Buffy and Seo were, very clearly, a mother-daughter pair. Looked staggeringly similar, both with the exact same shaped face, the same general stance, the same noses and the same blond hair. The child, however — Seo — had these large, expressive brown eyes. Eyes that seemed to stare at you as if seeing something… no human really could. Seeing past your surface, and staring deep into your soul.
Seo caught sight of Gwen, a small smile creeping up her face. Analyzing her, carefully.
"—newest Torchwood member," Jack was saying, gesturing at Gwen. "Gwen Cooper." He grinned at Gwen. "Gwen. Meet Buffy, and her daughter, Seo."
Buffy was looking very impatient. Glancing around, uneasily, clearly trying to tug Jack away from the rest of the group, quickly as possible.
Looked like there was something going on between those two, then.
"Um… hello," Gwen offered. She planted her best smile on her face. "Nice to meet you."
Seo just kept studying Gwen with those deep brown eyes. Then, her face lit up into a dazzling smile. And she rushed over, all excitement and energy, her hair bouncing with every step. "I know you!" she cried. "I've seen you with the Cardiff police! You're the one always hanging about with that tall, skinny blond policeman."
Gwen tensed. She… knew her? Gwen's eyes flicked over to Owen, who had a 'told you so' look on his face.
He'd said she was perceptive.
Seo stopped, abruptly, a few steps away from Gwen. Her face folding into a frown. "Oh. You're… afraid of me."
"No," said Gwen, as she noticed Buffy tugging Jack into his office, and slamming the door behind them. Yep, definitely something going on, there. She fixed her eyes back on Seo, and tried to give a friendlier grin. "Not afraid. See?"
Seo thought this through. Then, abruptly, leapt forward, shouting, "Boo!"
Gwen squeaked, stumbling back.
afraid of me," Seo noted, as she stopped, again, still some ways away from Gwen. "Very afraid." She frowned, looking almost completely preoccupied with Gwen's fear, as if it were the most important thing in the world to her. Then her eyes lit up, and she turned on her heels, ran over to the plate of chocolates Ianto had gathered, beforehand, and sprinted back to Gwen. Offering her the plate. "Here. Have some chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better."
Gwen glanced at the others, who were all laughing under their breaths. Then back at the girl, who was still eagerly waiting for Gwen to take a chocolate.
Manipulative, Owen had said.
"Please?" Seo asked, holding the plate a little closer towards Gwen. "Because it's my birthday?"
"It's your birthday?" Tosh cut in, a little curious.
"Tomorrow," Seo said. She looked supremely proud of herself. "Born October 1st, 2000." She glanced over at Gwen, then added, in a whisper, "That makes me ninety-nine, tomorrow. It's a little complicated."
Gwen wasn't really sure what to say to this. She was pretty sure, if Seo was born in 2000, that made her 7. Not 99. Besides which, she looked more like she was in late adolescence, which was a far departure from either 99, or 7.
"I… thought… Owen said you were a teenager," Gwen stammered.
A slight hesitation crossed Seo's face. A slightly guarded look entered her eyes. And when she spoke again, the voice was a little more cautious than before.
"I'm… just… Buffy's kid," Seo said. She lowered the plate, a little. "You can call me that. 'Kid'. Like, 'good try, kid!' Or, 'better luck next time, kid!' Or, 'we all mess up sometimes, kid.'"
"Or, 'don't blow up the Hub, again, if you know what's good for you, kid'," Owen volunteered.
Seo turned on him. "That only happened once! And I said I was sorry."
"Have to hand it to her, though," Ianto added. "That was
a Bastille Day we'll never forget. She was right about that part."
The door to Jack's office banged open. "Yan," Jack said. "Up here. Owen." Giving Owen a pointed look. "Medical lab, now."
Owen sighed. "Yeah," he said. "Tell you what. How about I bring you the blank sheet of paper that will comprise the test results our Torchwood tech will give us on Seo, now, rather than later, and save you the trip downstairs?"
"Just make sure there's nothing wrong with her," said Jack, as he closed the door behind Ianto.
Owen sighed. Grabbed Seo up by the shoulders, leading her into the medical lab. "Come on," he said. "Time for the most futile checkup in the history of the medical profession."
"I've been meaning to talk to you, in person, actually," said Jack, the moment Buffy had dragged him into his office and shut the door. "I'm trying to understand exactly what happened with Suzie's mental breakdown. And I thought you could—"
"Yeah, that's great, whatever," Buffy cut in, spinning around. "Jack, we've got a serious problem. It's Seo's birthday."
Jack stopped, stared. "She… has a birthday?"
"Well, I mean, I guess," said Buffy, throwing up her hands. "I dunno! I only found out about it thirty minutes ago, while driving over here. October 1st. Tomorrow. Jack, she thinks this Torchwood thing is her birthday party! She's expecting cake and stuff."
"Okay, okay, calm down," Jack urged her. He leaned back against his desk. "Deep breaths. We'll sort out this birthday stuff. Promise. Just tell me about Suzie, first." His eyes flicked out of his office window. "How'd Seo take the news that Suzie killed herself?"
"She seemed pretty sad," said Buffy. "At first." She gave a short, bitter laugh. "Then she disabled about three different hidden alarm systems she'd put together, across our apartment, which all happened to be tuned specifically to Suzie's DNA."
Jack paused. Processing this. "I… see."
"And then," Buffy continued, "she went over to Alison's house, and disabled a few alarms, there, and…" She shook her head. "You know, I'd say Seo was being all with the paranoia. Except that you told me Suzie actually was
"Anyways, I figured there had to be a reason Seo was super worried that Suzie was going to march all the way to London to kill her," Buffy continued. "I asked Seo about it. But she just changed the subject."
"So then I asked Alison," said Buffy. She crossed her arms. "And… wouldn't you know? Turns out, all those times that Seo dragged Alison along with her to Cardiff and flaunted Torchwood security and secrecy rules — those were all because she was deathly afraid of facing down Suzie alone."
Jack remembered. Alison had claimed that Suzie thought Seo deserved to be shot for being an alien. He and the others had dismissed it all, at the time, as some Seo-speak that Alison had accidentally taken seriously.
But... turns out… the paranoia was probably justified.
"Look, Jack, about this birthday thing, though," said Buffy. "I mean, seriously. Seo's been through super-trauma, this year. A lot more than we thought, with this Suzie thing. We have to do something to celebrate her birthday. I mean… she almost didn't live to 99!"
"I told you," said Jack. "Later, I'll make sure—"
"No, not later! Now!" Buffy insisted. "You should have seen the look on her face, when she found out I didn't know! She was totally devastated, Jack. She kind of curled up into herself and muttered that it was okay, she probably didn't deserve a birthday, anyways. And then she got all sulky about her Dad, again, and…" Buffy gritted her teeth. "We've got to do something! Like, something special!"
"You're feeling really
guilty about this," Jack realized.
"I didn't know her birthday!" Buffy said. "I mean, what kind of a mom doesn't know her own daughter's birthday?!"
"You never technically gave birth to her," Jack pointed out. "You couldn't have known."
"I never even thought to ask!" Buffy cried.
Jack gave a small laugh. Put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey. We'll make this happen, okay? She wants a birthday party, I'll give her a birthday party."
"With a special kind of cake," Buffy muttered. "She was really clear about that."
"With a special kind of cake, if she wants," Jack agreed. He winked at her. "Trust me. I've got a secret weapon." Then rushed past her, banged open the door to his office. "Yan! Up here."