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Another Kind of Potential

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Potential". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Helen Santos discovers that while she is no longer a Potential, she still has potential.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > West Wing > GeneralkurttroutFR1311,229041,97316 Jan 1116 Jan 11Yes
Disclaimer: I own neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor The West Wing.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Houston, Texas

"Matt, we are not having this conversation again," Helen said as she scrapped the last bit of her lunch into the trash can. "You are a Congressman and you should start acting like it."

Helen placed the plate in the sink and turned back toward her husband. "You can't keep going outside in a sweater you got back in high school. It is stained and full of holes."

Matt approached his wife with a knowing smirk. "But it is so comfortable," he said as he pinned her against the counter.

"You have plenty of other comfortable sweaters," she replied flatly as she stuck a finger through a hole in the sweater in question.

"Yes, I do. It just so happens," he continued as his hands gravitated towards his wife's waist, "that that particular sweater is my favorite."

"It just so happens," Helen replied as she moved her husband's hands back to the counter, "that it is a disgusting rag."

Matt opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by the ringing doorbell. Helen ducked out of her husband's embrace and swaggered out of the kitchen.

"Wait a minute," Matt called out, following his wife to the front door. "We're not done yet."

"Oh, yes we are," Helen retorted, checking the eye hole. It was an older gentleman in a suit and a younger woman who could be his daughter. New neighbors, perhaps? She opened the door.

The woman spoke first. "Helen Santos? Formerly Helen Walsh?"

"Yes?" Helen answered.

The gentleman took over speaking. "Twenty-five years ago, you were approached by certain persons because you had the potential to be great. You waited seven years but you were never called to serve and they eventually fell out of contact. We're here because the world needs something from you again."

Matt saw his wife stiffen as the man, clearly British, gave his speech.

"Out," she whispered harshly.

"I'm sorry?" the man replied.

Helen turned her most fierce glare at the man and shakily stated, "You need to leave. Now. You are not taking my daughter."

"She doesn't know, Giles," said the woman as she placed her hand on the man's shoulder.

"Know what?" Matt asked. "Know what, Helen? What's going on? What do you mean, taking our daughter?"

"Look," the woman said, "can we just come in and talk for a few minutes? We're not here to steal your daughter. First of all, it doesn't work like that anymore. Second, you daughter doesn't have the same potential that you did."

"Please, just let us explain," the man requested. "If you don't like what you hear, we'll be on our way."

Matt turned toward his wife again. Her arms were crossed and her gaze was harsh. He honestly thought she was going to slam the door on their faces when she flung the door open walked toward the living room. The two people standing in front of his house shared a short look between themselves and followed his wife into the house. Matt just shrugged his shoulders and followed.

Matt joined his wife on the love seat while their guests shared the couch. The man, Giles, started, "Mrs. Santos-"

"Helen," she supplied. "Call me Helen."

"Er… right then. Helen, we realize that you don't exactly have fond feelings for the Council..."

Helen snorted.

"...But believe us when we say that we really don't either."

"And yet you seem to be representing them," Helen stated flatly.

"Perhaps we should introduce ourselves?" Giles suggested. "My name is Rupert Giles. I joined the Council when I was twenty-four and was fired when I was forty-four. Four years after that, the Council as you knew it was destroyed."

The woman went next. "I'm Buffy Summers. Excluding some minor death experiences, I've been the Slayer since 1996."

Matt took the initiative to introduce himself since it seemed that Helen was still to busy glaring to be a good host. "Matt Santos. What is the Council and for that matter, what is a Slayer?"

"The Council kidnaps young girls and fills their heads with dangerous dreams," said Helen. "If things don't work out just right, they dump the girls into the world without any real preparation, destroying any chance they have at a normal life."

Mr. Giles began cleaning his glasses, apparently too ruffled to answer Helen's accusations. Buffy just rolled her eyes as if she'd seen him do this too many times to count.

"That's all true," Buffy responded, "or at least it was true until this last year. The Council as you knew it was destroyed in the latest apocalypse. Due to certain circumstances, we need to rebuild it, bigger than before."

"And that's where you come in, Helen," Mr. Giles added. "We need people to train our girls. Most of the Watchers died with the original Council and we are very short on people who know enough to help."

"I'm sorry, I still don't understand," Matt said.

"Not now, Matt," Helen said, patting his leg. "What do you mean, 'girls?' I though it was one girl…"

"…in all the world, a chosen one?" Buffy finished. "Yeah, but we changed it. To stop the previously mentioned apocalypse, we activated them all. Everyone who had the potential to be chosen, was. We've spent the last few months locating everyone who's been called, but we need a place to put them."

"So you're still kidnapping them?" Helen asked.

"No," Buffy said emphatically. "Only the ones with nowhere else to go."

"Which," Mr. Giles added, "is unfortunately quite a lot. We've met a lot of girls over the last few months who've run away or been kicked out of their homes for starting fights and breaking things."

"So, what? You want me to train the girls? To send them out to their deaths?"

"What a minute," Matt cried. "Deaths?"

"No," Buffy replied. "We need mentors. We need people who are going to give these girls emotional support."

"What we need," Mr. Giles added as he took Buffy's hand in his own, "is people who won't expect anything of them except to keep on living."

They sat in silence for a minute as the gravity of Mr. Giles's statement sank in.

"Well then," Mr. Giles muttered as he stood back up. "We'll let you think it over for a while."

Buffy followed her associate off the couch and pulled a card out of her pocket. As she handed it to Helen, she said, "I know how you're feeling. Angry. Betrayed. They ruined your childhood. But you have the chance to really shove it in their face and show those asshats that you are better than them."

The two visitors left Helen and Matt Santos sitting in their living room without another word. Suddenly, Matt shifted so he could look directly at his wife. "Helen? What just happened?"

"I'll explain later, Matt."

"But what ab-"


Helen left Matt sitting on the couch to finish washing the dishes. Matt crossed his arms and started muttering to himself, "I'm a Congressman, dammit. People should be answering my questions." Louder, he added, "and this sweater is perfectly acceptable!"

A/N: I'm not sure if I want to add any more. Maybe inspiration will strike in the future. Anyway, I've never seen a story focus on Helen Santos before and I am a firm believer in hidden depths.

The End

You have reached the end of "Another Kind of Potential". This story is complete.

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