: A short chapter, but an important one. Important enough, I thought, to put on its own.--000--
"I told you!" Buffy said, her whole body almost shaking in rage, the moment she'd heard the news. Several days after the incident with the Initiative. "I warned you that this would happen!"
Giles slumped over the table in the library, his head in his hands. "Yes, you did."
"And you still didn't let the Doctor's friends go!"
"It wasn't my decision, Buffy," Giles insisted. "I pleaded your case to the Council, and they didn't listen."
"Wait," said Cordelia. "I thought you said you called up Quentin Travers and told him not
to let the witnesses go, because Buffy was bewitched and we needed all the information we could get."
Everyone glared at Cordelia.
"What?" asked Cordelia. "You did!"
"I've since… reassessed the situation," Giles explained. "Once Buffy's theories were proven correct. As has the Council. The witnesses have been released." He looked down at the ground, and muttered, "Not that it's doing much good."
Buffy gave Giles a long, hard stare. "The First isn't going to stop with one or two," she said. "It's going to hunt down every single Potential Slayer, every single Watcher, and kill them. And you've just given the Doctor all the reason he needs to go after them himself!"
"Is anyone going to explain what a Potential Slayer is?" Xander interrupted. "For all us dumb-guys in the room?"
Buffy sighed. "Willow, you explain. I'm too busy yelling at Giles."
"I'd… kind of like an answer, too," Willow ventured. "I mean, I get what 'the Slayer' is, but what's the 'Potential Slayer'?"
"There is always one Slayer," Giles explained. "One girl in all the world to battle back the forces of darkness. When she dies, another takes her place. Potential Slayers are… the girls with the potential to become the Slayer, in the event that either Buffy or Faith die."
"And if you kill off all the Watchers," said Buffy, "and all the Potential Slayers, and me and Faith, then there is no more Slayer. The Slayer line disappears."
does the First want to do that?" Xander asked.
"To take over the Earth, one presumes," said Giles. "Manifest in every human being throughout the world. Become corporeal."
"No, wait, Xander's right," said Willow. "Buffy told us that the First doesn't want to destroy the Slayer. It wants to gain the Slayer's power."
"Oh, is that what she said?" asked a voice from the library doors.
The Scoobies all turned, to find the image of Jenny Calendar, walking towards them. Giles' face completely drained of color, as he faced the apparition.
Jenny Calendar tutted at Buffy, shaking her head. "You really think the power of the Slayer is anything next to my power? My will? My strength? You really think I'd have anything to gain from a fractional slice of a Time Lord Consciousness?"
Buffy didn't bother to dignify the First with an answer. Just remained defiant in her rigidness.
"In case you hadn't noticed, I've already got a Time Lord," said Jenny Calendar. She paused, and considered. "Well, two, if you count the one I controlled back in the anti-matter universe." She grinned. "Face it. You're useless. All of you."
"Then why are you so intent on destroying the Slayer?" Buffy demanded. "If there's no way for the Slayer to defeat you?"
Jenny laughed. "For fun!"
Giles leapt to his feet, his face pale with rage, his eyes blazing, as he advanced on the non-corporeal entity that dared to defile the memory of someone he'd loved so dearly. "If you think we're going to let you simply… eliminate us from the universe… you're wrong. We won't ever give in! We won't ever let you—"
Jenny yawned. "Oh, he is so boring!" she complained. She turned to Buffy. "How do you put up with him?"
Buffy met the First's eyes, her stare pointed, determined. "He's right."
Jenny put her hands on her hips. "Oh, of course," she said. "Because the Slayer is just so powerful, it can defeat the evilest thing in creation!" She laughed. "Take a reality check, kiddo. You're going to lose. Big time."
Buffy grabbed Xander, Giles, and Willow, and led them out of the library. Before she left, she paused, and looked over her shoulder, at the First. "The Daleks thought that, too," she said. "Before they met IPSA."
Then she turned back, and left the library, the door swinging after her.
And after Buffy left, the First stayed put a moment, still in Jenny's form, staring after Buffy with a hint of confusion on its face.
"IPSA?" it asked.