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Posted September 2, 2014
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Series: Ring of the Gods
Title: Nowhere To Go But Up
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: Kendra's smile was not entirely without shadows; but there was a level of satisfaction in it that told Buffy she'd made the right call. 1500 words.
Spoilers: SG-1 season 9, set during 9.16 "Off the Grid". Post-series for B:tVS.
Buffy looked up from her desk at the sound of a knock against her open office door, and broke into an appreciative smile at the sight of her visitor. "Nice," she said, taking in the effect of Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell dressed entirely in leather and dark, distressed fabrics.
The pants clung in all the right places; the leather vambraces on his wrists combined with the very short-sleeved shirt emphasized the firm muscle of his biceps and forearms; and the heavy belt slung low on his hips completed the look, drawing the unwary eye away from his galactically infamous features. Or even the wary eye; Buffy let her eyes do the walking for a minute, appreciating her boyfriend's assets, before meeting his twinkling blue gaze.
She'd been putting the finishing touches on Kenda's paperwork; Willow had been visiting in Cleveland when the amulet broke to signal that the alternate-universe version of Buffy's successor was ready to take them up on their offer, and had chosen to work the spell to bring her across there, where other Council witches were available to help her. That had given them a few days' cushion to complete the arrangements for Kendra Young to officially join the SGC... but it also meant a few more days before Buffy could go off-world. General Landry wanted them both in the same place before they tried that experiment again, after the disaster that had happened last time Buffy had stepped through a Stargate.
She was pretty sure it wouldn't happen again, now that they had a second Queen Slayer to anchor the line; but she understood the caution. It didn't make her any happier about Cam going off-world yet again without her, though. Especially dressed like that.
"So that's what the aspiring interstellar drug lord is wearing these days," she said, dropping her pen and stretching a little as she stood. "Off to P6G-452 already?"
He met her halfway between the door and the desk. "'Fraid so," he said, tugging self-consciously at the leather strapping over his shirt and vest. "I know you were just itchin' to try out these nifty Undercover Rawhides...."
"It's not the leather per se, do you have any idea how many times I petitioned O'Neill to redesign the base uniform?" she chuckled, running curious fingers over the buckles, the leather pauldron cupped over one shoulder, the vee neck of the shirt, and those deliciously exposed forearms. "And the one time you go out wearing anything but...."
"Aw, there'll be other chances," he said, basking in the attention with a wry smile and lifting his arms to drape around her shoulders. "You'd have been bored this time anyway; all we're gonna do is stand around in a field of space corn and bargain with its owner to try and find out where it came from. You tellin' me you've got some particular experience with crops?"
"I don't know, are we talking about the kind that grows in the ground, or the kind that comes with a handle?" she teased, then leaned up for a good morning kiss.
The sound of a clearing throat came from behind Cam; as they broke apart, she caught sight of Daniel studiously looking the other way where he stood in the doorway, dressed in equally form-fitting gear. She usually thought of him first as friend and Watcher material and only second as an attractive guy, but the latter was impossible to ignore today. She was tempted to follow them down to the control room to see them off; she bet Teal'c and Sam rounded out the team in a quartet of smoking hotness.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm com... I'm on my way," Cam hastily corrected himself mid-sentence, smirking as he pulled back from her. "Look, it's probably going to be a short mission; but if we do miss Kendra's arrival, tell her 'hi' from me, okay? This whole parallel universe thing has got to be weird for her, however much she was expecting it."
"Will do," Buffy agreed, then raised her voice. "Keep an eye on him for me, would you, Daniel?"
"You want him to keep an eye on me?" Cam scoffed. "You are aware that his track record on missions is way worse than mine is."
"Quantity? Maybe. Percentage-wise....?" Daniel snarked at him. "Personally, I'm looking forward to having an extra Slayer on the team for just that reason; our luck has nowhere to go but up."
Buffy laughed, and sent them off with a wave. Then she went back to her desk, determined to finish up before security called down to let her know her visitors had finally arrived.
The klaxon announcing the outgoing wormhole came and went while she worked; she kept herself motivated by the thought that she'd be walking through it with them at least half the time in future. When the call finally came, she cracked her knuckles with satisfaction, smiling as she headed for the conference room set aside for Kendra's orientation.
The other Slayer had already been on an alternate Gate team for years, but she'd still have to go through the standard initial procedures to make sure there wasn't some tiny yet super significant difference between their universes, and they also needed to give her the ID and backstory for her 'new' identity. The Kendra Young of their universe had died in Sunnydale; since the town was now at the bottom of a pit, it had been a simple matter to edit her records to erase any trace of a death certificate, paving the way for the second Kendra to take over her identity. But they'd still had to concoct an explanation for what she'd done in the intervening years.
Willow-- her proper Willow with the long red hair, shot through with a few strawberries and cream strands, and an intricately designed commitment ring on her right hand rather than the parallel Willow's short-cut hair and plain gold wedding band-- rose from a chair as Buffy entered and greeted her with a firm hug. "Buffy! It's good to see you."
"Good to see you too, Will," she replied with a smile, then turned to the other woman in the room. "Kendra! I was starting to worry."
Kendra looked much the same as she had the last time they'd seen one another, several weeks before, bar a few minor cuts and bruises. "You were right about de First Evil," she said, "but I was right about de new Slayer as well... she needed training, and I could not leave her to be Spike's third kill."
"So did you get him?" Buffy felt conflicted at the thought, after all she'd been through with her Spike; but Kendra's had never been at Angelus' mercy in a wheelchair, or got chipped by the Initiative, or lost his dark princess. He'd set up shop as Master on the Hellmouth, and maneuvered things so even the Watcher's Council was forced to do his bidding or face intolerable consequences.
"We did," Kendra nodded. "We took your advice about his leman, and sought her out first. Once Drusilla was gone, Spike became much more impatient and erratic. It still was not easy, but he is finally dust; the line of Aurelius is at an end, and a Vampire Slayer guards the Mouth of Hell once more."
"That's great," Buffy said, suppressing a pang at the thought. "You did it! And now you're here."
"Yes." Kendra's smile was not entirely without shadows; but there was a level of satisfaction in it that told Buffy she'd definitely made the right call, making the offer of refuge to Kendra when the Stargate system had malfunctioned and temporarily dropped her in their lap. "I look forward to de challenge."
Buffy was, too. She'd been carrying a lot of hope ever since Kendra's first appearance, hope that was finally about to be realized. She was glad to see Kendra for her own sake, too, of course; as little as she'd known the other Slayer in her own timeline, and as jealous as she'd been of the girl's instant rapport with Giles, she'd also liked the Jamaican Slayer, and always felt obscurely guilty about the manner of her death.
From what she'd heard about her own death in this Kendra's timeline, she imagined the other Slayer felt very similarly about her. That would undoubtedly make things a little awkward, navigating a new friendship and working relationship around the ghosts between them, but the spark of rapport Buffy had felt during their first meeting was definitely still there; it gave her a good feeling about the future.
"Hold onto that thought; because we have a whole lot of paperwork to get through first," Buffy smiled, dropping her accumulated stack of folders on the table.
Kendra groaned at the sight, with all the familiarity of someone who'd been through the process before.
"Airman, could we get some coffee?" Buffy summoned one of Walter's minions, then pulled out a chair next to Kendra's, and got to work.
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