Colorado Springs“Daniel, you don't happen to be wearing a gold wrist band do you?”
“Yes,” Daniel said slowly in response to Dawn's question. “Why do you ask?”
“Because it looks like Vala is wearing Juno's Blessing and it comes as matching set.” Dawn turned to Buffy. “Looks like you've got a stepmother. I wonder if she's evil?”
“Dawn, what are you talking about?” Buffy asked. “And she'd be our stepmother, not just mine. We're a set, remember?”
“Juno's Blessing, matching gold bands that link a couple together for all time.”
Dawn rolled her eyes as she answered her sister. “Juno, queen of the gods of ancient Rome and wife of Jupiter, the god who just couldn't keep it in his pants. Supposedly she created these bracelets so that wives could keep their husbands from wandering off.”
Wrong pantheon but a rather accurate summary of the problem, Daniel thought. “You know what these are?”
“Uh, huh,” Dawn nodded. “I saw a pair last year.”
“Where?” Daniel's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “Do you know how to remove them?”
“In a private collection and no. Actually, I'm not sure if
they come off.” Dawn turned towards her sister before continuing. “Anya told me a story once about gold bands that pretty much matches what I know about Juno's Blessing.”
“Anya?” Mitchell asked.
“A friend from Sunnydale,” Buffy replied.
“Do you think she could tell us more about them?” Daniel asked hopefully.
Dawn shook her head. “She died a couple of years ago. Besides, from what I remember she thought that they were permanent. Once on, always on. A pretty serious take on the whole 'til death do us part thing if you know what I mean.”
“So, who's bright idea was it to put them on?” Jay asked. “Daniel, did you touch something you shouldn't have?”
“Well,” Vala began.
“No,” Daniel sputtered and pointed towards Vala. “This is all her
“What? If he hadn't been so uncooperative about helping me find my treasure...” Vala's voice trailed off as the full force of the concerted glare from the male members of SG-1 came to bear on her.
“Do you think she knows how to get the bands off,” Buffy casually asked her sister.
Dawn looked thoughtfully at Vala. “Maybe, but I'm guessing that she isn't going to be cooperative.”
“Probably not,” Buffy sighed. “Any ideas Dawn?”
“Pretty sure sawing the bands off is not an option, that would be way too easy. Same goes for prying them open. I'll bet they've already tried that,” she looked at Daniel who nodded.
“And the military guys probably tried threats,” Buffy looked questioningly at the colonel. “Unless they were too busy panting?”
“Hey!” Mitchell said indignantly.
Dawn and Buffy snickered before the latter remarked, “Hello, female wearing something from the clearance page from the S&M catalog. I bet the IQ on your base dropped by half the moment she showed up.”
“Mmm, it's not really S&M,” Dawn corrected her sister. “It's more wannabe.”
“Whatever...” Buffy's voice trailed off as her mind caught the significance of her sister's comment. “Dawn Marie Summers, and how would you know the difference?”
“Eep. I'll plead the fifth on that.”
“Okay, considering how deeply disturbing this conversation is getting, can we get back to the matter at hand,” Daniel asked as he pointed to his banded wrist.
“Dawn, kitchen,” Buffy said.
- - -
Once in the kitchen, Buffy checked the coffee maker. She removed the used filter and grounds, tossing them both it in the trash.
“Dawn, do you think Willow might have an idea about getting rid of Juno's Blessing?”
“I don't think so. Anya was pretty sure that they were magic proof.”
“Hmm,” Buffy put a fresh filter in the coffee maker. “That's going to make show and tell a no go, at least with Vala around.”
“No kidding,” Dawn snorted. “Vala is definitely not to be trusted. But our guys? So soon?”
“About Jay, yes. He's seen my weapons chest plus he was there when I kicked Mitchell's ass. He's going to have questions,” the slayer sighed. “Besides, one real date and already something weird has happened. You'd think I was cursed or something.”
“Or something,” Dawn grinned. “So, next date will be at the morgue?
“Brat,” Buffy said without heat. “So, what about Will?”
“He's an only child...”
Buffy flapped a hand in annoyance. “Do you plan to keep on seeing him?”
“Then he needs to be told. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, something is going to happen that will having him asking questions.”
“Yeah, except worse,” Buff said as she refilled the coffee maker's reservoir. “So, is he stationed at the mountain, Peterson, or somewhere else?
“NORAD or Dad's Deep Space Radar Telly stuff?”
“Telemetry and I don't really know,” Dawn frowned. “He said his work was classified but he knows
Daniel and Daniel definitely knows
him. It was almost cute how uptight he got, well before he got Ripperish.”
Buffy ignored her sister's last comment. “So, probably not NORAD.”
“You planning on telling everyone out there?”
“No, just Dad and our guys, if we can figure out how to detach him from bondage Barbie. And just the standard stuff we tell the parents of slayers, no need to get into the gory details,” Buffy sighed. “We'll deal with some of the other stuff later if we have to.”
“I wonder just how close Daniel and Vala have to stay to each other before the bands kick in.”
“Well we're not explaining to Dad if she's anywhere in this house,” Buffy stated firmly. “Anyone that would stoop low enough to use those things is not to be trusted.”
“Maybe we could make her wait in the colonel's car.”
The sisters smiled at each other.
“Let's find out just how close they have to be,” Dawn said as she headed out of the kitchen.
- - -
Silence had fallen on the room once the sisters retreated to kitchen as its occupants attempted to process the latest information. Daniel had still been stunned by the idea of his daughter dating, make that having sex with, his fifty-something, best friend's clone. Now he tried to come to terms with the idea that his daughter had also gotten tangled up in some NID program. Jay pondered the implications of Buffy and the NID. Davis wished that he had packed his extra-strength antacid tablets as he considered the implications of Daniel's space pirate finding out about Slayers and things that go bump in the night. Teal'c had been impressed by the older sister's fighting capability and thought that elements of the NID might also have been. He had not sensed a Goa'uld within her but perhaps they had experimented on her. Was she still under their influence?
The other occupants of the room were less concerned with the situation. Mitchell was simply confused. Was Daniel the father of both of the girls? Why was he so upset with Buffy dating the shrub? And why did he say the boy was too old for her? Will Grogan had been warned by Dawn that her sister was different. While he did wonder just how different, he was reassured by her relationship to Dr. Jackson. He did find her dating situation hilarious. Vala was simply concerned that the sisters might find a way to detach the bands. She knew that if they accomplished that, she would be lucky if she were just tossed back through the gate empty-handed.
Dawn came back into the dining room closely followed by Buffy.
“Dad, do you think it would be safe if we just stuck Vala in the colonel's car for now?”