Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or MASH
A/N: Well, I wrote this for the FFA Dominoes challenge, but I can't find anyone to go on with. Ah, well...~~~~~
The old priest sat in the shade of the church portico and watched the children play at the attached school. In decades past, he would have been out there, playing with the children, but his old bones were too much past that now. Too old for much of anything, now, except to sit here and talk to any who might want a word.
He turned to look when he heard the sharp clatter of heels on the cement. A young woman was approaching, a hesitant look on her face. “How may I help you, my child?” he asked genially.
“Um, well, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I would really like you to do something for me.”
“Well, I'm very sorry, but I'm not much of a help these days. What is it you wanted?”
“Oh, no,” she said, eyes wide, shaking her head. “It's not going to be anything hard. It's not like I want you hit something for me, or anything like that,” she grinned. “It's just that, well, I'm kind of stuck and I kind of, well, want you to bless some water for me. And some other stuff if you could.”
He frowned. “Bless some water?”
“Why would you need Holy Water for, child? You can bless yourself from the font, if you wish.”
“Um, no. Well, it's just that we, er, like to be able to, you know, bless each other. A lot,” she added, nodding.
He turned in his seat to look at her properly. “I think maybe you should tell me the truth. This is serious business, and I may be an old priest, but I don't like being fooled with.”
“No,” she shook her head again. “No, I'm not trying to fool you. It's just that...” She sighed, and sat on the bench near him. “You believe, don't you? Heaven and Hell, all that?”
“Of course. The hope of Heaven is a great comfort to those who mourn, to all of us, really.”
“An old friend of mine likes to quote Shakespeare – that thing about 'more things in Heaven and Earth?'” When he nodded, she went on. “Well, some things... Some things need fighting, here, on Earth. And for that, sometimes you need a special advantage. You need things that carry a blessing. Water, objects. Sometimes, you need weapons that have been blessed. But the person blessing them needs to believe. Really believe. Do you believe?”
“I believe.” He sat back in thought. “What you're talking about... These are things that … that prey on people, aren't they?”
“Yes, Father, they do.”
“You've seen the face of Hell, haven't you?” he asked, sorrowfully.
She gave him a soft, sad smile. “My school was on the Mouth of Hell, and I have spent time in Heaven. I hope to get back there one day, but not too soon. I still have work to do.”
He looked at her for a while longer, then pushed himself up from his seat. He was startled to find her at his elbow, not having expected her to have been able to move so quickly. “So, do you have some water, or do you want to take some of mine?”
“I have water. I have five of those water cooler container thingies, if that's okay.”
“Oh, my. That's quite a lot. Is it going to be that bad?”
“No,” she smiled. “Actually, most of it's going to replace our stores that got low. We should only need one container tonight. And the weapons and things. Is that going to be okay for you?”
“Certainly, my child. Is there any particular saint you wish to invoke? Or do you want to go straight to the Big Boss?”
“Straight to the top, if you don't mind.”
They walked in silence through the church, and out into the carpark, where he saw the young woman's friends waiting anxiously beside their car. They walked to the car, where she turned and introduced herself and her friends, the bright, if nervous, Willow, and the one-eyed Xander with the thankfully gentle handshake. Buffy, Xander and Willow deftly carried their supplies through the church into the sacristy, where he solemnly blessed the water and other items. It seemed odd to anoint the swords and the axe, but these young people were headed, it seemed, for some kind of holy war, and who was he to argue. The young man, in particular, seemed to bear the marks of such a war. He sighed when he remembered other young warriors headed into battle.
He followed them back out into the bright sunshine. “Well, I hope that my small contribution helps you in your battle.”
“Never a small contribution, Father,” Xander smiled.
“Never,” Buffy agreed.
“If you don't mind,” he began, frowning slightly, “I would like to also bless you three.”
The friends looked at one another, startled.
“Oh, um, I really appreciate it,” Willow began, blushing, “but I kind of have an arrangement with someone else.”
“And they wouldn't want someone else's blessing on you?”
“Well, it's kind of more that I didn't think you'd want to do it. You know, if you knew that I kind of worship someone else.”
He smiled gently. “If your … god … doesn't mind, then I don't think mine will, either.”
She smiled brightly. “Okay, then. And thank you.”
With that, all three lined up for a prayer and a dab of oil. When it was done, they smiled, thanked him, and headed for their car. Buffy stayed back, and looked at him for a moment. Finally, she stood on her tip-toes and kissed him on the cheek. “You're a true saint, Father Mulcahy. I wish there were more people like you in the world. It would make our job so much easier.” With that, she turned and walked to her car. All three of them waved as they drove off.
Frank Mulcahy reached up and touched his cheek, and smiled, then sighed and turned to walk back into the church. There was a kneeler with his name on it. For a little while, anyway. Then he'd have to move to a chair. His old bones weren't up to many hours of kneeling, but thankfully he didn't need much sleep these days. And those children could use his prayers tonight. Absently, he wondered who it was that young Willow served. A gentle god, he hoped. But now to prayer.