Chapter 19: Sunnydale
Chapter 19 Sunnydale
The young man entered the library cautiously, noting the empty room with the exception of a young girl sleeping on a table in the corner.
“Eh hem,” he said clearing his throat.
“Mmm,” the girl moaned.
“Pardon me,” he said, walking over to shake her shoulders urgently.
“Whaa,” she said jumping up, her hand to her chest. “Who are you?” she demand, her chest heaving in fright.
“Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, I am looking for Mr. Giles,” he said.
“Giles, not here,” said Cordelia. Whoa, what a hottie
, she thought. Wyndam-Pryce was a man in his early thirties, with dark brown hair and a slight effeminate grace. “What do you want with Giles?” she asked curiously, eying him up and down.
“It’s not any of your business,” he said pompously, looking around the room.
“Sheesh,” said Cordelia taken aback. “I told you Giles is not here.”
“Whom could I acquire to ascertain Mr. Giles’ whereabouts?” he asked, drawing a finger down the table.
“Well,” Cordelia drawled. “I am the only one that knows where he is. And since it’s not my problem, then you don’t need to know,” she said miffed. She ruffled around in a bag at her feet and took out a new nail polish and studiously started painting her fingernails.
He frowned at the dust that coated his finger. He took a large white handkerchief out of his top pocket and dusted hands. “Look, miss, I really need to see Mr. Giles, “he said exasperated.
She ignored him.
“How about Buffy Summers or Faith Lehane?”
Cordelia eyes narrowed. “Who are you? I need to see some I.D. now,” she snapped corking her polish and jumping to attention. It wasn’t the first time people had come to the library asking for Giles or the Slayers, but in her thinking, it was better to be safe than sorry because most of them are up to no good.
He hesitated, measuring her for a moment, but seeing the resolve on her face, he said, “Here,” while reaching towards the inner pocket on his jacket.
“Keep your hands where I can see them,” she snapped, suddenly brandishing a stake.
A shadow of alarm touched Wesley’s face. “Ms. whoever you are, please put that down. I will tell you who I am. I am the new assistant librarian.”
Cordelia wavered for a second. “Librarian,” she said watching him wearily, not showing him how much she was scared.
“I was just going for my billfold,” he said.
“Slowly,” she said with a frown, for the first time noticed how late it was. And she was all alone with a guy who could be a crazy killer.
“See,” he said tentatively. “It’s my billfold. Here,” he said handing her his wallet.
She eyed him thoughtfully for a minute and took it gingerly between her fingers. She cautiously opened it making sure that it wasn’t a trap. She checked the I.D. noting that both the photograph and the man standing in front of her were the same. “A person can’t be too cautious,” she muttered, handing back the wallet. “Well,” Cordelia said, giving him a quick look. “As I said before, Giles is not here. He’s out a town, but if what you need is important, I could get in touch with him for you,” she said.
“How about Ms. Lehane and Summers?” he asked looking bewildered around the room.
Hesitating slightly, Cordelia said, “Buffy is with Giles and Faith is around here somewhere.” His I.D. had only told her his name, not what he wanted.
“So who are you really? I know your name and by your accent you are British. Wait a second, are you a Watcher?” she asked, her eyes narrowed speculatively.
Wesley gave a quick intake of breath. “Why do you think I’m a Watcher?” he asked, regarding her quizzically.
“You didn’t deny it,” she said triumphantly. “Plus,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “Your tweediness,” she said gesturing to his clothes. “I’m friends with two Slayers. You would think by now I would recognize a Watcher when I see one.”
He stiffened. Okay
, Wesley thought. This young lady knows who I am. No wonder the council sent me here. What kind of leadership does Mr. Giles have?
“I am the replacement Watcher for Faith Lehane and Buffy Summers, following the discharge of Rupert Giles by the Council for disobeying its orders,” he said, his vexation evident.
“Giles quit,” said Cordelia sharply.
“No, he didn’t,” Wesley snapped, his brows furrowed. “He was fired!”
“Whatever,” she said, flicking him off. What a dweeb
, she thought as she attempted to ignore him.
“Ms! Are you going to tell me where Mr. Giles is?”
“In Sunnydale?” Buffy questioned, her voice rose in surprise. “I have to sit down,” she said.
“You are sitting down,” said Jack solicitously.
“I am?” said Buffy bewildered.
“Yes,” Jack said nodding.
“I guess I am,” Buffy said feeling the hard wood beneath her. “Why?” she questioned gazing around the room.
“It would seem that he’s looking for you, Ms. Summers,” said General Hammond.
Buffy shook her head in disbelief. “I guess I am going back to Sunnydale,” she said to no one in particular. “I thought I could stay in Colorado for maybe a couple of more weeks, but fate seems like a fickle woman.”
“Remember your promise to stay for awhile,” Jack said in low voice.
“I never did see the rest of the house,” Buffy murmured, a secret smile softening her lips.
Noticing the closeness between the two, Carter felt as if her heart was breaking.
“Yeah! Prom,” shouted Xander.
Everyone looked at him
He shrugged. “Just because we are going back to stop a bad guy doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.”
“He’s right,” said Willow tentatively. “Graduation is in a couple of weeks. I don’t know about any of you, but my parents expect me to graduate.”
“That’s it then,” said General Hammond decisively. “SG-1, there is a Goa’uld in Sunnydale, and I want you to follow Ms. Summers and her friends. She knows the area well. From what I have gathered, it’s a small town, and remember this is a national secret, so keep a low profile.”
“What’s the plan?” asked Daniel.
“Just follow my lead,” Buffy said, straightening up to her full height.
“You?!” Carter asked in disbelief, jerking to her feet.
“Yes, me,” said Buffy arms on her hips. “Do you have a problem with me?” she demand. Uh oh
, thought Jack.
Ignoring her, Sam turned her angry eyes to the General. “Sir?” she snapped.
General Hammond looked at both blonde women. If he was a betting man… he wouldn’t know whom he should put his money on. Carter, who he knows and respects or the brassy, younger-looking woman, who he knows has the strength of ten men.
“Sir?” Carter repeat. “You know the Goa’uld always have been the responsibility of Stargate Command. So it must be an SG team that should have point on this incursion.”
“I agree,” said the General.
Carter looked triumphantly at Buffy.
“You agree,” snapped Buffy.
“Wait a minute!” General Hammond bellowed. “I wasn’t finished. As I was saying, I do agree that the situation with the Goa’uld is usually handle by an SG team, but in this situation, Ms. Summers can safely handle this.”
“But, Sir,” said Carter turned shocked eyes towards the General. “Ms. Summers doesn’t have any military training.”
“That’s a good thing,” Buffy murmured with a frown. She was imagining a full-scale military invasion in her town.
Ignoring her, Carter continued. “Can she handle a weapon? How about an M16? And when we are in a combat situation, how will she handle herself?”
“If that’s the criteria of leading, then I have plenty of experience,” Buffy said dryly.
“I can’t believe you are doing this, sir,” Carter argued. “She just walked off the streets, and you are willing to give her the SGC on a platter.”
“Major Carter,” said General Hammond, his eyebrows furrowed. “Are you questioning my decision?”
“No, sir,” she said taken aback. “Of course not,” she said sitting down abruptly. For the first time in years, she felt adrift. She looked around the room seeing the sympathy in the gazes of her co-workers and the others. As a child, she always wanted to be in military. To be near her dad. She remembers how she had missed him, especially more since her mom died. But thinking he had to supply a life for them, he grew distance and wasn’t there when he was needed.
Her brother Mark had resented that, but she always thought if she joined the military, then she would be closer to him. But that wasn’t true – it was the opposite, in fact. She grimaced. How naive she was. Although both of them were in fact in the same branch of the military, the Air Force, they didn’t have the opportunity for their lives to cross as much, since both of them was in opposite fields of expertise. Ironically, it took her father literally dying of cancer before they could reconnect. And her job with the SGC had saved his life. Although they are still apart physically, emotionally they could never be closer. It takes dying to see what is important in your life. She eyed Jack and Buffy who were whispering together. It also takes losing someone to see how much you had cared for them.
“Major Carter, I understand your ambivalence about Ms. Summers,” said General Hammond.
“Sir,” Daniel interrupted. “It’s not just Sam that’s ambivalent about Ms. Summers,” he said polishing his glasses. “No offense,” he said aside to Buffy.
“No offense taken,” Buffy said dryly.
“I’m a little worried too,” he said. “I don’t understand how practical experience can make up for military experience. We have been fighting the Goa’uld for five years, and Ms. Summer’s only claim to fighting the Goa’uld is that she was one. No offense,” he said to Buffy.
Buffy’s mouth quirked upward. “No offense taken,” she said with a shrug,
General Hammond gave a huge sigh.
“It would make more sense for Jack to lead this expedition. Not only is he an immortal, but he was once a Goa’uld himself, and he’s the head of SG-1.”
“Yes,” Carter murmured, looking at Daniel, as if he was her savior.
General Hammond rubbed his forehead. He thought he could feel a headache coming on. He shook his head decisively. “Although the Colonel would be better suited for this job,” he said, “I decided with the help of the President, and I agree in this instance, Ms. Summers will be the one leading this incursion.”
“Are you telling me that because Ms. Summers is a friend of the President, she is allowed this job?” asked Daniel in disbelief.
Carter gave Buffy an appalled look.
“How dare you!” Hammond said through gritted teeth. “I worked too damn hard at my career to allow an inefficient person to lead anything. Can’t you just have faith in me to know what I’m doing?” he said. “Yes, Ms. Summers is a friend of the President of the U.S.A. but she didn’t get the position on his word alone, but also on her merit.”
Everyone stared silently with their mouths open at the General during his tirade.
“I’m sorry, sir,” said Daniel with a tight smile.
“Indeed, I am sorry,” said Teal’c.
He gave them a grudging nod. His headache was full-blown. After this, he needed to just get away. He wondered if he could just drive out of the gate to nowhere. With a stern expression, he turned towards Jack. “Colonel, you don’t mind working for a woman, do you?” he asked.
Buffy gave Jack a mock frown.
“No, sir,” Jack said smiling blandly.
“Good,” he said. His gaze wandered around the room touching on SG-1. “For all of your opinions on why Jack should get the job, the same could be said for Ms. Summers,” he said dryly. “Minus of course the working for the military. She knows Sunnydale. She will be able to lead your team to victory, and here you are questioning my orders as if I don’t know what I am doing.”
“No, sir,” said Daniel appalled. “I just thought…”
“That’s okay, Doctor Jackson,” he said with sigh. “I do understand.”
“Thank you, General,” Buffy said with a pleased smile. “I didn’t know that you thought so highly of me.”
“You’re all dismissed,” he said.
They nodded and walked to the door.
“Ms Summers?” Hammond called.
“Yes, sir?” she said, turning to look at him.
“Don’t let me down,” he said.
She nodded and exited the room.
“Major Carter, a moment of your time,” he said.
“Yes, sir,” she murmured, slowly getting up from her chair. She felt as old as father time. She walked up to him. “You wanted to see me, sir?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said, eying her thoughtfully. “Major Carter, you have to get a handle on this.”
“Yes, sir, but they slept together,” she said with an anguished wail.
He frowned. “How do you know?” he demanded.
“The way they touched and the way they would speak without actually speaking,” she said woodenly.
He too had noticed the closeness and the intimate touching when they thought no one would notice. “Major, do you needed a vacation?” he said sympathetically. Normally he would give the whole team a rest, but Major Carter was going through a rough emotional time.
Carter gave a huge sigh and sniffed. “I can handle it,” she said.
He gave her a speaking glance.
“I can handle it, sir,” she said.
“If you can’t handle it, then instead of an optional vacation, it will become mandatory,” he said sternly.
“Yes, sir,” she said avoiding his gaze.
“Good,” he said. “You are dismissed.” Then as if it was an afterthought, he said mildly, “Reminder, Ms. Summers is in charge.”
“Yes, sir,” she said through gritted teeth as she strode through the door.