Buffy Summers is going to be the Millennial Slayer, quite possibly the most powerful supernatural entity for the last thousand years. Who would vie for control of such a being?Disclaimer:
All characters belong to Joss, Mutant Enemy, and Fox. This story is for entertainment purposes only. Author's Note:
Completely AU. The history of what has occurred will be explained in the story.
A fragment of “The Prophecy of Ghelem, oldest of the Three”
...precious Gift, the Millennial Child
She will be born on the one thousand, nine hundred and eighty-first year after Salvation
Called three summers after her menses, she will face the Damned and by her Choice, all that is or will be, becomes
Beware the Twisted...
—The Watchers Council Archives
Seventy miles south of Cancun, Mexico...
Brian fired off half a clip from his SCAR, the 5.56 mm slugs ripping the demon who had just discovered them in half. The shit's hit the fan now, he thought. Aloud, he shouted into his radio, “Clover to Foxtail. Pogo! Pogo! Pogo! I say again. Pogo! Pogo! Pogo!” That was the signal for the full assault to begin. The choppers would also be arriving in ten minutes for evac. They had to secure the compound and the target before that happened. Brian ran forward with the other nineteen men of his platoon.
They burst through the big gates into the middle of the compound, killing people and other... things, right and left. However, everyone was practicing selective fire, since no one wanted to be responsible for injuring their target. Brian made a quick gesture for half the platoon to swing right under Sergeant Hamilton, while he led the other half down the left side of the compound. The two squads he led split again so that now there were just five men traveling under his direct command.
From the other side of the compound, which was laid out over most of the equivalent of a city block, came steady firing. Good, he thought in satisfaction. If even one of the bastards survives, he would have considered the operation only a limited success. Then the demon was upon them.
Standing over two point five meters high, all fangs, horns, and scaly gray skin, the demon leaped towards them from where it had hidden itself in one of the huts. All five men coolly fired, easily squeezing off three-round-bursts of ammunition that was alternately silver, steel, and cold iron. It wouldn't kill everything, but it gave most creatures pause even if they survived. Luckily, this demon didn't, going down in a welter of green blood and gibbets of grayish green flesh. Brian didn't give it a second glance as he strode forward.
They were at their target's last know location, the dormitory. Brian made a quick gesture to two of his men, to keep watch while he led the team inside. Then before he hit the doors, he caught movement out of the corner of his eyes. Spinning, he shot before his eyes finished registering what it was. He watched with concern as a blonde figure fell to the ground, a Baretta clutched in one hand.
Racing forward, Brian quickly flipped the groaning figure over. “You!” His whisper was intense as he stared into the blood-splattered features of the woman. Raising his SCAR, he emptied the entire clip into her head. Blood and brains splattered out from the shattered remnant of her skull, some splattering him. Overkill, he thought dispassionately as he quickly changed clips. “Fookin' traitor.” He spat into the pool of blood. Brian made a quick gesture and a figure moved forward to cut of one of the woman's fingers, carefully placing it in a plastic baggie and stowing it away.
Now creeping forward, he cautiously led the way into the dormitory. Beds lined both sides of the large quonset hut. Where was the target? Then something dropped onto his head. Sharp fingernails of a left hand just barely missed his eyes as he yanked a weak right arm from around his throat and tossed the figure into a bunk.
It was her
! Brian shouted, “Hold yer fire! Target acquired!” He moved forward slowly, hoping that she would be rational, only to have to defend himself as she launched another attack at him.
She was remarkable skilled, Brian decided, blinking at the sudden liquid in his eyes. Blood from the scratches where she'd tried to blind him, he thought absently, as he blocked yet another blow with his forearm. But good as she was, she was less than half his size, and had what appeared to be a broken right arm to boot.
No wonder she couldn't hold on, he thought, realizing just how close he had come to being blinded. If she had been able to maintain that grip... He shook his head to clear the thought, then moved to the attack.
Brian brushed her kick aside, then punched her hard in the diaphragm, paralyzing her lungs temporarily. He managed to trip her, falling with her to the floor as one of his men grabbed her legs. As she squirmed and writhed underneath them, the platoon medic, Corporal Sanders, pulled out a syringe and gave her an injection. After a short time, she went limp. Throughout the entire process, the girl hadn't said a word. She'd been completely silent, other than one or two grunts of effort.
As Brian got up from the floor, one of his men lit a torch. The torch's beam clearly showed the figure for the first time. Short, ragged, blonde hair framed a pixy face, which was pretty despite being bruised and swollen. “God, she's beat ta pieces,” Sanders said, doing a quick examination.
Brian could see that. “How bad?”
“Fook if I can tell. Broken ribs at least to go along with that broken arm. She's got scars over every inch of her. You should have flayed that bitch before you shot her...”
“Enough. We need to head to the extraction point. Get her ready for transport. We have all mission goals secured.” Outside, the fire had tapered off, with only the occasional shot or two as they finished hunting down and executing the compounds inhabitants.
Brian broke out his radio. Time to convey the good news, he decided. “Clover to Foxtail. Mission a success. Target is secured. I say again, target is secured.”
A burst of static came out of the radio, before a surprisingly clear voice answered, “Foxtail to Clover. I hear you. What happened to the traitor?”
Brian stated, “The traitor's dead. Proof has been obtained.” Brian paused a second, hearing the sound of approaching choppers. “We are extracting now. Foxtail, I'll see you in a few hours...”
“Rupert, we found her!” Quentin's voice dripped with his satisfaction at his exclamation. He could just imagine the wince he'd gotten from Rupert at being woken at 4:00 AM in California.
“Where did you find her? Was it Post?” Rupert’s questions burst from him, uncontrolled. Not that Quentin thought he would have done any better under the same circumstances. Buffy Summers had been missing for almost three years. Three years with the Watchers Council searching relentlessly for her; field agents, psychics, and mystics, all working towards one goal: find Buffy Summers.
“Last night in Mexico, not far from Cancun. Yes, it was that bitch, Post.” Quentin’s voice vibrated with satisfaction that he was the one to explain to Rupert Giles how the Council had found Miss Summers. He had never gotten along well with Rupert, certainly they would never be friends. He did feel a certain professional respect, but even that had been reduced in recent times because of just how many issues they disagreed upon with regards the Council’s handling of the Slayer. Quentin’s faction had lost that war recently, despite his being head of the Watchers Council, rubbing salt in the wound.
“Was Protocol Thirteen carried out as regards Ms. Post and her confederates?”
“Yes, neither Ms. Post nor her confederates will any longer be of concern to us.” Quentin’s voice expressed his satisfaction with Gwen Post’s fate. “Additionally, Protocol Thirteen was used as regards a certain LA law firm that was apparently the buyer for Post’s product. You may have seen something in the news.” Protocol Thirteen described nothing less than the elimination via deadly force of any humans who elected to interfere with the Council and the Slayer. Used sparingly, it was an effective deterrent to certain groups. Others seemed not to grasp the deterrent, and so, deadly force was unleashed as needed.
“How is she, Quentin?”
“She's as well as can be expected, Rupert.” What did the man want, a complete psychological work up overnight? Quentin forced himself to be reasonable, aware that was his fatigue speaking.
“How well is as well as can be expected? Is she all right? How did she react to being rescued and the fate of her parents’ killers?” Rupert’s worry carried clearly across the phone lines. But then he had a right to be worried. He was the acting Watcher to a potential Slayer that was almost certain to be both the Chosen One, and the single most important supernatural entity to exist in the last millennium. The pressure to produce a strong Slayer was going to be extreme. How fragile would be the clay from which this one sprung?
“She…well, she attacked Brian Cummings, who led the team who rescued her. If not for some nearly incapacitating injuries she had suffered at some point recently, she would have most likely seriously injured or killed him. Brian indicated she was a raving lunatic when he went into the hut where she was sleeping. Even with an untreated broken arm and broken ribs, she almost took him down. She's been sedated since her rescue.” Quentin had seen them unload Buffy Summers from the plane after it had returned to England. She had seemed so small and frail strapped to the stretcher, but Quentin had seen Brian's injuries. He had several serious scratches and cuts around his eyes where she had attempted to gouge them out. It was a chillingly effective way to take out an opponent larger and stronger than yourself. Blinded, anyone was an easy target. And if she had been able to use both hands, she would likely have succeeded, according to Brian. His musings were interrupted by Rupert’s next questions.
“Injuries? What injuries is she suffering from? What does Dr. Caraway say?”
“Dr. Caraway has examined her. He found her suffering from malnutrition. She also had extreme bruising over a great deal of her body. She has scars, Rupert, a great deal of scars, some recent, some dating back years. Currently, she is suffering from a broken arm, three broken ribs, and had several wounds on her back consistent with being whipped. He indicated that she appears not to have been sexually assaulted, but the severity of her injuries, both present and past, are very worrisome. He could not comment on her psychological condition. What if she doesn't recover?” Quentin stopped, aware that he was giving Rupert too much information through his ramblings. Information that might be used against him at some future date.
“She will recover because she has to, for all our sakes. As you know, without her, the possibility of victory is so slight as to be nonexistent.” Rupert's calm voice belied the worry that must be gnawing at his gut as well. The girl had a choice, after all.
“There is still the chance she will be on the other side! You know that! Why won’t you acknowledge just how dangerous this girl is?” Quentin knew he was raving, but couldn't control it. He had spent too many sleepless nights the last few weeks as the search for Buffy Summers had intensified. Currently, he had been up for almost seventy-two hours straight.
“No Slayer willingly serves darkness unless they are driven from the light. Take care lest you drive her from us, Quentin. She will do what she must. Now when are you sending her here to me?” Rupert’s chiding tone effectively hid his feelings. Quentin forced down bitter anger at Rupert's ability to more easily hide his feelings. Focus, he told himself, focus for a few more hours, then you can rest.
“She needs time to heal. While potentials generally heal slightly faster than normal people, Buffy isn't doing so. The slower healing appears to be caused by her malnutrition. Her growth has probably already been stunted because of it, not that she would have been very tall to begin with. Now it's doubtful she'll clear 150 centimeters. Dr. Caraway has indicated that she needs to be here at least four weeks before we release her to your custody. Additionally, Sharon Smyth-Ramsey wants to conduct extensive psychological testing to see how much she has been affected and whether she will need additional counseling in the future.”
Exasperation in his voice, Rupert exclaimed, “That leaves me little time to get her acclimated here! She needs tutoring to redress the last three years of school she missed, as well as time to get used to living here with me. If you keep her four more weeks, that leaves me less than six weeks to get her up to speed before the beginning of the school term here. If she performs poorly, she may get held back as well. That wouldn't be good for her self-esteem, which as you know, can be everything when dealing with these girls.”
“It cannot be helped, Rupert. Sharon has put her foot down, and as you are aware, once she has made it a question of psychological competency, we must all toe the line. Your little group made that occur.” Quentin could not disguise the bitterness in his voice. Instead of having near absolute power as Head of the Watchers Council, he now answered to a committee. Additionally, in some ways, Sharon Smyth-Ramsey had more authority than he did, at least as far as allowing or disallowing the dispersion of field personnel. It severely irked him that she was able to decide when the Summers girl would go rather than him.
“Very well, but please keep me informed of her condition. I will expect regular reports from both you and Sharon. If there turn out to be any serious issues, I want to know immediately,” Rupert baldly stated.
Rupert’s demands were reasonable despite his tone of voice, Quentin reflected. No Watcher had ever been under such pressure to produce a worthy Slayer. If he failed, the consequences would be devastating. While Rupert was not the first person Quentin would have chosen for the position, he was honest enough, at least with himself, to know it lay more with their disagreements than with any lack of ability. Who knows, with his temperament, Rupert just might be the best person for the job. Saying good-bye, he hung up and went back to contemplating the issue of Buffy Summers.
As he hung up the phone, Rupert reflect on Quentin's information. The things he said, the tone he'd used, all gave insight into the repressed rage that Quentin felt that anyone would dare to attempt to subvert the Slayer. And of course he'd seen the news. A certain building burning in downtown L.A., with most of its workers trapped within, roasted alive. Rupert felt grim satisfaction of their fate. He only wished they could have been flayed alive first.
Rupert sensed something else from Quentin as well. Behind the obvious satisfaction in Quentin’s voice that Gwen Post was dead, he was disturbed, worried. The obvious source of this worry was Buffy Summers and how she was doing after her ordeal. Rupert wanted, no needed, more information on her condition. But he would have to wait until the next report...
Buffy’s first awareness upon awakening was the absence of pain. She did not hurt. It had been so long since she last experienced a pain-free moment that she could not really remember what it felt like. She was aware that she was laying on a soft surface (a bed?) and that she felt oddly leaden (drugged?). She should be worried, but somehow could not summon the wherewithal to do so. She had a strange pressure on her arm, the one the vampire had broken, and after thinking about it for a moment, decided that someone had put a cast on it. She felt similar bindings on her injured ribs. Both feelings were distant as though a billowy cloud separated her from her feelings.
She contemplated opening her eyes, and after several minutes of deciding whether she should or should not, finally did so. It was dark, although not pitch black, more of a murky dimness. She could see a machine next to her with a bright, wavy line traveling across it in green. A hospital. She was in a hospital. Buffy knew that this was bad, but could not remember why. After briefly considering this, she finally decided that if she could not remember, she could ignore the vague feeling of dread that the idea of being in a hospital engendered in her.
Slowly, her eyes traveled to the other side of the bed she lay in. There appeared to be some type of stand supporting several bags of liquid that were probably feeding into her. Once again, she felt worry and fear that she was in a hospital, but valiantly fought it back. Then she became aware there was a figure at the foot of the bed. This was something she could not ignore. Trying to move, she found herself ridiculously weak, as well as fastened down somehow. Her feelings of terror mounting, she struggled to get loose. That was when the figure spoke.
“You poor dear. I am so glad you are awake. You must be so thirsty. Wait one second while I pour you some water.” The voice that spoke was female and British, which engendered no feelings of safety after Miss Post. However, its tone was warm and possessed a rich timbre, as though whoever spoke was a television star or public speaker. It also was the antithesis of Miss Post’s voice, which was by turns cold, cruel, belittling, or sarcastic, but never warm. Buffy stopped struggling with her bonds, waiting to see what the voice would do. Observation of your surroundings was important if you expected to survive. Such lessons were learned quickly or the consequences were painful and degrading.
The woman crossed the room to a table upon which sat a carafe of cold water and several glasses. Quickly filling one half full, she put in a straw and brought it over to Buffy. Bringing the straw to Buffy’s mouth, she held the glass so she could drink.
Nectar. Ambrosia. That was what it felt like to Buffy’s sore, dry mouth and throat. Never had water tasted better, even during those times when Miss Post had deprived Buffy of it, sometimes for days at a time. It spread with soothing quickness down her throat. Feeling a little better, she decided to risk speech. “Mu..more, please.” Miss Post had always emphasized how important politeness was. Usually with a whip or a cane. Other times with a boot or a fist.
Buffy’s voice was barely a croak. Sharon ruthlessly suppressed her rage at the girl’s condition. With a smiling, “Of course, dear,” she crossed the room and refilled the girl’s glass. Bringing it back over, she watched Buffy finish the rest of the water. Then, as if she had used up whatever reserves of energy she possessed, Buffy fell back into slumber. Looking down at the frail girl, Sharon vowed to do whatever was in her power to help her.
When Buffy woke again, light was streaming into the room from two large windows to the left of her bed framed by heavy terra cotta drapes. It did not appear to be a typical hospital room. The fourposter bed, was large, at least queen size, and had a heavy, dark wooden headboard and footboard. The bed's posts rose at least 180 cm into the air. There was a matching wooden chest of drawers and wardrobe with dark brass hardware to Buffy's right. The walls were papered in a an odd antique pattern of bamboo, made from a silk weave of some kind. Buffy had never seen wallpaper like that before. The ceiling was cream, dominated by a large hanging fixture that must contain at least eight bulbs. The room's single door lay directly opposite her bed and was of the same heavy, dark wood as the furnishings.
The monitor and IV stand beside her bed was the only real modern object in the entire room, providing an odd contrast between them and the décor. Trying to sit up, Buffy realized that she was still fastened down. Settling back into the bed, she relaxed, saving her energy for when it would do some good. At least this room did not resemble the hospital she had feared she was in. Since her cousin Celia’s death, she hated hospitals with a passion. No one ever seemed to get well in a hospital. She spent the next several minutes cataloging the aches and pains she felt, and decided she felt much better than she had in months. Just then the door opened.
“Hello dear, I am glad to see you’re awake.” The cheerful voice of the woman from last night rang through the room. Buffy looked her over in the light of day. She was about 165 cm, buxom without being fat. Her face looked comfortable and lived in with small lines around her mouth and eyes from smiling. Her hair had a few streaks of gray, making Buffy revise her age up from forty to perhaps fifty or so. Coming into the room, the woman continued the conversation.
“My name is Sharon. I’ll be the one looking after you for the next few weeks. I hope we can be friends.” Refusing to be put off by Buffy’s refusal to speak, she continued. “Dr. Caraway will be around in a few to check you over again. If he clears you for it, I will be bringing by lunch. For now, let me take your temperature.” Sharon brought out a thermometer, and walking over to Buffy’s bed, prepared to put it into her mouth. Buffy turned her head away, however, refusing to allow it within.
“Come now, dear, let me take your temperature. We need to see how you are doing to help you get well.”
Buffy looked at the woman. Buffy's eyes were cool and reserved, showing extreme wariness. After a couple of minutes, seeing that the woman was not going to go away, Buffy spoke, “Where am I?”
“Where are you? Why, you're in the headquarters of the Watchers Council.”
Trying to stifle the feelings of dread that had just redoubled, Buffy asked another question, “Why am I strapped down?”
“Well, dear, the man who rescued you, Commander Cummings, has a rather nasty set of scratches around his eyes. Apparently, you did your best to rip them out. We’re not holding a grudge over that, but there was some concern that your state of mind be evaluated before you were released. You seem fine to me, but I think it would be a good idea to wait a bit before unstrapping you.” Sharon’s kind, matter of fact tone did a great deal to relax Buffy.
Some of the tension Buffy felt leaked away as she thought of what has just been said. The man who had grabbed her was all right. She felt a vague sense of relief that she had not seriously hurt him. That she had attempted to blind him on the way to killing him only bothered her in a desultory way. After all, she had learned from Miss Post that anyone who attacked you was the enemy and should be dealt with appropriately. Realizing that she had a pensive look on her face, she schooled her features to the mask of calmness and inscrutability it had worn before.
“I was upset and surprised by someone who I perceived to be attacking me. That is why I fought back. I would not hurt anyone here. Please let me go.” Despite the disgust it engendered within her, she screwed up her face to a piteous pout as she begged to be released. Begging had been another of Miss Post’s no-no’s, except when attempting some subterfuge in order to complete a mission. It was okay to lie, but never to be weak. Observing Sharon’s face to see if it had any effect, she could see the woman weighing her words.
“Will you give me your word that you will not attack me or anyone else? And that you won’t attempt to escape?” Sharon's tone made it seem a reasonable request.
Buffy thought over what to say. Should she agree? It offended her sense of honor to lie to anyone, even if she was being held against her will. But these people were the enemy. She listened as Sharon continued to speak.
“Buffy, whatever you were told about the Watchers Council, please consider this. The person who told you about us murdered your parents, hurt and mistreated you for the past three years, and was going to sell you on the open market as an assassin. The only things we have done are to treat your wounds and take reasonable precautions that you would not hurt anyone. Who should be trusted? Gwendolyn Post or us?”
Buffy considered her words. They were logical, but the feeling in her gut wasn't. She wanted out now. Sharon’s eyes were kind and gentle as they lingered on her. They held a sympathy that made something inside of Buffy feel weak. Refusing to heed that
voice, she finally decided to compromise.
“I promise not to hurt anyone here. I also promise not to try to escape for the next week.” Buffy had every intention of honoring what she had just said while she recovered, provided no one here hurt her or attacked her. If they did, all bargains were off.
“All right, trust must be given to be received. I trust your word, Buffy Summers.” Sharon walked over to the bed and unbuckled Buffy’s ankles then her arms. Taking particular care not to bump her broken arm, she finished. Picking up the thermometer from the table by the bed, she said, “May I take your temperature now?” She smiled pleasantly as she said it.
Buffy stared at her for a long moment, then slowly nodded, watching Sharon carefully as she raised the thermometer to her mouth and slowly placed the tip inside. Waiting a moment, she then pulled it out and read it. She made a notation on the chart that lay on the table by Buffy’s bed. “Your temperature is 37.7 degrees. You are still running a slight fever. I am going to get Dr. Caraway now. Just relax and I will be back in a moment.” Turning, she left the room.
Buffy contemplated the IV’s that were still in her arm, but did not remove them. She would wait for the doctor to come and ask him to take them out. Part of this was her being reasonable, while part was dread at removing them herself. Despite the past three years and all she had endured, she still had a dread of needles. Just thinking about removing them herself made her sweat. Her thoughts were interrupted as a short, rotund man in a white coat who must the doctor came into the room. He could not have been over 1.6 meters and was almost as big around as he was tall. He was in his mid 40’s and had salt and pepper hair, cut short. His dark eyes twinkled behind round-lensed glasses. He wore a perpetually beaming smile that almost made Buffy smile despite herself. He just looked so cheerful.
“And how are we feeling today? I am Dr. Caraway, but you can call me Adam.” Picking up her chart from beside the bed, he gave it a quick once over. “Hmmm…. Hmmm… well you appear to be much better. How is your arm? Any pain?”
Buffy replied, “My arm doesn’t hurt much. I feel okay.”
Dr. Caraway took his stethoscope and placed the earpieces in his ears and warmed the end briefly in his hand before slowly placing it against Buffy’s chest, just inside her gown. He smiled reassuringly as he listened to her heartbeat. “Mmmm, your heart sounds fine. Amazing, mmmm?”
Buffy felt awkward as Adam continued to check her breathing and heartbeat in a variety of location on her chest and back. She felt a moment of embarrassment as he untied her gown, tugging it down and examining the bindings wrapping her ribs, but his cheerful professionalism blunted most of it. Pulling up her gown, he then spent a moment checking her arm, before slowly going over the bruises that covered her body. The occasional “Does this hurt, hmmm?” and “Do you feel any pain here, hmmm?” almost seemed not to require an answer, although Buffy dutifully answered them all. Finally, he finished and tucked her back into bed.
“Buffy, you are in remarkable shape considered all that you have been through. You are going to need to stay in bed another couple of days, after that mild exercise will be okay, walking and such. Hmmm, please do not overdo. I do not want my prettiest patient having a relapse. Now, I think we can stop filling you with saline and such and start filling you with real food. Give me a few minutes, and I'll send Sharon in to unhook you. Then she can get you some lunch. How does that sound, hmmm?” Smiling, Adam said his good byes, exiting the room...Four weeks later, somewhere over the Atlantic...
Buffy stared at the seat in front of her, ignoring the airline magazine in her lap. Her eyes flicked to a man walking down the aisle past her on her right. She could take him easily, she knew. Turning her eyes back to her seat, she focused away from thoughts of violence. Physically, she felt fine. Mentally, she was anything but. She was to meet her new watcher today. He was stationed in Sunnydale, California, not far from where she grew up. Buffy was worried that he would not like her, that she would mess up, that she would not be the perfect potential Slayer for him. She had another worry as well.
While intellectually she understood that the Council of Watchers did not tolerate the type of abuse she had received at the hands of Miss Post, the worry that gnawed at her insides had nothing to do with intellect. It had to do with gut instincts and subconscious fears. Her stomach roiled and again she regretted the large breakfast that Sharon had insisted she eat before her flight.
“You want anything to drink, Buffy?” Bill’s gravelly voice interrupted her musings. She turned her head and looked at the man-mountain seated next to her for a moment, noting his tendency to take his eyes off his surroundings when speaking to her, then finally said, “Yes, thank you. May I have some water, please?”
Bill relayed her request to the stewardess pushing the drink cart around, then passed the bottle of water to Buffy. Buffy smiled her thanks, as much for the distraction from her thoughts as for something to drink. Twisting off the top, she contemplated the two men sitting on either side of her in the central aisle of the plane.
Bill Templeton and Simon Lafferty were both very large men, with chiseled features and muscular bodies, seemingly stamped out of a single mold. Their size, however, was not the first thing that caught the eye. Both men seemed to possess an awareness of their surroundings, coupled with a capacity for violence, even while sitting, that made others notice them. Personally, Buffy thought them to have too many bad habits to be truly dangerous, but they were fairly competent. Certainly, their little group had received some odd looks in the airport and on the plane. Most people upon seeing them would think spoiled little rich girl with her bodyguards. That she was flying coach just meant she was trying to be incognito.
Buffy almost smiled at that. Incognito indeed. Bill and Simon were her bodyguards and escorts to her Watcher. The Council would take no more chances with her after the last time. Bill and Simon were the best that they had. Buffy did not waste any time contemplating that sad state of affairs. Both men would stay on and guard her until such time as she became the Slayer. Only then would they move on with their lives.
Buffy was not sure how she felt about having bodyguards, but had quickly come to like both men since being introduced to them two weeks ago. She had almost gotten to the point that she stopped cataloging their weaknesses and only focused upon them as people. As a matter of fact, the two of them felt almost like big brothers, but never having had a brother, Buffy wasn’t entirely sure how having one would feel. Upon that convoluted thought, she decided to retire from thinking, and just try to get through the rest of the flight...
Bill sat, outwardly relaxed, but inwardly focused on his surroundings. He kept his awareness primarily focused to his left, trusting his partner to watch the right side of the plane. Despite his focus, Bill had attention left to contemplate the girl who sat between him and his partner.
He liked Buffy. He'd decided that two weeks ago when first introduced to her. Despite what he had heard from Brian. Despite what he had seen himself. It had taken him a while to pin down exactly what it was about her that created the warm feeling in his cold heart.
He finally decided it was because she was a killer. A more ruthless and efficient one perhaps that even himself. There was a constant evaluating look in her eyes at all times, as if she trying to figure out how to take you down at any given moment. That was exactly how Bill saw the world most of the time. He considered it a weakness that he occasionally failed to maintain the necessary focus to do it one hundred percent of the time.
Bill, an only child, thought that if he did have a sister, he would like her to be exactly like Buffy. Simon worried about the girl, mouthing those silly platitudes of his, made up mostly of psychological mumbo jumbo. Bill just shrugged and said he thought she seemed fine to him. So what if she had the occasional nightmare? It didn't mean you had to cuddle her in the middle of the night as he'd caught Simon doing recently.
Still, Bill had been surprised the girl tolerated it. But she had, clinging to his partner as if her life depended on her hold. Bill had merely stayed nearby, ready to kill anyone or anything that harmed her.
Simon sat, wanted desperately to fidget in his boredom, but with ruthless self-discipline, stayed perfectly still. He could feel the distraction of the girl at his side. The girl who he had held again last night as she sobbed out the pain from her nightmares. Simon felt disgust that someone could so mistreat a young woman like Buffy.
He was feeling hopeful that whatever damage that Post had done to her was finally starting to heal. Unlike his partner, who Simon considered to be pretty much a sociopath, he felt worried about Buffy's emotional health. As long as she was functional, Bill would just shrug and say she seemed fine to him. As long as they'd been partners, Simon had trusted Bill with his back. But at the same time, he wondered when he would have to put him down. He'd known that it was inevitable from the first op they had performed together back in '89 in Kosovo. They had nearly shot one another over a street kid who had seen too much.
Simon had prevailed and the boy had scampered away unharmed. Still, he was aware that Bill had come close to drawing down on him. Why he hadn't, Simon had no idea. Now he was assigned to guard the possible hope of humanity. Just thinking about it made Simon aware of how ironic life could be. It was like asking the devil to guard Jesus, he decided, wondering exactly what was going to happen...