: I love the relationship between Jack and Buffy. I'd love to build that even as time goes on enough that I cross with the Torchwood series. There's certainly some attraction on Jack's part, but... it's not quite love between them. It's something else. I think that's just... so interesting.
A lot of you have left reviews saying that you like the story, but hate the whump.
I'd like to speak to this, but I'm going to save it for the end of this chapter, because I think it's best to just get on with the story.
"It's coming," said one to another. "We know that already. We don't know where or when. But every precaution must be taken."
"Even this precaution?" the second asked.
"Even this one."
"Will find him, of course. In due time. After all, she must be there, in the end. By his side. So he can choose."
"And we can prove our case. Of course." Then, with some hesitation: "She will destroy him, you know."
"Unfortunate. Regrettable. But unavoidable."
"And by destroying him, she destroys herself."
"She has linked herself with another timeline. You know what that means. In any timeline, in any set of circumstances, the universe will work to ensure the outcome remains the same. If Buffy Summers meets the Doctor, she must destroy him. Destroying herself, in the process."
"But one we must take advantage of. Buffy Summers' temporal nature allows us a loophole in the contract."
"The other party will try to stop us."
"The other party can do nothing. He is restricted by the temporal laws of this physical universe. For him, Buffy has always done this, will always do it. Nothing can change that."
A pause. Then, "And if he agrees, in full, to our terms?"
"Then we stop."
"But he won't?"
"Not if he's done what we think he's done."
"In which case, we continue on to the critical point. Offer the Doctor his choice."
"Knowing the Doctor's nature, the outcome is inevitable. Either way, we win. The other party knows that."
"Unfortunate. But for the best. After all, if it turns out to be true, if our suspicions are correct..."
"Death is coming. Death for all. And that would change everything."
Faith threw the sword down onto the ground. "Piece of shit!"
"It's the only way to kill these things," Buffy reminded Faith, handing her back the pure-iron sword. "We've got to practice."
"Oh, great!" said Faith. "So the only way to kill these vampires is to cut off their heads using a sword that doesn't work
!" She knocked the sword back out of Buffy's hand. "What else you got, B? Wanna try chopping off their heads using an axe of solid gold?"
"I made a pure iron sword work," Buffy said. "It's not easy, but it's possible."
"Look, Buffy," Kennedy cut in, approaching the two of them. "You got us out of our battle with the First alive, and we're all grateful for that. And then you got these TBV things to stop killing us, and we're pretty happy about that, too. But… Faith's right." She raised up her own pure-iron blade. "This sword is a piece of shit."
"Armies used to use them, way back in the iron age," Dawn chimed in, stepping up behind Buffy. "They're not as useless as a gold axe or anything."
"Against the vamps' thick skin, in the hands of Slayers using Slayer-strength?" asked Faith. "The most you'll take down with this kind of sword is one vamp. Then — chances are — the sword'll be dull, bent out of shape, and not useful for anything else." She waved the sword in front of Buffy. "One sword per vamp. Against a global army! It's like a joke!"
"We had surprise on our side, this time," Kennedy agreed. "Next time, they'll be ready for us. They're not going to run away after we've just killed one."
Buffy opened her mouth to protest, but just then, the door to the training room burst open, revealing the smiling faces of Jack, Sam, and Riley.
"Tons of human 'Farm survivors'," Sam reported. "Shaken up, fearful, and basically all homeless, but all alive and pretty much unharmed."
"The US is setting up a top-secret refugee program for them," Riley added. "They'll get the help they need."
"Wait — that whole Farm Riot thing turned out to be real?" Buffy asked.
"No more Farms," Jack agreed. "At least, none that we know of. No more ready blood supply. Time for the vampires to go on the defensive."
"Defensive," Faith scoffed. Then muttered something about pure-iron shit under her breath.
Buffy studied the three people she'd sent out to investigate, carefully. Trying to work out how they could have pulled it all off. "Okay, I'm stumped," she confessed. "The three of you helped liberate a ton of Farms, all across the States. In an hour. I've got no idea how you could do that."
"UNIT?" Dawn proposed.
"We had some help from them," Sam agreed. "The uncompromised UNIT teams, anyways. But we also picked up some friends."
She glanced over her shoulder, as a group of soldiers marched through the doors. All attired in US military combat gear, armed to the teeth, with determined looks on their faces.
"Graham," Buffy recognized. She glanced at the others, and began to recognize them, too. Not every single person, but most of them. Enough for her to understand what was going on. If not why. She turned back to Sam. "The ex-Initiative guys?"
"We were all supposed to arrive together," Sam admitted. "But I got… impatient. And went on ahead."
"American citizens were in danger from a supernatural threat," Riley said. "The army called in the special forces. There are more, still out in the field. Helping the refugees."
Buffy eyeballed the team of soldiers in front of her. Yes, she remembered what had happened in the 39th century, and she knew it was stupid and irrational of her to distrust these soldiers simply because of who they were. But… trusting IPSA was kind of different than trusting a group of soldiers who, a few years earlier, had locked up and tortured the Doctor themselves. Personally.
And, while the special forces that Riley was talking about had way more people, most of whom weren't
Initiative survivors — that didn't alter the fact that the team that had come to the Slayer Institute was made up, almost entirely, of ex-Initiative employees.
Sam looked between Buffy and the soldiers, a little surprised that Buffy wasn't completely thrilled to get reinforcements. Apparently, Sam hadn't been the only one keeping secrets about the Doctor from her spouse.
"They know the Doctor, too," Sam started. "They wanted to…"
"Yeah, I know they know the Doctor," Buffy cut in. "I also know how
Graham glanced towards Sam, whose face had grown increasingly puzzled. "It's okay. I can explain." He looked back towards Buffy.
Buffy stepped over to Graham, and asked, in a low voice, "What are you doing here?" She narrowed her eyes. "Specifically, you guys
"Last time, we stood by and did nothing," Graham explained. "Nothing to help the Doctor. Nothing to stop Professor Walsh. Nothing to prevent Adam from destroying us. And we paid the price."
"And now your orders are to stop the TBVs and rescue the Doctor," Buffy said. "Great. Thanks. And what happens when some higher-up jerk decides the Doctor's useful, and not a real person, and your orders change? What about then?"
Another soldier stepped forwards. "Miss Summers," he announced. "The Doctor saved my life, in the Initiative. Countless times. I won't forget that."
"And we're not going against our oath," yet another chimed in. "That's why we came here, when the others went off to help the refugees."
"After the Initiative fell, every survivor swore an oath," Graham explained. "We all promised that we'd do whatever it took to make sure that what happened in the Initiative never happened again. None of it."
Sam turned to Riley, hands on her hips, eyes demanding an explanation. Riley, very obviously, wasn't intending to give her one.
"If the Doctor is being tortured, and is unable to escape," Graham continued, "then we must rescue him, and halt whatever plan involves his confinement."
Buffy hesitated. Glanced over at Jack, who was grinning from the sidelines. "You believe them?" she asked.
"Can't argue with a man with an ass like that," Jack pointed out.
Graham tensed, a little, his face carefully blank. Buffy smacked her head with her hand.
"Okay," she said. "Fine! I believe you want to help the Doctor! Let's just… stop going against every 'don't ask don't tell' rule in the military handbook, okay?"
Faith, coming up from behind Buffy, crossed her arms, and gave them a challenging stare. "Help us, huh?" she asked. She turned to Buffy. "You expecting those guys to fight unkillable vamps with swords that don't work, too? Or is that just for the Slayers?"
Graham glanced over at Riley, hoping for answers.
"Buffy's figured out that the only way to kill the TBVs is using a pure iron sword," Riley explained.
"It sucks the alien energy from their bodies," Buffy put in. "They're being kept alive purely due to an alien influence. Pure iron stops the alien influence just long enough to stop them from growing back body parts. For a little while. Then we can kill them."
"Aside from the fact that the swords don't work, it's a completely reasonable solution," Kennedy added.
Jack fixed his eyes on the pure iron sword in Buffy's hand, amusement dropping from his features. For a moment, he looked — old. Really, really old. And so tired of dying and coming back to life, over and over again.
"Sorry," Buffy said to Jack. Because if what she'd been told about Rose bringing Jack back to life was true, then there was nothing alien about Jack's constant resurrections. And Buffy doubted that pure-iron would be enough to combat Time itself. "Wouldn't work on you."
Jack blinked, then forced a grin specifically designed to hide all traces of disappointment. "Guess you're stuck with me."
Buffy looked from the pure iron sword to Jack. Then back again. And it hit her, all at once, that she'd been afraid that Jack would try it. That the pure iron would work. That Jack might actually die, and be gone forever.
(Just like Spike.)
She met Jack's eyes. And really meant it, when she told him, "Good."
Second Author's Note:
I thought I should explain some things about the conception of this story, which might make a lot of things about the whump in here clearer.
I've gotten a lot of people complaining about it. And I can understand why. There's a lot of whump and it's not very pleasant. Maybe explanation will help.
When I first came up with the idea for Adventures of A Line Hopper, I came up with the Line-Hopper idea, first, but had two different avenues I felt I could do. One was the Watchers Council getting their hands on the Doctor, and the other was vampires.
I loved the idea that Time Lord Blood had mystical properties, and I wanted to do something with that. I had an idea that Buffy first meets the Doctor when he's just escaped from the vampires, and is barely able to move. Buffy, seeing someone in serious trouble, of course tries to help him. But is thrown by the fact that he knows her and she doesn't know him. The distraction costs her her advantage, and the vampires catch up and take him back. The rest of the story would be her trying to figure out who he is, how he knows her, what his role is in the vampire invasion thing, and how to get him out.
Then I came up with the idea of Omega and the Beast of Krop Tor, and that was obviously way better. So I made that my Big Story Number One idea, and the vampire story Big Story Number Two idea.
This series was only supposed to be three stories, when I started writing it. That's what you have to keep in mind.
My plan was to have two long stories and a short one. I'd write "Don't Be," showing what happens when the good guys get their hands on the Doctor. Then "Not a Sword", partially to explain the Key thing, but primarily because I had this idea about Donna mouthing off to the Doctor about looking for Excalibur in California. And, lastly, I'd write "Bringer of Death" as a contrast to "Don't Be", just to show that, actually, the Watchers Council aren't as bad as you'd think.
Then I wound up stripping away large chunks of "Don't Be" that didn't work, and wound up needing more stories to explain the backstory I left out of "Don't Be."
My original conception of "Bringer of Death" involved almost no Doctorwhump at all! In fact, when I wrote my first draft (I began shortly after writing "Elizabeth", got a short way in, then stopped), there was no Doctorwhump in the sections I'd written. You never see the Doctor getting tortured at all.
It didn't work.
Take away the Doctor's point of view, and it feels like the Doctor's just sitting around not doing anything. Which was so not him. He has to always be planning, always be thinking, always be trying to make this work to his advantage. Plus, I was missing an entire interplay between him and Buffy, which you'll read more of in the November, 2004 section.
So I realized that I had to beat up the Doctor, and I had to make it worse than anything I'd done before.
At which point I basically decided that I didn't want to do it. Didn't want to write it, didn't want to post it, none of it. I stopped writing "Bringer of Death", and tried to figure out some way to make the entire arc work without having this story in here, at all.
"Nothing" was the result.
"Nothing" is me trying to get out of writing this story. So if you think there are a lot of similar elements between the two, then... yeah. There's a reason.
And there's a cut scene from "Nothing" where the Doctor explains to Marianna exactly what happens at the end of "Bringer of Death". A scene I cut because, basically, it didn't work. There was no way around it, I had to write "Bringer of Death."
I really wanted to cut out the sexual abuse element of the story. Problem was, I needed something really horrible to make October, 2004 work. I did consider the vampires burying the Doctor alive for a short period of time, instead, but I just couldn't see them doing that. Why cut off their Time Lord blood supply just to bury him? The sexual thing, while more disgusting and horrible, just made more logical sense, since Slayer Blood is established as being an aphrodisiac.
By the end of writing this, I decided the following.
First, you need the whump in this story because it makes the story work. All sections, all characters, all everything. If you don't have it, the story falls flat on its face.
Second, I really made sure that every single whump scene in here absolutely needs to be in here. They all do pretty much triple duty in terms of plot, character, etc. (Except... for one scene, coming up shortly, which is only there to hint at something else that comes up at the end. I just can't make that one do triple duty. Sorry.) If I took any of them out, the story just wouldn't work.
Third, while writing this story, I, personally, found it seriously depressing. This story was supposed to finish the series, but it was just such a downer that I said, "Screw it! I'm writing another story!"
So, yes, there is another story, after this one. "Happy Endings". It's funny and intriguing and chalk-full of action. And I, personally, think it's the best of the series.
(In fact, I liked it so much... I've actually continued writing Buffy/Who crossovers, beyond that point. Latest story sees the introduction of Ianto and Myfanwy to Torchwood Cardiff.)
Hope this helps a little! And, once again, sorry about the whump.