Gone, Not Forgotten: Giles and Cassie (SG-1)
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Stargate SG-1.
Setting: Post season ten for SG-1 and post season seven for BtVS.
Author's Note about Collection: Written for FFA Dominoes Challenge. My goal is to make each chapter a stand alone one-shot, but also to have the ficlets loosely form a sort of story that connects one character to the next. At the moment, I plan for the collection to cross over Buffy with Supernatural and Stargate, primarily, but this might change. The title of the collection comes from the Deep Purple song "Perfect Strangers," if it sounds familiar to you--I don't own that lyric.
“Sometimes I feel like I’ve been forgotten.”
It could have been anyone beside him--there were, to his knowledge, at least a hundred other girls at the castle who could have made such a morose comment about the people they’d left behind--but, by chance, he recognized the speaker’s soft voice. Never the less, Rupert kept his eyes forward, surveying the courtyard below, where three lines of girls practiced sharp, blowing movements with spears.
His Buffy’s voice rang out amongst the sounds of exertion from the slayers. Focus, unity, strength: Giles heard the words leaving her mouth, though he couldn’t make out her full commands.
Cassie’s eyes slid over the older man. She knew he was listening and that he would comment, when he was ready. She turned back to watch the morning routine, the early sunlight casting a ruddy glow over her long brown hair.
“I know it’s stupid,” she continued. “I hear from them. Often. They have me call, to check up. Especially Jack and Sam. But I’m not there. I’m not in their lives, and I haven’t been in a long time. Not since Mom died.”
“Your mother was a doctor, wasn’t she?” Rupert said. He tried to turn and face her, but he found himself cleaning his glasses instead. A bad habit. “These people, the ones you’re talking about, they were her friends, colleagues, correct?”
Cassie didn’t want to explain, not fully, why those people were important to her. This world, her new world, didn’t need to mix with the old one--in fact, it couldn’t. Not without telling secrets, not without putting people in danger.
“Like I said, I know it’s stupid,” Cassie muttered. “I have new friends here, people I care about. My sisters. But my mom’s friends, they’re like family to me,” she said, surprising herself. Last time she’d confessed as much, she’d been a kid. “I miss them as much as I miss Mom. But I don’t think they miss me back.”
Giles tried to hide his grin. “I somehow doubt that, Cassie.”
She shook her head. “Sam--she’s got to be one of the smartest people in the U.S.--and I tell her that I’m skipping college to take a spur of the moment trip to Europe. Do you know what she replied? ‘That’s nice.’ She hasn’t even bugged me about partying with guys or how much money I’m spending, or how I’ve been gone for months.”
Rupert couldn’t stop it. The laugh escaped.
“What’s so funny?” Cassie snapped.
He took a breath, collecting himself, and turned to face her. “Do you recall the security threats we occasionally have? The men taking photographs, the bugs we‘ve found?” he asked. “They began about six months ago.”
Cassie blinked. She’d been in Scotland off and on for nearly half a year.
“Each time, we’ve traced these ‘visitors’ back to the U.S. Air Force. No impertinent information has been leaked during these threats because we’ve known exactly what the intruders were looking for. A simple spell, an illusion Willow concocted, has always given them the answers they need.” Rupert placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently. He lowered his voice. “They leave here, every time, believing that they have seen you happy and healthy.”
Cassie felt her throat closing. “You’re sure?” she choked.
He nodded. “Your friends, your family, is keeping a close eye on you. Or at least, thanks to Willow, they think they’re receiving accurate reports on your wellbeing. I don’t know exactly what your life was like before you were Called, Cassie, but we all know that you haven’t told us everything about your past.”
“I can’t. . .”
“I know,” Giles interrupted. “I don’t expect you to tell us why the air force is so interested in keeping tabs on you. But, from what you’ve said about your friends, they’re doing so with your best in mind.”
She released a breath, a pressure building in her eyes. She nodded. “They’re good people.”
“I hope so,” Giles noted, “because you’re going to see them again rather soon.”
Cassie raised a brow. “I am?”
“You’re a good leader, Cassie, and we’ll miss you,” Giles paused, looking down at Buffy, “but home isn’t about the place, it’s about the people.” He stared at his walking example, watching her blonde halo of hair bounce when she reached out to rib an approaching Xander. “If you want to be a good slayer, you’ll find your family and you’ll reconnect with them. They’ll make you strong. They’ll keep you alive.”
“I can’t tell them about this.” It wasn’t a question, and though it saddened her, Cassie smiled. “But they’ll love me anyway.”
Cassie stared at the new day, awake and rejuvenated for the first time in ages, her body humming with anxiousness. She was going home.