TITLE: Did They Pay?
DISCLAIMER: Buffy is the property of Joss Whedon while Stargate is the property of Robert C Cooper and Brad Wright.
NOTES: Thanks to Cheri for the beta.
SUMMARY: Buffy has to break some news to a relative.
“Sure you’re up to this?” Xander glanced over at Buffy.
“You always ask me that.” She answered without looking up.
“You never know, one day I might get a new answer.”
“Not today.” She replied as she kept looking through the folder. They were sitting in a conference room waiting to talk to a soldier. This was the one part of her calling that she could never get used to. A Fyarl demon was a walk in the park compared to this.
It had been six months since all the girls were called and, unfortunately, in that time there had been over twenty deaths. They might have been Slayers in name but they didn’t have the experience that she and Faith had; and time after time it turned out to be their downfall.
She actually stopped at that thought. Had it only been six months. So much had happened in such a short space of time.
Willow’s spell had been too big of a power surge for people not to keep quiet about. The authorities found out and got involved. Luckily, after weeks of negotiations on both parts, they had been cut some slack and it had been decided that a council would be set up for all the Slayers. They had decided that for the moment the group was helping so it would be allowed. Giles was named the Grand Leader but she was still called Head Girl. And unfortunately part of her duties was to inform the relatives of the girls that had died.
More often than not, doors were slammed in her face. The parents didn’t want to believe in the real world and what it did to their daughters. It was easier to scream and call her a liar.
It was at times like this that she thanked god that her mom had come around to the idea so quickly. She didn’t know how she would have coped if her mom had told her to leave.
The thought brought her full circle. The man she was to see worked in some program located here in Colorado Springs. It was supposed to be a top secret project but thanks to her new title, she now had the clearance to find out what it really was.
Something to do with a stargate that you could walk through to get to other galaxies, but for right now, it was the furthest thing from her mind. She had to tell a complete stranger that his niece was dead.
“Miss Summers, if you would like to come through?” a small, balding man came into the office.
“Good luck.” Xander gave her hand a squeeze for moral support.
With a reassuring smile, she followed the man into the office and took the seat he offered.
“Miss Summers?” a taller man came in behind them, wearing a flight suit. “I’m Colonel Caldwell. I understand that you asked to see me.”
He nodded at the other man and took a seat as he shut the door behind him.
“Are you the uncle of a girl called Maria Caldwell?” she took the picture of the girl out of the folder and handed it to him.
It had become standard practice that every time a new Slayer came into the program, they were photographed and a file was made up on them. Unfortunately, most of the time there was nothing left of them but the photo to show relatives.
“Yes…she is my brother’s girl,” he looked over it. “I was made guardian when he died.” He handed her it back. “So how can I help you?”
“I’m sorry to say but…”
“She’s dead!” the look on her face, told him all he needed to know. He had seen it far too often. “I’ve been waiting for this day, ever since I found out about her.”
“I’m sorry.” There wasn’t more she could say.
“I tried to talk her out of it.” He remembered the day she had told him.
The few weeks prior, she had been acting stranger than she usually did. Now that he looked back, it was obvious what was happening but at the time…so much had occurred, both privately and professionally, that he just put it down to her being annoyed that he wasn’t spending time with her.
She had thought she had been telling him something when she admitted everything to him. But the truth was the Slayer was better known than everyone assumed. There were quite a few instances where SGC thought they were going to have to step in; but every time, the small gang who held back the walls of evil in Sunnydale seemed to always be a step ahead of the monsters.
“What happened?” he finally looked up at her, trying to disguise the tremor in his voice; but it was a sound she had come to know really well, the last few months.
“She was on patrol with a group of the other Slayers. Unfortunately, none of us knew that one of the newer girls was working with a vampire. She led them into an ambush.”
“Let me guess, turn on them and I’ll make you a vampire?”
She nodded. “The girl was found beside the rest of them.”
“Was she bitten?” he was back to business.
“No,” she shook her head. “I know it’s not great news but he just drained her.”
He stood and walked around the table a few times before taking a seat on the edge of the desk beside her. “Do you have a picture?”
“I..” She knew exactly what he meant.
“I need to see it Miss Summers,” he put his hand on hers. “I’m not sure you understand but…”
The look on her face as she brought it out showed him that she understood only too well.
“I’ll give you some details so you can make arrangements to come and collect Maria,” she went into her bag and brought out a letter . “Or if you would prefer, we have a cemetery that all the Slayers are buried in together.”
It took him a minute to answer. “Thank you but no. There is a family crypt.”
“I’m sorry we met under such horrible circumstances but what I can tell you was Maria was brave right until the end.”
“And how do you know this?” he obviously didn’t believe her.
“The vampire taped it all, obviously wanted to keep it as a souvenir. Even when she knew they were trapped. Maria tried to get them out,” she stood and made her way to the door. “So in answer to your question. That’s how I know!”
“She was special.” He whispered so low that if she was anyone else she would never have heard it.
He watched her walking to the door. “Miss Summers?”
“Yeah?” she turned to him.
“Did they pay?” he finally noticed the tears that were running down her face.
She stood for a minute then came back over, taking something out of her bag as she did.
“He did!” she handed him a video. He didn’t have to ask what it was.
They shared a smile before she left him to his thoughts.