Rise of the Phoenix, Book 2

Disclaimers: All disclaimers from Book 1 are equally valid for Book 2

Rated: still in the 18-21 range.

Anything I've missed (disclaimer related) I can't think of it at the moment, but it still applies.

Chapter One

Buffy shuddered slightly as her grip on her girlfriend's hand tightened. It had been two years, but she still had problems being underground.

"Are you okay, honey?" Sam asked, placing a comforting hand on her trembling shoulder. She had gone to pick the girls up at the airport while Janet brought Dawn with her to work. Normally, Dawn wouldn't have been allowed into the top secret facility, but with her prodigy-like gift with languages, she had been given a special dispensation by the President to make some extra money by helping Daniel with his backlog of translations.

The MPs at the back of the elevator looked at each other, their curiosity clear on their faces. They'd never heard the Colonel speak to anyone so gently before.

"I'm fine." Buffy responded automatically. She cast her mind around for something to think about other than the fact that she was ten feet under a freaking mountain and going deeper. "So, are we gonna get to go to another planet?"

Sam chuckled. "You'll have to talk to the General about that."

Buffy and Willow grinned at her. It had been almost a year since they'd met General Hammond, and it had been rocky from the start. Then, their worlds had collided head-first when the former Vice President, who had been a thorn in the SGC for years, kidnapped and tortured Willow in an attempt to gain control of her considerable, but supernatural powers. However, his machinations caused a growing connection between the Witch and the Slayer to deepen and blossom much more quickly than it should have.

In the end, the young women had been gunned down, and subsequently transformed into a superpower unlike anything that had walked the planet since before the beginning of remembered history. They had waded through those responsible like angels of death, killing most of the responsible parties. Those that they did not kill, they left trapped in their own minds, immersed in horrors that left them screaming in mindless horror. Robert Kinsey, the former Vice President, and the man ultimately responsible, was left a vegetable, his mind having collapsed in on itself when shown exactly what he had brought into being.

Since then, Buffy and Willow had been sequestered in the Witches' Coven in Devon, England, where they learned to control their new powers and came to terms with what had been done to Willow and what the two young women had done in retaliation. Dawn had stayed with them. With Buffy's permission, she was allowed to train with the novices her age, but she was also required to do home schooling to catch up with her grades. She was given a minor break because she was a Sunnydale survivor, but with her brains, it hadn't been difficult for her to get back on track.

Joining them had been Illyria, what supernatural history called an Old One. Old Ones, although back then they had gone by another, unpronounceable name, had been servants to the Nine, although they could and occasionally did bind themselves to a specific power, either though debt of life or simply because that power proved 'worthy'. The High Priestess had been initially hesitant to allow the demon into the coven, but she had proven to be an invaluable source of information and a much needed training partner for the infinitely stronger Buffy since she bound herself to their service.

Colonel Samantha Carter, resident genius of the Stargate Program, and Buffy's biological mother, had stayed with them as much as she could. Thankfully, she'd had several months worth of accumulated leave saved up and, with her team temporarily sidelined because their CO was still in an alien stasis chamber in the Atlantis outpost in Antarctica, she'd only had to report back to the base for the most routine of missions, usually liaising with her father, a member of the Tok'ra, or one of the other races who preferred to deal with a member of SG-1.

Sam saw Buffy shudder again as they moved further down into the mountain. Without thinking, she leaned forward and placed a reassuring kiss on the back of her head. Although she wasn't normally a demonstrative type of person, after everything that she had learned and all that had happened, she constantly found herself touching her daughter whenever possible, either in comfort or simple reassurance. It had been a tumultuous year for Sam, after finding out about the war her child had been fighting for the better part of her life, and the fact that some so-called higher beings had intercepted the notification of her best friend's death, which resulted in her not being there when her daughter needed her the most.

Then, to make matters even worse, she discovered that a rogue NID project nearly killed Buffy when she began to question what they were doing to the demons that they were 'collecting' and 'studying'. To top even that, she discovered that her child had died, not once, but multiple times, and she had never known about it.

Her mood darkened as she thought about Hank Summers. She had finally managed to track him down. He'd moved from Spain after the first year, when his affair with his secretary had fallen apart after she'd caught him with another woman, and Sam had found him in Germany. He had indeed gotten the notice about Joyce's death, and the letter from Dawn regarding Buffy's death, but he had long since washed his hands of that useless, good-for-nothing juvenile delinquent, that wasn't even his kid, and had not even bothered to respond. Those had actually been his exact words. It had taken all of Janet's diplomatic skills just to keep Sam from beating the shit out of the prick, and Sam had told him, in no uncertain terms, that he was going to sign over custody of Dawn to her sister. He had protested at first, especially after he'd realized that Buffy had such high connections in the US government, but when Sam threatened to take it the Courts, he wisely reconsidered, and also agreed to repay all of the back child-support for both children that he had owed to Joyce.

Finally, the elevator stopped and the doors opened to reveal a bouncy, obviously excited Dawn waiting for them. When she wasn't with Buffy in England, the younger Summers had been staying with Janet and Cassie. When the new school year began, she had moved in with Sam and been enrolled in Cassie's high school.

"Hey, Dawnie," Willow smiled as Dawn jumped into her arms, hugging her fiercely. "What's going on?"

"Sam's dad is coming." Dawn said, excited about the prospect of meeting her grandfather. "I mean, bummer that they're coming cause one of their friends is hurt, but we're gonna meet our granddad, Buffy!"

"Who was hurt, Dawn?" Sam asked.

"Someone named Anise." The brunette answered. "Janet got this odd look on her face when she found out who it was. I don't think she likes her very much."

Sam wasn't too fond of the Tok'ra scientist. She was usually able to ignore the overly-arrogant woman, but during their last visit, when Jacob had been informed of what had happened to his granddaughter, Anise had tried to convince General Hammond, in her usual callous way, to allow her to run tests on the girls in hopes of enhancing their own hosts after hearing how they returned to life without the aid of a sarcophagus.

Sam had lost it, a reaction so completely out of character that she was nearly on top of the female Tok'ra before Janet could react. That action alone revealed how much the entire situation had affected the usually near-unflappable Colonel. General Hammond had had his own hands full trying to convince Jacob not to storm off to the facility where Kinsey was being cared for and kill the man with his bare hands, an odd reaction considering he tried to convince Sam to cut all ties with her daughter after the girl had burned down her school gym.

When the General finally ordered both Carters to control themselves, Anise, who had never seen the blonde Tau'ri so angered before, wisely kept her mouth shut.

Regardless of her feelings, however, the fact that the immoral Tok'ra scientist was injured and needed their help made Sam uneasy. Whatever injury or illness the woman had contracted should have been easily remedied by the symbiote. Squeezing Buffy's shoulder briefly, she stepped past the girls and hurried down the hall to the control room. Since Dawn knew where she was going, they followed at a more sedate pace, catching up on what Dawn had been up to since her last visit. Just as they reached the briefing room, klaxons sounded loudly, signaling the incoming wormhole.

From the briefing room, Buffy and Willow gawked with the proper wide-eyed amazement as the Stargate activated and the event horizon whooshed out before sucking back into itself to flow in place like a horizontal pool. They watched as a balding man stepped out of the pool carrying an unconscious blonde woman and followed by a brunette with a worried, frightened look on her face. Janet and her assistants, concealed in hazmat suits, ushered them into one of the portable isolation tents. Since the Tok'ra didn't know what it was, nor could they fight it off like they could any other illnesses, she wasn't taking any chances.

Buffy and Willow glanced at each other. They could feel the presence of the 'others' within these humans. Unlike Sam's teammate, Teal'c, these aliens were full grown and sentient.

"They feel sort of like Spike after he'd gone and gotten his soul." Buffy commented, almost to herself.

"How do you mean?" Willow asked.

"I'd never realized it until Angel lost his soul, but he felt slightly different than other vampires. That why I could always tell that it was him." Buffy told her. "After Spike went out and got his soul, he felt different too. Even different from Angel. It's like Angel's demon was chained by that gypsy curse and Spike's demon kinda, I dunno, evolved past being evil or something."

"So, if demons can become 'good," Dawn asked thoughtfully. "does that mean that the good ones can go 'bad'?"

"Hmm, I suppose it's possible." Willow answered after a startled moment. They all looked at each other before shuddering. "Goddess, what a depressing thought."