The Difference Between Ascension A and Ascension B
A.n. Thanks to RevDorothyL for beta reading this for me. I made a few additions thereafter so any mistakes in grammar would be a result of this. Sorry it has been so long. I am not sure if I will be able to get a regular update schedule again but I will try to keep the updates coming.
Chapter 2. The Difference Between Ascension A and Ascension B
Buffy was surrounded by boxes of manila folders. There was a pile of manila folders three feet deep to the left of her and another pile about equally deep on her right. Buffy sighed as she put another report on the pile to her left and picked up another from her right. Getting up to speed on their allies and enemies was going to take some time, and these reports were very dry reading. It was amazing to her that something that must be very interesting could be written about in such a way that made her want to hit her head against a wall repeatedly.
“Wow, is Buffy in there somewhere?” Daniel asked as he poked his head into the office space she was utilizing to read mission reports.
“Very funny,” she replied and sighed, putting down the file she was reading.
“What are you reading there?”
“I need to get caught up on just about everything, so I’m reading mission reports. Please save me from death by boredom.”
“I would be glad to. I wanted to see if you wanted to get out of the mountain for a little while and get some dinner.”
“That was my original plan, but Jack, Sam and T found out and wanted to come. So we are going to have a group thing, if that’s ok. Maybe we can regale you with stories to get you up to date on things without torturing you with mission reports.”
Buffy smiled and set the report aside. “I don’t think I can thank you enough.”
They ended up at Jack’s place with steak and salad before them while they laughed and told Buffy all about their prior missions.
“Then Daniel ascended,” Samantha stated.
Buffy turned to Daniel with wide eyes.
“It isn’t what you’re thinking of -- it wasn’t like your graduation.”
“Good to know that.”
“I seriously need to hear this story about your graduation,” Jack stated, wishing he could have been there for her. “When Daniel ascended he basically turned into a glowing flying squid,” Jack added.
“JACK, I was a higher being”!
“You were a higher being that was a glowing flying squid?” Buffy asked with large eyes.
“Well, I guess that’s what I looked like,” Daniel admitted, worried about how Buffy would take this. Would she ever let him kiss her again or would it gross her out?
“I can live with that,” Buffy stated, seeing the worry in his eyes. Who was she to point fingers? After all, she was once turned into a rat.
Buffy was patrolling the town and checking out the nightlife. There were not a lot of vampires in Colorado Springs. She had every hope, however, that her new job would keep her slayer side occupied enough. If not, then she could always take a break and visit Faith in Sunnyhell. For now, taking things easy was just what the doctor ordered.
Entering a dance club she decided to enjoy herself while giving the vamps a chance to come find her.
Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, Air Force pilot, covered his heart when he saw Buffy dancing alone.
“Excuse me, boys, I just found the future Mrs. Cameron Mitchell, and she is dancing alone.” He winked to his friends and went to join her on the dance floor.
“Hello, gorgeous. Mind if I cut in?” he asked with his most charming smile. “Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell at your service, but you can call me Cam.”
“Buffy Summers, Civilian Consultant.” Buffy introduced herself in turn and wondered if Cam was stationed at Cheyenne Mountain with the Blue Book Project.
“Delighted to make your acquaintance, Buffy. What do you consult on?”
“Oh, a bit of this and a bit of that. I’m with the Blue Book project working on deep space radar telemetry.”
“You don’t look like a scientist.”
Buffy laughed. “That’s because I’m not. I’m not smart enough for that kind of work. What do you do?”
“I fly. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. Almost”, he wiggled his eyebrows in a comically suggestive way.
Cameron bought Buffy a drink and they laughed and enjoyed the evening together. Finally, Buffy reluctantly decided she needed to get to work on her patrol or it wouldn’t get done that night.
Pocketing his phone number Buffy smiled to herself as she considered that she just made another date. Cameron was a Southern Gentleman, and while at times he reminded her a little of Riley Buffy sensed that he had far more self confidence. She hoped that would make all the difference for him accepting the Slayer side of her, if things progressed between them. So with a bounce in her step she left to patrol.
She didn’t notice the young man who stared at her and whispered her name under his breath in surprise.
“Jay, you coming?” his friend called out to him.
“No, go ahead. Something came up.” He answered without taking his eyes off the tiny blond woman as she walked down the street.
“Wow, I was starting to wonder if any woman could turn your eye.” Without paying attention to his friend he followed the young girl.
“I am going to kill Jack for not letting me know about this,” he whispered to himself as he followed her around a corner into an alley where she had suddenly disappeared.
“What the...?” He looked around the alley in dismay. Before he could do anything else he found himself being throttled, as the tiny blond captured him into a shockingly strong hold.
“Why are you following me?” she demanded as she looked him in the eye.
“B-Buffy, I...,” Jay trailed off, not knowing what to say. Did she have any idea that Jack O’Neill was her real father? And even if she did, what could he say? ‘Hey, kiddo, I’m your father’s younger clone. But I decided to go by Jason or Jay.’ She would probably call men with straightjackets.
Buffy looked deeply into his eyes and saw her father staring back at her. “Jack? What the...? How did...? You didn’t say the ‘W’ word, did you? I warned you not to say the ‘W’ word.”
“You recognize me?” he asked in surprise. “You really know who I am?”
“You may be a lot younger on the outside, but I can still see you on the inside. Now, what happened? We need to try and figure out how to fix this. Something tells me it will be awkward for you to show up for work as a 17-year-old boy.”
“No, we don’t have to fix this,” he stated, wondering how the heck he was going to explain to her.
“What do you mean? You want to stay in your younger body?”
“There isn’t much choice. Besides, it’s better this way.”
“Great! My father is younger than me, and now he thinks it’s better this way.”
“You know I’m your father?” His heart melted that his daughter recognized him.
“Jack, did they scramble your brain when they shrank you? I promise, we will figure something out. Was it aliens, or did you use the ‘W’ word?”
“Buffy, I have something to tell you, and I am not sure how.”
“Well, let’s get home and you can figure it out on the way,” she suggested, pulling him to his feet.
“You’re working at the mountain now?” he asked, finally registering her question about aliens.
“Boy, they really did scramble your brains, didn’t they? Yes, I finished Gate Certification last week, remember? You went all psycho on Parker’s ass while I was busy.”
“Who is Parker?”
“Let’s get you back home,” Buffy urged, now deeply worried for her father in the teen’s body.
They arrived at Jack’s home and Jay still hadn’t figured out how to explain things to Buffy. Seeing the light on, he knew that he was running out of time.
“Buffy, there is something I need to tell you. I...”
“Buffy,” Jack’s voice called from inside, “you’re back early.” Then Jack came out of the house and was instantly concerned for Buffy, as she was white as a sheet. A moment later he realized why, because she turned and looked back and forth between himself and his clone.
“Stay calm, please. Buffy, breathe!” Jay urged, stepping toward her. When she stepped away from him it was like an arrow in his heart.
“What are you doing here? You told her?” Jack asked in surprise as he ran down the steps to reach Buffy, who was looking like she was going into shock.
“There are two of you”, she whispered. “How can there be two of you? What the hell is going on here?”
“She figured it out when she tackled me for following her. She looked at me and she just knew,” Jasonexplained with more than a hint of wonder awe in his voice. “She thought this was a new development, and I have been trying to figure out how to explain things to her all the way back here.”
“How hard can it be? Loki, a naughty Asgard, cloned me but the clone turned out to be younger than he intended.”
“Oh, ok,” Buffy stated as the confusion seemed to melt away from her. “I guess we should go inside and have a little chat. I am obviously missing some vital information from all those reports I’ve been reading.”
Once inside, Jay temporarily set aside wondering why Buffy seemed to be taking this so well in order to focus on explaining things to her.
“I’m not in the official reports,” he explained. “Only a few people know I’m still alive. Officially, I am Jack O’Neill’s nephew, from his brother Sean O’Neill.”
“My brother who died about 17 years ago,” Jack interjected.
“That explains why I didn’t know from reading the reports. But why didn’t you tell me?”
“It honestly didn’t occur to me,” Jack explained, uncomfortable as always when the subject of his ‘Mini-Me’ came up.
“Can I talk to you for a moment alone, Jack?” his clone asked with pure rage burning in his eyes.
“I’ll go get something for us to drink,” Buffy announced and left the room.
“Thanks a lot, Jack. You think that just because I am your clone that I don’t have feelings too? That I haven’t been worrying and thinking about her just as much as you have? Wanting to meet her and get to know the woman she has become? I get that you think I’m just a bad copy. Did you think that she couldn’t handle it?”
“No, I...I didn’t want to share her with you, if you must know. I haven’t been wanting to share her with anyone. She has nearly throttled me several times because of it,” Jack said, finally coming clean. “I knew she could handle it. She is probably going to treat you just the same as she treats me. Though possibly better, because you haven’t made an ass out of yourself...yet.”
“Jack, you have everything. You have SG-1 and the life I remember working toward. I know that I can’t expect a father-daughter relationship with Buffy, but can’t you let me have any relationship with her at all?” This said, Jay felt his emotions getting the best of him and decided he needed to get out of the house to try and calm himself.
Buffy came back into the room carrying three glasses of ice tea with her. “Where is the other you?”
“He went outside.”
“Jack, it’s dark and he doesn’t know about vampires yet,” she admonished him, and rushed outside to find her father’s clone.
“Jack?” Buffy called out, exiting the house and running to catch up to her father’s clone.
“Call me Jay, or Jason. I’m trying to leave ‘Jack’ behind me.” Then under his breath he said, “I wish it could be Dad, Daddy or somthing like that.”
“What is wrong with calling you ‘Daddy-o’? It could be short for Daddy O’Neill, but at the same time it wouldn’t be like admitting you are my father. Since it is a really old slang expression we could probably get away with it.”
“You heard that?” Jay asked in surprise then furrowed his brow as he realized the dig to his actual age. “It isn’t that old.” he objected.
“I have pretty good hearing. How did you come up with Jay-short-for-Jason as your new name?”
“When I...I mean, when Jack was young we hated our given name of Jonathon. So we came up with Jack. Once friend used to call me...him, us, Jay. Then when I found out about the clone thing and I knew I couldn’t be Jack anymore, at first I was going to go with Jonathon, but I realized fairly quickly I would end up with the same problem. ‘Jon,’” Jay shuddered in revulsion. “Might as well call me ‘Craphouse.’”
Buffy’s laughter was music to his ears. “Oh, Jayce, that reminds me of an old friend from before Sunnydale.” Jay blinked at his new nickname and smiled. He liked it. “His name was Richard, and he would go by that or Rich. He once told me it drives him crazy that people want to turn a beautiful name like Richard into a Dick.”
Jay laughed and Buffy stepped forward to hug him. Once Buffy was in his arms he couldn’t hold back his tears. “Buffy, I have missed you so much. So, so much,” he emphasized.
“I’m sorry Mom didn’t wait longer for you when everyone thought you were dead.” Buffy admitted as she released him from the hug.
“Me, too. Buffy, I know having me around will be a little awkward and difficult, but please don’t turn away from me. I know I am not the original Jack, but I feel like I am. I need you in my life.”
Buffy blinked to see him so surprisingly vulnerable. It was disturbing to see because Jack and Jay seemed to be the most invulnerable men she had ever known. “We’ll work it out, Jayce, I promise. But you have to do something for me.”
“What can I do for you?” Jay asked determined to do anything she needed.
“Until I am able to show you something it will be hard to explain, so in the meantime just promise me you won’t go out at night or verbally invite people into your home.”
Jayce looked extremely confused.
“I promise I will explain to you soon. Just, in the meantime, will you do that for me?”
“I would do anything for you Buffy,” Jay promised. He was still confused but her resulting smile was worth it.