Gaia, seconds later.
Once Tara stepped through the Stargate, it was Daniel who looked at Tara and shouted 'Iris!'. Not needing to be told twice, Tara turned and put up her hands in one swift move as she connected herself to Gaia's magic. She then raised a shield that covered the event horizon as long as the Stargate was active. It was a few seconds later that there were several bumps in the shield that indicated to her that some Wraith may have survived her bombs, and then had tried to get through the Stargate; her mystical shield preventing them from being assembled on the other side. When the Stargate deactivated, Tara put down the shield while she panted when she heard footsteps behind her, and then an arm around her shoulder.
"Good job," said Daniel as they turned around and walked down the Stargate's pedestal. She watched Dawn hugging both Willow and Buffy, their backs to the blonde witch. Tara smiled at Dawn who had her eyes closed and was hugging them tight. Tara then looked at a grinning Spike who was looking up at the sun, and holding his hands up by his sides while he closed his eyes and enjoyed the warmth.
"Tara," said Colonel Carter as she rushed to the witch with Teal'c by her side, "you alright?"
"Yeah," said Tara as the both of them hugged, they wanted to enjoy this one moment of peace before they had to go back to Earth and face Anubis' fleet. In the meantime, the three former members of SG-1 had a quick discussion about dialling the Stargate again in a few minutes, hopeful that the Queen's ship was destroyed, and that Lantesh's ship ringed the Stargate aboard and then it went into hyperspace before releasing it, and then returning. The Colonel pulled back and then put her hands on both Daniel and Tara's cheeks, saying that she missed them so much.
"We missed you too, Sam," said Daniel as Tara saw Xander hug Willow, and then OZ before going on to Buffy. It was then, once the Scoobies had hugged each other, both Buffy and Willow looked at Tara. The blonde witch saw Willow place her hand over her mouth while Daniel and Colonel Carter looked at Tara's reaction. The blonde teared up a little before closing her eyes as Colonel Carter placed a hand on Tara's back.
"You okay?" asked Daniel as he looked at Tara.
"She looks so much like her," said Tara as she watched Dawn hold on to both Buffy and Tara's arms before walking with them towards her.
"Colonel Carter," said Teal'c as he turned towards the distance, as did the others when there was a roar. Teal'c raised his staff weapon, while Buffy and the others got ready for a fight.
"Stand down," said Colonel Carter as she lifted her arm up as two beings appeared out of thin air in front of the large group, a man and a woman who seemed to have plants sprouting from their heads, "stand down."
"Dr. Jackson, Dr. Maclay," said the woman as she bowed her head towards them.
"Lya, Anteaus," said Tara as she walked towards them with Daniel, while the others watched, "hello again."
"Lya and Anteaus of the Nox," said Daniel as he motioned towards the Colonel, and then Teal'c, "I'd like to introduce you to Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter of the Tau'ri, she's inhabited by the Tok'ra known as Egeria."
"The Queen of the Tok'ra," said Anteaus as he bowed his head, as did Lya before looking up at the Colonel who closed her eyes, and let Egeria take control.
"Lya and Anteaus of the Nox," said Egeria, "I am Egeria; I have my host's memories of meeting you in her timeline, but meeting you in person is indeed an honour."
"We have heard much about your host, Queen Egeria," said Lya as Anteaus walked towards Teal'c.
"This is Teal'c of Chulak," said Tara.
"Do you really wish to go up against the Goa'uld, Jaffa?" asked Lya.
"I do," said Teal'c as he looked at Tara, Daniel, and Colonel Carter before looking at Lya again, "the Tau'ri are the hope I have been searching for, a hope that my people could be freed from the grip of the Goa'uld."
"Then the Tau'ri would be able to aid you in your quest for freedom, Teal'c," said Anteaus before turning to Daniel, "I see you have reunited some of your team, Dr. Jackson."
"We still lost the others," said Daniel.
And it was something that Buffy heard as the Scoobies walked towards Tara and the others. But the only person that she and Willow was looking at was the short haired blonde, that same blond whose death nearly made Willow destroy the world. Buffy remembered being out of it on the ship when she was rescued, she had thought that the person who rescued her looked just like Tara… she didn't even believe it when Daniel had called her 'Tara' but now, as she walked closer to the blonde…. Buffy could see that she really was Tara, albeit a bit older.
"Tara?" asked Buffy as her voice broke.
Tara looked at Buffy and remembered Daniel telling her about the brave Slayer and Jaffa fighting the Jaffa invaders into the camp before they were shot by death gliders. And now, she was looking at the duplicate of the young woman she knew… she remembered how happy Buffy was the day she had Angel's soul anchored to hers so that they could marry.
"T…. Tara?" asked Willow as she reached out with a trembling hand and touched Tara's hand. It was that moment of contact that made Tara flinch back while she looked into Willow's eyes. Tara remembered the smile she gave the redhead back on the ship, but now that they were face to face, all she could see was her placing a glamour on Willow's dead body five thousand years ago to hide her body from the Jaffa… she remembered the Jaffa shooting at the body in anger, before beheading it. Tara had watched everything that fateful day while Daniel held on to her shoulder from behind a sand dune. She remembered the glamour vanishing after the beheading. Tara could hear the angry screams of the Jaffa saying how could they have made such a mistake. That if the body was intact, they could have revived it from death. But now that the head was cut off, the only thing they could do was put it next to Buffy, Colonel O'Neill's, and Teal'c's heads, as a reminder of what happens if anyone dared to go against Ra again.
Tara remembered all of that as she took a step back from Willow who looked at her confused. As did Buffy. She was about to say something when Dawn put a hand to Buffy's shoulder, and shook her head. Dawn remembered Tara told them what she did to protect Willow's body from being found by the Jaffa who had invaded the camp, and she guessed that the witch still hadn't gotten over it.
And that was true; Tara thought she could handle seeing Willow alive.
But she couldn't.
"I'm sorry, Willow," said Tara softly as she turned and walked towards the Colonel while wiping her eyes. Willow saw Tara's shoulders tremble before Colonel Carter hugged the blonde; which was when Buffy and Willow turned to Daniel. Dawn told him that she didn't tell them who they really were, so Daniel told the stunned Slayer and Red Witch who they really were; people form an alternate timeline.
"An… an alternate timeline," said Willow as she shook her head, "but that would mean you went back in time and…"
"We did," said Daniel, "all to get a source of power to protect the planet, we did… and changed history. What happened is a story that you'll be briefed on later after this whole mess is over, but you and Buffy, and the others will be able to see proof of it."
"There's proof?" asked Buffy as Daniel nodded before he looked at Willow, before shaking his head.
"I saw you die, Willow," said Daniel as Willow's eyes went wide open before looking at Buffy, "I saw you die too, Buffy. My friend back there? Teal'c? He died too. We were part of a team that explored the galaxy and… and we went on a lot of adventures. The both of you were Captains in the Air Force, I knew your alternates really well and… and seeing you two again is…. Is amazing. Seeing Teal'c again is amazing.. knowing that the three of you are alive in this timeline is… I've never been happier."
"Then why isn't Tara… I mean I know I'm not her Willow but…." said Willow as her voice was about to break while she had tears in her eyes as Daniel put a hand on her shoulder, and at the same time Buffy looked past him at Tara who was now facing Colonel Carter who was talking to her, and then at Lya and Anteaus who approached them.
"She has her reasons, Willow," said Daniel gently, "give her some time to tell you why she acted the way she did. It's not my place to say."
"Dr. Jackson, Queen Egeria, Dr. Maclay," said Teal'c, "it is time."
"Doctor?" asked Willow.
"Another thing I can tell you," said Daniel as he looked at Tara, "she's got a doctorate in Anthropology."
"Oh," said Willow as she watched Tara wipe her eyes while she was handed a necklace from Lya that had two red crystals attached to it. She and Buffy watched as Tara put it on before looking at one another, the blonde Slayer telling Willow that while she was happy beyond words that they had Tara back… even though she wasn't their Tara.
"Take it one day at a time, Will," said Buffy as she smiled at Willow, "get to know her again."
Willow just nodded her head while Dawn was talking to the others, asking them softly not to tell Buffy about Edina, at least not yet.
"Once we've taken care of Anubis," said Dawn looking at Oz, "we'll get to Bay and Kelden, Oz."
"I know," said Oz.
"Egeria," said Dawn as she walked towards the Queen, "ready?"
"Lya," said Egeria looking at the Nox woman who nodded her head, "we are ready."
"Farewell, may you return soon," said Lya as she waved her hand, and the Stargate activated without the familiar unstable vortex.
Atlantis, a hundred miles away from the Statue of Liberty.
Willow and Buffy held onto Dawn as the three of them walked through the event horizon after Dawn had identified herself using Colonel Carter's subspace radio. It was as if they were walking through into another room with Willow and Buffy looking around them at the high walls, and then at the staircase and the people who were running around at the second floor.
"Buffy, Willow," said Giles as he ran down the stairs accompanied by two Lanteans who had the same type of weapons that Willow had seen Dawn use on the Wraith ship earlier, "you're all well?"
"Hi," said Buffy and Willow waving at Giles before they looked behind them at the Stargate disengaging, and then at Dawn who placed a hand on both their shoulder.
"Buff, Willow," said Dawn, "welcome to Atlantis."
"It's beautiful," said Buffy as she looked around as the two Lanteans surrounded Dawn.
"High Councillor Hera," said one of them, "welcome back and… Athena?"
"Hello," said Willow as she nervously waved at the two Lanteans who were looking at her. Willow then looked nervously at Dawn, the brunette telling Willow and told her that she needed to explain some things.
"And High Councillor Hera?" asked Buffy with an eyebrow raised.
"Long story," said Dawn with a grin before looking at the two Lanteans, "report."
"Long range sensors show a fleet of eighty ships travelling in hyperspace," said one of the Lanteans as Colonel Carter, Tara, and Daniel walked up to them, along with Teal'c.
"That is the full fleet of Anubis," said Teal'c as Egeria nodded her head.
"He'll want to exterminate the Tau'ri," said Egeria before going onto explain to the confused Buffy and Willow what that word meant. Before the two of them could ask any questions, Dawn asked how long it would be before the fleet reached Earth.
"Two minutes," said one of the Lanteans.
"And the crystal issue?" asked Dawn, "how far are we?"
"It would take another three minutes," said the second Lantean, "and we have a fleet of sixteen Asgard vessels that are on the way here through Hyperspace. Supreme Commander Thor has already confirmed as much."
"Queen Egeria," said Dawn, "you and Colonel Carter have had much more experience in this than me, do you mind…"
Egeria transferred control to Colonel Carter who then explained what Anubis' tactic was when he attacked in her timeline. She talked about how a few ships entered Earth orbit to test their defences, destroying an entire fleet of Navy ships in the process. When they realized that they didn't have advanced technology, the rest of Anubis' fleet came into Earth orbit.
"By then we arrived over the outpost in the Antarctic from Proclarush Taonas," said Daniel as Dawn nodded her head, "and then the attack started, and then Willow used the weapons platform to destroy his fleet."
"He could try the same thing here," said Colonel Cater, "but I think he'll want to use overwhelming force against the Wraith. It's possible her doesn't know that we haven't beat them since he'll want his entire fleet with him."
"He's a half ascended being," said Tara as she looked at everyone, and then lingered for a little while as she and Willow looked at each other, before she looked at the others, "he.. he has the knowledge of Ancient technology… enough to rule the galaxy."
"His ships have been enhanced using Ancient knowledge," said Colonel Carter, "which is why I've asked my ships to harvest fourteen ZPM for their weapons and shielding."
"Dr. Jackson said that you and.. and your Willow worked with Ancient… well, Lantean technology," said Dawn as the Colonel nodded her head.
"Yes," said the Colonel, "as for Anubis, the ships we have up there are the first line of defence. I suggest launching your puddle jumpers, and I'll order my ships to launch their complements of Arrows."
"Arrows?" asked Willow.
"Those small ships we saw in the hanger bay?" asked Tara as the Colonel nodded her head.
"With railguns and Ancient shield technology," said Colonel Carter, "good enough against death gliders, and Al'kesh. Oh, Dawn? I need to talk to Thor… we need a way to contain Anubis' energy form."
"Shall we?" asked Dawn as she motioned towards the control room.
"Yes, lets," said the Colonel.
"Dawnie," said Tara as Dawn turned around, "how much power do you have left in the ZPM's?"
"Power?" asked Dawn.
"Replace the ZPM's with the new ones," said Tara, "and extend the shield to cover as much of the planet as possible."
"If we can hold off Anubis' fleet until the Asgard and the weapons are ready then…" said Dawn as Daniel smirked.
"Bye bye, Anubis," added Daniel as Dawn nodded her head before she turned and ran up the stairs, followed by an excited Buffy running after her sister. While the others all went up to Stargate Operations with Egeria speaking over her radio, ordering that the Arrows be sent to Earth to fight the darts that remained. As the small planes turned to enter the atmosphere, Tara. Who along with Willow, were the only two people near the Gate, excluding the unconscious Amy. The both of them looked at each other, the others heart breaking over their own loss of the women they loved.
"Umm…" said one of the Lanteans who walked down the stairs with two more people, "what shall we do about the woman who is on the floor."
"You have a prison?" asked Tara as the Lanteans nodded their head before telling her that the prison they had used shields to hold their prisoners at bay, "place her in there. I'm not sure if you'll be able to do this, but use a rotating ultrasonic frequency when you place her within the shield. That's would nullify her powers, or if you have nothing like that… lock the door behind you and make sure that there is no one in the room with her."
"Understood," said the male Lantean as he nodded his head at the one next to him. Tara and Willow watched them carry Amy away, before the two women looked each other again.
"You found a way to nullify being a witch?" asked Willow confused.
"You did… I mean the Willow I knew," said Tara, "she had abilities that she was afraid would fall into the wrong hands. So she made something that would stop her, but the ultrasonics also stopped my magic use."
"Oh," replied Willow with her eyes wide open in surprise, "so… um… I know dr. Jackson said something about you telling me something later and… and… I was wondering if you'd just like to sit with me and talk after this is over and… and.. I mean…"
"Willow," said Tara as she stepped forward, "I thought I could handle everything but when I saw you again on Gaia… I… I flashed back to my Willow. She… she was my wife."
"Oh," exclaimed Willow while hearing a buzzing sound in the distance and she and Tara just looked at each other. She could have sworn that she heard Dawn shouting that Anubis was already in orbit and had immediately started fire on the ships above, and on the Atlantis shield which was now expanding to cover the majority of the planet. All the while that was happening, Willow and Tara just looked at each other…. The redhead being unable o believe that the alternate version of her was married to Tara; although it did answer her question as to why Tara was so nervous… more than the one she had known anyway, back on Gaia.
They were married.
"Willow!" shouted Buffy as Willow tore her eyes off the older Tara in front of her, and looked up at Buffy, "you gotta see this. It's like Star Wars and Star Trek up there."
"What is this… Star Wars you speak of?" asked Teal'c.
"Oh, we're going to reintroduce you to what Jack called the greatest trilogy in all of creation," said Daniel with a grin before they looked at the screen where the Asgard vessels had fallen out of Hyperspace and were attacking Anubis' ships together with the Tok'ra, and the Tria. It wouldn't be long before the two of the final three silos of drones fired, the group in Stargate Operations watching as the yellow drones ripped apart the Goa'uld vessels. Only once the Belisknir scanned the debris for Anubis' essence, and then stored it in an energy container did Egeria and Dawn release sighs of relief while Daniel hugged Tara.
They had beaten Anubis, again.
It was Lantesh, Helia, and the Thor who confirmed that the threat to Earth was over, for now. Leading to cheers in Stargate Operations as Dawn grinned and shook Egeria's hand, who then went on to hug both Tara and Daniel; with Tara looking at Willow who was hugging Xander, and then Spike while Xander hugged Dawn. She then saw the brunette grab the back of Xander's head and kiss him deeply before parting ways.
Tara released a cough as she, Colonel Carter, and Daniel looked at Dawn and then at Willow. Before looking back at Dawn again.
"Ummm… Dawn?" asked Tara.
"Xander and I are kinda together and…"
"Too much info," said Tara with a smile, "umm…. Dawnie, you might have something you wanna show Willow and Buffy before it gets even too hectic over here?"
"Oh, right," said Dawn before turning to Xander, and then calling Buffy, and the others while running down the stairs at the side of the Operations Room. She then looked at Egeria who had already transferred control to Colonel Carter, and asked her if she could take over while she showed Buffy and Willow something.
"Sure," said the Colonel who then asked Daniel and Tara to work with the Lantean and get communications back up with the White House, that she needed to talk to the President. She then asked the Lantean and the Tok'ra vessels in orbit to scan the surface for battles... they were to help the Arrows with the destruction of Darts, and to help any battles against demons that may have decided to take advantage with the situation. Thor then contacted the Colonel saying that the Asgard would help to rebuild Earth, but that they needed to take to the Earth leadership before anything could be started. The Colonel agreed, but said that it would also have to be Dawn's decision as well… she asked that in the meantime, the Asgard scan for non-human shapes that were moving, and then beam them into space.
In the meantime, Dawn was running though different corridors of Atlantis while pulling Xander behind her. The other Scoobies, minus Tara, ran behind them until they ran into a small room that had a pedestal in the middle of the room, as well as a console where Dawn stepped up to and waved her hand over the console. The Scoobies saw the console and the room light up while explaining that she had a special gene that made activating the console possible.
"There's something I wanna show you guys," said Dawn before she looked at Spike, "I'm guessing Spike already knows about this…"
"Just an inkling, pet," said Spike while Dawn nodded her head.
"Buffy," said Dawn, "whatever you're gonna see and hear now, I am your sister. No matter what, I am your sister."
"Yeah," said Buffy confused as Dawn pressed a button, and the holographic image of a bald man appeared on the pedestal.
"I was born on Atlantis," said Dawn as she looked at the man, "this is my father, Moros. He was the last High Councillor of the City before then exodus to Earth. He was kind, strong, he loved us all… I got to see him again after he ascended. I was there the day he descended back to Earth so that he could build a weapon to battle an enemy that he knew would eventually come after us… the Ori. He descended with all his powers and knowledge intact.. the most powerful man on Earth; Myrddin.
"Dawn?" asked Giles as he took off his glasses, "did you just say…"
"Merlin?" asked Willow, "your father was Merlin the Magician?"
"For a little while until he was forced into stasis," said Dawn as she looked at her father, and then pressed another button that showed a red-haired woman in a white and gold dress. Buffy and Willow could tell it was the same woman who they had seen back in the hallway in San Francisco, the one who was about to get them out but was pulled back away somehow.
"My mother, Melina," said Dawn, "she died after I was born."
"Sorry, Dawnie," said Buffy as she walked forward and squeezed her sister's shoulder. She then saw Dawn press another button that revealed a slightly older version of Dawn. And then came the final image, an image that made everyone do a double take, even Spike, at Willow who was looking at the image with her mouth wide open stunned. Willow had heard the Wraith queen calling her Athena, she heard some of the Lanteans calling her Athena… but until she saw the image of the Lantean before her.. she never realized how similar they looked. It was eerie.
"And this is my sister," said Dawn as she looked at the hologram of the young woman with red hair standing on the pedestal, "Athena Ren."
"Oh," whispered Willow as Buffy and the others looked at her, and then at the hologram.
Hours after showing Willow the hologram of her sister, Dawn welcomed President Hayes to Atlantis, along with Kennedy, Angel, and the others after they were beamed all the way to Atlantis by the Tria. It was a few minutes later that Dawn had the Jumpers on Atlantis spread out into the world to help the remaining Slayers who were still fighting battles, and she also had the aid of the Asgard.
It would be months later that Dawn, the current leader of Atlantis, held talks with President Hayes, and the leaders of the major nations which had also started to rebuild; China, Russia, the U.K, and several others met on Atlantis. They were going to talk about the new situation that they had found themselves in; the existence of aliens, and the open existence of the supernatural. Dawn was joined by Daniel, who Tara had told the brunette was the one she needed to have by her side as an advisor, and Egeria, who was there on behalf of the Tok'ra to begin building an alliance; while also including Buffy, and Giles representing the issues with the supernatural… and to answer questions that the leaders may have. Thor was there as well, as was Helia.
While the meeting was going on, Tara and Willow started to get closer and closer. When an alliance between humanity, the Tok'ra, and the Asgard was in the tentative stage in the sixth month of a newly peaceful Earth… Tara and Willow shared their first kiss on the balcony in Tara's quarters on Atlantis. The greatest surprise was saved for Buffy; meeting her mother again… Willow, Tara, Xander, and Dawn remembered the screams of joy from the older blonde, and the blonde Slayer as they hugged each other.
It would be a year later that an agreement between the major powers was drafted, and the new site of the SGC was selected. The Stargate from the Antarctic was brought over to Cheyenne mountain, where Tara and Daniel helped the newly installed leader of the base, General George Hammond, select the first team that would head through the Stargate.
Their first mission, the mission of the new SG-1 which included Teal'c, Tara, and Daniel, went to Abydos where they met with Egeria. The people, who had been under Ra, hated the Goa'uld.. but loved his queen.
And Egeria was a benevolent queen who gave them as much freedom as possible. She even taught them language and writing, much to Daniel and Tara's surprise. Taking over from Colonel Carter, Egeria told them that she had to spread the written word in several hidden places of learning so that Ra would never find out. While they were walking through a village, Egeria handed control back to Colonel Carter, who placed her arm on her friend's shoulder and point to a opening in a tent. Opening his eyes wide at the woman in the tent who was speaking to an older man, Daniel whispered one word.
"It's her, Daniel," whispered the Colonel, "I have been watching her grow up, and I've been telling her stories of a nervous, but lovable man, who could drop by one day and take her away to see the stars. Those were just stories, I never realized you were alive; but anyway, every guy that approached her? She turned them away."
"Sam?" asked Daniel.
"Go to her, Daniel," Tara gently pushed the man forward while the two new members of SG-1, a Colonel by the name of Cameron Mitchell, and a Major by the name of Louise Ferretti, was walking around the village with wonder in their eyes; they were on another planet.
Tara and Colonel Carter watched at Daniel approached the tent opening, watching him leaning forward, and then smiled at the warm smile that spread on Sha're's face. It was six months later that Daniel and Sha're were married on Abydos again, and this time… Daniel still remained a part of SG-1. With the war against the Goa'uld in full swing, Earth was now target… but the presence of the weapons platforms were a powerful deterrent to any attack.
It was soon, however, that politics took over with many nations demanding further access to Atlantis' technology. So that there would be no war over the City of the Ancients, Dawn informed the newly reformed United Nations that the City of Atlantis would be relocating to another planet. And with Wolfram and Hart breathing down the necks of many politicians, Dawn knew that this was the only way to prevent Ancient technology from enter their demonic hands.
So, it was two years after the destruction of the Wraith and Anubis' fleet over Earth, that Atlantis took off again. This time, the city-ship was taken to Edina, where it landed safety in the ocean with an agreement with the SGC on Earth that it would be used as their first Alpha Site. This didn't mean that Buffy and Dawn never saw each other; the blonde Slayer was leading the new International Organization for the Research of Paranormal Events with Angel; and she would occasionally go through the Stargate to visit her sister and mother. It would be on Edina with Joyce and her new family, that Buffy would eventually marry Angel… with Willow binding their souls together so that Angel wouldn't lose his. Then after getting to know this new Willow, who finally accepted that she could be the descended Athena, and dating her for three years, Tara and she were married on Atlantis with Dawn presiding over the ceremony on the East pier, as the sun was setting over the horizon.
And war raged as the humans, Tok'ra, and the Asgard… who were cured from their genetic disease, pushed back the Goa'uld until there were only a handful left; scattered. The Jaffa finally had their freedom again as Daniel and Tara looked on from Dakara after it was freed from Goa'uld control; the final battle of the war.
With Atlantis on Edina, and the SGC on Earth, and with the help of the Tok'ra under Egeria, and the Asgard… there was relative peace in the Milky Way. There were still occasional problems with the Goa'uld, and the Lucien Alliance; but there was peace. However, there was another evil that was stirring at the edge of the galaxy.
An ancient enemy was awakening; an enemy that the Ancients had long thought dead and buried. The very first enemy of the Alterra when they arrived in the Milky Way, a great evil they had waged a war with for twenty years… a war that was wiped away from the Alterran history books because they never wanted their descendants to know what they did… the blood that they had on their hands in a mass killing. After wiping out this enemy using the superweapon that they created on Dakara, the Alterra built up their new civilization in the Milky Way.
The Alterra flourished. And the Milky Way was theirs for millions of years until the plague, and then there was the exodus to Pegasus. The Alterra used the superweapon again to destroy all life to stop the plague, and then it was used again to restart life in the galaxy. All the while, remnants of this enemy lay dormant where they could never be touched.
But now, they sensed that something in the galaxy was changing.
The Nocturna were awakening, and they were going to grow in the millions.
And they hungered for revenge.