Disclaimer: Joss, Owns em’. I’m just playing. No money being made.
A/N: A semi prequel to my story, I choose You. How the Slayers & Watchers Council International met the SGC It also fleshes out my OC, Eddie Mullen a bit more.
“Eddie! Have you seen my other boots?” Buffy yelled from her bedroom. Well his and Buffy's bedroom for the last four months or so.
“Check your other carry on,” Eddie replied as he filled his travel mug from the Kurig machine in the apartment's kitchen.
“Thanks, Sweetie!” Buffy called back as she continued packing. Eddie grinned as he added sugar and cream to his coffee.
“She still packing like we're going to Timbuktu?” Dawn snickered as she entered through the open apartment door.
All the senior staff of the council had a nice apartment located on the top floor of the brand new Council complex just east of Cleveland along the waterfront. They had outgrown the old orphanage two years ago. With enough money thrown at the project and with Xander acting as clerk of the works. The new facility had been finished in just under fourteen months.
Thirty acres of mixed grass and forest, surrounded by a twelve foot tall, reinforced concrete wall with security cameras every fifty feet. Seismic sensors, integrated holy water sprinklers to keep any vamps away and blessed, alternating cold iron and silver spikes adorning the top made the new Slayers & Watcher's Council International headquarters as close to a modern fortress against the supernatural as technology and magic could make it.
Eddie checked his watch and grimaced, “Buffy... we need to get a move on. We only have a one hour window to get into Washington National. If we're late getting wheels up, we'll have to divert into Dulles.”
Buffy stormed out of the bedroom, two suitcases dragging behind her, “Phooey. The Pentagon wants us on short notice for a meeting. You would think that we could land at the closest airport.”
“We're lucky they're letting us land at Reagan National as it is. All of DC is under the enhanced Class B Airspace since 9-11.”
“Stupid terrorists,” Buffy grumbled.
You ready?” Eddie asked.
“I guess,” Buffy pouted.
“We're only going to be there for two days, Buffy,” Dawn said as she rolled her eyes, “I'm already packed and Jon is pre-flighting the plane.”
“How did you get to go on this trip?” Buffy asked as she headed out the door, Dawn and Eddie in her wake.
“Because, Giles wanted someone who could be diplomatic,” Dawn replied.
“I can be diplomatic,” Buffy protested.
“Number Ten Downing street?” Dawn countered.
“The Prime Minister was rude,” Buffy pouted as they entered the elevator. Eddie punched the button for the underground parking garage.
“My point exactly,” Dawn replied, “This General O'Neil is supposed to be a bit of a hard ass.”
“He's not related to Jon is he?” Buffy asked as the elevator opened into the huge garage. All through the tirade, Eddie had kept quiet. He had learned not to get between Buffy and Dawn's arguments over the last two years he had worked for the Council. Particularly now that he and Buffy were living together.
Buffy tossed her luggage in the back of the black SUV next to Dawn and Eddies bags that had already been loaded.
“Don't know,” Dawn replied to the question as she hopped into the back seat of the black Chevy Tahoe. Buffy started to head for the driver's door.
“No.” Eddie said firmly, “I'm driving.” Buffy pouted but walked around to the front passenger door.
Eddie clambered in and before clicking his seat belt he leaned over and gave Buffy a peck on the lips, “If we were taking your, Vette... I'd say no problem.”
“I know,” Buffy pouted as Eddie started the engine. Eddie had given Buffy a few driving lessons when had first started working for the Council and the attached slayer school. He had quickly figured out Buffy's driving problem. With her fast reflexes, Buffy had a hard time handling a large unresponsive vehicle like an SUV. A quick lesson in Eddie's highly modified Crown Victoria had led to the discovery of the problem. Buffy was able to more easily predict what a better handling vehicle would do.
One trip to a local classic car dealer had resulted in Buffy purchasing a fully restored, 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible. Which Eddie kept in top tune and Buffy waxed every other weekend.
It was actually how they had gone from Boss (Buffy) and Employee (Eddie) to being a couple. They had bonded over the car.
Eddie pulled out of the garage and headed for the main gate. The security guard nodded and opened the heavily fortified gate before they pulled onto the street.
“Bye Clem!” Dawn called out of the open rear window. Quentin Travers would probably roll over in his grave if he knew the gate guard was a demon. He really would if the deceased council head had known that the new council's receptionist was a Vampire.
Despite her living challenged status. The newly ensouled vampire was a surprisingly good administrator and personal assistant for the senior council members AKA the Scoobies.
Besides, Harmony Kendall was kinda family. Being from Sunnydale and all.
Eddie pulled the Tahoe onto the ramp located at the east end of Burke Lakefront Airport. The Council had purchased from the City. The former Benjamin O. Davis Aviation Technical High School building. The property had fallen into a state of disrepair but it fit the needs of the council perfectly.
When Giles had taken over the Council assets as the Senior Surviving Watcher. He had been appalled at the wealth the old council had acquired. The liquid assets had been in the billions of pounds. Various investments, artwork and buildings added up to another few billion.
Included in that was a small private air line. Giles had no idea what the old council had needed the two Boeing 727's for. Not to mention the three Gulfstream IV's.
Since Eddie was a pilot, he became Giles go to man for anything related to the aircraft.
A quick trip to England to investigate the fleet had resulted in the pair of Boeing's being sold to a cargo airline with the proviso that if the Council needed something hauled they would be given first right of refusal.
Two of the Gulfstreams had been sold for the market price of $40 million each. The third had been re registered in the US and moved to the aviation high school hangar at Burke Lakefront.
Since Eddie was not certified to fly the big G-IV's yet. Giles had, on his recommendation purchased a brand new Pilatus PC-12 single engine turboprop. The fairly large, corporate aircraft could be flown single pilot in instrument conditions and seated six in the cabin comfortably as well as the two seats on the flight deck.
Eddie had only been certified as a private pilot when Giles had hired him. But after some encouragement, Eddie had obtained his multi engine, instrument and commercial licenses. Now in addition to his status as a watcher in training, deputy director of facilities, first aid instructor and head mechanic for the small fleet of vehicles the Council now owned. Eddie had added chief pilot to his resume as well.
As soon as he had enough hours in the PC-12, he would head to Georgia to begin training on the Gulfstream.
In the meantime, Eddie had hired his flight instructor as his 'assistant' in running the flight department.
Jon O'Neil was, at the time, a sophomore at Case Western university with a major in Aeronautical Engineering and a minor in International Relations. He was also a member of the local Air Force ROTC program. Not to mention the star forward of the school's hockey team.
Eddie and Jon had hit it off immediately. Both liked the same music, which Eddie had thought strange, as he at the time was pushing forty and Jon was a young looking twenty. You didn't find many twenty year old’s who liked Classic Rock.
The young man already had type ratings for aircraft that no one that young should be able to fly but he did. Jon had mentioned something about flying ever since he was a kid.
Now, Jon was a junior and dating Dawn. Eddie swore he saw sparks when the pair had met. Eddie had gone over to Cuyahoga County airport for a lesson and Dawn had tagged along. Saying she was bored that Saturday afternoon. She and Jon had met and the next thing everyone knew. Dawn had added a side course in Aviation science to her class load and began taking flying lessons. She was hooked on flying... and Jon.
Eddie parked the big SUV next to the hangar and climbed out of the driver's seat. Jon was sitting on the boarding steps to the Pilatus. He stood and tapped his watch, “About time. We need to be wheels up in fifteen minutes if we're gonna make our window into National...”
“Sorry, Jon,” Buffy apologized, “I had trouble packing.”
“She couldn't fit all of her wardrobe in two suitcases,” Dawn teased.
Jon chuckled and helped Dawn grab her bags. After stealing a kiss or three in the process.
“Why don't you sit with Dawn and I'll fly the trip down,” Eddie offered, “Buffy can sit up front with me.”
Jon snapped off a sloppy salute, “You're the boss.”
“You sure?” Buffy asked.
Eddie nodded, “I know you're still a bit nervous in smaller planes. You seem to do better when you can see what's going on or I'm distracting you.”
“I like the distracting,” Buffy purred.
“Trip back,” Eddie grinned.
“You're mine tonight, Edward Mullen,” Buffy stated.
“Always,” Eddie smiled back.
“Lakefront Ground. Pilatus November, One, Two, One, Sierra, Charlie. On the Davis ramp. IFR to National with information Echo,” Eddie intoned into the microphone of his headset. Beside him, Buffy smiled nervously.
“Just in time One, Sierra, Charlie. Cleared as filed. Taxi to the active. Squawk 7865. Follow the Lakefront Three Departure. Cleveland Departure on 125.350.” replied the scratchy voice of the controller.
“Squawk 7865, as filed, Lakefront Three. Cleared to taxi, Departure on 125.350,” Eddie read back.
“Read back correct, contact the tower on 124.300. Good day.”
“124.300, Good day,” Eddie replied as he hit the button to flop the frequencies Jon had already programmed into the aircraft's radios.
With a touch of throttle, the big single engined turboprop began to move. With a little footwork on the pedals to keep the plane straight on the taxiway. They began the journey to Washington DC.
After takeoff and the twenty minute climb to 25,000 feet. Buffy had been tense. As soon as they leveled off the blonde slayer had relaxed significantly.
Eddie looked over at his girlfriend, “You okay?”
“Getting better,” Buffy replied into her own headset. The cockpit seats were a bit louder than the main cabin so to ensure good communication, they both wore headsets and spoke through the intercom system.
“Before long, you'll be taking flying lessons like Dawnie,” Eddie grinned.
“No way in hell,” Buffy growled. Eddie's reply was just a grin.
An hour into the two hour flight and Buffy was dozing in the other seat. At flight level two five, the mid September air was incredibly clear. Above the clouds like they were, Eddie could see for at least a hundred miles. Buffy, if she had been awake could probably see DC in the distance if the clouds weren't in the way.
Eddie smiled as Buffy did the little twitch with her nose she did as she shifted in her sleep. It still amazed the forty year old that Buffy, barely twenty seven herself had fallen for an old man like him.
Eddie had to admit he was in damn good shape for his age. He had to be to keep up with the Slayers. And Buffy. Before his daughter had been killed by Bringers, Eddie had competed in the Firefighter Combat Challenge competitions had had won the New England division for his age bracket back in '02. Just a few months before Amy had been killed and his marriage and life had fallen apart.
Not to mention the fitness Eddie had to maintain in his position as the Medic for the Maine State Police's, Southern District SWAT team.
But part of Eddie wondered what Buffy saw in him. Another part of him. The part that was sorta going through a midlife crisis was dancing with joy at bagging a hot twenty something. And if he ever said that out loud in Buffy's earshot, he'd be sleeping on the couch for the foreseeable future. After he got out of the ICU.
From conversations with Xander, Eddie had learned about some of Buffy's previous relationships. Two Vampires? And Riley? He'd met the now married Army Ranger and liked him but even Eddie could see that Riley had issues with women stronger than himself. Hence, Samantha. Who was a strong woman but not too strong.
Eddie didn't have a problem with Buffy being the slayer. Yeah, he worried about her when she went out on patrol. Of course he did the same for Faith. But Faith was family. And by marriage, so was Robin Wood.
Eddie liked Robin. They got along well but they weren’t good friends like He and Xander were. Or even Rupert. And Jon... well. He and Jon got along like a house afire. Willow said they were almost like brothers. And if what was going to happen on this trip went as planned. They would be.
Two weeks previous, Eddie had stopped into a small jewelers shop in downtown Cleveland. Even though they had only been dating eight months and officially co-habitating for two months. Eddie had decided he wanted to marry Buffy.
Sarah, Eddie's ex-wife had already remarried. An anesthesiologist she knew from work. He was also a little younger than Sarah. But not by the margin Eddie and Buffy were.
Eddie had walked in and froze. Jon was at the same store and looking at the case of engagement rings. The same case Eddie was there to look at.
After a few awkward moments, the two men had chuckled and then began scheming together. They planned that, on the next business trip they would take that included both couples without Willow and Kennedy, Xander or Giles they would both pop the question. If possible, simultaneously.
Strength in numbers was Jon's theory.
Eddie fingered the ring box in his leather jacket's pocket as he let the Pilatus's autopilot follow the preprogrammed GPS course to Washington.
Eddie spent the rest of the flight, splitting his attention between looking for other air traffic, keeping an eye on the instruments and watching Buffy sleep.
Newly promoted Air Force First Lieutenant Jessica Cavendish sighed as she sat down at her desk. This was not the posting she had hoped for when she had gone to the Air Force Academy. She had graduated twentieth in her class. High enough to get a fighter training slot. Instead, somehow, someone in personnel decided that the Air Force needed more helicopter pilots.
So, with a resigned smile, she had headed for Fort Rucker to learn how to fly helicopters from the Army. She had earned her wings. Qualified in Blackhawks and had applied to be a pilot with one of the Air Force's Para Rescue Squadrons.
Instead, she had suddenly been tagged to become the personal assistant to a three star general at the Pentagon. A general who apparently could fly damn near anything himself... Except helicopters.
Of course. A Pentagon posting did help with her night job. One May day, four and a half years before. Jessica had been a second class cadet at the Academy. She had been in the gym, working one of the weight machines building up some upper body strength when she heard a voice in her head. “Are you ready to be strong?”
“Damn right,” Jess had muttered under her breath and suddenly she had rammed the handlebars of the Nautilus machine to the stops and had slightly bent them.
Scared out of her mind at the sudden strength, Cadet Cavendish did her best to adapt. Until the urge to hunt had started to hit her.
As a second class Cadet or a Junior at the time. Jess had plenty of opportunities to get off campus and into Colorado springs. Or even on weekends, Denver.
It was on one of her Denver hunting trips, she had encountered a petite redhead and her girlfriend. A brunette. And Jessica Cavendish's world had changed forever.
Now, she was the PA for General Jonathan 'Jack' O’Neil. Head of Homeworld Security. Of course, the General had more staff than just Jessica. She was the lowest ranking officer in the office but the General called on her for a lot.
Of course her immediate boss was Lt. Colonel Paul Davis. Colonel Davis was the General's primary aide. Jess got along well with her superior. He also knew about Jess's night job. Besides being cleared for knowledge of the supernatural. Colonel's Davis' niece who lived with him and his wife was also a slayer.
Margie Davis was a sixteen year old high school junior in Dun Loring Virginia, just outside DC and one of the assigned Washington council house Slayers. Margie was the number three girl in the house. Jess was number two. With her Air Force training, she would have been Buffy's choice to lead the house, but Jess' day job prevented that.
Instead, a progression of girls moved through the DC house as a training post. Washington was fairly quiet on the supernatural front. Leaving time for the potential house leaders to figure out how to handle all the administrative headaches without having to deal with pending apocalypse’s every five minutes on top of that.
Right now, the DC lead slayer was Rona Williams. The Sunnydale survivor was being trained up to lead the Detroit Slayer house. And Rona's home town, Detroit had eight girls and two Watchers in the house. While DC only had Rona, Jess and Margie. Jess also had to play Watcher for the house too. The council was still training up watchers so a small outpost like DC didn't rate a full time Watcher.
Every couple of months, Someone like Xander Harris or Sam Zabuto would come to town and check on things. Otherwise, they were left to their own devices.
Jess was roused from her musings when a whispered curse caught her attention from the desk opposite her, “Something wrong, Chief?”
Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Robert Harriman grumbled, “I Just need to juggle the General's schedule for the rest of the day... on short notice.”
“For what?” the young officer asked.
“A big meeting. First with SG-1 and Col. Davis. Then at sixteen hundred this afternoon. A group from some NGO I've never heard of. The SWCI?”
Jess gulped and tried to hide her surprise. The Council? Meeting with the head of Homeworld Security? Oh hell. The world is ending... again.
“What kind of meeting?” Jess asked. Trying to hide her fear.
“Meet and greet,” the gray haired sergeant grumbled, “I can't believe I let Walter talk me into working here. I was perfectly happy at Tyndall.”
Jess cracked a grin and relaxed. She liked the crusty Chief Master Sergeant. His twin brother, Walter who worked at the SGC had convinced Robert that 'Jack' needed a senior NCO to keep him from forgetting what day it was. Kinda like Walter had done for the general back at the mountain.
“Who... Who's coming from this... SWCI?” Jess asked.
“Uhhh,” Walter muttered while he pulled up a couple of files on his computer, “ Deputy Director, Buffy Summers. Head researcher, Dawn Summers. And two others. An Edward Mullen and Jon O'Neil. Plus two officers from something called the DRI? Sam and Riley Finn?”
“Jon who?” asked a new voice as Jess and Robert snapped to their feet when Col. Davis stormed into the office.
“Sir! A Jon O’Neil is on the list. Any relation to the general, Sir?”
“Fuck...” Col. Davis swore under his breath. Only audible to Jess' enhanced hearing.
“There a problem, Sir?” Jess asked.
“My office Lieutenant.”
“Yes Sir,” Jess replied.
Jess stood in front of her boss' desk, “At ease, Jess. Take a seat.” Colonel Davis ordered. Jess sat stiffly in the chair opposite.
Davis rubbed his face, “The President feels that Homeworld Security, The SGC, The Attorney General, Director of the FBI and the Joint Chiefs need to be fully briefed on the Supernatural. Conversely, the SWCI needs to be fully briefed in on the Stargate Program.”
Jess let out a breath, “Buffy's gonna be pissed, Sir.”
Davis rolled his eyes, “You think? What do you think Jack's going to do to me when he finds out I've been letting Margie go out and hunt vampires.”
“Worse for me, Sir. I'm sorta her boss.”
Davis smiled slightly, “Let Rona take the heat for that. It's what the Council pays her for.”
“I'll tell her you said so,” Jess smiled slightly.
“Who's coming from SG-1?” Jess asked after a moment.
“Dr. Jackson, Col. Mitchel and... Vala. Also Col. Carter will be there as well.”
“I wanted to limit Buffy's exposure to to him until after she's been briefed.”
“Good idea, Sir,” Jess agreed, “I knew who and what he was when we first met but Teal'c sets off my slaydar. Buffy would stake first. Ask questions later.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
“Anything else, Sir?” Jess asked.
Col. Davis nodded as he reached into his desk drawer. Drawing out a small box. He tossed it to Jess. Slowly she opened the lid to see a pair of Captain's 'railroad tracks' inside, “Sir?”
“I know it's early, Jess. Particularly since you only made First Lieutenant four months ago but this comes from the President. He wants a full time Liaison Officer with the SWCI. And who better a liaison than a slayer. This posting also includes combat pay. I know the council pays you too. But this is a thank you from Uncle Sam.”
“I... I don't know what to say...”
“Say, yes sir. I'd be happy to take the assignment.”
“Yes sir. I'd be happy to take the assignment.”
“Good answer, Captain.”