Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: B:tVS, SG-1. An unexpected arrival at the SGC changes the playing field for Buffy and SG-1. 9600 words.
Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen". Stargate SG-1 through 9.13 "Ripple Effect"
Notes: This was written for Anneliese, who asked for a lengthy fic with Buffy established at the SGC (but not on SG-1) and Buffy/Cam. It is also a sequel to "Ring of the Gods"; a surprising amount of plot managed to creep in.
Buffy finished off the arrangement on her tray with a bowl of green jello, then turned to survey the rows of tables for an available seat. The cafeteria was a lot more crowded than usual; they were bringing all of the alternate SG-1's through in shifts, but even so, most of the tables were occupied. Normally, she'd sit with Daniel or one of the resident Slayers, but there was no telling where her Daniel was at the moment, and her Slayers had all been out on missions when the subspace disruption began rerouting wormholes in from nearby universes. The girls had all ended up at the Alpha Site with their teams, waiting for clearance to come back home.
She hadn't seen any copies of herself come through the wormhole yet either, though that was no great surprise. In any universe where Buffy was both a Slayer and had survived her prophesied fatal meeting with the Master, she would have eventually had to face the First because of the split Slayer line-- and any Buffy who survived the First would be as anchored as she was by the activation spell they'd had to use to defeat it. Ergo, she would never be on a Gate team. Of course, there were probably universes out there where Buffy hadn't been Chosen as a Slayer-- but those Buffys, given no reason to grow out of their cheerleader mold, would never have been recruited by the SGC in the first place.
In fact, Buffy was starting to think that must have mostly been the case-- that on most Earths, she'd never joined the SGC at all. As she glanced around the room, looking for a place to sit, she caught the eye of several Daniels, Carters, Mitchells, Teal'cs, and even a lone Janet Frasier, but none of them seemed to so much as recognize her, and even more tellingly, none of the alternate women who were Slayers in her universe showed any sign of unusual strength or grace. It was eerie and unnerving, as though she'd suddenly become a ghost in her own life; it was a good thing the current Hellmouth was in Cleveland and not Colorado Springs, or she'd probably have gone all Marcie Ross by now.
Which-- that reminded her, what exactly had happened to Marcie after the government agents took her away? Buffy would have to remember to mention it to the General sometime, see if they knew where she'd ended up. General Landry wasn't quite as hip to the weird as General O'Neill had been, but she was pretty sure he'd believe her even if he hadn't heard about the invisible girl through official channels yet. It wasn't like see-through people were all that strange compared to what the SGC dealt with on a daily basis.
Finally, Buffy spotted a non-SG-1 acquaintance she wouldn't mind sitting with. Chloe, Dr. Felger's assistant, wasn't a close friend, but she was at least from Buffy's own universe and they could have fun discussing the latest crazy antics of Chloe's boss. For whatever reason, Chloe was actually pretty fond of the guy, so the conversation was usually more playful than harsh; in return, Buffy often shared some of the awkwardly hilarious moments she and the other Scoobies had been involved in over the years. It was a mutually mood-lifting acquaintance, one Buffy had become especially grateful for since Laura had joined the Atlantis expedition.
She'd made it about halfway across the cafeteria when Chloe dabbed at her mouth with a napkin, checked her watch, and got up from her table. "Drat," Buffy muttered, then grimaced and looked around again. "So much for that idea."
The Mitchell at the nearest table looked up as she glanced past him. She almost ignored him-- after all, she'd already ruled out all of the faux SG-1's as table-partners-- when his nod of greeting registered; her gaze tracked back to him, and she gave him a rueful smile.
The chair across from him was empty, and he pushed it out with his foot as she approached. "My hero," she said wryly, dropping her tray on the table and taking the offered seat.
"Glad I could help," he said cheerfully, and gave her an appraising look. "Been watching you since you came in; you hardly looked at most of the other tables. Why pick mine?"
Buffy rolled her eyes. She'd noticed an irritating tendency in the military guys here to pretend to be less intelligent than they really were. At least, the ones who were team leaders; Evan hadn't been nearly as bad, though he had been insufferably smug at times when he knew something she didn't. "Why'd you smile at me?" she asked aloud, as she stabbed at the day's unidentifiable steamed vegetable with her fork.
Mitchell raised his eyebrows. "Because it's the polite thing to do?" he said, lightly. "Never had a woman complain about me smiling at her before."
She took a bite of the vegetable, then grimaced and lowered the fork again, surreptitiously scraping what was left of it off on the edge of her plate. "You smiled at me because you knew who I was," she clarified for him. "Maybe you hadn't noticed, but most of these other SG-1's seem to have no clue that I even exist."
He took a bite of his own meal, glancing around at the other tables. "You know, Sam says most of these guys are from universes pretty similar to ours," he said after a minute, "but just about the only universal constant on these teams is me. Doesn't that seem strange to you? There's got to be plenty of universes out there where Sam or General O'Neill is still the leader of SG-1, or where Weir stuck around and made Jackson team leader, or where Quinn never went back to Kelowna, but we aren't seeing any of those, either. So if they don't know who you are, I wouldn't take it to heart. I'm sure there are a lot of SG-1's out there that do."
"Maybe so," she replied with a shrug, "but that doesn't make it any easier for me to find someone to talk to now. If they don't know who-- and what-- I am, how am I supposed to even explain my job title? I've done the whole 'world is older and crazier than you know' speech a few times too many to want to do it again for a bunch of people that will just be leaving soon anyway."
His genial expression sagged around the edges at that. "Maybe, maybe not. I suppose you know one of the Asgard stopped by?"
Buffy shuddered a little, remembering her brief encounter with the little gray being. "Yep," she said. "I guess General O'Neill said something to Thor about having a Slayer here; the little guys are kind of obsessed with advanced human DNA, and this Vase-Ear wanted to see me for himself. We were kind of... mutually unimpressed with each other."
Mitchell's lips twitched a little, and he perked up again, a distinct twinkle in his eye. "You mean Kvasir?" he asked teasingly.
Buffy generally distrusted guys who were too charming to be real, but she was starting to think Mitchell was the genuine article. He'd been here half a year now and his optimism and cheerfulness rarely slipped, never mind his dedication to duty or his loyalty to his team. She'd been a little disappointed when Sam came back from Nevada and Teal'c started spending more time on Earth again, expecting Daniel to gravitate back to their company, but the archaeologist had started making an effort to include her in SG-1's off-time activities and Mitchell had helped; he always acted like he was pleased to see her. Maybe she was starting to be kind of pleased to see him, too.
He grew more serious again as he continued. "Anyway, he and the Sams cooked up a plan to seal the rupture and stop the wormholes from crossing into our universe, but once it's shut down everyone that's already here will be stranded. None of them are happy about it, of course, but Landry's right; we need our Gate back."
Buffy put down her fork again and stared at him in dismay, working through the implications of that decision in her mind. "Yeah, I bet he wants to shut it down. All these extra SG-1s, already trained and everything? And every one of them has probably run across at least one thing that we don't know about yet. The IOA must be jumping for joy."
"Ouch," Mitchell winced, though the look he shot her was skeptical. "That's cold."
"True, though," Buffy said grimly. "Maybe Landry isn't going there, but they are. Think about it."
He sighed. "What I think is that you have a mighty big chip on your shoulder for some reason about the IOA and the NID, and you're automatically assuming the worst. Not that you're one hundred percent wrong, but you might not have the most objective opinion of the situation."
She laughed at that. "The worst? Not hardly. The fact that the NID tried to kill me that one time has nothing to do it. People are always going to be greedy, and the oversight groups here don't exactly have the best track record."
He opened his mouth to answer-- probably to ask what she meant; she really shouldn't have said anything, since part of the negotiation with the Initiative for them to come convince the SGC she wasn't a nutcase was that she wouldn't talk about the details of her little "disagreement" with former NID employee Maggie Walsh-- but the klaxon went off before he could say anything, and they both turned toward the nearest intercom speaker, listening intently.
"Unscheduled offworld activation," Sergeant Harriman's voice announced, and Mitchell heaved a sigh.
"Another SG-1, I guess. I'd better go say hello." He gave her a half-hearted smile, then got up. "Enjoy the rest of your lunch."
Buffy rolled her eyes, but smiled back, letting the argument drop. "Keep me posted?"
She watched him leave, then shook her head and picked up her fork.
She dropped it again a second later, all the strength leaving her fingers as a bright light burst unexpectedly behind her eyes. She struggled against the sudden, blinding sense of mental pressure as much as she could, but her will drained away like water; whatever the cause of it was, it was all tangled up with the source of her Slayer power. A few heartbeats passed; a murmur of voices exploded around her as she slid from her chair, and then she heard no more.