A quick note about dates. I finagled the Stargate timeline so that season four is running concurrently with the present Buffyverse timeline. The current date is September 2004, about 15 months after after the events of Chosen. Now. on to the story....Cleveland, Ohio, the present...
Buffy was bored. Totally bored. Waaayy bored. Bored to the infinite power of boredom. With a Herculean effort, she fought back a yawn that threatened to explode from her, exposing her total boredom to the rest of the room. Stifling a sigh, she glanced up to the front of the room. Yep, still talking. Blah blah blah blah. How could anyone drone on so long about nothing? For a moment she tuned in...”and the figures from the Madagascar sub-continent are showing excellent drops in both demonic sightings and class one incidents...” Buffy hastily re-erected her shield. John Luke Pickard had nothing on her. No photo torpedos or phase blasty thingy could penetrate her trusty shield. Nope. And she sooo needed to stop channeling Andrew. Buffy contemplated the events that had led her to this place of boredom.
When the First had been defeated, she, as well as the other Scoobies, had seen the endless possibilities of finally having freedom to travel wherever their dreams led. Even with having to take responsibility for hundreds of newly empowered slayers, things were looking up. Willow had tracked down the Council's funds relatively quickly and Buffy was actually paid a decent salary these days. Plenty of money to pay for those essentials like rent, shoes, food, shoes, electricity, and especially shoes. Buffy's thoughts sidetracked to that darling pair of silver pumps that would look absolutely fabulous with her black leather pants and crimson silk camisole top... Pulled out of her thoughts for a moment by an especially loud BLAH, she briefly looked up, assessed the excitement levels as not, and went back to contemplating her voyage to the now.
The salary was nice. As was the opportunity to rest. When she had left Sunnydale behind, the other Scoobies had felt there was something wrong with her. She had been more down than anytime since being pulled back from Heaven. Buffy wasn't sure whether to lend credence to the collective theory that she had suffered from some type of post-trauma stressy thingy or not, but she had definitely not been her chippy, chipped, chipperama, oh whatever, self. So she had rested. For all of two weeks. Then boredom and the need to kill something had driven her to patrol. She had actually started to enjoy patrolling again. Taking impressionable young slayers on patrol had been good, although the entire hero worshippy vibe had been waaayy overrated. Thank God for Dawn being there to tell her when she was being a bitch and generally keeping her head from swelling like a balloon. Despite that, it had been fun. Until she and the other girls had stopped finding things to kill on patrol. Hundreds of slayers patrolling a relatively small area had the effect of “over hunting” the available prey. It was like hundreds of deer hunters going into a few dozen square miles with assault rifles and unlimited ammo. Not good for the deer.
Buffy had figured that once all of the slayers graduated to their own territories, the hunting would improve. Unfortunately, she had not understood the ruthless efficiency of Xander's new system of patrol. Taking the two hundred and fifty or so slayers and dividing them into five-girl teams, he had structured things so that never fewer than five girls patrolled or responded to any crisis. Additionally, you could rapidly bring in additional teams as needed at any time if something started to go down that was too tough for five slayers. The funny thing was, very little was too tough for five slayers. The world had gone for several thousand years with only one slayer at a time to protect it. Five slayers, working together, covering each others' backs and blind spots, made a formidable team. Twenty-five slayers doing the same thing made a near unstoppable one.
The biggest grouping of slayers needed to date since their activation had been forty-five, exempting Angel's little brouhaha in L.A. Secretly, Buffy was convinced that fewer than half of the forty-five slayers had shown up because they were needed. The other half had shown up because that apocalypse had occurred in Miami, allowing for some serious beach time afterwards. And the L.A. thing? She had brought everyone simply because it was Angel and Spike. And they had mowed the demons down, not even giving Angel and Spike a chance to really fight. Both had seemed upset afterwards and she had not seen either since. Give her a break from pouty master vampires. But regardless, the slayer teams had made a dent: first in Cleveland's night life, then the U.S.'s, North America's, and finally the world's. Now you were lucky if you found one vampire on a patrol. Most vampires were in hiding, too frightened to hunt, and definitely too frightened to sire more vampires, since siring invariably led back to the vampire foolish enough to do it. So risings were scarce and visiting vamps even scarcer.
And demons? Piffle. The demons were running scared. When twenty-five slayers had gone in after a large group of N'katul demons in the Amazon basin about six months after Sunnydale, the demon world had a rude awakening. Working together, they had wiped out hundreds of demons, breaking back up into five-girl teams to finish mopping up. When all was said and done, the strongest demonic presence on the planet was just so much purple goo. Stinky purple goo at that. So much for the whole flowy, nightmary, shadowy vibe thingy they had going on.
And since they were there, the slayer teams had traveled through six more countries in South America, relentlessly hunting down any other demons or vampires they had come across. It had been a frightening demonstration of slayer power, a demonstration that had occurred again and again. The LA showdown, six months later, had merely been one more example. Now only the most peaceful tribes of demons still existed, most about as dangerous as Clem. The worst thing was what it was doing to the girls. Not finding anything to kill was having an adverse effect on all of the slayers, Buffy especially. Arguments and fights broke out on a regular basis. Just last week she had provoked Kennedy, again, into throwing the first punch, after which she had beaten her like a drum. It had been fun until Willow had showed up, glaring at her for again knocking her ex-girlfriend unconscious. Ultimately Buffy had been forced to apologize to a glaring Kennedy in order to make peace with Willow. It had still been worth it, faux apology and all.
Besides, it was all Willow's fault. When Buffy had brought up the original idea of activating the potentials and turning them into slayers, had Willow even once brought up possible consequences? Absolutely not. She was all “I'm not sure I can do this, Buffy” and all “I'm all worried about the magic”. Not once had she said, implied, indicated, or otherwise discussed how pulling all of the scythe's power through Buffy's link to it would result in her getting a double-dose of the slayer mojo, the very thing the Shadow Men had been trying to do to her. Now she was all super-Buffy, although without the cape and tights, and that was majorly freaksome. She had to get used to her strength all over again, of course after breaking like a gazillion door knobs, and doors, and desks, and so on. All of which Xander fixed, never once even giving her a cross look for adding even more to his workload.
And movies and TV? How do you watch a movie when all you see is a series of still pictures occurring one after another? Orlando Bloom was waaayy cute, but you could only see so many pictures of him before you just wanted to get up and go. Or TV, when all you see a single point of light zipping all over the screen. It had been bad enough before, but she could kinda relax her pupils, losing focus and usually get the gist of it. Except when watching bad Indian musicals. No one except Willow got those. Now, not so much. So, no more movie nights for Buffy. And food? She ate like two slayers as well, which meant that she ate like six linebackers. Four large pizzas? With everything? Totally embarrassing. And darn difficult having to fight for the last piece or six of pizza when you had already had your share and the slayer-next-to-you's share as well.
It had gotten to the point that Buffy needed two entire slayer teams just to get a workout. And finding slayers around when she
wanted to work out was becoming ridiculously hard. They just seemed to disappear like rats deserting a sinking ship whenever Buffy fun time rolled around. And just because of a few broken arms and legs. Hardly anything, really. So much for the usefulness of the whole worshippy vibe. At least when Illyria was around, she could give her a good workout. Illyria was about as strong as Buffy, although not quite as fast or agile. And she didn't have to worry about “breaking” her. But of course Illyria had decided to go with Faith to Borneo to find a supposed lost tribe of demons that were still evil. Better them than her. Buffy and bugs were non-mixy things.
She still wasn't sure if it was the whole power-girl vibe she had going on for herself that had put the final kibosh on her relationship with the souled vampires. When she had killed the dragon by casting a javelin in one eye and out the back of its skull, both had eyed her with more than a little trepidation. Killing swaths of demons with the Scythe, while keeping up a running verbal tally in her contest against Faith's team, had put them off even more. In the end, the demons had broken, running for their lives towards the portal which had brought them there, only to have it blink out, leaving them trapped on this side with the slayers, where the slaughter had finished. Buffy had even beaten Faith's entire team by nearly twenty demons, although she still thought the dragon should count as more than one. She had at least gotten a part-time sparring partner out of the deal. A fair trade for two waffling vampiric exes.
Of course, not having a man around had been difficult what with the whole hungry and horny feelings, as Faith liked to put it, popping up post-patrol. She had even given Xander more than one smouldering look, but had managed to hold onto her willpower. Besides, with Kennedy falling by the wayside, Xander and Willow had reconnected, in a way that was blowing her mind, especially in light of the whole “I'm over you sweetie” from Willow. No dating yet, but definitely sparkage. Who woulda thought?
Buffy registered blessed silence. Raising her eyes to contemplate the beauty of a meeting that was over, she rose to her feet, only to be stopped by Willow's voice. “Wait a minute, everyone. I haven't given my presentation on how the new magic corps is doing. It's only going to take another forty-five minutes for me to finish up.”
Slowly Buffy turned around and looked at Willow. Meeting her eyes, Buffy put the full power of her pout into effect, trembling lower lip and everything. Willow met her pout unflinching for all of eight seconds, before sighing in defeat. “Fine, I'll give my presentation next time. And I had charts and pie graphs. Giles! I want to go first next time. Barry drones on waaay too long and bores everyone so much that no one has any borability left for me.”
Ignoring Barry's offended “Hey!” and matching glare, and Giles's slow, methodical polishing of his glasses, Buffy grabbed Willow's hand and pulled her quickly from the room. “Thanks Will, I don't think I had another hour of pie graph chart thingies in me. I might have slayed the projector and then Giles would have polished his glasses while clucking and nothing of the good would have come from it.”
“You're welcome, Buffy. But seriously, I want to go first next time. Barry took three hours to tell us that there is pretty much zero demonic activity world wide, which Xander or I could have said in like thirty seconds and its not fair that I didn't get to talk since I spentfourhourswritingupmypresentationinpowerpointandevenmoretimepract...”
Putting her hand over the redhead wicca's mouth, Buffy counted to ten before saying in a slow measured tone, “Breath Will. Too much babbling can lead to fainting or serious overshareage. By the way, did Barry really talk for three hours? I must have reached new heights of zonage to not register one single thing he said. Yay me!”
Willow licked Buffy's hand, which was still over her mouth, ignoring the offended “Gross!” before taking a deep breath, saying, “You didn't even hear one
thing he said? Even Xander heard about the lesbian succubi in Tanzania that apparently don't have to be slayed since they aren't really a menace.”
Wiping her hand on her jeans, Buffy chirped, “Lesbian succubi? Wow, how can I live knowing I missed that?”
“Okay, you're just abusing sarcasm. Anyway, have you used the new weightlifting set up Xander built in the gym? He swears it will help with the whole non-slay thing. He also said it was indestructible, even Buffy-proof.”
Puzzled, Buffy stared at Willow. “Way to go with the non segue, Wills. And yes I have, but I am not sure I like it. It is way too Hellboyish for me. Not that I can ever watch that movie again to really know for sure.”
“I'm so sorry, Buffy. You want me to bake you more chocolate chip cookies to go with the couple of thousand or so that I already made you?” Willow's saccharine sweet tone bothered Buffy not at all. She and the Scoobies had finally gotten over the whole “threw her out of her house” thing. Willow had apologized with baked goods, which yum! Xander had gone the build-it route, which was why Buffy now owned an entire houseful of beautiful handmade oak furniture. When she had tried to protest after receiving the second piece from him, he had simply ignored her and kept on making them, putting out a piece or two every month. In the end, Buffy merely said "thank you," with a hug and a kiss on the cheek after each one. Now she was back to having a close friendship with both of them, something she had missed for too long.
“Okay, now who's abusing sarcasm? Anyway lets stop talking about boring stuff and focus on the important things in life. Like boys and clothes. Did you see that outfit that Vi had one today? It didn't do a thing for her. Now on me....”