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Dead Eyes

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Summary: He wants to give this imposter back, this girl wearing his child’s skin. He doesn’t know them, doesn’t want to know them, is afraid to know them. AU.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Theme: Buffy's Real FamilycallmefredFR1312,0854203,52425 Jun 1025 Jun 10Yes
This is in an AU where Buffy is Jack's daughter and has always been his daughter, not in the she just found out way.
First fic.

Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss and Stargate belongs to MGM. I, unfortunately, am neither.

*

She’s a firecracker, his daughter. Since she was a child, she was always getting into mischief, always the one with a playful glint in her eyes, pulling pranks and pushing the rules to the absolute limits.

Buffy has always been that way, he knows this. It is a fact. It has always been, will always be.

And then she isn’t and he doesn’t know what facts are anymore.

When he realizes this, he feels lost.

*

The first time he notices, Charlie has been dead for four years and they have lived in Colorado Springs for three. He hears her sneaking out through her bedroom window at about half past eleven. Curious and protective as always, Jack sits patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) on the swivel chair at her desk and waits for her to come back in.

Buffy finally makes it her way through the window at a quarter to one and nearly falls back through it when she spies the form of her father sitting there, in the dark.

He was furious, and rightly so in his opinion. His daughter has been sneaking out behind his back, lying to him. Jack isn’t sure which it is that bothers him more – that Buffy had snuck out or that she had clearly done so several times, as she was able to climb up the tree and through the open bedroom window without any trouble.

She claims that she was just out with friends, meeting a boy. She says that she knew he wouldn’t have let her go out otherwise.

He wants to believe her, he does. But her eyes, God, her eyes. Jack would have paid any amount, would have given anything to have never seen his little girl look like that again.

No child should ever, ever have such dead eyes, such cold, empty eyes. They shouldn’t sound so tired, so weary.

Dimly he wonders what happened to his little firecracker.

*

It is like a veil has been lifted after that. It is like he was being kept in the dark and his eyes had become accustomed to it, seeing the shapes but no true details, and he thinks that he can guess what shape is which object. Then suddenly a light is turned on and everything he thought he recognized is something different and he finds that he knows nothing.

He sees it more often after that. Every time he looks at her, he is searching for some sign that it is all okay, that Buffy is fine. He doesn’t want her to look like that, nor does he want to know why she looks like that. He has seen it in the eyes of soldiers who had come back from war, those who had forgotten how to live, who didn’t know how to act human any more. He doesn’t want to know, but it keeps him awake at night, wondering constantly, what happened to her?

When she smiles, he can see that it doesn’t reach her eyes and that it seems more brittle and not like the smiles she used to have.

Her laughs are more forced, more fake. Not the Buffy-laughs he used to live to draw out of her, not the sound that kept him going after Charlie. He thinks that that might be what happened to her. Charlie. Did his death affect her more than he had thought? Maybe that is what broke her inside.

She is seventeen and should be so alive. She is young and should be innocent and carefree. She should be happy and free and whole and alive.

Why isn’t she?

He doesn’t want to see it, wants to blind himself to it, but he can’t. He has seen it and as much as he wishes he hadn’t, he can’t unsee it. Despite the technology they had discovered in their travels through the Stargate, such a thing remains impossible for them. So he is not naive, not blind anymore.

His little girl is not his little girl.

He wants to demand answers, wants to shake her and beg of her to tell him, what happened?

Jack needs to know why. Where. When. Who. How?

*

Jack watches and he sees.

He sees a girl too old before her time, so jaded for someone so young, and someone who has already lost all innocence, all faith in humanity. He doesn’t understand how this could happen to such a happy, bubbly teenager.

He sees a girl with death and destruction in her strange deep, endless eyes, and he wants to know who put it there. Wants to know who killed his Buffy inside.

Jack sees now. He sees someone who fakes her smiles and laughs and who attempts to act like a normal girl should. But she’s not and he sees this.

He sees a girl who he doesn’t know and he wishes he knew when this happened.

*

It is beginning to distract him from his rather important and quite dangerous job. It keeps him awake all the time and people are beginning to get concerned. He has already had to reassure his team numerous times that he is fine, tell General Hammond that nothing is wrong, and has had to lie and joke and tell Doctor Frasier that sleep is overrated.

Dimly he asks himself, have they seen it? Have they seen her? All those times he has held barbeque's and parties for different occasions did Daniel, always observant, see something there that he hadn’t? Had Sam, the dedicated scientist, ever notice something off? Teal’c must have known dozens of warriors, so many soldiers, to have had that look in their eyes. Did his friend ever see it in this teenager who should be so innocent?

All the while, he is wondering.

He wonders what she is, who she is, because she’s not his daughter. His daughter wasn’t so empty, so cold, so dead inside. His daughter, his Buffy was so alive, with her vibrant green eyes that danced and laughed and sparkled with life. She scares him now, terrifies him occasionally. He will never admit it to anyone – what sort of a man would he be if he tells someone that his seventeen year old daughter makes him nervous, scared him with the looks in her eyes? Or the lack of them.

He wants to give this impostor back, this girl wearing his child’s skin. He doesn’t know them, doesn’t want to know them, is afraid to know them. He doesn’t know why she wakes up screaming from nightmare sometimes, doesn’t know why she can read Daniel’s Latin books. Doesn’t know why she quietly mocks the way people fight in action movies and the way they hold weapons in a way that she shouldn’t know.

*

(She thinks he can’t hear her, muttering under her breath, saying things that scare him even more. How does she know what the best way to hit someone is? Why would she know what the best way to break someone’s bone is?)

*

He goes to her, eyes frightened but voice strong and powerful and his mind is slowly breaking but he is in control when he demands an answer.

He gives her one of her t-shirts, a nice one that she had bought several weeks ago, while out shopping with her friends.

It is torn, now, with green and purple smears over it.

He gives her the t-shirt and watches as her eyes break all over again.

He asks her for answers.

She gives them.

*

Buffy tells him a story. That is what he thinks when she first starts talking, that it is a story. Some sort of fantastic, amazing story. It doesn’t seem real. It can’t be – how can everything he has been told throughout his life be a lie? He doesn’t believe her when she first starts talking, wants to yell as he thinks she mocks him. But he can see that she is telling the truth. It is in her eyes.

Earth didn’t start of as a paradise.

Demons are real.

Vampires are real.

Magic is real.

Slayers, the bogeyman to the bogeyman, are real.

It is the ‘Slayers’ part that he really, truly despises.

What sort of people would gladly ruin a teenager’s life? Would send a child out to die? He argues back consistently, asking questions, demanding things of her that she doesn’t know the answer to, like when she was a child learning her times tables. He wants to know why they would entrust a girl with such an important job instead of an adult. Why couldn’t the government do something or should it be why they wouldn’t?

When Buffy was fifteen, she was Called. He can hear the capital.

Vampires and demons and Slayers, oh my! He thinks and he doesn’t realize that he has said this aloud before she laughs, quietly and sadly. She wishes that it was that simple. She wishes that she could still joke about it, but she has seen one too many people die because she was too slow and has had to kill one too many vampires and demons to ever go back to living a normal life.

She can’t be whole and alive and normal, again. That is what Jack hears when she tells him about her world. About the world in the world, that he didn’t know about.

He believes her. Why shouldn’t he? He has seen it firsthand, has seen the blood and the gore and the weapons and how it has damaged his little firecracker.

*

She takes him out that night, on patrol.

He doesn’t take part – he can’t, she tells him, he might be strong in his world, but they are in hers now and he is so very weak here. He is the prey for these animals, these predators.

He watches and for the first time, Jack sees.

He sees the way she moves in the graveyards, stalking her prey. Hunting.

He sees the way the demons, so much larger and fiercer looking, cower before her and beg and plead for mercy.

He sees the way they try to avoid her, try to save themselves – and isn’t that a strange thought, that creatures that look as though they could kill him with a flick of their wrist, are afraid of his daughter, the cheerleader?

He sees the way she doesn’t just kill them, but destroys them entirely.

He sees somebody who kills themselves inside a little bit more each time they slay another enemy, but lives for the moment and needs it like any other person needs air.

Jack sees not a girl, not his daughter, but a predator, someone who is deadly and wonderful and broken but whole. She is whole here, because this is what she was born to do and it hurts him when he sees this.

*

She’s a firecracker, his daughter. Since she was a child, she was always getting into mischief, always the one with a playful glint in her eyes, pulling pranks and pushing the rules to the absolute limits.

Then she is Called, and the firecracker is gone, burnt out. Replaced by something foreign, unknown. Different.

But she is still his, he knows this in his gut, despite how different she acts. Even though she is a warrior. He ignores the fact that she is ten times as strong as he is, the way she goes out at night and comes in, cut and bruised and he doesn’t ask questions when she is perfectly fine in the morning.

The Slayer and the mystical, the world within the world he lives in, become a secret between them, something that only they will ever know.

He doesn’t ask for any more answers, and he ignores the way her eyes are so empty.

And so, he pretends.

Pretends that his daughter is fine, that she is happy, that she is normal. He pretends that there is nothing that goes bump in the night. He tells himself every day that Buffy is going to live a long, happy life and that she will die old, surrounded by fat grandchildren.

Because sometimes, lies are better than the truth and sometimes, it is better to close your eyes and pretend, to tell yourself that it isn’t true.

It is the only way Jack makes it through the day.

*

I'm a review whore.

The End

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