Chapter 22 – Define Warrior
In my little world the whole Buffy telepathy thing from Earshot occurred prior to the events in Enemies. Hope you enjoy and please review. Any thoughts and/or suggestions are always welcome.Chapter 22 – Define Warrior
Sunday, March 14, 1999, Morning
The Scoobies all sit around Giles’ living room wherever they can squeeze in. They’re all staring silently at Jack. Buffy and Faith look ready to hit him, while Willow and Giles appear apprehensive. Xander and Oz stare at him calmly.
“Well, if you prefer, I can always call the troops in now.”
“Yeah, ‘cause that’s so much better,” snipes Faith.
“There ya go. My original offer wasn’t so bad, now was it?” Jack smiles cheekily.
“That’s blackmail,” declares Buffy.
“That’s life,” Jack counters. “Xander seemed to think you’d be able to convince me. You saying you don’t think you can?”
“Not if you’re mind’s already made up,” Willow protests.
“So make it so we only have to convince Dr. Jackson,” Oz says reasonably.
“No,” answers Jack immediately causing Daniel to raise his eyebrow at him questioningly.
“What’s the matter, Uncle Jack? Don’t you trust Daniel’s judgment?”
Jack narrows his eyes at his nephew. “That’s not fair.”
“That’s life,” Faith threw back at him. “So, what’s the deal? Why don’t you trust him?”
“Now, Faith,” Giles says, “I’m sure Col. O’Neill has complete confidence in Dr. Jackson.”
“Of course, he does,” says Daniel as Jack looks at the teenagers smugly, “which is why he’ll have no problem with me making the decision.”
“What?! No,” Jack says but quickly amends it to, “no problem at all,” when Daniel looks at him pointedly.
“It’s settled then,” Daniel states decisively.
The teenagers smile at each other cockily certain their task has just become a whole lot easier.
Rest Haven Cemetery
Monday, March 15, 1999, Evening
Faith ducks down causing the vampire who’s trying to tackle her to miss and instead tumble over her. She immediately shifts her weight, pulls out a stake from her back pocket and plunges it into his heart.
Before the dust settles, one of his cohorts attacks her from behind. Willow and Oz immediately seize the vampire by the arms, pulling him off Faith.
“Not needed but appreciated,” Faith tells them as she begins to wail on the vampire mercilessly. Seeing Faith has everything under control, the couple look around and spot Buffy fighting another vampire a few headstones away.
The vampire is midway through explaining to Buffy how she and her friends are going to die slow horrible deaths when she interrupts him. “Blah, blah, blah. Pain, suffering, torture. We get it, already,” declares Buffy.
“Seriously, you should consider getting someone new to write your dialogue,” Willow helpfully suggests from a safe distance.
“And waste good money on cannon fodder? I don’t think so,” says Faith, finally done pulverizing her vampire.
“So,” Buffy begins, “tell your boss–” The vampire lunges at her impaling himself on the stake she’s holding. “Oh, come on! I didn’t even get to the good part!”
“Vampires can be so rude,” Willow commiserates.
“Which goes completely against their billing,” offers Oz facetiously.
“The important thing is they’re all dust,” concludes Faith. The teens then turn to face Jack and Daniel expectantly.
“Not too bad,” Jack grants grudgingly. Daniel remains silent, a frown marring his features. He takes another look around the cemetery then turns and walks away wordlessly.
Tuesday, March 16, 1999, Predawn
“That was a big ol’ waste of time,” grumbles Buffy as she enters her house ahead of Faith, Willow and Oz.
“I don’t get it. We did some quality violence out there tonight,” interjects Faith.
“And you even dusted some vampires, too!” adds Willow.
“Hey, if you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re doing it wrong,” Faith shrugs good-naturedly. “Besides, they were the ones talking torture. I just showed ‘em it wasn’t gonna be that easy.”
“Yeah, well, Dr. Killjoy didn’t seem all that impressed. Wasn’t he supposed to be the easy sell?” Buffy asks no one in particular.
“No, just easier than Xander’s uncle,” clarifies Oz.
“Well, that bites,” she pouts.
“Speaking of which, I bet I could bring him over to our side if we got horizontal,” Faith confidently declares. “Or we could do it in whatever position he likes.”
“I don’t think that’s going to work with Dr. Jackson,” Willow disagrees with a small frown. “It’s not like he’s some high school kid or even a college kid.”
“In fact, he’s not a kid of any kind,” says Buffy. “He’s old. Not Giles old but still old.”
“You know, B, you’ve got a lot of age issues for someone whose boyfriend is three-quarters of the way to celebrating his tricentennial birthday.”
“I just don’t like to think about old people having sex. It’s damaging to my psyche.”
“Because of the way Giles had sex with your mom?” Willow says understandingly.
“Ah! La-la, I can’t hear you,” Buffy sings loudly as she cups her hands over her ears, obviously not yet over the recent revelation that her mother and Giles had had sex on the hood of a police car, twice. She shudders at the mere thought of it. The only thing that makes it slightly okay is that they’d been under the influence of evil candy at the time. Only in Sunnydale.
“You’re mom’s a real looker for an older Betty and Giles ain’t half bad. Why shouldn’t they get their nasty on?” retorts Faith with a wicked grin.
Looking completely grossed out, Buffy vehemently denies, “She’s not a Betty, she’s my mom! And, he– he’s…Giles! It’s wrong and against all that is holy. Right, Will?” Buffy turns to her best friend for support.
“Well…” Willow begins looking doubtful.
“Right! Unholy, uh huh,” she quickly agrees, nodding her head repeatedly.
“Somehow, I think we may have gotten slightly off the issue here,” Oz says in his laconic drawl.
“Right,” Buffy says, getting back on track. “The issue is: how do we stop them from messing everything up?”
“We kill ‘em and dump the bodies.” Everyone stares at Faith silently. “That was a joke. Okay, not my best but it’s late. Not to mention the complete lack of post-slayage screwing.”
“It always comes back to sex with you,” Buffy pointed out.
“Hey, just ‘cause you’re– Oh, never mind. Sorry,” she apologizes to Buffy, looking a bit sheepish.
“Sex isn’t everything,” replies Buffy defensively.
“Of course not,” Willow quickly agrees.
“And,” declares Oz, “that’s our cue to leave.”
“But, we haven’t figured anything out yet!” protests Willow.
“He’s right. We should come back at this when we’re thinking better,” Faith puts in.
“Okay, fine,” Willow reluctantly concedes, heading to the door with Oz right behind her.
“Hey, B,” Faith says as she’s at the door with Buffy while Willow and Oz wait for her on the sidewalk, “I didn’t mean anything before. I was just talkin’.”
“I know. It’s okay. If I want to be with Angel, it’s just a part of my life. Or, rather it isn’t.” She shakes her head. “You know what I mean.”
“Yeah.” After a pause, she asks sincerely, “He really worth it?”
Buffy’s eyes soften and her face takes on a dreamy expression. “Yeah, he really is.”
“Never met a guy who was worth it,” Faith says with a look of wonder. “I mean that’s kind of the whole point of them, right?”
Faith opens her mouth to respond but doesn’t say anything, a look of consideration passing over her. “Night,” she finally replies, then turns and leaves.
Miss Emily’s Bed and Breakfast
“I gotta admit, I’m impressed,” says Jack as he undresses.
“Why? Because they can spin and kick and punch?” asks Daniel, pulling the bedcovers down before getting in the bed naked.
“Well, yeah,” replies Jack as though it should be obvious, climbing in next to Daniel. “You saw them. They were pretty amazing. Those vampires didn’t stand a chance. And we both know firsthand how strong vampires are.” He shakes his head and chuckles, “I can’t believe I’m talking about vampires. And, I don’t mean Brad or Tom but the real deals. First, aliens. Now, demons. Wonder what else we don’t know about.”
“Funny how those myths and legends keep coming back to bite us on the ass, huh?”
“I was wondering how long it was going to take you to bring that up,” smiles Jack.
“What can I say? I’m getting petty in my old age. You must be rubbing off on me,” Daniel smiles back at his lover.
“Sounds like a plan,” Jack says, wagging his eyebrows exaggeratedly causing Daniel to laugh, before leaning in and taking his mouth in a hungry kiss. They quickly forget about the teenagers in the throes of passion. It isn’t until several hours later that the two continue their conversation.
“I wonder how they’d fare against the Jaffa,” Jack remarks off-handedly as he eats brunch at the small round table in their room.
“Are you kidding?” asks Daniel, the bite of food he’s about to take stopping just shy of his mouth.
“I don’t mean now, Daniel. I mean when they’re older.”
“So, we pull them out of one war and put them in another. Doesn’t seem fair,” he says as he pushes his plate away. He brings his mug closer and savors the nectar of the gods (more commonly called coffee) within.
“No, it doesn’t. It was just a thought. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Right now, we’ve got to figure out a way to keep them alive long enough for them to get older. So, when do you think we should call for backup?”
“Jack, you promised them a week to convince us.”
“Convince you, you mean. How did that happen again?” asks Jack with a wrinkled brow.
“You didn’t want to go back to being celibate,” Daniel states matter-of-factly.
“Oh, right. Damn. Don’t go thinking that’ll work on missions,” Jack asserts, trying to save face.
“Since when have I ever needed to sleep with you to get my way, Jack?”
“True. Wait. What?” Jack jerks his head toward Daniel, who’s giving him his big innocent-eyed look and smile. Jack narrows his eyes, looking at Daniel suspiciously.
“So, what do you think they’ll try next?” Daniel says, changing the subject.
“Who knows?” shrugs Jack. “But, I bet it’ll be equally impressive.”
“Well, if they’re looking to impress me, they’re going about it the wrong way,” Daniel states before heading into the bathroom.
“I know,” Jack mutters quietly with a self-satisfied smirk before taking a sip of his own coffee.
Student Lounge, S.H.S.
Thursday, March 18, 1999, Afternoon
“Okay,” Willow begins, “I rechecked everything we had on Dr. Jackson and I think I know where we’re going wrong. I’ve spoken to some of his former colleagues – Don’t ask. You don’t want to know. – Anyway, they all agree, he’s not big with the whole violence thing.”
“But he works with the military,” Cordelia points out.
“And they’re usually pro-violence. Unless all the movies are wrong,” states Buffy.
“Well, if it’s in a movie, it must be true,” Oz says sarcastically (although it sounds exactly like everything else he says).
“Still,” counters Buffy, “military – pretty much known for their weapons and wars. Ergo, violence.” Buffy scrunches up her face. “Ugh! I just said ‘ergo.’ Giles is SUCH a bad influence.”
Cordelia offers her a sympathetic look. “Okay, so how do we keep the Colonel from bringing in a horde of strapping, young,…well-muscled, …obedient…men in uniforms? Remind me again why that’s a bad thing.”
Buffy thinks for a minute before clearing the image from her mind. “It’s bad because they don’t know what they’re up against and they’re not equipped to handle it. They’ll come in guns blazing and it’ll be a bloodbath. Theirs.” Her comments sobers everyone.
“We have to convince Dr. Jackson that there’s more to us than just violence,” declares Willow.
Turning to Buffy, Cordelia says, “So, you and Faith should probably have minimal contact with him then.”
“Hey,” protests Buffy. “I can do non-violent.”
“It’s good you think so. That’s what’s important,” comments Oz.
Buffy frowns at him. “I don’t always go to violence,” she mutters. “I’m the Slayer. It’s part of the job description.”
Giles’ Apartment Exterior
Friday, March 18, 1999, Early Evening
“Hey,” says Willow as she comes out of Giles’ apartment and sits down next to Daniel at a table in the enclosed courtyard.
“Hey,” he replies, looking up from his coffee mug.
“We’re kind of an acquired taste, huh?” she smiles kindly.
“Slightly,” he admits ruefully. “You’re all very…certain of your opinions.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“Not at all. I wish I’d been so confident at your age.”
Willow studies him a moment. “I guess we are coming on a bit strong. It’s just that we don’t want you to see us as just some dumb school kids. But, um, we’re not exactly wowing you, are we?”
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly say…” he looks at Willow staring at him and confesses, “No, not exactly.”
“Why not?” she asks.
“Don’t get me wrong. I think you guys are great. And, you obviously care very deeply for each other. The way you all fight is…impressive.”
“Why do I get the feeling that wasn’t the first word that popped into your head?”
He smiles at her. “Because you’re very perceptive.”
“There isn’t anything we can do to convince you, is there?” she asks sadly.
“I’m trying to be fair and keep an open mind. Really, I am. I just don’t know that you can convince me that the military isn’t better equipped for handling this situation.” He raises his hand palm up, “And, I’m not some military yes-man.”
“Never even crossed my mind,” she assures him.
“So, can I ask what bothers you the most? Is it the whole age thing?”
“Truthfully, no.” He considers his response carefully before replying. He turns more fully toward her and leans in to express his earnestness. “I think what concerns me most is the casual, almost cavalier, attitude you, all of you, have about this. You treat it like it’s a game you’re playing. Honestly, that frightens me. It’s as if you believe there aren’t any consequences.”
Surprise clear on her face, Willow says, “No consequences?! Are you kidding me? If anyone gets the consequences, it’s us. I mean, if we fail that usually means end-of-the-world, hell-on-earth kinda stuff. We live with that every day. See the thing is, if we focused on that we wouldn’t be able to do what we needed to do.
“I guess, in trying to prove how capable we are, we didn’t want to let you see that we know that we could die when we go out there. Not that we’ve lied to you. We actually are like that on patrols. We crack jokes, Buffy delivers her one-liners (which are more difficult than you'd think, let me tell ya), we laugh, we party. We kind of have to or we’d go nuts, you know?” After a pause, she asks, “You know what our biggest fear is?”
He shakes his head, “No, what?”
“That someone gets hurt or worse, dies, because of us. Because we did something or didn’t do something we should’ve. Even big, tough military types. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen if they come here. They’re going to want to use guns and machines and that’ll just make most demons mad and that will get them killed.
“And, by the way, while most demons are definitely down with the badness, some are just trying to live and stay out of trouble. Not everything supernatural is evil. I don’t see the guys in uniform making that distinction. Plus, if Sunnydale is suddenly swarmed with guns and tanks and whatever, some of the demons who’ve remained neutral might consider it a threat and attack. And, honestly, a full out war would be bad, VERY bad. I’d say, it would probably fall into the hell-on-earth category.” She takes a deep breath, “And, I’m coming on strong again. Sorry. I’ll just go back in and leave you alone to enjoy your coffee.”
Daniel silently watches as she heads back into the apartment. He continues to stare at the closed apartment door, carefully considering her words.
“I think I messed up,” Willow says when she rejoins the others in the living room. Oz immediately moves to comfort her. “Color me shocked if he doesn’t call them in immediately.”
“Did he say he would?” asks Buffy worriedly.
“No. Actually, he didn’t say all that much. I did most of the talking. I couldn’t seem to shut up. It just came spilling out of my mouth like verbal diarrhea.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad,” reassures Oz.
“Besides,” adds Xander, “how much worse could you really have made it?”
“A lot worse. Worlds of worse,” Willow declares.
“I don’t think so. We know they weren’t buying it. Our week runs out tomorrow. So, worse case scenario, they call them in a day sooner. I’m actually surprised they stuck to the week deal.”
“Wait, you thought they might not? And, you didn’t feel this was worth mentioning?” Buffy glares at Xander.
“Why? What would you have done differently?” he asks in return.
“Nothin’. There wasn’t anything else we could’ve done,” claims Faith. “If the cavalry comes, we’ll deal. Just like always.” The others dejectedly nod in agreement. What else can they do?
They all turn when Daniel enters the apartment. They eye him warily as Jack exits the kitchen to join him.
“I’ve made my decision,” he announces. Willow closes her eyes in anguish. Jack smiles, as the teens brace themselves. “I’ve decided that, for now, we’ll leave things the way they are.” His pronouncement catches everyone by surprise. They’re all silent for a moment, before they all start speaking at once.
“Daniel, you can’t mean that,” says Jack.
“We won!” crows Buffy.
“But– What– How?” stammers Willow confused.
“Who cares? Just enjoy it,” advises Faith.
“Huh,” utters Oz.
“Daniel, seriously,” says Jack, a what-the-fuck look on his face.
“The week isn’t over,” Jack argues.
“They had a week to convince me. I’m convinced. But, if anything changes significantly, then so may my decision,” cautions Daniel.
“Thanks, Daniel,” says Xander.