Author's note: pronouns are annoying.
Jenny needed to speak to Giles. He should know exactly why it was that Yama wanted him dead - and perhaps once she told Giles, he could talk Yama down, try and convince him not to be the jealous boyfriend.
The trouble was, Jenny couldn't find Giles. He wasn't in the library, he wasn't in his office. She'd even arranged for a substitute teacher to take over a couple of her classes so she could see if he was at his house.
Jenny couldn't tell if he was or not. She hadn't managed to walk up to the front door - she supposed that Giles must've implemented some kind of protection spell. Although it would mean that no postman would ever be able to deliver his mail.
So, Jenny didn't know where Giles was. She thought she would check and see if he was at the library again, and if he wasn't, check his house. He had to be somewhere.
When you have two minds in one body, one will always be dominant. The balance of power can change, but, ultimately, one mind will always be in control.
Things are different when there are three minds in a single body. There are two ways things can go in that situation.
The first is that each of the three fights the other two, constantly forming temporary alliances in order to stop one mind from becoming dominant. This leads to no one being in control of the body, leaving it remarkably similar to someone in a coma.
The second way is where the body acts under a democracy, each mind essentially voting for the course of action that they should take, and following the path chosen by the majority.
Eyghon, Ethan and Yama ended up with the second option.
It took only a matter of seconds for Eyghon to integrate itself with Ethan and Yama, during which time the other occupants of the room wondered what had just happened, and where Eyghon had gone (except for Giles, who was thinking My shoulder! Ow! My shoulder!
Then the Host straightened up, and Buffy realised that Eyghon had entered him. She could tell by the orange glow that faintly lit his eyes - far more subdued than it had been in the dead assassin, but still there.
So when the Host moved towards Giles' prone form, Buffy placed herself in the way. "Oh, no you don't, you evil zombie thingy! You've already had your chance to kill Giles, now I'm going to kill you." she said. The fact that Eyghon had taken over someone who wanted to kill Giles anyway was just a bonus - Buffy could kill two birds with one stone.
It wasn't until the Host spoke that Buffy realised that something was different. "Get out of my way, Slayer. Ethan has no wish to see you harmed, although Eyghon would like to rip out your intestines and strangle you with them. Yama doesn't particularly care what happens to you, but if you don't move out of the way, he just might side with Eyghon." the Host said. His voice was exceedingly odd - it was as though three people spoke all at once - one voice was deeper than the other (Eyghon's) and another spoke with an odd cadence, as though English wasn't his first language (Yama).
Then Buffy realised something. "Hang on a minute. If you're referring to Eyghon, Yama and Ethan in the first person-"
"Third person." Giles and Joyce corrected simultaneously.
"That's what I said, third person, then who are you?" Buffy finished.
"I? I am all of them. I am the Sleepwalker, the chaos mage, the deathgod. I am the dark Trimurti. I am the Host." the Host said, with a savage, feral grin.
"Right, that's good enough for me." Buffy muttered to herself. She rapidly bent to scoop up the sword that Eyghon had carelessly flung aside before Angel's dramatic entrance, and swung it at the Host.
The Host didn't move, didn't even make any attempt to intercept the blade. He just stood there.
And the blade bent around him as though Buffy had just swung her sword at a rock. Or, she thought as she looked at the sword in her hand, as though her sword had suddenly been transmuted into paper.
"It is useless, Slayer. You cannot kill us. Now get out of the way before we kill you." the Host said. His tone of voice was flat and even, making the statement all the scarier.
But Buffy was used to scary. She attacked the Host, knowing that Angel would join in, and that together they could defeat the Host.
For several seconds, it looked as though they might succeed. Once again, the Host just stood there, making no effort to defend himself. Unbeknownst to those fighting him, he was consulting his constituent parts to ascertain his course of action.
Then the Host moved with blinding speed, almost casually knocking aside Buffy's hands and driving one fist into her stomach and a second into her throat. Buffy dropped to the floor, gasping for breath.
Then the Host moved back a half step, and Angel instinctively moved closer. The Host's foot quickly drove into Angel's hip, meaning that his step didn't go where he had intended it to go. Off balance, Angel stumbled forward, and the Host caught his head with one hand and then slammed his elbow into the other side. There was a sickening crack, and Angel collapsed bonelessly.
The Host didn't spare a second look for those that he had felled. Two-thirds of him was intent on killing Giles, and so that was what he would do, now that there were no obstacles barring his way.
So he was somewhat surprised when a voice from behind him shrieked "NO!" at him.
The Host whirled, thinking that someone else was going to attack him, and saw Kali - Jenny - Kali - oh, he couldn't tell any longer, standing there, face a pallid white.
"Don't do it, Ethan. Or Yama. Or whoever you are. You don't have to hurt him. He's done nothing to you. He's not Sam. You don't have to kill him." Jenny said plaintively, hand outstretched, pleading.
"But I want to." the Host said, but only with a single voice. Eyghon's. The others were silent.
If Jenny was surprised to hear so deep a voice issuing from the Host's mouth, she didn't show it. "Don't kill him, he's not the man you think he is. Leave him be." she begged.
The orange glow in the Host's eyes died down even further, and he spoke with two different voices, each saying slightly different things. Ethan said "I'm sorry, Jenny." and Yama said "I'm sorry, Kali."
Then he vanished. There was no flash of blinding light like there had been the last time Ethan had teleported. There was no sign of a portal. One second he was there, the next it was as though he never had been.
Silence reigned for several seconds. Then Joyce said "I'm sorry, Buffy, for ever putting you in an asylum. You were right."
Buffy, still wheezing slightly, moved over to Joyce and hugged her tightly, tears spilling silently down her face.
Buffy didn't know what to do.
Giles needed to go to hospital, that was clear. Jenny had already called an ambulance for him. Buffy wanted to go with him, see if he was going to be alright, and then ask him to tell her what the zombie thing was that was so keen on attacking him.
But, at the same time, Buffy didn't want to leave Angel. Naturally, she couldn't take him to hospital, but the blow that the Host had laid on him had done something
. Buffy knew how difficult it was to knock out a vampire, and even then they were rarely unconscious for more than a few minutes.
And Buffy didn't want to leave Joyce alone. She could tell that her mother was trying to give her some space, to sort things out about Giles, but Buffy knew that Joyce was barely holding herself together. She needed someone to explain the supernatural world to her, and Buffy's place in it.
Ultimately, Buffy's decision was resolved when Angel awoke, complaining of a pounding headache. Buffy knew that it must be really bad for the normally stoic Angel to complain.
They all piled into the ambulance when it arrived - Joyce had refused to leave Giles, Buffy didn't want to leave either of them, Angel didn't want to leave her, and Jenny didn't want to leave her boyfriend. Buffy called Willow, Xander and even Cordelia (Buffy knew that Cordelia would be more than usually tetchy if she missed this) and asked them to meet her at the hospital. She said that Giles was hurt, but he'd be alright, and that she would explain more when they met.
The truth was, Buffy was hoping that she could enlist their help in teaching Joyce about the supernatural world. Perhaps Joyce would take it better if she found that Buffy's friends were involved in it too. It couldn't hurt to hope.
Beyond that, Buffy was hoping that they would help distract Joyce from Angel. She really didn't want to talk to her mother about her 250-odd year old vampire kind-of-boyfriend. She knew that she couldn't avoid the topic forever, but maybe she could put it off for a while. At least until she figured out what she would say. It didn't help that Buffy still ached from being punched in the throat.
Fortunately, the Sunnydale medical staff didn't ask questions about how Giles had come by his injury. Buffy supposed that if they did, they'd never stop asking questions - Sunnydale is a Hellmouth town, after all.
They did whisk Giles away, though, to do - whatever it was that they did. Buffy didn't really want to know. Despite being absolutely fine with killing vampires and assorted demons, Buffy still found medical stuff squicky.
Unfortunately, this left the somewhat awkward group alone together.
"Who are you?" Joyce asked Jenny politely. Buffy could tell that that wasn't really the question that Joyce wanted to ask, but Joyce thought it was a good a place to start as any.
"Jenny Calendar." Jenny said.
"My Computer Technology teacher." Buffy supplied helpfully.
"And Rupert's girlfriend." Jenny finished.
"Is every teacher at this school in on this... this stuff?" Joyce asked. Then blinked. "Wait, did you say girlfriend?"
"No, and yes." said Jenny with a smile.Then why did he let me flirt with him at Halloween?
Joyce wondered. What she actually said was "So, can you tell me how you came to be involved in all this? And why my teenage daughter is involved in all this? And what all this actually is?"
Jenny looked at Joyce consideringly. She knew that it should really be Buffy who should tell Joyce about being the Slayer and all that, but Buffy seemed reluctant to do so. Well, Jenny could understand that. Added to that, it was probable that Joyce subconsciously thought that if she didn't talk to Buffy about it, it would be as though she wasn't part of the supernatural world.
So, Jenny sighed and began. "The world is older than you know..."
Jenny's speech was interrupted several times by Joyce saying incredulously "That's impossible!" and asking numerous questions, and by the arrival of the rest of the Scoobies who demanded answers of Buffy as to what had happened to Giles and why Joyce was now being filled in on all things supernatural. And by Cordelia hitting on Angel, not that Angel seemed to notice.
Buffy was grateful to Jenny for leaving out most of her various adventures, particularly her dying and Angel being a vampire. She didn't think that Joyce could handle that just now.
After Jenny finished, Joyce was silent for several moments. Buffy found that she was holding her breath whilst she waited for Joyce to have some kind of response.
Eventually, Joyce said "So, you're the Slayer."
Buffy nodded, unable to speak.
"Have you ever tried... not being the Slayer?"
Despite herself, Buffy laughed. "Yes, actually. It doesn't ever work out well."
"And you" said Joyce, turning the Buffy's assembled group of friends (and Cordelia. Buffy wasn't sure if she counted. She was just so mean
. Oh, and Angel. Buffy wasn't sure whether she could count him, either) "You help Buffy fight the forces of darkness and all that melodramatic stuff?"
There was a chorus of "Yes". Buffy thought that if her mother was well enough to make cracks about the melodrama of Jenny's speech, she must be doing okay.
"But you're students! Shouldn't you be, I don't know, playing truant and smoking behind the bike sheds, not out saving the world?" Joyce said.
"Well, saving the world's more fun." Xander said cheerily.
"And smoking's bad for you. It gives you wrinkles." said Cordelia. Joyce smiled slightly at that.
"And school's important." said the ever-conscientious Willow. "We only ever skip it when there's an apocalypse on."
Joyce decided to ignore the comment about apocalypses. She couldn't deal with Armageddon, not in top of everything else. "And you - Angel, isn't it? - you're too old to be a student. Do you teach?" Joyce said. She knew that Buffy had told her that Angel was a university student, but she'd expected even back then that it was a lie. Although he certainly didn't look like a teacher.
Xander snorted. "Yeah, sure. He teaches Vampirism and Advanced Brooding."
Then he cringed as he realised what he'd just said, and he was swamped in a deluge of cries of "Xander!"