I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I do not own Stargate SG-1.
A/N: Stargate has not made their appearance in this story as of 8/28/12.
A/N: This story implies that Giles has romantic feelings towards Buffy.
It had been a really bad day. Some kind of creature had torn two people apart the night before and I had spent most of the time between classes coordinating the various teams trying to track the unknown HST down. So far there was no luck. I left the main building thinking only about getting back to the lab to get an update when I noticed that the path I normally take was unusually deserted. I walk this way because it always seems to have traffic on it and thus, the HSTs seem to leave it alone.
Not tonight. Tonight it’s nearly deserted. I know we were able to cover-up one of the attacks before the local press got word of it. I guess that the news of the other attack was enough to keep even the more courageous of the UC-Sunnydale students inside after dark.
I place my hand in the pocket of my jacket. I have a radio transmitter that, at a click of a switch, will send 20 heavily armed men to my position. In the drills it took my boys 3:27 minutes to reach this path so I’m really not all that worried. I only have to travel 23 meters to the entrance of the lab.
I have less than 15 meters to go when I hear rustling in the bushes to the right, between my position and the lab. I decide to risk continuing, thinking that it is probably just two students making out.
I only take two more steps when I hear growling from the same bushes so I know that it has to be a HST. I throw the panic switch on my radio. As I turn to go back to the building a creature with red fur bounds out in front of me. It has a humanoid appearance with lupine features. Its jaw looks almost exactly like a dog's but its legs are elongated—then I notice the claws on all four extremities. Two things occur to me at once, this is going to be one of the more deadly HSTs we’ve studied and it must be the HST responsible for the two deaths last night.
The HST stands there growling at me for a few seconds, until another, blond one appears behind me. A coordinated attack. So they can think and plan.
I turn so I can keep my eyes on both of them; at my movement the first creature leaps at my throat, it’s so fast that I barely have time to flinch. However before it hits me the HST is intercepted in midair. It’s tackled to the ground in a move that would have the best linebacker in the history of the NFL envious. I stare in shock and confusion as I watch the sweet little girl from my psych 101 class pin the beast to the ground with one hand while stabbing it in the heart with a dagger in her other hand. That tiny girl is more deadly than my best trained man.
She quickly jumps to her feet, placing herself between me and the remaining beast. The HST stands there sniffing at the air.
“Oh, hi Professor Walsh,” the young woman tells me over her shoulder. “Now would be a good time to RUN!” she shouts the word run, and I’m almost influenced enough by the command in her voice to take off at a sprint. I stop because I know that my men will be here shortly and I will not abandon this child to fight that monster alone. The HST starts to slowly circle us and she follows it, protecting me. I finally remember her name, Summers, Buffy, A.
“Come on Oz, you don’t like mean old professor meat,” Miss Summers tells the creature as it continues to stalk us.
‘Mean old professor meat? ' I think. 'Well, we’ll see what you think of the grade on your next paper.’ Then as the beast feints an attack all I can wonder is where is that strike team!
Then it hits me that she called this beast by a name? She knows it?
“What is it?” I choke out, embarrassed by how weak my voice sounds.
“A Werewolf,” Miss Summers answers, not taking her eyes off the creature. And I see her eyes are burning with a blue fire. Now I don't know if I'm more afraid of the girl trying to protect me or the beast. I'm so caught up in her eyes I nearly miss what she is saying. “If he gets by me try to keep from getting bitten.”
“He?” I question. As the creature looks at us like a tasty treat.
“Yes he,” she tells me very clearly, her voice defensive. “A werewolf is a person 27 days out of the month.”
“Then why did you kill the other one?” She obviously doesn’t want to fight the beast in front of me however she easily killed the red one, why?
I can see the droop of her shoulders as she answers me. “She killed a human last night and I can’t fight them both with just a dagger.”
That makes sense to me. The other wolf circles around us until he’s standing over the dead one. He sniffs her, then pokes her with his nose. He looks up at us with pain and understanding in his eyes. Ms Summers tenses slightly as I hear the sound of my boys running through the woods to converge on the path. The wolf must hear them too because he bunches his powerful legs into a crouch and then springs at us.
I feel the hard shove as I’m pushed out of the way. I land face down on the path and look up in time to see the wolf knock Miss Summers down. I watch, fascinated, as the claws dig into the flesh of her arms and back, shredding her jacket. Yet she holds his teeth at bay with one hand around his throat; while keeping the bloody dagger in the other hand . . . I don’t understand why she doesn’t use it to kill this wolf.
My boys appear in a circle around us. Finn seems confused at the sight of the petite girl holding off the beast with one hand. I can see her weakening from the blood loss and while I hate to do it . . .
“Shock ‘em both, now!” I shout knowing that the electrical charge will pass between the two combatants, perhaps even killing Ms Summers. But we can’t let the wolf get away and Ms Summers has proven that she is unwilling to kill the beast.
To Finn’s credit only two of his squad fire, hitting the beast from opposite sides. And because the charge is more evenly distributed Ms Summers has a chance of survival. . .
Finn and I reach the downed combatants at the same time. As he pulls the beast off of the girl and I rethink my assessment of her probable survival when I see how badly she's bleeding.
“I need the medic stat,” and Gonzales runs forward with his kit. “I want a full medical team and surgical ward prepped by the time we get there!” I shout as I yank the scissors out the pack. I cut off her light jacket and what’s left of her tee shirt to expose the deep gashes. “Get that stretcher over here!”
Every team has the basic medical supplies complete with a folding stretcher. As the men are assembling it I pack the gashes on the girl’s back as best I can. The bleeding is slowing down, I just hope it’s not because she’s bleeding out.
Gonzales has the IV running by the time I finish packing her wounds.
“Team A secure the HST,” I nod towards Finn. “Team B, get going, the only chance this girl has is if we can get her to medical before she bleeds out!” I'm proud of the team's professionalism. They immediately divide and B team has the girl loaded up and moving in just a few seconds.
“Go, I can’t keep up,” I tell Gonzales when the B Team pauses. He nods and they take off at a full sprint.
Finn has the live HST secured, and it takes just a few seconds to load the dead one. I can't wait to perform the autopsy to find out what makes these things tick.
Gonzales is waiting for us when we get into the main facility. "Finn, secure the live HST in central research, Gates take the dead one directly to 314 for study." I turn from my boys knowing they will obey my orders to the letter.
"What is it Gonzales?" I ask him and he hands me the first printout on the DNA test of Summers, Buffy A. "She was stable going into surgery," he answers my unasked question. The girl saved my life; whatever she is I want to return the favor.
I look over the test, it's more or less just a quickie field test that gives the teams the basics so they know if something is a hostile or not. I can't believe the results--the girl is human.
"Are you sure this is right?" I ask the soldier in front me. At his nod I continue, my mind working, putting together the implications of this find. "Tell Sawyer I want the girl kept heavily sedated until we have time to run a complete work-up on her. Do not, and I repeat this, do not let her regain consciousness."
"Sir, yes sir," he turns on his heel and leaves me alone with my thoughts. The girl can't be completely human with that kind strength and speed but if she's human enough . . . and if we can replicate her then my research has just taken an entirely new turn. I go toward the prep room trying to get my mind around all the things this could mean to my research and the project. I don't want to get ahead of myself; it will take at least ten hours for the initial tests to be completed. Then another month or two for us to gather enough empirical data on the girl to find out if she will be worth the money for training.
Still, she is a major find and something that should help keep us funded another few years at least.
We have searched the entire campus and all of Sunnydale for her and Oz. Nothing. Veruca is also missing and Willow keeps thinking that the she-wolf is somehow responsible for both Buffy's and Oz's disappearances. It has only been 24 hours since I got the call from Willow saying Buffy did not return from patrol. A call I have spent the last four years expecting each night. I am ill prepared for anything happening to my Slayer.
I am to meet with Xander and we are going to search Breaker's Woods again. My hope is waning that we will find her alive, yet still some hope remains. When the Master killed her, though it was only for a minute or two, I felt it. The Watcher/Slayer bond allowed me to feel her death then; so why not now? I know the bond is supposed to be something of a myth, however I know what I felt the night the Master rose.
Also--the council has not informed me of another Slayer being called. However, upon Buffy's . . . death, another Slayer may not be called because the line now goes through Faith. I do not believe that they would be so cruel as to not tell me.
Still, if we do not find her soon then I must contact the council.
It has been nearly two weeks since Buffy did not return from patrol. We have searched Sunnydale over and over again. And we have found nothing.
Angel has been tireless in his search of the demon world. I keep expecting her to drag in late at night, injured or wounded, telling me of her adventure.
Willow is doubly devastated and I fear for her sanity. She has lost both her best friend and her lover. Willow also blames herself for the failure of the location spells. I tried to explain to her that those spells were tricky and even under the best circumstances only worked half the time. Still, she was so desperate that I think the spells' failure crushed her. Each spell did the exact same thing; the guiding spirit went to the same general location in Breaker's Woods and then disappeared into the ground.
Of course Willow and Xander think the worst; that it was there Buffy died. While I know the uncertainty of the spell and I believe the spells just went awry. Again, I have not "felt" her death and I'm sure that I would.
When I was still employed by the Council, I had suggested that Willow go home, to England, for Watcher's training. All that was put on hold when I was sacked. However I still have some pull with in the Council and I think I'm going suggest it again. They need talented young people to start filling the voids caused by attrition.
Willow needs to leave Sunnydale and its dangers behind for a while.
I hear a noise outside my door and just for a few moments I think she will come walking through the door. Much like she did after that awful summer away. And like that summer all I can do is wait for her to return to me. Yes, to me. I am such a Prat for admitting this but I am in love with my Slayer. Quentin was quite right that I love my Slayer. He just couldn't fathom the nature of my love for her. I dream of her almost daily now. I wish that the dreams were actual connections to Buffy, however they are not. I know this because I have had similar dreams about her for the entire time I've been her Watcher.
She is still alive. I know it. Somehow I can feel her. I just can't find her.
What kind of Watcher am I? There are no entries in my journal in over a month and only three in nearly two months.
Somehow writing about her makes her absence more . . . real.
Very well, I must get back into the habit; for much has happened in the past month.
I am back with the Council and a new Slayer has been called.
Let me see, what do I write about first when I really don't want to be writing at all?
Willow has been packed up by the council and shipped off for advanced Watcher training at Oxford. She will be well cared for by my old friends. She didn't want to leave Sunnydale so I had to convince her that Buffy would have wanted for her to become a Watcher.
Of course there was a price to pay for their kindness. I had agreed to return to the council and be a Watcher again. My new charge arrives sometime after the Holidays. This brings me to the subject of Faith, Faith died. I suspect that the council had a hand in it. The Hellmouth couldn't be without a guardian and Faith was showing no signs of improvement.
The new Slayer was born to a Watcher's family in New England. Her name is Kennedy and while she's rather old to be called, nearly 17, she was very excited about it until she discovered that she had to move to Sunnydale. Now she is acting like a petulant child. Which is why the Council decided I should be her Watcher. They thought it was my guidance that turned Buffy from the child who got her first Watcher killed with her selfishness into a Slayer of legend. The Prats don't know I had very little to do with molding and shaping Buffy's character and bravery.
They come almost every night.
We are always in Breaker's Woods. We sit under the trees and watch the full moon as it rises in the sky. Sometimes a warm breezes blows her golden hair around, tickling my nose, other times she sits in the circle of my arms, shivering from cold.
The meeting place is always the same, only what we talk about is different. Yes, talk. Mostly, we talk about my day, how it went, how I feel not being able to find her. The dreams are bittersweet; she always ends them the same way. She kisses me chastely on the cheek and then tells me, "You give me hope, Giles." And she's gone.
And I awake cold and alone.
I know she would return to us if she could. I just pray, yes, I pray and beg the Powers that she is not suffering. I must stop now before my mind starts to run away with all the things that the demon world could be doing to my Slayer.
I know she lives.
She gives me hope.
"Professor Walsh while I understand the programming and training takes time you have shown no progress in the past two months. The other 314 projects have shown promising signs. Therefore we request that you either terminate Project Slayer and concentrate totally on the other projects, especially Finn, or show signs that the Slayer can be property trained and controlled."
What an idiot, I think to myself. I can't tell him how stupid he is or he might yank my funding out from under me. We are sitting in one of the better briefing rooms on the campus. All this man does day after day is push numbers around; he has no practical field experience. He has no understanding of the Slayer’s value. I look across the table into his watery blue eyes, and I remember the eyes of the Slayer. He's weak; his will would have crumbled in the first few days of conditioning.
I smile at him and I can tell that he wasn't expecting it. Well, what choice do I have? I have to play him. I'm sitting on the greatest weapon this country has seen since the atom bomb and he can't see it. When he saw her earlier all he saw was a little girl, a tiny little blonde, he doesn't understand her power. He doesn't understand that we have to keep her drugged constantly or she would be able to break free of this facility. Demons can't break out of this complex and yet that "tiny little girl" nearly has, twice.
"I can certainly understand your reservations; worrying that you won't get the return on your investment, however I can personally assure you that she will show signs of improvement in the next few weeks." The lies roll off my tongue like butter. I stand up and he stands up with me. We are both busy and this meeting is just taking up time.
"Professor Walsh we are serious, very serious about the project," he warns me. "All your tests show that she is simply a human and we would prefer to use your research to enhance the strength of other more acceptable . . . "
I've had enough of this fool so I interrupt him. "I said she will be ready--say two weeks?" I look him in the eyes and he flinches away from my stare. Yes, I'm right. The fool wouldn't be able to withstand two days of the conditioning the Slayer has withstood for three months.
"Very well Professor Walsh, a demonstration in two weeks of the value of the Slayer project. In the meantime . . . "
"Yes, yes, I'll pay closer attention to the Adam and the Finn projects," I tell him just to appease him. He leaves and I sit back down in the chair. Two weeks to accomplish something that I haven't been able to do in three months. Three months of drug therapy, shock treatments, hell I even tried to implant a chip and I've gotten only minor compliance.
After two months of intensive reprogramming, the same kind reprogramming that the Soviets would use on their prisoners and all I can get her to do is not kill her guards. And I wonder if that is more out of compassion for the men who are just doing their jobs than from the training.
No, I think I'm going to have to strip away all that is Buffy Summers, all which is human, until I am dealing with only the primal beast of the Slayer. The animal will be easier to control than someone with her mind; it will be easier to train because the animal will respond to simple conditioning.
All people are animals with just an outer shell of emotions; according to our research the Slayer's humanity is just the thinnest of veneers. I just hate losing that mind, the way she thinks, the way she problem solves; I really don't want to lose her basic personality.
I open her file and read it from the beginning. She was compliant for the first few days while still recovering from her wounds and when she thought she would be released. When she realized she now belonged to the project she stopped her compliance and everything has been a struggle. I have no doubt that within two to three years we could have her fully reprogrammed and trained with her mind still intact, but the time and money that would take . . . No, stripping away all that is Buffy Summers and then rebuilding a compliant personality is the best course of action.
"Professor Walsh?" Sawyer knocks and enters the room. "You're needed at the Polgara briefing. " I have to think for a few seconds before I remember.
"Oh, yes the final piece to the puzzle that is Adam," I have a real smile for him. He took over the Adam project so I would have more time with the Slayer. "I'll be right there."
"Of course Professor Walsh," he says beginning to duck out and leave.
"Wait, Dr. Sawyer, do we still have some of the Y-78 compound?" Another idea begins to form in my mind. The Y-78 compound was discovered when we did an autopsy on one of the more exotic demons. Apparently when the Y-78 demons are feeding they naturally secrete it through their skin. We started development of it in a gas form, for police use, before we discovered the side effects. Then we tried it in inject able form and the side affects were worse. Now it’s just sitting in the locker waiting for us to figure out how to depose of it.
Sawyer stops cold in his tracks and I think he grows a shade or two paler. It's hard to tell in this lighting especially since we are all pale because we never get out into the sun.
"You can't be thinking about using it, not after what happened to Goldman?" he says and I believe he actually might try to stand up to me.
"No, no, I was just thinking about breaking it down into its base elements," again the lie just rolls off my tongue. I'm disappointed in his reaction. I was hoping he would be on board with its use, now I think there is going to be a little accident with the Adam project.
"Oh, well then, yes, the remaining compound is stored in the hazardous material locker," he tells me relieved.
"Thank you," I tell him sincerely. The Y-78 compound when used on a human strips the base personality. Which is perfect for my needs, I just wish I would have thought about it before now. It will make my job of wiping Buffy Summers away that much easier. We can have a perfectly compliant weapon now. No more extra training or programming will be needed; we will just have to keep her locked up between tasks.
On my way to brief the troops I'll stop by the containment cells and order her moved into 314. I need to stop her maintenance drug therapy and 314 is the only place that can contain her. When I use the Y-78 compound I want her fully functional. I want her to know everything that is happening to her, I want to see the panic in her eyes--I want her to know that I've won--and I want to see the Slayer the moment it finally emerges.
As I get up and I realize something, for the first time in months I am happy. I love it when I figure out a solution to a difficult problem, it's why I'm in this field of research, I love figuring out puzzles.
The Slayer Kennedy arrived without mishap today. She will be staying with me, in my guest room for the immediate future. I will accompany her on her first Sunnydale patrol tonight. Having been raised by Watchers she is well versed in the both the physical and metaphysical aspects of Slaying. I see a fire in her eyes that was sometimes absent with Buffy; the Slayer has full reign in young Kennedy's life. She embraces it much as Faith did, it will take all my skill as a Watcher to keep this girl alive long enough to become a tempered weapon, like Buffy.
For Buffy, control of the Slayer was everything; she kept the Slayer on a tight leash. Kennedy doesn't seem to understand that she must maintain control at all times or unfortunate accidents happen, such as what happened with Faith. Here I am comparing Kennedy to Buffy. A Slayer just called to one who was called and trained by Merrick. I must put Buffy behind me; it will be exceeding unfair to Kennedy to constantly be compared to Buffy.
With that thought I am thinking about petitioning the Council for a bonding ceremony. It is an archaic ritual that hasn't been performed in centuries, however I can't help thinking that if I had done it with Buffy then I would have felt her when she died. If I am to lose another Slayer then I at least want to know it, this waiting, this hoping. I do not want to feel hope, I never want to feel, period, ever again.
I want the dreams to go away.
"Good evening Professor Walsh," Jackson tells me as I walk into the containment cells central area. "Should I have the men bring her to medical?" he asks, knowing that I am here to see her. I drop by two, three times a day, sometimes just to observe her, and sometimes to talk to her.
"No, I want her moved to 314 and put under lock down;" I tell him.
"Sir, yes, sir, may we gas her for the move?" he asks, thinking about the safety of his men.
Most of her care and conditioning is done by my staff because it's so basic. To keep her in central we've had to use muscle relaxants that would make an elephant a limp noodle and she still shrugs them off after a few hours.
At first I was worried about the doses she required and then I realized that her body never became addicted to the drugs so I relaxed. We also discovered it was damn near impossible to overdose her; even using sedation.
I have to appear like I'm giving his suggestion serious thought; it’s the way to keep the men under me happy.
"No, the experiment I want to do will require her system to be cleared of all drugs." I wait for his face to change to dread. "But, any non-chemical forms of restraint you may require will be fully authorized." That should appease him and sometimes a good old fashion beating helps the conditioning process along. I know what they are going to do, use their tasers on full power before opening the cell and then they will beat her into unconsciousness. By tomorrow all her bruises and cuts will be healed and by tomorrow night Sawyer and the Adam project will be dead.
That brash unruly brat! Nearly got herself and several UC Sunnydale students killed on her first patrol. Buffy was never that careless. Well, not after the first night at the Bronze when she informed me that she was not going to get "way extracurricular" with her Slaying I can't help the smile that forms at the memory. Buffy was a brat in an entirely different way than Kennedy. Buffy grew up that first night from a child into a woman. And yes, I ignored it until she stood before me the night in which I confessed my part in that horrid test.
The night I nearly lost her was the night that I first saw her as the strong woman she had grown into while I wasn't looking. I begged for her forgiveness . . . I have to stop thinking about her. I must stop remembering.
Kennedy is now my Slayer and she needs so much guidance. I don't know if Buffy's battlefield awareness was because she was so incredibly overwhelmed when she was first Called and had to learn it or if it was innate. One thing is for certain and that is Kennedy has none.
I must relate the facts of the situation so I can review them for her training in the morning. First her talents, her skill level in basic combat far exceed Buffy's in every measurable level. Without her Slayer power I understood that she represented the U.S. on the Olympic level in two different disciplines of martial arts. Her technical proficiency is utterly amazing and completely worthless for the real dirt of survival. Twice she tried flying kicks, leaving her feet in reckless moves when a simple jab and stake would have sufficed.
Kennedy was faced with just five fledglings and she continuously lost track of them only to be blindsided when she concentrated too much on one opponent. We were in Breaker's Woods, a forest, and yet when she used her last stake she didn't think to grab a branch from a tree or a twig from the dirt. I had to throw Kennedy one of my stakes so she could finish the last vampire.
And despite the utter disaster that was tonight, she was elated! Kennedy thought she had done well because fighting more than three vampires at once is never mentioned in the Handbook. She was elated that on her first patrol her "kill count" was so high and she continually asked me how many vampires Buffy dusted the first night she was in Sunnydale.
Merrick's records for such things were lost with him, so the Council has no formal record of Buffy killing Lothos and the hundred or so minions he had. I told Kennedy that on Buffy's first night she had only killed a few and I left her alone with her thoughts. Soon enough she will begin to understand the difference between the fledglings she killed tonight and the old, nearly Master-level Vampires Buffy killed in her first days in Sunnydale. Kennedy will understand the difference if she lives long enough to learn.
I think for training in the morning I will take her out to Breaker's Woods, to the spot of the attack, and show her how close she came to dying.
Breaker's Woods. I don't know why I am continuously drawn to them. I hike through them at least once a week and jog out there every morning. I don't know if my Watcher sense is making me go there or the fact that I'm a grieving man and the last clue we had to Buffy was in those woods. All I know is that I'm pulled to them constantly as if by an unknown force.
Look at this entry; all about Buffy and very little about Kennedy. I must go to bed if I will be any good to B--Kennedy in the morning.
I went to sleep tonight both begging for Buffy to come to me and dreading it. I was alone in the woods, the sun was shinning, and it was warm.
"Hi Giles," her voice comes to me out of the darkest part of the forest. I'm standing in the sun and she is in the shadows.
"Buffy," I breathe her name. Despite my earlier ambivalence I nearly break down in tears when I hear her voice. I open my arms for her and yet she stays in the shadows. My arms drop uselessly to my sides and I know tonight is different.
"I've come to say good-bye Giles," I hear the catch in her voice. She's trying not to cry. I take a step forward and she matches mine going back, deeper into the darkness. The shadows seem to close over her until all I can see are her eyes. Her expressive green eyes.
"You can't say good-bye Buffy, you only just got here," I smile at her, deliberately trying to misunderstand what she truly means.
"It's not up to me," she almost growls the words. And the shadows grow still, the air becomes heavy, it's nearly crackling with power. "Remember love," she forces out each syllable as if she's forgotten how to speak. She is completely swallowed by the shadows. "I--Love--you," her eyes flash with a blue fire.
And I awake.
Gasping for air, wondering what happened.
And knowing, knowing in the deepest part of my being that the woman I love beyond life will be lost to me if I don't heed the warnings of the dream.
That's why I'm scribbling madly in this journal, the closest pen and paper to me, trying to get all the nuances of it down before it's forgotten.
I am doing this despite the tears blurring my vision, despite the dread that's turning my insides to mush, I am doing it because . . . I love her.
I walk in on Dr. Engelman while he is removing the Polgara's arm. I feel a kinship with him because we have the same vision of the future. We understand that sometimes, for medical science to move forward, you have to accept the sacrifice that a few chosen people make. Sometimes single lives are just not as important to the world as the thousands your research will eventually save. Whether it's on a battlefield or in the oncology ward of the local hospital, eventually Dr. Engelman's and my names will be uttered in the same breath as Salk, Jenner, Skinner, and Freud.
Which brings me to why I'm here this early in the morning when I should be attending my own experiment, I know Dr. Engelman will already be at work.
"Good morning Maggie," Engelman tells me as he places the bone saw on the side table. He is one of the most talented micro-surgeons I've ever seen. His hands are sheer magic when connecting the tiny nerves of the demon to the human or the machine.
"Good morning, how is our baby today?" I ask walking over the computer that contains all of Adam's files.
"Almost done, I think John will be able to wake him for a short time," Engelman says distractedly. I can tell that he's already slipping back into the laser-like focus his job requires. I was counting on him to be so involved in his work that he wouldn't notice that I was doing more than reviewing Adam's records.
It only takes a few moments for me to download the subroutine that I wrote last night. When Dr. Sawyer tries to awaken Adam he will kill the good doctor. Then I've written a loop sequence in Adam's code so that he will immediately have to shut back down until I can remove the program. This way the Adam project won’t be a total loss.
Once I have the subroutine downloaded into Adam’s main computer I walk next door to check on my experiment. Dr. Engelman is so focused on his task that he doesn't notice I'm gone.
“Dr. Walsh I have all the information you requested,” my assistant hands me both the latest on my dear girl and a cup of coffee.
“Thank you Rhonda, how did she do overnight?” I ask, not really interested. The Slayer’s frame of mind or physical health doesn’t matter to our success today. It’s just something my subordinates expect of me.
I continue to walk towards the containment cell so I can have a look for myself. 314 has the basic cells plus what the boys have taken to calling “the chair.” It uses steel straps to restrain our strongest and most violent HSTs while we are experimenting on them. The chair has proven strong enough to restrain even the Slayer at her full strength.
“The agents who transferred her really did a number on her, cuts, a partially separated shoulder, broken hand, she was unconscious for most of the night,” Rhonda reports. Of course it’s what I expected of the boys. The Slayer had permanently disabled more than one of the agents and had actually killed three. They were going to have their fun when they can within the confines of professionalism.
“Do you have the equipment I requested prepped and ready to go,” I ask standing in front of the glass.
“Yes, Dr. Walsh, everything is ready, all we need to do with connect it and set up the IV line,” she says, nervously shifting from foot to foot. “Are you sure we . . . ”
“Yes, Rhonda. If the Y-78 compound works then we’ve knocked years and millions of dollars off of her reprogramming and training.” I try not to snap at her. Rhonda really is a brilliant scientist and one I don’t want to terminate. As in fire from her job. I think she shows a great deal of promise and with the right guidance she could be my successor.
“Very well, Dr. Walsh, I’ll go see that the subject is prepped and ready,” and with that she leaves me alone.
I feel the Slayer’s eyes on me and I look up into her gaunt face. She seems to be dropping weight by the day now. And I have no doubt that despite the fact that my staff handles all of her day to day care, she would easily and gladly kill me.
“Good morning, Buffy,” I greet her with a smile. “Did you sleep well?”
"Like a baby Maggie," she smirks at me. Her face is still slightly bruised from the beating she took last night. Still I am amazed, three months of intensive therapy and the girl still has the fire to smirk. "So what's on the agenda for today?" she asks. "More shock therapy? How about more of that nice music with those nice little pictures? My own little electric Kool-Aid acid freak show?"
"No, none of that today my dear," I make sure my voice stays level. I really don't want to sound like I'm gloating. "We are going to try something entirely new." I watch as the IV is attached to her hand, and the EEG is hooked up and tested. When Rhonda has a baseline we will begin the experiment.
"So you're going to try another round of train the Slayer?" Her swollen eyes are burning as she stares through me. They are made all the more fearsome looking because she has lost so much weight. They seem to be two bright lights burning from within a skull.
"Actually, you are close," I tell her making a notation in her chart that the first thing we do when she's compliant is to increase her calorie intake. "You see my dear, our research tells us that the Slayer is nothing more than a primal beast. Similar to the demons that we deal with everyday; so if we just remove Buffy Summers from the equation we will have something we can work with."
For the first time in three months I think I actually see fear in her eyes. She’s left momentarily speechless.
“How,” she pauses to clear her throat. “How do you. . . ”
I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t let a little bit of gloating enter my voice. I give her my most charming smile, “you are about to find out.”
Rhonda nods to me that she’s ready. The Slayer blanches at my smile, after three months she knows everything I tell her is the truth.
“I will kill you, Maggie,” she whispers the words, her eyes blazing. “I didn’t mean to hurt those other guys but I will hurt you.”
“An empty threat Miss Summers,” and now it’s my turn to smirk at her. I take a moment to enjoy her fear. She has been a worthwhile subject and I am only human.
“An empty threat,” I repeat. “I’ve won.” I give the words a second to sink in.
“Rhonda, if you would be so kind?” I nod at her and my assistant injects 20mgs of the Y-78 compound into the IV line. Buffy Summers doesn’t look away from me as I watch the compound begin to enter her hand. I am rather surprised that she doesn't at least try to struggle.
It takes nearly fifteen minutes before I see it – before her eyes begin to burn with another light – and finally I am rewarded. After three long months of hard work, I know I am staring into the eyes of a primal beast, into the eyes of the Slayer, Buffy Summers is no longer.
“Rhonda is the tape rolling?” I ask, I want empirical evidence. An experiment is only considered a success if it can be duplicated. My mind is already working on who would be worthy to be the next subject. I almost wish I hadn't programmed Adam to kill Sawyer now. He would have been a perfect compliment to the Slayer.
She nods to me as she prepares the next injection; it’s not good enough to finally have the Slayer manifest. We must be able to control her.
Rhonda has a skewer? Where did she get it? No, she has been stabbed by a pole? Suddenly the wall behind her caves in and some kind of monster lifts her in the air. The Slayer is going wild trying to get out of the chair's restraints.
My attention is drawn back to the monster and I recognize him.
“Mother.” he answers me, as the Slayer breaks one of the restraints. How can someone “break” steel? You bend steel, you can’t break steel.
And I know what I must do. Abort both experiments.
I dash out of the room into the hallway vaguely wondering why the alarms haven’t gone off and then I remember that I had disabled them. I hit the panic switch that sounds the alarms and then I enter my code for the fail-safe. I mess the code up. My hands are shaking so badly that I can't hit the numbers. I'm not frightened, no; I'm not frightened that the Slayer will escape. Finally, I hit the correct sequence of numbers to seal the room. Then I start on the next code. I don't know if Adam will be destroyed and right now I don't care. After two attempts I am successful and the fail-safe begins to pump nerve gas into the room. I hate losing the Slayer however there are always setbacks to recover from and I do have the tape of the experiment.
"No, Kennedy! You never want to leave your feet in a fight unless you have too," I tell the simpering fool for the fifth time in as many minutes.
"Why not? It worked," she challenges. Her body is stiff with anger.
"Yes you . . . " I take a deep breath and turn to admire the beautiful green leaves of the forest around us. Why did I chose to bring her out here for training?
"Mr. Giles?" she asks behind me. I feel a single tear roll down my face and I wipe it away with my towel. I try to make it appear like I was just wiping the sweat from my brow. I turn back to her when I'm sure I've regained my composure.
"Very well Kennedy, your flying kick works on me, I am merely a human man. A rather old human man," I can see I my words are beginning to get through to her. "You should be able to easily defeat me and yet in the last five rounds, I have actually won two of them . . . " Of course she interrupts me, even Buffy during her impertinent phase never interrupted me during training. If she didn't like what I said or had her do she would merely beat me at the task and move on.
"With all due respect," Kennedy starts. "I did have five kills last night and my flying kick knocked one of the vamps down." I hold up my hand to forestall anymore of her outrageous excuses. I can see now that allowing her to believe her performance last night was anything more than below average was a mistake.
"Yes, you knocked one vampire down and while you were off balance two more attacked you." Again she interrupts.
"There were five badies! Five," she holds up her hand to show me her fingers.
"Yes," I admit. "Five fledglings that you should have had dusted in a less than a minute!" I shout and then I regret it.
"I did good last night, I bet little Miss perfect Slayer couldn't have," she doesn't finish. I have balled my hand up in front of me, I can see red forming before my eyes, and I want to hit her. I so desperately want to hit her. I have never hit a woman . . . well that's not true. I have hit women however they were either my Slayer during training or evil.
Kennedy's mouth is hanging open and she is staring at something behind me. There are very few demons that can be out during daylight so I turn . . .
And see a monster that would put even Mary Shelly's imagination to shame.
The monster is walking out of a tree. No, I can see some kind of opening built into the tree’s trunk, if it’s a tree at all. We must have passed by this place a dozen times and we never suspected that some kind of entryway existed.
He's less than twenty feet away and I get a clear view of his face, of his eyes. There is intelligence and confusion in them. He just stands there like he's studying us.
"Hello, " he says in a deep baritone. "What am I?"
His question shocks me and it takes me a moment to gather my thoughts.
"You're a dead evil demon!" Kennedy shouts as she races by me. Five feet away from them . . . monster she launches herself into the predictable flying kick. Her aim is true and she slams into the beast's chest. A man would be dead, a demon severally injured, this Frankenstein monster doesn't move. Kennedy crumbles to the ground and I only hope she hasn't broken a leg.
"I am evil?" he questions me like a child. I think there is some human in him, somewhere. If he is part human then maybe he has a soul and I can appeal to it. I realize that's a huge assumption, however what choice do I have? He withstood Kennedy's best shot without a flinch.
"You don't have to be, you have a choice," I tell him earnestly. He looks down at Kennedy. I follow his gaze and I’m relieved to see that she seems to be merely stunned and not injured.
"Why did you say I was evil if I'm not?" he asks her calmly. "Is it because I look different?"
"No, I feel demon," she stupidly tells him, scrambling to her feet and then backing away.
"So I am a demon?" he says as if a light has gone on above his head. His eyes get a distant look as if he's trying to process the information. "Demon, d-e-m-o-n, Greek, an inferior deity, a defiled hero. An evil supernatural being, a devil."
I know I need to intercede immediately. I don't know what he is, he looks stitched together from various demon parts, but so did the duckbilled platypus. All I do know is that he's confused and I might be able to use that confusion to my advantage.
"I say man, you don't have to accept her word for it," I start to reason with him.
"Yes, it fits. Human, female, strong, she is a Slayer," he looks back at Kennedy. "You are weaker than the other one."
"What did you say?" I can’t believe what I heard.
He looks at me with no emotion and that lets me take a few deep breaths to calm my racing heart.
"You know of the Slayers?" I ask with a feeling of dread as his words wash over me.
"Mother had one," he has that internal look on his face again. "Summers, Buffy A, non-compliant."
"Where is she?" I shout, forgetting all reason. "Is she in there?" I point at the doorway in the oak while taking a few involuntary steps toward the opening.
I don’t care if he’s some new demon or even if this a trap. Buffy might be somewhere through that opening and nothing will . . . something clamps down on my shoulder lifting me in the air. Pain shoots through me as I feel my bones cracking. I watch Kennedy attack him again, this time with a quick series of punches that end with a front snap-kick to his knee.
Suddenly the pressure is released and I drop to the ground, tears of pain forming in my eyes. The hope that her attack had an effect on him is dashed as he carelessly swats her away. She flies at least twenty feet before hitting the ground, then rolls to a stop against a tree. She lays still, again I think she's just stunned.
"I need you," he tells me reaching down. Irony of ironies, my first real lead to where Buffy is and I'm going to die before I can help her.
"Why?" I ask him, trying to delay.
He does pause, he straightens up. "I do not need to her,” he points at Kennedy. “I need you to find out what I am."
He grabs me by my shoulder and I can't help the yelp that leaves my lips. I try to hit him; I'm not going to give up. I have a lead on Buffy and I'm not going to . . . he squeezes. The pain is nearly overwhelming, it lances all the way down into my chest making it difficult to even catch my breath
Some kind of small demon plows into him. It's moving so fast that I can't see what it is as it nearly flies through the air to land on the monster's face. I land with a thud, jarring my shoulder worse than before. I crawl toward the opening in the tree thinking it will lead me to Buffy.
Something, I don't know what, a sound, a feeling, something causes me to stop and watch the fight. It's then I recognize the wild dark blonde hair, the small arms, Buffy. She's on its back with her arms wrapped around its neck as if she's riding it piggyback. Her hair is whipping around and there is blood on her arms from deep gashes.
I watch, fascinated, as she wrestles with the creature. He's trying to slap her off with his hands but his arms don't bend like a normal human's would. His arms seem stiffer, almost as if--a skewer lances out from one of them. It nearly takes off Buffy's head, only at the last second is she able to avoid it. He's still trying to club her with it and I see that his blows are having an effect. With his strength if he gets in just one hit to her head . . .
I watch, trying to find an opening in their struggle. I need to help her! She's alive and I need to help her . . . she gathers her power, the muscles in her shoulders and back lock, the tendons on her arms stand out like cords, through brute strength she forces the Frankenstein's monster's head to turn in a way if wasn't designed to go.
The sounds of snapping and popping fill the air as the bones in his neck break. I see the effect as his arms flop uselessly to his sides. It both empowers and sickens me. Buffy rides the monster to the ground clinging to his head. Still twisting she places her foot in the back of his neck and pulls. I was expecting it to come off, only it doesn't.
Buffy growls as if she's frustrated to be denied her prize and it's then I see the blue in her eyes. Buffy's eyes have always been green. My dream comes back to me and I know that whatever happened to her all these months has unleashed the Slayer.
The beast that the oldest of old Watcher accounts speak of is manifest and real before me. It is my duty to destroy her, it is my duty to protect this sorry world from all threats, even if that threat is my Slayer.
My duty be damned.
Kennedy is up and attacking Buffy without realizing who she is . . . I shout "Kennedy no!" too late. The Slayer has Kennedy pinned to the ground and is pulling her fist back for a killing blow when my shout reaches her.
The Slayer stops with her hand in mid-blow. Her low growl reaches my ears, but she releases the fool girl. Kennedy crab-walks away from Buffy until she bumps against a tree. There she sits, still and quiet for once.
The Slayer slowly stands sniffing the air, I am briefly reminded of Xander’s term of Cave-Slayer. Only there is nothing even remotely amusing about the condition Buffy is in at the moment. I could tell from Cave-Slayer’s eyes that the primal beast wasn’t manifest as it is now.
The wind shifts so that she can smell me and I watch as her face lights up, the joy in her expressive eyes can’t be missed or denied. I expect to see them change back to green, however they do not. Though the blue is no longer burning with rage, they are burning with another kind of fire--what, I don't know--what I do know is that she won't hurt me. It could be my wishful thinking, it could be my dream, or it could be--I don’t know, I just know that she won't hurt me
She takes a step toward me, then another, and then she crumbles onto the leaf-covered ground. I rush to her without realizing it.
"What is she?" Kennedy asks, still huddled next to the tree. Not who is she, what is she.
"Buffy," I whisper her name. I use my good hand to brush the hair out of her face. I check her pulse and then her injuries. She has cuts up and down her arms, deep dark bruising around her wrists. I push up the flimsy cotton shirt she's dressed in and find more bruising on her chest and stomach.
It's in checking her injuries that I notice how thin she is, I can clearly see each rib.
“We need to get her out of here before something smells the blood,” Kennedy tells me. She finally stands and walks over to us. “The hospital is only a few miles away, I can carry her.”
“You’re right, we need to get her out of here, however she can’t go to the hospital,” I say shortly. I really don’t want to explain. If the Slayer is indeed manifest and real then being around doctors and the emotional pain of a hospital could send her into frenzy. It would be best if there was some secluded cabin in the woods to take her away from the city. Alas, a convenient cabin is the thing of fairy tales.
I reach down, intent on picking her up. I’ve had to carry my Slayer home from a battle more than once, only my shoulder loudly protests the movement. I don't think anything is out of place or broken, I just think it's very badly bruised.
I readjust and try again, gritting my teeth against the pain. But I have no strength in my injured arm . . . the sense of failure is nearly overwhelming. I feel a tap on my good shoulder and look up into Kennedy's dark eyes. For once her expression is one of compassion and understanding, not defiance and petulance.
"Mr. Giles, I said I can carry her," she tells me kneeling down opposite of me. With a gentle grace I didn't know anyone other my Buffy had, she lifts her effortlessly. I am struck by the fact that Kennedy is actually smaller than my Slayer. I didn't think that was possible considering how tiny I consider Buffy.
"Mr. Giles we need to go, now!" Kennedy says in her most commanding voice. And I agree.
"Let's get her to my flat, we can treat her wounds and think about what to do next there." I just hope the condition of the Slayer is temporary.
"Professor Walsh we have found the prototype," Riley Finn tells me over the radio. "We are securing it to a stretcher and bringing it in now. ETA 15 minutes. Out." I'm sitting at the console in the middle of the general area. I like it here because it has a way to link all the video equipment and teleconference.
"Did I hear him? He's found the Adam prototype?," the idiot on the other end of the line asks.
"Yes," I answer him. I try not to be short with him, after all he does control my funding, which means he has control over me.
"Good, good," he says, distracted. "Are you sure these videos are correct? That the Slayer actually was able to break out of the steel straps and then engaged the Adam prototype in battle in the lab?" I find the amazement and shock on his face to be an utter waste of time. If he had only listened to me then none of the unfortunate incidents of today would have happened.
"Yes, now I have to get back to 314 so that I can be there to assess the damage to the prototype and see if we can't recover the Slayer." I try to cut him off but he forestalls me with a wave of his hand. I really hate it that money runs my research. I wish I could just forget about politics and the military and the government and just do my research.
"General Johnson wants a word," the idiot says and another face appears on the screen.
"Professor Walsh, Johnson here, I'll get right to the point, " he tells me.
Thank god someone knows how busy I am.
"The video images of the project known as the Slayer are truly amazing. The damage she could do as an assassin could be legendary, how soon could you have her ready for training?" He was straight to the point, good, now I get to slip the knife into the idiot.
"I'm sorry General, I was ordered to stand the Project down. I'm afraid to make her more compliant we had to do a radical procedure, I'm not sure she would ever be able to perform the functions you need her for." I can tell that my words are having the desired effect when the General's face begins to turn red.
"Who ordered you to terminate the project?" he asks softly yet with steel in his voice.
I look at the idiot pencil-pusher and the General takes a deep breath, I know that within ten minutes of my hanging up the idiot will be gone. Whether he will be killed because he knows too much about these black projects or just fired and then sent to a mental institution for a few months of "retraining" I don't care. The fact is he will gone!
"Are you sure of the damage to her?" The General continues, "I can get you all the resources you need."
"Thank you sir, right now I don't know. She escaped with the Adam prototype. I have my men out searching for her now." I watch as he works it through.
"We have the First Bat at Pendleton for training. They can be loaded up and airlifted in within an hour. We will completely shut down the city until we find her." And that is how things get done. I make sure to keep the glee out of my voice and my face neutral.
"Yes sir, thank you sir," I tell him and he signs off.
"Good day Professor Walsh," the idiot signs off too. He doesn't know his fate, yet. If only I could be there when the MPs come to his office door.
"Finn what's your 20?" I ask over the radio.
"Entering the compound through west 26," his clipped voice comes back on over the line.
"Assign Gates the prototype and initiate plan 68-B," I order him.
"Sir, yes sir, Finn out," his radio clicks off.
Plan 68-B is the shutdown of Sunnydale. His men will form a perimeter around the town so that the when the First Bat gets here we can start searching door to door, brick by brick if needed, for the Slayer.
She can run but she won't be able to hide.
Kennedy carries her into my flat and I motion for her put her on the couch I have to turn away from them. Tears are clouding my vision and I don’t want Kennedy to see them. Kennedy has been very careful with my Slayer all the way home, displaying a gentleness I had rarely seen in a person. However it wasn't enough, Buffy is still completely limp in Kennedy's arms. So limp she appears dead.
I have seen Buffy unconscious before, many times, still there was always the aura of life around her. I could lie to myself that she was just sleeping and would awaken momentarily . . . this; this skeletal body has no resemblance to my love. It is clear that Buffy is in an unnatural slumber. It is vitally clear that Buffy is also missing some part of her essence that makes her who she is – the thing in control of her now is the feral – and do I have the right to keep her alive in this state? Do I have the right to risk a supernaturally enhance, amoral killing machine on the unsuspecting town if Sunnydale?
The feral is no better than an animal – ruled by the instinct to hunt – to kill her prey.
“Mr. Giles, should I call the Council?” Kennedy asks from behind me.
“No!” the shout is out of my mouth before I can stop it. I quickly dash my tears away and turn towards Kennedy. She draws back from me as if she is expecting a physical blow. I try to school my facial features into something I hope appears calm.
“No,” I repeat softly, “we don’t know enough yet to get them involved.” Which is true, we really don’t have enough information
"Professor Walsh, it's good to meet," the General tells me as he walks into the control room I've set up in the 314 wing. He accepts my offer to shakes hands. He's much bigger and intimidating in person. That is if I got intimidated, which I don't, emotion right now is a waste of time.
"My XO tells me your men have done a great job setting the perimeter. Inspired thinking telling the local and state authorities that there might be a terrorist with a radio activated nuclear device. By shutting down communications and invoking fear in the population we can suspend all Civil Rights and search door to door."
"I'll tell Agent Finn you said so General," I answer with a smile. The military side of the project is best left in the hands of the professional soldiers. "He set up all the protocol for this type of emergency."
"Agent Finn?" he questions briefly, until his aid whispers in his ear. "Oh yes, Major Finn, Academy graduate. Nice to know they made at least one proper Marine."
I don't know what to say to him, so I just forge ahead. "Yes, well, Agent Finn, was the person who thought it best if didn't release any photos of the Slayer. That way her identity won't be compromised for future missions."
"Excellent," the General repeats which worries me, I have a lot of time and research tied up in Riley Finn, I don't want the General taking him before the results are fully in.
"General, would you like some more video? We have been able to recover the tape from the lab," I tell him to change the subject off of Riley. I signal for Gates to come up to us.
"Yes, I would, but I first I want a progress report," the General orders. I admire his focus.
"Sir I'd like to introduce to Riley's Second in Command Forest Gates, he'll be able to answer your questions better than I," I say stepping back from the wall of monitors.
"Gates?" The General turns to him and immediately Gates loses the smirk that he always seems to wear and stands up straight.
"Sir, yes sir," he snaps off a smart salute.
"Relax son, give me the facts," the General smiles at him.
"Yes sir, the Slayer and the project code named Adam escaped out of the West entrance, when we found Adam Dr. Walsh ordered us to establish a 40 mile perimeter around the site. Using the Predators drones, intermixing with a the civilian authorities we were able to perform our mission."
"Every good Lt," the General turns to watch the screens. "So what are the plans now?"
"We plan to use the First Bat to physically surround the town and then have them move in from five points, going house to house." Gates points out a map of Sunnydale and shows the General the plan Finn had devised.
"Each platoon will have one Agent in command, armed with a taser," Gates continues, showing the projected map. "While the remaining Agents will search the tunnels and sewers. We should be able to sweep the town within 48 to 60 hours."
Gates finishes and I am proud of him. The experimental drugs to affect on him the first few months has worn off. The drugs made him so aggressive he was almost uncontrollable. That's one of the reasons I put him in Riley's squad, they saw the most action so his aggressiveness would go to good use. However as Riley's SIC he was needed to be here to brief the General.
"What's the hold up, why so long with the First Bat you should be able to sweep the town in less than 24 hours," the General questions as he takes a step forward to check the screen showing all the road blocks.
"Yes sir, but we have decided against using regular troops in the tunnels and sewers," Gates answers pointing out the maps we have of Sunnydale's below ground network. "To be frank sir, the first time most guys sees an HST they shit their pants, we can't have that happening now."
"Very well," the General says. "Professor Walsh you had a film you wanted to show me? Is it true she ran through the gas?" He asks almost giddily. I have him, I know I have him. If we recover Buffy Summers and can get her functional I will never have to worry about my funding again.
"Not quite General, as you know there are safe guards," I start to explain motioning for him to follow me. "Gas was only one of them she defeated, why don't we go to my office and watch the video there." I smoothly street him out of the control room. My job is over until they recover the Slayer and I really want to see these tapes again.