New Dawn 2012 – Blood(less) bathDisclaimer:
I do not own the characters – All rights belong to their respective owners.Summary:
So Buffy and Jack are taking on Mary Marsh – Giles and Carter will be so proud as they didn’t use one threat of violence in the interview.
Jack and Buffy stood waiting in the wings of the TV studio. They were dressed not impress but rather kill. Buffy wore a sharp, sexy, business suit, but it was designer and the men in the stage crew had all scuttled away from their ogling by O'Neill's death glare.
Buffy snickered, "Don't go all caveman on me babe. You'll give me flashbacks."
Jack had heard the Cave-Buffy story and feeling a little sorry had shared his own pre-Neanderthal story. Looking a little sheepish, he gave his lover the most contrite grin he could manage, "Sorry but I hate the monkey suit."
Buffy would have rolled her eyes - it was an old argument but she didn't see the point. Careful not to wind him up too much, so that he wouldn't be fit for TV, she gave him a sexy grin, "Maybe, but when this is all over, just think how much fun I'm going to have getting you out of the suit." Jack bit his tongue but kept the mental images.
Sheppard walked up to them, also in the full monkey suit, grimacing and pulling at his medal of honour. Buffy saw Faith walking up towards them looking like the cat that had drunk the cream. She decided she didn’t really want to know. She looked at Jack, full of impish enthusiasm, she'd decided that if they didn't reduce the woman to tears - they hadn't done it right. She smirked at her lover. "You ready to go and make Mary Marsh cry?"
Sheppard ensuring that he maintained the appropriate image of an Air Force officer refrained from smirking. “Oh Sir, my team ensured that the mark felt their displeasure.”
Jack wondered exactly how much damage the combined brain power of Carter, McKay, Zelenka and Willow could create. However until after this interview, plausible deniability was the aim of the game. Jack had adopted his lover's approach - whatever they did, as long as it caused no permanent damage, or, be traced back to them, then he didn’t mind.
They heard Mary Marsh once again reiterate her opinion that the slayers had died because they had gotten mixed up in godless things.
Jack squeezed his lovers hand in comfort, reminding her that they had a plan. That they were going to ensure that she could never pull a similar stunt again. This was going to be a message to the wider world. As far as Jack and Buffy were concerned they were one force, and anyone who wanted to take them on should remember this.
In the White House, Sam Seaborn and his best friend Josh Lyman sat with popcorn watching the TV. Their old boss, Jed Bartlet had told them to watch the Taylor show today - it would be well worth it. Josh had asked why, even now, he could recognise the mischievous tone in Bartlet's voice. "Mary Marsh has met an opponent that won't kowtow, and she is going to do to make her cry on National TV."
Josh had thought Bartlet was screwing with him, but Dr B had assured him that Buffy and O'Neill would definitely do what they said. She then said something about probably managing it on their own, but together – it was a certainty.
The couple made their way onto the screen. Josh was certainly intrigued by the picture they presented. The Public knew them as the leaders of the SGC and the Slayers. They had been arguing in front of Congress and winning, which was quite a feat. However considering the foes and odds they'd faced - Josh supposed soul-sucking politicians were easy in comparison.
It wasn't that though that struck him most, it was the natural charisma that couple exuded. It was the type of screen presence that any politician would sell their soul for. Josh tossed that thought away and settled down to watch the fireworks. After all, Buffy was going for the jugular straight away.
They heard Taylor's introduction, "Ladies and Gentleman I want to introduce to the stage - Major General Jack O'Neill and Lady Buffy Summers."
They walked onto stage, holding hands and made sure to present a united front. They took the seats that Letterman indicated that they should - opposite Mary Marsh.
Buffy had wanted to tear the woman to pieces, earlier this week. Now though, she was ready for the fight and she could do it on her terms – with words. She noted in satisfaction, that if you looked close enough you could see that Marsh was tired. Buffy briefly wondered which egghead was responsible. It didn’t matter though, as she had a task to complete – she could watch the video later.
Buffy gave her a glare that she had last used on Angelus, "I would like to know, how you can question the sacrifice of the young slayers?"
Marsh was still haughty, "I merely stated that if you got mixed up in ungodly things then this was the result."
O'Neill spoke up, drawing attention to him, "My men have fought and died fighting aliens that might have ruled this Earth if it wasn’t for their hard work."
Marsh didn’t sneer but felt she could take the high ground, "It was the American Military's fault - you opened the gate."
O'Neill hid his smirk, as she’d fallen perfectly into his trap and now he could systematically tear apart her argument, "Yes, we opened the gate but late found out that the bad guys were always going to come here. The Earth with all its technology, people and resources was a gold mine to the Goa'ulds."
Taylor interjected, "Was?"
Jack was modest, "The System Lords have been removed from power - The last one two years ago. Oh, and since the gate has been open, we've developed countless technologies, developed new medical routines ..." He paused for a moment to let that sink in, then continued, knowing he was being deliberately provocative, "Shall I order these things removed from the general public? The men and women under my command are the best and no can question their dedication. Two in particular, have won Medal of Honour's and being here was certainly against the odds."
Marsh flushed, she couldn't say anything, questioning a soldier's dedication was tantamount to political suicide. She had miscalculated - her article was attacking the supernatural forces, not the military. O'Neill and Summers had already spun the tale to make it seem like she'd attacked them both. She could have audibly sighed with relief when Taylor asked Summers to respond. She needed the slayer to be too emotional – give her something that she could attack.
Buffy cocked her head to the side and knew exactly how to respond. She spoke, softly, but with the authority she'd developed from her years leading the Slayers, "Let me tell you a story. A young Californian girl, her head is filled with nothing but boys and cheerleading." Buffy laughed softly remembering the girl she used to be, "Then one night, you're told about the things that go bump in the night. Here's the kicker - You're the one girl in all the world that can fight them."
The whole crowd was quiet spell-bound by the sad tale weaved. Buffy had never considered herself a storyteller, but her first effort wasn't bad. She carried on, "So you've got the cool superpowers but you're now constantly facing death … Forget planning you're dream wedding, college or planning a life - I was told that I'd be dead at eighteen."
Marsh bit back, "You're not dead."
Buffy laughed, "I'm very bad at following the rules but I was dead at 16 through slaying – it was my best friend who saved my life. I'm also the longest living slayer in the written history of the Council. I changed the rules, but before me, the young girls, sometimes as young as 12 were chosen and most would last 18 months. They lived and saved the world in secret; they gained no thanks, in fact, they didn't expect any thanks - just lived with the sole purpose of saving humanity. For you to question their sacrifice - when it is only thanks to their work as a slayer that lets you sit here and be judgemental- Makes me feel sick."
Taylor jumped in here, this show was going around the world, and so far the show hadn't disappointed. He decided to ask a seemingly flippant question but had punchy weight, "How many times have you saved the world?"
O'Neill contemplated the question, "In what capacity?"
Taylor liked the question, "All of them."
O'Neill thought back and answered honestly, "Whilst leading SG1 it was 9 times and as the Head of the SGC I've overseen a further 9 battle operations."
Letterman wasn't too sure exactly how to answer that, "Impressive and how about you Ms Summers?"
Buffy knew that this would raise a few eyebrows but would completely settle any argument, "Before I finished high-school - Five. Since then, I've personally on my own stopped 18 apocalypses - collaborated with other colleagues a further 31 times. The Council has rebuilt itself from the ground up. The power is shared - No slayer is forced and they are given the very best opportunities in life. To me, it seemed only fair when they were willing to give their lives to keep people safe."
Mary Marsh was angry; she hadn't been this badly embarrassed since the early days of the Bartlet administration, when Bartlet had sent her packing form the White House with her tail between her legs. The kicker had been when Summers had finished reeling off a basic list of accomplishments and asked her, "How many times have you saved the world."
She had no answer and no retort, and was only just managing to stave off tears. She couldn't argue that she had no superpower because O'Neill didn't. She took the path of least resistance and apologised, "I was wrong to question the sacrifice the men and women do great work. I was so overwhelmed by how our world view has changed I lashed out."
O'Neill smiled and it looked almost friendly, but it was cold and Marsh wasn't fooled. She'd seen that look on too many politicians’ faces. "That's okay - It's certainly a lot to assimilate - this is our lives, but that's the best part. We live it so you don't have to."
Taylor, the anchor, wanted to kiss O'Neill and Summers, as this was sure to be another Pulitzer. "Well you heard it right here folks. This is Jon Taylor signing off."
Once the cameras had stopped rolling, Marsh had hissed - "Call them off."
O'Neill feigned cluelessness, "Who?"
Marsh was angry now, and she swiped a tear of frustration away, "You've won, but I want to sleep, and the calls, and my AC and the noise means I can't sleep."
O'Neill gave her a hard glare, it sent shivers down her spine, it was matched by a similar look on Summer’s face, "You don't get it. This wasn't about winning - It was you who called this down on your own head, when you questioned the sacrifice of the young slayers."
Buffy added, "You should never have tried to score political points off of them."
Unbeknownst to the couple, the Chairman of the DMCC was on call with Taylor as they were friends. He had been one of many watching the show, as Mary Marsh had been a thorn in his side for many years. During the interview, he'd been toying with asking O'Neill about a politics career. The little tidbit of a conversation had just sealed it for him. He signed off the call with Taylor, so he could call Lyman. He wanted his opinion, the man certainly seemed attuned to American politics.
Lyman answered the phone, laughter in his voice. The Chairman didn't doubt that Lyman had been watching the show - probably with popcorn. "Yeah what can I do for you Mr Chairman?"
"I want your opinion on General O'Neill."
Lyman wasn't stupid, the Chairman was thinking long term, and he thought about it. The interview had been sublime; the couple had systematically torn down Mary Marsh leaving her no avenue to go. It was even more spectacular when you considered that both O’Neill and Summers were more prone to fighting physically and not with words. The couple were photogenic and big goddamn heroes - he had no doubt that the public would take them into their hearts. O’Neill had a human angle rarely seen in politicians, but the gravitas and presence to be President, and he suspected that Buffy Summers would be the strongest First Lady since Abbey Bartlet.
He gave his honest answer, “If he can move public opinion, in their favour, and I suspect the polls tomorrow will agree with me - then no candidate will be able to stand against him in 2020."
And the rest they say is history, with the seed sown; it would only take time to come to fruition.
So this by my reckoning will be the last year stamp unless people make requests.