His Name Is Ted—Can You Believe That?
Disclaimer: Shocking, but none of the characters are mine. I know y'all were confused there for a second. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is gained. BTVS belongs to Joss. Anita Blake and her buddies belong to Laurell K. Hamilton.
Notes: 1. I've looked for Faith's birthdate and came up empty. For the purposes of this story, Faith is younger than Buffy.
2. If you're a fan of Tales of the Slayer, Volume 4, you'll know Slayer Peri Bohr was a Slayer before Buffy. For this story, please assume Peri died in Keller, Nebraska under Watcher Mr. McClellan during her Cruciamentum.
“Rupert handed her over to them?” Joyce’s eyes went wide and for a moment Buffy felt a twinge of annoyance at her mother’s naivete.
“Not just handed her over, he drugged her until she was as weak as a kitten. Then, he gave her to them
.” Ted leaned forward on his elbows, and shook his head as if this was the worst thing he’d ever heard. Buffy seriously doubted his act was for real, and folded her arms as she stared across the laminate table top at him and back at Joyce.
The look of cold fury on her mother’s face brought Buffy a sense of comfort. Eyes welling up, she looked away for a moment trying to get her mind around the fact that Giles had betrayed her. Her mouth thinned into a hard line when she decided she couldn’t deal with that right now and pushed the thought to the side. Life sucked. She let out a breath of air and glanced around the diner trying to distract herself from the conversation at hand.
Denny’s seemed like an odd place to be having this discussion, but Ted assured them that there were other Council members lurking around Sunnydale. He’d smuggled them out the back of the house, trailing along fence-lines in backyards. He’d made them wait for him, handing a gun to Buffy with a brief explanation as to how to use it in case something nefarious came at them in the dark. In her weakened condition, she was glad to have it.
He was back in a few minutes with a black Hummer urging them inside. An hour later, they were outside of town at a Denny’s drinking coffee and eating greasy eggs.
“I’m not letting you work with that man anymore, Buffy. I won’t allow you to be around people who would do this to you.”
“I don’t have a choice,” Buffy grumbled.
“I’m your mother, what I say…”
“What?” Both Buffy and her mother stared at the man across the table from them.
“The Watcher’s Council will view her as a Slayer gone rogue. They’ll send a team to either bring her in, or terminate her.” Ted sighed sadly and glanced down at his hands. It might have been an act, but it was a good one.
Joyce paled, sitting back in her chair with her mouth hanging open. She shook as she grabbed Buffy’s hand and gave it a squeeze. And that’s when Ted said something interesting. “Unless they think she’s dead.”
“What do you mean?” Buffy leaned forward, eyes narrowing as Ted shrugged his shoulders and propped his chin on his fist.
“We could fake your death. Get a new identity…it’s the only way I can think of that’d you’d be free of them.”
“I need to slay. I can’t just stop.”
Joyce seemed to ignore her, and began peppering Ted with questions. Frustration filled Buffy. There was no way she could explain so her mother would understand. Glaring out the window, she frowned into the night. How could she make herself clear without sounding like a lunatic? The kill called to her. Death and darkness were her crack, and she needed them or she got itchy and cranky. No one liked an itchy, cranky slayer.
“I’m not sure I’ll stay sane if I can’t slay vampires.” She whispered it, but Joyce heard and turned to run her fingers soothingly through Buffy’s hair.
“I’m sure there are vampires for you to slay in other cities, I think you need to do this.”
“I’ll need something that your friends can identify as yours.”
“What do you do? Who are you really?” Buffy couldn’t help asking. What the hell was this guy doing here, anyway? And, the way he’d sighted down on Travers…like a stone cold killer. He didn’t send her Spidey Senses tingling, but he wasn’t someone she’d write off as safe either.
His head turned, blue eyes focusing on her. “I’m a bounty hunter specializing in the supernatural. It’s a very lucrative business.”
Buffy nodded, and asked, “Who hired you to kill Travers?” Travers was a Watcher, after all, and more of a monster than anything she’d been up against so far.
“I'm not at liberty to give out my client's name, but...let's just say my client was related to a Slayer—one that didn’t make it through Cruciamentum.”
Unease tightened her shoulders as she wrestled with the idea of this man shooting a Travers down like a dog. Was it really wrong? Her sister Slayer wouldn’t have died if it wasn’t for the Cruciamentum Travers had put her through, and she had to face it…without this guy’s help, she would have been vamp food.
Her friends. God, her mother! She couldn’t leave them behind, could she? Them against the Hellmouth without her…the thought of something happening to Joyce terrified her. But, she couldn’t trust the Watcher’s Council anymore, either. And, what about Faith? Could she deal with it if Faith was killed when she turned eighteen?
Buffy glanced at her mother, surprised at her words.
“If Buffy would have died because of that man, I would have hired you to kill him myself.”
Eyebrows reaching for the sky, Buffy cocked her head and really looked at her mother. Joyce seemed tired, her clothes were ripped and dirt smudged her face, but…there was a fire in her eyes.
“I can’t fake my death and leave everyone behind, Mom. I can’t leave you alone on the Hellmouth, that’s for sure.”
Joyce turned to her daughter and nodded before asking, “Mr. Forrester, what would it take for you to help us both fake our deaths and start someplace new?”This is the beginning of a series. The next part will deal with Buffy's new identity and submersion into Ted's world.