|The Sunnydale Perspective: Ascended
Author: EchoIvy PM
Buffy Summers as Ascended? Atlantis will never be the same again. BTVSSGAtlantisRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Words: 7,595 - Reviews: 32 - Favs: 40 - Follows: 24 - Published: 08-04-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3086525
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summery: Buffy Summers as Ascended? Atlantis will never be the same again. BTVS/SG-Atlantis
Timeline: Buffy; post season 5, pre season 6. For Atlantis it's after the season 2 opener. (siege 3).
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or Stargate (SG-1 or Atlantis). I don't own anything. Go ahead, rub it in.
Authors Note: Okay people, so this is the beginning of a series of Stargate/Buffy crossovers fics starring Buffy and Shep. It's is a one-shot, so it can (and does) stand all on its own. If you like this, I'm planning a bunch of one-shots in the same universe, so enjoy this one and keep an eye out for more.
The Sunnydale Perspective: Ascended
She'd been falling for hours, or at least, it felt like she had. Little bolts of electricity seared her skin, and her back arched as she fell. Surely she had been falling for days, now. Such was the pain. It was as if she were buffered in the center of the swirling blue storm, no longer falling, just floating in the claws of pure pain.
Time seemed to stop, and as if the physical pain weren't enough, she was given time to truly regret. It filled her heart; her sister's grief stricken eyes, her desperate sobs, they were burned into her consciousness, crystal clear.
She hated that the terrible guilt of her death would be laid on her baby sister's shoulders, the knowledge of it sat in the pit of her stomach like a lead weight.
Moments ago she had sacrificed herself to a crackling blue hell portal to save her little sister, Dawn, from a psycho hell goddess bent on destroying the world. Given the alternative would have been letting her sister suffer in her stead… she would do it all over again.
The blue lightning snapped at her. It burned; it hurt more then anything else she could ever remember experiencing. She would have screamed with the pain of it but there was no air left in her lungs for even this small action. The electric spikes jolted through her and a bright light burst behind her eye lids, the pain had reached a crescendo.
Then, blissfully, blackness came; pain faded, and she knew no more.
"What do you mean 'demon dogs'?"
Dr. Rodney McKay glanced from his friend and team leader, Colonel John Sheppard, back to the incredulous Atlantian leader Dr. Elizabeth Weir, who'd spoken. The team of four, as well as the leader of the Atlantis expedition, were currently seated around her office on the second floor of the main control room of the Command Center, high above the Stargate. Outside the rooms glass windows the alien device sat in all its glory, dormant, but only for the moment.
"Uh, big… Slobbering… Red eyed, sharp toothed, demon-dogs-from-hell." Rodney told her. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow and turned her stare to the rest of the team who, like Rodney, were covered in various bleeding scratches.
"That sounds about right." Sheppard voiced drolly. He was holding his right arm tight against his chest. "Are you alright, colonel?" Dr. Weir asked, concerned. Sheppard seemed surprised by her question; he looked at his arm as if he'd only just realized he'd been injured. Elizabeth wasn't fooled for a moment.
Two dark eyebrows shot up and his mouth quirked in a sardonic twist.
"Demon-dog-bites." He informed her dryly.
Ronan, the newest team member to join John's team, examined Sheppard's wound critically then motioned to his own; his shoulder was bundled up in a reddened bandage. Shepard glared.
Elizabeth almost laughed at the sight of Ronan and John comparing their various wounds, trying to one-up each another. Almost. It wouldn't do for them to know that she found their antics amusing, because then she'd never get though a briefing.
"How exactly did this happen?" She asked sharply.
When Teyla sighed and looked away she knew it was going to be one of those reports; Elizabeth could already feel a headache coming on.
John glared at Rodney. "He touched something." He told her, pointing at the glaring Doctor. "And the locals let the dogs out on us."
"How was I supposed to know that they thought it was sacred? It was a piece of junk on a pedestal!"
"It was a sacred piece of junk: on a pedestal; that you broke!"
"That is entirely beside-the-point!"
"Beside-the-point! That is the point!"
"Gentlemen," she said sternly, pre-empting any farther arguments. "I think its time you were all off to the infirmary."
Teyla stood first, inclining her head with a warm smile. The rest of the boys followed their team-mate dutifully out of Weirs office. Elizabeth sighed and pulled her tablet towards her again. She's earned at least one game of solitaire before bed.
The world reasserted itself with a jerk and she eyes snapped open, only to close them again a moment later. She counted to ten and opened them once more. Nope, she wasn't seeing things, it was still a diner. She rubbed her eyes. She was standing at the entrance to a quaint little diner. People hustled and bustled by her, a waitress approached an elderly couple. She rubbed her eyes again, more firmly this time.
"Slayer," Buffy Summers jumped at the voice and turned to see the approaching brunette woman who'd identified her.
Buffy raised her hand hesitantly, "Umm… present." The woman smiled and led the mystified woman to a vacant booth.
"I know you must be very confused, Buffy, but please; take a seat." The blond did as she was asked and sank onto the red vinyl seat.
"Ah, how'd you…"
"What may not be altered is made lighter by patience."
Buffy scratched her chin nervously and bit her lip.
"Patience… yeah… you should know that that particular virtue was never really one of my strong points."
The woman smiled serenely, "you remind me of another I helped once; he was also very young and had very little patience for our ways."
Buffy waited for her to continue. When she didn't right away she began to chew her pinky-nail, she twisted her fingers in her lap, studied the room intently, counted the cracks in the ceiling (there were only four) and tapped out a tune on the table top. Just when she thought she wouldn't be able to take another moment the woman spoke.
"I am Oma Desala. One of the Ascended." Buffy opened her mouth but snapped it shut again at the woman's pointed look. "We are beings that have ascended to a higher plain of existence. We have shed our bodies and become energy based life forms known as the ascended."
"Like the PTB?" The woman almost rolled her eyes, but not quite. "No. She said. "Your powers are not as we are. I have watched you for a long time Buffy, I have seen the integrity in you. The potential," Buffy raised her eyebrow. "and sometimes I can help souls with potential ascend to a our plane of-"
"Sorry." Buffy interrupted," "but somehow being energy just doesn't appeal to me… unless you've got all-energy malls and shoes and-"
"When I saw you jump, I was able to take you before your 'Powers That Be' could."
"Oh… um, why?"
"Your sister's blood, and life, was intended to close the portal that the godling created. Thus your sacrifice brought about an unforeseen loophole in your fate; because your foretold destiny was not reached, you became, as you would say, a free agent. The powers no longer have a hold on you, and I so was able to whisk you away before your life was lost."
Buffy's eyes widened. "You mean I'm not dead!"
"No, not as of yet. You are somewhere between, this is a place where you are neither alive nor dead."
"Well, what happens if I die?"
"You go back to your Powers and whatever plans they have for you are set into motion. However, if you were to ascend; you would be able to continue your journey as you are."
Buffy's browed furrowed. "There's a catch, there has to be a catch, there's always a catch."
"If you were to ascend, you must leave your past life behind. Ours is a journey of higher knowledge and understanding. You could not interfere with the physical world, it is our highest law."
Buffy glanced around the room and rolled her eyes. "Okay, so what's plan c?"
"There is no other choice; if you choose not to ascend you will die."
"Well, what if I ascend and get all bored or whatever. Can I like, de-energize myself?"
"It is… possible… to descend." Oman said, her eyebrows furrowing, the warm smile slipping for the first time. "But, this is not-"
Buffy slipped her face into a completely innocent countenance. "I would never. Course not. So, let's get to the ascending, then!"
Later, much later, when Oma watched Buffy disappear in a wisp of white light, she pinched the bridge of her nose and shook her head unbelievingly. She wondered how long it would be until the small blonde made her escape. Aw well. After the fiasco with Daniel Jackson she should hardly be surprised. She too disappeared in a blaze of light.
"Did I stutter?" Rodney glowered at Col. Caldwell.
"Rodney." Sheppard warned darkly before saying. "Excuse me but why can't we just put the cloak up again? It worked the last time the wraith tried to kill us."
"Do you have any idea the amount of power that takes? Oh, I'm sorry, of course you don't…" The doctor said with a distasteful grimace.
Elizabeth, Ronan, Teyla, Sheppard, Rodney and Caldwell, the foremost members of the elite Atlantis team, were gathered around the control room looking at the blinking monitors with dread.
"Every time we use power to activate the city shields we're straining an already strained Zed-PM. You think opening a wormhole to Earth takes power? It has nothing on the power consumption of the shields! These ships could stay in orbit for days. Weeks… Mouths…Yea-"
"We get it Rodney! What do you suggest?" Sheppard snapped.
"What, why do I have to have a suggestion?"
"Can we not assume that the Wraith will merely pass us by? Why else would they have come?" Teyla asked, breaking the tension in the room.
Elizabeth shook her head. "It is possible they're coming to search for the remnants of the city, see what, if anything, there is to salvage…"
"Either way" Rodney said, "the ships are on a direct trajectory with Atlantis, and they'll be directly over top of us within two weeks!"
"Hey," She said, and went back to her flipping.
Now, John Sheppard was known for being calm and level headed even in the strangest of situations but this was just beyond bizarre. The newly appointed colonel fumbled for his gun, levelling it on his pretty blond intruder.
"Who the hell are you?" He demanded. "And how did you get into my room?"
The blonde sighed heavily and tossed the magazine onto a chair across the room. Turning she struck a pose with a grin. "Do you greet all your female visitors with this sort of reception?" She asked.
"Only the ones who break in." He told her stiffly, unhappy to note his own bodily responses to her current position and attire. She wore a snug pair of leather pants and a crimson top that fit like a second skin. "Get the hell off my bed." He growled.
She laughed. "Now that's something I've never heard before. -and what if I don't want to. I'm awfully comfy you know." She stretched and threw him a seductive half smile.
Sheppard's face tightened, she laughed again, and then she stood.
"Okay, okay. Gez, don't have a cow. I'm up, I'm up."
"Who are you?" He gritted again. For the first time some of Buffy's smile slipped. "I keep forgetting, you don't actually know me yet." Her eye brows knit together for a moment before her expression cleared. "I'm Buffy."
"Buffy?" Sheppard asked, incredulously.
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "Hey, my mother gave me that name… it's a good name!"
His hands flew up in a show of surrender; his gun was back in the holster. Buffy noticed this and winked. "Good choice. It wouldn't have worked anyways."
A sudden knock at the door had them both looking up. The door slid open and Teyla stood on the other side. Sheppard waited for the inevitable questions, looking between the two women. Buffy grinned.
Teyla raised an eyebrow at her friend's odd behaviour. "John? Are you well?"
"Aren't you gonna?" he jerked his head towards Buffy direction, waiting for her to acknowledge the out of place blonds presence.
Looking towards the back of his room Teyla frowned, it was empty. "Are you feeling ill?" She asked worriedly.
Buffy stepped forward and passed her hand in front of the Athosian woman's face. There was no reaction. She turned to the stunned Colonel and smiled.
"She can't see me, John." Buffy said. "Only you can."
"Colonel Sheppard. Shall I call Dr Beckett?" Buffy quirked an amused eyebrow at the flustered colonial, John tried not to look at the blond again.
"I'm fine Teyla. I'm just, ah… tired."
"I see." The red headed alien didn't look too convinced. "Then goodnight, John."
"Didn't you need something?" John asked.
Teyla sent him a strange look. "It will keep."
His door slid shut behind her.
Sheppard whirled around after the door had closed and reached out to grab Buffy by the arms. Expecting some sort of physical resistance he wasn't prepared when all he got was a handful off air. His body tumbled through her and to the floor.
"Ohhh… "Buffy said, turning to look down at the stunned man. "Whoops, sorry, guess I'm not really down on this whole becoming corporeal thing yet." She said, apologetically.
"You're not real." He said worriedly. "You're just in my mind."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "No, dumbass. I'm ascended."
John blinked in astonishment. "oh.."
Buffy cocked her head to the side, as if listening to something far away. A look of annoyance passed over her features and she rolled her eyes. "I gotta go, but I'll be back." She stepped towards him, a ghost of a hand passing over his jaw. She bent slightly and he thought he could almost feel her silken lips press against his for a split second. She stepped back and smiled wickedly.
"I'll work on the corporeal thing." And then she was gone in a wisp of bright light.
A beautiful blond in leather that only he could see… unlikely.
A beautiful ascended blonde woman, in leather, that only he could see? Unbelievable.
An ascended being that broke into his room last night, read his magazines, kissed him and then disappeared…
Unstable…oh ya, he was losing his mind.
He was about a second from taking himself straight to Beckett for a thorough exam when he saw her. She was sitting in the middle of the control room, surrounded by his team, (Rodney, Ronan and Teyla) Elizabeth Weir and the Commander of the Daedelus Col. Caldwell. And not one of them seemed to see her.
Which, of course, didn't necessarily mean he wasn't still completely off his rocker.
Today the blonde was wearing a pair of snug BDU's and a tight black tee-shirt that give him all sorts of not so innocent thoughts. She smiled at him when he entered and jumped off the DHD that she'd been sitting on. He smiled back without really thinking about it and walked towards her.
"Good morning, Colonel." She said, "Sleep well?" The mischievous smile on her lips probably meant she knew that he hadn't. He wisely didn't answer and walked over to join his team. Buffy pouted and followed.
"This kinda sucks, you know." She said.
He almost grinned, served her right for freaking him out last night.
"Fine, don't talk to me. Be that way."
Sheppard tuned her out and tried to concentrate on what Rodney was saying.
"The Zed-PM definitely won't last for more then 2 months with a constant cloak on. And if it does go dead, then we'll loose all the extra system supports and obviously the ability to gate to earth."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Then why don't you just recharge the suckers?"
John turned to Buffy in surprise. "Can we do that?"
"What?" Everyone was looking at him. John swore under his breath. "uh… can we, um, recharge a ZPM?"
"Of course, why didn't I think of that… Oh wait… I did! We don't have near the kind of power generation capabilities to charge a Zed-PM!"
"Oh, god, somebody kick him!" Buffy growled, glaring at McKay.
"Don't temp me." John said under his breath and received a few more odd looks.
"You might not be able to recharge a ZPM but the others certainly could. Do really think only we earthlings were smart enough to make rechargeable batteries. Please."
Instead of answering Buffy directly, John posed the question to McKay.
"But, couldn't the ancients have recharged a ZPM?" Rodney sighed.
"Everything we've come across points to, yes. The ancients could recharge a Zed-PM but where and how is beyond us at the moment."
Buffy circled the group of them and perched herself up on a console beside the monitor showing the two hive ships.
"The ancients, as you call them, had an abundance of only one thing, John." She said slowly. He looked at her across the room and shrugged unobtrusively "Come on, I can't just give you the answers. It's against the rules. There is only one thing this city has an abundance of… it's elementary…"
With the emphasis on elementary? What did Atlantis have that was 'elementary'? elementary… element-ary… element?
"Water!" He all but shouted. There was a stunned silence. But Buffy was grinning and her smile was contagious.
"Yup, water." Buffy said quickly. "The ancients were the kind to use clean energy, after all. They used, among other things, a machine that utilised the current under Atlantis with immense water wheels, your geeks should know about em'."
"Colonel?" Elizabeth had her hand pressed against his forehead. "Are you okay?"
"Oh, yeah fine." He laughed nervously, "I was just… thinking, didn't I see something somewhere about water wheels. Ah… like turbines?"
Rodney straightened in surprise. "Well yes, actually. We always wondered what they were for-"
Buffy grinned. "Well, my work is done here."
And she was gone.
He spent the remainder of the afternoon listing to McKay and Zelenka discussing, hypothesizing and generally getting on each others nerves. A system was found that seemed to control the turbines and the two, with Weir's expert translations, were working feverishly to find out just what they did.
Meanwhile John tried to figure out how to call Buffy back from where ever she went. He spent an hour searching the city, looking for the Blonde.
At sunset John stepped out onto a deck overlooking the expansive ocean. He stepped to the rails and leaned over, gazing straight down into one of the cities six bays.
John jumped. The railing shivered with his extra weight but held firm. Thank god for the sturdy workmanship of the Ancients. Turning, he glared at the sniggering Blonde.
"That wasn't very nice."
Buffy shrugged, joining him at the railing.
"I'll take my kicks where I can get them, thanks. You can't fathom how 'boring' being ascended is. It's all; inner peace this and higher knowledge that. Not a lot going on in the action/adventure department, if you know what I mean." John looked over at her. She was staring out at the water, her eyes troubled. This time Buffy was wearing a white blouse and tan slacks. John thought she looked stunning in the warm glow of the setting sun.
"The ascended I've met haven't seemed to mind, much."
"I'm not your average ascended."
"Not for an earthling, you mean?"
Buffy's eyes lit up and she tossed a sassy look his way. "Caught that, did you?" She said.
John nodded, still studying her in the light of the setting sun. Just by looking at her you might be led to believe that she was a carefree and unattached woman. Light and unencumbered by any of life's great hardships. The one thing John had always been unwilling to accept in the Ancients belief system was the underlining philosophy to study life but never truly live it.
Buffy, at first glace, seemed to live by these same beliefs; all light and no dark. But beneath the surface John sensed a darker understanding of what it was to live, and be mortal, with all it frailties, uncertainties and short comings.
"What's an earthling like you doing in a place like this?" The unspoken question was clear. How did you become an Ascended?
Buffy sighed, an unreadable look in her eyes. "Some girls have all the luck."
And I didn't have much choice in the matter.
John turned his body to face her, leaning his hip against the rail. Buffy mirrored his position, facing him, but still looking out over the seemingly endless ocean.
"I died, or that's what I thought." she said finally, turning her face to look at him. "Instead, I was given a choice between death and this," She made a wide gesture with her hands, encompassing the enormity of just what she'd been given. "I have access to billions of stars, and knowledge of them all. I could tell you about the social colony on Sorhim, a planet 300,000 lightyears away or the village of Grindle on a moon 45 lightyears from here, but the only planet I'm actually interested in is the one barred to me."
"Earth? Why are you…"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Some super-smart guy named Daniel went and broke the rules, got involved in something really big because it was happening to his home world, which was earth by the way. So now they say, to save me from temptation, I'm not allowed anywhere near earth."
"How can they do that!" John erupted indignantly. The Ancients were supposed to be these benevolent, if unapproachable, bunch of pacifists. It seemed horribly cruel to bar someone from there home.
Buffy's lips twitched at his indignant anger on her behalf. "Don't be too hard on them, they were right, after all."
John blinked. "They were- what?"
Buffy laughed. "Do I look like the passivist type to you? If something were to have happened to one of my friends, my sister, do you really think I could have just let that go?"
"Well, no, but-"
Buffy crossed her hands over her chest. "I was almost resigned to the inevitable result of an eternity spent like this, but then I saw it… light."
"You… saw light?"
"From under tons of ocean-water I saw a light so bright it almost blinded me. Atlantis rose, and with it a piece of home. Earth had come to me."
John was startled by the soft affectionate tone of her voice. Her face had melted into a soft smile, here eyes glowed in the fading light. "But, light?"
Buffy looked back out over the ocean. "The Ascended see things differently than normal people. There's a light around every human. A beautiful shining light and the brighter the light, the more potential one carries. Oma, the woman who helped me ascend, was drawn to people with the brightest of lights." Buffy glanced at John, her checks were flushed. "When I saw that light… I was just drawn, I had to see it, to know it and when I found it… I found you."
"Me… you saw my- my light?"
Buffy eyed him nervously. "At first I was just- intrigued. But then the more I watched, the more I observed, the more I liked what I saw. Suddenly I felt like I was surrounded by home. And you were at the center of it. The brightest light I had ever seen… it was beautiful… you were beautiful..."
John's cheeks were beginning to flush. Buffy's eyes widened impossibly at her blunt words, taking a hasty step back from him.
The sudden opening of the door behind him startled him into looking away from Buffy, to find Elizabeth Weir standing in the door way watching him curiously. But when he looked back, Buffy was already gone.
"Did I say reverse order? No… because that would be stupid!"
Buffy watched the flurry of activity in the lab with only half an eye. Nothing was out of the ordinary here. McKay, as usual, was lording over the lesser geeks with a razor sharp tongue. The scientists were knee deep in the Atlantean systems, working feverishly to find the key components that would make the immense turbines on the bottom of the city unlock.
Buffy, invisible white light thingy that she was, enjoyed tormenting the incredibly arrogant, yet somehow likeable man way too much. Utilizing years of practise, Buffy occupied her time by making papers flutter off desks and pens roll inexplicably behind unmovable consoles. Even as McKay lamented over the loss of another pen Buffy became bored of the old game.
It was a true assessment of the Slayer-come-ascended-beings mood that even bugging Rodney hadn't lifted her spirits. Leaving McKay to his hissy fit, Buffy moved on.
Heading towards the control tower, Buffy observed the Atlantis expedition team go about their business around her. The military types wound there way through the corridors like pros, saluting each other seemingly at random, while the civilians fumbled too and fro, carrying books and other important looking things just trying not to hit anything… or anyone. They lived in relative harmony, merging into one cohesive and effective machine that worked towards there shared goals.
Buffy, who had spent the last years as a passive radio active ghost, was enthralled with the frenzied lives of these people… her people. Earth people.
Movement caught her eye as she passed by one of the room used for working out. Inside, the former Slayer found Teyla and Ronan sparring with the Athosian woman's preferred weapons of choice, sticks. Buffy watched with barely contained envy as the duo danced. The blonde lingered for long moments, remembering her last fight with the goddess Glory. She missed it like a severed limb, the deadly dance of a good fight. The adrenaline of it, the pleasant ache of your muscles, the anticipation and the knowing you were going to win, and they were going to loose.
She studied them with a critical eye. They were both good, very good. They traded blows with expert precision. Neither pulling blows, neither holding back, assured in the knowledge that the other would anticipate their moves; block when they need to block, strike when they needed to strike. It was a deadly game, but one they wouldn't loose. Knowing your partner like that, knowing their moves, their strengths and weaknesses… it was a gift born of familiarity. One Buffy hadn't experienced in many, many years.
Buffy left the two to their friendly duel, unwilling to watch any longer as the jealousy grew in her chest. Finally she came to the gate room, the alien device looming large in the center of the room. Above it sat the office of Dr. Weir, leader of Atlantis. In the office she found the brunette leaning over her tablet with a look of extreme concentration on her face. Buffy leaned over and scored herself a peek.
"Red 7 over black 8." Buffy told her and as if Weir had heard her words, she slid the seven of diamonds onto the eight of clubs.
Buffy spent the next 10 minutes playing 'silent' solitaire, only leaving after all useable cards had been exhausted and Weir chose the option to start a new game.
"Better luck next time." Buffy told her as she glided out of the woman's office.
"Don't give me that look… it's a good plan!"
The stare didn't abate, but the scientist did.
"Okay, so it's the only plan," Rodney grumbled. "But we don't have a choice, do we?"
John gazed at the expectant faces around him.
"Okay, you want to run this by me, one more time?"
A long suffering sigh escaped the physicist.
"We've already been through it… twice!"
Sheppard resumed glaring. "Indulge me." He snapped.
"Fine. I found the systems that re-power the Zed-PM. Apparently they work by releasing huge turbines from locks that allow the incredibly strong current to turn them, producing vast amounts of energy that is then stored within the time space vacuum of the Zero Point Modual."
"Yes, yes, I know this part-" John said even as Rodney continued.
"I found the right systems, and they are online and ready to go-"
"The good news?"
"Yes- the good news- the bad news would be that the main component that locks the turbines is damaged."
John rolled his eyes. "-of course it is."
"And while it remains damaged, we can't activate the system. Which mean we can't power the Zed-PM. Which means -we all die."
"A little dramatic, but yes, I got all that the first time."
"Yes, well…" Rodney cleared his throat. "The good news is that the component can be replaced, unfortunately the affected piece is outside the city."
It was Rodney's turn to glare. "The system can't run without that essential component being in working order so it'll unlock the turbine."
John narrowed his eyes. "And by working order you mean me going out and replacing the damn thing."
"What part of essential component did you not understand?" Rodney asked sourly.
"The part where I drown trying to fix it!"
Weir stepped between the glaring men. "What are our options?"
Rodney exchanged a look with the Czech scientist, Zelenca. "We fix the component."
"or?" she pressed.
"Or we all die horribly?"
The depth wasn't the main problem, through that was also a concern. Neither, unfortunately, was the temperature of said the water. Their biggest problem was the massively strong current that would be trying to drag him out to sea. Not a pleasant thought.
"Are you insane?"
John yelped and spun around to face an angry looking blond.
"Would you not do that!"
Buffy rolled her eyes, fists firmly planted on her hips.
"It's not worth it." She said. "You'll find another way. Going down there would be suicide."
John shook his head. "It was your idea." He reminded her, "and eventually we'll need another ZPM, whether this hive ship sticks around or not."
"You're going to get yourself killed." She said stubbornly.
"Do you have a better idea? If these hives do stay, or attack, are you going to help us?"
Buffy's face fell. "I didn't think so." John said bitterly. "So no, there aren't any other choices."
"I couldn't help you, not even if I wanted to." She said sadly. "They would never allow it…"
"Then how can you say that this isn't the only way?"
Buffy scowled and looked away. She didn't want him to die, and he would if he went down there.
God, she was sick of being helpless. Sick of watching things happen that she had the power to stop, but wasn't allowed to. A few months ago Buffy had come close to using her power to stop the wrath incursion when she'd seen John fly the jumper toward one of the hives, intent on killing himself. Only the appearance of the ship 'Daedilus' had stayed her hand from destroying the wrath herself. Now, with the others watching so closely, she was powerless to stop any of this. Once already she had been called before them but only after revealing herself to the dark haired Colonel she was currently glaring at.
Before either could say anything Rodney entered the room. Instantly Buffy's glare landed on the arrogant man, whose plan was sure to kill John.
Rodney shuddered looking around the room. John lifted an eyebrow.
"So? What do you have?"
Rodney turned to his friend. "The jumper. You can fly it down to the depth you need and expand the force field; of course you'll still have to leave the safety of the force-field to replace the component."
"Well, that's it."
John resumed glaring. "What about the current." He asked.
Rodney avoided his gaze, placed a length of cable in his hand, and beat a hasty retreat.
John studied the cable with unrestrained worry.
Buffy stared at the cable with pointed frustration. "You're a dead man." She told him before she too disappeared.
"You could at least talk to me." John said.
Buffy sighed. "Why talk to a dead man?" She groused.
"-because he wants you too?"
Buffy glanced at him, her stony demeanour melting a little. "I wish you would reconsider." She said finally.
"I would, if I could. But what do you want me to do, Buffy. Turn around, go back? I can't do that."
Buffy deflated a little.
"And when the Wraith come, what will we do? Eventually the ZPM we have will be depleted, whether from the constant attack from orbit, or from constantly opening wormholes to earth, and we'll be right back where we started, totally unprotected. Would you turn around, would you do nothing?"
"No." She admitted. "I get it, I do." She looked out the front of the cockpit, the underbelly of Atlantis coming into view. "It's just…" A hard fearsome look passed over her face. "I can't do anything like this. I can't help you."
John reached over, halting right before he touched her shoulder. "I'll be okay, you'll see."
"-and if you're not? What happens when you get dragged down into the depths?"
"Then hopefully I'll have managed to get this thing done, first." He told her firmly.
"Do you have any idea what its like to drown?" She said. "Take it from me; it's not a pleasant way to go."
Before John could reply the coms bust to life. "Jumper one? Are you in place?" John realized with a start that they were. It was time.
"I'm in place," he replied to Elizabeth. "Here I go, wish me luck."
"Good luck, John."
Sheppard stood, activated the pre programmed consol that would expand the fource-feild and then opened the rear doors. Buffy stood to the left, a worried look on her face. He turned to her, helmet in hand. "What about water pressure?" She asked desperately.
"Ancient scuba gear, they really did think of everything."
Buffy stopped him from pulling on the helmet, taking it from him.
"Buffy-" he objected.
"Oh, shut up." She said, then snatched his neck and dragged his head down so she could kiss him smartly on the mouth.
His wide eyed look produced a giggle from her. "I told you I would work on the corporeal thing." She reminded him cheekily.
John shook off the shock, gripped her shoulders, pulling her into his body, and kissed her soundly. Fireworks erupted under her closed eyelids. Ripping himself forcefully away from her, he took a few heavy breaths.
"How does one go about dating an ascended being?" He asked, then tugged on his helmet, clipped the cable to his harness and plunged into the fringed water.
"Very carefully," Buffy murmured before she disappeared in a flash of brilliant light.
The gloves he was wearing were clumsy and were making the task of replacing the small circuit board more difficult then it should have been. Already he had been at it for 15 minutes. A trickle of cold sweat made its way irritatingly down the bridge of his nose. The cable holding him against the current strained at his waist, letting him know that he was going to have a huge bruise come morning… if morning ever came…
There, with a snap the board slipped into place, all done. Surprised, but relieved that he had managed to survive against all odds, he reached back to grab the cable so he could pull himself back to the Jumper that was about a yard away. A sudden tug from behind him made his heart lurch. Oh, that's not good. He thought.
Something was caught on his breathing tube, turning he found the problem instantly. The gears were resetting the turbine, and one of them had snagged his tubing. With horrifying clarity John knew what was about to happen a moment before it did.
The tubing, crushed between two gears, gave a valiant fight but was finally sundered in two. A rush of air bubbles filled the water around him -air that was no longer being fed into his helmet. Slowly at first, and then faster, his helmet began to fill. John desperately reached out for the cable, but it too was becoming snagged into the whirring gears.
Half blinded by bubbles John could not see when the cable broke, but he felt it. Like a gust of wind, the current picked him up and dragged him away from his ship, and any chance of survival he may still have had.
He was tossed this way and that, head over feet, side to side. Salt water began to sting his eyes as it traveled up the ruptured tube. The air was all but gone, and the next breath would most certainly fill his lungs with cold sea water instead of oxygen.
His lungs ached for breath, but there was none to be had. His helmet was filled with icy water that stung his eyes, but he didn't shut them. He didn't want to die alone. Saying a silent thank you to the ascended woman before him, John let go, and breathed.
Rodney, above all others, felt the crushing guilt of Sheppard's loss. It was his plan that had ultimately spelled the end of the other mans life. In his heart, he knew he would never forgive himself.
Though they had lost a great man, a man who had given his life for their continued survival, they would forever remember him as-
A bright flash of light lit the Gate room (interrupting their grief) and all occupants covered their eyes. When they were able to, they looked up and found a most peculiar sight before them.
On the floor lay a soaked Sheppard in his ancient diving suit and a young blond woman. A young naked blonde woman…
Elizabeth and the others ran to their sides. On her knees, the doctor franticly worked at the clasps that held his suit and helmet together. Finally she wrenched it off, water gushed out over everyone.
"Medical emergency in the gate room!" She barked into her com, and then reached out to touch Sheppard's too still face. Before she could, the man heaved and spewed water everywhere (mostly on Rodney, who bellowed quite loudly) and coughed even as he tried to drag air into his abused lungs.
"I'm alive?" He croaked.
"I hate to be a pest-" Came a small voice. John, who was the only one who recognised the voice, glanced over at her, and his eyebrows hit his hair line.
"But… I seem to be having a side case of nudity here…"
"So, is somebody going to explain this?" Weir finally asked.
John and Buffy exchanged glances.
"I met Buffy a few days ago… in my room."
Teyla blinked, "In your room?"
"I was ascended." She added, as if this explained something.
"You're an ancient?"
"Um, no. Just your basic human being -mostly."
"So, you saved Col. Sheppard's life?"
"Well, duh." Buffy said. She glared at him, even as he avoided her gaze. "I told you, you were going to get yourself killed!"
John shrugged. "But… I'm not dead!"
Buffy scoffed. "Only because I saved your ass," She said.
"Wait. You saved him? I thought as an ascended being you weren't allowed to… do that?" Beckett asked hesitantly.
"I'm not… or I mean I wasn't, technically. They would have punished me, I'm sure, if I hadn't descended right afterwards."
Elizabeth hid a grin. "Isn't that… sort of cheating?"
Buffy shrugged, "I guess so… but it's not like I could have just let the idiot drown."
John glared right back at her. "Right, like I did it on purpose!"
"I'm not saying you did." Buffy said with a grin.
Buffy glared playfully. "All I'm saying is, you owe me!" She said.
"Sure." John relied smoothly, "Dinners on me."
Buffy laughed and grinned. "You're on."
"What is it with you and ascended women?" Rodney cried incredulously.
John shrugged, grinning right back at the blonde, recently descended, Slayer.
"So," Buffy said. "I don't know about you, but I'm famished. Know any good places in the neighbourhood?"
The end – for now?