“And?”“And I don’t care anymore. Anubis is one of us.”
“Hardly and you’d better start caring.” Buffy subconsciously flinched as the members of SG-1 turned toward her and she kept her face blank as Daniel stared at her stunned. The crumbling pyramid’s hidden room stank of human fear and centuries of decay as she swept her limitless gaze over it and it’s haggard occupants.
“Uh…hello?” She shifted her focus to the beautiful blonde stationed to one side of the tombs door less entry as she shifted her grip on her P-90 and offered Buffy a hesitant smile—sometimes she hated this life.
Daniel cleared his throat. “Ah, everyone this is B…”
“Nemesis,” she shot the other Ascended a challenging glare.
Jack frowned at the byplay between them. “Nice name…and outfit.”
“We can’t all go around in robes.”
The tiny blonde was encased in black leather; the bodysuit vaguely resembled armor as she stepped forward and placed herself within firing range of Anubis’ Jaffa. One of them raised his staff and released a ball of blue plasma. She arched a brow and the blast stopped inches from her side, it stayed there, crackling against her essence.
Daniel’s features slid into a blank mask. “They sent you.”
She met his gaze. “Yes.” She could feel them even now, their will pushing her toward an end that she hated.
Jack frowned and shook his head. “They? Who sent you?”
Buffy flicked her gaze toward the Jaffa as he rose and placed himself beside their leader, a silent message and threat, he would protect these humans at great cost to himself. When had she become the black hat, the one to protect against? When had she lost her eagerness to help others?
Ones like her existed nowhere in this universe, she was one of the accomplished, the fully enlightened and yet she had lost her way. She no longer vanquished evil and her past victories tasted of ash.
A silent moment stretched between them before Daniel flicked his gaze to Jack and answered. “The others.”
The Colonel blinked, “So they
do actually exist?”
Buffy glared at him, “Of course.”
She rolled her eyes and focused on her mission. “Daniel, stop now.”
“We’ve already had this argument.”
“Then help me.”
Buffy sighed and wished for the courage to do just that. “I can’t.”
Jonas Quinn watched the interaction between higher beings and wondered at the apparent pettiness of it. The female, Nemesis’ jaw tightened and the glow that engulfed her began to darken, become ominous. She glared at the man that he honored with his presence at Stargate Command and threatened him.
“Don’t make me destroy you.”
Jack stiffened at her words, but Daniel didn’t flinch. “Its your choice.” He raised his arms and spread them wide, opening himself for her to smite him as her eyes narrowed.
The Jaffa outside their barricade shifted, glancing between one another and the still hovering staff blast. They could not hear what was being said, but the woman seemed unconcerned by the destruction frozen mere inches from her form. Her’ak raised his own weapon and allowed one discharge to be aimed at the Tau’ri woman. Like its brother it stopped moments before impact, but this time she turned away from those inside the chamber.
Her voice growled out, “Not now!”
The two staff blast ricocheted away from her and collided with several of his Jaffa. The First Prime of Anubis stared at their impact point, stunned by the crater they had created.
Buffy blinked at the force her rage, the way it consumed and stared at her raised hand bewildered. She had not thought of the consequences, she had merely wanted them to stop. To leave her, them be.
“Sweet!” She turned toward Jack who peeked his head around the stone entrance to assess the damage Daniel’s friend had caused. He gave a low whistle at the sight and asked. “Can you do that again?” he paused, cocked his head, “but next time aim for the annoying one.”
Sam watch the stunned expression on the Ascended’s face and winced as she realized the woman had not meant to aid them and Jack was asking her for more help she couldn’t, wouldn’t give.
Daniel flinched as Buffy raised her face to his and he saw the hollowness in her gaze. The one who had taught him suddenly seemed misplaced, he whispered. “Help me.”
Buffy felt the others, their displeasure at her actions, but there was no reason behind them. They were a neutral party. They walked through a life of simplicity and infinite knowledge. Anubis was not good. He wasn’t fit to live in this world and as Buffy felt her will turn toward Daniel’s cause a familiar sweeping peace filled her essence and she knew Oma called her. Oma.
Buffy shook her head and met Daniel’s hopeful gaze, watched the emotion die as he realized her answer before she even spoke. “I can’t.” His unneeded breath came out as a sigh and his head lowered. “But I won’t stop you either.” He stiffened and drew his head back up, met her saddened gaze as she softly whispered, “Good luck.”
She allowed her true form to fold outward and her will, her power swept through the chamber and beyond. Her anger and confusion making her essence darker nearly black and the few of Anubis’ Jaffa that could witnessed the display of rage felt a chill of disquiet fill them as she rose upward and vanished within a flash of light.
Jack watched the other Ascended leave them and turned toward his friend who seemed stunned by the turn of events. Deciding to refocus him now and definitely bug Danny about his girlfriend later Jack asked.
“So Anubis is ascended?”
The wind screamed upward over the lip of a glacier and brought with it a vibration that shook the ground and the heavy snow that covered it cracked. Shifted beneath her shapeless form as the effervescent tendrils retracted, helped Buffy to reform as she slipped back into her first shape and allowed the biting cold to seep into her essence, into the very core of her being. She welcomed the bitter wind as it attempted to crystallize the tears forming along her lashes and the moment around her stilled.
The silence raised goosebumps along her nude form far quicker than the wind and she blinked. Hazel eyes locked on a single snowflake just a hairbreadth away from her face. She stepped back, felt the cold beneath her but only a stillness and lack of movement above the ground and her back stiffened as she turned. Meet the other Ascended’s narrowed gaze and an arched a brow, “What?”
“You’ve failed us.”
She stepped forward, pushed the frozen in time snow aside until she stood before the other that dared to judge her and lifted her chin, “You’ve failed yourselves.”
Her head inclined, brows arching over blue eyes. “Is that how you truly see us?”
Buffy snorted, “You’re omnipotent you tell me.”
“Perhaps you should attempt prudence in this moment.”
She laughed, a high tight sound and stepped closer. Felt the illusion of robes brush the tops of her thighs, the tips of her breast and spoke slowly, softly. “I quit.”
The other took a discrete step back, “You became emotionally attached—”
“Don’t speak of things you have no comprehension of or is that rule just for me?” Her voice was low with the rage still held tightly in the core of her essence. “I am no longer Nemesis. I no longer serve the others.”
“You never served us. You helped keep the balance—”
“I murdered or stripped others of their powers. Anyone, any being you deemed a threat to this corner of the universe!”
The other shook her head, “You’re love for this Daniel has blinded you to the truth.”
The softy uttered word brought the other up short and she inclined her head, “You love this man.”
She spoke with such certainty that Buffy felt a derisive laugh threaten to escape, “If I loved Daniel we would not be having this conversation because I would have allowed Oma to do the same to me as she did to him.” A tear slipped from the corner of one eye and down her cheek, “If I loved him then I would not fear the thought of becoming human once more. I would embrace it and him.” The tear struck the motionless air beneath her chin and froze. “I did neither.” Her gaze refocused and she met the other’s, unafraid. “I am
done. Do not call upon me again.”
She stepped back from her show of grief and slipped back into the eternal light that filled the universe and swept upward. The other moved forward, ran a critical eye over the single tear and she caught it between her thumb and forefinger before she allowed this small pocket of the Earth its movement back.
Buffy watched as Colonel Reynolds brought Daniel before his team members and sighed, as he recalled nothing of them. She had kept her vigilance throughout the few months after his dissention.
She flinched as she remembered his anger and confusion when Oma had told him the truth about Anubis and how she had played a part in his ascension. Buffy and Daniel had been in complete agreement at the unfairness of her punishment and how it harmed more people than taught, no matter what shadowed threats the others gave or their attempts to recruit.
She had been present when Oma wiped his memory and he had stared at her blankly before being sent down to the backwater planet. Her teacher had given Buffy a small amount of amusement during the horrible ordeal. Daniel waking up naked in a field, it still brought a smile to her lips, even now, as she watched him struggle to regain that which he once was.
The familiar calming of her emotions made her shift to the side in welcome, “Hello, Oma.”
“Buffy.” The other woman stepped up to her side and they both watched him for a moment before she spoke, “Why did you not go with him?”
She blinked and smiled at his cautious interaction with his team. “I haven’t been human for a very long time.”
“He would have guided you.”
Silence engulfed them once more and the scene beneath them began to loose their attention, lose focus and Buffy winced as she missed her pupil with an almost physical pull. She had not felt the draw of humanity in so long, that she had forgotten how much it ached but still she would not, could not leave the life she had chosen.
Oma studied her charge and sighed, as her pain seemed to have no end at the moment. She had pushed so hard for her to be accepted and to accept the rules that had been placed around them. The guidelines that all Ascended followed or suffered the threat of the others.
Buffy had thrived for over a thousand years following the will of the others. Her failure with Anubis had triggered Buffy’s reversion back to her Slayer mentality and as a champion she could not understand their subsequent leaders allowing him to cause such devastation. Not for the purpose of teaching one being—who had only been trying to do the right thing—a lesson.
Now with the loss of Daniel she felt useless and Oma knew that Buffy was slowly becoming lost and falling back into old patterns that would lead to her downfall. Lead to the others noticing her inability to toe the line.
Oma blinked surprised by the offer and nodded. Her gaze dipped to encompass Buffy’s attire and her lips lifted, “By the way, I like your dress.”
The blonde turned toward her teacher with a laugh. “Thanks. I like…” She swept her gaze over the formless smock and sensible shoes. “You.”