to stop her flow of words. “There is no need for apologies. You kept an old Jaffa company during what should have been his final moments. I believe it is I who owe you the debt.”
Buffy shook her head. “I have not had that much fun in ages. You’re a shifty opponent.”
“And you a fierce warrior.”
“Like knows like.”
Bra’tac watched her study him and felt his smile slowly wilt unit a frown marred his features. “You should be going.”
She sighed and nodded. “I should.” She stepped back and he watched her offer him one last smile. “It was an honor, Bra’tac.”
“It was, Nemesis.”
She winked from existence and he smiled at the now vacant space at his bedside. He had conversed and battled with an Ascended being and found both tasks to be enjoyable. He settled himself against the gurney and allowed rest to claim his mind with a smile still gracing his lips.
“You should not have aided him.”
“You should not have made me his guide.”
Oma sighed and stood beside Buffy as they watched Daniel ask Jack for help with stopping Anubis. The younger Ascended chuckled at the Colonel’s snarkiness and Daniel’s apparent annoyance.
Oma watched Buffy study Daniel and felt something close to grief fill her essence. “I will lose you both.”
The blonde turned to her stunned. “I would never leave you, Oma.”
“You left me long ago.”
She sighed and flicked her focus back to the SGC. Daniel was winning the other man’s confidence and stepping over another imaginary line.
“When I became Nemesis.”
Oma watched one of her oldest charges as she slid further from the path. “No, the others gave you a purpose. You flourished. I thank them for keeping you in my presence for as long as you have.” She watched her youngest charge leap from the nest and begin his fall back toward humanity. “I lost you when you could no longer aid those you deemed worthy.”
Buffy turned away from her student to stare at her oldest friend. “Oma, I have learned to walk this path.”
“You do not enjoy it.”
“Not always.” She turned back toward Daniel as he began to speak again with the people of Abydos. “But there are still some things that surprise me.”
Oma traced the slope of Buffy’s cheek and the clearness of her gaze and wished for more time with both of them. “He has strayed from the path.”
“Or perhaps he forges his own.”
“The others will send you to stop him.”
“I don’t know if I can.”
Oma nodded and they both continued to watch over their charge, ally, friend.