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This story is No. 4 in the series "Weird sisters". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Janet's superiors are very curious what her niece has been up to in Sunnydale. And what is causing all those deaths anyway?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR15540,7982818227,61213 Apr 1317 May 14No

Chapter One

Author’s Note:

Thanks very much to my Beta, Letomo.

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that.

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

Thought: *What’s on second.*

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Star Gate SG-1. My apologies for taking so long on this. It also longer and darker in tone than the earlier instalments of this series.


Steele, Kingdom, Summers - Consultant Architects and Engineers

Hank Summers was tired and worn and weary. His daughter was missing, suspected in a murder case, and had fled from her mother’s house. The police had come by to ask him about it. He looked at the collage of pictures on his desk, from the tiny baby he had been so frightened to hold, afraid she would break to the angry, violent, destructive girl in her final days at Hemery and the silent, morose and unstable one who’d visited him last summer. Oh, she’d acted like her old self when she thought he wasn’t looking. But there were no friends to visit, all her old Hemery schoolmates avoided her. The ones she did still have contact with were not the type of people Hank wanted her to see.

Though happily they were all far away. Or in prison. Joyce had been worried about Buffy and let him know. And it hadn’t taken him very long to agree. Even though she seemed to love it when he took her shopping, it was clear to him that there was something missing. A spark, a joy in life. He hated to see his oldest daughter so down. He’d worried a lot. When Dawn had arrived two weeks later, after a camping trip with her Aunt Lolly, there hadn’t even been the usual bickering between the two of them.

Business had been good the last year, which had led to him canceling dates with his daughters. He hadn’t seen her for several months. And now she was gone, again.

The telephone rang and Hank picked it up. Joyce still had his number, for which he was glad now. “Yes?” He asked anxiously.

“Mr. Summers? This is Major Janet Fraiser, US Air Force. You don’t know me, I’m calling on behalf of Joyce,” a strange voice spoke to him, quite soothingly. “Could I come and see you?”

“As far as I know Joyce has a grave dislike of the Air Force,” Hank replied cautiously.

“Because of our father, yes” Janet replied, stressing the ‘our’. “I’m helping her look for Buffy. I think there are some things you ought to see. Do you have a lawyer who know anything about criminal law?”

“Yeah? Why?” Hank cringed at the thought of Buffy, his Skating Princess, in trouble again. Out on bail or maybe being held for trial? Or even worse, in jail.  

“I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Tomorrow?” Janet asked.

Hank opened his planner. “This is about Buffy? Can you come this evening? I’m sure I can convince my lawyer to be there.”

“I can do that. Don’t worry Mr. Summers. I think everything will be fine,” Janet assured him.

Hank was swinging in his office chair, moodily looking out of the window over the LA skyline. They had been very successful the past five years. As his marriage had tanked, business had boomed. When his marriage got into trouble because he didn’t bring anything to it anymore but money, he’d made the dumbest mistake of his life by sleeping with a twenty year old intern from the secretary pool with whom he had nothing in common. She couldn’t even talk intelligently to the clients for a few minutes.

By that time Joyce would have figured out enough about them to give him hints as to what changes to the messed up design they came in with would be acceptable, and where they would have to fudge with interior decorating.

A buzzer went. “Mr. Summers? Judge van Owen is here,” his real secretary, Elaine called him back to reality.

“Send her in, thanks Elaine,” Hank rose and smiled as the judge came in, her stride graceful despite her long day.

“Hank. You said you needed legal advice?” Grace shook his extended hand.

“Yes I do. Joyce’s half-sister is going to be here in a bit, with some information on Buffy,” Hank told her heavily. “She tells me it will make me look at her in a wholly different way. What I want to know is if the woman is trying to con me.”

“I didn’t know Joyce had a half sister,” Grace replied surprised.

“Neither did I,” Hank answered as the buzzer rang again. Janet was shown in, in uniform and her suitcase in hand.

“Mr. Summers, I’m Janet Fraiser. Good to meet you,” she greeted him with professional aplomb but no great warmth.

Hank tilted his head, taking in her rank. “Major Fraiser. This is Judge Grace van Owen, an old friend of the family’s who’s agreed to look at what you’ve brought. And that’s Joyce’s ‘I’m pissed off with you voice’. Might I ask what I did to deserve it?”

“You slept with a bimbo called Jeri and broke my big sister’s heart,” Janet told him coolly. “I may just have met her a week ago, that is not the kind of thing that I can overlook.”

“Fair point,” Hank sighed. “So Joyce didn’t know about you either?”

“Our father might have been an officer, he was most certainly not a gentleman. Can I use your desk?”

Janet gestured with the briefcase and Hank nodded. “Be my guest. Do either of you want anything to drink? Grace, the usual?”

Grace nodded. Janet asked for a coke. Hank went to get the beverages and tell Elaine to go home. When he came back Janet had unloaded a pile of papers which she had subdivided and put on the table and Grace was reading the first one.

“Are you serious?” Grace looked up disbelievingly.

“Loitering in the library?” Janet asked with a roll of her eyes.

“All these witnesses supporting her and this idiot is believed? Anyone can see from his testimony he’s biased!” Grace fumed. “Who is this O’Neill?”

“Colonel O’Neill, he’s an analyst. He took this on as a distraction from… other things,” Janet put it delicately to make sure the other two realized that what O’Neill normally did was not something that could be found in his records without massive clearance.

“So she didn’t do it?” Hank sat down on the couch.

“Not unless she’s become several large men, and a woman with black hair, whose entry into the school was corroborated by several independent witnesses,” Grace turned a page. “She overthrew a three meter high bookcase that was fastened to the ground with seven inch bolts?” She asked the world in general disbelievingly. “Has Buffy taken up body building?”

“No, she even stopped ice skating,” Hank said numbly. “She didn’t do it?”

“Not unless she’s the incredible Hulk, she didn’t,” Grace almost growled. “Can I use your phone? Not only are these morons going after the wrong person, the ones they want are getting away!”.     

Janet coughed. “No, my superiors forwarded that to the Governor’s office. Sorry, I thought it more important that Buffy not be chased by LEO, wherever she might be.”

“And now?” Hank asked worriedly. “She’s barely seventeen! She’s alone out there! God knows where she’ll end up this time!”

“Do you have any ideas?” Janet asked.

Hank shook his head. “Not any more, no,” he sighed. “I drove everyplace I could think of when Joyce called.”

Then he frowned. “Last time I think she was a waitress, or a coat check girl somewhere. She might try that again,” he scowled. “And if she’s wearing anything like what I saw some of those Vegas coat check girls were wearing last time I was there, she’s grounded until she goes to college and then some!”

Janet smirked. “You know, Joyce said just about the same thing?”


Buffy’s apartment, set after Diner

Janet had taken Dawn to do some new aunt-niece thing. Which left Buffy rather nervously showing her mother around her box sized apartment. Which took about thirty seconds. ‘This is the corner with the bed, this is the corner with the cooker, this is the corner with the shower. Don’t touch it, it’ll fall down!’ 

Now her mother was sitting on the couch, her eyes picking up the signs of decay in the decrepit furniture and the brown spots on the wall. The newly washed throw-cover in the couch did little to hide the smell of it, or prevent the sensation of springs almost breaking through poking Joyce’s butt.

“And you were planning to spend the rest of your life like this? Or just until you got over Angel?” Joyce asked as Buffy clattered around in her kitchen nook.

Buffy dropped the mug. “Errr… What?”

Joyce snorted. “Buffy, I may have been blind to what was going on with the supernatural, but I did notice you mooning after Angel. I put some pressure on Rupert and Willow is many things but she seems to think that this is a great romance of star crossed lovers. She also needed to talk to someone even slightly inclined to listen about what happened. Neither Rupert nor Xander apparently have much use for Angel, so Willow was alone in that. And absent her best friend, there’s her best friend’s mother.”

Buffy almost dropped the coffee mug she was washing. “Errr…”

“I know a good deal and guessed a good deal more,” Joyce glared. “A two-hundred year old vampire as a boyfriend? Not what I want for my daughter,” she sighed. “I hope he was at least good to you before he lost that soul of his and went demon again and started to torture people.”

Buffy winced. “I-it wasn’t like that.”

“It wasn’t? Then tell me what it was like?” Joyce patted the couch. Buffy gave her a skittish look. “Sit down, young lady. You’ve cost me years of my life twice now. The very least you can do is explain to me exactly why you ran not only from me, but from your friends. If you’d even thought I was serious about kicking you out, and wanted to stay in Sunnydale, you’d have taken that bag and headed for Rupert’s.”

Buffy was about to protest, but Joyce’s look stayed her words in her throat. “He got his soul back. And then I had to send him to hell…” she finally admitted.

Joyce nodded, opening her arms. Buffy threw herself into them, suddenly crying.


A week into the summer holiday, Hank Summers’ house

Buffy Summers was playing with her toes, having washed her hair after her long, wearying day doing nothing. After a short, but very sharp conversation with her mother right after she’d visited the dump Buffy was living in, Joyce had called Hank. Her father had been quite pleased to help, too. Seeing the full report on his daughter’s actions and the reason for her expulsion from school and why she was wanted by the police had made him aware just how much he was missing of his daughters’ lives, and how much he missed them both.

And without further ado he’d shown up at the bed-sit, packed his daughter and ex into his car, driven to Sunnydale, packed Buffy and Dawn’s suitcases into it, and had driven to the house he’d bought after the divorce. And had settled his daughters into the rooms set aside for them, given them and Joyce a tour and then both parents had given a long, long lecture that they loved both their daughters dearly and if either of them did anything like this ever, or again they’d be cleaning the floors of Hank’s offices with a toothbrush and soft soap.

They had eaten dinner together, Chinese, in the kitchen, all four of them. Buffy had almost felt like they were a complete family again.

Then her mother had left, with a final admonishment to her daughters to be good. And to her ex husband not to buy them a) too many shoes, b) loud music, c) Even more books, or d) a pony.  

Both Dawn and Buffy had pouted at that. Hank had laughed.

Five days later, and Buffy was about ready to scream with frustrated boredom. Dawn was back in Sunnydale for a day or two for a massive sleep-over/pool/dance/first make up/discuss your crush party with just about every girl in her grade. Since she wasn’t working, or had any Slaying to do,  or snipe with Dawn, or anything else except brood, she wasn’t able to distract herself from her thoughts of Angel.

She sighed and rose. Her father was in his home office. Her mother had always forbidden him to have one, saying that they saw little enough of him as it was. She knocked. “Come in, Buffy.”

Hank leaned back, rubbing his neck, the large blueprints spread on the huge table before him filled with neat white scribbled architect’s script.

“They’ve got computers for that now, Dad,” Buffy smirked. “That’s what Willow tells me at least.”

Hank waved his hand at the desktop on the desk under the window. “I can’t get the overview I need. And someone really messed up here. The load bearing trusses and the pillars are completely wrong. And they still want the fluted look…” his voice trailed off at her expression. “Sorry. I’m boring you.”

“No, no. I was just thinking, does it have to be fluted like this? I mean it’s all stark. They want something that stands out right?” Buffy asked, looking around, her shoulders lumped. “Oh. Mom’s got that.”

Hank’s wince was quickly hidden. “Got what?”

“A book, errrr what was it called again… I asked Mom if Willow could borrow it… Oh yeah, Horta! Not Art Deco, but Art Nouveau, more frills and curls,” Buffy picked up the stylus and drew on the edge of the paper. “Like that.”

Hank looked at the small drawing and smiled. “You know, that might work very well. I shall suggest it to them. Did you just come in here to help your old dad? Or was there another reason?”

Buffy looked at the stylus, then at the room. “I’m bored. I used to draw with you all the time.”

“Ah, but then came cheerleading and boys,” Hank teased. “You’re welcome here anytime Buffy. What would you like to do?”

Buffy whirled the stylus. “Dunno. Do you know anyone who needs an intern?”

Hank smiled. “I might know a few people, yes.”  


SGC, two weeks into the summer holiday

Jack O’Neill didn’t like mysteries. And one was staring him right in the face. For some reason people wanted to frame Buffy Summers for murder. Tiny little Buffy Summers was supposed to have wrought havoc in the school library, knocking down bookcases, injuring several people; including males who were much bigger and yet didn’t seem to be suspects.

Investigations at the local hospital showed that the injuries to the neck looked nothing like the exit and entry wounds of Goa’uld. Not to mention that if sufficient numbers of Goa’uld or larva had been present on earth to cause all those deaths, well, they would have been overrun by now.

But something was killing those people. And Jack wanted to know who. And for some reason, though he didn’t see Buffy Summers as a murderer, he was sure she knew more about it.

He sighed. Then he nodded decisively and hastened towards General Hammond’s office. He walked past the duty sergeant’s desk and knocked on Hammond’s door.  “Sir? I'd like to call a meeting.”

Briefing Room

“Now Colonel, you asked for this meeting but weren't very clear on the why. Perhaps you can enlighten us now?” Hammond asked his second in command affably.

Jack nodded and handed around a sheaf of papers. “Take one each, please. Now as you all know we've been looking into the things that're happening in Sunnydale. We've been able to get a look at some of the 'barbeque fork accidents',” he smiled grimly. “And we've come to the conclusion that it isn't Goa'uld.”

He was silent for a beat. “But it sure ain't barbeque forks either,” he pressed a button and an image of a heavily torn up throat came up.

“This looks like the victim has been savaged by a dog, or some other animal, and was recorded as such by the Sunnydale Morgue. But Dr. Fraiser tells me that if this is a dog bite, it had very weird teeth. Doc?”

Janet rose and started to speak briskly. “The wounds do not match any known dog or wolf attack. The depth and shape of the wounds suggests a dental arrangement like those of human, if humans had incisors several inches long and front teeth as sharp as razors,” she nodded at Jack who pressed his button again.

“When the Colonel came to me with these I was sure we were dealing with an alien life form, so I asked for the Coroner's reports and asked to attend a post mortem.”

She waited a beat. “The post mortem was denied. Even mentioning NORAD or the CDC did not get me past the doors. But I managed to glean something from the reports, flimsy and sloppy though they are.”  

“The bites are the right size and general shape to be made by a human, but no human has the strength to cause these injuries with just their teeth. An alien life form of the same size but far greater bite pressure might exist, but the only DNA that has been reported in the wounds is human,” Janet gestured at the picture again. “Which is either a lie or impossible.”

Hammond was looking at the screen, his hands in front of his mouth. “Colonel? I assume you’ve got a proposal?”

“Yes sir. We've been able to piece together the accidental and violent death rate of Sunnydale, and it's atrocious,” Jack tapped the button and a neatly drawn graph appeared. “See the sudden drop in deaths at a certain date?”

He pressed the button again. “Note that the date correlates almost exactly with the arrival of the Summers family.”

Hammond looked at Janet with compassionate eyes. “Doctor?”

Janet sighed. “There's a lot of reports about Buffy fighting. No matter how much Joyce might try and hide it, apparently Buffy and her friends are, well, doing something to stop these attacks and deaths.”

Hammond nodded. “I agree that its one option. But have you checked for any others who moved there at around the same time?”

Jack showed another slide. “Yes, I did, sir. Sixty percent of multiple person households lost one of their number since moving, thirty percent moved back to wherever they came from and none of the others have been reported on by anything or anyone.”

Hammond gave Janet another look. “Doctor? Do you want to recuse yourself from this matter?”

Janet shook her head “No, Sir. I don't think that they’re doing anything wrong, more like the opposite.”

“Very well. Colonel? How do you want to do this?”

Jack coughed. “I was thinking a two, possibly three pronged attack, sir.”

He looked at his notes. “I think that we should avoid Buffy Summers. She ran once, she may do so again if she feels threatened. That would lose us any chance to find out what's going on, I suspect. If you wouldn’t mind, I would suggest that you and Janet go and visit Ms. Summers and Dawn, Sir. You seem to have some bond with them that might help. And it would show how serious you are about this.”

Daniel coughed and Hammond gave him a look. The archaeologist took a drink of water and nodded apologetically.

Jack continued. “Captain Carter might go and have a word with Miss Rosenberg. Possibly under the guise of some friendly advice on what to hack and what not to hack. We might want to send one of the AFOSI or NCIS agents we have on base along. More than just an MP. To show we’re serious. Bring a file on what we think her incursions are.”

Sam frowned. “We've got no real evidence against her, sir. Just suspicions or minor infractions from when she was much younger. If she keeps calm, all we'll do is lose credibility, make her angry with us. And quite possibly ruin any chance of finding out what is going on from her, or her friends.”

“I doubt she'll stay calm, Captain, she looks like the type to crack under pressure” Jack frowned slightly, “I dislike doing it, but we need to know what’s going on here, and fast. And if they were gonna tell us without prompting, they would've done so by now,” He looked around the table to see if the others agreed.

Sam nodded reluctantly. Daniel seemed unhappy and Janet even more so. Hammond was professionally impassive. 

Jack looked around the table. “Okay, none of us like it. Can anyone see any other way?”

There was no answer. “Doc? Think you can get them to talk to you?” Jack asked.

Janet shook her head. “I think the opportunity would've been when we found Buffy. If they'd wanted to tell us, that would've been the time.”

Carter nodded in agreement. “Agreed.”

Hammond's eyes went to Janet, who was looking at the table. “I am sorry, Doctor.”

Janet sighed. “Thank you, sir.”

“If you decide you don't want to do this at a later time, I'll understand. And it will have no reflection on your record,” Hammond told her. “Colonel?”

Jack nodded. “Okay. So we need to put pressure on them. Maybe if we make it friendly pressure, we can keep things civil. If we can't, we may need the unfriendly pressure. The General and the Doctor with Ms. Summers, Captain Carter and an AFOSI agent to Miss Rosenberg.”

Janet bit her lip. “And what will you be doing, colonel?”

Jack shrugged. “I'll be taking a ACID agent and talking to a certain Xander Harris about a possible recording of him outside the local Army Base just before someone stole a rocket launcher.”

Hammond raised an eyebrow. “That ought to be an interesting conversation.”

Jack nodded heavily. “Normally I'd be looking forward to it, sir.”


Rosenberg house, Sunnydale

Samantha Carter felt like a heel. She'd barely exchanged two words with Willow Rosenberg, but what she had seen and heard she'd rather liked. And now she was going to put the fear of the US government into her. With a sigh she checked her Class A uniform, the little briefcase with what little ‘evidence’ she had of Willow’s supposed hacking, glanced at Agent Harrison of the AFOSI, who was looking stern and forbidding, and then knocked. 

The door was opened by a middle aged man with faded blue eyes and what once must have been vibrant carrot coloured hair, likewise fading to grey. He frowned. “Ah... Yes?”

“Mr. Rosenberg? My name is Captain Samantha Carter, US Air Force. This is Special Agent Harrison of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. I'm here to see your daughter,” Sam smiled.

“Willow? Whatever for?” Mr. Rosenberg asked suspiciously. “Did she apply to the Academy?”

“No, no, nothing like that,” Carter smiled. “But it is a matter of some importance. Is she home?”

Mr. Rosenberg nodded. “Yes, she is. Come in,” he stepped aside and let Carter enter. “Willow! You have visitors!” He called out.

There was a noise on the upstairs landing and then the cheerful redhead that Sam remembered came into sight. “Captain Carter?” she asked, surprised.

“You know her?” Mr. Rosenberg sounded surprised and disapproving.

“Yeah, Dad. The Captain helped look for Buffy,” Willow explained. “Ummm...”

“Willow, we can sit in the den,” Mr. Rosenberg stated as he walked away.

“I beg your pardon?” Carter asked.

“I'm not letting you speak to Willow alone, Captain. I shall just get my wife.” He gestured at the door to what was obviously the den.  Willow went first, opening the door, then Carter.

Willow sat down nervously. “C-can I get you something to drink? Coffee? Tea?”

Sam smiled reassuringly. This wasn't going quite as she had thought it would. Agent Harrison shook his head and Carter spoke for both of them. “No thank you, I'll be fine. Don't hesitate to get something for yourself.”

“I'm not allowed caffeine. I get all hyped up,” Willow replied, still nervous.

The door opened and an auburn haired woman with green eyes entered, followed by Ira Rosenberg. “My wife, Sheila Rosenberg. My dear, this is Captain Carter and Agent Harrison, here to see Willow.”

“Quite. And why is an Air Force officer interested in talking to our daughter? With a Federal Agent no less?” Sheila asked after curtly shaking hands.

Sam coughed. “Well, it is rather a delicate matter.”

“We are Willow's parents and she is underage. There is nothing pertaining to her or her behaviour that cannot and should not be discussed in front of us,” Sheila stated.

Sam sighed. “Very well. Willow, we're rather curious as to the things that happen here, things that Buffy is involved in.”

“That little delinquent?” Sheila snorted. “Willow, we told you not to consort with that girl after the visit by the police!”

“Actually there is absolutely no evidence that Miss Summers is in any way delinquent, expect in the mind of her Principal-” Sam tried to shield Willow from some of the parental anger.

“Since she became friends with that person, Willow's grades have suffered, she  has become increasingly impolite, her behaviour has deteriorated and she has several times broken the rules we set about what time she should be home,”  Ira interrupted. “She has gotten into fights and been wounded. Not long ago she had to be hospitalized! I would say that Miss Somers,” he almost spat the name, “Is a terrible influence on her, whether there is evidence of her wrong doing or not. I much prefer my daughter not hanging with the criminal element.”

Willow flinched. “Dad, she isn't a criminal.”

“That remains to be seen, but appearances are against her,” Sheila spoke again. “Now tell the Captain, what sort of things is Bunny involved in?”

Carter was about to try and leave, try and salvage what she could for Willow when Ira focussed on his daughter. “Well, Willow? Would you like to tell us? And perhaps the Captain can tell us exactly why she wanted to see you?”

“I don’t think that we need to go into that-” Carter tried.

“Oh, I think we do. What did you want to talk to our daughter about, Captain? What do you have in that briefcase? I doubt you brought it to show Willow some family snapshots! Not with a Federal Agent in tow!” Ira glared at the captain

Carter cleared her throat. “I really think that is something I should discuss with Willow alone, Mr. Rosenberg.”  

“And I think that made clear that we want to know what she gets up to, Captain. Let me repeat, why did you come here? What is in that briefcase? What is the Air Force's interest in Willow?” Ira asked sharply. “If you do not tell us, we will call the police and you can explain to them.”

*This really isn't going according to plan,* Carter thought as she reluctantly opened the briefcase. It was filled with artfully arranged material that would make it seem that they had an excellent case against Willow for illegally accessing various government computers. She had a feeling that the Rosenbergs were not going to be happy with their daughter.


Harris residence, Sunnydale California

Colonel O'Neill knocked on the door of the Harris home, looking to his side where his aide for the day, Captain Gallagher of the Army CID was standing patiently as a rock. *The General must be upset with me. He must've picked this guy because he knew the good Captain would get on my nerves in minutes,* Jack thought half admiring his CO's guile.

He knocked again, then when there was still no reaction, he pounded on the panelled door with his fist, all the while taking in his surroundings. Besides the broken doorbell and the torn screen on the screen door, the porch railing was missing several yards of railing, the middle of the three porch steps was broken and there was evidence of considerable neglect to be seen in the yard and the paintwork. After a few more knocks finally the door was torn open by a large man with bloodshot eyes and the veiny red nose of the habitual drinker.

“Whadda ya want?” he snarled, his breath rank enough to almost send Jack back a step or two.

“I'm here to see Mr. Alexander Harris. Is he in?” Jack asked.

“Xander? Why?” the man was instantly suspicious. “What did the little shit do now?”

Jack very carefully didn't blink. “I'd like to discuss that with him myself, if I may?” he continued politely.

“Who’re you?” The man demanded.

“Colonel O'Neill, USAF, this is Captain Gallagher, ACID” Jack introduced them. “I assume you are Mr. Alexander Harris' father?”

“Yeah. You wanna see him? Be my guest,” the man snarled. “Xander! Some uniformed stooges here to see you!”

He glared at the officers. “Try not to damage the paint when arresting him, will ya?”

“Arrest?” Jack was bland.

“You ain't here to ask him to join the Army. Can't think of any other reason why you'd want to talk to the little punk. Ya can take him for all I care,” Harris senior shrugged. “I'll be in the living room. If ya beat him, make sure he doesn't scream too much, there's a match on.”

Jack could have sworn he saw a muscle twitch on Gallagher's impassive face. He wasn't sure his wasn’t set in a mask of fury, but Harris didn’t seem to notice anything and merely stomped into the living room.

“Let's go up, shall we?” Jack mounted the stairs.

Xander was waiting for them, leaning against the doorjamb. “Colonel. What an unexpected pleasure. I hope you didn't trip over any bottles or cans?” The boy's words were bland and his face was a carefree mask.

“Mr. Harris,” Jack gestured at the room beyond and looked his question. Xander shrugged and let them in. There was a chair covered in clothes, a battered wardrobe, a desk with an ancient computer on it, a broken down desk chair, half-heartedly repaired, an unmade bed.

The room was filled with the detritus of a teenage boy - comics, unwashed clothes, candy wrappers, the occasional piece of homework or a schoolbook.

Xander closed the door. “So. What did you want to see me about?”

“Some time ago at the Winslow B. Busby Army base, not to far from here, a rocket launcher went missing,” Jack smiled. “And some of the cameras around there show you, with a young lady we think is Miss Chase, talking to the gate guard.”

Xander nodded cheerfully. “Yep. And?”

“That's it? 'Yep'?" Jack asked slightly incredulously.

“Well we were looking for a way to get to Make Out point,” Xander smirked. “Half the kids from Sunnydale must pass by that gate at least once in their life. If not more.” 

Jack nodded. “I see. So when you left and Miss Chase spoke to the guard alone?”

“I was taking a leak in the bushes, not making off with rockets. Sorry,” Xander grinned. “What would I want to do with one anyway? Use it on the Fourth of July?”

“So you've got nothing to say on the subject?” Jack tried again.

“Nope. Well, I hope you catch the guys who did it. I mean, if it was taken by one of the local gangs? Not good news. They might try and hold hostage the airport, or even LAX,” Xander told him seriously. “I'll let you know if I hear anything, but not really my scene, you know.”

Jack smiled. “Thank you. Here's my card,” he handed it over and allowed Xander to lead them out.

He got in the car and looked at Gallagher. “Well?”

“He was lying through his teeth, sir. Very good at it too,” Gallagher opined. “And the father is a piece of work.”

Jack sighed. “Great. What do you think he did with the rocket?”

Gallagher shrugged. “Sold it to the highest bidder? But that doesn't seem to match his personality.”

Jack nodded. “Agreed. Well, maybe we'll find out later. It's not our priority right now. Though I would like to know.”


Summers House, 1630, Revello Drive

Dawn opened the door and smiled, calling out at the same time. “Mo-om! It's Aunt Janet!” And then proceeded to throw her arms around Janet and hugging her.

Joyce came in from the kitchen, drying her hand. “Janet? And... General Hammond?” She took in their serious faces and full uniforms.

“Dawn? I think I need to talk to them alone,” she told her daughter.

“But Mom!” Dawn started to complain.

“Bedroom, sitting room with your discman, porch with the same, Dawn. Not in the kitchen,” Joyce told her firmly. Dawn sighed gustily and clomped up the stairs.

Joyce stood aside and let the Air Force officers enter, then led them into the kitchen. She gestured at the stools by the Island.

“Do please excuse me if I keep on cooking. Dawn needs regular food or she becomes tetchy,” She gave them a look. “I assume this isn’t about buying my Naughty Fake Egyptian plaques?” she asked the General whimsically.

Hammond chuckled. “No, I fear this is rather more serious, Ms. Summers.”

“Call me Joyce,” Joyce interrupted. “You did help find my daughter.”

Hammond smiled. “Very well. Thank you. You may call me George, if you wish.”

Joyce smiled and Janet looked between her sister and her commanding officer with some amazement.

Hammond cleared his throat. “Joyce, when we first heard about Buffy we did some investigation and that made us curious about certain things. Is there anything you can tell me about... barbeque fork accidents?”

Joyce raised an eyebrow, then gently moved aside her shirt collar. “You mean like this?”

Janet gasped. “How did you get that?”

Joyce gave her a resigned look. “We were expecting this to happen. Look, I can’t tell you. It’s not my place. Buffy will be home this weekend and Dawn will be at Hank’s. That will be as good an opportunity as any to tell you. I’ll ask, urge, her to talk with you, Janet. And if you think the General should know, I trust you to make that judgement together with Buffy. But until then, I think it wise I don’t talk too much about it,” she smiled wryly. “I only found out about it the evening she ran away anyway. It’s not like I know much.”

Janet exchanged a look with the General. His worry was reflected in his face for those who knew them. Apparently getting the information might be easier than they thought.

Janet really hoped that the conversations with Willow and Xander were going well, or any conversation with Buffy was going to be far more difficult. And Joyce would be really upset with her too.

“I baked a cake. Would you like some?” Joyce rose.

Hammond was about to speak.

“No,” Janet stated firmly. “No sugar. No fat. No, sir.”

“Actually I was trying a carrot cake recipe without either,” Joyce smirked. “I think it’s quite good. So… Would you like some?”

Hammond smiled slightly. “I’d love some, thank you.”

Janet sighed. “Don’t blame me if you fail your next physical and have to run up and down the mountain on nothing but crackers and water, sir. Along with a bunch of gung-ho cadets.”

Hammond winced. “Thank you for that graphic image, Doctor.”


Winslow B. Busby Army base, meeting room

As they gathered in the meeting room Hammond could see from the faces and demeanor of his subordinates that things had not gone according to plan.

“Captain Carter?” he asked the youngest and most junior officer.

Carter looked up from the table. “I think I can report sir, that any chance we might have had of getting Miss Rosenberg to tell us anything has been definitely sunk.”

Hammond cleared his throat. “Could you be slightly more specific, Captain?”

Carter sighed. “Well, firstly her parents were both present and rather… controlling. And they disagree with her choice of friends. And apparently are utterly devoted to their respective careers and not amused by the fact that their daughter might be a ‘computer criminal assisting a teenage hooligan’.”

Jack’s fingers tapped the table nervously. “So Rosenberg is probably unhappy with us. Okay. But she did hack. We can hardly be blamed for exposing what still is a criminal action.” 

Carter folded her hands together. “I doubt very much that she and her friends are going to see it that way, sir. Apparently Miss Rosenberg’s actions are central to whatever they’re doing. She absolutely refused to tell her parents, or us, what they’re doing. They were less than amused. I’ve no doubt they will forbid her to see, or have anything to do with Buffy.”

Janet rubbed her face with her hands. “Joyce is gonna kill me.”

Hammond looked at O’Neill. “Colonel? What about Mr. Harris?”

Jack shrugged. “He denied everything. I think we can be pretty sure he did it, but I somehow really don’t see him as an illegal arms dealer. His parents are drunks, like we expected from the background check. Gallagher was about ready to deck the elder Harris.”

Hammond sighed. “Well, we were rather more successful than anticipated. Ms. Summers said she would talk to Buffy and ask her to explain it. Though now it remains to be seen if that will happen.”

“So the one option we thought least likely to actually show results, worked?” Jack asked, almost incredulously.

Hammond nodded. “Joy- Ms. Summers said that she would ask Buffy to explain to Doctor Fraiser, as she herself was only partly informed. And then me, if the Doctor considered it necessary.”

“Okay, that doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a mother would say about her vigilante daughter, at least not to me,” Jack frowned.

Hammond nodded. “Agreed. Doctor, I would appreciate it if you remained here until your niece returns this weekend.”

“Yes sir,” Janet looked around. “I’ll try and get a room on base, sir. Joyce said something about the hotels here being unpleasant,” her expression clearly showed that she didn’t think the base would be much, or any, better.


Janet Fraiser was awakened by her ringing phone the next morning. When she picked it up any remnants of sleep were immediately dissolved by the voice on the other end.

“Janet? You will come to Sunnydale Memorial. Right now,” Joyce spoke into her sister's ear and to the younger sister she did not sound happy. At all. As a matter of fact, she sounded pissed off beyond belief. Cold anger vibrated in it, and complete disdain.

Joyce didn't even wait for a reply. Janet threw off her blankets and rose, washing and dressing quickly. *Don't let it be Dawn or Buffy. Please don't let it be Dawn or Buffy,* she implored whatever power might be listening.

Hastening out of the base in the car that had been put at her disposal, she reached the hospital in record time. She would deal with the possible fallout of tickets and citations at a later time. She knew of her own reputation when she was upset. People tended to walk into the infirmary very carefully when she was in one of her moods. Apparently her older sister shared that.

She drew into the parking lot, locked the car and hurried inside. “Good morning. My name is Dr. Fraiser. My sister-”

“Ah, yes, your sister said you would be arriving soon, doctor. Room 414, Intensive Care, take the elevator to the fourth floor, take the corridor to the right,” the duty nurse told her briskly.

Janet didn't ask what was going on, merely went into the elevator and to the fourth floor. She knew which room she needed immediately. Dawn was sitting outside, on a typical hospital waiting room chair.

“Dawn? What’s going on, honey?” Janet asked.

“It’s Xander,” Dawn wailed as she threw herself into Janet’s arms. “He’s been hurt!”

“What? How?” Janet gently pried Dawn’s arms loose.

“I dunno!” Dawn sulked. “Mom won’t tell or even let them let me in the room. She wanted to get me a babysitter!”

Janet smiled inwardly. All girls of a certain age were the same. She just hoped she’d get the chance to introduce Cassie to her cousins. Her daughter had been whining to be introduced ever since Janet had first told her about them.

“Well, I’ll go in and ask if she’ll let you see him, okay?” Janet had to suppress another smile at the hope on Dawn’s face. *Oh to be twelve and in love,* she thought whimsically. She took a deep breath and went inside.

There were four beds in the room but only one was occupied. It held a still form, with an oxygen mask and a variety of tubes and electrodes attached. Standing at the foot of the bed, looking at the occupant, was Joyce.

“Janet,” Joyce greeted her coldly. “Why don’t you read the chart? Then we’ll talk.”

Janet took in the general condition of the boy, and like this it was easy to see just how young he was, lying on the bed. His face was battered and bruised and his broken and splinted left arm lying at his side. The fingers of the other hand were splinted as well.

She picked the chart of the end of the bed. Broken lower left arm, in two places, seven broken fingers, two dislocated thumbs with torn ligaments. Six cracked and three bruised ribs. Extensive bruising along the legs, broken left shin bone, severely bruised right shin bone, broken left scapula and two snapped clavicles.

Janet took a deep breath and continued reading. Broken eye socket, broken nose, severe concussion. Internal injuries, ruptured spleen. Injuries were caused by extensive beating with a metal baseball bat. *Defensive injuries,* Janet noted.

“Does this have to do with what Buffy does?”

Joyce let out a harsh laugh. “Have you seen it all? Good, let’s leave.”

“Where are his parents?” Janet looked around, as if expecting them to appear somehow. “Why aren’t they here?”      

Joyce gave her a pitying look. “You can’t really be that dense. Even in Sunnydale beating up your kid this badly ends up with you in jail.”

Janet opened her mouth to reply but Joyce shook her head and pointed at the door. “Outside. Xander needs his rest.”

She took Dawn’s hand and led her to a waiting area where she addressed a nurse. “Excuse me, I need to talk to Dr. Fraiser. Would it be possible for you to look after my daughter for a bit?”

The nurse, a competent looking older woman nodded. “Sure. Just have a seat, my dear. There are some magazines that might interest you.”

Dawn gave her mother a disgruntled look, but apparently realized that all whining was going to do was to get her in trouble and sat down and started to go through the pile of old periodicals. The nurse smiled at Joyce and Janet.   “There’s an empty staffroom over there if you want to talk in private. If you don’t mind the paint fumes.”

Joyce nodded her thanks and led Janet to the room. Janet looked around, wrinkling her nose. The room was simply furnished and smelled of paint, but underlying it was a smell of blood and death. Loosened bowels and the stink of fear.

“Cheerful room,” she remarked. “Lovely smell of death.”

“Three nurses were killed in this hospital last month. It must have been in this room,” Joyce looked around disinterestedly. “Five boys were killed in the High School Rec room this last school year. Willow was one of the girls who found them.”

Janet didn’t quite know what to say to that. She sat down. “How awful.”

“Quite,” Joyce sat as well. “You know what else is awful? Tony Harris was not impressed that his son was called upon by a couple of uniformed Air Force and Federal officers. Xander said they were there to ask about an incident he and Cordelia might give information on, but Tony didn’t believe him. So unimpressed was he, as a matter of fact, that he got more than usually drunk, and more than usually violent. And now Tony Harris is in jail and Xander is in hospital. All because of a visit by some uniformed soldier. A Colonel O’Neill, Mrs. Harris said. Xander couldn’t confirm it. He hasn’t woken up yet.”

Janet winced. “Ah, yes. I-I can explain that.”

“Oh, that’s good to hear,” Joyce replied mock cheerfully. “And perhaps you can explain to me why Willow Rosenberg is currently being held in the LA Bureau of the FBI on charges of hacking, as laid against her by her parents?”

“W-what? How?” Janet was stunned.

“Oh, you know how it goes, upright, striving, status-conscious, career loving middle class parents are confronted by an Air Force Captain and an AFOSI agent, there to talk to their daughter about hacking, hacking to aid a known troublemaker in making more trouble. Which the girl denies. And then, to make sure nobody thinks they are implicated in all this, well…”

Joyce’s voice was deceptively gentle, as if she’d beaten her anger into submission.

“Considering all that, it took her parents very little time to drive Willow to the nearest FBI office, with her computers and handing her and them over as evidence. They called their lawyer, to make absolutely sure that everybody believes that their hands are clean.”

Janet opened her mouth to speak, but she was too shocked, too horrified by what she was hearing.  

“Willow called me. I’ve never heard her so angry. She says she won’t go back to her parents,” Joyce smiled darkly, “Though I doubt they mind. I called my lawyer to help her and Xander’s are in jail, though her mother only as an accessory. I’m not sure, but I suppose that isn’t a bad thing. Xander may or may not wake up. He may or may not have suffered permanent brain damage and disability,” her voice quavered on the last words.

Joyce leaned forward. “And now we get to the point. What was so damn important that you felt you had to sacrifice the lives of two children to get what you wanted?”

Janet had the very strong impression that if her answer didn’t satisfy her sister, this would be the last time they spoke.




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