Around Stargate season 8, this is a prequel to ‘Unexpected’. Summary:
Giles and President Hayes have a conversation. Prequel to ‘Unexpected’. Notes:
This is meant explain how the two senior slayers were on first name terms with the president and how Giles knew so much about the Stargate. And I do hope I’ve fixed my little tense problem. Lastly, a special thanks to Methos. Edited:
Fixed minor, nitpicky, story details, 25-Jan-2009. Disclaimer:
I do not own any rights nor do I have any type of permission from the lucky people who do. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are the property of, the brilliant, Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Inc. Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, the Goa'uld, etcetera, belong to Showtime, MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. No infringement intended.
The day matched the mood of the people gathered. Cold, overcast, and wet. A light drizzle, unworthy of an umbrella, dripped down around them all. Though Giles suspected that had it been a downpour, it would have gone unnoticed. He stood under a large oak tree with another man — unnoticed to everyone gathered around the casket a ways off — as the priest began his sermon.
“I’m sorry I forgot our appointment, Mister President.”
“I understand. And call me Henry.” Hayes cast a dark look around the cemetery. It showed in his eyes just how much he understood. They stood there in silence for a few minutes before President Hayes spoke again, “How old was she?”
“Nineteen,” Giles replied solemnly.
“How do you do it?” he asked, his eyes locked onto the coffin.
“Believe me, Mister… Henry, it is not easy.”
Hayes caught sight of the grieving parents. “What did you tell them?”
“Doing what you do, you have undoubtedly had to inform many parents and relatives of their loved ones death. What do you tell them?” Giles asked instead of answering.
“That they died in the line of duty defending their country.”
“At least you get to tell them that much. No one but us will acknowledge the death for what it really was.”
Giles turned his eyes away from the casket to look at President Hayes, “A relatively weak demon clan tried to open the Hellmouth, which it was able to do for a short time. Long enough to let through a demon horde that would have been able to boost the clan's power enough to open it fully. Katherine, along with nine other slayers, went into that building to avert yet another apocalypse. Which they did. They took care of all the demons and received only minor injuries. In the process, some of the larger demons had knocked out some of the main supports in the basement. She led everyone out but went back in when she saw a demon escaping,” he paused there a moment to clean his glasses. “She died fulfilling her sacred destiny to defend the Earth against evil. And she will only be remembered as a women who got caught in a collapsing building.”
“Do the parents know the real reason why they are burying their child?” Hayes wanted to know. There were so many times that he had wanted to tell families just what it was that had killed their loved ones. What cause had they died for and what the meaning was behind their sacrifice.
Giles sighed, and let his gaze drop to the ground. “In this case, no. Almost all of the slayers do tell their parents, but many of the girls like to keep them unaware of the darkness present in the world. Usually it is the ones over a certain age who have that choice, as anyone younger we go directly to the parents to avoid misunderstandings.”
They lapsed into another gloomy silence.
“It’s not right,” Hayes finally said.
“Why do you do it then? Send them out to their inevitable death?” he asked, turning to the Englishman.
“Because they would have the power regardless. They will always feel the need to hunt, but this way, with training, we give them a fighting chance.”
“Did she have a chance?” Hayes asked, nodding towards the grave.
“Alone against a horde of demons? Most definitely. Against a building collapsing on her? As much as the next person,” he replied.
“That… sucks,” was all the President could think of to say.
“Quite,” Giles agreed with a sad chuckle. “But as I said, you get to at least acknowledge the death of your soldiers in the line of duty. The sacrifice these young women make, go completely unacknowledged. With the ever present fighting, even we do not acknowledge their memory properly. But we are all there is, no one else will ever know of the countless women who have saved this world so many times over the millennia.”
“Maybe someday they will,” he said.
“Maybe. But that day will not be for a long time.”
They returned their gaze to the service, just in time to see the casket slowly lowered into the ground. The parents each grabbed a handful of dirt to toss on top of the coffin. The priest closed his book and walked with the parents back into the church. Others followed soon after, until all that was left were the two men underneath the tree and twenty or so girls. All slayers. They circled the grave and joined hands. As the church bells started to ring they all let their heads fall back and they cried out. No words, just a cry filled with such pain and loss, that Hayes thought it would be enough to bring any army to its knees in sympathy.
“What are they doing?” his voiced sounded choked, and he noticed he had tears in his eyes. He wiped them away, and thought back on the countless funerals he had attended over the years. He never allowed himself to cry. No matter how much he wanted to. He realized that maybe it was time he properly grieved for the people he had lost over the years.
“They are mourning their fallen sister. All the slayers are connected, when one dies, they all feel it,” Giles replied while also wiping tears from his eyes.
The girls stopped a moment before the bells. They obviously had waited until everybody inside could hear nothing but the bells so they were not drawn out by the cry. The girls parted and headed back to their respective cars.
Giles and President Hayes made their way out from under the oak when they were sure no one would be able to see them.
“You could have waited at the house, why did you come all the way out here? Especially when no one is supposed to know you are here?” Giles asked.
President Hayes shrugged. “I’m not sure. I guess I just wanted to pay my respects.”
Giles just nodded his head. “We can head back and have that meeting, but I can already tell you the answer is no.”
“You did look over the files Major Davis delivered to you?”
“Yes, I have read all about the Stargate program and the enemies you have made. But the girls are already involved with one war as large and important as yours, they do not need to be pushed into another,” Giles replied sadly.
“I understand. Despite my personal feelings about this, I still had to ask.”
“Which is more than I can say for last time,” Giles said, remembering the Initiative.
Stopping, Hayes said, “That was an unsanctioned, rogue, project. And it was before my time.”
“I know that. Which is the only reason I didn’t let Buffy throw out Major Davis. And I mean that literally.” He smiled as he remembered Buffy lifting the man by his collar (though even with her strength, considering her height he was still not sure how she managed that) and getting ready to pitch him out the window.
Hayes chuckled. “I thought he was exaggerating about that.”
“No,” Giles replied. “I would agree to opening lines of communication. I think it is safe to assume that our two areas will eventually overlap, and I think coming up with a system just in case would be prudent.”
Hayes sighed. “That’s better than nothing.”
“Don’t get me wrong, this is still our home. If the enemies described in your files ever do step foot on Earth, you will not face them alone, you will have an army of slayers alongside you. But I can only hope that day will never come,” Giles reassured him.
“Agreed.” Sincerely, he said, “And thank you.”
“You’re welcome. When we get to the house I’ll introduce you to the main group, and then we can go over the matter more. I won’t tell them the initial reason you approached us, I don’t want them to have to worry about an alien invasion just yet,” Giles said only half jokingly.
“That sounds reasonable. When you say the main group, who exactly would that be?” President Hayes asked. While he had a pretty good idea, it never hurt to make sure.
“All the department heads. Robin Wood, who handles many of the administrative duties of running a school. Buffy Summers and Faith Lehane are the two senior most Slayers and are involved in training. Willow Rosenberg teaches a small computer class but is mainly in charge of the mystical side of things. Xander Harris, is a head Watcher in the field, in charge of finding newly called Slayers. And despite her young age, Dawn, Buffy's sister will be joining us as she has expressed an interest joining the Council after university. She already serves as something of a Personal Assistant to me but not at the expense of her studies.” Giles smiled as he spoke of the 'Scoobies'. “We have other teachers and departmental heads but they are not as involved in the greater scope, if you will, of the school.”
“Quite a group.”
“Yes. They are.”
Nothing else was said. They each cast one last look at the graveyard and then headed for their separate vehicles.
Later, on his way back to Washington DC, President Hayes wondered when it would happen. The lines had been opened. They would contact the government if they came across something that was not their area, and the government would do vice versa. He and Giles knew that it was a situation of when, not if.
He wondered what O'Neill would make of Mr. Harris. Their sense of humour was frighteningly similar, especially when it came to television (he heard at least three references to the 'Simpson's' while there). Giles and Doctor Jackson he could see getting along the best with their academic background, perhaps Dawn Summers as well. He saw Major Carter with her deep belief in science, and Ms. Rosenberg with her 'magic' coming to an impasse. Unless of course, they kept the talk to computers in which case, he saw them getting along quite well. The Slayer, Buffy, would most likely take to Teal'c, with their 'warrior ethic', he heard it called by Mr. Harris. Ms. Lehane... well, he pitied the poor soul who came across her.
Actually — once he really started to think about it — the possibility of these two groups together scared the crap out of him.