A Little Upset
May 17, 2005 9:34 PM
He had waited until he was certain she had killed all of them before apparating back to the Council grounds. He knew there would be fallout, but she had done well. Better than expected. He had not even had to help her. There had been a few sketchy moments, though. He went into the house and sat down next to Betsy, offhandedly wondering where Daisy was.
He did not have to wait long.
Pevensie was limping and her nose was bleeding everywhere. She had been terrified until her adrenaline had kicked in. She looked up and saw Buffy and an alarmed Willow coming down the stairs. Pevensie did not pause, but stalked over to Draco and punched him in the face. He toppled out of the chair and fell to the floor.
Buffy rushed over and put herself between Pevensie and Draco. She didn't want to push the slayer away, because she was sure how hurt Pevensie was, but she wasn't really sure what Draco had done to deserve a punch to the face that hard.
"Hey! What the hell
is going on?" she snapped. "Where have you been?"
"He locked me in a tomb with a bunch of vampires!"
"And you staked every single one of them. I told you your training would become more difficult."
"You left me there!"
"I did not," Draco snapped, getting to his feet. "I waited to see if you needed my help. You did not. Once they were dead, I returned. You're always complaining about how you want to know what it was like to be a slayer before the essence was released. Well, there it is."
Pevensie lunged at him, but Buffy grabbed her.
Buffy tried to keep her back while avoiding hurting her even more, but the anger toiling inside her was going to start boiling over and Draco would be getting an even harder punch in a moment.
"Hey," Buffy said, trying to get Pevensie's focus on her. "Hey
! Have Willow heal you and then go rest in your room."
"I don't want to go to my room," Pevensie said. "It sounds like being punished, and I didn't do anything wrong."
"You come and stay in my room then, okay?" Willow said, putting an arm around Pevensie gingerly.
"You are not
being punished, Pevensie," Buffy said strongly. "You did nothing wrong. I'll be by later to hear how you managed to do against the vampires by yourself. But first I need to make sure Draco's okay after that punch you gave him."
"I didn't hit him that hard," she said, glaring.
Willow steered her away. Draco watched her with a pleased smile on his face. His girl was tough. He had never been more proud. She was adaptable and resourceful.
Once Pevensie was out of sight, Buffy whirled around and pushed him into the nearby wall.
"What the hell
went through that stupid head of yours that rationalized how that was okay?" she yelled.
He batted her arm away. "Ouch. I was watching her. I had my wand ready. She only thought she was alone. If she'd needed me, I was right there, but she didn't. She did it all by herself, and she was magnificent."
"The only reason she is allowed to go on patrol right now is because you
are there with your magic, ready to back her up when she needs it. If you're going to throw her out there on her own, I'm pulling her from the schedule."
"You are not," Draco protested. "She can do this, and I was right there. She's getting it done, but she's not going to be of any use to anyone if I keep coddling her. She has to be able to adapt, to handle the unexpected."
"And she has to know that you're there and that she can trust you!" Buffy argued. "If Giles had pulled this crap on me, I would have walked away because to a slayer, your watcher is the one person, the only
person who has your back and can help you. She's still too young to be on her own."
"What do you mean if? I've read the Sunnydale diaries. It was what? Your eighteenth birthday? I did not leave her. I would never leave her. She's not your average slayer - she's better."
Buffy glared at Draco. "On my 18th birthday, my mother and I nearly died and Giles lost his job because he realized what he had done was wrong and couldn't bear the though of leaving me alone in a house with a vampire while he'd done something to hurt me."
She shook her head as she took a step back. "Quentin would have loved you."
"Because I want her ready? I'm not always going to be there, Buffy. I want to be, but what if something happens to me? What then? I want her to survive, and she can't do that if I'm holding her hand all the time."
"If anyone knows about not having a Watcher around, it's me, Draco, and I get where you're coming from. I wasn't ready, and I got my watcher killed. I was Pevensie's age. I know what she's going through. But you, the one person she trusts and has a connection with throwing her blindly into a locked room with her worst nightmares was one of the most damaging things you could have done."
She started to pace, her mind cycling through the different scenarios of what could have happened. "You say you were ready to help her, but what if something had happened? What if you were somehow injured? What if they knocked your wand away? What if they hurt her and you lost your focus?"
"She didn't need me. Do you understand? She held her own. I'm still in awe at how little I was needed. It was a risk, but it's paid off. If they had hurt her, they'd be just as dead as they are now."
"That's not the point!" Buffy shouted loudly. "You don't ever
do that to your slayer. Ever. That's a huge breach of trust. How far are you going to push her next time? Ten vampires? Throw in a werewolf?"
"Calm down. There were only four. I will handle Pevensie. She will know that I was there. She will know that I would never leave her. Not on purpose. I'm almost insulted that you think I did this to hurt her. I did this to keep her from being killed before her time. She has the potential to be truly great, but not if we never let her rise to the occasion."
She wasn't going to calm down, and she was still incredibly angry at him. In fact, Buffy was sorely tempted to pull Pevensie from patrolling for a few months and put her strictly in training. Maybe it was a mistake to let her patrol so young. She needed to have a life before she was put in these situations, because unlike Buffy, Pevensie actually had a choice.
"I'm pushing all the older slayers in their training, because I have been going easy on them. She's just fifteen, Draco. She deserves to have someone go easy on her. I would have given up everything to be a normal fifteen year old, and that's something I can't get back. Don't be in such a rush to throw her out there. Train her, fine, but don't make her a cold, killing machine."
"I'm not my father," he snapped, angry. "She sleeps on my couch most nights, she eats out of my fridge instead of the Council's. I've taken her to meet my bloody family. I've bought her clothes and I'm teaching her to walk in heels. She's going to have balance, though. You can't just hand over someone's life to me and not expect me to do everything in my power to protect it."
Buffy looked at him incredulously. "How was that protecting her?"
"She had to think and move much more quickly. She'll only be a better fighter by fighting more often. They next time that Ian Barton wanker attacks her, I want her to flatten the bastard."
Wonderful. Another issue to deal with. "There won't be a next time. And what the hell was she doing where she was in a position to be attacked? Had her back then, did you?"
"She was supposed to be in class. She ditches as often as you did, I believe. One day she even took it upon herself to floo to Blaise's. He said she's ill-trained, the Barton wanker."
"Because in the previous Council, when they trained their slayers, they locked them up with vampires. If they killed them, they could continue being a slayer. If they didn't, well, there was always another one right around the corner. We're a bit more lenient."
"Why did you keep forgetting the part where I was right there? I didn't leave her alone. not until they were all dust. If she needed me, I'd have stepped in so fast her head would have spun, but she did not need me. Not once."
Buffy shook her head. "We always need our watchers. I've been on the other side of that equation, and people we're supposed to trust don't always come through for us."
"Well, you haven't known me that long. The only person I have ever failed is my father, and you know why. She has me, but I don't want her to become dependent upon me."
There was a downside to that too, but hell if she knew a way to regulate it. "Want a tip? You can't be both. You can't be her world and then expect to leave her. It just doesn't work like that."
"And I think there can be a balance. If something happens to me, I want her to be able to handle herself."
There were some things where they would have to agree to disagree, because Buffy knew from experience if Giles was hurt, she'd be able to do anything but handle herself.
She sighed. "Think what you like but the bottom line is if you pull a stunt like that, I really will pull her off the patrol schedule and she'll be looped in with the other girls her age."
Draco rolled his eyes. "I wish you would trust me. Your way is not always the best way, and how you felt as a slayer isn't how she might feel."
He stalked towards Willow's room to get Pevensie.
Buffy glared after him. She'd been doing this longer and faced all sorts of things. In her mind, watching out for the non-slaying side of her girls was just as important.