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Life's Ending, Life's Beginning

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Lt. Buffy "Cali" Summers, USAF". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: After the events of graduation go horribly wrong, Buffy leaves Sunnydale for another future

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Theme: ActionbecuzitswrongFR1831164,5184362108508,1092 Oct 076 Mar 14No
CoA Winner

Chapter Nineteen—Adventures in Dormitory Living

Buffy ducked and threw a charging Firstie over her shoulder using his own momentum against him. He ended up on the floor where five smacks jumped him, including Cadet Emma Phillips. She was the most vicious of the five as she rubbed BBQ sauce into his hair while the others duct taped his wrists behind his back. Buffy winced at the sight. Then she had more important things to worry about.

There were another ten Firsties charging down the hallway towards her group. They'd apparently been hiding in one of the rooms there, awaiting their opportunity to act. Too bad they're too late, Buffy thought smugly.

“Charge!” Buffy shouted to her reinforcements, who had also been hiding, waiting for their chance to ambush the Firsties. The last twenty-five smacks charged out and hit the Firsties from behind, knocking almost half of them on their butts. Buffy, wielded two bottles of BBQ sauce, one in each hand, liberally squirting any Firstie in range squarely in the eyes. It was a surprisingly effective move. Maybe she should have tried something like this back in Sunnydale. With a sudden grin, Buffy could just imagine Giles' reaction to her telling him her idea. He probably would have spent at least a minute cleaning his glasses, she thought fondly.

There was still a small knot of Firsties on their feet at the other end of the hallway. Westerman was at the center of the cluster, shoving any smacks who got too close down for his companions to pummel. That's when Buffy decided to act. Racing forward at a sprint, she threw herself into the air at the last minute and drove right into the group, sending them flying like tenpins. The only problem was that they were standing right in front of the large mirror that covered that end wall of the hallway. And Buffy went right into it, shattering it into a million pieces, just as the AOC walked in.

The Air Officer Commanding, Captain McMillan, took one look at the huge mess, and shouted, “Atten-hut!” Every single cadet in the hallway froze, then snapped to attention. The AOC slowly walked down the hallway, staring at everything. Buffy was conscious of just what a disaster everything was. There was blood, BBQ sauce, and other fluids coating practically every surface. Trashcans had been emptied all over the hall, their contents just adding to the tremendous mess. The coup de resistance, though, was the shattered mirror.

Captain McMillan slapped her leg hard. Then in a deadly tone, stated, “You have SAMI at 0800 hours. You have nine hours until then to clean this up. If I, or any of the other brass, see so much as a speck, every squadron on this floor will spend the rest of the semester on base. Am I understood?”

Buffy and the rest of the cadets there thundered, “Yes, ma'am!”

With that, the AOC took one last horrified look around, then left. Buffy sagged back from attention. She rubbed her back where she'd hit the glass. “You okay, Summers?” She turned towards Westerman, who looked genuinely concerned.

“Yes, sir.”

He looked around in wry amusement. “Well, this is one fine mess you made, Cadet.”

Buffy wasn't going to let that go by. “I had some help, sir.”

“Yes, you did. Well, get to work cleaning. I'll be back in a second.” At Buffy's questioning look, Westerman grinned and said, “Just because the rest of these pussies hiding in their rooms avoided helping make the mess, doesn't mean they're going to avoid helping with the clean up. Especially after I mention the possible consequences.” With that, he headed off.

Buffy started picking stuff up. Connie, who was working nearby, laughed and said, “Well that was slightly more intense than I expected.”

Buffy laughed as well. “Yeah, I did not expect to have that many Firsties show. I guess they were trying for overwhelming numbers. Too bad we still outnumbered them nearly two-to-one.”

Connie wore a mock sympathetic look. “Yep, too bad.” With a final laugh, they got back to work.



“So, Cali, what do you think?” Connie asked, as she put one final brush stroke into her masterpiece.

Buffy stared in disbelief. Greeley and a couple of other cadets had gotten it into their heads that they needed to replace the shattered mirror with a painted mural. Since Connie was the most artistically talented of the squadron, she'd been roped into painting it. They'd 'procured' paint and painting supplies from somewhere and gone to town. The result covered the wall.

A large hairy barbarian dressed in the remnants of an Air Force cadet's dress blues was smashing out of the wall, a fierce expression covering his face. The words 'Big Bad Barbarians' along with their squadron number were painted below him. The class years of all current classes from 2000 to 2003 were represented as well along the other end of the painting. All in all it was an... interesting piece of art.

“I like it,” Buffy declared, amusement evident in her voice. “But don't you think you should grab a shower now? SAMI is in an hour.”

Connie's eyes widened dramatically. “Fuck!” With that, she raced off. Buffy took one final look at the mural and shook her head. She wondered if the AOC would be able to square this with the brass...



Cali was laughing so hard tears streamed down her face. Next to her, Connie howled. Gator let them work it off for a second, then continued, “Then the AOC tells the Commandant, 'I wanted a mural so they painted me a mural.'”

With that, the howls of laughter began again. Finally, Cali managed to get out, “Connie painted a mural that the AOC signed off on! To the Commandant! Oh my God, that is sooo sweet!”

Gator smiled, struck again by just how cute she was, especially now, with her cheeks flushed and her hair messy. “Well, I think someone should thank Captain McMillan. It's not often you get an AOC that's not a complete sack of shit.”

Laughing, Cali said, “I'll give her half the cookies my mom's bringing tomorrow.”

Gator looked hurt. “I thought I got dibs on those cookies?”

Connie shooed him back, making the sign of the cross over her breast. “Get thee back, Satan! Those cookies are mine!”

“You can both go jump in a lake. Since she's my mom, I get all cookies. But I might be willing to pay with cookies for foot rubs.” Cali gave Gator an arch look from under lowered eyelashes.

Connie scrunched up her nose. “Ewwww!”

Gator became aware that the atmosphere was getting charged again. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, he said, “Well, I gotta go, ladies. I just wanted to stop by and let you know how your little event was perceived.” Ignoring Cali's disappointed expression, Gator went out the door...

Sixty seconds later...

“You scared him off.”

Connie whirled at Cali's accusation. “I scared him off? Not the fact that you were acting like a wookie in heat?”

Cali started to reply, stopped in shock, and finally said,”Umm... wookie in heat? What does that even mean?”

Connie smiled sweetly. If she wasn't getting cookies, she might as well dive right in. “If the shoe fits...”

Cali frowned. “That is sooo unfair. I'm not a wookie. There's nothing wookiesh about me. Plus, I have waayyy better hair, even this short.” She fluffed it for emphasis.

“I notice you don't dispute the 'in heat' part,” Connie said, baiting her roomie.

Cali started to reply, then stopped. With a wry grin, she stated, “Actually, that's a pretty fair assessment. The last time I had sex was... well, once when I was seventeen. So, I might be a little bit 'in heat.'”

Connie stared. Cali hadn't had sex but once in her entire life? Thinking back on four boyfriends in high school, plus a couple of other guys she had 'hooked up' with, Connie decided that she had the more experience. Finally, I get a chance to be the mentor, she thought with satisfaction...



Buffy dreamed...


Buffy watched something dark and terrible stalk through the dark halls. It paused momentarily, picking over corpses. It discarded a human's, then found what it was looking for in the form of two different demons. Lifting them both, it threw them over its broad shoulders.

Stalking back in the direction from whence it came, the figure finally stepped into the glow from an emergency light. Strange features, half demon and half machine, were visible to Buffy's eyes. It strode on down the hallway, back into the shadows. Buffy started to follow, when she stepped onto a corpse. Instinctively stopping, she looked down. The pale, dead features of one of the girls she'd seen kissing in a previous dream stared back up at her, her dark hair like a reverse halo around her head...


Buffy shuddered awake, her heart beating furiously. Grimacing, she glanced at the alarm clock which read 0200 hours, then swung her legs over the edge of her bed. She wouldn't sleep anymore tonight...

Two weeks later...

“So let me get this straight. Not only did you plan and execute a Hall Brawl that wrecked the entire third floor, but you also broke one of those big, expensive mirrors that are on each end of the hallway, which you replaced with a mural.” Jack was torn between astonishment and amusement. Cali appeared to be trying to singlehandedly set some kind of record for demerits at the Zoo.

Cali looked back at Jack innocently. “Yes, sir.”

“What was the butcher's bill for all of this? Dare I expect you to be off-base sometime during your First-Class year?”

“The AOC was fine with our solution, sir.”

“Huh?” Jack wasn't often taken that aback, but finding out the Air Officer Commanding hadn't done squat to them after they'd practically wrecked Vandenberg Hall was enough to shock even him.

“Sir, the AOC, Captain McMillan, told the Commandant that she had asked us for a mural and was quite pleased with the result. Also, the fact that the wing received the highest SAMI scores so far this year didn't hurt either, sir.”

Jack grinned. “Did you even sleep at all that night between cleaning up and getting ready for SAMI?”

Cali smiled demurely. “Who needs sleep, sir?”

“Yeah, right. I remember being that young. Barely.” Jack was aware that something had changed between them. Two months ago, Ca... Summers wouldn't have dreamed of confiding something like this to him. Now, she'd done so without batting an eye. He wasn't sure how to... Jack focused his attention on the man approaching their table. Well-dressed, he looked familiar. Then Jack had it.

“How is your meal, folks?”

Jack looked up at the owner of O'Malley's, Fergus O'Malley, himself. He smiled and said, “It's great, as usual.”

The man smiled back. “I'm very glad to hear that, Colonel. We definitely pride ourself on the quality of our food and service. What did you think about it, Cadet?”

Cali smiled widely. “I loved it, sir. The desert was especially scrumptious.” She gestured to the remains of her multi-layered chocolate desert.

The man smiled at them both. “Thanks again for coming in tonight. My name is Fergus and if there's anything I can do for you and your daughter, please let me know.” With that, he'd walked away to the next table, leaving Jack and Cali staring at his retreating back...

Cheyenne Mountain...

Jack sighed heavily. The damn Academy Scandal, as it was being called by the newspapers and CNN, had seriously screwed up his deployment plans. He'd lost all three of the cadets he had planned to recruit. While it was a good thing to not have liars, cheaters, and rapists under his command, it was a bad thing that he now had to start recruiting all over again. That meant winnowing the entire graduating class of the Zoo. Currently, he had six names on his short list, none of whom had appeared on either of those now infamous lists:


Jeremiah Greeley
Randolph Pierson
Terence Brueller
Edgar Westerman
Todd Armen
Sarah Hill


All were first-class cadets. They all had applied for and received Top Secret clearances. Three of them had taken survival training while of the other three, two were on the Wings of Blue, while the remaining cadet was a Soaring IP. All six had majors that would come in handy, ranging from Space Engineers to Space and Missile Ops to Geospatial Science. One of the six had actually expressed an interest in becoming an astronaut.

Of the six of them, Jack only saw one candidate that he would put on an actual SG team, but there was at least as much of a need for Engineers and Space and Missile Ops as there was for the elite members of the SG teams. Additionally, all six were smart and dedicated. They were all on the Dean's List for academic excellence, the Commandant of Cadets' List for military performance, and the Director of Athletics' List for physical performance, entitling them to wear the coveted silver star enclosed in a wreath between two lightning bolts on their dress uniforms.

Jack slowly smiled, thinking about that symbol. It was the same one he'd seen on Summers' uniform during their latest dinner last week. She hadn't mentioned the pin, but when he'd made a point of noticing it, she'd been so obviously proud. And even more happy that Jack had noticed. Her smile had been completely infectious.

Jack had enjoyed being the one who put such a happy smile on her face. From something Joyce had mentioned on their latest date, Cali hadn't had many reasons to smile during her last few years. First the divorce, then her involvement in a program best left to adults, lastly the tragedy at graduation. Jack didn't like the idea of any kid having to go through what Cali had. He resolved to do his best to keep her proud and smiling. Cali really is a good kid, he thought fondly.

Distracted by thinking about his smack, Jack sat back in his chair. Ever since the day of the BBQ, the relationship between him and Summers had changed. Not overtly, but Jack saw it in a myriad of ways. Most specifically, during their last dinner. Cali was more open and far less cautious of what she said, even going as far as to tell him about the Hall Brawl she'd helped plan and execute. She'd asked Jack's advice about a few items, where before he'd sometimes had to drag information out of her. Some of the things she'd said had been more than a little personal. She'd also smiled a lot more as she grew much more at ease with their relationship.

Brooding, Jack thought about how, a few days after the BBQ, Carter had come in and asked him if he was aware of any food issues that Cadet Summers had. When he had asked her what prompted her to inquire, Carter had said that she was concerned that Summers was bulimic. Jack's jaw had dropped, then he had laughed out loud, remembering the girl who so enjoyed her food. Summers had eaten more at the BBQ than anyone, but Jack attributed it to just how good the food was compared to the Zoo's.

Carter had even mentioned the reasons behind her suspicions, including the two trips that Summers had made to the kitchen. Since Jack had seen her cleaning up on the second, he knew she hadn't tried to sneak away to the restroom then. He had made that point and more to Carter. Jack thought he had convinced her, but he wasn't certain.

Jack hadn't asked Summers about being bulimic, but he had told her that Carter sent her regards. He had been surprised when Cali had proceeded to tell him the conversation she'd had with Carter, and how she had responded. She'd even revealed that the Major had given her a card with both her work and home phone numbers on it, in case she needed to talk to someone about matters she didn't feel comfortable talking to Jack about. Cali had then told him that there wasn't anything that she didn't feel comfortable discussing with him, but she'd kept the Major's card just in case. Jack had been touched by Cali's last statement and they had settled into a comfortable silence.

Jack had to admit that he was confused by how he felt about Cali. Their closeness made him squirm. Not in a bad way, but still... The capper from that night had come when the owner of O'Malley's had stopped by their table to check on them. Jack had met the man once years before, but apparently the guy hadn't remembered him. Given that it was a large, busy place, that was certainly understandable. At first, the impromptu visit hadn't been a big deal, with the usual small talk, then his words had become explosive, as he'd assumed that Cali was Jack's daughter.

Jack had almost opened his mouth and protested, but had decided to let it go. When he had glanced over at Cali's face, he'd been glad he hadn't said anything to contradict Fergus's opinion. Cali's face literally glowed with a kind of inner radiance that you only saw in pregnant women and the truly joyous. That was the only way to describe it. Jack had kept the remaining conversation light, up until he finally got to the feedback on her report, which was again excellent. Daniel had loved her report on the Incas, considering it first class work. Jack had never doubted it would be. He'd heard her abstract after all. Cadet Summers had been a first class speaker once she got over her initial stage fight.

And one hell of a hand-to-hand fighter. He'd given his tentative approval to Teal'c's idea about sparring with Cali, but only because he'd been certain that Teal'c would be careful not to hurt Cali. Teal'c wasn't Joe Wilson, after all. But even he'd been surprised that Cali had been more than willing to spar with Teal'c, considering that he appeared to be part mountain. Then again, he really should have recognized that glint in her eyes. And the results had been incredible. The way that Cali had managed to stay with Teal'c and even push the larger man. Of course, the end of the fight was less so, especially since Jack had lost part of his fence, which he'd just spent most of Martin Luther King Day putting right. At least he'd had Joyce there to distract him. Now he was having to turn down a request for a rematch from Teal'c nearly daily. Jack wondered what was driving the jaffa to want to fight Buffy again, when he had soundly beaten her last time.

That's the last time I host any WWF events at my house, Jack decided moodily. Hell, Summers could have been badly hurt. Jack sighed and went back to work. Looking at the six names on his list, he decided that one was as good as another. He crossed off three names and decided to give the remaining three a chance. If they washed out or didn't want the opportunity, he would go back to the first three.

At least he didn't have to worry about Daniel anymore. As fanatical as he'd been to find out more about the books that Cali had, he'd very much toned down his questioning of Cali once she'd started asking her own about him. Especially, once Daniel let slip that he was an archaeologist. Jack smiled as he thought about that conversation...


“Cali, we never got to finish our conversation from earlier. Do you think that I could get a look at the rest of those books you said you inherited from your friend?” Daniel asked with a sincere smile.

Great, Jack thought, he's at it again. He was about to step on Daniel again, in the nicest way possible, when he once again realized why he was sponsoring Summers.

“Certainly, sir. I have to admit, though, that I do not understand why a physicist is so interested in old books.” Cali wore a quizzical expression as she spoke.

Daniel explained, “I'm not a physicist. I'm an archaeologist. I...” Too late, he seemed to realize that he had said more than he should have. Cali's next words confirmed that.

“An archaeologist, sir? What exactly do you do in Deep Space Radar Telemetry?” There was a gleam in Cali's eye as she asked her last question.

Jack was torn between glee and anguish as his smack defended herself far better than he could have. I shouldn't have worried about her, he thought in amusement, Cali appears more than able to deflect questions she doesn't want to answer. Still,
he was probably going to have to fill out paperwork at this potential breach of security. Maybe he could pawn it off on Carter?

Daniel stammered out, “I-I... uh... well, you see...”

Carter intervened. “Cali, actually what Daniel does is extremely boring, but it is classified. That's mostly because of where he works, not what he does, if you know what I mean. Survey work.” Carter's bored tone seemed to say that asking anything else would be dull and monotonous.

“Yes, ma'am.” Buffy, however, stared at Daniel as if she wanted to ask more questions.

Daniel, on the other hand, made a quick excuse about needing to get on the road and catch up on some work. He headed out like he was being chased by Jaffa, Jack thought in amusement...


Jack sighed. He really needed to get some work done. He was distracted by thinking about the latest assignment that Daniel had given him to give Cali. Because of all of the exemplary work that Cali had turned in, Daniel had decided to give her a harder assignment than ever for her fourth paper. Jack hadn't read it ahead of time, but Cali's brief shocked expression had been a dead giveaway that it was a bastard. Still, even he had been taken aback by that assignment once he realized just what it entailed...



Buffy dreamed...


Buffy stood in a darkened hallway. Somewhere, not too distant, sirens were going off. A figure, difficult to make out in the dimness, raced away from her down the hallway. Buffy hesitated, but when she heard voices shouting in the distance, followed that distant figure.

They ran down a number of passageways, the first with finished walls that reminded Buffy of an office building or lab which gave way to rougher materials, concrete and raw wood, before finally to rougher still, rock and dirt. She was no closer to the figure than when she'd first began her pursuit. No matter how fast Buffy ran, she couldn't gain any ground. Then the figure paused a moment, almost allowing her to draw near. With the reduced distance, some details became obvious. It was a woman that Buffy was following, one with shoulder-length dark hair. Buffy almost caught up to her at this point. Just before she did, the woman began to climb. After a moment, Buffy began to move upwards, pursuing her muse.

After a while, they burst from the ground into an open clearing in a wooded area. It was night time and the clearing was dark. Clouds raced past over their heads. Buffy still couldn't make out any details of the woman in front of her. Then a nearly full moon broke through the clouds. Light flooded the clearing and it was as if a veil was removed from her eyes and her mind. Buffy recognized the clearing in which she stood. It was inside of one of Sunnydale's parks, near the university campus. With surprise, Buffy also recognized the figure in front of her. It was the one of the girls from her previous dream, and she had a pleading look on her face as she beckoned Buffy on...



Buffy woke up. Shit, she thought, not another one. Well, it looks as if I'm going to Sunnydale after all, she mused absently. Looking towards the ceiling, Buffy whispered, “Just let me know a time frame, 'kay? Being AWOL as a smack would really do sucky things to my military career...”



Buffy walked back from the library. It was after 2200 hours and bitterly cold. She'd been working on her newest assignment from Colonel O'Neill. It was a report on the Han Dynasty of China, titled, The Han Dynasty: Expansion and Regression Over Four Hundred Years. Of course, the title didn't tell you what the report was to be about. The Colonel wanted a report on what could have been done to prevent the failure of the state that had lasted over four centuries. This was definitely the most difficult assignment yet, especially since it required Buffy to extrapolate solutions to the problems that were occurring during that period. At the same time, the solutions had to be logical and well thought out. It really made Buffy think deeply about what could and more importantly, should be done to save the civilization and its culture.

It was also a departure from the style of reports that Buffy had been required to produce up to this point. Those had been, in order: Reasons Behind the Fall of the Roman Empire: From a Citizen of the Empire's Point of View, The Fall of the Incan Empire: How the Spanish Were Able to Divide and Conquer, and Ancient Egypt: The Rise and Fall of the Old Kingdom. As hard as those sounded, they were relatively easy from the point of view that only research was involved in compiling them. Some thought was required to pull together the relevant facts in a logical order, but otherwise, they weren't too tough.

Buffy was thinking that if she could prove that the rebellion of the Confucian scholar-officials could be contained by a more beneficial tax system, she would be halfway home. That's when she heard the sound. A faint groaning noise. She stopped and extended her senses. She could hear a heartbeat going a million miles an hour on the other side of that hedge.

Buffy ran around the hedge into the shadows there. Two figures were locked into an embrace. Even in the shadows, Buffy could tell that one was a tall male wearing BDUs, while the other was female, medium height, dark-haired, clad in BDUs as well. Buffy was just about to retreat in embarrassment, when she realized that she'd only heard one heartbeat. That meant the other one was a...

Racing forward, Buffy kicked the smaller of the two figures in the head, knocking it head over heels into the snow. The taller collapsed. Cruel golden eyes stared up into hers and as Buffy's eyes adjusted to the shadows to see as clear as day, the rest of the details of the face became visible, a heavy jutting brow and a mouth full of fangs. Hissing angrily, the vampire launched itself at Buffy!

She ducked the first wild blow and took the second on her raised forearm. Then Buffy kicked the thing again in the head. This time the vampire stayed on its feet, but dropped its guard, allowing Buffy to step in close and piston her fists into the vampire's abdomen to the sound of ribs breaking like castanets. The vampire, probably now concerned more with survival than eating, frantically shoved Buffy, who moved back a little, unluckily tripping over the prone, groaning figure of the vampire's victim. When she got to her feet, the vampire had disappeared into the night.

Buffy was just about to head off in pursuit, since the vamp would be easy to track in the snow, when she heard the figure at her feet groan again. Cursing, she realized that she had to take care of the vampire's victim first. Buffy quickly dropped back to her knees, thanking the gods that the uniform of the day was BDUs rather than dress blues. If it had been dress blues, she might have chosen to wear the knee-length uniform skirt rather than pants. It was doubtful considering the weather, but Buffy was, on occasion, still more concerned with appearance than functionality. That'll probably be on my tombstone, she thought darkly as her knees still froze from kneeling in the snow despite her BDUs.

Flipping over the figure so that she could see his face, Buffy stared. It was Ed Westerman, he of the smack-tormenting news requests. Or of the Connie-directed nuking, she decided in amusement, her good humor restored.

Checking him over, Buffy didn't think he had lost that much blood. She must have interrupted the vampire at the beginning of its feast. He was awake, but groggy and not very coherent. Buffy quickly dragged Westerman to his feet, draping one of his arms over her shoulder. Half helping, half carrying, she headed them towards the dorm. They were almost to the steps leading into Vandy when Westerman seemed to come fully awake.

“What the fuck? Let me go!” He pushed himself away from her. Buffy let him go and watched as he fell into a snow bank. She repressed a smile as his thrashing about made a snow angel. Westerman looked around wildly from his position on the ground. Then as he recognized Buffy, his panic receded and his eyes narrowed in anger. “Summers! What are you doing here?”

Buffy managed not to roll her eyes. It was hard, and it took a great deal of her self control. Westerman apparently had gotten over the burst of good cheer after their epic Hall Brawl. She figured he still held her responsible for his nuking more than a month ago, when all she'd done was suggest that since he was celebrating a birthday that day, it would be a great occasion to help him with his celebratory efforts. It's not as if she'd actually recruited the thirty or so smacks that had tied him up with duct tape and thrown rotten food on him. That had been Connie.

Of course, then Buffy had gotten Westerman and the rest of those Firsties back for the Martin Luther King Day incident. It had been the Hall Brawl to end all Hall Brawls, Buffy thought smugly. The Firsties had been outnumbered two to one despite reinforcements. Buffy was already hearing rumors that wildly exaggerated the damage done. In a year, we'll have burned down Vandy, she thought wryly, reminded of a certain Hemery High Gymnasium. In the meantime, she had to take care of his highness. Snapping to attention, she stated, “Sir, the answer is that I spotted you in the snow. I discerned that you were bleeding so I helped you up and brought you back to Vandenberg Hall.”

Westerman frowned. He appeared to be searching his memory. “So you didn't see any... I'm fine, Cadet Summers.” Turning his wrist, he checked his watch. “And you have two minutes before you are late for lights out. Better hurry.”

“Yes, sir!” Buffy started to head in, but then stopped. Even if Westerman hadn't lost all that much blood, he had still lost enough to be unsteady. He staggered to his feet, glaring at her, then fell right back down.

Buffy rushed to his side. “Sir, are you all right?”

Buffy noticed how bleary his glare was as she knelt back down next to him. “Cadet, I think I am going to need some help getting back to my room. You are excused from lights out. Now give me a hand.”

Buffy helped him to his feet. She desperately wanted to ask Westerman how he had hooked up with a vampire, but didn't dare. She dragged him up the stairs to the second floor and to his room. Just as she was helping him in, the door opposite her opened. Two Firsties, Murphy and Jacobs, came out, talking. They stopped and stared at Buffy and Westerman. One turned to the other and whispered something that made Buffy wish she didn't have an enhanced sense of hearing.

“That Summers chick really gets around, doesn't she? First Sheridan, then Pierson, and now Westerman.” Buffy could hear the leer in Murphy's voice.

Jacobs replied, “Yeah, maybe we should nickname her 'Thirstie' for all the 'Firstie' she's been doing.” The two young men chuckled, exchanging low fives, before heading down the hall.

Flushing, Buffy managed to get Westerman into his room where she left him with his roommate, Greeley. She quickly excused herself and headed for her room. Fortunately, she didn't run into anyone else on the way up to her room on the third floor.

Buffy quickly let herself into her room. The lights were out and Connie was asleep. Taking care to be as silent as possible, Buffy changed into her pajamas and slid into bed. But she couldn't sleep. It seemed that all of the last seven months of sleep conditioning was thrown by the wayside as the Slayer emerged, wanting to kill something. Not to mention the whole hungry and horny thing. Buffy tossed and turned for an hour before finally giving up on the idea of sleep that night. She lay there thinking. A vampire at the Zoo. A vampire that had been wearing the uniform of a second-class cadet. Buffy wondered what was going on, and more importantly, what she was going to do about it...
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