A change of scenery

Author: Nodakskip <nodakskip[at]aol.com>

Summary: My first Buffy/Stargate Atlantis crossover.

AN: I know I say all my fics will be a one shot. But for a long time this one will be. Because I have way too much to work on. I started this about a month ago.

Chapter 1

Unknown planet, Pegasus galaxy
22:00 hours, 2004

Xander Harris stood on the balcony of what he guessed was an apartment of some sort. The tower he and his unit had searched over the last few days, had been shown to have similar accommodations throughout the entire space.

The general consensus was that it had been the living quarters for the Ancients, a race of humanoids from unthinkably long ago, that had built this city, and then moved it so *very* far away from Earth.

Someday, the expedition members might move into these units. That felt weird to Xander. To live in an apartment that had last been used possibly millions of years ago...

But that wouldn't happen in the near future. Not unless they solved their power supply troubles. The Stargate, and any other defenses or weapons, were the main priority for the time being.

Harris, come in.

Xander sighed, as he pulled out the small radio. "This is Harris, go ahead."

The voice of his team leader spoke through the tiny speaker. /We're turning in for the night. Going to start fresh on the next tower tomorrow./

The young man pressed the talk button. "Understood. I'm just enjoying the view, I'll be down in a little while."

Roger that, g'night.

"Night," Xander said softly, as he put the radio back in his pocket. Looking back towards the unknown ocean that went out as far as the eye could see, the interstellar traveller thought back to one of his last few nights on planet Earth...


Flashback The residence of Rupert Giles, of the new Watchers Council
Bath, England
Early 2004

"Now, c'mon Xander - are you going to tell us where the hell you've been for over seven months, or what?" Buffy the vampire Slayer asked pointedly, voicing the question so many in the room had been wondering.

Xander slowly shook his head, as he looked over the large group of people that were seated at the large table in Giles' new, huge home. (She *would* ask that...)

"No. Because I can't," he told Buffy simply. "Just like I can't tell you how I was able to get my eye fixed." The former Zeppo wished he could tell them, but saying that he'd gotten his left eye restored to perfect working order by alien hand-held healing device was not something he thought that even this group would believe...

At least, not at first and not without proof other than his mere word.

"Hey! You have to give us something here, Xander!" Willow demanded. "You quit the Council and just drop off the face of the earth after your time in Africa, and now you just show up here with no explanation?"

The man looked at her, somewhat confused and suspicious. "Yeah, but wait - wait - wait. You mean you didn't try to do any locator spells on me, after I left?"

"Well, of course I did!" Ms. Rosenberg told him honestly. "But, uh...your track record with magic must have screwed them up somehow."

"What do you mean?" Harris asked, now interested.

She shrugged. "Well, a few times it said you were underground in Colorado somewhere, then more than once I couldn't find you anywhere on the planet!" Willow quickly sat up straight, when she saw the look on her old friend's face. "What are you smirking at?"

"Nothing, Wills," Xander finished his water before he spoke again. "Look, guys, I've been...working with some people. I fell into it all by accident, really, but I've seen a bunch of stuff that kinda shocked me. Even after all our years in Sunnydale!"

"New demon species?" Giles asked, intrigued.

"Well..." Xander considered. "Some people I've met call them demons. But parasites would be a better term."

"Parasites?" Kennedy wondered aloud.

"You mean, like, that whole Bezoars deal from junior year?" Buffy asked, her face screwing up at the memories.

Xander shrugged, "Yeah, sort of. But also they're a lot smarter..." He used his napkin to wipe his mouth, before dropping the real reason for his visit back to the Council. "Okay, look...bottom line, the people I work for have put together an expedition team, and I'm on it."

"An expedition?" Dawn liked the sound of that. "Oh, can I go?"

"You still have to finish high school," Buffy told her younger sister before turning back to Xander. "Where is this team going?"

"That's classified. And don't look at me like that, Buffy; I can't tell you, so deal with it," Xander told her. "Plus you wouldn't believe me, even if I could."

"It sounds like it could be a rousing adventure," Andrew spoke up in his fake 'I'm James Bond' type voice.

"Yeah, guess it will be," Xander answered, not even bothering to get annoyed at the younger man. "I'm thrilled that I got picked to go, to be honest. I just squeaked by and got on the lists; but when they found out that I had the gene-"

"What gene?" Robin inquired from his spot near Faith.

Xander wanted to kick himself for violating Project Atlantis operational secrecy. "Sorry. Can't say."

"Xander..." Buffy said in a low voice. She didn't like not having a clue what her oldest male friend was secretly doing; and the superiority complex she had developed after eight years of being the Slayer, forced her to think she had a right to know what Harris was about to get up to.

But he gave her a sympathetic look. "Look, Buff, for the moment we're not even sure if we can make the trip or not. But if we can, then we're definitely going - and this is my last chance to say goodbye. Guys, I just wanted to see all you guys before I go-"

"What aren't you telling us, Xander?" Willow demanded to know. She could tell he was holding something back.

Ah well, he had known this wouldn't go over well. With a sigh, Harris looked right at his oldest childhood friend. "It could be a one-way trip, the brass thinks we'll be able to get there...but there may be no way to get back home. Ever."

Xander would remember the looks on his companions' faces for the rest of his life.

End Flashback


That night had been almost two months ago now. The Stargate at the Earth-based SGC had been able to make connection to the 'gate here in the Pegasus galaxy. The only trouble was that that nasty old 'we may never be able to return home' speech given by the expedition leader Doctor Elizabeth Weir before they'd departed, had proven accurate.

The submerged city's power supply had been depleted over the few million years by the force shield that had kept the planet's ocean water at bay. Because of their arrival, the power drain had become worse by sections of the city turning on and draining the power even faster.

The shield had failed shortly after the group had arrived, but the city must have had some built-in program for that contingency. Because as soon as the shield had failed, the city had risen to the planetary surface all on its own.

So now the intergalactic expedition was living in the floating lost city of Atlantis, on a planet that they didn't even know the name of yet. And just like what always seemed to happen to the new kids on the block, they had made a few friends, and some very nasty enemies.

"Since when did you start doing the Star Trek stuff, Xander?"

Harris's eyes went wide in shock. He quickly pulled up his P90 submachine gun, as he whirled around to see a person he knew was *dead*. "Cordelia?!!"

"Yeah, it's me you big doofus!" Ms. Chase responded, from her spot a ways into the room. "Now, you mind pointing that thing somewhere else?" she asked, referring to his weapon as its laser sight glowed on her chest.

Xander ignored her request, as he took a second to look her over -before lowering his weapon. Featurewise, she looked how Angel and Wesley had described her, after the big ghostly visit thing earlier in the year.

Hell, Cordy looked almost like she had when he had seen her at her open casket funeral...

What Xander took most notice of, however, was her clothes. She now had on a white robe and what looked like thin white armour on her torso. An exact match to the outfit the Ancient woman wore in the holographic recording that they had found the first day.

And oh yeah, she had a very bright golden glow all over her body.

"What the hell?!" Xander practically yelled.

"Geez, take it easy, will you!?" Cordelia told him, as she moved quickly to him. And Xander didn't move, as she hugged him tightly.

That just seemed to anger the former cheerleader. "Well, are you going to hug me or not?!"

That was enough to trigger old memories, and finally convinced Harris quickly hugged her back. "Cordy-"

"God, Harris!" she told him as they parted. "You still know how to make a girl feel like crap!" Cordelia moved over to sit in one of the chairs nearby. The golden glow didn't fade at all as she said, "I mean, here I am overjoyed that I can come and talk to an old friend, and he doesn't even bother to be happy to see me!"

"Ah, well, there is that thing where you're kind of dead," Xander told the woman, as he sat across from her. "That's normally a bad indicator."

"Well, about that..." the former seer said, before looking him directly in the eyes. "I'm not really dead, even though my mortal body is rotting somewhere back on Earth. I'm...ascended. They let me do that thing with Angel, then I had to go-" she trailed off. "Sorry, I really can't tell you where I...ah...live now."


Doctor Elizabeth Weir's office
Thirty minutes later

The lead team of the Atlantis expedition sat in the window-encased room. Dr. Rodney McKay paced, annoyed. "Did Harris say what all this was about?"

"Just calm down, Rodney," Dr. Weir told him.

"But this is totally against procedure!" McKay continued, aggravated. "The rules are that if you find something, you leave it where it is and call the rest of us in. You do not bring it here!"

Lieutenant Ford shared an amused look with Major Sheppard. Both the Marine and Air Force officer liked it how easily some people seemed to get under McKay's skin. "Do we know what exactly the fuss is about?" the major asked.

"Well, he said it was important," Dr. Beckett, the team's medical doctor, spoke in his Scottish accent in defense of his friend. "And come on, Xander has been as professional as the rest of the team members. If he said it-"

"Yes, fine!" McKay said, cutting him off. "Let's just bend the rules, on his say-so!"

At that moment, they all heard a tapping on the glass doorway. Dr. Weir pressed the button on her desk, and Harris walked into the office before the door slid closed behind him. "Sorry to call you all together so late, but-"

"You didn't even bring it?!" McKay exclaimed as he saw Xander's empty hands.

Xander grinned as he looked over to Major Sheppard. "He overdosed on coffee *again*?"

When the question caused a snicker between the military men, McKay sighed. "Yes, let's all make fun of the one man who actually gives a damn about procedure!"

Xander took his seat next to Dr. Beckett, "Pal, if I were you - I would calm down."

Weir cut in before another argument could be formed between Harris and McKay, she had heard them too many times even in the short time this expedition had started. "What's this thing you have to show us, Mr. Harris?"

"It's not a thing," Xander told the expedition leader. "It's a who."

"Who?" Sheppard asked, sitting up straighter. "There's someone else here? On Atlantis?"

Xander nodded. "Yeah, but you can relax, she's friendly...well, unless you're a badly dressed high school freshman!" He looked up slightly. "Cordy?"

"Who are you-" McKay started to ask, when he and most of the others shot up from their chairs.

Because a human-looking woman appeared in a flash of light.

"An Ancient?" Dr. Beckett asked, amazed, taking in her clothes.

"You found another recording?" Weir asked quickly to Xander.

"Ah, no," Cordelia Chase, the ascended version, said to Weir. "I'm live here, not Memorex."

"Memorex?" Ford demanded, not getting it.

Cordelia groaned, as she looked at the young lieutenant. "God! You're older than me. You should know that old TV commercial!"

"You know about TV commercials?" Weir asked the woman, surprised.

Seeing the surprised looks turning to confusion, Cordelia turned to Xander. "A little help, Dweeb Boy?"

"Dr. Weir," Xander said, ignoring McKay's snicker. "Allow me to introduce Cordelia Chase. We, uh, we went to high school together."

"You went to high school with an Ancient?!" Weir asked, completely dumbstruck.

"Hey!" Cordelia exclaimed. "Like I said, Ford here is older than me. And do I look ancient to you? Do you see any wrinkles around these hazel eyes? I'm thinkin' NOT!!!" Then as an afterthought she turned back to Xander. "That's one of the upsides to this ascension gig, you know. I can look any age I want!"

"Okay, can we please stay on topic here?" McKay called out, getting aggravated again.

Cordelia just looked at him. "Geez, pal...decaf. Look into it."

"How did you go to high school with Xander?" Dr. Beckett asked her, as Cordelia sat down next to Xander's chair.

But before Cordy could answer him, Xander told her, "No beam me up Scotty jokes, please Cor."

The woman sighed before she answered. "Whatever! I was born on Earth, in Sunnydale, alongside the dorkhead here," she said, jabbing a thumb back to Xander. "1981 through 2003, I lived a few lives you could say. One was as Xander's girlfriend, but after our breakup I moved to LA. There I got a job as a mystical Vision Girl to a friend…until it got me killed," Cordy finished up, leaving out all the details about vampires and the Powers That Be.

Because frankly, she was beyond the Powers now. Finally. Thank God.

"So you definitely ascended the same way that Dr. Jackson did?" Dr. Weir, asked trying to understand.

"Well, not the first time," Cordelia responded. "But the second time, I went all glowing squid, yeah."

"This is unbelievable!" Dr. McKay said, his excitement at fever pitch. "So, so, you're here to help us learn how to use the technology in this city? Because we need-"

"Sorry, but that would be a big fat no," Cordelia said honestly. "Not all of the big glowy people are happy that you're here, ya see. But those ones aren't the ones in charge, luckily for you."

"Who exactly is in charge?" Weir asked.

"Again, sorry, but I can't tell you jack squat," Cordelia told her, knowing it wasn't what Weir wanted to hear. "There is this rule that we don't interfere in the affairs of mortals. Even the ones that take up squatting in our old city."

"Then why are you here?" Sheppard wanted to know.

"Well," Cordelia mused. "As far as what you call being an Ancient goes...I'm really young. Meaning, I don't know all that much about this whole deal yet. Which means I can't let slip something that I don't know. It's common knowledge in the...community, that you're here in Atlantis, but no one else had a reason to come talk to you guys."

Looking at Xander, she summed it up, "However - when I saw that a friend of mine was here, I kind of begged for the right to visit. I plan on hanging out a lot here, it's been too long since I've been able to tease my old sparring partner-"

"You can't give us *any* information?" Weir asked, disappointed. "Not even about the Wraith?"

"Yeah," Sheppard added. "Maybe their battle tactics, or any weaknesses they have?"

"Sorry," Cordelia told both of them. "The little I've learned about the Wraith though, has taught me one thing. That I don't want Xander here anywhere near them, ever! Other than that...my lips are unfortunately sealed."


An unknown moon on the other side of the Pegasus galaxy
A week later

Xander and Lieutenant Ford held up their hands, as the Wraith soldier stood before them. "I don't suppose we could talk about this?" the formerly one-eyed guy asked.

"I don't know if they *can* talk, man," Ford said, not taking his eyes off the end of the weird pole-like weapon of this galaxy's bad guy.

"Oh, crap!" Xander uttered as the Wraith took aim. There was nothing to hide behind in the open field they were in. But just before the enemy fired, a voice was heard.

"God! Just look at that outfit!" Cordelia Chase exclaimed, as she appeared on the other side of the Wraith. "What, do you have a pre-Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger fetish!?"

Surprised, the Wraith looked back...and that was when Xander grabbed his P90 and opened fire.

Cordelia jumped back in disgust, as the Wraith fell after several bullets hit it. "Oh, that is just...ick!"

Xander made for his ex-girlfriend, while Ford grabbed the fallen Wraith's weapon. "Thanks for the distraction, Cor," he told her. "But I thought you couldn't interfere with us mortals?"

"Who's interfering?" Cordelia said with a wink. "I'm just here seeing if you're gonna be free to hang out tonight." Looking at the Wraith on the ground she added, "I mean - it's not my fault that he, or it, or whatever the hell you wanna say to describe this fashion victim, was surprised to see me!"

Harris's reply was cut off, when the Wraith started to move again. "We have to go!" Ford called.

Xander growled, "I *really* want to know how to kill these things!" Taking off with Ford, he called back, "See you back home, Cordy!"

Cordelia Chase watched the two men run off in the direction of the Ancient puddle jumper ship, and then she turned her attention to the freakish Wraith solider as it got back up. "Oh, don't even get me started on your hair!" she told it in despair, before the woman vanished in a flash of light.


Atlantis Base
Later that day

"Do you have any three's?"

As the two sat Indian-style on a large balcony 22 stories up, Cordelia checked her cards. "Nope. Go fish."

Xander scowled as he drew a new card. "I can tell you this much," the former Zeppo told her. "This is *so* not how I thought we would end up!"

"What?" Cordelia asked him. "You didn't see yourself fighting a disgusting enemy on the other side of the universe, while I became a dead-slash-ascended glowworm?"

"Ah, yeah," Harris replied before he asked, "Got any seven's?"

"Two," Cordy said, as she set the cards in the pile. "You want to know the worst of it?"

"I'm afraid to ask," the man said honestly.

"Well, I'm technically dead," she said. "But you're only 23 years old. I do NOT look forward to seeing the other crap you'll get into, in this galaxy!"

"Well...it's always nice to have something to aim for in life," was Xander's calm reply, as he contemplated the far future - and idly wondered if he himself would one day ascend, and join his former honey on the other side of the rainbow.

The End