Chapter 22.

I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Stargate SG1.

Please review! Compliments make me write faster; criticisms make me write better. Both are needed if you wish this fic to continue.

/Xander's thoughts/

%Jolinar's thoughts%

#"Tok'ra or Goa'uld voice"#

Was this guy trying to get himself killed? Buffy wondered to herself. And what's with the weird clothes? She reported in to Xander that there was something odd and her position before investigating. She had learned the usefulness of having back up available when she had run into a group of five vamps the other night. She had ran until Angel joined her, then they held them off until Giles and Miss Calendar had shown up with crossbows and taken two of them out. Then the tides changed 'cause, three vamps were no match for her and Angel together. Lesson learned. Backup good. Communication needed to get backup.

She called out to him but kept her distance, wary that he might be a vamp. "Out for a midnight stroll?"

He smiled at her, "Sort of, I'm looking for someone." he approached her.

"Anyone in particular?" Buffy asked. There was something oogy about this guy.

"Yes, though I'm not sure what he or she might look like." he replied.

Then it hit her. "You're a Gould!" She accused before she attacked.

In all his years, Lantash had only been physically attacked a few times. Tok'ra were infiltrators, not warriors. However, he did know a few moves. Against a charging opponent like this it was best to flow through the attack and use the attacker's own momentum against her. He fell to his back and rolled through the fall, kicking her off him as he went. She flew through the air and rolled her own landing to come back up on her feet ready to attack again. Lantash took advantage of the short respite to explain. #"I'm not Goa'uld. I'm Tok'ra."#

Buffy stopped attacking at that. "Tok'ra?" Buffy wasn't sure if a Goa'uld would claim to be a Tok'ra, but she did have her resident expert available by radio. "Don't move. And keep your hands where I can see them." she ordered the Tok'ra. Then into her radio, "Xander, come in."

Xander answered his radio a second later. "What's up, Buff?"

"That odd thing I told you about. He claims to be a Tok'ra." Buffy continued.

Xander groaned he was pretty sure the NID were listening by now. "Not over the radio, Buff. I'll be there in a second." When he got there, he immediately recognized Martouf. "Martouf! It's good to see you again." he cried. He was going to go over and hug the guy when Jolinar's feeling for the man interrupted. Love was the only word for it. Very romantic love. Feelings and memories that Jolinar had experienced; including sex. As a woman. With Martouf. That was more than a little disconcerting.

/That is SO not going to happen./ Xander told his partner.

%I understand.% Jolinar assured him. %But I can not help my feelings for or my memories of him. We were together for a hundred years.%

/So I see./ Xander replied before going back to the conversation. "Ok, that was weird." Xander admitted.

"What is it?" Buffy asked.

"Jolinar and him were lovers." Xander explained.

"You mean you and him...?" Buffy tried to hide her laughter.

"Jolinar was female at the time." Xander explained. Then he turned to a confused Martouf. "And that is definitely NOT happening. Ok, buddy?"

"Jolinar?" Martouf wondered.

#"In the flesh"# Jolinar answered.

"That's impossible. I can't sense you at all. I scanned this area in detail and found nothing either." Martouf countered.

"That's the hellmouth for you." Buffy quipped.

"I was... cloned into this body. For lack of a better word. There was no naquadah present. It's why you and your sensors couldn't pick me up. Speaking of which, how did you find us? Earth's a big place." Xander asked.

"My ship detected the energy signature of a healing device being used and I came down to investigate." Martouf explained.

"Interesting, I didn't think that it would be detectable without the naquadah." Jolinar noted.

"It has a unique energy pattern when it is being used. Even without naquadah. But how did you get it to work without it?" Martouf asked.

"I'll explain everything once we get back to base." Xander promised as Giles and Jenny pulled up. "Hop in the car." He put Buffy between the two of them so they wouldn't have to touch.

Back at Willow's, Jolinar explained everything to Martouf. Including magic, the hellmouth, SG-1, the NID, demons and their theories on them, and that Jolinar was staying. #"I'm needed here. I'm no good to the Tok'ra any more if I can't pass for a Goa'uld. Though, if you leave me a ship and a communication device, my knowledge and services can still be available if you ever need them."#

Martouf had started crying on the trip back to Willow's. He'd stopped by then, but his eyes were still red and puffy. "Just knowing you are alive... is a comfort for me. We had feared you dead."

Then he nodded and Lantash came forward, #"We are also greatly gladdened. All Tok'ra will be pleased that you are still alive."#

"Why do you do that?" Willow wondered.

#"This voice?"# Lantash clarified.

"No. The nodding thing before one of you speaks. Xander and Jolinar don't do that." Willow wondered.

#"Perhaps I can answer that."# Jolinar offered. #"Most Tok'ra have a very formalized relationship with their host. The symbiote can take control of the host but not the other way around."#

"Says you." Xander interrupted.

Willow giggled.

Jolinar rolled his eyes and went on. #"The nodding you observe is a polite way of one consciousness ceding control of the body to another. Xander and I have a different sort of relationship. Xander is rather keen on not observing the rituals and I am not overly fond of them for their own sake. So there's quite a bit more jostling for control in our own mind. It's rather fun actually. And Xander grows stronger by it as well. You saw how he took control there. With more practice, he might be able to suppress me if he desired."#

#"That's impossible." Lantash denied.

"It's just a skill. You get better with practice." Xander stated. "Like this one:" ##"Behold, I am the great and powerful Oz!"## Xander didn't quite get the voice right. But it certainly didn't sound quite human either. "Uhh. I had it once the other day." he complained in his normal voice.

"The Wizard of Oz." Willow piped in. Xander nodded to her.

#"That's impossible." Lantash denied again.

Xander switched to a Spanish accent. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

"Princess Bride." Willow named the movie again.

#"I assure you Lantash, it is Xander doing it. He's also practicing the eye glow. So far, no luck with that however."# Jolinar assured the other symbiote.

Martouf laughed however, and insisted on trying the deep voice. Xander coached him as much as was possible. Though they didn't get anywhere with it yet. Xander told him not to give up. With Ford already asleep in the guest bedroom they had to put Martouf in the master bedroom. Xander warned Lantash about Ford first though. "We have a guest who knows about magic and vampires, but doesn't know about aliens, Jolinar, Lantash or the SGC and we want to keep it that way until we're sure we can trust him. So for now, you'll both have to use your human voice. Figure out another way to show that Lantash is speaking." Xander made an 'L' with his right hand and placed it against his forehead in the slang sign for 'Loser', hoping they would use it the next day. It would be hilarious.

That night, Xander slept on Willow's couch. Or rather he laid there and tried to sleep.

The next morning, Jolinar took control and walked to the kitchen where Willow was starting coffee. "Good morning, Willow." He said softly.

"Morning guys." Willow answered equally softly.

"Just Jolinar right now," Jolinar answered. "Xander didn't sleep well last night. Doesn't trust Ford yet and kept thinking he heard him moving. So I'm letting him sleep for now."

"So Xander can't hear us right now?" Willow leaned forward.

"No. He can't." Jolinar assured her.

"Will he know what we talked about?" Willow asked.

"If he looks, I can't stop him." Jolinar explained. "Was there something you wanted to know?"

Willow swallowed before making her decision and blurting softly, "How can I make Xander love me?"

Jolinar smiled. "I can tell you for certain, he already loves you. I think what you mean is, 'how can I make him notice I'm a girl?'." Willow nodded eagerly and Jolinar continued, "Boobs."

"What?" cried Willow.

"Boobs, breasts, tatas, melons, goombas, jugs-" Jolinar started listing just a few of the names Xander had for the female anatomy. He had to admit that it was impressive. Considering the limited vocabulary he claimed to have.

"Ok, I get it." Willow interrupted as she crossed her arms over her chest shyly. "But I've got boobs." she assured the alien.

"I know. But you have to get Xander to realize it too." Jolinar looked down at his own flat chest. "I miss mine sometimes. They came in handy more than once. But I like this body too." Jolinar grabbed an orange from the middle of the table. "Here, let me show you what I'm talking about." Jolinar stood them up and placed the orange on his chest. Then he 'accidentally' rubbed his orange on Willow's arm. "Like that. That's like an electric shock to guys. But guys are like puppies, you have to shock them a couple times before they get the message. She showed her a couple other moves and they were soon giggling and laughing about the things that Willow could try on Xander. But they had to sit down quickly and Jolinar started peeling his orange when Xander started waking up.

"Morning Will. Morning Jo." Xander yawned.

"Morning Xander," they replied together.

"Cool. I didn't even have to walk here. It's almost like breakfast in bed." Xander remarked.

Willow breathed a sigh of relief that Xander hadn't mentioned anything. "Do you want toast or cereal?"

"Cereal." Xander answered.

Soon enough, the smell of coffee woke the other guests of the house.

"Ford, this is Marty. Marty, this is Ford." Xander introduced them when Martouf had joined them.

The surprise trip to Cimmeria had gone well thanks to a timely display of Asgard Ex Machina. For which Carter was very thankful. The only problem was that it got their presentation trip to Washington DC pushed back yet again. She and Col O'Neill were supposed to receive the Air Medal for saving the planet months ago, but emergencies kept popping up.

As she and Col O'Neill walked to General Hammond's office, she wondered if the President had finally given up and ordered General Hammond to present the medals. That would mean as much if not more to her anyway.

"Come." Hammond ordered when Jack knocked. He handed each of them a folder in turn. "I was hoping you would get back in time. I managed to convince the President not to delay the presentation. The plane leaves at 0800 tomorrow. And nothing short of the end of the world is going to stop us from getting to this presentation." Hammond assured them.

Being a radio operator in the NID's Sunnydale base was pretty easy. Except for the odd hours. The great thing was when one of the targets started using radios to report her position to her handlers. After a few days, they were able to find most of her landmarks and could just listen in to her transmissions to have a good idea where she was at any given time. And listening was easy. Even though they occasionally changed channels, it wasn't to the point where they thought anyone was actually listening. And the so called 'privacy codes' that some of the nicer civilian radios had were no match for government snoops.

They listened in real time. They then passed the location information on to the teams in the field, who found it much easier to avoid this target for now. And in the future, it would make it much easier to find her. They also passed on any pertinent information. Either to the field teams if it was time sensitive or to their superiors if it wasn't. Tonight they had only the name of a new HST. Something called a Toke-Rah.

Colonel Maybourne nearly spit out his coffee when he read that morning's briefing report. The tech had spelled the name 'Toke-Rah' but it quite clearly meant that there was a Tok'ra (or a Goa'uld pretending to be a Tok'ra) somewhere in Sunnydale, CA. The radio communication between the Slayer and her team went dead after that. They wouldn't know for sure if she survived for a few nights. She didn't patrol every night.

He had to be there. It would mean missing Jack's award presentation. Something that Harry was more than willing to admit that Jack deserved. After all, the NID's mission was the protection of Earth and Jack had done just that. But he had been hoping to offer him his sincere congratulations and then hold the falsified mission briefings over his sarcastic ass. Now, he would just have to send a cake.

He double checked through the SGC logs to make sure that no Tok'ra operative had come through the gate. Then called his secretary to have her make the plans for his trip to Sunnydale.

The party was fairly noisy. That many people in a room and the ambient noise got pretty loud. There was the uncomfortableness when Colonel O'Neill met her father, General Jacob Carter. O'Neill and Hammond split off to give them a chance to talk and then everything went silent. She was fairly certain that people were still talking. Their lips were moving, but no sound was coming out. Her entire world started collapsing into a black hole. Her father was dying. And he wanted his last act on Earth to be to get his daughter into the space program. She felt her eyes grow moist and she struggled to blink back the tears. If only she could tell him. Tell him why she was getting the Air Medal. That she traveled further across the galaxy than any astronaut could dream. She was pulled from her thoughts when Colonel O'Neill returned from wherever he had gone and pulled her and General Hammond away.

"We've got a problem, Sir. We've sprung a leak. Apparently, someone with knowledge of the program talked to a reporter." Jack said softly.

"This reporter approached you?" Hammond asked.

"Yes, sir." Jack replied.

"And you said?" Hammond encouraged.

"Secondary cover story. Mentioned that it sounded like a bad TV show. Don't think he bought it." Jack shook his head.

"Well, how much does he know?" Sam asked.

"Knew me. Mentioned the Stargate. But that's more than he should know." O'Neill answered.

"Then you're right. We've got a problem." Hammond agreed. "I'll brief the president after the medal ceremony. It's bad but it isn't the end of the world, and I promised you, nothing short of that will stop this ceremony."

"Presenting Colonel O'Neill and Captain Samantha Carter." General Hammond saluted the President.

The President returned the salute. "I believe you're mistaken, General." He turned to an assistant and pulled two oak leaf medals. "She should be properly introduced as Major Samantha Carter." He stepped in front of her and pinned the medals to her epaulettes.

"Thank you, sir." Carter fired off a salute.

The President returned it then walked to the podium. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, your work in Deep Space Radar Telemetry has resulted in advancements which have already saved many, many lives. And there aren't enough medals in the world to properly show our gratitude. Your exemplary courage and heroism reflect great credit upon yourself and the United States Air Force. Thank you."

After finishing his speech, he turned first to the Colonel and gave him his medal, and then to the new Major. Both of them snapped off perfect salutes to their commander-in-chief. After a round of applause from the small group in the room, the President left and General Hammond followed. Jack and Sam were left to fend for themselves.

General Carter stepped up first. "Samantha." he said as he gave her a big hug. "I wanted to let you know. When the President recognizes you for 'courage and heroism' in whatever it is that you do... well it must be pretty important. And I didn't mean to push for you to go into the space program."

"Thank you, Dad." Sam cut him off.

"Space program, Ca- Major?" Jack quirked his head at his 2IC.

"NASA's space program, sir." Sam answered, emphasis on the NASA.

"Ahh. Yes, sir. That would be very exiting, sir." Jack gave Jacob a wry smile.

An attendant interrupted whatever Jacob was going to reply. "Sorry sirs, ma'am. The President has asked for the Colonel and Major to join him."

Jacob gave his daughter a quick hug. "You go do whatever it is that you do."

Jack and Sam entered the room and snapped to attention.

"George briefed me on the reporter situation. Well handled Colonel. We'll handle it from here. But that's not what I wanted to talk about. You and your team literally saved the world. The Air Medal is a nice start and should this ever become public, I'll be pushing for you each to receive the Medal of Honor. In the mean time, I just wanted to let you know, that if there's ever anything you need from Washington, let me know and I'll see what I can do to help." The President finished and then started leaving.

"Actually, sir?" Sam spoke up.

"Yes?" the President stopped and turned around.

"It's my father sir. He's dying. Lymphoma." She began.

"I'm very sorry Major. As a member of our Armed Forces, he'll already be receiving the highest care we can provide. But I'll see what I can do." The President offered.

"Thank you, sir. But that wasn't my request. I'd like to tell him, sir." Sam tried desperately to keep her emotions in check.

"About the program?" The President asked. Sam could only nod. He looked to Hammond.

"General Carter has an exemplary service record. I served with him myself. He's trustworthy. And he'd never ever to something that would endanger his daughter." Hammond assured him.

The President considered for a moment, then nodded to an attendant. "Bring him in." Jacob came in and stood at attention next to his daughter. "Jacob. I was very sorry to hear about your disease."

"Thank you, sir." Jacob answered.

"Now, I have to go, but I want you to understand that what these people are about to tell you is true, incredible and still highly classified. You've just been given clearance at the request of your daughter." The President saluted before leaving the room.

Hammond, as the ranking officer in the room ordered them, "At ease." then, "Major Carter, if you would like to explain to your father exactly how you received that medal?"

After the explanation, Jacob's first words were, "Holly Hanna. That certainly explains why you wouldn't want to go to NASA. I'm so proud of you."

"Yeah, while we don't do weightlessness much, we've been to space plenty. Plus, at NASA, no one shoots back at you. Gets to be pretty boring." Jack joked.

"And I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you that you've deserved that promotion for a long time Major." Hammond added. "I put you up for promotions after the incident with Hathor and with Apophis's invasion. I had been wondering why they were turned down. It seems the President wanted to do it himself."

"Thank you, sir." Carter grinned.

"I'm just glad I got to see it." Jacob gave his daughter a one-arm hug.

Suddenly Carter stiffened and her eyes got very unfocused.

"Carter?" O'Neill asked nervously.

"Whoa. I just had an idea. Or maybe a vision. The Tok'ra. Remember Yosuf said that Tok'ra have perfect health?" Carter began. "Cancer should be something they can cure. And we could find out from here. It would only take a phone call." she looked at her commander.

Hammond nodded. "Can't hurt to ask. Let's find a secure phone."

"What's going on?" Jacob asked as they walked.

"Well I don't want to get your hopes up, but I may have figured out a way to cure your cancer. You see there's a race of aliens that need human hosts to survive. One of the benefits they claim is that the people who host them receive perfect health. The downside is that you'd have to share your body for the rest of your life, but it should cure you. We're going to make a phone call right now to find out for sure." Sam explained.

They all sat around the speaker phone listening to the ringing. "Rupert Giles." Came the answer.

"Dr. Giles. This is Major General George Hammond of the US Air Force."

"Ahh yes. General Hammond. Xander notified me that you might be calling sometime. One moment." Giles put the phone down and called for Xander.

"General. I wasn't expecting to hear from you so soon." Xander's voice was equal parts curiosity and warning. He had been very specific about them leaving him alone for now. And he really wasn't in the mood with his conflicting feeling for Martouf/Lantash going through his head right now.

"Well we have a situation here. I'm going to turn you over to Major Carter now and let her explain it." Hammond nodded to Sam.

"Major Carter?" Xander's voice softened. "Congratulations."

"Thank you. But I'm afraid I have some bad news. My father is dying. Lymphoma."

There was silence on the other end. Xander's mind was racing. Had they already learned about his healing device? He really couldn't deny Jacob Carter access to it. He had Samantha's feelings for her father and knew he was a good man. He was about to agree to let them use the device when Sam came back on.

"Is it true that a Tok'ra symbiote can cure cancer?" she asked.

"Well yeah, they can..." Xander was confused. Was that code for asking about the device?

"Selmak is sick. Do you think she could still heal my father's cancer?"

Xander finally got it. They had no idea about the healing device. He wanted to tell them to just come over and he'd cure him, but he also knew that might be dooming Selmak to death. "Umm... Yes. Sorry. This is just a bit much to take in right now. Your father with cancer. It just..." He took a deep breath. "Yes. She could heal cancer. (or the Tok'ra would use a healing device to heal it) And on a personal note: As the only people who know them both, we think Selmak and your father would get along great."

"I'm sorry, have we met?" Jacob asked.

"How do I put this? A part of me knows you very well." Xander smiled at his own answer. "Do you need help finding them again?"

"We shouldn't" Samantha answered. "Garshaw said that Selmak would be remaining on that planet until a new host arrived."

"She left her there?" Jolinar asked outraged. "That bitch!"

"Thank you!" Jack said. "At least Xander said what we were all thinking."

"Actually, that was Jo. But I agree. The Tok'ra retirement package could use some work." Xander added. "Would you have Selmak give me a call from Earth once he gets back? I'd like talk to him about some things."

A/N: Quotes from The Wizard of Oz and The Princess Bride used. Do not own.

I'm sure I screwed up the medal ceremony. What could or could not be said for work on a classified project... Any advice on that would be appreciated. I also pushed up the promotion. She deserved it.

This chapter also used the President of the United States. While I technically was using the fictional unnamed President already present in the SG-1 universe, I strove to represent him and the office with the highest respect.