Buffy wasn't quite sure how she got herself in these situations. Connecting the dots to her logic
was almost impossible for her. But somehow she found herself walking into Watto's junk shop
and making the Toydarian an offer he couldn't refuse. And boy didn't that make her feel dirty.
It didn't help that once the offer was made, Watto looked at her with a half-glazed stare that was
as lewd as the one Xander gave her when he'd been hyena boy.
"What's the catch?" he asked.
She cocked her head back to the Jedi behind her. "He gets fifty percent of the profits to go to the
cost of the parts they need."
"Why should I waste such profit?"
Buffy cocked a challenging golden brow and folded her arms over her chest. "'Cause you know I
won't do it otherwise."
Watto was the scum between Togorian toes, but when it came to money he wasn't stupid. At
least in the earning it department. Keeping it, was a whole other bag of peanuts.
He'd been wanting to test her skills for some time, but had been afraid to push it. That was one
of the good things about Watto. He knew when to keep his throat from being slit.
In the nearly ten years Buffy had been here, she and Watto had experienced their power struggles.
She had made some pretty colorful metaphors about what she'd do with his wings and he'd made
sure she understood that her son could be blown to smithereens with a push of a button.
He respected her now - if begrudgingly - and she had learned to accept his ownership -
temporarily. Despite everything that happened, killing Angel, being sucked into Acthala and
ending up a slave in this other dimension, she hadn't given up hope that one day Anakin and she
would have a life of freedom.
Until then it was squid pro quo or whatever.
"Alright. I agree. You'll be on the sands tomorrow, first round."
Buffy gave a nod, then turned to lead Qui-Gon out. At the door, she turned around and said,
"Oh, by the way, Anakin, Shmi, and I need the day off."
She hurried out of the junkyard before the overgrown mosquito could utter a rebuttal. She was
halfway down the street, when Qui-Gon's long legs caught him up to her.
"What did you just agree to?" he asked.
He had insisted upon coming with her. She wasn't sure if it was some sort of misplaced desire to
keep her safe or if he just didn't like being left out of the loop. The first reason was slightly
insulting and the other more annoying, but she agreed to keep Anakin happy. Her son had
seemed to blossom even more with Qui-Gon's attention.
Buffy didn't like it though. Those who paid too much attention to them, would quickly realize,
as Watto had, that there were talents and abilities ready to be exploited. She was the Slayer and
Anakin, well, she wasn't exactly sure what he was, but he was as powerful, if not more so than
herself. She could feel that much. No doubt so could Jinn.
"In the deep desert, around the Dune Sea, there's arena fighting. In the last couple of years its
grown to be nearly as popular as podracing. Watto's been itching to get me on the sands." And
if truth be told so have you, she thought to herself.
It had been a while since she'd had a good fight. There wasn't a demon population, no strictly
evil want to take over the world and destroy it creatures in this dimension. When she'd first
arrived she'd fought against the slavers everyday but as soon as Anakin was born and they put
that bomb in under his skin, she'd been nearly a dog lapping at their feet.
She would do whatever it took to keep her son safe.
Even if it meant fighting for the sport of others.
"I understand your need to protect your son, m'lady, but I don't see the benefit of putting yourself
in danger," Qui-Gon argued.
"He's nine, I'm twenty-six. I think there's a big hunka difference. Besides, I can take care of
"I don't doubt that m'lady, I just..."
"And would you cut it out with the Renaissance crap," she cut him off, spinning around to face him.
He blinked at her, stunned for several seconds before an amused smile touched his leonine
features. "I'm afraid I don't understand half of what you're saying, Mistress Skywalker."
She feigned a pout. "I'm totally misunderstood."
She straightened, realizing that she had just reacted to this Jedi as she had once reacted to Giles.
It was a familiar pain. One that cropped up every once and awhile. Sometimes when she was
with Shmi, she'd remember her Mom or if she was arguing with Anakin, something he do or say
would remind her of herself back before she'd been the Slayer.
With a shake of her head, she dispelled the gloomy clouds threatening to hang over her.
"Anyway, I'm helping you. You should be all with the gratefulness and not so much with the
Stop it, she chastised herself. She was a mother for crying out loud. She shouldn't be reverting
back to her sixteen-year-old self. No matter how much fun it was.
"I'm only concerned for your welfare."
"But not Anakin's?"
"Your son is very special," he tried to dodge.
"I know that." She peered up at him, as they continued to head back to the slave hovels. "How
special do you think he is?"
"For certain? I couldn't give you a definitive answer without a blood sample to run a midi-
chlorian test from. By instinct, I'd say he's quite powerful and possibly endanger of hurting
himself and others through his gift."
For a moment she closed her eyes against this information. Couldn't she go back to the easy
times, those where it was her life on the line?
"You think he's like you?"
He nodded. "Who was his father?"
"No one. The answer is zero Big miraculous conception here."
She saw the sudden stillness in his features, the lack of expression that told her he was keeping
his poker face on.
"You've got something face." At his questioning look she continued, "What does that mean?"
"I'm not sure."
"But you have a guess?" As he hesitated, she felt her ire rise. "Jinn please. This is my son we're
talking about. If there's something you think you know about him, then I need to know. He's all
I've got and I'm not going to let anything happen to him."
"There's a prophecy.
She rolled her eyes. "Of course there is. Go on."
"It speaks of a vergence in the Force, which the seer identified by the moniker the son of the
suns." His eyes went heavenward towards the two bright globes in the sky. Little did Jinn know
that it could very well be derived from her own real name. Summers. "A Chosen One," Jinn
continued. "One with no father, born of the Force, with the ability to bring balance to the Force."
"And I guess its too much to ask what it means to bring balance?" Buffy said waspishly.
"It has been debated for several centuries."
"Great," she muttered.
Her heart pounded in her chest, her feet moving faster than they needed to. It was a flight or fight
reaction and in the absence of something to pummel, other than the completely oblivious Jedi
Master, she wanted to run away from this very scary realization.
"You aren't taking him from me," she said suddenly, words coming through gritted teeth.
He stopped her unconscious escape with a hand to her shoulder. "Any child who comes to the
Temple is given freely. We don't kidnap children. However, is this truly the life you want for
your son? A life of slavery?"
"As opposed to servitude with the Jedi. Oh, the choices," she snapped sardonically.
"Mistress Skywalker if your son truly is the Chosen One, then there is a very dark power arising.
If the galaxy is to remain safe, your son is desperately needed. He has a destiny."
Her fist flew without any forethought, that old Slayer instinct no longer repressed, leaving Jinn
sprawled out on the sands, starring up at her.
"That's what I think of destiny."
With that she left the stunned Jedi Master behind.
She was dreaming. The world around her made mushy by half formed visions.
She was at the apex of a city that would give New York a run for its money. All around her,
buzzing like irritated gnats, speeders zipped to and fro in grid lines. She had never been to this
city before, but somehow it felt familiar to her, almost like home.
[Coruscant], an androgynous voice said.
The central system of the Republic, she knew that much from the odd comment here and there.
And that it was the headquarters for the Jedi Council and the Galactic Senate. The heart that
pumped the life into the rest of the surrounding systems.
But there was a sickness in the heart. Brief shadows of decay that flashed in front of her minds
eye, as pictures from all over the galaxy played in hypertime. A cold pervasive feeling, that came
and gone in as an elusive pattern accompanied each sickening darkness. The poison was hiding,
but it was already beginning to be pumped into the other systems of the Republic. She saw it
move throughout the galaxy.
In place of the shadow, blood seeped up from the lands of a thousand different planets,
swallowing everything in its path. When it receded it left white bleached bones and desolation in
Buffy shivered at the sight, momentarily petrified.
[This is the path of the Sith], the voice told her.
Her vision changed, whirled at a dizzying pace, until it landed on a group of beings, numbers
untold. They were of all different species, some tattooed, others simply clad in black, hooded
robes. All with the same jaundiced yellow eyes, filled with feral and unyielding hunger.
In front of these animalistic creatures, was Anakin. Half his face the round boyish features of her
son with his blue eyes, the other half somehow harder with an eye that matched that of the Sith
"No!" she cried out, her voice echoing across the dreamscape.
[It is only a possible path, the other voice told her, reassuring. If you refuse the Jedi now, it will
be certain. The Sith are out there and they will seek out the Chosen One. He must be trained in
the ways of the light.]
"Who are you?" she demanded.
[We are many.] Only then did she realize that it wasn't one voice, but many speaking as a whole.
[Some call us the Whills. You have often named us as the Powers that Be.]
"Why him? Why me? Haven't I given enough to your stupid cause? My friends? My mom?
My life? Do I have to give my son, too?"
[It is as it should be], the Powers that Be answered.
"Not good enough," she all but screamed.
[Think on this Slayer. Remember what you were before you were the Slayer and think of what
you are now. The person you have become. Your son has the chance to be the same, with aid
from you by his side.]
"The Jedi don't like love. They're like monks on steroids. They wouldn't allow me to be in his
life," she argued. It was a last ditch effort, one more chance to unravel the threads of destiny that
entwined her and Anakin.
There was a sense of amusement in the Power's voice when they answered, [That has never
stopped you before.]
With that Buffy woke up. Tears were already streaming down her face, but consciousness had
allowed the reality of her situation to hit her a thousand times more than the dream knowledge
had. Sobs overtook her, wracking her slim figure for several minutes before she heard her door
"Mom?" Anakin asked.
With an effort she reigned in her tears, back in control. "Yeah, Ani?" she whispered, trying to
mask her watery voice.
It was pretty much worthless. "Are you okay?"
"I've been better," she answered. She patted her sleepcouch. "Come here. Lie next to me."
He hurried over, sidling close in the small area. She kissed his forehead. He reached up with a
finger to brush away a tear. "You're crying?"
"Yeah. Mom's get way emotional sometimes."
"Are you mad?"
Running a hand through his hair, she answered, "Not really. Sad. But better now that you're
First thing in the morning, Buffy found Qui-Gon and motioned him outside. "How long does
this midi-whatsit test take?"
"Just need a blood sample from Anakin. Then I'll send it to my Padawan and Obi-Wan will do
the test in a few minutes."
If Buffy wasn't looking for it, she would have missed the brief flash of surprise in his eyes.
"Why the sudden change of heart?"
"I'll give you the Cliff Notes version, but first I have a question. What's a Sith?"