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Don't Stand Out

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Don't do this, don't do that". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy is learning something at the U.S. Air Force Academy: $#!T rolls downhill.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Other(Past Donor)PonderFR1319071247,15129 Jan 0829 Jan 08Yes
Disclaimer: Buffy is owned by Mutant Enemy, and Stargate is owned by Gekko/Double Secret. I own nothing.

Timeline: Fall 1999. A very AU Season 4 of Buffy, close to canon Season 3 of Stargate. This is roughly a year and a half before "Prodigy."

Author's note: This story is an offshoot of becuzitswrong's excellent Life's Ending, Life's Beginning, and posted with his permission.



“CADET SUMMERS! Staaaand to!”

Fourth Class Cadet Buffy “Cali” Summers' military reflexes were by now automatic. She halted her progress immediately and stood at attention. She didn't recognize the woman's voice from behind her, but odds were good it was an upperclassman. Most instructors didn't bother the cadets in between classes. Buffy sighed to herself and wondered which upperclassman had now decided to pick on the hot-shot smack who had triumphed in the unarmed combat competition last week. Everybody knew Buffy's name now.

As she stood staring straight ahead, she noted that the hallway in front of her was now empty. She cursed her lack of awareness; she'd been glancing over her notes from her previous class and hadn't noticed when her fellow fourth-classers had abandoned her. They had probably seen the danger coming, and had the wise judgment that it was time to be elsewhere. Too bad none of them had thought to share their premonitions with the one who still had her head stuck in a book. With her slayer hearing, she could tell there were still more than a few people behind her somewhere, but once at attention, she was unable to turn around to see.

Quick footsteps approached her from behind, and shortly a slightly older girl moved into Buffy's field of view. Now that the upper-class cadet was in front, Buffy could look her over carefully, as long as the upperclassman didn't catch her at it. The second-class cadet was blonde, a couple inches taller than Buffy, and had a peaches-n-cream complexion Buffy could kill for. She read the nametag, “Hailey”, and tried to recall where she'd heard the name before.

The upperclassman did not speak for a moment. Instead, her eyes were roaming all over Buffy's uniform. Buffy knew what the other cadet was doing. Hailey was looking for any imperfection she could find in Buffy's presentation, as an excuse to “gig” her, and assign punishment. Buffy kept her smug grin to herself. Her uniform was one of the things she spent her extra morning “slayer hours” on, and it was absolutely perfect. The 'superior' cadet would look for problems in vain.

Hailey terminated the impromptu inspection and nodded at Buffy. She leaned in closer, and shouted right in Buffy's face, “I HEARD you kicked Marine BUTT last week!”

“YES, MA'AM!” Buffy shouted her answer back at Hailey with the same volume. Meekness at the United States Air Force Academy was not tolerated.

Second-Class Cadet Hailey smiled, showing teeth, but the smile did not reach her eyes. “Outstanding!”

Then, Hailey started in with a “Doolie Knowledge” interrogation. She didn't back away, and barked her questions at the same high volume. “Cadet Summers, CAN YOU tell me who the first commandant of the Air Force Academy was!?”

Easy one. Buffy shouted right back, “Ma'am, the answer is Brigadier General Robert Stillman!”

“Cadet Summers, WHO IS Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force!?”

“Ma'am, the answer is General Michael E. Ryan!”

“Cadet Summers, HOW MANY days until the next graduation!?”

“Ma'am, the answer is two hundred ten days until the next graduation!”

“Cadet Summers, WHO IS top of the First Class!?”

“Ma'am, the answer is First Class Cadet John Sheridan!” The exchange went on in quick rapid-fire fashion. So far, the quiz had been pretty standard. Buffy wondered how long Hailey would keep this up. It couldn't be for much longer; Hailey would be in deep shit if she made Buffy late for her next class.

Hailey's grin turned predatory. “Cadet Summers, DO YOU KNOW who is top of the Second Class!?”

Aha! That's where she knew the name from. “Ma'am, the answer is Second Class Cadet Jennifer Hailey!”

Hailey beamed at Buffy, and her smile warmed a bit. “Correct!” Then she took her eyes off Buffy, and sent a questioning look past her down the hall, at the unseen observers. Buffy didn't hear anyone back there speak, but Hailey must have gotten her answer because she rolled her eyes and returned her attention to Buffy. “Cadet Summers, CAN YOU tell me the official sanctioned purpose of the Four Class System!?”

Damn. Buffy had heard many different things about that, but she wasn't sure which one was the “right” one from the regs. She didn't recall reading it in Contrails. “Ma'am, I do not know!”

Hailey seemed to expect that, and nodded. “Find out! Minimum 200-word essay, emailed to me by Reveille tomorrow. DO YOU understand, Cadet Summers!?”

“Yes, ma'am!” Buffy cursed herself yet again. She'd rather been dropped for push-ups; they were literally 'no sweat' to the slayer. Still, 200 words was relatively light punishment.

Hailey dropped her volume to a normal conversational level. “As you were. Carry on. Really, congratulations on winning the competition.” Hailey smiled again, and this time it seemed genuine. “See you around, Cali.” She stepped around Buffy and headed back the way she'd come.

Now that Buffy was free to move, she turned around just in time to observe Hailey join a group of upperclassmen: mostly men, and mostly first-classers. One of the men clapped her shoulder and said, “Good job, Hailey.”

Buffy checked her watch and snarled to herself. The hazing had ended with barely enough time for her to hustle to her next class... assuming she didn't display her slayer speed, anyway. She didn't spare another glance behind her as she broke into a jog.

-30-

The End

You have reached the end of "Don't Stand Out". This story is complete.

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