Willow watched in satisfaction as the werewolf’s form jerked back with the impact of the tranquilizer dart hitting it, throwing it off balance. She cleared the chamber and shot it again, giving it a double dose of the powerful, fast-acting sedative. The werewolf struggled to get up once, barely making it to its feet before it stumbled to its knees again and collapsed to the ground beside Xander, who tilted his head back at Willow.
“Nice timing,” he croaked out. Willow ducked her eyes. She knew she’d hesitated and she hated herself for it. She’d looked at the werewolf and she had seen Oz with his vividly-colored hair and his sweet nature. She’d hesitated and Xander had almost been killed because of it.
“Xander!” the shout made both of them jump, as they had both thought they had been alone. It was then that Xander remembered the other voice calling his name and he looked over the werewolf’s sleeping form, his face falling when he saw Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal’c approaching them.
“Oh, God,” Willow croaked. “I just blew rule one, big time.” Xander looked over his shoulder, noticing that Willow was very quickly putting the safety back on the tranquilizer gun before putting it down on the ground and stepping away from it, as if it was some sort of dangerous snake. Xander got to his feet smiling sheepishly.
“Um, hey, Jack... what are you doing here?”
“Apparently doing the same thing as you... only without almost being eaten. What the hell were you thinking?”
“Um, maybe we could have this conversation after we’ve gotten him secured,” Xander suggested, gesturing at the werewolf. Willow edged around the group and went to retrieve Xander’s bag, which he had dropped when he’d started to run, fishing the chains out. Jack’s eye widened as she passed one end of the chain to Xander and they quickly secured all four of the werewolf’s limbs together. Xander tied the jaws of the werewolf closed, like it was an alligator or a crocodile, with Willow applying pressure to hold it down. Satisfied that the job was adequately done, the two teens stepped back. It was only because SG1 were so shocked that they did not say anything, but it was Sam who managed to form words first.
“I’m guessing this would explain why you didn’t react as badly to the truth about what we do as I expected,” she surmised out loud, looking rather pleased with herself. Jack shot Sam a piercing look.
“I’m sorry, I’m still trying to figure out what this is,” he said angrily, gesturing at the sleeping werewolf.
“May I?” Sam asked and the two Scoobies nodded. Sam crouched, looking at the tranquilizer darts, which Willow had not been game to take out.
“How long will it be out for?” she asked. Willow shrugged, chewing her lip nervously.
“About eight hours, give or take. It’s pretty big, bigger than Oz, so I don’t know, seven hours maybe. I shouldn’t have shot it twice, but it was still moving after the first.”
“You shouldn’t have shot it, period!” Jack yelled. “You know the rule against guns. I don’t even know where the hell you got that thing.” His gaze fell on the gun that Teal’c had picked up and begun to examine. Willow ducked her head in shame. Jack shook his head.
“We’ll take this conversation back to the SGC. I think it’s time you two came clean about some things.”
“Yes, sir,” Xander replied, hanging his head a little. This was so not how he planned to spend his Friday night.
“You mean to say that you have been fighting off demons and vampires and werewolves and witches for the last eighteen months and you never said anything about it!” Jack yelled as he paced the debriefing room. Willow and Xander sat at the table. Willow kept her head down, unable to bring herself to make eye contact with the Air Force Colonel, let alone anyone else that was sitting at the table. Sam, Daniel, Teal’c, General Hammond and Janet all sat around the table with Xander and Willow, watching as Jack angrily paced.
Together Willow and Xander had revealed the truth. The truth about the true nature of Sunnydale and the truth about the Hellmouth that lay beneath the high school library. The truth about Jesse’s death, the truth about Willow and Xander’s introduction to the Sunnydale nightlife and the truth about how they had spent the last eighteen months prior to leaving Sunnydale fighting forces of darkness that had similar goals to various threats that SG1 itself had faced. The truth that vampires and demons and werewolves and witches were all real.
Neither of the teenagers was sure that they were being believed. It wasn’t like they were telling ordinary people about the supernatural. Willow had hoped that knowing about aliens would make the others easier to convince that there were other... weird things out there that gave you a wiggins but she could see that the others, especially Sam, were struggling with the concept.
“The thing that killed your mother and Tony and Willow’s parents...” Jack said. Xander sighed.
“Vampire. He did have a soul when we met him, though.”
“He was a nice guy... vampire, back then... he saved our lives a couple of times,” Willow added.
Xander sighed, “Yes, that it true,” he conceded, “but he was in love with Buffy, which was all kinds of wrong. None of us knew, not even him, but when he had been cursed with his soul 100 years ago, there was a clause that if he had a moment of real happiness, the curse would break and he’d be all psychotic serial-killer blood-sucking monster again. He and Buffy ... you know, did it and, well, bad times all around.”
“He’s all souled now though, the soul’s is not going anywhere,” added Willow, trying to be reassuring while at the same time sending a warning look at Xander. It had not yet been mentioned that Willow had been the one to resoul Angel and was now undertaking training with witches in order to learn how to control the power that she had been born with but had never used, with the exception of the soul restoration, of course. Willow had a feeling that Jack would hit the roof if he knew about that. He was already angry with her anyway.
“Well, that’s a relief,” Jack spat, “and what part of this whole thing has you two learning how to use dangerous weapons?”
“Well,” Xander began carefully, “naturally we needed to learn ways to protect ourselves from the vampires, so we start of just learning defensive things, you know, shoving a cross in their face to give Buffy time to save us, but after a while we started learning how to use weapons, usually from watching Buffy. Giles didn’t really have time to train us as well as be Buffy’s Watcher, but he taught us bits and pieces. Willow got training that I didn’t get and I got training that she didn’t get. We both learned how to use a crossbow and we both learned how to make a stake and how to use it.”
“Xander was the one that came up with the idea of using water guns with holy water in them as a weapon,” Willow added. Sam nodded in approval at the ingenuity Jack’s son had shown in creating such a useful weapon, although it wouldn’t be much good in the SGC’s hands.
“While I understand this is all very important,” Hammond put in a quiet, yet calm voice that made everyone else fall silent and listen to him, “what I would know is what I should do with the thing that has been causing all this... the werewolf.”
Xander shifted in his seat, wincing as the movement made his side throb in pain where he had been hit by the werewolf. While the swipe had not drawn blood or broken bones, Xander knew his side was going to be heavily bruised for the next few days.
“If we’re right about this and it is a werewolf, he will regain his human form at sunrise, or a little bit after. He or she will sleep through the change, which is normal, as far as we know, and wake up with no memories of what’s been happening. Then Willow and I were planning on talking to them about options, you know, investing in a cage to transform in or something like that and warning them about the hunters that will pretty much do what we did last night, except, well, they’ll use a real gun with silver bullets and the werewolf won’t wake back up.”
“Why don’t you guys do that, you know, kill them? You kill vampires and other demons. What’s the difference?” Sam asked.
“Werewolves are still ordinary people all the time except for three nights of the month. They live normal lives and they don’t let it rule them...well, not all of them anyway,” Willow snapped before flinching at the harsh tone of voice she had used. SG1 looked at her in surprise.
“Sorry,” she said. “My boyfriend... well, former boyfriend, is a werewolf and he was in a band and he went to high school, just like a normal teenager. He never let it affect him. In fact, sometimes he used his keen senses to track demons and vampires for us. I even used to stay with him when he transformed.”
“Really?” Daniel asked.
“Well, I sat outside his cage in the library and read to him,” Willow admitted. “It helped keep him calm.”
“I’m sorry,” Sam apologized, having not realized that Willow actually knew a werewolf. Willow shrugged and ducked her head again.
“Alright, well, it’s quite a while until dawn. I suggest you go home and get some sleep and we’ll deal with this in the morning,” Hammond suggested. SG1 nodded and got to their feet. Willow and Xander followed the adults’ lead but stopped when Jack turned to face them.
“Xander, I want you to go with Janet and get your side checked out,” he told Xander, who nodded, and followed Janet from the room. Teal’c walked after them, intending to shadow Xander to ensure the boy was protected. Sam and Daniel lingered with Jack and Willow.
“Willow, come with me, I want to talk to you,” Jack said. “And then, Danny, can you take Willow back home? I’m going to stay here with Xander. You head home, Carter. I know you stayed here last night working on that gadget that SG11 found.”
Sam nodded and they all left General Hammond’s debriefing chamber, leaving the General standing alone in the room.
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Jack.” George said to himself as he turned off his desk light, knowing that he needed to go home and think about what he had discovered. It had been a long day and George knew sleep would not come easily for anyone that night.
“You broke rule one,” Jack said in a deceptively calm voice as he sat on his desk. Willow sat in a chair opposite him, her eyes downcast.
“I know,” she said.
“You could have hit Xander.”
“You hesitated. He could have been killed.”
“I know,” Willow choked out. For the first time in her life, she knew what it was like to have a parental figure being disappointed in her. She had worked he whole life to please her biological parents with good grades and revered obedience and it hadn’t worked. Her behavior was neither praised, nor acknowledged, not reprimanded. She had just been ignored. Now, though, she felt the full weight of Jack’s anger on her shoulders and she didn’t like the feeling... not one bit.
“You know... is that the only thing you can say right now?” Jack yelled and Willow flinched at the volume.
“I’m sorry,” she stammered, fighting the urge to cry. Crying in front of Jack was not acceptable – it would show him how weak she was, how she wasn’t brave like him, as much as she strived to be.
“Explain yourself,” Jack ordered and Willow took a shaky breath.
“When we found out Oz was a werewolf, I decided I would stay with him during his transformations. Giles allowed it on the condition that, if he got loose, I would shoot Oz with the tranquilizer gun before he attacked me. I got taught how to shoot. Giles had two tranquilizer guns and he gave me the one I always had during Oz’s transformations when I left Sunnydale with a collection of other things that were, you know, slayage-related. Xander got a box of things too but between us we only had one tranquilizer gun. This afternoon, when we figured out that it was a werewolf, there was no time to call Buffy or Giles and get back up, so we decided to act before someone else got killed. Xander is better than me with pretty much every weapon, so he told me to take the gun. He knows how to use the gun as well – last Halloween in Sunnydale we all became what we were dressed up. Buffy was a 17th century lady, I was a ghost, and Xander was a soldier. He’s carried all the memories of a soldier after that, that’s why he’s the one that plans our training sessions. In that park, we split up to save time and my side wasn’t as difficult to look at as Xander’s, so I got ahead. I was going to meet him on the pavement but then it jumped out at him, and I thought it was Oz for a moment and I froze up. Xander was looking to me to protect him and I failed,” Willow babbled, unable to bring herself to look at Jack in the face, only imagining the disapproval and disbelief that would be written across his face.
“And why couldn’t you contact us, huh? You know what we deal with every day. Is it too much of a stretch to add vampires and demons and werewolves, for crying out loud?”
Willow shook her head, her lips pursed together.
Jack sighed, “Go home, Willow, and stay there,” he ordered, “No more patrolling, you got it?”
Willow nodded and wordlessly got to her feet, creeping out of Jack’s office with her head bowed. She walked past Daniel, who was waiting in the corridor, and headed for the car park, the archaeologist watching her with sad eyes.
The ride home was silent. Making up his mind, Daniel grabbed his emergency clothing bag from his back seat and followed Willow into the house, wincing as the teen walked wordlessly up the stairs to her room. He heard her brush her teeth before her bedroom door closed and the light that came out from beneath the door was turned off. Sadly shaking his head, Daniel made up a bed on the couch and made himself comfortable, wondering how on earth things had been turned upside down in a short ten hours.
And wondering how on earth things were going to be made right once again. A.N. O.K. I now know that tranq guns don't go bang...thanks to readers who pointed this out to me...but I didn't know that when i wrote this. If I'm honest the closest I have been to a gun is when a cop walks past me in the street, and i know very little about them. That being said, i hope you forgive my little mistake, and just go with the imaginative side of things...maybe it's some special Watcher's council issued gun, or something.
Anyway, I would like to dedicate this chapter to the people of Colorado Springs, as they are currently fighting a vicious bushfire. My thoughts are with them, and i hope that the fire will be extinguished soon without further damaging peoples homes.
Thank you to everyone who has been reviewing this story ...I find your feedback encouraging and I find that in helps me greatly with improving my writing.
I hope you've all enjoyed this chapter...I'm sorry if Jack is a bit OOC. The next chapter will be up in about two weeks.