Old Guard

Author: Knife Hand <d_lutke[at]hotmail.com>

Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated

Spoilers: After SG1 meets the Asguard but before Danny Ascends in SG1. Sometime around mid series 5 of Buffy.

Rating: R

Disclaimer: Do not own Buffy or SG1 or Highlander. I would buy them but I am broke.

Summary: When Thor comes to ask for help, Sam Carter must reveal a secret older than anyone in the SGC can possibly imagine. Things really get complex when Sam calls her Brother, Xander Harris, a resident of Sunnydale California and the best friend of the Slayer. The Old Guard come to fulfil promises while the current warriors gather for their friends.

" " denotes speech, ' ' denotes thought.

AN: Glory never came to Sunnydale, she brain sucked a stoner named Jay and became totally incoherent and lost interest in going home. No one notice a change in Jay, not even Silent Bob. Anya never came back, Joyce never got sick and Riley got his head ripped off by a demon in the battle of the Initiative at the end of Series 4.

Chapter 1

Major Sam Carter emerged through the event horizon of the Stargate's stable wormhole and walked down the ram, glaring at the SF's, who quickly trained their weapons away from her, fearing her wrath. The rest of SG1 quickly followed Sam's arrival, with Teal'c and Daniel almost instantly separating themselves from Colonel Jack O'Neill, who instantly got a full blown glare from the irate Major.

"Hey! I didn't know what was going to happen." Jack said defensively.

Jack, Teal'c and Daniel were all slightly dirty in the BDU's. Sam, however, was covered from head to toe with a viscus orange liquid.

"Welcome back SG1. Debrief in one hour." General Hammond said over the intercom from the Control room.

Sam stalked out of the Gate Room and headed strait for the showers to clean up, muttering all the way.

'I swear that Jack is just like my brother. I get covered in crap and he walks away clean.' Sam through angrily.

After a quick shower, Sam headed strait for the Infirmary, and as she entered the rest of SG1 practically scrambled away. Doc Frasier had heard what had happened in the Gate Room and had broken out her extra large, "Don't mess with Sam or Cassie" needles.

"I swear, sometimes the Colonel acts just like my brother." Sam said when everyone by Janet had gone.

"What his hero complex or his terminal smart mouth?" Janet asked.

"Both, and the uncanny ability to get me covered in muck while he stays perfectly clean." Sam grumbled.

"What can I say, Alexander and Jack are cut from the same cloth."

"Yeah, well sometimes I just want to rip them both a new one."

Janet was about to respond when Sam disappeared in a flash of light.

"General Hammond. Sam just disappeared from the infirmary. Looks like it was the Asguard." Janet said into the intercom.

Janet rushed up to the conference room to join the remainder of SG1 and General Hammond in their wait for Major Carter's return, knowing that Thor, the most likely Asguard to have taken Sam, would return her wherever SG1 was.

"Why didn't Thor take me? He usually takes me." Jack said petulantly.

Janet, SG1 and the General waited semi patiently for over half an hour before the flash of light deposited Major Carter in the room. Janet looked over Sam quickly, noting that she seemed pale but otherwise fine.

"Report Major." General Hammond ordered.

"Yeah, Carter. What did Thor want?" Jack said.

"Sir, I need permission to bring someone in on the project to help the Asguard." Sam said to General Hammond.

"Who, Major." Hammond asked.

"My brother, Sir."

"Mark? He hates the military." Jack spurted out.

"No, Sir. My real brother."

Only Janet got the real significance of this.

"You sure about this?" Janet asked.

"Of course. Odin's calling in the Oath we made." Sam replied sadly.

"Sam?" Jack asked.

"Sir, it's at Thor's request on behalf of the head of the Asguard, Odin." Major Carter said.

"Do it." Hammond ordered.


"Magic Box." Giles answered the phone.

*Hello, may I please speak to Alexander Harris?* the female voice on the other end asked.

"May I enquire as to you name and the nature of the call?" Giles said, very britishly.

*It's personal. Tell him it's Samantha Carter.*

"One moment." Giles said, before resting the phone on the counter.

Giles went out the back to where Buffy was sparing against Xander.

"Xander, phone call. Someone named Samantha Carter." Giles said.

"Cool." Xander said running for the phone. "Hey, Sam. What's up? You finally get together with your CO or what?"

*No, Alex.* Sam replied.

"Hey, it's Xander." He interrupted.

*Does it matter? I just talked to Thor, Odin's calling in the Oath.*

Xander's entire demeanour changed, gone was the goofy guy that had founded the Scooby Gang, in his place was a man who exuded strength and confidence, and anger.

"You opened the Rainbow Bridge again, didn't you?" Xander said. "How else would Thor or Odin know we are still here?"

*We've been dealing with Thor for a while now. He never gave me away. Hell, Jack's even been to their Homeworld.*

"Ok, so that makes three. Did Thor say why?"

*Not specifically, but I get the feeling it's more in your area of expertise than mine.* Sam replied.

"Ok, things seem pretty quite around here. I'll get some temp cover and bring my team up, get it cleared with the General."

*How many?*

"Six total, if they want to come. One's a non-combatant and another's a British National."

*Alright, I'll get it cleared. And clean off your old gear.* Sam said in parting before she hung up the phone.

Xander hung up the phone and wonder how the hell he was going to get the Scooby Gang to Colorado Springs without revealing too much or getting himself Slain.


Sam was waiting at the entrance to the base as the two cars pulled up with her brother and his team. She was not entirely sure how she had managed to convince General Hammond to admit six civilians to the base, just as Xander was not totally sure how he had managed to convince the Scooby Gang to come at all. Years ago, they had made a pact never to reveal their secret without the other. Xander and the rest of his team got out of the cars, and he brother instantly waved with a goofy grin on his face.

"Hey Sam. This is the team. The stunning blond is Buffy, the cute little Brunette next to her is her little sister Dawn. The redhead is Willow and the shy one next to her is Tara. Oh yeah, the stuffy old Brit is Giles." Xander introduced.

Sam chuckled at Xander's introductions, particularly the slight inflection on 'old' when referring to Giles.

"Guys, this is my sister, Sam Carter."

"Major Doctor Carter." Sam added.

Sam noticed the inquisitive quirk of Willow's eyebrow, having become an expert at eyebrow linguistics since meeting Teal'c.

"PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics." She clarified.

Sam escorted them down into the mountain headed for the main conference room on Level 28, which would have the blast shield shut to obscure the Stargate.

"How bad is it looking?" Xander asked quietly.

"Bad. The fleet's mobilised, hell I even saw Mjollnir in Thor's chambers. Odin may be summoning the Aesir." Sam replied.

"Giles, what are they talking about?" Buffy asked.

"I'm not sure, but if I remember correctly Thor and Odin were Norse Gods." Giles replied.

Any further conversation was cut off as the elevator doors opened and Sam quickly lead them through the corridors to the conference room, which contained the rest of SG1 and General Hammond. When they arrived, Xander eyed Teal'c suspiciously as they were shown to their seats.

"Isn't he a servant of the Wyrms?" Xander asked Sam.

"Former." Sam replied quietly.

"Alright, let's get down to business." General Hammond said after introductions were made. "Dr. Jackson."

"Right. During a dig at the Gaza Plato in 1928, Archaeologist uncovered an artefact, a giant, seemingly stone, ring…" Dr Jackson began.

"What?!? The Bridge has been open since 28?!? Sam, what the hell?" Xander blurted out.

"No! We only got it working a few years ago." Sam countered.

"Oh that's just great! And you didn't tell me!! You could have run into anything out there. Major Wyrms, Old Ones, hell you could have disrupted the protected." Xander raged, then he saw Sam's embarrassed face. "Shit you did didn't you. Please tell me you didn't disturb any of the Creator's devices?"

"Just one." Sam said sheepishly. "That's how Colonel O'Neill got to Valhalla."

"Major! Have you been leaking classified information?" General Hammond asked sternly.

"If she had, you think I'd be this pissed?!? I really wish you had told me. I thought you had more respect for me and my position." Xander shook his head sadly before slouching by the door..

A second later Dr Frasier came through the door in her medical coat.

"Sorry I'm late sir, I had a few patients that needed attention." She said.

"That's ok, Janet. I was just ripping Sam a new one for keeping me out of the loop." Xander said from behind her.

"Alex! It's good to see you." Janet exclaimed, pulling Xander into a big hug.

"Um, anyone else jealous?" Buffy asked.

Buffy, Dawn, Willow, Tara, Daniel and Jack all raised their hands.

Sam laughed softly, joined by Janet and Xander.

"Great, even Doc is falling all over the kid." Jack said sarcastically.

"Hey, it's the 'We love Xander' fan club. Hands up all members." Dawn said.

All of the females in the room raised their hands, then broke down laughing at the males' expressions. Suddenly a flash of light appeared to reveal the small grey form of Thor. Xander instantly crossed the space between them and slapped his hand over Willow's mouth to stop the spell that she was muttering, and held out a hand to restrain Buffy.

"Buff, no Slay. Not a demon." He commanded.

"She's the Slayer." Sam whispered and got an affirmative nod from Xander. "She's so little."

Xander barked out a laugh.

"That's exactly what a Gypsy Techno-pagan said." Xander whispered back.

"Thor, Buddy! How come you didn't beam me up?" Jack said.

"Hello, O'Neill. My business was not with you directly. It is with some old friends." Thor replied.

"Hey man. How's Sif?" Xander asked.

"She is well, Heimdall." Thor responded.

"Wait! Heimdall? He's Heimdall? How can he be Heimdall" Daniel said pointing to Xander.

"Yes. Heimdall and his sister, Brynhild, although you know her as Major Samantha Carter." Thor stated.

"Impossible." Daniel declared.

"Oh, this will be fun." Janet whispered to Sam and Xander.

"Dr. Jackson. Who are Heimdall and Brynhild?" General Hammond asked.

"According to Norse Mythology, Heimdall is the Guardian of Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge between Midgard and Asguard. Brynhild was the head of the Valkyrie, warrior maidens who escorted fallen soldiers from the battlefield to Valhalla, the hall of noble warriors." Daniel explained.

"Good history lesson but not quite true. The Valkyrie were not maidens and all head Valkyrie were named Brynhild after the woman who was first offered to post, but turned it down." Xander said, casting a lopsided grin across to Sam. "Oh yeah, ten points to anyone who can guess what the Rainbow Bridge is."

"The Gate?" Jack said sarcastically, responding to Xander's tone.

"Oh great, two of them." Willow sighed.

"Indeed." Teal'c contributed, his first words at the meeting.

"I guess something serious is going down, or Odin would not have called in our Oath." Xander said.

"There are indications of a possible Ragnarok approaching." Thor said.

"Shit!" Xander exclaimed, Sam bowed her head and Daniel went pale.

"What's Ragnarok?" Buffy and Jack asked almost simultaneously.

"The end of the World." Daniel replied.

"Again!!!" The younger Scoobies and Jack said in unison.

"I'll go prepare the big needles." Janet joked.

"That's it, no more Cookies for you, young lady" Xander said in a stern voice.

"Aww, but Uncle Alex, Sammie said I could have some." Janet said, imitating a child's voice.

"You used to let her, too." Xander said to Sam.

"Of course. That way I could eat them without feeling guilty cause they were for little Janet." Sam admitted.

"Now she tells me." Xander said, rolling his eyes.

"Believe me when I say Huh?" Buffy said.

"To translate, what the hell are you talking about?" Willow said.

"Um, long story." Xander said.

"Major! Explain! Now!" Hammond ordered.

"I would rather face all the System Lords and their armies unarmed than be those two right now." Daniel whispered to Teal'c.

"Indeed." Teal'c replied.

Chapter 2

Thor left quickly, saying that there was a while before they would be needed and that he would let them know if there was any new information. Xander convinced General Hammond that questions about Sam, Janet and himself could wait, so Daniel started to explain about the Stargate Project.

"Let's see how much damage has been done." Xander had said.

Once Daniel finished, leaving Buffy totally confused and Willow running all the information through her razor sharp mind, there was a pregnant pause as the Scooby Gang come to terms with the new information.

"Xander? Not demons?" Buffy asked, genuinely confused.

"Not demons." Xander confirmed. "But some Aliens are evil, like the Wyrms."

"Wyrms?" Jack asked.

"Goa'uld, Sir." Sam clarified.

"Ah." Jack said, leaning back into his chair. "Snakeheads."

Then General Hammond had gotten them all to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements.

"Man, this is worse than homework." Buffy complained, getting a chuckle from the Scooby Gang.

After the meeting, SG1, except Sam, took the Scooby Gang, except Xander, for a tour of the facility, with Dr Jackson, Willow and Giles all talking animatedly. Xander, Sam and Janet had wandered off on their own to catch up. SG1 had shown the Scoobies around most of the complex, a lot of which was drab grey hallways, and were passing one of the training rooms on their way to search for Sam and Xander when they heard the clash of metal on metal. When they opened the door they saw something they never expected, well for SG1, two things they never expected. The second thing, for SG1, was to see Doc Frasier standing around doing nothing while someone was injured. The first thing was to see Xander and Sam in an all out sword battle, with blood running down their skin. Xander was dressed in a pair of slightly loose pants; however he was barefoot and bare-chested, with rivulets of blood running down his face and chest. Sam wore her field cargo pants and a small black tank top that Jack remembered well, also barefooted and with blood on her face and exposed stomach.

"MMMM, nummy." Dawn drooled as she watched Xander.

"Dawn!" Buffy said, however her eyes were on Xander.

"Seconded!" Willow said to Dawn's comment.

"Look at Carter." Daniel said.

"Whoa!" Jack said before going non-verbal.

"I'd take her home." Tara added, earning glances from SG1 and a smile from Willow.

Another bust of clashes brought everyone's attention back to the fight. In her right hand, Sam wielded a Chinese Longsword, its thin and fairly narrow blade both sharp and flexible, while in her left hand she held a Falchion, a short sword which had the heavy weight and cutting ability of an axe. Xander on the other hand wielded a two handed Middle Eastern Scimitar. Xander's large curved blade swept a Sam, only to be blocked by her Falchion. Janet motioned the new arrivals into the room to watch away from the fight. Sam took the offensive and Xander's large blade swung to defend. The Chinese Longsword almost glided through the air, the entire sword a graceful weapon, with its flexible tip performing slight by effective cutting motions, while the Falchion hammered through the air, relying on its sharp edge and heavy weight to shatter shields and turn swords.

Xander slid the Chinese Longsword away along the curved edge of his Scimitar; however he met force with force when facing the Falchion. Xander, noticing the observers out of the corner of his eye, jumped when Sam did a strait thrust with the Chinese Longsword, landing on one foot while balanced on the horizontal flat of the blade. Sam immediately swung her Falchion to take out the supporting leg, however by the time the heavy weapon arrived at its target, Xander had already back flipped off the blade. Sam took a step backwards and swung the thin blade around to rested the flat against her back, the tip resting between her shoulder blades, stilling the uncontrolled vibrations Xander's flamboyant move had caused.

"Show-off." Sam taunted.

"Wow." Buffy whispered.

"Indeed." Teal'c added.

Xander just smirked and twirled his Scimitar to either side of his body before taking the offensive again. The fight started up again, with the ringing of the swords colliding, and grunts either from exertion or pain. The sparring session finally ended with Xander's Scimitar at Sam's throat and Sam's Falchion at the side of his neck.

"And we have another tie. How many is that now?" Janet said.

"I gave up counting in the twelve hundreds." Xander said with a shrug.

"I got to four hundred and seventy five thousand, eight hundred and ninety six. That was around the time of Crécy."

"What's Crécy?" Buffy asked.

"The battle of Crécy, between King Edward III of England and King Philip VI of France was fought between the small villages of Crécy and Wadicourt near the beginning of the Hundred Years War. Saturday, August 26, 1346 to be exact. The English defeated an army approximately three times their own size." Giles lectured.

"Doc! I think you should send Carter to a shrink." Jack said.

"Why?" Janet said casually.

"Hello, she thinks she was alive in 1346."

"Jack. Sam and Alex raised me from when my parents died when I was two. Hell, Sam was there at my birth. Go check them out for injuries." Janet said.

The Scooby Gang crowded around Xander while SG1 closed in on Sam, checking for injuries. The trails of blood from the fight were still present, however when they were whipped away, all they revealed was smooth, healthy skin.

"Good Lord." Giles commented.

"WHAT THE FUCK!!!!" Buffy exclaimed

"It could be nanotechnology. No, they still a few years away from this level, plus he would be setting off all the metal detectors…." Willow began before running off into mumbling.

"I like her." Sam said smiling.

"Yeah, but that's what you said about Joan Darc, and you remember how that turned out." Xander replied.

"Hey, not my fault. And she got canonised." Sam replied.

"Yeah, a few hundred years after she was burned at the stake." Xander shot back.

"At least Joan was a good guy. You were drinking buddies with Temujen." Sam smirked.

"Um, who are they talking about?" Buffy said.

"I know that Joan Darc is Joan of Arc, where I believe Temujen is the birth name of Genghis Kahn." Daniel replied.

"Xander was drinking buddies with Genghis Kahn? Why am I not surprised?" Dawn said.

Janet silently led everyone except Sam and Xander out into the hallway.

"They'll be like that for hours, unless something comes and interrupts them." Janet said.

"One question. How is all that possible?" Jack asked.

"Which part?" Janet replied.

"Hundreds of years old, almost instant healing. Hell, even Slayer's don't heal that fast." Buffy said, then she realised her mistake. "Opps."

"Simple answer. They're Immortal." Janet said, continuing when she saw questions on the faces of both SG1 and the Scooby Gang. "They're totally human, except they can heal any wound and only die when they have their heads cut off."

Everyone either glared or stared dumbly at Janet.

"Oh for a distraction." She whispered.

*UNSCHEDUALED OFFWORLD ACTIVATION!* came a voice over the PA system.

"Thank you." Janet said, just as Sam and Xander emerged from the training room.

Everyone ran for the control room as fast as they could.

"Sir, it's SG8." The technician said.

"Open the Iris." General Hammond said. "Interesting uniform, Major."

Sam looked down and realised she was still in her sparing outfit, and so was Xander, who got looks from a female technician.

"I was sparing with my brother, Sir." Sam explained, just as SG8 came through the Gate.

"Welcome back SG8. Debrief immediately after your physicals." General Hammond said.

"Bobby?" Xander said before running down to the Gate Room.

"Bobby! How you bin, you old fart?" Xander said as he entered the room.

Major Robert Paulson looked up to see a familiar face.

"Raven! What the hell you doing here?" he asked.

"Visiting my sister." Xander said, motioning to Sam as she entered.

"Shit man, you're related to Carter?!? Does that mean I have to be extra polite to her?" Bobby asked cheekily.

"Hell no. I'm still pissed at her for not brining me in on this. How you been man?"

"Hell, I tried to get you in, but we couldn't find you. It's a wild ride."

"Sorry man, been out of the game. Figured you had to learn to look after yourself after I took five for you in Costa Rica."

"Yeah, Yeah. Ramirez, pass me the camcorder. Take a look at this." Paulson said.

The tape showed the team in the Gate Room, then the travel through the Gate. Robert fast forwarded through some general boring mission events, like lots of trees and the campsite, till he got to the interesting part.

"Sam! Come here." Xander called.

Sam rushed over and Paulson played the last bit again.

"Shit." Sam said.

"Agreed. We got to help them." Xander said.

"I got our stuff in storage. Janet! Help me get some stuff." Sam called.

On the screen was a small mountain village and a young man of Japanese descent running through the village shouting 'Oni' over and over again.

Chapter 3

"General, from initial analysis the village appears to be Feudal Japanese in origin. There are several architectural and cultural indicators present in the video footage." Sam explained.

"Oh come on. You're acting like you knew this from a text book. You and I both recognise it because we were in Japan in feudal times." Xander said offhandedly. "What I'm more concerned about is the fact that the Samurai was shouting 'Oni'."

"Two questions. One, how do you know he was a Samurai and two, what does 'Oni' mean?" Jack asked.

"His hair and clothing were in the Samurai style. And 'Oni' means demon." Sam supplied.

"Now wether he means the Wyrms, um Goa'uld, or real Demons we won't know till we get there." Xander added.

"Real Demons?" Hammond asked.

Janet and Dr Jackson had filled General Hammond in on the Immortality issue before the briefing, having shown him the footage of the fight in the training room along with various other pieces of evidence she had collected over the years, just in case.

"Giles?" Xander said with a grin.

"He loves this part." Buffy added.

"This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their... their Hell. But in time they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for, for man. All that remains of the old ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures... And vampires. The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another, and so they walk the Earth, feeding... Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind. Waiting for the animals to die out, and the old ones to return. For as long as there have been vampires, there's been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One." Giles intoned.

"That'd be sis." Dawn said indicating to Buffy.

"Wow, he's as boring as Danny and his rocks." Jack said offhandedly.

"See, told you." Xander smirked.

"How come we never heard about these Demons?" General Hammond asked.

"How come the world doesn't know about the Bridge?" Xander retorted. "We got it covered. Janet, honey, can you nip down to the training room and grab my Scimitar?" Xander asked.

"Sure thing, Uncle Alex." Janet replied with a smirk.

"It's Xander, it's always been Xander. How many times do I have to tell you?" Xander called out after her.

"At least once more." Sam said with an identical smirk to Janet's.

"Oh, don't you start." Xander groaned.

"This is better than a movie. Anyone got popcorn?" Dawn said chirpily.

"Shall I retrieve your popcorn maker, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.

"No. I want to know how Xander knows Major Paulson, and why he called you Raven?" Jack said.

"I read Paulson's file. When he was a Captain he worked in a black opps group working around South America. Several reports mention an operative codenamed Raven, all other information about this Raven was expunged, however Major Paulson did recommend recruitment for Raven, but we could never find him. Looks like we should have asked Major Carter." General Hammond said.

"Hey, I didn't know Alexander was Raven. When I was working at the Pentagon they were trying to track down Raven. Half the brass wanted him dead and the other half wanted to give him presidential commendations. I guessed that Raven was probably an Immortal, but I had no proof. Immortal created identities make professional forgers work look like crayon drawings." Sam admitted. "Only other Immortals can ever identify an Immortal identity, that's if they are good, and sometimes even that's a chancy thing."

At that point, Janet re-entered with Xander's Scimitar. The Scooby Gang and SG1 had not noticed the first time, because they were more awed by the display, but it was a beautiful weapon. The long handle was calved out of ivory, accented by ebony inlays in a complex scene of a war between men on Arabian horses and twisted beast that the Scooby Gang recognised as demons, Giles even recognised several specific species. The long, curved blade was made of fine steel that was acid etched with stylised flames along the entire edge of the blade.

"Wow!" Buffy said in amazement as she studied the magnificent blade in Dr. Frasier's hands.

"Buffy, History lesson now, play with the shiny killing thing later." Xander said, as if to a child.

"But Xander!" Buffy pouted, to the amazement of the SGC personnel and the slight annoyance of the Sunnydale residents.

"No! But when we get home, I'll give you another shiny killing thing, maybe two if you are good, but not this one." Xander negotiated.

"OK." Buffy said, switching to perky and happy in a millisecond.

For a second Buffy even bounced on her toes.

"No weapons for you Dawn." Xander added without looking as the younger Summers daughter opened her mouth.

Dawn pouted but let it pass for the moment.

"No offence Giles, but I think this will be better coming from Dr. Jackson. If you will read the inscription at the base of the blade, please." Xander invited.

"Ok, it Arabic. It says 'May Allah praise the defender of all people. The Caliph.' Wow, is this genuine?" Daniel said in amazement.

"The Caliph?? As in leader of the of Islam?!? Bloody Hell." Giles said.

"Yep, helped him clear out a demonic army threatening Damascus. He gave me the sword as thanks then politely asked 'the infidel' to leave the city. Nice guy, considering the times." Xander said offhandedly.

(A/N: This is not a slight on any of the Islamic teaching or on Muslims. I have genuine respect for their beliefs, which have been tainted by a few extremists. This is not a political statement or anything of that nature, it is simply a plot device to further the story, and I apologise if anyone has been offended in any way.)

"Back to the original topic, are we going in or not?" Xander said, refocusing the conversation, as he carefully took the sword from Janet's hands, sheathed it and laid it on the table.

"Um, I don't know Japanese." Daniel said, slightly embarrassed.

"I'm sure Giles…" Willow began before being cut off.

"Very little I'm afraid." Giles admitted.

"Alex and I know it. I spent fifty years there. How long were you there?" Sam said, addressing the last part to Xander.

"I think it was two hundred. Oh, and you won't be able to wear street clothes or BDU's."

"Why the hell not?" Buffy demanded.

"Cultural reasons. Xander and I still have our armour and we have enough traditional clothing for SG1, Janet and Xander's friends." Sam explained.

"I want a sword."

"Oh, come on Buffy. You'll look great in a Kimono." Xander joked, getting giggles from Tara, Willow and Dawn.

Giles just cleaned his glasses. Dawn and Willow recognised the first stages of Buffy getting pissed, a deep growl, and started to move back, dragging Dr. Jackson and Dr. Frasier clear of the potential blast zone.

"We could lend her Kimiko's armour; they are about the same size." Sam said.

The name dragged Xander back through time into his memories.


˜ Flashback - Feudal Japan ˜

Xander ran through the Kata with his Katana, watching his best student out of the side of his eye. Despite his reputation as one of the best Samurai masters in Japan, not many Japanese tried to learn from Xander, due to the fact that he was not Japanese. Those few who did want to learn were never turned away, especially not women, who were shunned by all other Samurai masters.

Kimiko, his most promising student, worked the forms smoothly, her sword cutting graceful arcs through the air. Despite the fact that she was only fourteen, her skill was second only to Xander's in the group of twenty students that were practicing the Katana. Other scattered groups were practicing with different weapons. A second group worked a different Kata with the Katana in another grass field. On a gently sloping hillside two groups worked about thirty feet apart, one with the sweeping and twirling motions of the Naginata, while the other used the aerobic and wrist motion driven style used with the fighting fan. Kimiko had her long dark hair pulled back in a ponytail and would occasionally flick her dark eyes, shining with pride, to the helmet resting on a nearby post, a small smile gracing her face. She was dressed in a plain, pale green set of beautifully crafted armour, which she had been given only three days prior by Xander as a mark of her progress.

Xander had come to this small village just over twenty years ago and they had welcomed him. When Kimiko's father had died in a skirmish only weeks before her birth, Xander had, like most men in the village, helped out in raising her. At an early age, Kimiko had found the strange pail man to be fascinating, and as soon as she could crawl, she had begun following him around her mother's house. By the age of two, she was following him all over the village, siting and watching as he taught others. One day Xander had noticed her practicing the moves with a stick off to the side, and had invited her to join them. To Kimiko, Xander became a father, mentor and best friend, someone she could go to with all her problems, and to Xander, Kimiko was the daughter he could never have, a reminder of a family long dead and a link to his younger sister who, last he heard, was somewhere in France doing Thor knows what.

*Well done, Kimiko.* Xander said as they finished the Kata.

*Thank you, Sensei.* she returned with a bow and a smile.

The second she rose from the bow, an arrow blossomed in the side of her throat and she sunk to the ground.

*Kimiko!* Xander screamed.

*ATTACK!!!* Someone yelled and the sounds of battle began to spring up around the village.

Xander cradled Kimiko in his arms as she lay bleeding.

*I'm sorry, father.* she breathed as she died.

*Sensei!* a Samurai called.

Drawing his Katana, Xander turned towards the attackers.

"May you pass naked through the Niflheim to the lands of Hel!!!" Xander shouted in his native language as he charged into battle.

(AN: in Norse Mythology, Niflheim is a land of fog and ice, and in several references, Hel, the land of the dead, is located here, not in Muspelheim, the land of Fire. Figured that would make a cool curse.)

Several hours later, total silence lay over the small village. The attackers had come to kill the foreign Samurai master and all who harboured him, and they had succeeded, or so they thought. With a gasping breath, Xander awoke from death. For hours he cried over the body of the girl her thought of as his daughter. When he finally left the village, a long row of graves graced the peaceful hillside, and he walked away, taking only the armour of the young girl who had a special place in his heart from the dead. Boarding a Dutch trading boat, Xander left the island country he had loved for the last two hundred years, with the memory of a child's smile and a heavy heart.

˜ End Flashback ˜


A single tear ran down Xander's cheek. Only Sam and Janet had recognised the deep memory experience of an Immortal.

"Fine, she can borrow the armour." Xander said, before turning to Buffy and hardening his voice to a growl. "You disrespect the armour, and I'll rip your arms off and stick them in a very uncomfortable place."

With that, Xander turned and walked out of the room.

"What was that about? Who's Kimiko?" Buffy asked, bewildered.

"Someone he considered a daughter. Someone he failed to protect." Sam said sadly, before running out to find her older brother.