“He’s too old for you.”
Dawn dropped her spoon of Fruit Loops into her bowl and glared across the table at her sister. “I don’t know what you’re on about.”
“Jonas Quinn. You’re sweet on him.” Buffy took a bite of her bagel as she returned the glare. “Dawnie, he’s an alien. You don’t even live on the same planet.”
“First of all, there isn’t as much of an age gap between me and Jonas as there was between you and Angel. And… And speaking of Angel: vampire.” Dawn made a motion as if weighing something between her two hands. “Vampire. Alien. Vampire. Alien.”
“You’re being childish and this is sooooo not about me, so don’t bring Angel in on this.”
“And you’re being double standard…ish,” Dawn shot back at her sister, stumbling over the last word (which she was sure wasn’t a word!).
Buffy ignored her sister’s remark. “You’ll just return to England, go to Oxford, and in a few months, you’ll forget all about him,” Buffy reasoned.
“Did you forget about Angel only a few months after he left for LA?”
“No, but I found Riley.”
“And what a gem he was,” Dawn sarcastically stated while she waved around her spoon of Fruit Loops. She took a bite and then added, “And don’t forget the stint with Parker. Now that was ‘Summers’ reasoning at its best. At least Jonas has only been a gentleman – none of that sleep with ‘em and leave ‘em mentality.”
“Wait!” Buffy screeched. “Are you saying that Jonas and you…?”
Dawn broke out laughing. “No! He wasn’t that physical with me.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow at the word ‘physical.’ She was about to comment on this when General O’Neill stepped into the kitchen and placed his cordless phone on the base. Before she could speak, Dawn asked, “Any news from the base?”
“Daniel and Tara were released from the infirmary thirty minutes ago under strict orders to rest in their room on base for another few hours. Sam brought Jonas in last night and they took him straight into surgery. According to the doctors, he’s still in recovery.”
“Is everything all right?” Dawn couldn’t hide anxiety from her voice.
If Jack took notice of this, he didn’t act on it. Instead, he simply answered her question, “They had to reset his leg, along with repair what they could of the tissue and muscle damage. It looks like it will be a long time before Jonas is back to his normal strength, and that is if he ever reaches that point.”
“And the Keloowies?” questioned Buffy.
“Jonas had to give up all rights and citizenship to the Kelownans. Sam convinced the council to allow him to return to Earth, as long as all involved realizes that he will never be welcomed there again.”
“They banished him off the planet?” Dawn growled.
“Don’t worry. Jonas has already been in this position. He lived at the SGC before, and he has agreed to do so again. Trust me. Before long, the Kelownans will realize they made another big mistake concerning him, and they’ll beg him to come back to solve all their problems.”
“And if he hadn’t of come here?” Buffy asked.
“Imprisonment, and that is if things went his way.”
“I really hate the Kelownans,” Dawn muttered.
“Here, here,” Jack intoned as he held out a mug of coffee and waved it in agreement with her assessment.
“So,” Buffy went to change the subject. “What do we have planned for today?”
“You’re coming to the base with me, Ms. Summers. I had been given permission to give you full clearance back when Daniel went missing, but the President is going to have my hide when he notices the lack of paperwork.”
“Don’t worry,” Dawn cheerily informed her. “It won’t take you long to fill it out, and while you’re doing that, I can go see Jonas!”
Faith was pissed. She had left Robin a message to call her, and had yet to hear from him. It didn’t help that on top of that, she was already confused about her job offer. While part of her wanted to take the job, another part feared what that meant when it came to her connection with Robin. Of course if he would just call her…
With a frown, she pushed herself off the bed she had been laying on and started towards the door. Sitting by the phone wasn’t going to help it ring. All that did was make her more depressed. At least a work out would help her blow off some steam that she was building up. Her hand reached out, fingers brushing the door knob when a ring filled the air. For a second, Faith froze. Then, slowly, she turned and headed to the phone, her heart drumming heavily. “Hello.”
“This is Lt. Price on the surface. There is a Mr. Robin Wood at the gate for you.”
“Tell him I’ll be right up.” Faith grabbed her identification and passes for the base. Pocketing everything, she then picked up her keys headed up to the surface, locking her door behind her.
Faith made it to the gates of the Cheyenne Mountain base pretty quickly. With a flash of her badge and a wave, Faith slipped out of the perimeter where a car was parked across the street. Robin Wood stood up against the side of it with his arms crossed but a smile on his face. The two gave each other a quick hug and then Robin opened the door for Faith. She got in and closed the door herself as he crossed to the other side. Once in the car beside her, Robin asked, “Do you know any good places to eat?”
An hour later, Faith sat across from Robin at O’Malley’s, cradling a draft in her hands as she tried to figure out how to approach the subject of her job offer or why Robin had not been returning her phone calls. For some reason, she hadn’t been able to bring it up. Instead they had been simply chit chatting about the latest with the girls in Cleveland. Across from her, Robin went to say, “Sorry I was MIA,” while Faith blurted, “I want to stay in Colorado.”
The two stared at each other a few seconds. Robin looked like he was trying to take in what she had just said. Faith was trying to take in what she had just said too. Finally, Robin slightly shook his head and asked, “You don’t want to come back with me to Cleveland?”
Faith stared at her beer a few more seconds, took a swig and then met his glaze. “I’m not happy in Cleveland.” Instead of replying, Robin just nodded, so she continued. “The people here treat me like an equal. I can’t remember the last time I felt that like I do here. This is the happiest I’ve been slaying, and they’ve offered me a job where I can keep doing it. The only thing is…”
Robin reached across the table and took Faith’s hand in his. “Me.” He finished for her.
Staring at their joined hands, hating that she was having a touchy feely conversation, Faith remarked, “I haven’t given them an answer. I wouldn’t until I talked to you.” With a frown, she looked back up at him and added, “I was going to ask you if you wanted to come to Colorado.”
“Were going to?”
“Robin, we just talked an hour about the girls in Cleveland. You love them, and they have a very strong hold on your heart. I can’t take you away from that.”
“Shouldn’t that be my decision? Maybe I want to be with you.”
Faith raised an eyebrow at him as she pulled her hand away. Sitting back in her chair and taking another drink, she then shook her head. “Do you know how many times I called you, or how many messages I left? I had no idea where the hell you were or what was going on. Then you pick me up and instead of even mentioning the fact I had called, you bring me here and talk about the girls. The council and the girls are your life, not me.”
“So you’re going to stay here and take the job, just like that?”
“Just like that - five by five.” Faith finished her drink and then stood. “Why don’t you take me back to the base?”
Robin nodded, paid for everything and then drove Faith back to the base. As she got out of the car, she stated, “I’ll try to get back to Cleveland soon to say goodbye to the girls and grab my belongings.”
“Good luck,” he replied quietly. “I think you made the right decision.” He watched Faith disappear through the gates and then into the complex. With a frown he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a box. Slowly, Robin opened it and stared at a ring with a rare diamond he had spent the last week tracking down. Then, with a snap, he closed it and moved it to his glove compartment before pulling back onto the road towards home.
Jonas Quinn nodded at the nurse as she placed more pain killer in his drip. With a sigh, he covered his eyes with his arm to block out the light of the room. He wasn’t for sure if he was experiencing a side effect from the medicine they had him on, or if he was just tired. Whatever the problem was, his head was pounding more than it had in days. Add nausea to that from the pain he was in, and Jonas was just one second away from asking the nurse to give him something to knock him out also.
The door next to his bed opened and then quietly shut. Jonas moved his arm slightly to see who his visitor was. He didn’t think he could feel even worse, but seeing the woman in front of him made him feel worse on levels he couldn’t describe. Where her sister seemed to help ease everything that was wrong just by being near him, this woman placed – what was the Earth saying – the “fear of God” into him. She was all types of scary, and he liked his appendages exactly where they were, even if he was one working leg short at the moment.
Buffy Summers met his pained gaze and asked quietly, “Dawn?”
“She just left to go to lunch with Dr. Jackson and Tara,” Jonas answered as he thought back to his morning spent with Dawn. They had watched The Weather Channel together while discussing where their relationship stood. Both of them knew that they had become more than friends while in the shelter together. At the same time, they weren’t exactly in a place to have relationship, let alone a long distance one. They weren’t for sure how much their age difference would come in to play. Plus, Dawn had to leave for Oxford, and there was no way the US Military was going to let Jonas leave Colorado Springs anytime soon. The end result of their talk was the decision to go back to being friends, and let things go from there. There was always email and phone calls to keep in touch to see exactly if they were good at a long distance friendship, let alone a relationship.
Buffy motioned to a seat beside his bed. “Do you mind if I sit for a few minutes? I want to talk to you about my little sister.”
Jonas didn’t miss the fact that instead of saying “Dawn,” Buffy had said “little sister.” He nodded and moved so that he would be in a better position to have a conversation with Buffy. With a wince he went to push himself into a better position only to feel Buffy helping him. She studied him with guarded eyes as she moved him to sit up against a pillow, which she reached in and fluffed in a split second of time. Once Buffy saw that he was comfortable as he could be, she sat down, trying to decide how to start the conversation. Surprisingly, it was Jonas who first spoke. “I know why you’re here. You think I’m the big bad alien scientist moving in on your little sister.”
“How can I not? I see how the two of you look at each other.”
“I can’t help but look at her that way. The young woman I met on Kelowna…”
“She isn’t a young woman. Dawnie is a girl.”
Jonas frowned. “Think of everything Dawn has had to go through. Surely she has grown up a lot more than you realize.”
“What do you know about what she has gone through?”
“We spent a long time together in that shelter. She told me all about Sunnydale, the vampires and demons. I know about you being the slayer, the two of you losing your mom and even your early death. That is a lot for a girl to take in, even one with a support system. To come out of it all like she has, and to do it so wonderfully, that takes a bit of growing up, don’t you think?”
Buffy’s mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. Here she had come to give Jonas a piece of her mind, and he was not only controlling the situation, but making valid points that part of her didn’t want to hear. In the back of her mind, she had always known that Dawn had grown more than most girls her age. Buffy just didn’t like to admit it, because to her, she felt she should always be there to keep her sister safe.
Breaking into her thoughts, Jonas asked, “What has everyone told you about me, if I may ask?”
“They said that you were with the SGC for a year and that you served with SG-1 while Daniel was dead. When he came back, you decided to go back to your own planet.”
“That would be the watered down version.” Jonas paused for a second, trying to decide where to start. Buffy was starting to wonder if he was going to continue when he began, “Langara has veins of Naquadria running through it. It is a very unstable element. At that time SG-1 arrived, the Kelownans had built a bomb out of Naquadria. It was unstable, but we had been regulating it. SG-1 knew its potential and tried to talk us out of using it against the other warring nations. The Naquadria in the bomb started to destabilize when Daniel and I were in the lab. If that bomb had gone off, it would have wiped Kelowna off of Langara. It was that powerful, and yet I was frozen to the spot. Daniel, he entered the area where the bomb was and disarmed it. The only problem was all the radiation it had given off.”
Buffy paled. “That was how Daniel died, of radiation poison?”
“It was an awful way to die, and he didn’t deserve it. Daniel died to save my country, actually my planet, and all I did was stand by and watch. I should have run into that room. It should have been me and not Daniel.” Jonas paused for a moment and frowned. “The guilt of it ate away at me, and I knew that the SGC had been correct about our experiments. I begged the council to stop the experiments, but they insisted that we carry on. So, I stole some of the Naquadria and came here through the Stargate. Kelowna labeled me a traitor while the SGC gave me asylum.”
“What does all this have to do with Dawnie?” Buffy asked, crossing her arms.
“I just want you to understand why we may have been drawn together. The time I was here at the SGC, I spent it being compared to Daniel. I had to live up to what he had been. What made it even worse was the fact everyone blamed me for what had happened to him. He was dead because of me, and here I was in his office and taking his place on SG-1. For a year I tried to be someone I wasn’t. Then Kelowna took me back. Everyone still looked down on me for what I had done, and I have lived with that since, trying to prove myself constantly that I wasn’t a traitor. Dawn has been going through the same motions – trying to prove herself constantly.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Buffy snapped. “I have never pressured Dawn into anything.”
Jonas frowned, “Maybe not intentionally. Think about it. You’re The Slayer. I listened as Dawn told me stories about you. She looks up to you more than you realize. You’ve saved the world and proved yourself how many times? What little sister wouldn’t have a hard time living up to that or want to prove her importance?”
Buffy paled as what he was saying hit home. In a harsh tone, she remarked, “You’re insinuating that the only reason Dawn is going to Oxford is because she wants to use that towards being a watcher.”
“I’m insinuating that Dawn strives to prove herself to you and others around her, just as I strove to prove myself to the SGC and Kelowna. We both were people that weren’t able to be ourselves. This last week together, especially in the shelter, we pushed that aside. We were two people, actually seeing the other for what we truly are. It was an experience that brought me closer to Dawn than I have been to a lot of other people. She saw me for who I am and I saw her for who she is.
“Dawn isn’t a little girl anymore. She is a young woman who has spent her life living in your shadow. What she has accomplished in the last few years academically, it is impressive. I may be an alien, but I know from my time here how hard she must have worked to get into such a prestigious school. The woman I was with is strong, smart and even though she is working towards pleasing you, I also can see that she is happy with Oxford and learning languages. Her face brightens when she talks about her future at Oxford. It is beautiful, and I wouldn’t take that away from her.”
Buffy was floored. This definitely wasn’t where she intended her talk with Jonas to go. Her plan was to come here, give him the ‘fear me and leave my sister alone or I’ll get a shovel’ speech, and instead, she was seeing Dawn in a new light from Jonas’s point of view. While she wanted to rebel against everything Jonas had been saying to her, Buffy knew in her heart that he was right. Plus, he had finished with saying he didn’t want to take Oxford away from Dawn. What did that mean? “When you say that you don’t want to take that away from her…?”
Jonas sighed, “Dawn and I already had the ‘relationship talk’ earlier today. At the moment we are staying friends, and Dawn is going to Oxford. I don’t want to get in the way of her schooling, as I know how important it is to her. Plus, it isn’t like the SGC is going to let me leave Colorado any time soon.”
“So the two of you aren’t going to try for a dating type of relationship?”
“Only friends for now.” Jonas grinned, “However, that doesn’t mean we won’t talk about something like that later down the road.” With a wink, he added, “Who knows, Dawn and I could end up together or, how is it Dawn said you put it, she could forget all about me in a few months?”
Buffy nodded slowly as she stood. “When I came here, I must admit that I was going to order you to stay away from my sister. There was also the thought that I might have to resort to dismemberment. I think that you may get to keep all your arms and legs at the moment.”
“I thank you for that.”
“Just tread carefully, Jonas. I think I may like you right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t resort to a beat down in the future.”
Jonas watched Buffy leave and then settled back into his bed, trying to get comfortable. He had somehow made it through without showing too much of the pain he was feeling, or at least he thought he had. Now if he could get some shuteye to hopefully help his headache.
Buffy stepped up to the table where Dawn and Daniel were eating lunch. She held out her tray, and asked, “Do you mind if I join you?”
Dawn frowned and asked, “Jonas still alive?”
Daniel chuckled at Buffy’s expression of disdain but then quieted when Buffy narrowed her gaze at him. Turning to Dawn, Buffy answered, “All of his limbs are intact at the moment, if that is what you are asking.”
“Then I guess you can sit with us.”
Buffy sat down and asked, “Where is Tara? I thought she was going to be here with you.”
Daniel motioned over his shoulder to another table where Tara, Faith and General O’Neill were quietly talking. “They’ve been at it for the last fifteen minutes.”
“Do you know what it is about?”
“Maybe” answered Daniel, taking a bite of his orange jell-o.
“Aren’t you the least bit concerned?”
“Nope,” Daniel replied. “Tara and I talked earlier, and I trust her implicitly when it comes to whatever decision she makes.”
Almost as if she was on cue with their conversation, Tara turned and waved at them. General O’Neill, Faith and Tara then all stood up. They exchanged handshakes and then Tara and Faith headed over to their table. Tara sat down in a chair beside Daniel, as Faith grabbed one and sat in it backwards. Not missing a second, Faith asked, “Jonas still alive?”
“What is it with everyone thinking I was going to kill him or something?” Buffy asked.
“I was leaning towards ‘something,’” Tara remarked. “Maybe a few more broken bones, bruises, you know, basic torturing techniques.”
“I would never do anything like that!”
“Right. You have never been over protective of the Dawn,” Faith deadpanned.
Tara glanced at Faith and asked, “Didn’t someone even mention dismemberment?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Buffy retorted as she started to eat at the food on her plate. Changing the subject, she asked between bites, “So, what was the oh-so-secretive over there about?”
Faith glanced at Tara, who nodded slowly while grasping Daniel’s hand at the same time. With a sigh, Faith stated, “After talking with Robin and then Giles, “I’ve decided to stay at the SGC. General O’Neill is giving me my own team.”
“Wow. Congratulations, Faith.” Dawn grinned and then asked hesitantly, “But what does that have to do with Tara.”
“I’m also joining the SGC along with the Watcher’s Council.” Tara turned to Daniel, and asked, “I know we talked about this earlier, but I hope that is okay.”
“Of course. It’s your decision. What exactly are you going to be doing though?” he asked. “I know we discussed several different options.”
“I’ve been assigned as Faith’s watcher. Jack has also hired me on to help Walter. Apparently, Walter is drowning with all of Jack’s paperwork and working the Stargate. I guess you can call me the assistant of the assistant.”
“And,” Faith pushed.
“And…” Tara sighed. This was the part she wasn’t sure Daniel was going to be happy about even if they had spoken about it. “And I’m going to be Faith’s resident witch. Whenever her team needs one, I will be going through the Stargate with them.”
“That sounds great,” Buffy remarked. “You will be practicing your magic again.”
Dawn glanced between Tara and Daniel, who were studying each other for reactions. Quietly, she asked, “Is that going to be a good thing… both of you going through the gate? I mean, with how it can be out there…”
Daniel turned to Dawn and slowly smiled reassuringly. “It will be fine, Dawn. This will be great for Tara, and I’m not going to worry. No matter which one of us is off of Earth, we will always be there for one another.”
Slowly, Dawn nodded. “I just can’t help but worry.”
Tara, looking relieved that Daniel wasn’t upset with her choice, grinned. “Hey. I’m going to be under
Faith’s command. What else could I be other than Five by Five?”
Buffy laughed and asked Faith, “What does that mean, actually? Five by Five?”
“In this case, B, it means ‘fine.’ Everything is going to be fine.”The End!Note for Author:
I hoped you enjoyed the ending to Shelter. I thought about doing an epilogue for days and then decided not to. Is this the end of this storyline? Probably not. I have actually known for years what I would write about for quite some time if I was to continue on with a third installment. Right now I need to finish For Cryin' Out Loud. After that I'll be back with more Tara and Dr. Jackson! ~ Jes