Author's note: this is a sequel to my earlier story "The rings of Hell". You will need to have read it in order to know what's going on, because this story continues directly from the last chapter of that story.

Set mid-season 4 for Buffy, early season 4 for Stargate.

I don't own either the Buffy or the Stargate franchise, and this will continue to be the case throughout the story. So don't sue me.


Sam turned to Daniel incredulously. The girl was only 18, barely out of high-school! They had no business uprooting some girl from her hometown and dragging her off to another state entirely, and involve her in missions that could affect the fate of the galaxy. "Daniel..."

"Yes Sam?" he answered mildly, which Sam knew meant that he would stick with this decision until kingdom come.

"Willow's too young, she doesn't have the experience -"

Daniel interrupted her "She's been battling demons and whatnot every night for the last three years or so, and you told me yourself that you wanted to recruit her when she left college."

Willow, who saw her chance at visiting other planets and helping the galaxy as a whole, rather than just Earth, slipping away, brightened up at that. "Did you really, Sam? Thanks!"

Sam was fighting a losing battle here, and she knew it, so she appealed to Jack and Teal'c "Come on guys, back me up here! Can't you see she's too young? She'd be a liability."

Teal'c answered first "On Chulak, we do not coddle our youths as do the Taur'i. If she wishes to do battle against the enemy, it is not for us to decide that she does not." Sam saw she'd lost that one, Jaffa nature being so different from her own.

"Sam, she can do magic! Magic! Tell me you don't see the possibilities in that. Hah, she could give Walter a run for his money." Jack replied. It looked like all of them were against her on this one.

"Wait, Walter? He can do magic?" Sam asked, bemused.

"Haven't you seen his card tricks?" Jack replied triumphantly. Xander snorted with laughter, and offered Jack a hi-five. Jack stared at it for a moment, before clapping it enthusiastically.

Well, it looked like it was up to Sam to convince her friends that Willow shouldn't go. Looking at Willow's face, Sam suspected they had little chance of success.

Buffy went first "Look, Will, I can understand why you'd want to go - hey, I've been there too, remember? - but I don't think that going off and fighting for the Airforce is you. You've always hated the violence, been all about researching and magic. But you'll be going and fighting on other planets, Will, and I just don't think you should."

"Buffy, thanks, but there's still researching to do. And I'm not afraid of fighting if it needs to be done. I've done it here, and I've nearly died here. I think it's about time I nearly die somewhere else." Willow said.

"Well, if it's nearly dying you want, I should tell you that we've all died at one time or another." said Daniel, wryly.

"See, Buffy, they've got an even worse track record than you have." Willow said.

Xander went next. "Will, I don't think you should go. You're our rock - even the Mayor knew that - and I think that, without you we'll fly apart, or go crazy, or die, or something. We need you, Will."

"You don't. You really don't. I'm just here for moral support, you don't need me for research, for fighting, or even for bringing donuts. But out there, there are countless slaves and oppressed people that do need my help. So I'm going to help them." Willow said.

"I think you should go." said Anya bluntly, and refused to say anything more on the matter. Willow didn't know what to say to that, but that didn't matter because Anya's views didn't matter to her much anyway.

"Willow, please don't leave me with these people. I enjoy occasionally having an intelligent conversation on an intelligent topic that's not overfilled with slang." said Giles. Willow knew that, for the Englishman, that was as close to expressing his emotions as he was going to get.

"Hey, G-man, you can always use the telephone, if it doesn't give you the wig." she joked in a bad imitation of Xander's voice. Unsurprisingly, she got no laughs.

Willow continued "So, anyway guys, I'll see you sometime. I'll call you." and SG-1 filed out of Giles' home, followed by what might be the SGC newest and youngest member.


General George Hammond looked over the table at the young, fidgeting redhead. Colonel O'Neill had just given his debrief, and Hammond, who was used to hearing reports that sounded more like a sci-fi novel than anything else, was surprised at how much it sounded like fiction.

Of course, he was already aware of the work the Demon Research Initiative was doing in Sunnydale, although he didn't approve, and he knew that there were things that were often difficult to explain.

Like demons. Or aliens, for that matter, which, even though he saw Teal'c nearly every day never failed to amaze him. But magic, really? Even those crackpots at the DRI hadn't hypothesized that such a thing existed.

Yet here he was, being told that this young slip of a woman before him could do what he'd only ever considered in the realm of fiction.

"Young lady" he said, his southern manners and strong Texan accent more prominent that usual "would you mind giving us a demonstration?"

Willow had more or less expected that - she'd thought it would be something of an entrance test - and she hoped her nerves wouldn't interfere with the spell she'd done so many times before. She concentrated, focusing on the pencil in front of her, willing it to levitate.

It did so. Hammond was distinctly unimpressed - he'd heard from off-world teams of telekinetic races before, and he told her so. He wanted to see something that could only be explained by magic.

Which meant Willow had to do a spell substantially more difficult than those she normally intended. Fortunately, she'd already entered the blissful calm that always followed a spell, and she was certain she could do it.

She gently lowered the pencil back to the table, stared at it some more, and said "Anima" Did Hammond imagine it, or did her voice take on a slightly deep, booming quality? No matter, because a transparent version if the pencil now stood next to it. Willow reached over, and crushed the transparent replica, her fingers passing through it like smoke.

The real pencil turned to dust. "It doesn't work on living objects, and it's much more difficult when the object is larger." Willow said, apologetically - she always returned to the shy schoolgirl she had been before meeting Buffy (and rather a long time afterwards too) when she was in circumstances like these.

Well, thought Hammond, it would take some more paperwork, pulling some strings, but... "Welcome to the SGC!" he said, reaching his hand across the table.

Willow shook it, smiling radiantly.