Chapter 14: An Old Problem, A New Solution - Pt 2
Chapter 14: An Old Problem, A New Solution - Part 2
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way. Strike that, Buffy gets pissed off so she says some bad words.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
A/N: Thanks to my betas for their help... zigpal and CindyB.
A/N2: Sorry about this everyone, Musie just got smacked in the head with this idea and took control of my body, forcing me to write this. That means there won’t be the reveal as previously expected. But don’t worry, I’ll post the reveal very, very soon!
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. Jack Ryan and his friends belongs to Tom Clancy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.Posted In Honor of 21 new Trackers and 28 reviews for the last chapter – as well as over 56000 hits – on TtH!
While she waited for both the President and the elevator, Buffy felt a moment of remorse for snapping at Gibbs like that. It really was her own fault for going off like that in public. It’s just that she was just livid that Riley would assume the Slayers were there to help the Initiative out of jams. And to make it worse, this time it was because they were experimenting again.‘But it’s nothing like it was with Adam,’ he had tried to argue. Even
if she believed that bullshit, the fact that they were experimenting again was bad enough.
She was in Ducky’s morgue – Palmer having been sent to assist Abby with something, anything to get him out of there – by the time the President got on the line.
Even though he was concerned about why she would be calling him, President Jack Ryan spoke warmly to the woman who had been keeping the world safe for the better part of the last decade. “Miss Summers? Sorry for the wait. It took some time to get to a private area where I could talk freely. What can I do for you?”
“Just call me Buffy, Sir,” she replied automatically before beginning her tirade, albeit in a much calmer tone than before, “Simply put, the Initiative is at it again, Mr. President. But this time I feel that it’s finally necessary for me to use the authority Congress gave me to shut them down for good. But they are requesting to be notified officially, Sir. That’s where you come in.”
Ryan mumbled something to a person next to him, then turned back to the phone, “It’s being taken care of immediately. Can you explain what they’ve done that has you so troubled?”
Buffy relayed the conversation she had with Riley almost verbatim – at least on his side. She didn’t feel good about repeating her responses to the President. Not that she was ashamed or thought she overreacted, just that he was too much of a gentleman to say those things to.
Ducky, who had been listening, paled at the group’s recklessness and arrogance. Apparently the President agreed with him.
Then she got to the second reason for her call. She cleared her throat softly and spoke formally, “Mr. President, as co-head of the Ursagga Council, I would like to officially request a pardon for Faith Lehane. She is needed to go and clean this mess up. If it were just the Initiative that would suffer, we would keep out of it this time. But innocent lives are at risk and we can’t let them suffer the consequences as well, Sir.”
“I’ll take care of it right away. But it’s up to you to get her to accept it this time. You know, it’s very unusual for someone to turn down a pardon.” Like her father earlier, she could hear the smile in his voice.
Buffy smiled back despite her previous anxiety. “I know, Sir. She’s just afraid that it’s too similar to when the Mayor would take care of her problems. I hope you understand it’s nothing personal, Sir.”
“Of course. But I want you to remember that when we are talking unofficially that you can call me Jack. Okay?” he remarked charmingly. If she didn’t know better, she’d have sworn that he was acting very politician-y. As it was, she did know from past conversations – both with him and others around him – that he despised politics.
Buffy was confused by his request. She understood that he was just doing his duty and that he probably resented it at times. ‘Gee that sounds familiar,’
she thought with a grin. “Okaaay, but exactly when would we be talking and it not
Ryan laughed. He really did like this woman. From what he heard from and about her, she understood the concept of duty. It felt good that there were others in the world that got that. “Point taken. How about when you aren’t speaking as a Council member, but just as Buffy or as a Slayer then?” he suggested.
“I’ll try to remember that. Oh! By the way, I looked over that request from Andrea Price – she’s your bodyguard right?” she asked, surprised that she actually remembered the name of the woman off the top of her head. Normally she had to think about it.
“Not the precise title, but yes. She was wanting to either have a Slayer work with the protective detail or have one train them in case somebody decides to send demons after me, right?” he paraphrased the request best he could remember it.
Buffy nodded even though he couldn’t see it, “That’s the one. Unfortunately, only Faith and I are over 18 at the moment. There’s a couple Slayers who will be in the next few months. Now, Vi was with us in Sunnydale, but the others are ones we had to track down so they have even less experience and training than Vi does.”
Ryan considered that news momentarily. “Even with a pardon, Andrea would never be able to let Faith on the detail. It would be a political nightmare if it ever became public.” That made him realize another hitch in their plans. “There might be the same sort of problem with you or any of the other Slayers because you are connected to a multi-national agency. That reminds me, how are you enjoying NCIS?” he inquired.
She laughed ruefully, “Well, it certainly is interesting. Maybe I can tell you more about it later, but it seems as though I have a personal connection here. Right now I’m trying to wrap my head around it though.”
Now he was concerned. He quickly offered, “If you need anything, even for personal reasons, don’t hesitate to ask. What you’ve done for the world allows you some favors.”
“Thank you, Sir. I mean, Jack,” she quickly corrected herself. “Like I said, maybe once I’ve come to grips with it better. But about your detail situation…maybe I can help them unofficially until I’m done here at NCIS. Not that your safety isn’t important! Just that Giles thinks that I can learn a lot about investigations from these folks that can help the Council and future Slayers and--” she started to ramble when she recognized how that must have sounded to him.
Ryan chuckled at her concern. This woman who most if not all of the fiercest creatures imaginable feared was upset at the idea of offending him
. “Don’t worry, I understand what you meant. How about I have Andrea call you to work out the details of this unofficial training?”
Buffy breathed a silent sigh of relief before agreeing, “That sounds good to me.”
“And let me know if the Initiative gives you anymore trouble. I have a friend who can help keep them away from you.” Then he had his own thoughts about how that sounded and added, “Don’t worry, he wouldn’t kill them unless they gave him no other choice. He’s just really good at intimidation.”
Buffy perked up at that information. “Really? I think I’d like to meet him then. See how he ranks on the scale of glares.”
Ryan’s curiosity was piqued at this and he felt compelled to find out, “Who’s the scariest so far?”
She thought about her answer for a second before answering, “Personally, I think it’s Giles. But I may not be the best judge of that because of my personal desire not to upset him. Other people tell me that my ex, Angel when he’s Angelus is scarier. And other people say that I win the prize – mostly because it’s so unexpected coming from a bubble-headed Barbie type.”
“And I’m sure that you haven’t tried to change that image of yourself, have you?” he shot back with a audible smirk.
Buffy laughed, “Why should I? It’s a perfectly good cover – both with the bad guys and you wouldn’t believe
how many research all-nighters it has gotten me out of.”
Ryan laughed in return then saw Arnie waving frantically at him, “As much as I’d love to keep talking with you, I have some appointments to get to.”
“Thank you again for Faith, Jack. I know she needs to pay for her crimes, but keeping a Slayer confined is close to torture. I don’t understand how she’s managed for so long,” she wondered out loud.
He offered his own hypothesis, “My guess is that she’s remembering why
she needs to stay and that’s what keeps her holding on.”
“I’ll be waiting to hear from Andrea then. Goodbye, Jack,” Buffy said, not wanting to get the President caught up in another conversation that could drag him away from something important.
“Goodbye, Buffy,” Ryan answered before hanging up.
The minute she hung up, her phone rang again. She scowled at the caller ID, but answered anyway, “I thought I told you never to call me again, Riley! The President is getting your orders written up.” What she didn’t say was that he could expect to lose his commission, as well as any of the other leaders in the group.
A quiet yet familiar voice answered, “Uhh, Buffy? It’s not Riley, it’s Graham Miller.”
Buffy was still leery about anyone from that group calling her. True, when he was in Sunnydale, Graham was one of the better guys. At least he respected her and her abilities – unlike that jerk, Forrest. And there were actually times when she wished she had met Graham first instead of Riley. But then again, who knows if that would have changed anything. “Okay, what do you
want?” she asked with a moderately less hostile tone.
Thanking whatever higher powers there were that she didn’t just hang up on him, Graham quickly explained, “Basically to thank you for shutting the program down. I just found out a couple days ago that they were making the same mistakes they did before, just using the newer squads for the capture teams. None of us who were in Sunnydale – besides Riley – would ever have done that again.”
His voice grew hard, “And they knew that. That’s why they kept us as strictly kill squads. To be honest, I don’t know what he could be thinking. But then again, he’s stayed pretty far away from any of us from the original group.”
Wondering if she had misread her ex and he was in trouble, Buffy asked, “You think they might be messing with him again?”
“Sadly, no. I think anything that’s going on is by his choice.” He let out a sigh of disgust, then continued, “I know that he had problems being the ordinary boyfriend of a superhero, but we thought that when he married Sam that he was over it. But they didn’t last long after that final visit to Sunnydale when they went after the eggs. Sam got tired of listening to him go on and on about you and your ‘relationship’ with Giles and how wrong it all was.”
Sure she must have heard that wrong, she demanded, “What? How was my relationship with Giles any different than it was when Riley left?”
Graham was surprised at the shock in her voice. Apparently his old buddy got his signals wrong. That didn’t really surprise him since the guy just couldn’t think clearly where Buffy was concerned – not that he blamed him…much. “Riley said that the two of you went away together for an extended vacation and left the slaying up to your friends and Hostile 17. And that the two of you looked awfully close for just
Watcher and Slayer.”
Buffy felt like pulling her hair out. Strike that, she felt like tracking him down and ‘sparring’ with him like he always said he wanted her to. “What a pillock! I suppose he forgot to mention that this alleged ‘vacation’ was so that I could learn to get through the day without wanting to die again so that I could get back to heaven?”
“I don’t understand,” he stuttered. He really hoped that he didn’t
understand what that sounded like.
Even though she probably shouldn’t, Buffy decided to give Graham the benefit of the doubt and give him the truth. “About five months after he left me, I died trying to stop a hellgoddess from destroying…well, all of reality. When that happened, I went to a place of peace and rest. But the group, except for Giles and Tara, wanted to bring me back because they convinced themselves I was in a hell dimension since that’s where Glory was trying to get back to.”
what he was afraid of. Graham felt sick to his stomach, but managed to gasp out, “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry, I had no idea!”
Buffy ignored his platitude since she had mostly
gotten over it now. She went on with her explanation, “Anyway, I was pretty messed up and Giles realized as soon as he saw me that I hadn’t been in a hell dimension before they brought me back. And when it was confirmed that I was at peace, he took me away from the Hellmouth. He was afraid that staying there in my vulnerable state would eat away at my soul until I was just a shell.”
“I assumed it worked since you sound like when I knew you before,” he offered lamely.
“Yeah, Giles was right…again,” she answered. She started to mention Dawn, but decided that she didn’t want to rehash everything
about that time.
Graham sensed an opening for his other question and took it. “Do you mind me asking about Giles and why you two were so close when Riley saw you again?”
Buffy shrugged, “Nah. He was there for me while I recovered and helped me get over my feelings of betrayal towards the others for not even checking where I was before doing the spell. To make a long story short, he became my best friend. And even when we finally did go back to Sunnydale, we remained
best friends. Let me tell you, that
didn’t sit well with the Gang.”
He smiled at the idea that they would feel threatened by their closeness. Probably rightfully so. “I can imagine. Oh, I’d better get going. I hear Riley bellowing. Guess the orders came though.”
“Ah shucks. That’s too bad,” she said sarcastically.
Graham hesitated to ask but he needed to know anyway. “I know that it’s not your place to clean up after us, but are you going to anyway?”
Since she could tell it wasn’t a command like Riley before, Buffy answered him calmly, “Not personally, but I am sending an experienced Slayer and a team to take care of it.”
“Thanks,” he said gratefully, then paused before pushing his luck, “Umm, would you mind if I came to visit you when we got back to the States and finish the debriefing nightmare?”
Buffy smiled at the thought of catching up with someone from Sunnydale and hoped that it wouldn’t bite her in the ass. “I don’t have a problem with that. Right now I’m working with NCIS as a liaison to the Council.”
Graham was confused and it was apparent in his voice, “I thought you hated those Council guys. Not to mention the military?”
She laughed, “Well, that’s a story for when you visit. Take care and don’t forget rule one…”
He picked up where she left off, “ ‘Don’t die.’
Simple but effective. See you soon, Buffy.”
“Okay, Graham.” She hung up her phone then stared at it, expecting it to ring, seeing as how she’d been talking for the past hour or so.
When it didn’t, she spoke to Ducky for a few moments as he went over some autopsy findings with her. Palmer tentatively stuck his head in and found them discussing the history of embalming over a tray of internal organs. This new woman was certainly different from other people who come into the morgue. She didn’t even seem to flinch at the nastier aspects of their work.
When Buffy noticed him, she realized that she needed to get back upstairs. She hastily said goodbye to them and got on the elevator. Now that the crisis had been dealt with, her mind slipped back to wondering about Gibbs and the possibility that he might be her dad.
A/N1: New AU details for BtVS season 6 are Giles taking Buffy away to recover and Spike helping the Gang with the resurrection instead of Tara. It just seemed OOC to me that she’d go along with that. And Spike was obsessive enough to want the real Buffy back. But it was his guilt over doing that which led him to seek his soul.
A/N2: Next…Family barbecue.