Jacob quickly closed the distance between himself and his daughter and wrapped his arms around her.
"Dad, you shouldn't have come," Sam said as she hugged him back tightly before pulling away.
"I didn't have a choice kiddo. I had to find out what happened to my favorite daughter."
"Went on a mission, got captured, almost got killed. Same old, same old," she said.
"Channeling Jack again?"
"Surprised?" Sam headed over to a bench along one of the walls. "How are Jack and the twins?"
"Jack's devastated. Howland and Johnson reported back that you and Harris were killed. Danny and Janet miss you but luckily aren't old enough to really understand," Jacob said as they both sat down. "What really happened?"
Sam leaned against the wall. "We were a few days into the mission when Harris was spotted by Nimue. The two of us were mingling with the locals when it happened. It turns out that Nimue was from Harris' hometown and she really had it in for him. I was just in the wrong place."
"Nimue, you mean her host," Jacob asked.
"I don't think Dad," Sam shook her head slowly. "I'll explain that part later. Anyway, she knocked Harris out and had the two of us tossed into the dungeon. That's when I was attacked."
"Johnson said the Jaffa was Apophis sect."
"Yeah, just another case of the Jaffa revenge thing. He was still pissed about the loss of his god and SG-1's role in taking him down. Since I'm part of SG-1, he took it out on me. He nearly killed me before Daniel showed up."
Jacob's jaw dropped. "Daniel, as in our favorite missing ascended one Daniel?"
"Our Daniel, just not ascended anymore. He's been living on Calendon for years, possibly as far back as when Anubis attacked Abydos. These days he's going by Merdenn."
/Jacob!/ Selmac reprimanded his host.
"No, but until very recently he didn't remember being Daniel. Apparently Nimue found him in the forest and brought him home and kept him."
"But you left out the best part," a new voice said.
They looked over to see a young girl standing in the doorway.
Aurora came into the room wearing a smirk. "When she found him he was kind of naked. So, is this your father?"
"Dad, meet Aurora, Nimue's heir."
"Also not snaked," Aurora said. "What is it with you and Xander and snakes?"
"Xander?" Jacob questioned.
"Captain Harris," his daughter replied.
"My future husband, well, once Mother get's over the whole wanting to kill him thing. She's still mad about Angel but she'll deal, eventually. So, anyways, not snaked but your daughter is."
"I was getting to that Dad," Sam said. "Aurora, why don't you go ask your dad to join us."
"She's Daniel's daughter?"
"Now, let's talk about the Cruciamentum."
David Townsend tried to stay silent. After less than two minutes, he failed. Still, Nimue was impressed, annoyed but impressed.
"The Cruciamentum is a rite of passage, to see if the Slayer is truly worthy," he lied.
"Bzzt. Wrong answer." Nimue growled and increased the level of pain. "Tell your Slayer the truth."
"It's a traditional rite of passage," the Watcher said before stuttering to a halt. Blood began to trickle from his left ear. "Fine, it's the way the Council calls the new Slayer forth."
"How," Nimue demanded.
"The old Slayer has to die," he spat out. "We strip the Slayer of her power and send her to her fate."
"Don't you mean feed her to a vampire," Nimue said as she increased the pain level a bit more.
"Who's Faith," Townsend said as he started to shake.
"Rupert Giles' second slayer."
Townsend needed no further encouragement. "She should have died at her Cruciamentum."
"But she didn't did she? She survived your ritual."
"So, explain to Bethany what your precious Council did then."
"They cheated so they both had to pay the price. The Council sent a kill team to remove the girl. The used other methods on Rupert. He's dying." Townsend said before adding spitefully, "quite painfully I understand. He's paying dearly for his treachery."
Nimue shut off the ribbon device and lowered her hand. She turned to Bethany who had tears running down her face.
"Why," the girl asked her Watcher.
"Because we were instructed by Ra to make sure that no Slayer ever reached her full potential. It is our god's will and we obey."
Dru started to laugh. "Poor, doomed little man. The sun died long ago."
Nimue looked at the vampire in surprise.
"The stars tell me many of things," Dru said. "But I'm hungry now."
Nimue paused and adjusted her original plan. She still wanted to kill the watcher herself but somehow, this just seemed more appropriate.
"J'Kan, taken Bethany upstairs. Druscilla, let me take the child. You can have Mr. Townsend, no turning him though. Promise?"
"I'll be good, Mommy," Dru smiled as she passed Janet to Nimue.
Dru waited until the four had gone upstairs before putting on her game face. For the child's sake, she waited until the door closed before making him scream. And he did scream.
Nimue cradled Janet in her arms murmuring reassurances as the screams rose from the basement. As she closed the door behind them, she could see the young Slayer trying in vain to free herself.
"Let me go," Bethany cried out as she weakly kicked J'Kan's shins.
"What would you do if he did," Nimue asked. "Try to save the one who would have killed you without a second thought? Or would you try to run?"
Bethany stopped struggling.
"What do you care? You're nothing but a killer," Bethany replied.
"So are you. That's what we were bred for," Nimue said quietly. "A very long time ago the barriers between this world and several hell dimensions were breached by a self-proclaimed god. He created the slayer line to save his own borrowed skin and his empire. Once the slayers achieved victory, he had most of them murdered. He feared us and so instructed his priests, now known as the Watchers Council, to make sure there was never another true Slayer. The line would continue, but only in a weakened state. That is the reason for the Cruciamentum."
Nimue shook her head. "No, I'm not. Think about it, did your Watcher show any concern for you tonight? Did he give any indication that he cared about your survival?"
Bethany stilled as the truth sunk in. "Why did you stop him?"
"Because I didn't want to see another of my sisters die at their hands," Nimue said simply.
"You said they came after Faith, the Slayer that survived. They're going to come after me too, won't they?"
"I have a plan that will place you beyond their reach," Nimue said. "But first, we need to make sure that none of the watchers survives this night."
The screams from below stopped.
"Three down..." Nimue smiled as she reentered the front room.
"I see you found something while I was busy," she said.
"My lady, these two arrived while you were attending matters below," the Jaffa motioned towards the unconscious men that he was watching over.
"Are they alive?"
She turned as Spike and Dru joined them.
"I'll leave them for you then. Same rules, kill don't turn."
Spike laughed. "And the Slayer and the niblet?"
"They're coming with me. We have places to be. Enjoy your meal." Nimue turned to leave, then turned back. "Our truce ends tonight Spike. You have Dru back and I have more than I came for. I will ask one thing of the two of you though. Consider going after human monsters instead of innocents, big game rather than rabbits."
Spike just glared at her.
"Just a thought. Some day I will be back and that might just keep me from hunting you."