Title: Ring of the Gods

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: T

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Prompt: tth100 #88, Ring

Summary: B:tVS, Stargate: SG-1. Buffy goes searching for a new Slayer and finds much, much more. 700 words.

Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen"; SG-1 general season 8.

Notes: Yet another way Buffy might have come to the attention of Stargate Command. (I know the Major is actually a regular guest on Atlantis these days, but he had to be somewhere between his appearance in SG-1 Season 7 and when he went to the Pegasus Galaxy a year and a half later).

Buffy extended a cautious hand to caress the metallic curve of the Stargate. Giles had called it 'The Ring of the Gods'-- apparently it showed up in some book of his or other-- but whatever its name was, it was pretty impressive. When she thought 'portal' she usually pictured the Hellmouth or a raggedy, colorful tear in the sky; she hadn't expected anything like this. "Wow."

"Amazing, isn't it?" Riley's friend asked, with the nonchalant smugness of someone who knows he has the coolest job in all the world.

The metal tingled under Buffy's palm just the tiniest bit; she left her hand pressed against it for a moment, trying to absorb the concept of so many other worlds full of people spread across the night sky, and threw him a wry, sideways glance. "You can't tell me it's always puppies and sunshine out there; I have eyes, you know, and there's an awful lot of guys with guns guarding this thing."

He smiled wryly back. "Of course it isn't," he replied. "There are things out there that make your garden-variety vampire look like a bloodthirsty chihuahua. That's one of the reasons we asked you here."

"That, and the fact we already knew your deep dark secret?" she teased.

"I don't know what you're talking about, ma'am; I don't have any deep dark secrets." His tone was bland, but there was a definite hint of twinkling going on in his eyes.

Buffy found it surprisingly difficult to resist twinkling back. He was disarmingly cute, not gigantically tall like most of the soldiers she'd seen here, and he actually had a sense of humor. Bad Slayer, she told herself, and rolled her eyes. "That's not what I meant," she scolded him.

When Riley had first told her that an Air Force major he knew had discovered a Slayer on his base, her mind had immediately gone in an Initiative direction. She'd been worried for the girl, especially when Willow reported all the security blocking her attempts to research the place; when the coven's scrying had shown not one but three Slayers constantly disappearing from their reach under Cheyenne Mountain, Buffy had called in all the favors the Council had with the American military and demanded to speak to the people in charge. So far, she'd been surprised and pleased with their operation-- but they hadn't let her meet the new Slayers yet, and she certainly had no reason to trust him.

Trust them, she corrected herself irritably. Stupid Slayer hormones!

"I see the tour's going well?"

Buffy's guide turned toward one of the wide, open doorways to the Gateroom, posture straightening immediately. The intruder was tallish and bespectacled, attractive in a scholarly kind of way; Buffy had met him before, with the graying, sarcastic General in the introductory meetings. At the time, he had reminded her of a younger, relatively harmless version of Giles; from the major's reaction, though, it was obvious that wasn't all there was to him.

"Quite the place you have here," Buffy said neutrally. She gave the Gate a final pat, then walked back down the ramp toward her guide. "Major Lorne's been very helpful."

"Mmm," Dr. Jackson said, glancing between the two of them with a mildly amused expression. "I can see that."

Was he teasing her? Buffy blinked at him in surprise, and found herself reevaluating the place a little. Giles had heard of this guy; he wasn't just a soldier in baggy clothes playing civilian scientist to try to soothe her into thinking they were nice people. The General's friendly attitude toward him could maybe have been for show, but the major-- and the Gateroom guards-- were treating him with actual respect, and he seemed to have no fear of them.

Maybe this place really wasn't another Initiative. Maybe she really had just stumbled onto a significant new ally-- one with their own problems, but who could also significantly help the new Council.

The thought cheered Buffy immensely. "I have to say, though," she said airily, "when he said he was going to show me a ring, this isn't quite what I had in mind."

Their reactions were everything she could have hoped for.