Chapter 3 – GI Joe
Chapter 3 – GI Joe
ER Waiting Room
Sunnydale General Hospital
Friday, March 5, 1999
Jack and Daniel are still sitting close together and Daniel’s hand is still on Jack’s arm offering silent support. They’re each lost in their own thoughts: Jack swamped with guilt and anger and Daniel worried about Jack. They both look to the waiting room’s entrance as they hear voices speaking softly.
As they enter the waiting room, Buffy, Faith and Oz are reassuring each other that Xander’s going to be fine. After all, this isn’t the first time he’s been knocked around. Granted, it’s usually demons doing the knocking, not his old man, but hey, the principle’s the same. Their conversation comes to a screeching halt when they realize the room isn’t empty. They look at each other nervously, then back at the two men sitting together. By tacit agreement, they silently move to the opposite side of the room and sit on the small couch that’s there while never taking their eyes off the strangers.
Jack and Daniel glance at each other confused. Neither one can understand the wariness the teenagers are emitting. While they had been able to hear the Scoobies voices, their conversation had been too low for the two friends to make out the words spoken. With a shrug and a head shake, they decide to ignore the teens.
At that moment, Giles enters the waiting room also. He immediately sees Jack and Daniel and wonders which of the two is interested in Xander. He observes them closely: they both appear to be tall (probably a few inches over six feet), have brown hair, although one is starting to gray at the temples, and they both appear to be in very good physical condition. The one with graying hair appears to be in his mid- to late forties and even just sitting there, there’s an air of authority about him. Giles pegs the man as being military. The one with the glasses appears to be in his early thirties and while he looks physically capable he just doesn’t have the aura of a military man. ‘Very interesting,’ Giles thinks.
After a moment’s contemplation, Giles begins to feel dread crawl up his spine. A military man is interested in Xander. Why would the military be interested in Xander? Oh, dear lord! The rocket launcher! They must have deduced that Xander stole the rocket launcher and have tracked him down. This isn’t good. No, this is bad. Very, very bad! ‘All right, old boy, just remain calm, smile at the nice military man, that’s right, nothing suspicious here. Keep calm, dammit!’
Giles casually walks over to the girls and Oz, at least he hopes it looks casual. He sits on a chair perpendicular to the couch and takes another quick peek at Jack and Daniel. “We have a problem,” Giles tells the teens.
“Did Nancy say something else?” Buffy asks.
“Yes, actually she did. Don’t look over, but one of those men wanted to see Xander quite adamantly. My guess is it’s the older chap, the one that screams ‘GI Joe.’ I believe the Army must have learned of Xander’s, uh, involvement, shall we say, in the procurement of a certain…unique birthday present last year.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Faith says. “So what, they sat around with their dicks in their hands for a year and only now are getting around to figuring out what’s what? I don’t buy it.”
“Well, as colorful a description as that was, I can’t think of another reason the military would be interested in Xander, can you?”
“Faith’s right, Giles. If they were onto Xander, wouldn’t there be more of them and that one’s not even in uniform. How do we even know he’s Army for sure? Did Nancy say he was?”
“Well, no actually. She said she didn’t know who he is.”
“Okay, Wolf Boy, was there a special meaning to that ‘huh’?” Faith asks.
“Not really. Nothing specific. There’s just something about him.”
“Okay, THAT was helpful,” Buffy replies sarcastically.
“Never said it was.”
“Okay. Whatever. What do we do, Giles?”
“Well, you could talk TO us, instead of about us.”
The Scoobies freeze, and then look up to see Jack standing before them.