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"So this is what's happened to you, Dr. Weir." Ba'al's cultured tones don't hide the monster he is underneath. Elizabeth has read every single report about his actions; she knows by heart the Jaffa oral histories that Teal'c has recorded. "My, my. Death certainly becomes you."

Elizabeth rises from her chair and circles around Ba'al. He isn't just cuffed; he's chained. She takes no chances with a creature this dangerous. "The Pegasus galaxy has nothing for you," she says, as he slowly pivots to watch her. "Take your fleet and leave at once. The Jaffa you've deluded don't deserve to die."

"I thought I'd come seeking a new host." Ba'al inclines his head congenially. "I'd presumed that Colonel Sheppard might be man enough for the job, but here you are, lovely as ever. I don't plan on leaving until I can have you."

Fiery rage wells inside of Elizabeth, but she tamps it down quickly. There is no smile curving her mouth, but she doesn't bother hiding the triumph in her eyes. "Haven't your spies told you?"

"They tell me everything that goes on in your part of the universe, my dear Elizabeth." He looks smug, but he can't know everything.

She steps forward and cups his cheeks in her hands. When her lips meet his in an openmouthed kiss, she presses her body closer to his. It's firm, and Elizabeth's hands come to settle on his chest.

Ba'al's eyes widen, but not in pleasure. Elizabeth hears a startled exclamation from Ba'al as she tastes the coppery tang of blood. The goa'uld is covered with viscous fluid as it passes into her, and as she pulls back, her eyes flare with alien, golden triumph.

The nanites within her attack the invader in the space of one breath. The burning pain sears every nerve in her body, but she's used to that now. The torture of the Asurans has prepared her for the way they seek out the goa'uld within her and break every molecule down into its component atoms before Ba'al can release the poison that would take her along with him.

Two breaths later, and Elizabeth is satisfied. This threat to her galaxy, at least, has been vanquished.

--end--