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Doing What Comes Naturally

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Do what comes naturally... follow your heart". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Buffy and Teal'c come to the rescue - Pairings: Buffy/Teal'c, Dawn/Jon

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Teal'c(Recent Donor)DeepBlueJoyFR1846112,79628672253,05012 May 0928 Sep 14No

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR15

New Perspectives, Old Wounds

Again, sorry for the delays. Real life is my only excuse. Hope you'll bear with me.

Thanks,

Blue

______


Things with Teal'c had moved to a new level, without either needing to belabor the issue. Buffy remembered that she and Riley had discussed their relationship and where it was going at length and in almost mind numbing detail. With Teal'c, none of that had been necessary. She knew where she stood, what his intentions were. There were no games and very little tension and unlike her relationship with Spike, they were on the same page, at the same time. It was the sanest relationship she’d ever been in. At first, it had been Buffy looking for a house – somewhere along the line it had become their house.

The house they finally chose was nothing like any house Buffy had ever lived in. She’d come to love the house in Sunnydale, despite the tragedy and chaos that had been life in Sunnydale. It had been warm. It had become home. Even after her mother’s death, it had held the comfort of family; that familiar feeling of belonging she’d always had from mom. It was as if it had retained something of her mother’s personality, her gentleness, even, oddly, considering the location and all the attacks it had seen, a feeling of security.

By contrast, the house in L.A., even though she’d lived there for almost sixteen years, had never had much personality and she’d never felt any connection to the place. The L.A. house had been like her father: expensive, orderly and just a little bit sterile. It had been a showpiece, just like her and mom. Impeccably groomed and fashionable.

This house was large – large enough for her friends or even for a family of her own. That thought gave Buffy a shock. The only people she’d allowed herself to think of as family had been the three people she’d come to town with – and maybe Spike, but Spike, of course was long gone. Once, Giles would have been in that number, but their relationship had never fully recovered after he’d left her to flounder in the months after she’d returned from the grave.

Now, life was full of possibilities. Her relationship with Giles was beginning to heal, and she was developing healthy adult relationships with her friends and with new people. And then of course there was Teal'c. She might even have children. The future was wide open. Like this house with its inviting, spacious feel that felt so ‘right’. It felt solid another thing she wasn’t used to. Despite the space, it was anything but cold, even with other people’s furnishings and that over-careful veneer of ‘polish’ that the realty company had applied to give the place ‘curb appeal’.

No, this house had felt like hers from the very beginning, the stone, the wood, the openness, the view. It was nothing like any place she’d dreamt about as a spoiled cheerleader, the last time she’d allowed herself to imagine growing up and having a place of her own other than Revello Drive. Teal'c was comfortable there too. The house was spacious enough that Teal’c didn’t feel hemmed in, but not so big, that Buffy felt lost there the way she had in the cavernous house in L.A. The house was also a lot more expensive than any house she’d ever thought she would ever be able to afford, which was the only reason she hadn’t committed to it the first time they’d seen it. Even if she paid the asking price, she would be putting fifty percent down and paying it off over only ten years – mostly so she wouldn’t be ‘cash poor’.

Of course, if she took Teal'c up on his offer to put in his own savings… If she took him up on his offer, they could actually buy it outright! Teal'c had invested almost all his pay for the last seven years, since he’d had little need to spend it living on base and spending most of his life in uniform. It turned out that he’d made very solid investments.

Buffy was thinking hard about that one. His offer had floored her. He hadn’t said the ‘m’ word or even suggested they move in together. He’d simply offered her the money. That had stunned her. The only thing any man had ever done that had shocked her more was when Spike had gone out and fought for his soul. For the first time in her life, it was beginning to feel as if she had the good luck to have her life graced by men of a certain quality. She only hoped that she and Teal'c were going to be able to share a good long life together.

“Can I move in tonight?” Buffy said to the real estate agent as she walked out the big wooden French doors that opened completely onto the balcony overlooking the valley below. Buffy threw her head back, and closed her eyes, deeply inhaling the fresh mountain air. She was home.

The woman just stared at her. Then she began to smile.

“I knew I was right to bring you here. Even though it’s a bit off the beaten path and a little bigger than you’d said you wanted… I just had this feeling.”

“You give good feeling… Uhhh… that came out wrong,” said Buffy, giggling a little.

June had been right. Hiring her own buyer’s agent had been the right idea… and even though the woman was a born salesperson, and people like that usually irritated Buffy, Buffy had liked her immediately.

“Am I right in assuming you want me to make an offer?”

“Teal'c?” Buffy looked up at him.

Teal'c simply nodded, smiling down at her.

“Definitely,” said Buffy.

________


Buffy wore a look of irritation on her face. The phone was ringing, disturbing what had been a wonderful lazy morning with Teal'c. Ever since he’d received permission to stay off base overnight, he’d spent every night he wasn’t off world with Buffy. Since her birthday, Dawn had been living with Jon in every way but name. Even before that, they’d moved into their own rooms, Buffy and Teal'c had been happy to take advantage of that. Since Buffy had begun her search for a house, their relationship had deepened in subtle ways that made Buffy feel warm and safe inside. Doing things as a couple, making life decisions as a couple, was a new experience – one she found she loved. She was looking forward to closing on the house and setting up home with Teal’c.

“Hullo,” she said, deliberately sounding sleepier than she was.

Suddenly she sat up in bed.

“Faith! Hey. No that’s Ok. A situation? What’s wrong?” asked Buffy, her mind immediately focused.

Teal'c reached over and switched on the light. He watched Buffy’s expression with concern.

“There’s another slayer in L.A.? Really?” asked Buffy. “Sure, I can go. Yes, I agree. No, that’s OK. You deal with the situation in Cleveland. Yes, please keep Andrew. Yeah, I’m sure he’ll be more useful there anyway. I don’t like the sound of this. You know it. OK, I’ll take her with. No. Can’t hurt. Thanks for the heads up. Yeah, you’re right about that. See you there if you can manage it. Ok. Take it easy. No, that’s OK, I can let him know.”

________


Willow was confused. She was having an amazing time in this town. Colorado Springs was so different from Sunnydale. So much more functional, so much less dangerous… boring, but in a good way that meant you could make your own excitement without anyone trying to eat you or hex you or suck you into hell. Tomorrow they were going to be going through their final orientation before taking their first trip through the gate. Tonight, however, she was having dinner with June again. June was sweet. June was sexy. June was softness. Unlike Kennedy, who had been all hard edges and irrepressibly tough, June was quiet, calm and almost too centered.

If Willow hadn’t known June was a lawyer – a scarily talented one, actually – she would never have believed it. Something in June resonated in Willow in almost the same serene way Tara’s spirit had, and that both attracted and terrified Willow. The other thing that scared her was that June was her intellectual equal in a way only Oz had ever been before. Well, Oz and Giles, but Willow had never wanted to date Giles!

For the first time in her life, she was surrounded by people as smart as she was, who were as committed as she was to the welfare of others, and of the planet. It was a heady experience. Maybe that was why she was spending so much time with Daniel. He served as a counterpoint to the very confusing feelings that June was provoking. Or maybe it was because Daniel was truly fascinating all by himself. He had worlds of knowledge and experience, but he was humble about it and he had a great sense of humor.

It didn’t hurt that Daniel ‘got’ her sense of humor and most of her references as well. She caught him watching her sometimes, and when he noticed her noticing his expression would close up, as if he’d been caught doing something inappropriate. Was he interested in her? Was she interested if he was? Willow was very torn about Daniel. She was lesbian, now, wasn’t she? She was definitely attracted to June. She had just broken up with Kennedy. Her dreams were still about Tara.

This was why last night had come as such a shock. The image replayed itself in her head. The softest kiss. The gentlest embrace… the feeling of a hard body against hers. Strong, male hands on her skin. How easily she let herself go in his arms, giving herself to him unhesitatingly. Then, of course, she’d woken up, her skin slick with sweat and her heart beating just a little too fast. She’d lain there in her bed trying hard to find her calm again. What the hell was going on with her? Did she really want to sleep with Daniel? Did she really want to be with a man again? It had been years since Willow had had any kind of sexual fantasy or dream involving any male and those had been much tamer than her very NC-17 dream last night.

Even when she had been dating Oz, Willow had seldom had sexual fantasies about him, though she had certainly noticed little details about him, especially in the beginning, it had never really gone much past that. That had actually been one of the first clues that she might not be 100% straight, though she hadn’t really known that at the time.

A lot, if not most of Oz’ appeal had been cerebral. She’d finally found someone her own age who she could talk to as an equal and he’d been interested in her too. Oz had been warm and his presence had given her a serenity that she really loved. After a lifetime of being ignored by her parents and excluded and ignored by her peers, she’d felt enveloped by caring and unlike the relationship with Xander, Oz had noticed her back, been interested in her. Oz had been just what she needed. It had felt so good until… until Veruca’s arrival had disrupted everything. She’d barely noticed the lack of wild passion that Buffy seemed to feel about Angel.

By contrast, as soon as she’d started to get to know Tara, the fantasies had begun. Before she admitted anything to herself about her sexuality, she had begun to dream about Tara on a regular basis. Her dreams had always had texture… she’d wake up with the feeling that she already knew what Tara’s bare skin felt like beneath her fingers. Day after day, she’d find herself waking up extremely aroused and emotionally off balance. A lot, in fact, like she was feeling now, actually… about Daniel. Part of Willow’s discomfort was that it felt almost… disloyal to Tara to be interested in a man. Was she really that fickle? It was almost dawn before she had finally fallen asleep again to sleep fitfully until her alarm went off.

Now, she was feeling nervous. What on earth had possessed her to agree to show Daniel magic? What on earth had possessed her to agree to teach him magic, if he turned out to have any aptitude? Now she knew his story, she felt quite certain he’d have aptitude. The whole thing made her extremely… tingly. She was going to have breakfast with him, then spend the morning at his apartment showing him some basic spells; then they were supposed to go to a new exhibit at the museum… It sounded fascinating… Her phone began to vibrate.


______



Dawn was happy. Happy, excited and terrified. Terrified because it always seemed in the past that whenever her life had gone well, something really bad happened. Now her life was going unbelievably well. She had what she needed, what she wanted. Other than Mom, Spike and Tara being alive, life was pretty close to perfect. Jon. Her relationship with Buffy and the others. School, even. They were staying in Colorado Springs now the legal proceedings were over. She was beginning to feel at home here in a way that she’d thought she could never feel again. She and Jon were connected in a way she’d never felt connected to anyone. Not mom. Not Buffy. Not Spike.

Something about their shared history of not existing until recently had made it very easy for Dawn to get into Jon’s head, and for him to get into hers. The fact that they also spent almost every available waking moment together and spent hours just talking about everything under the sun meant they had rapidly come to know each other in a way Dawn had never even talked to her sister. Jon’s other self had never allowed himself to know anyone else that deeply either. Something about their relationship allowed him a freedom he’d never even considered before. Jon had been almost uncomfortable to admit this.

Dawn thought his discomfort was partly due to the fact that he’d realized just how little he had really known Sara, and how much less of himself – the other him – he had allowed Sara to see.

He had compartmentalized his life, partly from habit, partly from necessity, and no one had ever been allowed to see more than the parts labeled ‘soldier’, ‘father’, ‘husband’ or ‘son’. Not until Dawn. Would Jack’s marriage to Sara have survived the loss of Charlie, if their relationship had been deeper? Would Jon have simply lived his entire life never knowing that he could do things differently if he hadn’t met Dawn?

“You’re not him, you know, luv,” said Dawn, unconsciously channeling Spike.

“I suppose,” said Jon. “Well, the other me really oughta let folks in.”

“You’re gonna tell Jack that?” she asked.

“I’m not sure I’m that brave,” said Jon. “It’s not the sort of thing I’d have taken well until… well, until now.”

“Sure you are – brave enough, I mean. And anyway, if you don’t, no one else will,” said Dawn. “It’s not like the other people in his life have changed all that much.”

“Yeah. Go figure, it took Xander to get him and Carter together,” said Jon.

“You can call her Sam, you know,” said Dawn.

“Habit,” said Jon.

That and he really didn’t want to think of her as Sam any more. That was a corner of himself that he really had worked hard to shut down once he’d been cloned, and at this point, there wasn’t any point in revisiting it. The person he was now was different and ‘Sam’ wasn’t part of his life. ‘Carter’ would be.

“Guess it’s just as well now you’re gonna go back to the SGC,” said Dawn.

“Yeah,” said Jon. “I really didn’t see that one coming.”

“You think you’ll be able to adjust to having Carter in charge?” asked Dawn, completely unaware that she’d slipped into Jon’s mode of referring to Sam by her surname. Jon smiled to himself in the semi darkness, but said nothing.

“I think so. Until recently, I thought it was going to be a cold day in hell before I went through the gate again. I’ll adjust,” said Jon. “In the military there’s always someone to answer to and someone who answers to you. You get used to it. Besides… it’s kind of weird, but I… I think I finally feel younger than Sam. Something about this girl I met.”

Dawn leaned in and kissed him.

“A girl? Is she cute?”

“Oh yes, very cute,” said Jon, his voice suddenly husky.

That was when Dawn’s phone began to ring.

“Drat.”


_______



Xander lay in his bed staring at the ceiling and willing himself to get up and get ready for his workout with Graham. Xander was beginning to feel as if he was dating Graham. Not due to any attraction, but rather because Graham, like him, was mostly at a lose end, on days with no gate training or in the evenings after training was over. They’d gotten in the habit of working out together in the gym near the long term hotel that they’d all moved to once they’d realized they were going to be in town for at least the immediate future.

Buffy was looking for a house to buy, but he and Willow hadn’t decided just what they were going to do yet, though Buffy had invited them to live with her and Dawn if the house she found was big enough. Xander suspected he’d take her up on it. Xander didn’t really want to live alone. If he didn’t live with Buffy and Dawn, he might well end up living with Graham. Graham was probably going to be in town on a semi permanent basis too and had off-handedly mentioned sharing an apartment or house if Xander were interested.

Many days, Graham was the first person Xander saw in the morning and the last person he said goodnight to. Neither he nor Graham were dating anyone and the others seemed to be more and more caught up with their new lives. Xander was actually enjoying spending so much time in male company quite a lot. Since Jesse, he really hadn’t had a close male friend, and he and Graham had the built-in advantage of being able to talk about things they couldn’t talk to others about. They were well on their way to becoming best friends.

Xander was relieved. Xander really didn’t like being alone. He’d never liked it, but he still thought an inordinate amount about Anya and his life in Sunnydale and everything they’d all lost. As time went on, and the finality of all of it had really begun to register emotionally, Xander had to fight not to get depressed. It wasn’t just that Buffy and Willow were unavailable; it was that he really didn’t want to share his misery. That had never been his style anyway, and now, the pain of losing Anya just seemed too big to give into anyway.

Everyone else seemed to be looking forward except him. Amazingly, both Dawn and Buffy seemed to have found the people they were probably going to be with for the long term. After all the relationship grief Buffy had been through, it stunned him just how uncomplicated her relationship with Teal'c was, and what a good fit it seemed to be. Maybe it hadn’t been Buffy all this time, as she’d feared. Maybe it had been fallout from the hellmouth and from having the destiny from hell.

Of course, now, they all had a different destiny, and other than his eye, he was pretty sanguine about most of it, though he missed the closeness that had slowly been rebuilt in the months they’d spent on the road together. At least, the ugly distance that had developed between all of them and Buffy before the fall of Sunnydale had mostly healed. Xander suspected she’d never let them be as close as before, but she also seemed to have largely forgiven them.

Willow, similarly, had shrugged off Sunnydale like a bad dream, and seemed to be embracing life and new friendships. She’d bonded with Daniel over all their common interests and divided much of her days between researching antiquities with him, and a resurgence of her interest in science due to time spent working with Sam. She’d also bonded with June over the legal proceedings. Of course, finding a smart, confident, gorgeous lesbian who reminded Xander of the best things about Tara, with few, if any of Tara’s liabilities, had to be a heady experience. For Willow, anyway.

So far, unlike Tara, June hadn’t really become part of their circle. Part of that was scheduling, of course. They socialized with the members of SG-1 a great deal, and they did some of their gate training with SG-1 too. June wasn’t authorized to know about the project, so it was harder to include her in their circle, so Xander still didn’t know her all that well, unlike Willow who had spent many nights researching with her when they were trying to sort everything out for the cadets. Now the legal proceedings and the attendant research was over, he, Dawn and Buffy hardly saw June at all anymore.

Xander hadn’t shared any of his feelings with Willow. He didn’t want to rain on Willow’s parade – she’d already had more than her fair share of pain and he was frankly glad she was dating or hanging out or whatever it was she was doing with June and Daniel. Whatever it all meant. He just felt at a loose end. To put not to fine a point on it, he was lonely and he was grieving.

Some nights he was glad he had his own room now, but that meant of course, that the others really weren’t aware of what he was going through. Buffy, who’d started their little road trip almost catatonic with the pain of losing Spike, seemed to be moving on. It wasn’t that she wasn’t grieving at all, but that she had formed a vital connection with Teal'c, she was happy about how things were working out for Dawn and she was having a chance to be part of something that wasn’t nightly slay and flay. She was beginning to smile again.

Xander’s life by contrast was a portrait in didn’ts. He didn’t have to baby sit Dawn any more, because Dawn was no longer a kid. He didn’t have movie night with his ‘girls’ because Dawn and Buffy were dating and Willow seemed to spend every free moment with either June or Daniel. He didn’t have Anya to obsess over, or to try to rebuild things with. They weren’t really looking for slayers any more either. Giles had assigned them to Colorado Springs on a long term, if not permanent basis.

Giles had managed to recruit former watchers and other colleagues most of whom were better equipped to show up at strangers' doors with fantastical tales, than their rag-tag team of young travelers. Therefore, Xander’s life was defined by what he wasn’t doing any more. He didn’t even have parents to worry about or to have an awkward, unhealthy relationship with anymore. There was no record of either of them having left Sunnydale. A locator spell had been ‘inconclusive’ – which gave him hope, but no answers. Xander had given the authorities both his parent’s names; but neither had showed up to remove themselves from the list of missing persons.

Xander had last seen his mom about a week before the town collapsed and encouraged her to leave, as her neighbors already had. She’d nodded and kissed him on the cheek before heading out of the grocery store where they’d run into each other. They were among about three dozen people still listed as missing. Xander was almost certain they were dead. They’d found at least a dozen bodies of those who had been killed by demons of some sort in the days after the town had emptied out, though of course, they couldn’t tell the authorities that. That left twenty-five people who for some reason had not been willing or able to leave Sunnydale before it fell. Xander supposed it was a small price, considering the number of people who had died in Sunnydale over the course of an average year – and considering the fact that the world hadn’t ended.

They hadn’t told the authorities about Amanda either, though her parents had known what she’d been doing and had been informed how she had died. Her name was going to be on the memorial wall in London and they would be invited to attend the dedication at council expense. Since none of the other slayers had been from Sunnydale, they weren’t numbered among the missing. Xander didn’t really grieve his father, but his mother had been the only good thing about his family life, and though he hadn’t spent a lot of time with her lately, he’d always been able to pick up the phone and call her before this.

Of course, the fact that they had been on the move probably hadn’t made them easy to find and his mother, unlike Willow, was far from good at things like that. He’d have to contact her family and maybe even his father’s drunken family at some point, to see if either of his parents had somehow shown up. Maybe he shouldn’t put it off. For all he knew, his mother was frantic with worry or grief. In a moment of weakness after he and Anya had broken up, Xander had told his mother everything. Surprisingly, she hadn’t reacted with disbelief. It was probably the reason she’d never asked why he wasn’t leaving Sunnydale the last time he’d seen her.

“Hello?” Xander answered his phone.


________



Jon and his friend Hunter Creighton, a pilot who’d retired from the SGC only a few months earlier, were flying them to L.A in a private jet. Buffy was very grateful that Teal'c was coming with them. Even though the situation probably didn’t need his skills, she was glad for the emotional support. She really wasn’t looking forward to dealing with Angel, especially now the crisis in Sunnydale was over and he’d had time to think about the fact that she’d chosen Spike. Then, there was the stupid cookie speech. What had she been thinking? Her mind drifted from that potential unpleasantness to the unpleasantness at hand -- the psychotic slayer who had somehow managed to escape from a mental institution. They hadn’t thought about women like her or like Dr. Ayers when they activated the slayers.

“It’s stuff like this makes me feel guilty for what we did sometimes,” Buffy said. “Who knows who else we’ve turned into a slayer and turned their life upside down? I really thought it would just be healthy girls our age, you know?”

“Don’t do that to yourself, Buffy,” said Xander, “It’s not exactly like we had a choice.”

“I know, Xan… It’s just… from everything I’ve heard about this girl’s life, the last thing she needs is the kinds of pictures we tend to get in our heads… and the things we tend to have to deal with…” Buffy shrugged.

“Xander is correct, Buffy," said Teal'c. "You must not allow yourself to be consumed by your decision. Every leader must make difficult decisions. The true consequences seldom reveal themselves beforehand. In light of the strength of your adversary, I believe it was the correct course of action.”

He squeezed her hand and she squeezed back.

“You’re both right, of course. Let’s hope we can help her,” said Buffy.

“Let’s hope we can stop her before she hurts anybody else,” said Dawn acidly, her words feeling like cold water to Buffy.

“That too, Dawnie,” said Buffy, sighing. Suddenly she felt guilty she hadn’t been thinking about that part of the equation instead of obsessing about herself. Damn, she thought. This whole situation stinks. I just hope Angel doesn’t act like an idiot. That’s all we need.

_____


Jon was enjoying himself. He’d done a lot of flying in the last several months, but this was the first time it felt like a mission. Despite the comfortable seats and the relaxed atmosphere of the luxury jet, he felt a sense of purpose that he had really missed. Although it was unlikely he would actually have to fight, he felt that energized, focused feeling that he’d always had in anticipation of a mission.

Part of him felt a bit apprehensive about Dawn’s presence, but that too was familiar. How many times had he - the other him - gone into a nasty fight with Sam at his side, knowing they could face any number of dangers? The main thing that made him a bit more nervous than usual was that he’d never seen Dawn in a combat situation, and as comfortable as she seemed in this environment, he was still having a hard time thinking of her as anything but a civilian he needed to protect. Of course, he was the neophyte in this situation. He knew it would be a mistake to forget that.

Dawn had been bugging him about sparring together and now he realized she had been right. If her life in the future was anything like the life she’d experienced thus far, it was critical that her skills be the best they could and important that both of them knew what the other was capable of in a fight. Hopefully, since the main reason she was along for the ride was that he was flying the jet, there wouldn’t be any combat for either of them… Well, for Dawn anyway… Jon really wouldn’t mind a little fight! God, if she knew what he was thinking, he’d be in a whole heap of trouble! Jon smiled to himself as he readied the little jet for landing.


____



They’d collected their minimal luggage and Buffy’s weapons bag and were making their way toward big 2004 suburban they’d rented.

“Damn, that’s one big ass truck,” said Xander.

“I thought guys liked big trucks,” said Buffy.

Xander made a noncommittal sound somewhere between a grunt and a sigh. He used to like big trucks. Now, he had adjusted his compromised vision to the smaller car they’d acquired for their trip and he felt surprisingly ill at ease about driving the truck.

“I like trucks,” said Jon.

“We noticed,” said Buffy. “You have a really big truck.”

“Wanna drive?” asked Xander, giving the oversized SUV a baleful look. “I don’t know what I was thinking when I said we needed a really big SUV.”

“That we should have something big enough for all of us?” said Willow.

“Oh, yeah. Practical me. heh heh,” Xander’s laugh was ironic.

“I’ll drive if you like,” said Jon.

That was how Jon and Dawn ended up occupying the front seats of the truck, which definitely looked as though it should belong to their parents. Jon put the large SUV in drive and eased out of the parking lot, obviously at ease. Dawn leaned back in the comfortable seat and for the first time since their trip had begun, she began to let herself relax.

Faith called just as they’d finished checking into their motel.

“She’s got info on the slayer’s location from the coven,” said Buffy. “Let’s move.”

Everyone besides the pilot piled back into the SUV. This time, Buffy was driving, since she knew her way around that part of L.A., courtesy of her summer living on the wrong side of the tracks. Before she’d found her job as a waitress, she’d cleaned out a vampire nest, stolen all their money and put it with the last of her savings to pay for her microscopic apartment.

The old factory they were headed toward was about five blocks from where she’d cleaned out the vampire nest. She forced herself not to drive too fast, though she was anxious to get there. Since coming to Colorado Springs Buffy had been driving a lot more often and had been surprised to realize she was actually quite good at it now she had some practice in a low-pressure situation. Teal'c was a hard person to unnerve.

“I can’t believe you’ve never driven a big SUV, Buffy,” said Jon.

“Am I going too fast?” Buffy said, slowing down a little.

She’d been enjoying the experience, despite having never driven anything bigger than her mother’s old Jeep. This was a different experience. She could feel the power of the truck humming through her body. Suddenly she knew exactly why Jon liked his truck so much.

“It’s late, I don’t think anyone’s gonna stop us,” said Jon with a shrug. “No, you drive like a fighter pilot.”

“I’m not sure how to take that,” said Buffy, biting her lip.

“It’s hard to explain, but trust me, it’s a compliment,” said Jon.

Buffy grinned at him for a moment, allowing her speed to pick up just a little. The rest of the brief trip was completed in silence.

“We’re here,” she said, as she pulled up. “This is the place…”

“So, we split up?” asked Dawn.

“Yeah, you and Jon should go with Willow and Xander,” said Buffy. “Teal'c and I will go down. You guys go up. I’m sure Willow can contain the slayer if necessary.”
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