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This story is No. 3 in the series "The Child of Balime". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: It's all about trust, as Torchwood struggles to face down a villain from Buffy's past, and Seo and Ianto must deal with their past mistakes.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Dr. Who/Torchwood > Buffy-CenteredShoshiFR749,0910112,85616 Apr 1318 Apr 13Yes

Chapter One

Author's Note: I hold no rights over any copyrighted material. All characters and creations belong to their original owners. The fandoms that I am using are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Torchwood.

Seo's mine. Sorry, Joss Whedon -- you can't have her.

If you're a new reader, then welcome! If you're an old reader, welcome back!

For the new readers: you'll learn more about Seo, later. Don't worry. This is actually story 2 in my new series, The Child of Balime, I just happen to really like it, so I'm posting it first.

You do not have to read Happy Endings or Adventures of A Line Hopper to understand this story. I don't think. But it may help you to know that Seo was once locked up and tortured by Hartman in Torchwood London, before Buffy rescued her.

(And yeah, I know, the "Torchwood Kitchens" is a place I made up. But I liked it.)

For the old readers: Hope you enjoy this new series! Keep reading!

The scientist could hear screams still echoing through the complex. Still hear the cruel, malicious laughter echoing in from the room over. He grabbed at a door, jerked it open, and tried to lock himself inside.

The door bucked. Then was smashed in.

"No," said the scientist. He stepped back. "No, please."

"Yes," said the monster. "I will."

The scientist screamed, as the monster grabbed out at him. As the pain ripped through his body, and he couldn't move, couldn't even breathe anymore.

"But… but Saxon said… you would bring…" the scientist said.

Then, with one last writhe, one more lash out from the monster before him, one last scream from the victim — the scientist died.

"Saxon," the monster repeated. He stepped back, thinking this through. Then shook his head. "No, that's not who I want. Not… Saxon."

He looked down at the remains of the scientist he'd just killed.

"Summers," he said. "I want… Summers."

He turned, marching back into the heart of the compound.

"And she will come," the monster said. "Oh, yes. She will come."

"I told you a thousand times, the answer is no," Buffy's voice echoed across the Plass, as she and Seo arrived into view. She had Seo's hand in hers, emitting a stern-parent kind of air, as she marched forward. "My answer isn't going to change just because you ask on a different day."

"But I know I can control it!" Seo insisted. "You saw, in Cleveland, how—"

"Answer's still no," Buffy cut in, eyes flicking down towards Seo's eager face. "And if you think Jack's going to let you anywhere near the manipulator, you've got another thing coming."

Jack gave a small grin, hands in his pockets, as they approached.

"But… why not?" Seo asked.

Buffy sighed. "As a former resident of Sunnydale, I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer."

"What's the mischief this time?" Jack asked them, a twinkle in his eyes.

Seo tugged her hand out of Buffy's, and gave Jack an innocent, wide-eyed expression. "I'm not trying to do anything bad," she said, hands clasped behind her back. "I just want… to… experiment. With some stuff."

"She wants to get access to the rift manipulator and open the Cardiff Rift," Buffy said.

Jack exchanged a look with Buffy.

"No, that's not what I said!" said Seo, putting her hands on her hips. "It's not as bad as that. I said I wanted to use the rift manipulator to experiment with opening the Cardiff Rift."

Jack gave Seo a small grin. "Not going to happen. Sorry."

Seo turned large, hurt brown eyes on him. "Why not?"

"If I told you all the many reasons it's a terrible idea, we'd be here all day," said Jack. He crossed his arms. "Better question. Why would you actually think it was a good idea?"

Seo beamed at him. "I want to see if I can close it!"

Buffy sighed, and shook her head. This was clearly a discussion they'd had many times before.

"No, really," insisted Seo. "I know you all think I was created to destroy the universe, but… I'm not. I know I'm not! If I can destroy things, I should be able to put them back together, again, too. Unlock and re-lock things. I just need to experiment. Figure out how to do it on my own."

"No," said Buffy.

"But what if, one day, the rift goes completely wonky," Seo insisted, "and you need someone to repair it! Then you'll think back and say, 'If only we'd let Seo experiment with the rift and the rift manipulator, then maybe we could fix all this, but, oh, no, we didn't, and now the world's falling apart and—'"

"Or," Buffy cut in, "you could just not mess with it in the first place. Avoid any serious wonkiness. And everyone stays alive and happy."

Seo looked over at Jack.

"I'm with her," Jack said, nodding at Buffy. "Don't mess with the rift."

Seo pouted at him. "Please! Pretty please!"

Buffy turned on Seo, crossing her arms, eyes fixed on her daughter. "Seo," she warned. "I swear — if you open any space-time rift, anywhere, you're going to be grounded for the next three hundred years."

Seo thought this over, a frown creasing her face. "You said two hundred."

"Two hundred is for accidentally destroying the world," Buffy said. "Three hundred is for opening rifts."

"Five hundred," Jack chimed in, "if you destroy the world by opening the rift."

Buffy shot him a thankful smile, before turning her disciplining eye back on Seo.

Seo fidgeted in place. Biting her lower lip, as she thought it over. Then, with a sigh and a slump of her shoulders, she nodded.

Jack put an arm around her. "Come on, kid," he said, leading her to the invisible lift. "I got something I think you'll like."

She cried out, her face lighting up in sudden and complete glee, and in one bound, she leapt off the invisible lift before it even made it all the way down to the ground.

"A pterodactyl!" Seo said, her eyes fixed on the ceiling.

It circled the Hub, making dinosaur screeching noises, its scaly wings flapping across the surface of the water in the fountain, as it rounded the corner.

"Myfanwy," Jack told her.

Seo raced forwards, not even bothering to glance at the rift manipulator, as she climbed up on the edge of the fountain, leaping into the air and trying to get a better look at the dinosaur.

Buffy turned to Jack. "Thanks for this," she muttered.

Jack grinned at her. "That's why they pay me the big bucks."

"No, I mean not just the… distraction," said Buffy. Although that was clearly a relief to her, in and of itself. "Just… for all of it. Calling me in more often. Giving me more assignments. You know."

Jack nodded, slowly. He knew. Knew about the money troubles, the added expense of raising a kid. And having a kid with seriously destructive tendencies, like Seo, didn't help matters, any.

"Seo blow up your flat, yet?" Jack asked.

"Nearly," Buffy said. Sighed. "She always fixes everything she destroys, but… with the sheer volume of things she destroys…" She shrugged. "Cash deficit."

Jack's eyes rested on Seo, who was now trying to call out to the pterodactyl, using every alien language she knew. Then he flicked his eyes back to Buffy.

"My offer still stands," he reminded her. "Move here. Work for Torchwood, full time. No more money problems, ever again."

Buffy gave a small laugh. "You're asking me to move Seo closer to the Cardiff Rift?"

Jack stuffed his hands back into the pockets of his military greatcoat. On second thought… not the best idea.

"It's fine," said Buffy. "London needs me, anyways, with no Hartman around. And Giles is there, which is major on the help-out factor."

"He's working for the Ministry of Defense, now, isn't he?" asked Jack, stepping off the lift as it came to rest on the ground of the Hub.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Yes, he is."

Seo laughed in delight, as she finally managed to get the pterodactyl to land on her arm. She pet it, fondly, making soft cooing sounds. Then leaned her head down to listen to its jabber, trying to pick up the language. Testing out phrases for herself.

"What, you don't speak pterodactyl?" Jack called to her, as he and Buffy crossed the Hub.

Seo made a face. "Not the Tythonian dialect."

"Pterodactyls have dialects," Owen deadpanned, from over by the computers. "Course they do." Then sighed, pushed his chair out, and decided he'd had enough of hanging around here babysitting a 98-year-old. Turned, and walked out of the Hub. "Getting some coffee."

Jack's smile grew, as he turned back to Buffy. "Speaking of which, I've got a surprise for you, too." He raced up the stairs, and called out, "Yan!"

A youngish man in a smart black business suit, with blue eyes and a respectful air about him, stepped out into the Torchwood Hub. Cup of coffee in hand.

"Sir?" he asked. Offered Jack the coffee.

Jack shook his head, gesturing at Buffy, and the man, taking the hint, offered it to Buffy, instead.

Buffy held out her hand in polite refusal. "No, really, I'm not—"

"Try it," said Jack.

Buffy sighed. Took the coffee, gave it a sip. And balked.

"It's… good!" she cried. Her eyes staring down at the cup in her hands. "Like… not just good-for-Torchwood good. Good-for-coffee good!" She jerked her head up, to regard the brand new miracle worker that Jack had had the divine insight to hire. "Who are you, and when can I marry you?"

Jack winked at the man.

The man fidgeted in place, a little awkwardly. "Ianto," he said to Buffy, offering a hand. "Ianto Jones."

"Buffy Summers," said Buffy, shaking it. "Freelance honorary Torchwood whatever person." She glanced over her shoulder, at Seo, still petting the pterodactyl. "And she's Seo."

Seo looked up, just as Ianto looked over at her.

For a moment, across the Hub, they froze. Both meeting one another's eyes.

All traces of happiness dropped away from Seo in an instant, as her eyes went wide. She stumbled backwards, the pterodactyl screeching and lifting back into the air. Seo didn't even notice, just backed up against the wall of the Hub, going very still, her eyes never straying from Ianto.

"But that's…" Ianto began, stepping forward, a little hesitantly.

Seo spun around, and fled the Hub area, fast as she could.

Ianto stopped. Cringed.

"Oh," Jack muttered. "I should have thought of that."

Buffy opened her mouth to ask what was going on, but Ianto stepped back, with an apologetic look at Buffy and Jack.

"I… think I better go," he said. Then turned and retreated back to the Torchwood kitchens.

Buffy turned an eye on Jack. Crossing her arms. Demanding an explanation.

Jack's eyes shifted between Buffy, Ianto's retreating form, and the place where Seo'd run off. Trying to decide which problem to deal with first. Then he sighed. "Yan's from Torchwood One," he explained to Buffy.

Buffy's eyes went wide. "Oh."

Jack glanced over at the computer area. "Tosh!" he called, gesturing at her. "Catch Buffy up on our fortress power fluctuation problem." He turned back to Buffy. "I'll sort this all out."

Buffy looked like she'd much rather sort it out for herself, but… gave in. Knowing that the Slayer-Powered-Angry-Mom Buffy was probably not the best way to welcome Ianto to Torchwood Cardiff.

She turned to Tosh.

"So," she said, as Jack headed off. "Fortress power fluctuation?"
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