Chapter 2: The Scoobies and the Assassin
: Special shout-out to Amber Penglass for her fan-art for Buffy/SW crossovers. And for today’s recommended reading, go read Scott Ferguson’s Star Wars Altered Universe series, which is spanning from Episode 2 up till Episode 6. It’s a straight Star Wars fanfic, but it is also one of the best fanfics I’ve ever read.
Again, my thanks to my Beta Katilwen for tidying up my mess of a story.
And finally, something I keep forgetting to say- some chapters have theme songs. For instance, the chapter 'Duel of the Fates' in Episode I had the theme 'Duel of the Fates' from the Episode I soundtrack. Likewise, 'Across the Stars' theme was 'Across the Stars', better known as the love theme from Episode II. I urge everybody to find a copy of that track and listen to it while reading Buffy and Dawn's farewell- that song was that chapter's single biggest inspiration.Disclaimer- I own nothing but the plot, and that mostly belongs to George Lucas. For now, though that will be changing soon, as the plot will mostly belong to me….
Chapter 2: The Scoobies and the Assassin
It only took a few minutes to travel from the Senator’s apartment to the Senate building at 500 Republica. On the way up to the Junior Senator’s office, Buffy and Willow made idle small talk, catching up with recent events in their lives since the last time they had spoken. As they arrived at Willows office, Buffy looked around in interest- in the past ten years, though they had spoken often, they had rarely seen each other in person, and the Slayer had never seen Willow’s office.
It was a relatively spacious office, colored in soft earth tones. Around the room were shelves, lined with various artifacts she had collected over the years. The middle of the room was dominated by a lower level of the floor, circular in nature, lined with comfortable looking couches that surrounded a glass coffee table. Her desk stood at the other end of the room, in front of a panoramic window that looked out to the city.
“Welcome to my office.” Willow said, gesturing to the seat in front on the desk. “Please, have a seat. Would you like something to drink?”
“No, thank you.” Buffy said, taking her seat. A picture on the desk caught her eye, and she picked it up to look at it? “Where did you get this?” she breathed, looking down at the framed sketch of Tara. Willow smiled, and gently took the sketch from Buffy.
“There was an artist on Naboo, in Venicia,” Willow explained as she gently placed the picture down on the desk. “I put a glamour on myself, to make myself look like Tara, and had him sketch me.” She looked reverently at the sketch. “It was the closest thing I could get to getting something from my old life. Our old lives.” She amended, looking intently on Buffy. “What have you found?”
“Straight to business, eh?” Buffy said with a sigh. “How long has it been, three years since we’ve seen each other in person?”
“Four.” Willow amended, sitting back in her chair. “Buffy, stop stalling.”
Buffy took a deep breath and exhaled. “I’ve spent the past ten years searching the archives, scouring through every piece of information the Jedi databanks had to offer. I even dragged Master Windu out with me on a few missions to follow up what I thought were leads.
“Hyperdrive specs. Wormhole theory. Assumptions on how to break the barrier at the edge of the galaxy. But NOTHING on portals, or how to open them.” She looked back at her friend. “How about you?”
It was Willow’s turn to sigh. “Same deal. I’ve traveled extensively over the galaxy; I’ve met a lot of diverse cultures, even cultures that had some apparent mysticism about them. But I’ve managed to conclude that their mysticism was based in different variations of serving the Force. Add to that the fact that there are no known sources of mystical compounds here, and any comparable compounds- plants, animals, crystals- nothing.”
“What about your own magic?” Buffy inquired, leaning forward in her chair. “Can you still do any?”
“Oh, yes.” Willow replied, nodding her head. “My magic is more earth-based- or, planet-based, I guess- so my own internal magic works just fine. In a lot of ways, it’s like the Force- each planet has its own life-energy field. Everything’s connected- and for someone like me, who can sense it, it doesn’t take much for me to ‘tap in’, so to speak. It’s just the more advanced stuff- spells that require crystals, or potions, that I can’t do. Now, in theory, if I remember correctly from the research we did on portals, I could open one myself through sheer power- but the problem is that, without knowing exactly how to do it, the portal would be highly unstable, and most likely would not take us home. With more power, I could theoretically open a stable portal that could either take us home, or to another magical dimension…”
“Or you could end up sending us to a true hell dimension.” Buffy finished.
They were silent for a moment, each taking in what they had learned. Finally, Buffy looked at Willow.
“Wills, I think it’s time we accept that this is our life now.”
Willow’s eyes narrowed slightly, and then she let out a weary sigh and collapsed back into her chair. “That is something I’ll never really accept. Not fully, anyways.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes absorbing the information. Finally, Buffy spoke up.
“So…Willow again, eh? What happened to Rose?”
Willow let out a small smile. “Xiazan is dead.” At Buffy’s shocked looked, Willow continued. “About two yeas ago, Xiazan and several of his associates were found murdered in his office in the business district. The organization he worked for then underwent management changes, and most of his allies were eliminated. When I heard, I realized it was safe for me to stop hiding behind my alias. So now, it’s just plain old Willow Rosenberg-Naberrie.”
“I’m glad to hear it. I missed my Willow.”
The red headed witch chuckled. “But enough about me. How about you? I see you got a new toy,” she indicated the lightsaber that hung from Buffy’s belt. “May I?”
“Sure.” Buffy replied, slipping her weapon off of her belt and setting it on the Junior Senator’s desk. Willow tenitivley picked it up and examined it. Like most lightsabers, it was basically a long, slender metal tube, about a foot long. The bottom third was covered in separate strips of a rubber-like material. Just above the grip was a small control box that housed the activation switch for the blade. Above that was a smooth, polished metal surface that extended partly over the top side of the emitter. All in all, Buffy had based her design off of her brothers, with one notable difference- the control box, the setting knobs, the sensors, even what Buffy called its ‘sight’ over the emitter- were all a brilliant, ruby red. Willow raised her eyebrow at that.
“I though the Jedi didn’t like red?” she asked. Buffy smirked.
“We don’t like red blades. Red on the handle, not so bad. Besides- it just…felt right. I can’t explain it, but when I built that, I just followed my feelings, and that’s what came out of it.”
“So…what color blade did you get? Blue, green….puce…”
Buffy smirked, and then extended her hand, summoning her weapon back into it. “Some things, you’ll just have to wait and find out. So,” the Slayer leaned forward in her chair. “What have you found out so far? It couldn’t have been much…”
“For the record, I’ve been looking into this matter since the initial threats were made against Padmè and me several weeks ago.” Willow stated, pulling a data chip out of her drawer and slipping it into the desktop reader. A holographic projection appeared above the desk and several files started scrolling up. “I’ve compiled a list of dissident groups, extremists, enemies of the state… anybody that could have been considered a threat against us. But with the attack on the ship…” Willow switched off the recording, “none of them fit the profile.”
“None?” Buffy asked incredulously. Willow nodded.
“None. You have to understand something, Buffy.” Willow stated. “After the Battle for Naboo, Padmè became more than beloved. The Naboo congress tried to have the constitution amended, so she could stay in office for another term. Padmè refused, of course- she believes in term limits, and the Constitution in general, and any form of amending it so she could stay in power was something she wouldn’t abide. Even as a Senator, she’s always put the best interests of the people of Naboo first, working tirelessly for them. That’s part of the reason I was appointed to Junior Senator- to help her with her work-load.”
“What was the other reason?” Buffy inquired. Willow smiled.
“Padmè’s been great for me here, Buffy. After she became a Senator, she didn’t need so many handmaidens anymore. So Padmè decided to appoint me as her assistant. After a few months, she asked Queen Jamilla to appoint me as a Junior Senator so I could better assist her, though I believe that she’s grooming me to take her place.”
“It’d be a nice job; you could do a lot of good.”
“I’d like to think so.” Willow replied, and then sighed. “But, back to the business at hand. Like I said, for the past few weeks I’ve been compiling a list of everybody who’d want to harm us. But that list was blown up with the cruiser today. Nobody on the list would be so bold, or so well equipped, for that matter, to blow up a Royal Star Cruiser.”
“What about the vote?” Buffy asked. “Senator Amidala has been a stout opponent of the Military Creation Act. Could someone want you two dead because of it?”
“That’s the paradox of the week.” Willow replied. “On the one hand, there are a lot of Senators out there who want this bill to pass, and absolutely loathe Padmè for opposing it. But if they kill her…”
“They risk making a martyr out of her.” Buffy concluded. “What about Count Dooku? I know Padmè suspects him…”
“I don’t think so, though it would seem logical, in a way.” Willow responded. “You see, you got the same problem- Padmè’s trying to kill a bill that would create an Army, whose specific purpose is to oppose the Separatists; it’s in their favor if she succeeds, and if they were to kill her, the bill would undoubtedly pass. Heck, even Senator Organa would vote to pass it, and he’s the biggest pacifist out there!”
Willow got up and stood facing her window, looking out at the city. “Therein lies the paradox… killing her kills the bill, but so does keeping her alive. None of this makes any sense! There’s no logical reason…that you’re not paying any attention to me.” Willow finished, as she turned back around and looked to Buffy, who sat in her chair, her eyes glazed over with a far-away look in them. “Buffy?” Willow asked hesitantly. For several moments, the blond girl sat there silently, unmoving and seemingly unseeing.
And then she blinked, and turned her gaze on Willow.
“There’s been another assassination attempt on Padmè’s life.” She announced to a shocked Willow. “Master Kenobi and Anakin are in pursuit of the assassin now; but I know where they’re going.”
“Is all right.” Buffy reassured her friend. Willow’s eyes narrowed at Buffy.
“So, visions.” She deduced. “Is this a Jedi thing, or a Slayer thing?”
“Oh.” Willow paused for a moment. “So, the assassin...”
“You got a transport?”
Willow smirked. “You kidding?”
A few moments later, Willow sat stiff as a board in the passenger seat of Willows personal speeder as Buffy raced through the downtown traffic lanes of Coruscant.
“Why aren’t I driving?” Willow asked fearfully, letting out an ‘eep!’ as Buffy swerved around slow moving traffic.
“Because you don’t know where we’re going.” She answered simply, pushing down on the stick sharply and sending their speeder shooting down several hundred feet, shooting through several lanes of traffic and weaving in and out between speeders at breakneck speed, before pulling back up on the stick and leveling out.
“Ohh…..” Willow moaned. “I though you Jedi were supposed to be all stoic and stiff-upper-lippy.”
Buffy looked over to her friend. “You want me to be British?”
Willow nodded fervently. “Yes! Very much so! But a little less Spike and a little more Giles-- EYES ON THE ROAD!”
“What road?” Buffy asked, before casually swinging the control stick to the right and cutting around a slow-moving transport. “Don’t worry, Wills. I’m a much better driver than I used to be.”
“I’m still waiting for evidence of that --AHHH!” Willow’s hands flew up to cover her eyes as Buffy swerved around another slow-moving transport, then looped over a third and shot straight down once more, swerving in and out between speeders. As the ground finally appeared below them, Buffy pulled up sharply on the stick and leveled them out, then slowed their breakneck speed until they came to a stop in front of what appeared to be a sport’s bar. Willow pried her fingers apart, and looked fearfully around. “Are we there yet?”
Buffy chuckled and gracefully leapt out of the speeder “Let’s go.”
Buffy and Willow entered the bar and looked around. Screens on the wall showed various sporting events across the galaxy; bookies worked the crowd taking bets. Gambling tables dotted the room, while the center was dominated by a large bar.
“So…now what?” Willow asked. “It was so much easier when all we needed was a cross and some holy water…”
“Yeah, those were the days, my friend…” Buffy quipped, looking over the bar. “I saw Obi-Wan at the bar and the assassin coming up behind him…” Buffy reached into the Force, feeling for her brother’s Master….There.
He sat at the bar…nursing a drink?
“Should he be drinking on duty?” Willow asked in an amused voice. Buffy shrugged her shoulders.
“As long as Anakin’s driving…”
“Anakin taught you.” Willow pointed out. “How exactly would that be a good
thing?” Willow then looked past Obi-Wan to the shadowy figure moving up behind him. “He’s got company.”
Buffy nodded. “Well, then I guess you get to see what color my lightsaber is after all.” The two moved in tandem, the years apart not in the least diminishing the bond that forms between friends, especially when said friends were in life-or-death situation nightly for five years. Buffy circled around to the left and quickly pulled her lightsaber off of her belt as she moved into position, while Willow moved around to the right side; her eyes darkening with power. Soon, they were in position-
And they stuck.
As the assassin had raised her weapon, Buffy ignited her lightsaber, it’s silver blade shimmering in the darkened club. She swung it in a tight, yet graceful arc, and severed the assassin’s arm at the elbow. Obi-Wan, sensing trouble, had spun around, his lightsaber ignited to defend himself- but was cut off by a shimmering wall of energy. He looked around in confusion before he spotted the two likeliest suspects.
“Buffy? Senator Naberrie? What are you doing here?”
Buffy shut off her lightsaber and put it back on her belt, then bent down and picked up the fallen assassin, her iron grip locked onto the assailants’ one good arm. “Saving your ass, as usual, Master Kenobi.”
“Buffy!” Anakin called out, rushing to his master’s side as the energy barrier dropped. “How…”
“Vision.” She replied simply. Anakin shook his head.
“The barrier.” He clarified. Willow smiled and waved to the Jedi.
“That would be me.” She stated, and then looked over to the assassin with a cold gaze. “Now, how about we ask her some questions.”
The four escorted their prisoner out of the bar- Buffy and Obi-Wan flanking her, with Anakin and Willow bringing up the rear.
“I had things well in hand, young Padawan.” Obi-Wan told Buffy sharply. “You had no need to endanger your charge by bringing her here…”
“Blah-blah-blah.” Buffy finished exasperatedly. “Please. Will’s and I have been to much tougher dives than this place, and that’s before we could legally drink. Besides, judging from her little display, I’d say she had things well in hand in there. And if I hadn’t shown up…”
“I sensed her presence from across the room.” Obi-Wan retorted. “I knew where she was, I was simply drawing her in.”
“Oh, so you were trying to get shot. Well, if that’s the case, let me go back and grab her gun- I’ll be more than happy to…”
“You two bicker like an old married couple.” Anakin noted, causing Willow to snort in laughter.
“Is she like this with her Master?” the young Senator asked. Anakin shook his head.
“No, she’s usually much, much worse.”
Buffy shot her brother a look as she and Obi-Wan gently lowered the assassin to the ground. Obi-Wan began to attend to her wounded arm as Buffy stood back up, her arms crossed.
“Do you know who it was you were trying to kill?” the Slayer asked her.
Zam Wesell glared at the Jedi. “The Senator from Naboo.”
“Which one?” Willow asked, her voice lowering as her eyes darkened. Fear started to shine through Zam’s eyes as she took in Willows darkening appearance.
“The other one. We’re supposed to leave you alone.”
“And so you blow me up. Great job there, slick.” Willow replied sarcastically. Then she knelt down besides her, their faces mere inches apart. “Who hired you.”
Zam paused for a moment, considering, then shook her head. “I tell you, he kills me.”
Willow’s hand shot out and grasped Zam jaw. Hard. “What do you think I’m going to do? Worry about me.”
Obi-Wan glanced at Willow with a worried expression. The Junior Senator’s remarks were unsettling him greatly, but a sudden shift in the Force startled him even more.
“The lady asked you a question.” Anakin said coldly. “Tell us who hired you.”
“The Senator’s going to die soon,” she stated matter-of-factly. ‘It won’t end with me. For the price they’re offering, there’ll be bounty hunters lining up to take the hit. And the next one won’t make the same mistake I did.”
“No, they’ll make all new ones.” Buffy relied drolly as the assassin groaned in pain. Obi-Wan looked down at her in concern.
“This wound’s going to need more treatment than I can give it here.” He said, but if Anakin or Willow heard him, they didn’t care.
“Who hired you!” he barked angrily, throwing the full weight of the Force behind his demand. Buffy glanced up at her brother worriedly- she could feel the anger seeping out of him, and she didn’t like it. She knew he was taking this personally, but if he didn’t get himself under control soon...
Zam continued to glare at Anakin, but she felt herself suddenly being compelled to answer. “It was a bounty hunter called-”
Buffy felt more than heard the dart being fired from the gun, and dove to the side, tackling Willow to the ground as the dart impacted on the neck of the assassin, who twitched and died in a matter of moments. They all looked up in the direction of where it came from, and saw a helmeted figure rocket away, disappearing into the sky. Obi-Wan turned back to the dead figure at their feet and plucked the dart from her neck, then held it up for all to see.
Anakin sighed in disappointment; Buffy groaned in aggravation. They were all silent for a moment as they got to their feet, with Buffy giving a helping hand to Willow. Her friend looked at her with a wan smile.
“Just like old times, eh?”
Buffy chuckled mirthlessly. “Yeah, but at least our baddies didn’t have rocket-packs.”TBC…