Stairway to Heaven
: All that is Buffy is Joss', all that is She-Hulk, etc, is Marvel's, none is mine, making no money.A/N
: Sorry about the long delay, folks. Muse has gone flying on many of my fics for the last while."And what we have to do, very, very soon, is to decide how we are going to deal with the Watchers." Joyce smiled grimly. "Working with how the girls are going to deal with our mortality is something we can put on the back burner, thankfully."
"But - But how are we going to deal with the Watchers?" Buffy asked quietly. "The reason I stopped Xan and Willa from going after them was that we couldn't just take them out." She blushed. "Well, Xan and Willa might, but then - people'd die, and the police would be after us, 'cause you know they have all that power, and we wouldn't get everyone, so the ones that got away would always trying to take revenge, and they have all that money, and..." Her voice became muffled as it was buried in Will's chest.
"Buffy, all of the points you bring up are valid," Giles said gently. "And that doesn't even include the items hidden in the Council vaults which, although they are there expressly to safeguard them from use by ignorant or evil people, might be used by the leadership in extremis
"Buffy, would you have us do nothing?" Ms. Calendar asked, equally gently. "To pretend that the problem doesn't exist until it gets one of our own killed?"
Buffy looked up sharply. "That's not what I'm saying. I listened to all of the stories as Xan and Willa read them - don't you think I know that it could be me in their place?" She shook her head. "They have to go down, permanently. I'm just worried -" she took a breath - "we'll only get one chance at this, and I'm just afraid that if we don't get it right, it'll be worse then doing nothing at all."
"Buffy," Willa said, sitting on the arm of the sofa and looking into her eyes. "We don't have to do this right now. In fact, we've got almost two years before it becomes an issue. But we need to start thinking about it, and planning it, now." She looked at Giles. "That being said, I can definitely say that I can deal with the financial parts; it's just whether we want to have all the money they hold over everyone's heads."
"How much are we talking about?" Joyce said. "I could definitely use help paying off the mortgage."
"I don't know, Joyce," Giles said. "I was never at that level. However, what is widely known is that most of the funding for the Council comes from long-term investments. They make almost nothing in their 'legitimate' services, those which cloak their true purpose. But there are approximately a hundred people at the Headquarters; from what I've heard, they make about twice what I do, which is just under thirty-one thousand pounds. And there are at least three hundred Watchers in the field, perhaps more. And that doesn't include the cost and upkeep of the various land and other real holdings, and the reserve kept for ...special matters."
"I notice that you don't have anything there for the upkeep of the Slayer, Giles." muttered Buffy.
"Wait." Kendra stood up. "Mistah Giles, surely you can not countenance this-this ovahthrow of the Council itself!" Her face had lightened several shades.
Xan stood up. "Didn't you hear us? These guys aren't just not giving you any support - they're actively planning your murder, at least twice in your life. And that's if you manage to avoid a random vamp or demon having a real good day. And do you know what their reaction to you giving your life for them will be - at best?
" Willa put her hand on her shoulder, and Xan took a deep breath, then let it out. "At best, they will say, 'Oh, she is gone? Who is next?' And if you've been one to overcome the odds, like Buffy, they will say, 'Thank God that one is gone!' Damn it!" She stared into Kendra's eyes. "You hear all that and you wonder why we're going to - what did you say? - overthrow them?" She threw up her hands. "I wonder why someone hasn't done it yet!"
As she sat down, Giles cleared his throat. "Ahem. Although Xandra expressed it in perhaps more aggressive terms than I would have, his - pardon me, her - arguments are my own. How do you work with an organization where the best outcome you can hope for is that they ignore you and the people closest to you?
"My dear, you are a good Slayer. I'll even grant you that Sam Zabuto, though a bit backward in his methods, truly cares for you. But that simply isn't true of the great majority of the Council." He looked over to Buffy. "We'll have to make arrangements for those in the Council who are good men," he started at a glare from Willa, "excuse me, who are good people
being led astray."
"I think that we've talked out what we can tonight, Giles." Buffy grabbed her girlfriends' hands and stood. "We need to get some sleep before our patrol tonight. But keep thinking about it, because, if we have to, we'll do it the messy way."
With that they turned and made their way to the stairs.