Chapter 20 – Revelations
Artwork by KaylaShay
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A/N: Sorry for the super long delay. My Muse packed up and left. She wouldn’t take my phone calls or letters. Fortunately, she seems to have forgiven me and come back. I’ll try to be extra nice to her so she hangs around. Hey, who knows, reviews might help. *wink* Seriously, please let me know what you think. Oh yeah, almost forgot, there’s a tiny snippet of dialogue from the episode “Enemies.”
Chapter 20 – Revelations
Sunnydale General Hospital
Saturday, March 13, 1999, Pre-Dawn
Giles walks down the hospital hallway toward the nurse’s station, stopping just out of view. He quietly inches forward attracting the attention of one of the nurses, who makes an excuse and joins him. They have a quiet conversation for a few minutes before she heads back to the nurse’s station and proceeds to distract the other nurses as Giles motions the others to silently follow him into Xander’s room.
As they enter, they can see Xander’s form through the half-closed curtain around his bed. Giles quietly moves the curtain aside and leans over Xander to wake him. Xander’s eyes fly open as his right hand, clutching a stake, springs toward Giles’ chest. Having anticipated that response, Giles catches Xander’s wrist in time to stop him from plunging the piece of wood into his heart as he soothingly states, “Xander, it’s me, Giles.” Xander blinks for a moment, then relaxes.
“Are you trying to give me a heart attack?! What the hell are you doing leaning over me like that? ‘Cause gotta say, creepy.” He then looks beyond Giles, noticing the others for the first time. “What’s going on?”
“The jig is up,” Faith says as she moves to Xander’s side.
Looking at Jack and Daniel nervously, Xander says, “And by that you mean…?”
“They were sneaking around the mansion and got nabbed by two vamps,” she explains. “Saw the whole thing go down.”
“More like up in smoke or rather dust,” Willow chimes in.
Xander uneasily begins, “Hey guys, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”
“Really? Gee, what could that be, I wonder?” Jack asks with a more than a healthy dose of sarcasm causing Xander to wince.
“Okay, let’s just calm down and discuss this reasonably,” Daniel, ever the peacekeeper, intercedes.
“Reasonably?!” Jack asks incredulously. “Daniel, we saw a man explode into dust right in front of us. What’s reasonable about that?”
“Jack,” Daniel states, as he looks at his lover meaningfully.
Jack counters Daniel’s silent argument with, “We’re in Cal-i-for-nia! That’s just not normal.”
“Ah, we’re still at that stage,” Xander murmurs under his breath. Daniel hears him anyway.
“Stage?” inquires Daniel.
“We call it Sunnydale Syndrome,” says Buffy. “Apparently you don’t have to be a resident, you can just be passing through and it still works.”
Confused, Xander pointedly asks, “So why are they here and not recovering from the hallucination-inducing gas leak?”
“‘Hallucination-inducing gas leak.’ You really expect me to buy that? That’s even worse than telling me these two,” he points at Faith and Buffy, “got spooked by a cat. Just how stupid do you people take me for?”
“Well, it isn’t ‘deep space radar telemetry’, but hey!” mocks Faith. Jack and Daniel cast swift looks at her, knowing full well neither one has mentioned their cover story to any of them.
The shadows near Willow shift and a cloaked figure with blue skin and glowing yellow eyes is suddenly standing near her. She lets out a small yelp and quickly moves away. Faith and Buffy move in front of their friends and take up defensive postures while Jack and Daniel quickly aim their guns at the intruder.
“Don’t shoot!” exclaim Giles and Xander.
The demon mage, Jabir ignores everyone but Giles, closing the distance between them until he stands right in front of the Englishman. “The task is finished,” the demon calmly pronounces.
“Yes. Thank you for that rather effective light show you put on,” Giles replies in kind.
“This restores the balance between us, Rupert Giles. My debt to you is now repaid in full. Do not call upon me again.”
“I shan't. Peace with you.”
“And with you,” Jabir intones before he turns toward Xander, inclines his head subtly, then once again steps into the shadows and fades into thin air. They all look questioningly at Xander, who looks just as confused by the demon’s actions as they are.
With a slight shake of her head, Willow turns to Giles asking, “His debt to you is repaid? What did you do?”
“I introduced him to his wife,” Giles remarks offhandedly.
“I’m sorry but what was that?” Daniel queries.
“Okay, look. No more lying, no more trying to trick you,” Xander says. He sighs deeply, then continues in an almost bored tone, “Vampires are real. Magic’s real. Werewolves, demons, you name it – all real. We try to keep them from overrunning the Earth. That’s what we do. That’s the big secret.” After Jack and Daniel continue to silently stare at him, he says, “This is the part where you say we’re nuts and start asking about little green aliens, which we know nothing about by the way.”
Jack and Daniel share a look. “So why didn’t you tell anyone?” Jack finally asks.
“You mean walk up to Joe Average and say, ‘Hey, did you know the supernatural really exists and it wants to make you its bitch?’ Yeah, that’d go over real well,” Faith snarks.
“Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of someone who could actually do something about it.”
“We are doing something about it,” Buffy speaks up. “If you mean the cops or the military, there’s nothing they can do.” She hurriedly continues before Jack can interrupt, “This is our job, okay? We know what we’re doing.”
“And we’re damn good at it,” Faith jumps in.
“You’re just a bunch of kids,” Jack protests.
“Actually, they’re more than that,” states Giles. “Buffy and Faith are the Slayers.”
“Yes, the, uh, exploding man-”
“Vampire,” Willow helpfully supplies.
“Right, the- the vampire mentioned the Slayer,” Daniel continues with only a slight hesitation.
“Now you’ve done it,” Buffy said seriously. A grin then breaks out as she says, “Giles LOVES this part.” Giles glares at her then proceeds to detail the origin of demons, vampires in particular, and the Slayer. He also explains how the other teenagers got involved. Daniel naturally finds it fascinating and fires questions at Giles almost more rapidly than he can answer them.
“Daniel, I think you’re missing the point here.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are.”
“NO, I’m not.”
“YES, you are!”
“Daniel, the POINT is that these KIDS are fighting MONSTERS, ALONE.”
“We’re not alone,” Buffy argues. “We’ve got the Scoobies.”
“Yeah, more kids.” Facing Giles, Jack continues, “Shouldn’t you and you’re organization be taking the front-line here?”
“Hey, did you miss the part about us being super hot, super chicks?” asks Faith.
“I would also point out that these children have saved the world on more than one occasion. Willow’s computer skills and new-found magic skills – which she will proceed with slowly and cautiously –” Giles stresses as Willow ducks her head and blushes slightly, “have been a great asset. And, Xander has a habit of getting in the way,” Giles smiles.
“Hey!” Xander protests.
“I’m not complaining,” Buffy quickly assures him.
“Me, neither,” concurs Faith. “If it wasn’t for you I’d be demon meat.”
“As I said, Xander has a habit of getting in the way of Buffy and Faith dying.”
“Oh. Okay, then. Just as long as we all have a true appreciation for the Xan-man, I’m okay.” The female Scoobies all nod and smile at him and Faith also tosses in a saucy wink.
“Okay, so that whole thing back at the mansion was what exactly?” asks Jack, forgoing the ‘kids shouldn’t be fighting’ argument for the moment. The Scoobies suddenly look a lot less sure of themselves than they did a moment ago.
“That was me being a spy and trying to relay necessary information,” admits Faith. “Kind of backfired though.”
“Oh, for cryin’ out loud! Are you seriously telling me you tried going in undercover? Are you people nuts?!” Jack raved. “Why on earth would they believe you’d go Dark Side?”
“Maybe ‘cause I killed their boss’ right hand man, who just happened to be human which is a big no-no, by the way?”
“You killed someone?” Daniel asks quietly.
“It was an accident,” Xander quickly points out. “He was a casualty of war.”
“A casualty of war?” Jack shakes his head. He looks at these people obviously disturbed. “This isn’t a game.”
“We know that,” Willow says. “This isn’t exactly our idea of fun, you know. But we’re fighting evil and not ‘their foreign policy doesn’t match our foreign policy’ kind of evil but true ‘we want to destroy the human race, literally’ kind of evil.”
“Sometimes, in the heat of battle mistakes are made, things go down wrong. I’d think you would get that better than most,” Xander says in a subdued manner most would view as completely uncharacteristic of him.
“Look, I not denying I made a mistake-”
“WE made a mistake,” stresses Buffy.
“Yeah B, but I’m the one who actually staked him. I’d never killed a human before. I freaked. I dumped him in the river before I’d even thought about it. I was so mad scared, all I could think about was jetting out of town as fast as I could go.”
“What changed your mind?” Jack asks the vulnerable girl.
“I ran into her while I was patrolling. I know, I’m not supposed to patrol,” Xander adds before Giles can get on him about it, “but it turned out to be a good thing,” Xander explains.
“I’m really sorry about everything I said to you back then.”
“You were scared. We’re beyond that,” he tells her dismissively. Turning back to Jack, he continues, “Anyway, I got her to Giles, who explained it’s not the first time something like this has happened. We couldn’t undo it, so we decided to use it to our advantage.”
“That’s when I went over and offered my services in his place. Boss Man quickly realized the advantages of having a Slayer on his side.”
“But he didn’t trust you,” Jack says.
“Apparently not,” Faith huffs. “I mean I knew I was being followed. That’s why we set that whole scene up at the mansion. It was supposed to look like B and Angel tricked the information out of me. I guess he trusted me less than I thought.”
“Even if he’d bought it, that still would’ve made you a liability,” Jack tries to reason with her. “He had no reason to keep you alive, especially if he thought you’d failed him. That’s how bad guys work. They’re not exactly notorious for giving second chances.”
“Yeah, well...I know we lost our only shot at knowing his plans but I gotta admit, I’m glad it's over. I’ve had to do some things that I’m not proud of but I did them ‘cause I’m the Slayer. It’s my job to protect, keep the world safe. Sometimes it was hard to remember that. I’m not gonna lie, having this kind of power, being able to do anything, it’s a real kick. But, seriously, I was beginning to think I wasn’t gonna be able to walk away, least not without being totally tainted.”
“Why didn’t you say something?” asks Buffy.
“She did,” Xander admits, “but we felt we could handle it a little while longer.”
“You should have come to me immediately,” Giles reproaches the pair.
“You would’ve insisted on pulling me out,” Faith defends.
“Yes, naturally! If you felt you were slipping, it was imperative to remove you from that situation.”
“I wasn’t a danger to anyone, not really. ‘Sides, Xander and I agreed, if it came to it, he’d take me out.” The others all look at Xander in shock. He doesn’t respond, he simply continues to look right at Faith.
Jack studies his nephew and despite thinking he knows the answer, he asks, “Could you do that?” Xander shifts his gaze to Jack, who can read the answer in the boy’s eyes. Yes, Xander’ll do it even though it will surely destroy him in the process.