“So, who pissed in your cornflakes…? I figured after your complaining about your little four month drought, you’d be jumping for joy over seeing your *boy*friend again, and you’re even getting to freeload a lift to do it with.”
“Not now, Clint!” Jennifer growled, without turning from glaring out the window, her tone making it clear she wasn’t in the mood to put up with him and if he kept bothering her she was libel to hurt him.
“Fine, don’t know why I bothered…” Shaking his head, Clint walked back to his seat and threw himself into it in a reasonable approximation of a sprawl. Scowling at the woman across from him, Clint jerked his head towards Jennifer. “What’s with jolly green?”
“How should I know?” She rolled her eyes and shrugged. “If I had to guess I would say she finally had enough of Xander avoiding her and they had a fight or something like that.”
“What the hell could they be fighting over?” Clint looked at her with a puzzled expression. “What do you mean avoiding her? Janet, he lives on the other side of the freaking country for crying out loud; how is that avoiding her?!”
“Let’s see, four months of not seeing each other, him always saying that he’s got too many responsibilities to come see her and not wanting her dropping by his home town either.” Janet shrugged and looked out the window. “Sounds like avoiding someone to me… personally I’d be wondering who the other woman was if I was in her place…”
“Oh come on, anyone that’s spent any time with the kid, even without reading his psych report like I did, could tell you that kid’s loyal to a fault and would do anything to keep his friends safe…” Clint threw up his hand up and sighed. “It must be the cradle-robber’s time of the month or… gak!”
“Okay that’s it!” Jennifer growled as she yanked Clint out of his seat and held him a good foot off the floor of the airplane by the collar. “It’s time to die, Robin Hood!”
“Jennifer, that’s enough!” Steve’s tone made it clear there it wasn’t a request. “At least save it until we’re on the ground… Not all of us can guarantee we’d survive a fall from this height.”
“Fine…” Jennifer gave Clint a firm shake before dropping him and smirked as he landed on his butt in the middle of the isle as she headed back towards her seat.
Clint rubbed his neck and looked at Steve incredulously. “So it’s okay if she rearranges my body parts as long as we’re on the ground?”
“One more comment like that one, and I might just help her…” Steve crossed his arms and frowned. “And exactly how did you get hold of his psych report? What with it being confidential and you not having been cleared to see it…”
“Ahem,” Clint cleared his throat and looked around the cabin sheepishly “Well you see…”
“Giles something weird is going on… Mom? What are you doing here?” Buffy gasped, standing in the front door of Giles’ apartment staring wide eyed at the group sitting around the watcher’s dining room table.
“Eating dinner,” Joyce smiled at the flummoxed expression on her daughter’s face and held up a plate of casserole. “Would you like some?”
“Ah, sure…” Buffy’s questioning look passed over the other people at the table as she took a seat and forced a smile onto her face. “So what’re you guys talking about?”
“Nothing really…” Joyce said scowling slightly at the way Buffy had narrowed her eyes and scowled slightly at the sudden panicky expression on Xander’s face when she had asked that. “Weren’t you saying something about something being weird when you came in?”
“Oh, it’s nothing…” Buffy said much too quickly to be believable and making clear her attempt to shield her mother from her slaying activities. “Just going to tell him it looks like the feds or somebody’s pulling a raid on half the town; police station, city hall, you can’t go a block without seeing them, they’re even going after one of the frats. Lowell house has more cars with flashing lights around it than the all night doughnut shop once the sun goes down.”
“Really,” Giles frowned trying to keep the fact he was deeply concerned about what this could mean from showing at least for the moment. “Have you any idea what for?”
“No, the M.I.B. wannabe suits wouldn’t let me in and then this big thug in a blue jumpsuit told me to get lost or go to jail…” Buffy glanced at her mother before continuing. “But Willow may have better luck; she’s trying to see if she can find out what’s going on.”
“Lowell house,” Joyce frowned as she tried to remember where she had heard that before then scowled at her daughter “isn’t that the one that that Riley you were telling me about belongs to?”
“Yes, but that’s not the point!” Buffy groaned with a look of annoyance.
“First that vampire, now a possible felon; Buffy, honey...” Joyce frowned and shook her head, “I’m seriously beginning to worry about both your taste in men and your definition of a good one, not to mention your judgment.”
“MOM…!” Buffy nearly shrieked at her mother’s rebuke. “Angel’s a good guy, I mean, cut him a break, he’s got a soul.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Joyce looked at her like she had grown a second head, held up a hand and began counting off points. “Having a soul doesn’t automatically make you good, Buffy! Are you trying to say that Victor Von Doom, Hitler, Magneto, to name a few, don’t have souls?”
“Reality check, Mom.” Buffy shook her head and snorted. “Magneto’s a mutant!”
Everyone at the table jumped as Mrs. Summers slammed her fork down on the table and Buffy withered under the intensity of the scowl her mother leveled on her.
“And just what is that supposed to mean, young lady?” Joyce snapped at her daughter.
“Well, you know… he’s a mutant!” Buffy looked around the table for support but Giles seemed to have suddenly found his casserole very interesting and Xander was looking at her in stunned disbelief. “What?”
“Buff, are you trying to say that mutants don’t have souls?” Xander’s tone made what he felt about that idea perfectly clear. “Because I must’ve missed the Scooby meeting at which the council issued us our swastikas!”
Giles half choked on a mouthful of food just managing to swallow it with some difficulty and rounded on the young man. “Now you see here, I do not appreciate having it insinuated that I would in any way associate with an organization that was anything like the Nazi!”
“Ah, Sorry Giles…” Xander looked at the angry flush on the former watcher’s scowling face and swallowed hesitantly “I was just making a point… and forgot that you used to be a watcher for a moment there….”
“Buffy, I’m still waiting for an answer…!” Joyce pressed her daughter for answers, pointedly ignoring the confrontation between Giles and Xander.
“Be that as it may, I’ll have you know the Council, despite its archaic traditions and numerous faults did more than its fair share for the war effort,” Giles lectured his temper slowly cooling at the young man’s apologetic expression. “so much in fact that the Council’s magic resources still haven’t fully recovered from the effort, the Council lost a third of our best and over half of all of its practicing magic users to keeping Hitler’s mages in check…”
“Come on mom, you watch the news …” Buffy said finally, crossing her arms belligerently and scowled at her mother “Every other day there’s another story of some Mutant flipping out and going on a rampage, trashing everything and anyone that gets in their way. Someone with a soul wouldn’t go nuts like that just from getting a power… I didn’t go nuts when I became the Slayer.”
“So going out and ‘slaying’ things every night is perfectly normal behavior; but somebody that three quarters of the world hates just because they’re different than everybody else, getting in a fight and having the press lay all the blame on them is a clear sign you’re a soulless monster?” Xander asked as he turned and fixed Buffy with an incredulously look. “Great comparison, mein Fuehrer! Excuse me while I go get us some bed sheets and a cross to burn.”
“I am not a bigot!” Buffy snapped, giving Xander a hurt expression, before turning to Giles eyes pleading for support. “Giles tell him I’m not…”
Buffy trailed off as she noticed the pained expression on her former Watcher as he was pointedly not looking at her. “Giles, you don’t… I’m not…”
“Buffy, do you actually know anything about mutants other than that sensationalist garbage those news shows are always spewing?” Joyce’s tone was stern, and her expression demanded an answer.
“Yeah,” Buffy said defensively then wilted under her mother’s gaze. “I mean I had to watch a special on mutants the Discovery Channel made for a class last week…”
“Would that be the class that you were complaining about the teacher assigning you a 10 page paper for catching you sleeping during some ‘stupid video’?” Xander asked giving her a questioning look, and then shook his head at the glare he got in return and got up from the table. “Well as much as I’m enjoying Buffy’s attempts to justify herself, Star Trek comes on in an hour not to mention that I have things to do to get ready for tomorrow, so I better get out of here.”
“Seeing as the sun has gone down,” Giles climbed to his feet and grabbed his jacket “It feels only justified that I give you a lift…”
“Thanks Giles, your car shouldn’t add more than another twenty minutes to the trip…” Xander quipped as the pair quickly exited; neither wanting to waste this excuse not to get caught up in the storm that brewing between the women. “So it’s fine with me.”
“I’ll have you know that there is nothing wrong with my car,” Giles frowned in annoyance. “It’s a classic…”