It Had to Be You

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Stargate SG-1 Crossover Fanfiction Story

Author: Jason Thompson <Pilamsega[at]>

September 28, 2002

Disclaimer: Once upon a time there was a guy he wrote a story with characters and settings he didn't own, but he put a disclaimer on his story and that made it a little less illegal. BTVS and Angel are owned by Joss, Fox, Mutant Enemy, and the WB. Stargate SG-1 is owned by MGM, and the SciFi Channel. I don't own anything except the situation characters are in.

Category: AU; Cordelia/Xander, Angel/Cordelia, Daniel/Sha'uri. Hints of Buffy/Riley, Jack/Sam and others.

Spoilers: Buffy season 3, Angel Season up to Over the Rainbow, Stargate, the Movie and SG-1's first and second seasons before Holiday.

Warnings: None as yet.

Summery: When Cordelia wakes up on Pylea, she is rescued not by Angel, but by someone she never thought would, and she finally finds out what happened to Xander when he left after Graduation.

Rating: Rated R

Distribution: Ask First.

Notes: For timing purposes, Stargate: the Movie occurs in 1998, during season two of Buffy. Season one of SG-1 occurred simultaneously with late season four/season one of Buffy/Angel. For exact reference, Doomed/Somnambulist (Buffy/Angel) and Children of the Gods (SG-1) are both in early January 2000.

Dedication: Dedicated to the usual suspects; Genova aka Schweet, Bri, Mary, Duchess, Dale, Blaire, Stone Cold, Ice Wing, Arashi, Aslan, Vega, Tony D, Jen Zimmer, Louise, Sairs, and Queen Angel who have allowed me to bounce my ideas off them, and Krac, cause she has the evil bunny slippers.

Chapter 1

With a groan, consciousness slowly made its way back into Cordelia's body. She gingerly pushed herself off the ground and dusted herself off. She looked around, and found herself in a forest. She looked around again then yelled into the forest. "Angel? Wesley? Mr. Green-Mojo-Guy's Cousin? HELP!" As she realized that she had no idea where she was or who might be in ear shot, Cordelia slapped her hand over her mouth. She shook her head and sighed, "Way to go Cor. Scream very loudly so the hell-beasts can come right to you."

Out of desperation, she shut her eyes tight and clicked her heels together three times. She cracked an eye and deflated when she could see she the forest still surrounded her. "Well, it was worth a shot." Looking around, she clapped her hands together to warm them, "So, silver lining. It's a pretty place, woodsy-woods, sunny and mild." She turned and found a drooling, four-legged beast. The beast snarled at her from the rock it was perched on. "Giant hairy hell-beast staring right at me. That's. That's incredibly frightening." The beast tilted its head at her and Cordelia began to back away slowly. "Good hell-beast. You're a lazy hell-beast, aren't'cha? Yes. You're gonna stay right there." She began to pivot slowly to her right, "While I run for my life!" In a heartbeat, Cordelia took off screaming.

The beast, to its credit paused only long enough to snort its puddling drool back up before it took off in hot pursuit.


Had Cordelia pivoted to her left instead of her right, she might have come across a nearby clearing. In the center of the clearing were two large objects; the first was a large podium structure. It was mostly grey with a palm-sized orange dome in the center, surrounded by two rings of buttons with symbols on them.

The second was larger, and much more interesting. It appeared on first glance as a giant stone ring. A second glance would show it was not stone but closer to metal. It was silver-grey, and appeared to have two distinct "rings." The outer ring had several large V-shaped markers; it overlapped the inner ring which was adorned with several symbols. The symbols matched those on the podium. There was a set of stone steps which lead down from the open center of the object.

The silence and rest in the clearing was disturbed when the inner ring began to turn, pausing only for the markers to open, close then light. When the seventh marker at the top of the object lit, the inside of the ring seemed to explode, the explosion quickly reigned itself in and left a shimmering pool. Just as the pool seemed to become still it was disturbed by five figures emerging as if from nowhere.

The figures all appeared to be human, four men and a woman. They were all dressed in green military fatigues and wearing black vests over them. The woman and three of the men were white and carried automatic weapons. The fourth man was black; he had a gold emblem in the middle of his forehead in the shape of a snake. He carried a different weapon than the others; it resembled a ceremonial staff or spear with ornaments at both ends.

As the new arrivals descended the stairs, the pool within the ring suddenly dissipated. One of the white men turned towards the ring. His short hair was graying at the temples and he wore sun glasses. He reached into his vest and pulled out a baseball cap which he put on. He turned to the rest of the group, "Okay, PW3-4R8 doesn't look so bad. Daniel?"

One of the other white men looked up, his dark hair was longer then the rest, he was busy wiping a thin layer of frost from his glass, "Yeah Jack?"

"Jack" pointed towards the podium, "You and Sam check the Dial-Home Device, and find our point of origin."

"We're on it." Daniel and the woman, "Sam" turned to the Dial-Home Device and began to check the icons on it.

Jack nodded and turned to the other men, "Teal'c, you and Alex start on a recon. We'll set up camp here when Sam and Daniel finish figuring out how to get us home."

The black man bowed his head slightly, and turned towards the forest, "Come Lieutenant Harris."

The remaining white man, "Alex" ran a hand through his short dark hair and pulled on a similar cap to Jack's. He then reached into his vest and pulled out a black object, slightly larger than a pistol, it was black and resembled a coiled snake, "Just a second Teal'c. Captain Carter? I just want to know how these. Zat'Neck-ties."

Sam and Daniel smiled at Alex's fumbled pronunciation while Teal'c interrupted to correct him. "Zatn'kitel."

Alex turned to Teal'c and nodded, "Thanks. Anyway, how do the Zat-guns work again?"

Sam walked over to them and took the Zat-gun from Alex, "Think of it like a crash-cart, it sends an electric charge through the body and disrupts a person's system. If you shoot someone twice in quick succession, you disrupt their system so badly that it shuts down."

"And the third shot? Why would that disintegrate the body?" Alex extended his palm to the Captain.

Sam smiled and handed the weapon back to him. "It disrupts things to the point that the atoms of the body break down."

Alex nodded, "Alright important information for safety, thanks."

"No problem."

Alex and Teal'c walked off into the forest on a recon. After a few yards, Teal'c said, "I doubt we will find any Goa'uld presence on this planet, Lieutenant Harris. This was an address that came from O'Neill's contact with the knowledge of the Ancients. I am not aware of it being a known world to the Goa'uld."

Alex shrugged, "That doesn't mean we won't find anything." As though on cue, they heard a scream in the distance. Before sprinting off in the direction of the scream, Alex said, "See?"

Teal'c followed quickly behind, his staff at the ready.


Cordelia cringed as the Hell-beast approached her, it sniffed her for a moment, and she cried, "Oh God! This isn't the way I'm supposed to die!" She clenched her eyes shut and waited for her inevitable end. Suddenly she felt the beast's rough tongue, licking her face, as a dog would. She wanted to cry and laugh all at the same time, "Oh, thank God!" Once the creature started licking her, she began to feel its slime-like saliva on her face. "Oh. oh and also, eww!"

A voice in the distance stopped the beast from licking, "Come here boy! Seekul!" The beast stepped back and trotted happily over to an old looking, demon. He smiled and gave the beast a pet, "Good boy, Seekul!"

She slowly climbed to her feet and crept away from the demon and beast, "That's a cute. thing you've got there. I'm kind of a. thing lover myself."

The demon looked her over, "Good boy, you've found me a cow."

She halted in her escape attempt and looked at the demon indignantly, "Hey! Who are you calling a cow!?" The demon reached into his robes and produced a leather bolo. He swung it over his head and threw it at her. It wrapped around her arms, pinning them to her chest. "Uh-oh!"

The demon walked up to her and circled her in an appraising fashion, "A fine cow! Good cow. You'll fetch me a pretty penny at the market!"

"Um, you're Hindu, right? You won't eat me, right?"

The demon tsked at her, "Awfully chatty for a cow. That'll drive the price down."

He pulled a dirty rag out of his robes and reached for her mouth, Cordelia began to panic, "Wait! Wait! HELP!"

"HEY!" Cordelia and the demon turned and found two men at the top of the hill; one of them pointed a spear at them while the other pointed a black object at them. The object extended until it looked like a striking snake, "Don't do that!"

The old man sighed, "Cows these days." He reached towards Cordelia again, but was stopped when the man with the snake-like weapon squeezed it and it fired at the demon. The gun seemed to fire some sort of electricity which enveloped him and threw him to the ground, convulsing. The hell-beast charged to the aide of its stricken master and was met with the same fate.

Her rescuers approached, and the man who fired holstered his weapon while pulling out a knife. "It's okay miss. Cordelia?"

Cordelia looked up suddenly when she recognized the voice, "Xander!?"

Xander reached out and cut her binds, "Cor. What the Hell are you doing here? How did you get here?"

She tested her newly freed arms, "Me! What are you doing here, Mr. Aim-High?"

Xander's friend turned towards him, "Lieutenant Harris, do you have an alias I was not aware of?"

Xander shook his head, "Not now Teal'c." He turned back to her, "I'm serious Cor. How did you get on this planet? We need to know."

Cordelia shook her head in confusion, "Planet? What are you talking about Xander? Did the Air Force shave off your brain with your hair? How did you get to demonland?" She turned to Xander's friend, Teal'c, "And what's with the staff? And your head? Is that some kind of fraternity thing?

Xander laughed, "Okay, definitely Cordelia." He turned to Teal'c, "Teal'c, meet Cordelia Chase. Cordelia, meet Teal'c. Now, let's get back to base camp." Xander and Teal'c turned to leave. "C'mon Cordelia, that guy is gonna wake up soon, and he won't be happy."

Cordelia fell into step with them, "Okay Xander, start explaining."

"I'll explain when you tell me how you got here."

She sighed angrily, "You're still impossible. Fine, Ass, I had a vision about."

Xander stopped in front of her, "Vision? Since when do you get visions?"

She scowled at him, "A year and a half now, if you had bothered to stay in touch with anyone after you decided to be all you can be, you might know these things."

He narrowed his eyes at her in anger, "One, 'be all you can be' is the Army, and two, considering the way you guys treated me in the end, you are so out of line right now."

Her anger boiling over, she thrust her finger into Xander's chest, "Don't you dare try to throw this on me, you're the one who cheated. Besides, Buffy getting wise to you getting yourself or everyone else killed had nothing to do with me."

"I was trying to *help!* You guys took that away from me! So I left. By the way, the Willow thing, get over yourself. I did." Xander whipped around and stalked off, "Let's go."

Cordelia followed them as they returned to wherever it was they came from. After a moment she realized Xander's companion, Teal'c was watching her. She turned to him with some of her annoyance at Xander rubbing off on him, "What?"

Teal'c was apparently not fazed by her anger, "You seem to have angered Lieutenant Harris. Normally he is quite jovial. Explain."

She deflated at the jaffa's calm nature, "Well, we have that affect on each other."

He nodded, "Interesting."


"Interesting? Jack this is. well, it's. amazing."

Jack nodded at his friend in a placating fashion, "If you say so, I just don't understand what this trilogy."

Daniel removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to quell his annoyance, "Trionic Jack, trionic. It's a language style." The tablets had been placed at the base of the DHD, in clear view of the gate. To Daniel and Sam it was clearly a proclamation. To Jack, it was the basis of another session of "Science-babble Jack into a coma."

The commander of SG-1 sighed, trying to stop his own growing annoyance, "What does it mean, Daniel? All I see is three stone tablets."

"Trionic works like a code, as I read; the sentence structure and word choice tells me which tablet to go to next. It's very rare on earth to find it, and very complicated." Daniel shook his head when his friend could only respond with a blank face, "Don't you get it?"

"Daniel, after the last year and a half of these missions; don't you know that I don't get anything?" Daniel smiled and Sam tried not to laugh, "What does it say?"

The Egyptologist began to read before he summarized, "Behold that this world, Pylea is in the dominion of the. uh-oh."

Sam looked up from the tent she was erecting, "'Uh-oh?'"

Daniel quickly re-read the tablets, hoping he was wrong, "Okay, make that a big uh-oh, 'Behold that this world, Pylea is in the dominion of the High God of Darkness, Sokar. Ruler of the. Goa'uld.' This world belongs to the Goa'uld, Jack." He continued reading while Jack and Sam began to check the edges of the clearing, on the alert for jaffa or the afore mentioned Sokar.

After a moment they heard a woman's voice approaching from the direction Teal'c and Alex had left in earlier. Jack listened more closely; and if he didn't know better, it sounded an awful lot like she was whining. "-I mean, look at this outfit! Look at it Xander! This is a three-hundred dollar denim catsuit Xander, and demon slobber doesn't come out of denim. I should also add that it is so gross that I know that in the first place- " Jack watched as Alex and Teal'c reached the edge of the clearing with a woman in tow.

The woman was at least five foot six with blondish hair that almost reached her shoulders and was indeed wearing a denim jumpsuit. While Teal'c was listening passively to her, Alex seemed to be at his wit's end. She skidded to a halt and had stopped in mid-rant at the sight of the Stargate; it didn't take long for her to regain her voice however. "What in the Hell is *that?*"

Teal'c continued walking, while Alex gently grabbed her arm and led her on. "That is a Stargate Cordelia Chase; it is how we arrived on PW3-4R8."

She shook her head in confusion, "PW-what?"

The jaffa regarded her with curiosity, "PW3-4R8, the planet we are currently on."

Jack chose that moment to approach them and speak up, "Who is this?"

Alex grinned and gestured between the woman and him, "Colonel Jack O'Neill, this is Cordelia Chase."

He nodded towards her in greeting before speaking again, "Local?"

At that, the young Lieutenant laughed, "Oh, I don't think so. She's from Sunnydale, by way of Los Angeles."

At this, SG-1's Commanding Officer raised an eyebrow, "Care to explain?"

The junior officer grinned and turned towards the woman, "Actually, Cordy got sidetracked before she could explain."

The woman was still mostly mesmerized by the gate so it took her a moment to respond; "Oh, uh. Well, it all started when I had this vision about a girl being sucked into a portal and Lorne showed up asking us to kill this demon-thing called a Drokken."

O'Neill's eyes widened and he turned towards Alex, then subtly brought his thumb his lips and made a tipping motion. Cordelia stopped and looked extremely indignant while Alex laughed, "No sir, it seems the SGC never really had the market cornered on weird. Demons, vampires and witches, they're all pretty much real."

Placing her hands on her hips, Cordelia gave both men a withering glare, "May I finish please?"

Jack at least had the good grace to look chastised; Harris actually smirked then held out his arm for her to continue. She went on to explain that a book in the LA Public Library had somehow opened portals between Earth and this planet, with a being known as "Landokmar of the Deathwok Clan" or Landok for short. They tracked down the Drokken and killed it. When they tried to use the book to send Landok back, she must have been sucked into the portal as well.

When she finished her story, O'Neill turned to Alex and Teal'c. "Alright, Cordelia's friends are probably figuring out a way to come after her right now. Alex, you and Teal'c take her through the gate and call them, let them know she's safe. Once she's cleared, you two can come back and we'll finish the survey mission."

The pair nodded, Alex turned towards Teal'c and said; "I'll dial us up, you get ready to send the signal." After Daniel told them which symbol was the point of origin Alex dialed up Earth. When the gate opened, Cordelia backed away in fear. Teal'c entered first and after an intense, but brief argument, Alex managed to convince Cordelia to walk up to the gate. Then after an intense, but considerably longer argument, Alex grabbed her hand and yanked her through the event horizon.

The three remaining members of SG-1 watched the scene torn between amusement and absolute shock. Not long after the wormhole closed, Jack turned to Sam; "So, what do you think? Ex-Girlfriend?"

The only female member of SG-1 laughed, "Oh yeah."

The older man laughed, "You sure?"

"Two people who argue like that? I'd stake my career on it sir."

After removing his glasses, Daniel seemed at a loss for words, before he stammered out; "She seems. well. pleasant, I suppose."

The others looked at him for a beat before O'Neill walked away laughing, "Oh yeah, sweet girl. I think Rosemary's missing her baby somewhere."

Chapter 2

Several thousand light-years from where she was, and about a thousand miles from home, Cordelia's first thought was to drop to the metal deck beneath her feet and heave her guts out. Her knees buckled and she did just that. As she finished retching, she noticed two things; one she was really cold, and two, Xander was rubbing comforting circles over her back. "It's okay Cor, the first trip is usually a little rough, it'll pass."

She heard people moving up the ramp they were on and two pair of white pants and shoes came into her view. Xander spoke to them, "It's alright Airman, she's a little gate-sick is all." A pair of voices said 'Yes sir' and they walked away.

Once she was sure her stomach was finished protesting over that nightmare ride, she tested her voice. "What was that?" She pushed herself to her feet and tried to stop the room from spinning.

Xander took her elbow and led her slowly down the ramp. "That was a trip across the galaxy through an artificial wormhole at relative speeds well over the speed of light. The cold is because your body is converted to energy inside the wormhole and in a split second recompressed to normal matter. It's a rush after a while."

She turned and looked at him, "First, huh? Second, since when did you learn Giles-speak?"

He laughed at the comparison, "Well, I'm required to have a basic understanding of the physics behind the Stargate, that's why there's thirty-two weeks of training before being assigned to the SGC, but that's a long story." She looked around and realized they were in some sort of hangar, with a lot of military guys roaming around. Guards were posted at the two doors on either side of the room.

They met Teal'c at the bottom of the ramp; he nodded towards her, "Are you alright Cordelia Chase?"

She turned towards her ex with a smirk, "Does he always talk like that?"

He smirked in return before continuing towards the door, "C'mon Teal'c. General Hammond should-" The large blast doors opened and a bald man stepped through, she noticed two stars on each shoulder of his uniform. "-Be walking through the door." He snapped to attention and saluted. "General Hammond, sir."

Hammond returned the salute, "At ease. What happened? SG-1 isn't due back for three days."

Teal'c spoke, "We came across Cordelia Chase, she is from Los Angeles, home of the Lakers, Dodgers and Kings."

Hammond raised an eyebrow, "Well, after a medical check, I will be very interested in your report." He stepped to one side, "Dismissed."

As Xander began to lead her out of the hangar, she looked down and sighed angrily, "Oh dammit! I got sick on my shoes."


After the medical check and a series of shots in her butt, Xander took Cordelia up a few levels to the guest quarters. He left her to shower saying that he was going to get her a change of clothes. While the water wasn't as hot as she liked, the soap was drying her skin and the shampoo and conditioner was military issue, therefore was probably doing damage to her dye job and giving her split ends, she enjoyed it after being slobbered on by a demon. She looked again at the shampoo bottle and sighed, what did a group of men who shaved their heads know about haircuts anyway?

Her thoughts drifted towards Xander, a quick thought of how good his butt looked as he was walking ahead of her was stomped angrily into the dirt by both her leftover hurt at being betrayed and the fact that three days after graduation, Xander just packed his bags and walked out of all their lives.

He made no attempt to contact Buffy, Willow, Giles, or even Dawn, who had adored him. For all they knew he was dead. Then last year, Buffy's boyfriend Riley mentioned Xander in passing to her. The slayer found out that before the infamous Dr. Walsh was placed in charge of the Initiative, and even before he was assigned there himself, the previous commander had gotten a considerable amount of intelligence on them all, and even approached Xander with an opportunity to join the military.

Upon taking charge of the Initiative, Dr. Walsh disregarded all the intelligence and his recommendation that they gain the trust of Buffy. Months later, when it had become his mission to monitor the Scoobies, Riley got a hold of the old reports and read about each of them, including herself, Angel, Faith and the prodigal Xander.

According to Willow, Buffy then threatened Riley with both physical violence and her chastity until he found out the whereabouts of Xander. He had learned that Xander had joined the Air Force, had completed Officer's training and was in the midst of completing Special Forces training before entering an above Top Secret posting in South America that not even Riley was cleared to know about.

When Willow had told her, Cordelia had a hard time imagining that in just nine months Xander had so changed his life, from school loser to Special Forces bad-ass? The change was too drastic, and then a voice in the back of her mind said "Sort of like the change from Princess to Seer."

That had been over a year ago. Now she knew what Xander was doing, he was almost like an astronaut she supposed, but it was more like Star Trek then the Moon Landing; Alien planets? Wormholes? Guys who had snake emblems on their heads and carried ray-guns? It was just plain crazy. Even by her standards.

She shut off the water and plucked a towel from the counter before drying off. There was a knock at the door after a moment, "Cordelia?"


The door cracked open and a stack of clothing was set on the counter along with a brush and a pair of boots thumped onto the tiled floor. "I'll be out here when you finish dressing."

The door closed and she wrapped a towel around herself before picking up the brush. She began brushing the excess wetness out of her hair before a thought occurred to her. She was somewhat timid as she approached the door and opened it before sticking her head out. She found her onetime friend sitting on the bed. "Xander?"

He turned halfway so that she still had privacy, "Yes?"

She sighed, "I wanted to say. thanks."

He grinned, "Don't thank me, thank the Quartermaster."

She grinned slightly, "I meant for, you know, saving my life."

He shrugged, "Hey, since I've joined the SGC, this was first chance to save a damsel in distress. I didn't want all that training to go to waste."

Her eyes narrowed and she smirked, "Dork."

"Get dressed. You've still got a debriefing." She ducked back into the bathroom and shut the door.


The debriefing had lasted nearly two hours and Cordelia was becoming annoyed, she sat in a briefing room overlooking the Gate-room. Hammond was at the head of the table with the window behind him. Teal'c and the woman who examined her, Dr. Fraiser, sat across from her while Xander was at her left. She fidgeted in the ill-fitting blue fatigues Xander had provided and she was starting to wonder if they'd ever let her call Angel and go home.

Actually she just wanted to get out of the endless questioning. First, Xander and Teal'c had dealt with what they found on Pylea, then they talked about the confrontation with the demon/alien. When Xander said he shot them, there were acres of questions. Next was a gauntlet of questions about her, her history, family, friends, job and on and on.

Hammond nodded at Dr. Fraiser and it was at that moment that she realized she had stopped paying attention; she concentrated on the conversation again. "As far as I can tell, she's in perfect health, she was suffering a little dizziness when she was brought to the infirmary, but that's a natural reaction to the first time through the Gate. Still, it will take a couple of days for the blood-work to come back, after that, what we do to her is up to you and Washington sir."

The General smiled before turning to her, "Miss Chase, as you can no doubt understand, the SGC is a highly sensitive operation. We've never come across an American civilian off-world before and we are having a hard time deciding what to do next. There are a few people in Washington who would rather we just locked you in the brig rather than risk losing operational security," She must have paled, because Hammond was quick to amend his statement, "Rest assured, that is not an option we are willing to take. Until your test results arrive, I'm leaving you in the custody of Lieutenant Harris. You may travel off-base with him, but if you encounter any civilians, you must not reveal anything you have seen or done here. Revealing any knowledge of the Stargate or the SGC will result in your immediate prosecution."

She nodded almost meekly, "I understand."

He smiled, and she felt more reassured, "I have taken the liberty of trying to contact your friends and family in Sunnydale, also your friends at Angel Investigations, but I've been unsuccessful on all counts. I have to ask that you do not try to contact them yourself just yet, we'll keep trying." He gathered up the files in front of him, collected them in a folder and stood. "Dismissed."

As they were standing to leave, she heard a strange grinding-like sound, followed almost immediately by a klaxon. She walked over to the window and watched as a metal-looking shield over the gate opened revealing the wormhole. She turned back to Xander, he checked his watch before speaking, "That should be SG-12 plus five, right?" As if on cue, nine figures emerged from within the wormhole. To Cordelia's mild annoyance, none of them dropped to the deck or became sick.

The General nodded, "They should be coming back from the training mission on P29-R16."

Her friend grinned, "Ah P29-R16, I remember my first time off-world." He turned to Cordelia, "When the SGC receives new officers and enlisted personnel for Off-World teams, they're required to go on several training missions off-world before they receive a permanent assignment on a 'SG' Team."

Hammond scowled at the junior officer, "OpSec Lieutenant." Xander's grin evaporated, the elder officer then shook his head, "What have I told you about too much contact with Colonel O'Neill, Harris?"

He snapped to attention and said, "Sir, you said it would be a one-way ticket to the brig, sir."

He nodded, "Remember that Harris, you're a couple of smart-ass comments away from latrine duty, as is."

"Yes sir."


Eleven in the morning was not a peak time for the commissary at the SGC, leaving Cordelia and Xander relatively alone. There were a few people there, but they all seemed to be the mess hall's personnel. He watched her eat as he sipped from a glass of iced tea with one hand and twirled his spoon with the other, the remaining crumbs from his tuna sandwich lay on his plate, the plate itself had been set aside.

She sat her bowl of soup aside and wiped her mouth before looking up at him and asking the question on her mind since she saw him back on Pylea; "How did you get here?"

He stopped his spoon and left his tea forgotten as he cocked his head, "I beg your pardon?"

She folded her hands in front of her and leaned forward, "I mean it, how did you get here? What did you do to join this 'SGC?' Why did you leave Sunnydale the way you did? Buffy and the others are still worried about you, you know?"

He laughed at that, "I doubt that Cor. Willow was certain I was throwing my life away and Buffy's last words to me when I went over to her place the day after Graduation and told her I was enlisting in the Air Force were basically not to let the door hit me where the Good Lord split me. Giles had been urging me for weeks to get out of Sunnydale while the getting was good, and you," He picked up his glass before continuing, "We both know that you had made it clear I wasn't going to be part of your life after you left the Hellmouth." She had the good sense to look away, "As for why the Air Force, well, I'm wagering you know about the Initiative?" At her nod, he continued, "While I can't tell you everything, what I can say is that prior to Dr. Walsh's involvement, they were more of a monitoring operation. They were assigned to Sunnydale to observe the demon population and Buffy's fighting ability and style.

"As the Air Force has had previous involvement with scientific operations, they were given jurisdiction. The first commanding officer was General Hammond." Her eyes widened in surprise, "The same, he got a lot of intel on us and determined that the Government should bring Buffy under their employ and create a support team. He even approached me to try and act as a liaison for initial negotiations. However, Doctor Walsh made a power play and got Hammond transferred to Cheyenne Mountain to oversee the dismantling of the Stargate project, as fate would have it the Goa'uld made their presence known and the SGC became necessary."

She sighed, "That's great and all, but-"

Xander cut her off, "-But what does this have to do with me?" He took a drink then continued, "Hammond convinced me to enlist, and sponsored me both into OTS, and after Special Forces training, the Stargate program. As my Special Ops training was coming to a close, the Stargate project was started up, they were creating a training program by the seat of their pants for younger officers. The experienced Black Ops guys were brought into the SGC directly, but those of us who were new had to have some sort of training. So they put us into NASA for about six months, teaching us about potential off-world situations, in theoretical terms, for a while I actually figured that we were going to be part of some Mars mission or something. Then about a year ago they brought us to Colorado Springs and brought us in on the biggest secret Earth has ever known. That we are in no way alone, and we are not in a friendly neighborhood.

"The training program for the SGC was long, like I said, thirty weeks of Physics, Goa'uld tactics, Goa'uld technology, what to expect from a thousand different worlds, it made my Special Ops training seem like a cakewalk. Six months ago, they sent us on our first off-world mission." He grinned, "For the record, when I arrived on the other side I puked all over an archaeologist." She grinned. "Then three months ago, Hammond assigned me to SG-1."

She smiled, "Look at you."

He looked at her in confusion, before checking to make sure he didn't have tuna salad on his shirt, "What?"

Her smile only widened, "You're happy. You've found a place to make a difference and it's got you almost giddy."

He blushed, "I guess." He stood up, came around the table and sat down next to her, "So, I have to know one thing."

She cocked her head at him and cast a wary look at his mischievous face, "O-Kay, what is it?"

He leaned forward in a conspiratorious fashion and whispered; "How much hair-gel does Angel actually go through in a week?" He punctuated his question with a wink.

She laughed out loud and had to work not to fall out of her chair. When she calmed down she ran her fingers through his hair, "In Angel's defense, at least he has hair to gel, you've got glorified stubble up there."

He frowned slightly, "Hey, my barber works very hard at this style."

Her eyebrow arched, "Really, who's your barber?"

He shrugged and folded his arms over his chest, "Why, a mirror and a pair of electric hair clippers, of course."

For the second time in minutes she found herself in full-blown laughter, every barb and joke they made had seemed to melt weeks and months away. When they quieted, she felt herself leaning forward slowly, as her eyes started to flutter closed. Whooping and whistling came from behind her.

Mortified, she blushed so badly she was almost purple before burying her face in her hands. She heard several voices picking on Xander followed by the sounds of chairs scraping across the floor. As she was reigning in her embarrassment a voice sounded from the other side of the table; "Tell me something Harris. What is it about SG-1 that has them always bringing home strays?"

Xander responded with a tone of mild annoyance, "Piss-off Finn, you and the other rookies were running around 'R16 avoiding being shot with paintballs and playing tag with SG-12, so don't be jealous of SG-1."

"Finn" laughed then said, "Hey, who's jealous, according to Colonel Makepeace, the other SG teams have almost a full-time commitment to pull the asses of SG-1 out of the fire, practically on a weekly basis."

She looked up and found herself and Xander surrounded by three other soldiers, two had patches on their right sleeves similar to the one Xander wore. The only differences were the numbers, suggesting that they were members of SG-12. She cleared her throat; Xander quickly took the hint and spoke. He gestured first to the black man at the end of the table opposite of Xander; he looked older than the other soldiers. Next, was the younger dark haired white man seated next to her. "Cordelia Chase, this is Lt. Colonel William Michaels and Captain Graham Miller of SG-12" they shook her hand in turn. He then gestured at the blonde man directly across from her, she noticed his uniform was missing a SG-12 patch, "and Captain Riley Finn. Riley's one of our rookies waiting for a permanent assignment."

Riley smiled and extended his hand, "Ma'am." He paused and got a confused look on his face for a moment. He turned to Graham for a moment before saying; "That name is familiar."

Xander reclaimed his iced tea glass, before bringing it to his lips he said; "Cordelia is from Sunnydale." Graham and Riley's eyes widened, and the latter's jaw slackened slightly. He looked at his watch suddenly, "While this has been interesting, I'm going to head back to the apartment." He stood up and held out his hand to her, "Coming?" As she stood he waggled his eyebrows and said, "Off-duty calls, but yes, that Sunnydale."

Chapter 3

The ride into town from the base was short, maybe ten minutes; she watched the downtown area pass by from the passenger side of the Chevy Trailblazer Xander drove quietly. It'd been a long time since she had seen a relatively small town. She turned to Xander and watched him drive and tap his fingers absent mindedly to radio. He must have noticed her because he grinned, "Just to make sure, I don't have something gross on my face, do I?" She shook her head, "Good, I want to swing by Daniel's first, check in on his wife and make sure she's alright. She's kind of new to the area."

She smiled, "Colorado?"

He shook his head, "Not quite, more like new to Earth."

She raised an eyebrow and folded her arms over her chest, "So Riley was right, you do bring home strays."

He smirked, "It's a long story, a lot of which is still classified, and most of it I know only second and third hand from Daniel, Jack, Sam and Teal'c, but here it goes. On the first mission through the Stargate, Daniel and Jack went through to a planet called Abydos. On Abydos, they encountered humans; one of the village chiefs took them to his home, thinking they were representatives of the local god. To please them, he offered Daniel his daughter, Sha'uri, as a wife-"

She scowled, "So, wormy book-guy took advantage of her?!"

He shook his head as he stopped at a red light, "It wasn't like that, Daniel didn't take advantage of her, in fact by the time the Abydos mission came to a close they had fallen in love and he chose to stay with her. He spent a full year living among her people." The light turned green and he moved through the intersection.

"Jack didn't tell the former base commander, so everyone thought he was dead. When the gate program was restarted, Jack and Sam went back to Abydos, in part, to reclaim Daniel. While there, Sha'uri and her brother Skaara were captured. Two months ago, Daniel, Teal'c and I managed to liberate her." He pulled into a sub-division and made his way down the main road. "Daniel is still honor bound to help find Skaara, and Sha'uri refuses to stay on Abydos when Daniel is here."

He pulled into a small house at the end of the road. They opened the doors and hopped out of the vehicle. She followed him to the front door and waited for a while after he pressed the doorbell. After a moment, the door opened and a woman was revealed. She looked a bit older than them, and of Middle Eastern descent. She was olive skinned with dark hair and eyes; she wore a pair of sweat pants and a black t-shirt. She smiled brightly at them, "Al'ex, I am happy to be seeing you."

He nodded, "It's good to see you too."

She looked around him for a moment and frowned slightly, "Where is Dan'yel?" Worry quickly dominated her features, "Is he not well?"

He shook his head, "No, Daniel's fine, there was a surprise on our mission, so Teal'c and I came back early." She sighed and blushed slightly. Xander stepped aside, "Cordelia, this is Sha'uri Jackson. Sha'uri, this is my friend, Cordelia Chase."

The bright smile took a moment for her to reclaim, but Sha'uri reached out her hand, "It is pleasing to meet you, Corde'lia."

She blinked at the mispronunciation of her name before taking her hand, "It's nice to meet you Sherry."

The woman suddenly frowned, Xander spoke. "Let me guess, another doctor's appointment?"

She nodded angrily, "My name is not difficult Al'ex. Sha'uri. Dan'yel does not believe me, but I think she does it to be" She paused and furrowed her brow in thought, "Jack calls it, 'snooty.'" She looked to them, "That is the word, no?"

Cordelia grinned while Xander laughed, "That's the word."

She nodded, pleased with her growing mastery of English, "He also says, she is probably a Frog, who are the Frogs Al'ex?"

He cleared his throat, "Why don't we go inside, since I am never going to answer that one?"

After Sha'uri let them in, she closed the door. She ushered them into the living room before moving into the kitchen to prepare a pot of tea. Cordelia noticed that the d�or was not the usual. It actually looked like something out of The Ten Commandments or some other movie about ancient Egypt.

There were no couches or chairs, rather large pillows were scattered about, most of them circling a short, round coffee table. There were artifacts and nic-knacks that looked to her like they were Egyptian as well, as far as her completely untrained eye could determine, that is. The only object that gave any sort of normalcy was the stereo which was in the corner playing at a low volume and the television next to it.

She raised an eyebrow at her friend, "Her idea?"

He smirked, "C'mon Cor, what kind of a wife would she be if she didn't control the decorating with an iron fist?"

She groaned, "A little 1950s don't you think?"

He picked out a pillow and sat down, "It's mostly about her being comfortable Cor." He patted a near-by pillow and she sat down, "She gave up everything to be with Daniel, the very least he could do would be to let her make her home as comfortable for her as possible." He smiled, "Besides, the futon he had at his old apartment would give me a back ache just looking at it."

A few minutes later, Sha'uri entered the living room with a tea set and took a seat across from them. She poured three cups of tea and passed them out, "Dan'yel calls this 'English Breakfast Tea,' I enjoy it very much." Xander and Cordelia each said thanks before preparing their cups. There was a comfortable silence as they enjoyed the beverage. Sha'uri set her cup aside and smiled, "Tell me Al'ex, is she your wife?"

Cordelia choked on her drink and tried to blink away tears as it scalded her throat, meanwhile it was all Xander could do not to spit his tea out on the table. When they regained their composure, they both tried to deny that question at the same time; finally Cordelia spoke for them both. "No, we're not married."

She nodded, "Then he is your betrothed. I understand, I was once arranged to be married, before Dan'yel came through the Stargate."

Xander spoke this time, "No Sha'uri, Cordelia and I aren't together."

She frowned, "Why not? She is young; she appears to be in good health and obviously is good breeding stock-"

The blonde felt her blood heat up, "Hey! Was that a crack at my breasts?"

The Abydonian turned to her, "As for Al'ex, he is brave and strong. He holds the respect of his friends and leaders, and I owe him my life and freedom. Al'ex convinced Dan'yel to take me to face Thor's Hammer which removed me from the demon Amonet. When my father heard the news of their bravery, he offered Al'ex his choice of any maiden on Abydos; he refused claiming he already had a mate. I assumed that mate to be you."

The former May Queen turned slowly to face her former boyfriend. His face was buried in his hands and she could tell he was blushing by how bright red his ears were. She turned back to the alien woman, "Who is Amonet?"

The older woman's eyes became troubled and dark, "She was a demon Goa'uld, bride to Apophis. Apophis placed her in my body last year and eventually placed his seed within me. Amonet's presence would kill the child that grew in my belly, so she lay asleep in the back of my mind and I was sent home to Abydos. Not long ago, Dan'yel came through the Stargate with Teal'c and Al'ex, they found me with Apophis' child and Al'ex convinced Dan'yel to take me to a world protected by Thor. The three of us were sent into Thor's Hammer while Teal'c tried to contact Thor himself.

"Inside Thor's Hammer, Amonet realized that it was a trap designed to kill her and she surfaced in rage, I went into labor and they delivered my child. They subdued Amonet when she resurface and used the Hammer to destroy Amonet."

Cordelia was in awe, "What happened to the child?"

When Sha'uri looked away and had to bite back tears Xander answered, "I'll tell you later." He rose to his feet and helped both women to theirs. "I'm going back to my apartment, but Cordelia and I were going to get a pizza for dinner, would you like to come?" She gave him a watery smile but shook her head. "Okay, if you need anything, just call, okay?"

Once they were out of the Jackson Home and in Xander's car again, Cordelia felt her anger comes raging back to the surface. "What was that Xander? Trying to use your friends to get in my pants?"

He laughed without humor, "Oh God, here we go again. Cordelia did it ever occur to you that I might not be interested in you anymore? Or that Sha'uri just assumed that the woman traveling with me was my wife? That is Abydonian custom, a woman travels with her husband. They consider Captain Carter Colonel O'Neill's wife. She made an assumption based on her customs." She continued to scowl, "Cordy, I am not trying to get into your pants. It was an honest mistake and while we're on the subject, in the mess hall, *you* were trying to kiss *me.*" He started the vehicle and backed out of the driveway.

The drive out of the sub-division was silent. She returned to staring out the window and let the conversation with the Abydonian. A question stumbled off her lips, "What happened to the child?"

He scowled at the road ahead of him, "He's very dangerous. He was born with the genetic memory of the Goa'uld. That's why Teal'c contacted Thor. After we led Sha'uri out of the labyrinth and through the device which killed the Goa'uld within her, the child was literally taken from her arms. Teal'c appeared before us and said that the child was in Thor's protection as the knowledge it's genes held could not only help destroy the Goa'uld, but if not properly balanced, make the child as evil as them."

"This Thor just took her child?"

He swallowed hard, "He explained to O'Neill later when we made more formal contact with Thor's race that the child is going to be very powerful, both for his knowledge and what he represents. He's safe and will return to Sha'uri when it is time, but" He trailed off and shrugged almost impotently. Silence reigned in the vehicle again and it did not relent even after they got to Xander's apartment complex.

His apartment was very different from what she might have expected from the Xander she knew in High School. But then again, she never imagined Xander as a soldier. The apartment was that of a soldier, it was Spartan to the point of being bare. Everything was orderly and clean; he was firing up his computer to check his email and had allowed her to roam the place freely. Not that there were a lot of places to roam. His kitchen was more of a corner of the living slash dining room. The bathroom was small and generic.

The only room that was more than a glorified closet was the bedroom. The bed at the far wall was made with military precision. If she had one, she could probably bounce a quarter on the sheets. The dresser had a few items on it; a pair of spare belt buckles sat on the dresser, which were polished to a bright shine and a small frame held a few medals and a pair of silver Lieutenant Bars. She recognized a Purple Heart among them.

Finally, a picture frame sat on the dresser as well. She picked it up and examined it. It was a picture of him and the other members of SG-1; she smiled at the Vancouver Canucks hat Teal'c wore covering the gold emblem as well as Xander looking at the hat with annoyance on his face. It looked like they were at a hockey game, judging by the out of focus ice rink behind them.

"That was last month at an Avalanche game." Xander's voice startled her causing her to jump and turn; she found him standing next to her. He smiled, "You work with a vampire and you're still not used to silent entries?"

"You jerk!" She smiled slightly when her slap caused him to wince and hold his shoulder. She put the picture aside and pointed at the framed medals, "I saw a Purple Heart, what happened?"

He shrugged, "While we were helping Sha'uri, we had to take on a group of jaffa; I took the butt of a staff weapon in the chest and cracked a rib." A sarcastic grin crossed his features, "We better get out of the bedroom. After all, I only brought you back to Earth to get in your pants."

She cocked an eyebrow, "And the truth shall set you free. You probably used that Stargate thing to give me a vision to get me to demon land so you could work your game."

His sarcastic grin only widened into an evil smile, "You know me too well, and this was plan A."

Folding her arms over her chest she grinned herself, "Plan B is?"

He stepped back and opened the closet then pulled out a dress uniform, "Did you ever see 'An Officer and a Gentleman?'"

She licked her suddenly dry lips at the thought of him barging into the lobby of the Hyperion in full dress, sweeping her into his arms and carrying her off like some conquering war hero, which she supposed he was. He was now a veteran of two undeclared wars on two different evils. She realized suddenly that she was looking him over, she blinked and looked away.

Her feelings were changing way too fast. Just yesterday she had thought of Xander as some part of her past, on the rare occasions she thought of him at all. Of course yesterday Xander was on some Special Forces team in South America as far as she knew. She clutched to that thought, "South America!"

Whatever spell that was being cast between them scurried into the background again, "Hmm?" He absent mindedly replaced his uniform in the closet.

She swallowed and wiped her suddenly sweaty palms on her pants, "Riley told Willow you were on Special Operations in South America." She shook her head, "In fact that was what Willow said he was doing when he left Sunnydale."

He grinned, "That's the cover the SGC has been using, reassignment to South America. The scientific staff and older officers like Colonel O'Neill can use the cover of deep space telescope operations, but young officers with Special Forces training guarding a telescope in Colorado? It'd never fly. Especially with the amount of hazard and injury pay requests General Hammond fills out." He sighed, "You realize of course that I'm throwing Operational Security right out the window?"

She smiled, "My lips are sealed."

He cocked an eyebrow, "Well that's no fun." He turned back to the door with her scowling at his bad taste in humor. He called back over his shoulder, "If you want to take a nap, go ahead. I'm going to order a pizza a little later." With those words, he left the bedroom.

She sat down on the bed and pulled off the boots and took off the blue over-shirt before lying down. She frowned and mocked Xander's voice, "'Well that's no fun.' What a jerk."


It was almost seven by the time Cordelia actually woke up and came out. She figured between all-night demon hunting and a pair of trips across the universe a girl needs a little sleep. Xander ordered a pizza not long after she woke up. Two hours later, that same pizza was cooling on the kitchen counter while she and Xander sat on the couch. The coffee table held their plates and four beer bottles while Cordelia regaled him with stories from the files of Angel Investigations. "So, this therapist attacks Angel with the talking stick and bang, whammy on the vamp."

Xander smirked, "So, did Angel get all sappy-PC on everyone?"

She picked up her bottle and took a drink before nodding and saying, "Oooh Yeeah. He hugged me." They shared a laugh and a friendly silence before she spoke again. "So have you got to meet anybody cool? The President? Elvis?"

He shrugged, "Secretary Rumsfeld visited in March for a long tour and explanation of the Stargate program. We even offered to take him on a trip through the gate, but he declined. We've had a few Senators, but not the President yet." He smiled, "Other than that, we've had aliens, robots and guys with snakes in their heads visit."

She nodded, "So the usual?"

He picked up his bottle and tipped it towards her, "Only for Sunnydale alumni."

She clinked her bottle against his and said, "Damn straight."

He looked at his watch then shook his head, "I'll have to cut this party short however, we'll have to get to the SGC around O-six hundred, Colonel O'Neill will be checking in at O-seven hundred and General Hammond will without a doubt figured out what to do about your situation." He stood up and helped her to her feet, "You can take the bed and I'll crash out here on the couch."

She nodded and sat her bottle on the table before walking towards the bedroom. She paused at the doorway and turned back to him, "G'night Xander."

He smiled as he picked up the clutter off the coffee table, "Good night."

Just as she was about to enter the bedroom she turned around again, "Xander?" When he looked up from the bottles on the table she put on her most seductive smile and then asked, "If I asked you to come to bed with me, and make wild passionate love to me into the night until the bed gave out and the sun came up, would you say yes?" Completely dumbstruck, Xander could only manage a nod of his head. Her smile slipped off her face and she nodded, "Just checking. Good night."

Left with several mental images that assured that the Air Force officer would have no shot at sleep, he could only scowl and repeat in a mocking voice, "'Just checking. Good night.' That woman is evil."

Chapter 4

Cordelia followed Xander through the halls of the SGC. They had arrived just after six o'clock, and she was not all that surprised that the place was already bustling with activities. Soldiers, technicians, medics and scientists all seemed to be late for something. She looked in a few open lab doors to find people scouring over items, and in one office a rather animated discussion concerning something called "Naquadah" was in full swing and seemed about to turn into a fist fight.

Since she was still wearing the uniform from the night before, they made a stop at the Quartermaster to get her a fresh set of fatigues, they were green today. Next stop was the locker rooms and both changed. When she exited the locker room, she found Xander wearing blue fatigues.

They found his friend Teal'c and the trio went to the commissary for breakfast. They would not finish. With timing that Cordelia found extremely annoying, the PA ordered Xander and Teal'c's presence in the control room. Xander grabbed a banana and his orange juice then followed the jaffa out of the room, leaving her alone.

She sighed before digging into her oatmeal, pausing only to take a drink of adequate coffee. Before she was even halfway finished, Xander reappeared at the door. "Cordelia? You might want to come with me." She scowled at him before pushing her bowl away.

She started towards the exit with coffee in hand. She followed him through several hallways before entering the Briefing Room then down a spiral stair case into what she assumed was the control room. The room was lined with computers, each manned by an Air Force technician. The front of the room had a large window overlooking the Gate-room, she could see that the gate was active, but the "iris," as Teal'c referred to it, was closed. She saw Hammond and Teal'c in front of a screen.

She came up behind the pair and tried to look between their shoulders, she found O'Neill filling the small screen. Hammond turned and smiled at her before turning back to the screen, "Alright Jack, she's here."

/Stand By SGC.\

Jack stepped out of view of the camera and there was a conversation before she saw a more familiar face. She smiled widely, "Wesley!"

On his side of the galaxy, the former Watcher smiled as widely. /Cordelia! Thank God! Are you all right?\

She smiled, "I'm fine Wes, these Air Force guys are pretty good hosts. I was lucky they found me."

/Good. I can't say the same for our luck. Angel managed to start a riot at a nearby town and we barely escaped with our lives. Angel's disappeared, Lorne says he caused the riot over some native girl, meanwhile Gunn and I were nearly captured by some sort of demon soldiers, had Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter not interfered-\ He turned and frowned slightly, Very well.\ He turned back to the screen, Cordelia, I am afraid I must be going. It seems that American soldiers are even more rude-\

He was yanked out of their view and Colonel O'Neill could be heard saying, I told you that's enough!\ He sighed in annoyance as he stepped into the screen, General, my recommendation stands.\

Hammond nodded, "Understood Colonel, I'll have the rest of your teammates prepping on the double, SGC out." O'Neill nodded before reaching forward, a moment later the screen filled with static. The general turned to a technician, "Have Dr. Fraiser meet myself and SG-1 in the Briefing Room immediately."


Dr. Fraiser barely had time to take a seat before Hammond launched into his briefing. "According to Colonel O'Neill, there are several disturbing and problematic situations on PW3-4R8 or 'Pylea' as the locals refer to it. First; is that the planet is apparently in the dominion of the system lord, Sokar."

Teal'c raised an eyebrow, "Correction General Hammond, Sokar was expelled from the system lords and banished to his throne world of Delmak. He was sworn enemy of Apophis; it is unlikely he will have sizable presence there without the knowledge and interference of the other system lords."

"From your mouth to God's ears son. Expect the worst, however that isn't the only problem. Miss Chase's friends arrived on Pylea on mass and one has disappeared, upon your return with Dr. Fraiser and Miss Chase acting as an advisor, you will find a man by the name of Angel and bring him back to base camp. He incited some sort of riot and may be injured.

"Finally there is an issue that Colonel O'Neill has expressed distress over. It seems the human population is enslaved by the priestly caste, since we can assume they are in league with Sokar, the Colonel has requested we attempt liberation of the slave population and I've agreed. You have seventy-two hours, and then I send in SGs 3, 5 and 12 to save your hides. Any questions?" Hammond was met with several no sirs, he nodded, "Very well, dismissed, the clock is ticking people."


Jack O'Neill was several different types of annoyed. Not only was this planet's population enslaving people but it was possible that some sort of Alpha-Goa'uld was running around too, his horrible luck with off-world hostilities was intact. "The use of trionic is absolutely amazing Dr. Jackson."

He sighed and ran his hand over his face roughly. The best part of his trip to Pylea was, of course, Daniel finding his long lost English brother. He slumped on the steps in front of the gate and watched as Daniel and this Wesley guy prattled endlessly about the "Tablets of Doom" as he had come to think of the proclamation on the DHD. With a groan, he propped his elbows on his knees and then his chin on his fists. "Just what I needed, another egghead." His life sucked.

Gunn sat down next to him, MRE in hand. "Boy, I hear that." He read the bag, "Beef Teriyaki." He turned to Jack, "Any good?" The Colonel nodded.

The green demon Lorne also sat down next to them, "Honey, you aren't whistlin' Dixie."

Gunn opened the MRE and began to remove the contents, "You know what he does that I hate the most? You ask a simple question about the latest bad guy and he gives you a twenty minute explanation with about a trillion words that you've never even heard before."

Jack nodded, "Then you ask a question, and they look at you like your some sort of dim-witted child."

Sam approached the group with a smile, "What are you guys talking about?"

Jack grinned, "Oh nothing Carter, just discussing Daniel and Wes over there."

She looked back at the pair, "Yeah." She turned back to her commanding officer and asked, "Do you ever get the feeling that you're in over your head when some people are talking?"

The older man smiled, "Me? Never."

Gunn smirked as he took a testing bite of his entr�, after a moment he smiled and dug it with vigor. He paused between bites and asked, "So, you guys really think that we can take out these priest guys with just us Teal'c and this Alex guy?" By this point, Wesley and Daniel had joined them.

O'Neill shrugged, "We've done it before. I did a recon yesterday, and we have a substantial technological advantage. We'll put together a battle plan when Teal'c and Alex arrive."

Wesley nodded, "You said that Cordelia knew this 'Alex' from Sunnydale? Could you give us a last name, please?"

Sam's eyes narrowed slightly, while O'Neill looked at the ex-Watcher with suspicion, after a moment Daniel spoke for the group. "Harris."

The British man nodded, "I see, well Cordelia had known a 'Xander Harris' in High School, but he was something of a buffoon, I doubt he'd be able to-" He might have said more had Jack not rose to his feet in a rather ominous fashion. He looked at the younger man for a while, making him feel something like a bug who was about to be swatted. The Special Forces officer snorted and allowed the threat to anyone who might belittle his team to hang in the air before he shouldered past him. Sam and Daniel got up and followed him.

Wesley felt rather like a scolded child and looked down at his feet then sighed. "Well, I do seem to have found numerous ways to annoy our new friends, haven't I?" Lorne nodded while Gunn just continued eating.


Xander entered the gate room as he was inspecting his M4. He then checked the rest of his equipment; once he determined he was ready he put his ear piece in. The door behind him opened and Teal'c entered with Dr. Fraiser and Cordelia not far behind. Cordelia had put on a standard field uniform, minus the vest and equipment. She walked up to him with embarrassment shining in her eyes. "I feel like a dork."

He grinned, "Two things; One, I'm offended that you think our uniforms are dorky. Two, you look adorable."

"You're just saying that."

He raised his right hand, "I swear I'm telling the truth." He leaned into her ear and whispered, "It's kinda hot, you almost look like you could kick some ass." He stepped back with a grin, "I always had a thing for women who could handle themselves."

She smirked at him, "You play your cards right mister; and well" The arch of her eyebrow spoke volumes and the young Lieutenant found the temperature of the room was rising quickly. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear; as she spoke he felt his ears burning more and more.

Dr. Fraiser turned towards them and did a double take. "Alex? Are you alright?" She approached, already letting her medical training take over. "You're flushed."

Cordelia stepped back with an arrogant smirk on her face while the blushing officer coughed, "I'm fine Doctor. Miss Chase just reminded me of something."

Janet nodded and walked away, he could see she was swallowing a laugh. The gate opened not long afterwards. Hammond's voice came over the PA, "You are clear for deployment. Remember, in seventy-two hours, I send in reinforcements."

Xander turned towards the control room and nodded, he turned back to the others. "Let's go." Xander and Cordelia lagged slightly behind the rest, after Janet and Teal'c disappeared into the wormhole he spoke again. "You're really not wearing-"

She winked, "-Like I said, play your cards right and you might find out." She stepped through the gate, ending the conversation. He shook his head and followed.


The members of Angel Investigations weren't quite as awestruck as they watched the gate open a second time, but it was still amazing, at least for Wesley to think about the idea of poking a finger into the stitching of the universe and stretching it open. When four people emerged from the device, it only further fascinated him. The idea of technology advanced enough to convert a person from matter to energy and back again wasn't reality until that very moment.

He only wished he'd devoted more time to physics and the harder sciences while he was at university. Not long after the man Wesley assumed to be Lt. Harris emerged from the gate, Wesley made a decision to think of the man who was once Buffy's faithful friend in terms of his rank. It would just be easier to avoid the wrath of O'Neill, if he didn't think of the young officer as a former class-clown.

Lt. Harris descended the steps and strode with purpose to the group. He turned to O'Neill, "A word Colonel?" The pair walked off a little out of ear shot.

Wesley noticed that the two seemed almost mirror images of each other, their posture, sunglasses each hanging off a band around the neck, even the way they checked their surroundings. The casual way they held their rifles making them seem relaxed but it was obvious that both would be instantly ready should a threat arise. The only real difference was that Harris' weapons were oriented for a left handed person, and he wore a black baseball cap, as opposed to the Colonel's green.

The ex-Watcher wondered if the younger man looked up to O'Neill as a father figure, and modeled himself after his commanding officer.

Gunn's voice startled him out of his ponderings as he asked, "What do you think they're discussing?"

"I am sure that he's updating O'Neill's orders, or giving him a progress report on pressing matters."


Jack sighed, "Well?"

Xander shook his head sorrowfully, "Sorry Colonel, Avs won in overtime last night."

O'Neill threw his head back, raised his hands to the heavens imploring the Hockey gods and bellowed, "Oh for cryin' out loud!" He sighed then shook his head forlornly. When he looked at his friend again, the thoughts of the Stanley Cup playoffs were filed away. "Okay, what's the situation?"

The younger officer took the lead of his commander and was immediately all-business. "Hammond wants us to perform the search/rescue on Angel before we deal with the other situation. He's giving us seventy-two hours."

Jack nodded and finished for him, "Then he sends in the reinforcements. Sometimes I feel like he has no faith in us."

The younger man grinned, "On the contrary sir, he has infinite faith in our ability to cause a great big mess everywhere we go."

"Harris, your sarcastic remarks are coming along nicely."

He grinned, "Thanks sir, why just yesterday General Hammond threatened latrine duty."

O'Neill laughed and slapped Xander on the back before leading him back to the group. "You really are learning then."

The group gathered into a circle and O'Neill addressed them, "Alright, listen up. We're going to look for your missing friend. Using the gate as reference; Daniel, you and Alex will take Miss Chase west from camp, Sam and I will go with Gunn east of the camp. Standard search pattern, avoid any towns or patrols. Let's avoid causing too big a ruckus. Be back at camp by dusk, and if need be, we'll start again in the morning. Teal'c and the Doc will stay with Wesley and Lorne Green here and keep watch, any questions?" When no one spoke, Jack clapped his hands together and warmed them. "Good, let's get to work. We've only got about four hours of usable sun-s-light before dark."

The groups walked away from the camp. Doctor Fraiser removed her backpack and took a seat on one of the folding chairs that SG-1 brought in their gear. Teal'c watched both groups intently until they disappeared, only then did he relax even slightly.

Wesley approached the Jaffa with a little trepidation, "I-I'm Wesley Wyndam-Pryce."

Teal'c bowed with respect, "I am Teal'c, son of Ro'nak. I am a free Jaffa in the service of the Tau'ri."

Wesley turned to Lorne for a moment before asking, "Who are the Tau'ri?"

Chapter 5

"So this Angel is a vampire?"

Xander pushed a branch out of his way as they searched the forest and nodded. Daniel and Cordelia were behind him. He had his zat drawn and was searching for anything out of place. "You got it Daniel."

Cordelia ducked under the branch and Daniel pushed it out of his way as well, "And he has a soul? That goes against all the research I've ever done on vampires. In all the legends that are even remotely credible vampires, humans lose their soul in the turning process."

Cordelia smiled and turned back to the trailing archaeologist, "'Remotely credible?'"

He grinned, "So much of it is about as realistic as a Xena episode."

She laughed and faced forward again, "That's true. Angel was cursed by gypsies with a soul about a century ago. Now he's a champion, for the Powers that Be. I get visions for him, that's how I ended up here."

Xander paused and held up his right hand and made a fist next to his head. The seer looked at him strangely. She turned to Daniel and whispered, "What's that mean?"

He pointed at Xander's fist and said, "'Freeze.'" The officer then extended his right arm up at an angle and lowered it. "'Take cover.'" His eyes widened suddenly, "Take cover?" He received a glare from Xander before the scientist nodded. Daniel then whispered, "We'll just. take. cover." He led Cordelia into a near-by bush. Xander tapped his ear, holstered his zat in favor of his rifle then moved slowly and, to Cordelia, amazingly quiet considering all the leaves and sticks off towards some big rock face.

As he moved she noticed him remove something from his pocket and attach it to the barrel of the weapon. He crept past the rock face and around the corner. They waited for a while, and then there were the sounds of screaming and rustling leaves. As they waited, Cordelia asked; "How is he able to move around silently like that?"

Daniel shrugged, "My guess would be all that Special Forces training." She nodded and watched for him. Daniel turned to her, "I have a question."

She turned back from the rock face, "Shoot."

"Actually, Jack and I have been wondering about it since you left yesterday, 'Xander?'"

She smiled, "He never liked the name Alex. Willow dubbed him Xander in first grade and in a small town, you don't get too many chance to redefine yourself, so he's been called Xander ever since. When did he start going by 'Alex?'"

He shrugged, "Well, I think it was either Sam or Janet who started it. Before that, he went by 'Harris' during his training, like most in the military. It took us a little while to warm up to him, we didn't have a fifth member before, but we've become pretty close, Jack even calls him Alex now." He sighed, "I owe him a lot. He helped me save my wife."

A moment later, Xander reappeared. He raised his right hand towards his left shoulder before making a slashing motion across his throat. She heard Daniel whisper, "This is a danger zone." He then slowly disappeared into an opening in the rock face.

There was another long silence before Daniel's radio crackled and he pressed his earpiece into his ear. He reached up and pressed the talk button, "Go ahead." He listened for a moment before saying, "Copy." He turned towards her, "Alex wants us to take a look at what he found."

They walked carefully over to the rock face and stepped inside a cave to find the walls littered with writing. Cordelia had no idea what any of it meant either. Xander spoke up from the middle of the cavern, "What language is this Doc?"

She turned to her right and found Daniel inspecting the wall. "Umm. well, it's been a while this I've seen this, but my guess is." He turned and rocked on his heels as he stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets, "Modern calculus. One language I was never all that good at I'm afraid." Cordelia roamed the cavern looking for some clue of what they found, she heard Daniel call out, "The equations were written relatively recently, maybe in the last six months are so."

Xander's voice sounded near where he had been standing, "The fire's still smoldering. Whoever's been hiding out here might be back."

She came across a ridge near the back wall. It was about knee-high and held a few items. She kneeled down and inspected them. She found a pair of abused glasses and what looked like a California Driver's License. "Winifred Burkle. That name is familiar." It took her a moment to remember, with all the new information and experiences she had in the last day, she found herself having a hard time remembering the vision that brought her to Pylea at first. She jumped to her feet clutching the license like a trophy, "This is her!"

Daniel and Xander were trying to make sense of some of the equations when she shouted. They turned and looked at her curiously before Daniel spoke, "Who?"

Cordelia crossed the cave to them and show the license to the pair, "Fred, the girl from the vision. This is where she's been hiding."

Xander nodded, "Okay, so this 'Fred' is here. She's a US civilian, we'll wait for her to return, take her back to camp and then continue the search." He sighed, "Man, this mission's report is going to be never-ending paperwork." He turned around and continued his inspection of the cave. He paused near the fire pit and crouched down. He dug his fingers into the dirt and pulled out a piece of black cloth. He pressed it between his fingers, "Feels like it might be silk."

He got to his feet and then walked around the fire pit. "There were at least two other people here recently."

The seer cocked her head at him, "How can you tell?"

"The footprints." He kneeled down and touched the ground, "Now while I'm not an expert on tracking, that's more Teal'c's thing, I see two distinct sets of footprints." He called them over and pointed at a group of prints and a rock covered in a purple liquid on the ground. "I think there was a fight, because there are drag marks leading out of the cave. Your 'Fred' had some visitors."

Cordelia heard a woman's voice behind her; Xander must have heard her as well because he shot to his feet, rifle at the ready. "Take cover." He crept towards the entrance when two figures, a man and a woman, entered.

The man was tall, dark haired and broad shouldered with dark clothes, his head was downcast and he was being led by the woman, who had hold of his hand. She was short with unkempt brown hair, a dirt covered face and a covering that an old potato sack would turn its nose up at, she seemed to be talking to her companion at about a thousand miles an hour. "-I tried to make enchiladas with tree bark, it didn't turn out." She trailed off as she saw Xander and his weapon. After a moment she spoke again, "Oh my." Cordelia heard a bit of a southern accent in her words.

Xander gestured with his rifle and said, "Hands where I can see them."

At her stopping and the command from Xander the man looked up and Cordelia's smiled happily, "Angel?" Xander lowered his weapon when he recognized the vampire.

The champion of the Powers that Be went from confusion to happy surprise at the sight of his seer and friend. "Cordy?"

She jumped out from her cover and ran across the cave to embrace him. Angel, after a stunned silence finally found his tongue again, "What are you doing here?" He smiled before picking her up and spinning her, which caused her to squeal. Daniel slowly roamed towards the growing group, while she noticed with a touch of worry that Xander hung back.

She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "I was found by Xander yesterday."

Angel cocked an eyebrow, "Xander?" She pointed over the vampire's shoulder and he turned to face the man in question. "Xander?!" He sounded somewhere between shocked, ecstatic and furious.

The officer grinned and mocked the vampire's tone as he said, "Angel?!"

He took a menacing step forward that a few years ago might have had Xander flinching slightly, "You don't know how badly I want to twist your neck shut for what you did to Buffy."

The younger man's grin turned cocky before he placed his hand on his rifle. When he spoke he adopted a fairly passable southern accent, "Why Angel, are we cross?" He tapped the trigger with his index finger as a clear warning of what he'd do if the vampire tried to make good on his threat.

Angel took another step, his eyes narrowing as he did. Daniel spoke up, "Uh. Alex? What's going on?"

Xander took a step forward, never breaking eye contact with his onetime rival as he spoke to his friend, "Nothing Doc, it seems that Angel's still got a protective streak for a certain blonde." He then addressed the vampire, "I don't care what sort of stupid bullshit you've let Buffy feed you about me, but I did nothing to her. Now, you will accompany us back to our base camp, and we'll decide whether or not to send you back through the gate, before we take further action." He grinned, "We can do this two ways; first the nice polite way, you follow us back and play nice. Or if you'd prefer, option two; I pull out my zat, pump your body full of electricity and drag you back. Fielder's choice."

Cordelia stepped in and separated the glaring pair, "Okay children, that's quite enough. You both have penises and are willing to have a piss fight with them." She turned to Angel, "Excuse us a minute?" She snatched Xander's hand then dragged him to the back wall of the cave. After finding a corner to talk in, she slapped him on the chest hard and hissed at him, "What the hell was that?"

Xander shrugged, "Hey, he jumped right into threatening me. I definitely felt threatened." He then rolled his eyes before winking, "I think he's jealous of my cool uniform."

Her anger was instantly disarmed and she smiled. A moment later her hand registered pain. "Ow!" She inspected the suddenly tender appendage before looking up at him, "What do you keep in that vest anyway?"

He shrugged, "Spare ammo." She narrowed her eyes at him. "You're so cute when you're pissed off." She scowled at him. He just smiled, placed his hand on her back and led her out of the cave. "Let's go."

After a moment the others followed, Angel lagged behind the others and scowled at the back of Xander's head. Fred meanwhile trotted up to Cordelia and Xander, "Hi. I'm Fred."

Xander smiled, "Nice to meet you Fred, my name is Lt. Alexander Harris. This is Cordelia Chase, and he's Dr. Daniel Jackson."

The wild woman smiled, "Nice to meet you, how did you get here, a portal?"

Daniel stepped forward, "Actually we came through a stargate, it's the large circular stone object about a mile from. The stargate creates an artificial wormhole-"

Fred's eyes brightened and she interrupted, "An Einstein-Rosen Bridge? So you mean you cut across the universe using this thing."

Daniel stuttered and Xander could only smirk and say, "Oh, the Colonel will just love you."

The linguist grinned, "Definitely."

Fred frowned and looked between the pair, "Huh?"

The lieutenant just reached up and pressed the talk button on his radio, "Sierra-Golf-One-Echo calling Sierra-Golf-One-Alpha and Bravo." He paused to listen then pressed the button again, "Affirmative, objective completed, returning to base camp with subject plus one." He listened again before grinning, "Apologies Colonel it could not be helped." He raised an eyebrow, "Colonel, you broke up, last message not received." His face lost its humor and he cleared his throat, "Acknowledged Colonel, SG-1-Charlie and Echo out." He turned back to the others, "Oh yeah, Colonel O'Neill is going to love you, but me, I'll be cleaning toilets for a month."

Chapter 6

While Jack did not love Fred and her scientific knowledge, he did appreciate her knowledge of the fortress he had scouted. She had provided information of guards and defenses among other information. Already, the experienced Black-ops officer was beginning to formulate tactics to attack the priests. He welcomed the input not only of his teammates, but Wesley and Gunn as well.

Lorne was trying to listen to Fred's almost constant rambling. It seemed that five years on a planet where humans were treated only slightly better than pond scum gave her plenty of things to say.

As for Angel, he had found plenty of reasons to brood over the last couple of days but seeing Cordelia and Xander sitting by the fire was trumping them all. After the group broke from their planning session, most of them had set about to an evening meal. The only two exceptions being he and the jaffa who had went off to perform something called "kelnorim." Angel wagered it was a form of meditation.

Xander and Cordelia sat down in front of the fire, and the young man was showing her the proper way to prepare her MRE; she picked up her fork and took a bite before frowning at him with distaste.

He made some comment and waved his hands about which caused a wide smile to replace her sour expression. She then leaned against his shoulder as she tried to eat the military ration. The vampire watched from the shadows at the edge of the camp and alternated between scowling and sighing angrily. He heard movement beside him and found Gunn and Wesley standing next to him. He returned to staring and bit out, "What?"

Wesley's voice sounded, "Fred told us," He cleared his throat, "Among many, many other things, that you had undergone a change in an altercation yesterday." Had he not been so focused on Cordelia feeding Xander from her meal, he might have laughed at Wesley's reaction to Fred's motor-mouth. As it stood, he was fighting to restrain himself. "Do you remember what happened?"

The vampire grunted, "Not really. The beast took over almost completely."

The former watcher replied, "This is interesting, something about Pylea must separate your demon more substantially than on Earth. Perhaps, that is what the original demon that created the first vampires looked like. Your 'beast' was likely more pure then even the legends of the Turok-han."

Angel was just beginning to tune out Wesley when Gunn spoke, "Speaking of beasts, I see a green eyed one has made his appearance."

Angel whipped around to see Wesley looking at the dark man with a raised eyebrow, "Beg your pardon?"

Gunn smirked before pointing over to the pair Angel had been angrily watching, "Angel's jealous." He then turned to Angel, "I figured you had a thing for her."

The champion took a step towards the Los Angeles-native, "I don't."

Wesley stepped between Gunn and Angel, "Charles, please excuse us for a moment."

Gunn nodded and walked over towards the fire. Wesley sighed and looked at Angel for several tense moments before speaking. "How long?" At the vampire's silence, he pressed the issue, "How long have you had feelings for Cordelia?"

Angel sagged and took an unneeded but calming breath, "A while, a few weeks."

The Englishman nodded, "I see." An almost uncharacteristic smirk crossed his face before he continued. "Has it occurred to you that you have the worst timing in the world?"

Angel's scowl only deepened before he turned back to Cordelia, "Go away Wes."

"I will, after I say one thing." He turned back to Wesley to see the grim look on his face, "When you went after Darla and Drusilla, you betrayed our trust in the most brutal fashion. Cordelia's in particular, you broke her heart. If Lieu. Xander is someone she wants to pursue, you gave up any say you have in the matter."

He turned and started to leave, but Angel's voice stopped him. "And if she pursues him? From what Cordelia said, their SGC is in Colorado. How is she supposed to help us with her visions if she's in Colorado?"

Wesley sighed, "Well in that case, we'll lock her up in the basement. What do you want me to say Angel? Free Will is Free Will for a reason." He continued back into the camp while Angel shook his head angrily.

Relative silence settled over the camp for a few minutes before Lorne stood up and clapped his hands to draw attention. "Listen up kittens, our little interplanetary-shipwreck victim has some information we need to hear before we storm the castle." The group gathered in a loose circle, with the exception of the pouting vampire who stood with a wary eye still on the youngest member of SG-1. Lorne turned to Fred and said, "You're on puddin'."

Fred blushed before saying, "Well, I just said if one of you challenges the Groosalug to mortal combat, you would draw all the guards to one place, as they'd want to watch the Groosalug tear you apart. No offense."

Jack looked at her with annoyance, "Just who is this. gross-slug?"



The other members of SG-1 (except Teal'c who merely raised an eyebrow) smiled at their CO's typical flustering. Fred just blushed again before stammering on. "He's a champion, he's never been defeated."

Teal'c broke his long silence, "O'Neill, if we bring the guards together, we can use the Zatn'kitels to their highest strategic advantage."

Wesley spoke next, "That's all well and good, however Fred mentioned 'mortal combat' it is possible that whoever challenges the Groosalug will die."

"I'll do it." Everyone turned towards Xander with surprise. "I'll fight the Gooey Slug or whatever his name is. You guys handle the rest."

After a second to process, O'Neill nodded, "Alright. Here's the plan, Alex fights Apollo Creed. We eliminate the guards with the zats and Teal'c's staff." He turned to Angel, Wesley and Gunn, "Can you guys fire MP5s or M4s?" They nodded, "Doc?"

Doctor Fraiser raised an eyebrow, "It's been a while, but I can manage."

The Colonel nodded approvingly, "Good, we'll come at the courtyard from two angles and create a crossfire to pin the guards down. Alex, get out of there if you can, if not, just try to keep your head down." Xander nodded. "Good, we'll use cover of darkness tomorrow night. Everyone get some sleep. Teal'c, Alex, you two take the first watch." The jaffa nodded and Xander tossed off a three-fingered casual salute.

Most of the group moved off to the tents, which left Cordelia and Xander alone with the jaffa. She gave him a rather pointed look and Teal'c said, "I will check the perimeter for a few minutes." He stood and walked off towards the edge of the camp.

Although Xander could feel the glare she was giving him, he chase to make a sarcastic remark anyway, "Boy, if I didn't know better, I'd think Teal'c was giving us some privacy." He turned to her and saw the pure death in her eyes. "I get it, you're all sorts of pissed at me, but don't worry, I have no plans for my funeral."

She shook her head, "Xander-" She was silenced by his finger on her lips.

He smiled, "Cordelia, trust me. Please?" He watched as her eyes began to fill.

She stood and looked down at him, tears silently sliding down her cheeks. He climbed to his feet as well and reached out to gently wipe the moisture away. After a moment, she spoke gently, "I trust you Xander, but remember this when you race off to your death." She slowly inched towards him, he followed her lead and when their lips were just a breath away from each other, stars exploded in his eyes as her knee slammed between his legs. He crashed to the ground clutching at his manhood protectively and fighting the urge to kiss dinner good-bye.

As tears burned his vision he registered Cordelia's angry voice very close to his ear. "If you die and break my heart after getting me to fall in love with you, so help me Alexander Harris, I will resurrect you for the sole purpose of killing you, and believe me, I'll do it slowly." She pressed a kiss to his temple that Xander could only think of as sarcastic before he heard her footsteps as she walked off to a tent.

He rolled to his knees and was hauled to his feet by Teal'c, "Are you injured Lieutenant Harris?"

He held up a finger and bent over; he braced his hands on his knees and tried to regain his breath. "No Teal'c, not at all." He managed to croak out between wheezing gulps of air.

"Sarcasm, I've become highly adept at recognizing this particular form of Tau'ri humor Lieutenant Harris. Shall I retrieve Doctor Fraiser?" He shook his head and tried to spit out the taste of bile, "Cordelia Chase attacked you, yet I observed her acting affectionately towards you earlier. Explain."

He stood up and looked at his friend, "What can I say Teal'c? We have that effect on each other."

The jaffa raised an eyebrow, "Indeed."


Jack was still asleep when his radio crackled to life, /Uh. Colonel?\

A scowl formed on his face as he groped blindly for his radio, "Harris, I'm going to kill you." He found the offending device and activated it, "Yeah."

/You might want to come out and greet our visitors sir.\

He sat up, suddenly much more awake. He crawled out of the tent and got to his feet. He looked for Harris and found him and the rest of his people with about fifty men all carrying melee weapons of various sorts. Alex shrugged awkwardly, gestured to a thin man with dark hair and said. "Sir, this is Sasha, the leader of the human resistance."

Faced with this new information, the Colonel could only think of one thing to say. "Okay, change of plan then."


Xander lit the rags of the challenge torch before starting off towards the courtyard of the fortress with Fred in tow. "Okay torch lit, and challenge speech memorized." He turned to the wild woman, "You sure he'll fight?"

She nodded, "He's the champion of the kingdom, he must face all challenges. You sure you can put up a fight?"

He grinned the kind of cocky grin only a man with Special Forces training can back up, "I've faced down more then enough knuckle-headed bar fight yokels, not to mentions my fair share of jaffa, to make my way through a fight." He ignored Fred's mumbled doubts and pressed the talk button on his radio. "Echo to position one. You ready, sir?"

O'Neill's voice came through his ear piece, /All set Echo. Position two?\

The radio crackled and Sam spoke next, /Affirmative sir. Position three?\

Sasha's voice sounded a moment later, /We're ready.\

Jack spoke again, /Are you ready Alex?\

"All set. I'm proceeding to the courtyard."

Sam came through again, /I have a message from Cordelia, she says; "Don't get dead." That's sound advice, Alex.\

He nodded, "Acknowledged, Harris out." He turned to Fred, "Let's go."

He walked into the courtyard, and noticed the eyes of several demons milling about shine with anticipatory glee as he approached the pedestal. He placed the torch in the stand and called out towards the castle, "I challenge the Groosalug to mortal combat." He turned to the woman and she gave him a thumb up. He nodded and faced the building again, "I don't have all night you yellow bastard!"

He turned back to Fred and hopped off the pedestal, she was frowning at him. "Why did you say that? You've probably just pissed him off."

He listened to his ear piece, "My opponent is on his way. The resistance is storming the castle." He saw a chariot racing towards them, turning to Fred he said, "Find somewhere to take cover."

The chariot practically skidded to a halt and a broad shouldered figure leapt from it. His hair was dark and went past his shoulders; he also wore an armored chest piece. He looked relatively human, rather like a muscled up Hercules and Xena fan. However, his eyes were a disturbingly bright blue. He made eye contact with Xander as he climbed the pedestal; his obvious goal was intimidation especially when he stuck his hand in the flames while only grunting.

He jumped down and stalked up to the man who had challenged him. "You will die. I will not allow you and your barbarian horde to destroy this kingdom."

Xander nodded, "Yes. well." Groosalug walked away towards a stand filled with weapons that two of the guards that were gathering to watch had set up. Xander sighed angrily, "Ignore me, that's just great."

The "champion of the realm" gathered an axe and a mace and turned to Xander again. "Prepare yourself villain!"

Xander sighed and reached behind his back, "I will but there's one thing I have to say before we begin." Groosalug paused and looked at him curiously, "I am sorry."

He lowered his axe slightly, "For what?"

"For this." Xander had holstered a zat behind his back; he pulled the weapon out and fired. Groosalug fell to ground, paralyzed by pain. Xander quickly began firing at the other guards as he ran for the same cover as Fred. A moment after he began firing, the others pinned the guards down with zat and gun fire.

Xander dove behind the merchant's cart with Fred who was giving him an astonished look. He grinned sheepishly, "Okay, so I may have just sullied my honor, but I'm still alive. All this is a distraction however, along with Sasha's attack on the castle itself. We're just buying time for Teal'c and the Colonel."

Fred smiled, "Good distraction." He laughed before firing again at the guards.

Chapter 7

Jack and Teal'c had used the distractions Alex and Sasha were making to enter the castle undetected. They were searching out a device Sasha mentioned and was afraid that the Priests would use if the tide turned against them. Teal'c recognized it from the descriptions and was worried by the idea of the priests using it as well. Apparently on worlds where the population was unruly, some Goa'uld forced their slaves to wear collars that killed by blowing the wearer's head to pieces. The device Sasha mentioned was a master control which would activate all the collars, effectively wiping out hundreds of innocent human beings.

They turned a corner and saw a swirl of scarlet cloth duck into a doorway down the hall. The Jaffa stopped, "That is the description of the High Priest's robe O'Neill."

He nodded, "Okay, let's go, weapons hot." They moved silently up to the door, each pressing against the wall. They stopped at the edge of the doorway and O'Neill held up three fingers, after he ticked them off they charged in.

Teal'c took the lead with his staff weapon instantly finding the demon priest, he had some sort of large drop cloth in one hand and his free hand was hovering over the controls of the device. "Cease this action immediately."

Even though he wasn't quite sure what the jaffa said, O'Neill nodded and mumbled, "Yeah, what he said."

The purple skinned beast growled at them, "I do not take orders from Cows, and I surely do not take them from a Shol'vah."

Teal'c just walked calmly towards the demon, "Inconsequential. Like Apophis, Sokar and all Goa'ulds are false gods, and betraying them does not weigh on my spirit. You will either cease, or I will be forced to end your life. The human population of Pylea will be free."

"These cows are the property of Sokar."

O'Neill stepped around his friend, his eyes narrowing in annoyance. "Would you mind not referring to my kind as cows?"

"Drop your weapons cows!" At the sound of the guard's voice, Teal'c and Jack whipped around and both fired. Both of the demon guards dropped to the ground dead or dying.

The jaffa turned and found the priest reaching for the control panel again. He fired his staff weapon without hesitation, hitting the demon in the chest. The blast threw him into a bookcase; he slid to the ground while the wound on his chest still smoldered.

O'Neill nodded approvingly, "Nice shot." The darker man nodded. "Will a shot from the zat do the trick on this thing?" When Teal'c nodded, Jack raised his zat and fired on the device. It sparked and electricity arced around it before smoke oozed from beneath the control panel. "That's always so anti-climatic."

Teal'c grinned, almost, "Indeed."


Since the gun fire had started in earnest, Fred had clamped her hands over her ears and shut her eyes. When it stopped, she cracked an eye and found Xander standing over her with an amused look on his face. She smiled sheepishly, "Sorry. I'm not used to the guns and violence, and the killing." He held out his hand and helped her to her feet. "Thanks. I mean, for the helping and well saving me."

He raised an eyebrow, "Um, saving you? From what, this fruit cart? I'll admit the fruit is pretty gross looking, but so are kiwi and they're damn tasty."

She laughed, "Yeah, I guess Angel did most of the saving, and well kiwis are delicious if I'm remembering right," She picked up a blue lumpy fruit with brown spots, "And these are pretty tasty. I mean you have to cut the peel off first because the peel is poisonous and you have to boil them, but they taste a little like overripe bananas." She put the fruit down and looked to see Xander with a stunned expression. "What?"

"Five years in a cave, eh?"

She rolled her eyes and shrugged before laughing nervously, "Yeah."

He nodded, "Doesn't show."

She smiled for a moment before frowning with confusion, "Are you making a pass at me?"

As she was asking the question Cordelia called out from behind him and a blur launched itself at him. The blur came into focus to become Cordelia wrapped tightly around him. Fred sighed, "I guess that's a no." Neither of them seemed to notice her continued presence.

The blonde stepped back and checked his face for cuts or bruises "Are you okay?"

He smirked and gently plucked her hands from his face, "I'm fine."

She tore her right hand from his grip and club on his chest with it, "Good! 'Cause I'm going to kill you, you jerk!" Her left hand got loose and joined its counterpart in her assault. She stopped a moment later and rubbed her hands tenderly, "Ow. 'Spare ammo?'"

He grinned and took her hands; he kissed each one before saying. "Spare ammo."

She bit her lip and smiled, "I love you."

He raised an eyebrow, "Forgive me, but last time you said that I got a knee in a very sensitive area." He pulled her into a hug, "I love you too, Cor."

Neither of the lovers heard Fred sigh and say, "Definitely a no." They also didn't pay attention to her as she walked away.


Captain Samantha Carter was in her element at the moment. She was explaining to Sasha, Groosalug and the captain of the Priest's guard what would be happening over the next few weeks. Jack O'Neill was many things, up to and including her friend, but he'd proven time and time again that he was not a diplomat. He didn't have the patience, or the subtlety, in fact most of his diplomatic arguments were done with his MP5's safety off. Which factored with Teal'c stoic nature and Alex's aspirations to become Jack O'Neill's second coming meant negotiations were often done by her and Daniel.

The archaeologist-slash-linguist's attention was completely devoted to the books he found in the chamber housing disabled Goa'uld device meant that she had the opportunity to explain the concept of freedom and democracy to a group of aliens. The Groosalug raised his hand to ask a question. Carter smiled, "Yes?"

The champion seemed to mull over matters before speaking, "I'm afraid I don't quite understand why writing our laws down will prevent enslaving the co- I mean the humans of Pylea."

She smiled, "That's why we'll send our diplomatic team SG-9 back here to help you draft a constitution and form a fair government. It'll take time, especially considering prejudices, but Freedom is a tricky thing."

"Carter?" She turned to find Jack and Daniel in the doorway, "SGs Eight and Nine have arrived, it's time to go."

She frowned slightly, both at the interruption and the curiosity of both the diplomatic team SG-9 and the research team SG-8. "SG-8 sir?"

The older officer sighed, "Daniel is wetting his pants at the sheer volume of trilogy-"

Daniel sighed and pinched his forehead in frustration, "Trionic Jack! The language of these holy books is called trionic. How many times do I have to-"

The other man turned and snapped out, "-How many times do I have to say, 'whatever?!'" He sighed and adjusted the brim of his hat. "Anyway, SG-8 is going to start the research, and Rothman will make a report in a few weeks." He held out his arm in invitation, "Carter?"

She nodded and followed. When they came upon the throne room, Sam found Alex, Teal'c and Janet along with Cordelia and her friends. The girl that Daniel and Alex found, Fred had been able to bathe and was swimming in a spare set of BDUs that Daniel had brought with him. She was also holding a large black book.

They must have come in on the tail end of a conversation, because Wesley was speaking. "Are you sure you want to go back with them Cordelia?"

She smiled, "I kinda have to."

The jaffa nodded, "Cordelia Chase is still in need of being debriefed and cleared with the American Government."

She nodded, "What he said."

Alex stepped forward, "Actually, all of you are going to have to be debriefed, so don't be too surprised if representatives of the Air Force show up at your door."

Wesley walked towards the door, "Let's get back to the Plymouth." He turned back and spoke, "Cordelia, we Mr. Harris' phone, we'll call later to make sure you made it back alright."

The group started towards the door but Angel lagged behind, "Cor, we'll see you at home right?" It was obvious to Sam, that whatever was going on between Alex and Miss Chase, the vampire did not like it. It was the way he emphasized the word home. Not to mention the constant looks he cut the pair since they found him.

Cordelia smiled, "Yeah, it might be a couple of days though."

The vampire frowned before Wesley cleared his throat. Taking the hint, Angel turned and left.


It was two hours before the crew of Angel Investigations arrived at the Hyperion, yet the black mood had only recently begun to lift for Angel. It didn't all have to do with Cordelia; some of it had to do with the fact that it will cost a fortune to liberate his convertible from Caritas. But Cordelia sideways glance at Xander when she said it might be a couple of days was not helping. She had to be cleared by the SGC before she could come back to LA, yeah, and Xander will be very put out by her presence.

He took a breath in preparing for a sigh and the scent of jasmine seemed to renew his sense of normalcy. It was the jasmine he and Cordelia had planted when they first moved into the Hyperion. He felt all the world was returning to its place. After all, Cordelia could leave LA as long as she had the visions, so why should he worry about her fling with Xander?

The angry sigh planned became a release of his troubles. He jogged ahead of the group, leapt the steps leading to the lobby doors and grabbed the handles. Before he opened them he said; "Let me say it. There's no place like." He opened the doors and was stopped cold at the sight on the couch, "Willow?"

He didn't even notice the others crowd behind him as the Willow's tear streaked face had his complete attention. She broke eye contact to look down into her lap, and Angel noticed her companion. Curled into a ball of her side, with her head in Willow's lap was a heartbroken, quietly sobbing woman. He took a timid step forward and spoke her name as though it would end this nightmare-like sight, "Buffy?"


Far away from the Hyperion Hotel, Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase had a much easier arrival at his apartment. The debriefing was much shorter this time, and she had only one shot in the butt this time. SG-1 was given a weekend pass and dismissed. The sheer fact that they weren't arrested for reckless driving amazed the seer. Though not as much of a surprise as them getting his door unlocked, what with her sucking his pulse point and hand up his shirt.

It was an hour later and she was almost purring as Xander stroked her hair. She surveyed his bedroom before saying, "Okay, my turn. I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter B."

She felt him chuckle before his voice rumbled through her, "That would be my boxers. They're easy to see just hanging off the top of my bedroom door like that. Nice shot by the way."

She sat up slightly and grinned devilishly, "I aim to please." Truth be told, clothes were scattered haphazardly around the room, that kind of happens when two people are in the midst of foreplay when enter a room. The bed was in as much disarray, the comforter was thrown most of the way off the bed and the rumpled sheet was barely covering her naked backside. Not that she cared all that much, who would see her naked other than Xander?

She crawled up his chest, dragging herself along him earning a shiver from both of them. She teased him with a far too short kiss before she snuggled into his side. She smiled when his voice rumbled through her again, "That beats the broom closet by a country mile." He kissed the top of her head, "Cordelia, we need to talk about-"

She sighed, "About what just happened and our feelings and stuff."

She looked up into his face and he grinned slightly, "'And stuff.' I'll ask first, then you can, okay?"

She shrugged, "Ask away."

He nodded, "Quit working for Angel, move in with me and stay here. Please."

She smiled sadly, "I can't. Consider my counter offer, resign from the Air Force, move to LA and live happily as my houseboy and sex slave."

He sighed, "I can't, and as appealing as the offer of being your kept man is, what I'm doing here."

She nodded, "Yeah, same here." She kissed his chin, "Enough doom and gloom, hit me with the pillow talk while little Xander gears up for round two."

He raised an eyebrow and smirked, "Little?" There might have been more pillow talk had the phone not rang. He sighed and picked it up. He made no attempt to hide his annoyance as he spoke. "Harris." A frown marred his features when as he listened, "Wes, can't this wait?" Suddenly the annoyance bled out of him, "Yeah, she's here. Hang on."

He turned to her and handed off the phone. She felt the same annoyance roll through her, "This better be good Wes. I was enjoying the afterglow." She listened and felt all the blood leave her face. "Oh my God!" Tears sprung to her eyes as Wesley spoke on the other end. She finally croaked out, "I'll be back in LA as soon as I can. Bye."

She handed him the phone and barely registered the sound of him hanging it up. There was a tense silence before she could put it into words. "There was some sort of battle in Sunnydale." She sat up and looked at him, tears biting at her vision. "Buffy's little sister Dawn, she died."

The End