Tuesdays Gone With the Wind
AN: So I've got the time between chapters down to six months from nine months. That counts as progress, right? Hopefully the next chapter will come even easier and real life won't go all pear-shaped again. Thanks for your patience, and keep bugging me in the reviews to speed up.-MM
Something clicked in Buffy’s brain. Eighty-nine years, two lives, eight ‘deaths’, multiple dimensions, and Dawn being threatened once more: this was the cycle she lived in. There were parts of this cycle that she adored. And then there was this. She wasn’t about to let it break her this time.
“Doctor, I have a plan,” she announced. Everyone at the table looked at her. The Doctor appeared expectant, while Xander and Willow took on demeanors of cautious optimism. Spike’s expression was inscrutable. “Xander, I want you to call up Giles and Faith.”
He nodded. “Will do, Buffy.”
Willow began, “Buff-“ but Buffy’s train of thought had gathered steam and wasn’t about to stop now.
“Doctor, Spike, I want you two with Xander. Doctor, make sure the time circuit on the TARDIS is geosynchronous, you’re going to be making an on-planet hop, and you don’t need to be showing up two days early or late. Spike, you and Faith will be our heavy hitters, so don’t be wasting all of your energy taking jabs at the Doctor.” Buffy stood. “Willow, you’ve left a magical trace on Dawn after the last time this happened?”
Willow blinked before responding. “Yes.”
“Good. Scry it, or do whatever you do to find it on the map. Get the coordinates to the Doctor – no, better yet, give them directly to the TARDIS, he says that you two can chat like that.”
“Yes, I can,” said Willow.
“Then do it, and then come and find me.”
The Doctor stood next to her, touching her lightly on the shoulder. “You’re not coming with us?”
Buffy turned from him, towards the hallway. “No. Everyone, get moving.” She started marching down to the hallway where the TARDIS stood while the others scrambled. But the Doctor followed her.
“Buffy, it’s your sis-“ started the Doctor.
“Dawn’s been kidnapped, again. It’s one of those things where I’ve lost track of how many times it’s happened. So I’ll let the people I trust the best go and rescue her. Willow and I are going to make sure this is the last time that anyone dares to touch the ones that I love.”
She spun around. “No, Doctor. I’m not going to bring our children into a world where they’re immediate targets.”
He wrapped his arms around her and she let one heaving sob out before collecting herself. He held her for those few seconds of vulnerability, cooing, “It’s going to be all right.” When she pulled away, she was once again the picture of resolve. “We’ll save her,” he said.
“I know you will, Doctor, I’m counting on it.”
Faith caught her breath as the blue box materialized in her living room. She looked over to Giles and saw that he was equally surprised, so she wasn’t losing any face by goggling like this. Then the door swung open, and Buffy’s gangly boyfriend poked his head out.
“Faith, Giles, I’m the Doctor. Wish it were under different circumstances. Come on in.”
Faith and Giles had encountered plenty of magic through their careers, but the TARDIS hummed with pure science. Faith looked around inside. “Hey, Xander, Spike. Where’s B?”
A dark look crossed the Doctor’s face. “She’s otherwise occupied,” said Spike.
Faith arched her eyebrows. “So she’s entrusting us with rescuing little sis? Doesn’t sound like the Big Bad Buffy we’ve all come to know.”
“Yes, this does seem highly uncharacteristic of her,” said Giles.
The Doctor adjusted a number of knobs on the console before answering. “Buffy’s taken this... rather personally. She’d prefer that nothing like this ever recur. So she’s decided that she’ll entrust the actual rescue operation to us, while she,” and here his tongue darted out as he searched for the appropriate phraseology, “while she enacts a certain deterrent effect,” he finished.
“She’s gone nuclear,” summarized Spike.
“What exactly is it that she intends to do?” asked Giles.
The Doctor shook his head. “She didn’t say. Our job is to get Dawn out.” He brought up a schematic on the monitor. “Thanks to Willow, we have exact coordinates for Dawn’s location. Unfortunately, they seem to be moving her on a fairly regular basis, so we have to assume she has guards at all times. You may have noticed that the TARDIS makes quite an entrance, so materializing in the room she’s in isn’t exactly the most subtle of techniques. So we’ll aim for this chamber here, and make our way to her.”
Faith shook her head. “Looks like an awful lot of doors between us and her. What is this place?”
“It appears to be some sort of secret military installation located in Sacramento. As for the doors,” the Doctor held up the sonic screwdriver. “That’s what this is for.”
“Really?” Faith arched an eyebrow and the Doctor allowed himself a grim smile.
“Really,” he said. “Willow says, however, there may be some magical protections on Dawn, so, Giles, you’re the one we’ll be counting on to detect and counteract those.”
“Very well then,” said Giles. “What, then, is Xander doing here?”
This time the Doctor’s grin was honest. “He’s here to push one lever.”
“That’s right, I’m a trained monkey,” asserted Xander. “If your situation goes hairy, then I pull this lever,” he indicated the one that the Doctor was busy wrapping red electrical tape around, “and then the TARDIS will shift to whatever location you guys are at. So I’m not just a monkey, I’m the cavalry.”
“Keep telling yourself that, mate,” said Spike.
Faith was the first one out the door. The room the Doctor had indicated turned out to be the mess hall, so there were dozens of uniformed men staring drop-jawed at her. “Hey there, boys!”
By now a several of them had recovered from the TARDIS’ sudden appearance, and unfortunately, some of them carried side arms. Faith rolled to dodge the bullets as the others poured out behind her, Spike in full vampire mode, the Doctor taking care to shut the TARDIS doors behind him.
“Great choice of location, Doc!” yelled Spike as he brained a soldier with a tray.
“Didn’t Buffy tell you not to waste energy bickering with me,” said the Doctor. He pointed the sonic screwdriver at a vat of soup, which exploded, spraying several troops with boiling hot cheddar.
Spike swept a soldier’s legs out from under him. “She should have told you not to be a complete wanker, because apparently you need to be told.”
“Must you two act like this now?” Giles held a number of soldiers at bay through telekinesis while Faith knocked each one out in turn.
“Yeah, seriously, guys, there’s a time and a place,” said Faith.
Alarms began to blare. “So much for subtlety, Doctor,” cried Spike. “You don’t think that they’ll be moving her now?”
“Shut it.” The Doctor swung the sonic screwdriver about. “She’s still in that direction.”
“Well let’s get a move on, then,” announced Faith, swinging a man around and into a cadre of his fellows. The raiding party started running down the hallway, the Doctor calling out adjustments as Dawn’s signal moved around. Giles detected two magical traps that he defused before they could cross. Finally, they came to a door guarded by two sincerely frightening looking men that Faith took care of with minimal fuss. Behind the door, Dawn was bound to a chair and gagged. Standing behind her was a single man wearing the uniform of a brigadier general. “Not one step closer.”
Buffy and Willow didn’t bother with subtlety. With a crack they appeared in the Oval Office. Its occupant startled in his chair, rising to his feet. “Who the hell-“
“Sorry about this,” said Willow.
Buffy sat in a leather chair in front of his desk. “Sit down, we need to chat.”
His eyes darted to the doors of his office. The locks audibly snapped shut. “In private,” amended Willow, sitting herself beside Buffy. Hesitantly he returned to his chair.
Buffy began, “So, my name’s Buffy, but I think you might know that already.”
The President nodded. “Your name has appeared on a report here and there. Your friend as well, Miss...”
“Willow will do,” she said.
“So, you’ve read those reports?” asked Buffy.
“I’ve perused a few.”
Buffy crossed her legs. “Then you know what I’m capable of.”
“I know that you claim not to hurt humans, err, innocents,” he offered haltingly.
“That’s right. Which is why I wonder why your military is so interested in attacking me and my family, Mister Commander-in-Chief.”
He held up a finger. “I wasn’t aware-“
Willow intervened. “No, he’s being honest. He doesn’t know about Dawn.”
Buffy sighed. “So you’re not malicious, just incompetent.” She leaned forward. “Listen up. Time has come to clean house. Get rid of the morons who are wasting government resources and manpower on a threat that doesn’t exist. We Slayers have no interest in taking on your troops. We exist to fight the bad guys. As long as you’re not the bad guys, you’re in the clear.”
The President cleared his throat. “And who decides if we’re the bad guy?”
“I do.” Buffy didn’t hesitate a moment in her reply.
“Very well then.” The President considered this. “And if you decide that we’re the bad guys?”
“Then I know where you live.”
The pair stared at each other, neither blinking. Finally, the President nodded. “This program was the pet of the previous, none-too-popular administration. I see no reason why this pointless war can’t be phased out as well.” The President folded his fingers together. “I imagine I feel the same way about my family that you do about yours.” He paused. “Of course, if anything like this happens again, I will be forced to consider it an act of aggression. Not even the Slayers are allowed to hold this government at knife point.”
Buffy smiled. “I knew there was a reason that I voted for you.”
Faith brandished a long knife. “You thought you’d started a war with us before, you’d better believe you’ve got one now.”
“This is the only way to send you a message,” said the man.
The Doctor stepped forward. “I don’t think so. I think this reeks of ulterior motives. You could be afraid of the Slayers – I wouldn’t blame you, they’re pretty scary people. But you, you hate them. Particularly, you hate Buffy. Why?” He dared another step.
“She’s a dangerous animal. She needs to be stopped.”
“You’re too late, General Voll,” replied the Doctor. “Buffy’s at the White House right now, explaining to the President in no uncertain terms the consequences of going toe-to-toe with the Slayers. You touch Dawn – wait. You haven’t touched Dawn.”
The general appeared uncertain for a moment. “I’ve had her held here.”
“The First,” muttered Giles.
Spike rushed forward to punch the general in the face, but his fist swung clear through. “Oh bloody hell.”
“Those two flunkies I took out must have moved Dawn here,” deduced Faith.
The First shifted from the form of General Voll into Buffy’s appearance. “Very good, Doctor. It’s been a long time since I’ve dealt with a Time Lord.”
“The Black Guardian?”
She smirked. “As if. He’s really a lackey, a tool, an advocate of entropy. He just likes chaos. Chaos isn’t necessarily evil by nature. But I am. Did you know that this girl is vital to the Doctor’s plan to reunite the multiverse under the auspice of the reborn Time Lords?” The First circled around her captive. “I know, how did I already learn about your cunning plan, isn’t it just dandy how word gets around these days?” The First shifted into the appearance of a teenage boy with floppy hair. “But your plan is pure foolishness.”
The Doctor turned red. “Don’t think that wearing Adric’s face will intimidate me.”
“Me? Intimidate the Oncoming Storm? Unlikely.” It shifted again, this time into a sleek-looking brunette woman. “I’m simply fascinated by how many faces can haunt you and cause you pain.” It licked Ace’s lips. “You’ll be even more fun to defeat than the Slayers. Just remember, every universe you go to, I’m already there. This is going to be a blast.” The First then disappeared with a snap.
Spike was the one who removed Dawn’s gag, cutting at the ropes. “You okay, niblet?”
Dawn coughed. “I really, really, really hate that thing.”
The Doctor, still staring at the space where dreaded confirmation had finally occurred, pressed a button on the sonic screwdriver. The TARDIS rapidly materialized in just that space. Xander’s head poked out. “Somebody call the monkey cavalry – oh, hey Dawn! I got to drive the time machine. Maybe the Doctor will show you where he hides the controls for the lasers.” Everyone stared at him. “What? You know he’s hiding them from me.” The Doctor glared at him. “Yeah, about that ‘just pull one lever’ thing...”