I'm ba-aaack! What, you thought I'd be kind enough to leave them alone? Silly people! After the honor of winning ACS's "It's a Slayer-December Romance" CoA I couldn't just let them be! ;) I was SO honored with the judge's citation: "What makes this story stand out from the other nominees is the joy and happiness shared between the couple in question." Well, joy and happiness have been trying to hide lately in my house, so it's time to pull them out of the closet and sit on them until they stay. Isn't that how it works? I've had pieces of this sitting on my computer just waiting for the right day, and I guess today is the day, since I've sat here at work laughing out loud as I put this one together. Another chapter will follow at some point ... I'm pretty sure.
I don't own Buffy, I don't own StarGate, I make a reference to a line from Glee that I also don't own. I do own Josh but I'll happily give him away if there are any takers. Okay, this part is depressing, I'm moving on now! I attempted to throw in some Air Force slang, if anyone out there knows more about it and thinks I used it wrong, could you please let me know? Thanks! :)
This is set in the Map of the Stars universe, after Map of the Stars but before Concentrated Sarcasm and Dudes and Slayers Named M. Daniel is back, don't ask too many questions, just roll with it, k? K. :) In CS I had this one tiny little line about O'Malley's and then RoseGoddess asked what had happened and then andiesimmo asked so nicely if I could please write about it. So, this one is for both of you, for ACS for the kind words, and for all the other wonderful reviewers who have supported this series. Thank you all SO much and hey, feel free to continue to read and review! :)
Gracie : )
* * *
Buffy pushed open the doors to O’Malleys and paused for a second, taking in the room and smiling a little to herself. How different her life was from the night she first came in here for a caffeine fix two years before.
“Hey Michelle! How are you? How was the chem final?” Buffy smiled warmly at the waitress, who was friends with Anna, the local mini-slayer.
Michelle rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Don’t ask. As long as it went well enough to keep my average decent, I think that’s all I can hope for. You want a table?”
“I’m meeting Jack and some of his friends, but I don’t think they’re here yet. I’ll wait at the bar till they get here.”
“Kay, hollar if you need me.” The brunette smiled at her as she moved back to her station.
Buffy had to admit she really enjoyed living in a place small enough to know the names of the people around her. Wasn’t always the best way to be secret identity girl, but it was nice. Technically she didn’t really live with Jack, but she spent more time there than just about anywhere else, and it’s where she felt the most at home. It was nice to have a regular place to go, and a regular guy to go there with. She was a little nervous about tonight, the first time she’d been included in a full team evening out. After all their time together she was fairly secure in her place in Jack’s life, just not necessarily in the team unit.
Unbuttoning her light jacket, she found herself a spot at the bar with a good view of the front door so she could watch for the others. “Hey Buffy, waiting for Jack?”
“Hey Tim! Yep, I’m a little early though. Could I get a soda while I wait?”
“Sure thing!” The bartender was the same who’d been working the first time she was in O’Malleys and still teased Jack regularly about his lame pick-up lines.
Buffy smiled in thanks as he set the drink in front of her. Taking a sip she casually glanced around the bar, accidentally meeting the gaze of a young Marine sitting with some buddies at one of the tables. Apparently that glance was enough for him, as, before she could give him her Cordelia Chase patented ‘don’t you even think about it’ glare, he was swaggering over to her. Swagger with more than a hint of stagger she noticed with an inward grimace. ‘Great, she was going to have to fend off drunky mcdrunkenstein.’
“Heeeeey baby! How you
doin?” He leaned into her, stumbling slightly as he grabbed for the bar next to her stool.
Buffy rolled her eyes as she turned back to her drink, answering shortly. “Fine, thanks.”
“Now don’t play hard to get, you’n me could be good friends!”
“I highly doubt that.”
“I’ma marine! Don’t chicks dig a dude in uniform?”
“Well you have me there.”
“I do?” Surprise and hope lit his eyes.
“Yep. This chick does dig a dude in uniform. That’s why I already have a boyfriend with a very nice uniform.”
“O-O-Oh yeah? What’s he, indvidible?”
“No, he’s just running a little late. He’ll be here soon, and I’m sure your little friends are missing you about now.”
“They can get their own girls.”
“Can they now.”
“Know what I think?”
“I couldn’t even begin to guess.”
“I think you don’t have a boyfriend.”
“I think you’re wrong, but thanks so much for playing.”
“I’d liketa play with your-“
“Look, I was going to do this the easy way, but we can do it the hard way if you want.”
“You said hard
.” He snickered.
“God. Okay, let’s see if you understand it this way. I have a boyfriend. He’s a Colonel. In the Air Force. Not really much of a sense of humor when it comes to other guys hitting on his girlfriend.”
“Dude, like I’m scared of your indivis-invids-see through boyfriend.”
invisible, he’s just a little- Daniel!” She waved an arm in the man who’d just walked in. He shoved his glasses up a little higher and made his way over to the bar.
“Hey. Hey. Hey.”
Daniel cut off as the young man poked him with each ‘hey.’
“You her boyfriend?”
“Me? No! Of course not, um-“ Belatedly he realized that Buffy had been nodding frantically at him from behind the other man and now had sunk her head into her hand. “Ah, no?”
“Ha! I knew she dint havea boyfriend!”
Buffy sighed with strained patience. “I do have a boyfriend, he’s just late. Please
“Naw baby, s’all good!” The young man threw an arm around her shoulders.
She glared at Daniel as he finally caught on to what was happening and a slow smirk began to crawl across his face. An answering smirk grew as she suddenly had a thought. “Actually, this is my brother. My older,
incredibly protective brother. “
Daniel sputtered for a second in shock then recovered. “Um, right. Older brother. That’s me.”
“He really doesn’t like it when guys hang around me. He gets very upset and angry.”
“Oh I don’t know-“
“Daniel, don’t be silly. You get really
The younger man had been watching them go back and forth, his head swiveling like he was at a tennis match. “Dude, if you’re her brother then you’d know, she really gots a boyfriend?”
“You know? I think it’d be fun if you stuck around and found out yourself.” Daniel shoved at his glasses and grinned at Buffy, cheerful in the face of her murderous glare.
“Yes my darling sister dear?”
“I’m so telling mom.”
“Jerk.” She stuck her tongue out at the older man.
Daniel stuck his tongue out in return just as Sam walked up to them, already snickering at the end of the conversation she’d heard.
“Sam!” Buffy lit up, squirming out from under the jarheads arm to throw her arms around the older woman. “You gotta help me, please play along.”
Sam looked at the three in confusion as Buffy cuddled her arm through Sam’s and turned to the young stranger. “Hey … you know? I don’t even know your name.”
“Okay, whatever. Listen Josh, I was trying to let you down easy, but I want you to meet my girl-“
“The girlfriend of her older brother.” Daniel interrupted, a mischievous smirk on his face as he pulled Sam away from Buffy and closer to him.
“Daniel!” Buffy glared, thwarted in her attempts to get rid of the drunken boy trying to keep up with the conversation.
“Yeees?” There was no way he could play innocent with the grin on his face trying to hit his ears.
“You know, I heard a story about the last time there was a fight in this place. As I recall it didn’t go over so well with the locals.”
That wiped the smile away as he spluttered. “You … but … how’d you …”
“I have my sources, and I’m just trying not to make a scene that would put that one to shame here. I don’t want
to have to hurt Josh here-“
“Wha?” The drunk man had been trying to follow the conversation but was a little confused. He knew his name had been mentioned though, that had to be a good sign, right?
“-but I will if I have to.”
“Yeah baby!” Josh attempted to pull her closer, having absolutely no clue what was going on.
Buffy looked at the man hanging off of her and slowly turned her head to look back at Daniel. “Okay, I lied. I do
want to hurt him.”
Sam had finally figured out the situation and was trying to have sympathy for a fellow woman in an annoying situation. It was difficult though since it was also a funny situation. Heroically keeping a straight face she looked at Daniel. “As her brother, wouldn’t you be protective and prefer there not be any guys hitting on her?”
Buffy glared at her ‘sibling.’ “Yeah, you’d think, wouldn’t you? I always wanted a big brother when I was younger.” She sighed. “Another childhood dream dashed.”
Sam smacked his arm. “Way to go, Daniel.”
“Hey, ow! Why are you two ganging up on me?”
“Cuz we’re girls and we stick together? Duh.” Buffy smirked.
Sam snickered and attempted to flip her hair. “Duh.”
“Oh my, you’ve corrupted her already Buffy?” A new voice joined them.
“Janet! Honey!” Buffy once again knocked Josh’s arm away and threw her arms around her best friend, knowing she finally had an ally.
play along or I’m going to have to kill someone.” She murmured frantically.
“Um, okay, hi honey!?”
“Josh, I have to admit something. I was lying to you.” Buffy turned to him, putting her arm around Janet and leaning into her.
Nothing if not oblivious, this news gave him something to grin about. “I knew
you din’t have a boyfriend!”
“Nope, I have a girlfriend. It’s still just so new to be able to tell people, you know?”
“Wha-hunh? You’re one of them lebanese?”
All four people stopped and stared at his question.
“Y’know, chicks who don’t like d-“
Buffy hurried to interrupt. “Ooohkhay then, yeah, sure, close enough. We’re lebanese, she’s my girlfriend; we’re gay. Don’t ask, she’s allowed to tell now.”
“Oh God, that is so
tell me!” He grinned at them with his mind in a faraway place, obviously imagining things they’d prefer he not.
Buffy groaned, dropping her head onto Janet’s shoulder.
“Well that backfired.”
Buffy straightened and glared at her best friend. “Ya think?”
Seeing that Daniel still hadn’t recovered from “lebanese”, Sam tried to help. “Hey, you know? I think that lady down the bar was trying to get your attention! You should go talk to her.”
Josh blearily looked at Sam, then down the bar, checking out every woman sitting there. “Naw, n’body but cougs down there.”
“Yeah, you know, cougars! Oldsters! I mean, that lady down there’s gotta be at least thirty!
If Josh had been sober he might have understood what he’d just said and how much danger he was suddenly in. Daniel finally stopped laughing and took a step back as he uneasily eyed the three women now glaring at the younger man.
“Shut up, Daniel.”
“So Josh…” Sam’s smile was Arctic. “You think thirty’s old, do you?”
“God yeah. I mean, sometimes they know
more, if you know what I mean-“
“Josh, I’d be quiet if I were you.”
“I believe Sam told you to shut up.”
“Right, she did, you’re right, I’m shutting up right now.” He shrugged at the younger man. “You’re on your own.”
Josh looked at Buffy. “Your brother’s weird.”
“Uh huh. So tell us Josh, I know you’re drunk, but did you happen to notice who you were talking to when you decided to start explaining just how old
“I think what Buffy’s saying is, if you look us in the eyes right now you’d know that you should back away slowly and then run.”
“I knew I was going to like you, Sam. You already seem to understand me so well.” Buffy smiled towards the other blonde while somehow managing to still glare at the drunk boy.
“Why should I leave?”
Buffy suddenly grinned with genuine delight. “Ooh, ooh, cuz I know something you don’t know!”
She smirked as she sing songed, “My boyfriend’s back and there’s gonna be trouble!”
Janet and Sam were both giggling as they chimed in, “Hey la hey la!”
Josh swung his head around, trying to spot this mystery guest and completely missing where Teal’c and Jack had just entered the bar, Jack’s eyes immediately finding Buffy’s. Looking between the three women and the silent man around him Josh finally gave up. “You know what? You guys are confusing, I’m going to talk to the coug.”
“Wow, what a great idea! Bye!”
“Damn baby! No need to be so testy!”
“Oh my God would you please just go away!?”
“Thank you. You’re still not leaving.”
“Okay, okay! Sheesh, I’m going!”
Josh finally started to walk away, glancing over his shoulder at the three united women and crashing into another man as he did. The other man steadied him on his feet before starting to move past him towards the bar.
“Hey … hey … hey …” Josh poked him on every word.
The older man stopped and turned to look at him. “Yes?”
“Don’t was’e your time man, the blonde chick is cute but she says
she has a boyfriend.”
“Then she said she had a girlfriend, but I don’t think that was true.”
“But supposedly she’s with some big strong Air Force Colonel.”
“Ya don’t say.”
say! Pers’nly I think he’s ‘divisible.”
“Yeah? By what number?”
“Nevermind kid, I’ve obviously been hanging out with the geeks too much. Run along, it’s time for the grownups to talk now.”
“Hey … hey …” Josh poked him again then grabbed a hold of his arm as the room started to sway.
“She’s mean, too. And her brother’s weird. And her brother’s girlfriend is mean. And her
girlfriend’s mean too.”
“My heart bleeds for you, but you can let go of my arm now.”
“This place is fubared man, I thought people were sposed to be nice here in Col’rado!”
“You’re embarrassing yourself marine, go sit down, shut up and sober up before someone takes a swing at you or you get yourself a big chicken dinner.”
“Jesus, don’t they teach you devil pups anything?”
Jack turned to Teal’c who had been silently watching the action. “You see, this is the perfect example of why they’re called Marines. Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not E-Sential.”
Teal’c inclined his head. “Indeed.”
Josh poked Jack again, which turned out to be his last mistake. Catching the finger that had just poked him, he twisted the young man until his arm was stretched behind him and Jack was leaning over his shoulder to speak quietly and firmly in his ear. After a few moments Jack released him and helped him stand upright again. The young man did his best to straighten up into a full salute. “Yes sir, sorry sir, it won’t happen again sir!”
“That’s what I thought. Now go sober up and leave the ‘mean lady’ to me. You see, I hear she has a boyfriend who’s an Air Force Colonel
,” he paused to glare at the younger man until he began to pale and gulp audibly. “And he doesn’t like it when grunts mess with his girlfriend
“Yes sir, I’m so sorry sir, excuse me sir.”
“Go away now kid.”
Jack watched just long enough to ensure that the boy was stumbling towards the table where several other marines sat before he continued on his way to his girlfriend who he could see laughing with Janet and Sam while Daniel watched them with a slightly terrified look on his face.
“I didn’t want to say anything in front of the “devil pup”, but E-Sential isn’t a word that I’m familiar with.”
“No, the word is essential, but if you say it like that then … you know? I think this would be a good question for a linguist. Good thing we happen to know one, ask Daniel.”
Teal’c inclined his head in agreement as they finally made it to the bar. Buffy turned to him, giggling madly. “Hi honey, guess what?”
Jack was wary as he tentatively asked, “what?”
“We’ve just found out that we’re cougars! Well, I almost am and Sam and Janet already are, so they’re going to teach me.”
“Isn’t that nice of them?”
Jack looked to Daniel, but Teal’c had already pulled him into a discussion about slang terms and nicknames and how E-Ssential could be essential, so there was no help to be had there. “Uhm … yes?”
All three women laughed at his reaction, Sam and Janet turning to talk to each other as Buffy slid her arm around him to properly greet him. Jack kissed her briefly then pulled away, suddenly realizing what he had done in setting up this meeting.
Buffy looked up at him quizzically, following his gaze to his team-mates in various conversations at the bar. “You know? I think I’m going to like your team. Janet and Sam and I may have to kill Daniel, but he’ll come back, so that shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
Jack groaned, dropping his head onto Buffy’s shoulder. “Well that backfired.”
Buffy glared at her boyfriend. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That I should’ve warned the general populace of Colorado Springs before I ever let the three of you get together.”
“Oh stop, don’t be so silly.”
“You may think it’s silly, but I’m pretty sure that’s the beginning of at least three horror movies I can think of off the top of my head.”
“Oh honey, if my life is a horror movie, this isn’t anywhere near the beginning, you’re joining the action already in progress.”
“I guess you’re right about that.”
“Good thing there are a few laughs and some romance in it too.”
“Yeah, that’s where you come in.”
“I knew you kept me around for a reason.”
“Yeah.” She leaned closer to whisper. “Just wait’ll you see the sex scene coming up later.”
Jack’s eyes glinted as he looked down at her. “Can we fast forward to that part? Please?”
Buffy let a slow smile stretch across her face before sauntering to join the rest of the team at the bar as she called back over her shoulder. “But honey, it’s team night!”
Jack scowled as he noticed three female heads lean toward each other. This didn’t bode well for him. Or the male population of Colorado Springs. Or the world, really. But, if you couldn’t beat them, it was always best to join them, so with a shrug and a sigh, that’s what he did.