This one is for Watching Atlantis
Hope you enjoy.
Watching Atlantis - Part Four
For disclaimers see part one.
Buffy was having the most marvelous dream. Giles was home, safe and sound, and they had cleared up all their problems. He had taken her into his arms, holding her close, surrounding her with his unique scent. She felt so loved.
Buffy shifted in her sleep, the unfamiliar feel of her bed bringing her reluctantly to consciousness. She opened her eyes, frowning in confusion as she saw the ceiling of the training room. And the scent from her dream, Giles’ scent, was still strong. She was holding his sweatshirt clutched to her chest. She turned onto her side and the sight of the empty sleeping bag brought her to full awareness with a rush.
Ethan was gone.
Buffy fumbled with the blanket that covered her and surged to her feet. Before she could take more than a couple of steps, the door to the store opened and Ethan came through carrying a flat white box and a couple of cups.
“Morning. I went to that little coffee shop down the block and brought back something for a bit of breakfast. Don’t know how you take your coffee, but I felt sure that you would have all the extras here, so I just got black.”
Buffy stared at him blankly as he continued to cross the room, his voice rambling on. He sank cross-legged onto the sleeping bag and sat the box on the floor next to him, holding out one of the cups to her. She blinked a few times before sitting back down on the sofa and taking the cup. “Giles makes tea.”
“Yes, I sure he does, but I prefer coffee.” He opened the box. “They had a truly marvelous selection of pastries. I have scones, éclairs, Danishes and this delicious looking thing called a bears claw.” He held up the box for her to choose.
Buffy felt a lump growing in her throat. “Giles likes jelly donuts.” Ethan met her gaze and she was surprised to see pain and regret in his eyes.
Buffy fought with tears, swallowing hard. The box of pastries and the cups of coffee helped her to gain control. She frowned. “What are you doing awake and how did you get out of the building?”
Ethan gave a little laugh. “Please. The young ladies are quite talented for their ages, and your friend Willow has true potential, but I’ve been using magic since before any of you were born. There was no way they could keep me here if I wanted to leave.”
Buffy took the lid off the cup and stared at the coffee. “Then why are you still here?”
“Because I want to help find Rip” he broke off, giving her a quick look, “Rupert. I didn’t really want anything to happen to him, I just wanted him out of the way for a few days.”
Buffy gave him a wry look. “It’s okay, don’t hurt yourself. You can call him Ripper.” She frowned at him again. “What do you mean, you just wanted him out of the way?”
Ethan shook the box at her and she took one at random. “I had some plans, something I didn’t want Ripper getting wind of and interfering with, so I thought I’d give him a little vacation and get him out of my hair at the same time.”
Ethan shook his head. “Now, now, you better than that. Besides, that’s off since I’m going to be busy helping you look for Ripper.”
“You didn’t want him to interfere, but you didn’t think I would be upset when Giles disappeared?”
“Obviously I misread the situation, but, no, I didn’t think you would notice that Ripper was gone for a few days. I thought you would be too busy with your little soldier boy.”
Buffy looked at him with disbelief. “A few months ago, yeah, maybe.” At Ethan’s look she blushed. “Okay, probably. But not since that time you turned him into the Fyarl demon. I’ve talked to him everyday since then.”
“Well, in any event, I talked that idiot Maltz into performing the ritual so that in the event you did hear about it you wouldn’t know that I was involved. The spell I created, if it had been done correctly, would have brought him back here automatically one week after it sent him there.”
Buffy gave him a skeptical look.
“No, really. I didn’t want to hurt him. I chose the place very carefully. Remote island in a place similar to the Caribbean. Totally uninhabited. I included everything he needed to be comfortable for the week. Even left a letter explaining that he needed to be at the same spot in one week because that would be when the portal would open again for him to return.”
Buffy got a strange look on her face. “How do we know that he’s not there anyway? I mean, just because the portal didn’t look the right color, that doesn’t mean the spell didn’t work.”
Ethan looked startled. “I hadn’t considered that. I just assumed since Maltz screwed up the pronunciation that the portal that was created took him someplace else.” He stood up. “I’ll go check it out.”
Buffy surged to her feet. “No way, not alone. You’re not going anywhere without me.”
Ethan smiled. “Very well. Lets go.” He raised his hands and muttered. A pale yellow portal appeared in front of them. Ethan held out his hand, Buffy took it, and they stepped through.
Giles wandered around the facilities. Everyone he saw was involved in some task or other and he felt totally useless. He looked down at the blue uniform he was wearing. Major Sheppard had appeared at his door this morning with a small bag and the offer of showing him where to find breakfast. The bag had held a change of clothing and toiletries. Sheppard had apologized for the uniform, saying that very few of them had really thought that it would be a one way trip and most people hadn’t brought civilian clothing with them.
The two men had exchanged a bit of their histories over breakfast and then Sheppard had given him a detailed tour of the primary buildings. During the tour Giles had learned about Daniel Jackson’s connection to the expedition and about the disks that contained the information on himself and the Council. Giles had told Sheppard of his interest in observing the training session with Teyla and Sheppard had told him where and where it would be taking place.
Giles glanced back down at his watch. Still three hours to go. What could he do with his time until then? He was hesitant to interrupt anyone to ask for information, fearing he would just be in the way. And always, at the back of his mind, was concern for Buffy. What happened to her after he was thrown into the portal? How was she handling his being gone?
He stopped on a balcony and stared out across the ocean again, breathing deeply, trying to maintain control. His connection to Buffy was gone, leaving a gaping hole in his soul. He wanted to shout his frustrations to the sky. He wanted to take his sword and go hunting those Wraiths everyone talked about. He felt that if he didn’t do something soon, he would explode.
He wanted to go home.
“Rupert, there you are, I’ve been looking for you.”
Giles turned around, startled by the use of his name as well as the fact that he hadn’t heard anyone come up behind him. Elizabeth Weir was smiling at him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize. Is there something I can do for you?”
“I know that I am presuming on the fact that you are here, but I was wondering if you might be interested in helping to translate some of the Atlantian data base? Dr. Jackson’s files mention that he was hoping that you would join the team because of your talent with languages. Due to the secrecy of the mission, we were limited in the number of people we could bring. Most of our people have dual roles and unfortunately linguistics is taking a back seat to more urgent tasks right now. Having someone who could concentrate, for however long you are here, on translations would be a god send for us.”
“I would be happy to help. Where do you want me to work?”
“You can use my office.” When he started to protest she shook her head. “Trust me, my office is the emptiest room around here. If I am in there for more than half an hour something comes up that someone insists they need me to handle. Staff meetings are held in the conference room; I can do any business I need an office for in there for the time being.”
“You are assuming that this will be temporary. What happens if I’m trapped here permanently?”
“Then we’ll find you your own office. Now, if you’ll come with me, I’ll introduce you to Dr. Zelenka. He will get everything set up for you.”
Giles followed Elizabeth back into the complex, to a room just off the command center. A man was waiting. He wore the type of uniform that Giles had seen the others on the scientific staff wear, the only difference being the Russian flag on his left sleeve. The man smiled warmly and offered his hand to Giles.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Giles, I’ve read many of the papers you published while you worked for the British Museum.” Zelenka spoke English, but with a very strong Russian accent.
“Thank you,” Giles replied in perfect Russian. “I’m flattered that you’ve read some of my writings. Might I inquire if you are the Dr. Gregor Zelenka who worked on the St. Petersburg collection?”
Zelenka’s face split in a huge smile. “Yes, not many people remember that part of my life. I am better known in the world community for my scientific contributions.”
Elizabeth looked at the men in bemusement. “Well, I’ll leave the two of you to get aquatinted. Dr. Zelenka, if you could please show him what has been translated so far, and get him set up in here with the computer?”
“Yes, of course.” He switched back to Russian. “Anything you can translate for us will be a great help. There are so many things here that we can’t use because we just don’t know enough to do so safely. So much to learn, and so little time in the day.” The man bustled over to the desk and booted up the laptop.
Giles approached the desk uneasily “I’m afraid that I’m not very familiar with computers.”
Zelenka smiled. “Not to worry. I’ll print out everything we’ve translated so far, to give you a reference point. Then I’ll pick some files at random and print them out.” He gave a little frown. “I hope you don’t mind doing it like that; you know just straight translations, without an overall context as to what the information is for.”
“It won’t be a problem. I’m just relieved that I won’t need to work on that infernal machine.” Both men laughed.
Buffy and Ethan stepped through the portal onto a sandy beach. It was a sunny day, with a cool breeze blowing from the ocean. The sky was more green than blue and the ocean was a strange shade of yellow, but other than that it looked very much like Earth. Off to their right, well above the tide line, was a cottage. Before Buffy could move towards it, Ethan said, “He’s not here.”
“How can you tell?”
Ethan gestured to the sand. “No footprints.”
Buffy looked down and saw that he was right. “Well, maybe the tide washed them away. We should check the cottage anyway.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him with her towards the building.
Buffy climbed the steps to the small porch and entered the cottage. She looked around in surprise. “This is really nice. I guess I was expecting a tent or something.” The cottage was one large room, with a couple of areas partitioned off. Buffy moved over to one and saw a bed. Behind the other were a toilet, sink, and a tub. The kitchen area took up one corner. The main living area had a sofa, end table with lamp and one wall was covered in bookshelves. In the center of the room was a round fire bowl with a metal chimney that led up through the roof.
She looked back at Ethan with suspicion. “All of this for one week?”
“No, I didn’t put all of this here for Ripper to use for one week.” Ethan walked over to the bookshelf and pulled out a book. He flipped the pages, then returned it. “In point of fact, this is my own little home away from home. I found this dimension a few years ago and established an identity here. I own this island and all of this was put here by workers I hired. Occasionally, things get a little too, hot, for me back home and I pop here for a while. It’s very restful.”
Ethan waved a hand around to indicate the room. “As you can see, no one’s been here. We should be getting back before the others find out that you are gone as well.”
Buffy nodded and they left. Back outside Ethan gestured and the portal appeared. Buffy looked around wistfully. “I suppose it was too much to hope for, really.” Ethan held out his hand, she took it, and the pair entered the portal.
The voice pulled Giles’ attention away from the papers in front of him. He looked up to find Teyla standing in the office doorway. Giles looked down at his watch and saw that it was twenty minutes past the hour. Twenty minutes past the time the training session he was supposed to observe was to have started.
“I apologize, I appear to have lost track of the time. However, you didn’t need to come looking for me, I would have come to another session.”
Teyla gave him a gentle smile. “I am also looking for Major Sheppard. He is very inventive when it comes to finding ways to avoid our training.”
Giles looked surprised. “I would have thought that he would have been on time today, knowing that an outsider was going to be observing.”
Teyla just shrugged. “We can go on down to the training room and perhaps we’ll meet him on the way.”
Giles nodded and the two left the room.
Teyla was showing Giles the various types of staffs that she used when fighting. The one was identical to the type of quarterstaff that he used while training with Buffy. Her weapon of choice was a pair of sticks, half the length of the staff, which she would use in each hand. She had shown him a few of the basic positions when the door opened and Major Sheppard entered, followed by Elizabeth, Dr. McKay and Dr. Beckett.
McKay had a large smile on his face. “We’ve come to watch too. I been wanting to see Major Sheppard get the stuffing knocked out of him, but he wouldn’t let us before now.”
Giles looked at Sheppard and saw him shrug, blushing slightly.
“Rodney," Elizabeth chided, “you know that’s not true. We’ve been too busy to come before now. But I have been thinking that we should all be taking lessons from Teyla. You never know when the ability to defend yourself without a weapon could save your life.”
Teyla gave that formal little half bow. Giles and the others backed up to stand against the wall. Sheppard took off his jacket and picked up a pair of sticks that matched Teyla’s. They circled each other cautiously. Teyla made the first move, striking out quickly towards Sheppard’s leg. He parried the blow.
Giles watched, captivated. He wondered if this is how he and Buffy appeared to the others. Teyla was grateful, her movements very like a dance. Sheppard was slower, his movements not a fluid. How he wished Buffy were here. He would love to see the two women training against each other. Even without Slayer speed, Giles thought that Teyla would present Buffy with a challenge.
Giles brought his attention back to the here and now. Sheppard lay on the floor, grimacing. Teyla stood above him, shaking her head. “You have not be practicing, Major. I took you down faster this time.”
Sheppard stood up slowly. “We have been rather busy, but I have too been practicing. It’s just that you’ve been doing this all your life and I’ve only been at it for a couple of months. Of course you can take me down fast.” He put a hand against his side, wincing. “I think maybe you cracked a rib.”
“Nonsense, I didn’t hit you that hard.”
Giles stepped forward. “I would be interested in trying. Why don’t we let Major Sheppard rest for a few minutes while you and I spar?”
Everyone looked at him in surprise. He walked over and picked up the staff. “Would it be alright if I used this? I am familiar with this type of weapon and trained Buffy in its use.” He stepped into position across from Teyla.
Teyla looked at Elizabeth, who shrugged. Sheppard continued to stand in the center of the floor, the sticks he had been using still in his hand. Teyla looked at him. “Would you please move, Major, you are in our way.”
He looked between Giles and Teyla, opened his mouth, shut it again, shook his head and walked over to stand next to Elizabeth. “This isn’t a good idea,” he whispered, “Teyla will be careful, but he’s going to get hurt.”
Elizabeth watched the two begin to circle each other. “I don’t know, he appears to know what he’s doing.” She nodded towards the others.
Sheppard looked and saw Teyla on the floor.
Giles shook his head. “You are letting appearances deceive you. You see an older person and think ‘harmless’. Every opponent is potentially dangerous. You must never drop your guard. Now, try again.” He offered her his hand. She took it and he used it to flip her over. “Never drop your guard.” Giles stepped back, staff at the ready.
Teyla lay on the floor, dazed. Not so much by the actions, as by the remembrance of her father saying the same things to her when he first began training her. She stood and also moved to the ready position. They began to circle each other again. Two minutes later Teyla was again on the floor. She immediately rose and attacked.
Giles parried without effort. From the few minutes of watching her against Major Sheppard he had seen that she used the same motions in the same order. She had not practiced with an experience partner for quite a while, and it showed. He again knocked her down.
Teyla rose and this time circled around, waiting for him to make the first move. Giles refused, making her be the aggressor. After a few minutes her patience gave out and she attacked. He had no trouble blocking the blows. After a few more minutes of this he backed away and she allowed it, thinking that he was tiring. Giles immediately attacked, once again knocking her to the floor. Before he could say anything, Teyla jumped to her feet. “Never drop your guard.” She grinned at him.
Giles smiled back. “Precisely.”
Teyla rushed at him, arms moving in a flurry of strikes. He managed to block most of them, but a couple of blows hit him. He didn’t appear to notice, giving no visual reaction. “Well done. But your left shoulder keeps dropping. Strange, Buffy has the same problem.” He carried the attack back to her, sweeping the staff at her legs. This time she evaded them. “Very good.”
They continued to spar for half an hour, Giles keeping up a running commentary of advice and criticism. Teyla improvised a new movement, catching Giles by surprise, and he was knocked down. He lay on the floor, panting. He finally rose to his feet, leaving the staff on the floor. He bowed and stepped back. Teyla eyed him cautiously, then also bowed and stepped back, but did not release her weapons.
Giles smiled. “That was quite enjoyable, but half an hour is my limit. You are very good, although you need to watch that left shoulder.” He rubbed his side.
Carson came over and lifted the edge of the shirt, seeing a large purple bruise already forming. “You should put some ice on that.”
Teyla moved over to his side and gently touched the bruise. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Giles laughed. “I train with a Slayer. Buffy hits me numerous times every day. Bruises are a normal part of my life. She has cracked my ribs on more than one occasion.”
Elizabeth remembered all the bruises and scars Carson had found when examined him while he was unconscious. “Why do you put yourself through that type of punishment everyday?”
“Because it’s not punishment. Every night Buffy fights for her life, literally. My receiving bruises or even broken bones during training is immaterial if it keeps her reflexes sharp.” He turned back to Teyla. “If you don’t mind, I would like to continue to train with you while I am here. Same time tomorrow?” When she nodded, Giles left, Carson going with him to give him the ice pack.
The others stood in an awkward silence for a few minutes. Sheppard approached Teyla. “You still got time for me today?”
Teyla looked at him, then at Elizabeth and McKay. “If you were serious about learning, perhaps we could start with the basics now. Major Sheppard could use a bit of a refresher. That is, if you have the time?”
Elizabeth looked at the two men. They both nodded. “Now is as good a time as any.”