It's Not You
Thanks to the Council in general and Giles specifically, Faith had met a lot of teenagers with strange attitudes towards life. Jon O’Neill took the cake, though. Of course, he had half a century’s worth of practice over the average teen. Queen C had sent him, along with pretty Cassie Fraiser, from her excursion to the SGC. (Xander, thankfully, had a talk with Andrew, so he only made half as much of an ass of himself as he could have.)
Jon handled most of the vagaries of Council living with wry humor and a securely locked door. She’d never really seen him lose his cool; not until the day several of the Junior Scoobs left on assignments and he’d had to stay behind.
“What’s up?” she asked as she flopped down beside him.
Xander had placed beautiful but simple benches beside the places Connor had planted the Lunar Roses. Fred was a popular hangout spot, no matter how often Red grumbled about people trampling her garden, but Darla was a place for quiet contemplation and that was where she found Jon. She’d been stopped on her way by four different girls who were worried that he ‘just wasn’t right’.
“Nothing,” he finally snapped, annoyance practically bleeding from his pores.
She snorted even as she said, “You’re not a kid and I’m sure as hell not going to treat you like one. But don’t try to treat me like a moron. I got eyes and even if I didn’t, half the girls here have made sure that I know you’re acting funny.”
His jaw clenched as he looked away from her, out over the yard. Girls were practicing in the distance.
“They’re teenagers, so you couldn’t pay them to be aware,” she said, relaxing beside him. “But you, despite how many years you remember, look
like a cute teenage boy. They notice what you had for breakfast.”
“It really is nothing,” he said, calmer.
“Uh huh,” she said, smirking. “This is where I show you I’m intuitive and shit and tell you about how you’re new and nobody knows what you’re capable of. But, honest, O’Neill, it’s not you. It’s them. The Scoobs are the people in charge and they’ve got a family/pack sorta mentality and you don’t just walk in and get accepted into that. You’ve gotta earn it and they’ve gotta let you.” She patted her chest and said, “But I’ve got the shirt to prove that it can be done.”
He burst out laughing after he glanced at her chest. “And how long did it take you to win that prize?”
“Two murders, almost three years in prison, four failed apocalypses, six years total,” she said lightly.
He sobered, looking her full in the face. “6 years?”
She shrugged. “I didn’t mellow but I grew the fuck up. And B and the others learned that there was more to the world than black and white. We learned to live with each other.” She smirked. “Don’t worry, though. There are easier roads in than the one I took. Oz just had a van, a band, and dated Red. It’s all about what you’ve got on offer.”
He finally relaxed back into the bench. “So I just need to buy a van and pick somebody to date, then.”
She snickered. “We’ve already got a van guy and dating any of the Juniors might be hazardous to your health and shit. But you’ll find a way.”
He nodded and looked back out across the way. “I just need them to trust me.”
“Now you’re gettin’ it,” she said, then stood and stretched. “Not making girls cry is a good start.”
He grimaced at her as he stood and started to walk beside her. “I didn’t make anybody cry.”
“No shit,” she said as she flung her arm across his shoulders. “That’s why I was talking to you and not breaking your legs.”
He snorted and let the tension flow out of her. Jonny boy was going to be part of the next generation of Scoob, she knew that. They just had to keep him hooked until he was invested.