Disclaimer: I own nothing subject to copyright and very little of anything else. Joss Whedon owns Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and Mutant Enemy fits in there somewhere. Teen Wolf (2011) was developed by Jeff Davis for MTV. (And really you have to read all the way through if you want to understand why I've mentioned TW - it's there you just have to persevere)
A/N: Sorry this was only meant to be a paragraph long (two max) prologue for a story I wanted to write (which I'll be posting the first paragraph to shortly) and then it really wouldn't stop - so, um, sorry about that. I've marked this as non-cross over because while the series will be crossover, the mention of the crossover here was kind of miniscule. Also I've marked this as Alternate Universe because I'm kind of 'Season 8, what Season 8?' when it comes to BtVS (all due respect to Joss Whedon's genius). So anyway here we go - only second fic so...
MAN IN THE MOON
Giles shook his head sadly at the thick report in front of him. Why this particular seer thought that her reports had to resemble “War and Peace” he was never sure – although if she’d written them in Russian they may have been easier to read. Really who would have believed the amount of paperwork associated with running a reformed watcher’s council? Sometimes he almost got nostalgic for Sunnydale and its annual apocalypses.
As soon as he’d had the thought he mentally kicked himself. Since closing the Sunnydale hellmouth they’d managed to curtail a goodly number of plans aimed at bringing hell to Earth but there was definitely no reason to tempt fate. After Sunnydale they’d had an incredibly difficult first year – locating the awakened slayers, gaining control of what was left of the Council, ensuring that no-one took advantage of their distracted state to open the hellmouth in Cleveland, or otherwise bring about an apocalyptic event.
At the end of that time they’d taken stock, only to discover that while they’d managed to set up a workable structure for a new Council their personal relationships had suffered.
Buffy and Dawn were living in Paris, Dawn finishing her schooling and Buffy overseeing new Council activities and training and deployment of slayers around Europe, all the while juggling psychology and business studies at university. The girls had picked Paris ostensibly for the continental location and the fact that, thanks to a Halloween spell, Buffy still spoke reasonable, if slightly old-fashioned, French. Giles rather suspected that fashion in general, and shoes in particular, had attracted both girls to Paris. However, the girl’s relationship didn’t seem as close as before the fall of Sunnydale.
Xander had spent months travelling Africa, locating, identifying and training slayers – setting up a number of safe havens and training facilities for those slayers who wished to remain closer to home and ferrying those with no families, or no reason to stay, back to European and American training centres. Though Xander’s travels had physically distanced him from the previously close group Giles felt that Xander’s sorrow over Anya death at the fall and his parent’s death in the later L.A. riots had caused him to distance himself emotionally.
Willow and Kennedy had headed south, setting up safe havens in Brazil, Singapore and Australia – then heading on to mainland China to take over an existing Council ‘business’. The new Council’s relationships with the mainland’s government were certainly more cordial than under Travers’ administration. Willow however had become more and more absorbed in her magic. The spell she’d performed with the scythe had opened up even greater magical power than she’d previously held, she could feel all the slayers who’d been called and even new potentials as they were born, and the power seemed to ensnare her more and more. In the end Kennedy had approached Giles, afraid her lover’s magic use was becoming unhealthy – Giles, the coven and the Scooby’s had staged an intervention.
Willow’s access to the power contained in the scythe had been severed – at both Buffy and Faith’s insistence. Buffy remembered ‘darth’ Willow all too well and Faith insisted that she didn’t trust anyone person to have that much power and influence over slayers – she still remembered the old Council’s treatment of a slayer as a tool and their tendency to dispose of those that displeased them. Even though she and Willow were getting a long a lot better, Faith was more comfortable without a single person’s judgement hanging over the head of every slayer.
These days, Willow and Kennedy both lived in Devon, to be near the coven. Willow still practiced earth magic and she was still relatively powerful but she tended to practice only with the coven, rather than as a solitary witch. She had also resumed her research for the new Council and was again focussing on her computer and technical skills. These days she and Andrew were working on seemingly endless upgrades to the new Council’s technology – an area which had been mainly neglected under the more traditional Travers.
It was after that that Giles had taken the time to examine his relationships with the Scooby’s and others. It had, after all, been Kennedy’s thoughtful intervention that had saved Willow from following a far more destructive path. He’d been too taken up with reforming the Council to pay attention – as had, he assumed, Buffy and Xander. It was then that he’d realised exactly how far apart everyone had drifted emotionally, and while he’d admitted that part of that was the children’s growing up and gaining new responsibilities, he’d worried that what had made the children each other’s family was also being lost.
He’d pulled Xander aside first – when Xander had returned for the intervention Giles had been shocked at how Xander had altered both physically and emotionally. Yes, he’d had a rigorous schedule in what could be a harsh part of the world but Xander had looked so much older and had been so quiet that it had actually been possible to forget that he was present in a group – something that pre-Fall would have been nearly impossible. He’d first tried to simply draw Xander out but Xander had proven skilled at redirecting the conversation – mainly around Willow’s problems, although he’d brought up concerns around Buffy and Dawn and even Giles’ own personal situation.
When it got closer to Xander’s scheduled return to Africa Giles had decided that ‘shock and awe’ would be the most effective tactic and he’d dragged Xander out of bed, telling Xander that they were going to ‘bond’ over a hunting trip. Xander’s objection to ‘roughing it’ while camping were dealt with fairly effectively when they arrived at Giles’ family’s hunting lodge. As Giles had told him at the time, the closest they’d get to roughing it would be if the central heating played up.
In any event, Xander had proven most obstinate in his avoidance of a personal discussion – until he’d fallen into an icy stream (Giles would maintain to his dying day that he hadn’t pushed him) and Giles had managed to trap a chilled, and still slightly damp, Xander by the simple expediency of wrapping him in a cocoon of blankets in front of the main fireplace and forcing a little medicinal brandy down his throat and by refusing to be distracted.
It had eventually come out – Xander’s grief and guilt over Anya, his anger over the loss of his eye, his feelings of personal helplessness and inadequacy in the face of so many obstacles and threats, and his resentment, guilt and grief over his parents and their death. It’d taken the best part of the day and night for Xander to talk himself out. Although that obviously hadn’t been the end – Giles and Xander had remained at the hunting lodge for the rest of the week, Xander missing his scheduled flight until, at the end, Xander had agreed to spend at least the next six months in London, attending regular counselling – and beginning formal training as a watcher.
These days Xander headed the Northern American region of the new Council and while he was still coming to terms with his personal sacrifices and losses, he was taking pride in the growth of a stable new Council network in his region and in the training of the slayers who lived and worked under his care.
Spurred on by Xander’s observations of Buffy and Dawn – while they’d been meant as a distraction they’d also been rather astute – Giles had contacted Buffy several months later and found her, to his surprise, every bit as good at avoidance as Xander had been. He’d finally ‘cornered her’, so to speak by going out on patrol with her. Of course, with his luck, they’d ended up fighting a Fyarl demon in the Parisian catacombs. After Buffy had dispatched the demon with a silver pen-knife Giles had been carrying – and Giles had picked himself up and done his best to clean his glasses, really he was getting too old for field work, although at least he’d managed to avoid a concussion – Giles had apologised to Buffy.
That had caused Buffy to stop and look at him in shock. When Giles had continued his apology – for asking her to leave her home just prior to the Fall, for deciding to leave Sunnydale to try and force her to be more independent, for failing to prevent her being pulled back from Heaven, even back to the Cruciamentum. For all the times he’d failed her. He wasn’t her father but Travers had been right when he’d accused Giles of having a father’s love for her, even so he’d felt he’d let her down on more than one occasion. He wasn’t saying that Buffy was perfect but given the burdens she was carrying, she’d needed him and he hadn’t been there for her.
Buffy had been stunned and then tearful – no-one, not Dawn nor Xander nor Willow had said sorry to her for telling her to leave. Leading up to the final battle they’d brushed over the incident but they’d never talked about it afterwards either. Giles had been astonished to realise that he was the first to apologise.
Giles and Buffy had left the catacombs, between demons, vampires and tourists they were a little crowded to have a decent discussion, finding a small bar where they’d talked until closing and then made their way back to the apartment.
In the morning, or rather the afternoon, they’d sat down with Dawn to talk some more. Dawn had been, by turns, incredibly brattish and surprisingly mature. She was still grieving over their mother, still afraid on some level that Buffy would leave her behind, she was also conversely trying to establish her own independence at a new adult level and overall very confused and a little scared. ‘Throw in teenage hormones’ Giles had thought at the time, ‘and we’re lucky she didn’t turn into a mini-Ripper.’
Giles had actually relocated to Paris and taken over a lot of responsibility with regards to Dawn with both Buffy and Dawn’s full agreement – not that it had always been easy or fun but it had allowed both Buffy and Dawn to feel more secure. Buffy herself was still young and she hadn’t been prepared for parenthood, especially not of a teenage girl, and had struggled to find her own path with all the changes in her world. Having Giles join their family had also allowed Buffy extra time and space to create her own life – she’d continued her studies, becoming more confident in her ability to fulfil both a role in the new Council and to continue her role as a slayer, and she’d been able to be a sister to Dawn again rather than an authority figure.
Faith had also come to stay in Paris for a while. Her own journey had really begun at the Fall of Sunnydale. There had been some discussion about Faith returning to prison, but all of the Scooby’s had managed to convince her that she could do so much more good out in the world, rather than locked away. Once they’d regrouped at the Hyperion and begun to discuss their strategy, they’d put Wolfram & Hart to work on getting Faith a full pardon through the governor’s office. Giles had taken a certain delight in negotiating that deal, despite his misgivings about Angel’s takeover at ‘Evil Inc.’.
Faith had made her way to Europe with Buffy and Dawn, staying with them on and off for almost two years before deciding to go back to northern America as the head slayer. Her relationship with Buffy and Dawn had progressed so much that there had been real tears when Faith had left; it was very much like a sister leaving home for good. Faith now had full oversight of the slayers in the Northern Hemisphere, while Xander ensured that the new Council’s network was maintained, Faith dealt with the slayers and ensured that all their needs were met on an ongoing basis – medical, educational and personal; she’d also wanted to spend more time with Angel and his crew after the Blackthorn mess. Faith credited Angel with starting her on her path to redemption and she felt that she wanted to help them as they grieved for Cordelia.
Giles shook his head, thinking of the souled vampires and the whole Circle of Blackthorn mess – initially he’d refused to trust them enough to send reinforcements. He’d been increasingly worried about the reports coming out of L.A. and worried that Angel and the newly corporeal Spike had been corrupted by their involvement with Wolfram & Hart.
It had taken Buffy, Faith and Dawn finding out about it for him to change his mind – well that and the resulting continuous two hours of arguing that had erupted. He had to say; after the smoke had all cleared he’d been a little proud of how effective a team the girls had been when united behind a single cause – effective and a little scary.
Buffy herself had eventually followed Faith back to the States. Once Dawn had settled into Oxford, with a house full of slayers to stave off the semi-annual kidnapping events from suicidally-inclined bad guys, to study history and languages – Giles was rather chuffed by her choices – Buffy had decided to give her sister the greater measure of independence she wanted, and also to be a little closer to both Faith and Xander. Buffy was currently a designated trouble shooter for world-wide apocalyptic events that required more support than the local slayers could provide, her other focus was overseeing the training requirements for all slayers, watchers and other support staff. This kept her involved but separate enough from Faith’s direct oversight of the slayers that they tended to deal together very harmoniously for the most part. Buffy had wanted to maintain her friendships with both Angel and Spike too – all three had accepted that any relationship other than that of ‘family’ was not going to happen and had, with the occasional hiccup, moved on.
Which brought Giles firmly back to the confusing report in front of him – if he was reading it right, there was a possible apocalypse event in California… Faith was currently helping out in New Orleans, discovering the source of a zombie plague and trying to stop the reanimated corpses from taking over the city. The Cleveland hellmouth was relatively quiet, compared to Sunnydale, but was enough to keep Vi and Rona and their teams occupied this month. Which he believed left Buffy as the closest person available to deal with the problem.
Giles made notes on the front of the report. He was due in a video conference with Xander and Buffy in half an hour. He’d brief them on this possible event in … what was the name of the town again… Beacon Hills, that was it, once someone got the call up and running.