Watching Atlantis - Part Seven
For disclaimers see part one.
Buffy was seething inside. How dare he! Telling her to behave, like she was some little girl having a tantrum. Looking forward to seeing her spar with his wannabe Slayer was he? Then she would be sure to give him what he wanted. She'd knock that woman into next week. Oh, wait, Teyla wasn’t a Slayer was she? Teyla was, how did he put it, ‘merely a young woman who has had to fight a deadly enemy all of her life.’ And what did he think SHE did; patrol every night for the fun of it?
And what was with the 'us'? How many girls was he training here? Buffy watched Teyla walking in front of her. She had to admit the girl had style. That was a cool outfit she had on, especially that leather top. Wonder if there was some place to get one of those before they went back home.
Buffy was so busy with her internal rant that she didn’t pay attention to where they were going. She was surprised when Teyla stepped into a room that held, not more young girls, but the same people she had met yesterday, including that touchy, feely Weir woman. Buffy stared, narrow-eyed, as the woman walked up to Giles.
“Rupert, I’m so happy that you could join us one last time.” She placed a hand on his arm.
“Move it or lose it, lady,” Buffy muttered.
Teyla, who had heard, hid her smile when Buffy glared at her as well. So Rupert’s Slayer wasn’t as indifferent as he believed. Good.
Giles patted her hand. “It’s my pleasure, Elizabeth.”
Rodney smirked. “I, for one, am looking forward to seeing you beat the crap out of Major Sheppard one last time.”
Giles smiled and Buffy was startled. That wasn’t a Giles smile, that was a Ripper smile. “I do believe it’s your turn to be my sparing partner, Rodney.”
Rodney paled, but didn’t answer. Giles gave a little nod. “Alright everyone, let’s do our warm-ups.”
Buffy started doing stretches, expecting the others to do the same. Instead, the guy whose name she couldn’t remember moved over to a cd player and hit a button. Soft music sounded, the others lined up in two rows and began to move. Something about it looked vaguely familiar, but Buffy couldn't place it. Giles stopped moving and came over to her.
"It's call Tai Chi. It's easy to learn the basics. It’s a series of interconnected moves that are repeated. Just watch for a few moments, and then if you want to, you can join us." Giles walked back over next to Teyla and after a few seconds began moving in unison with the others.
Buffy watched, feeling strangely alone. She took a few deep breaths, waited for the right moment, then joined the exercise. For the next fifteen minutes the only sounds in the room were the soft music and the rustle of clothing. Finally, Giles stopped moving and went over to turn off the music. He reached down and picked up some sticks that Buffy hadn't noticed until then. The others also went over and picked up some of the sticks.
"Teyla, you and Elizabeth spar today. John, you're with Carson, and Rodney, you're with me. Buffy, I think that since this style is unfamiliar to you, you should watch for now. You'll have your chance to spar with Teyla shortly."
Buffy nodded and moved over next to the wall, sitting cross-legged on the floor. The three pairs moved around the room, giving the other teams plenty of space. When they were ready, the pairs bowed to each other and began.
Buffy could tell right away that John was going easy on the man named Carson. There were several times he could have made contact and didn't. Even though he was sparing with Rodney, Giles noticed. He moved over and attached John from behind, knocking him down.
"Ow! What was that for? You're supposed to be fighting Rodney, so how come you hit me?"
"Because you are not taking Carson seriously. These sessions are not for fun, John. There may come a time when Carson finds himself without a conventional weapon. He needs to know how to defend himself and anyone with him. You must not give him any quarter. You must push him to his limits. Teyla," Giles turned to the women, who had not stopped their sparing. "After I'm gone be sure to give Carson some extra lessons."
"Yes, Rupert." Teyla continued to attack Elizabeth, who was doing a very good job of keeping her at bay. John stood up, muttering under his breath. Giles gave him a very annoyed look.
"John, go over there and spar with Rodney. I'll practice with Carson." John looked outraged and started to protest, then stopped at the look on Giles' face. "Unless you want to practice with me?" came the silky voiced question.
Now Sheppard paled. "No, Rodney's fine." He moved over and started sparing with Rodney. Giles went over to Carson and spoke to him in a low voice, his hands gesturing with the sticks as he explained some move or other. Carson looked a little scared, but he listened, and nodded, then took the on-guard position. The men began.
Buffy watched, stunned. Giles had never acted like that with her. He used his Ripper side with these people, used it quite naturally. She wasn't sure she knew this man. Maybe she never had. But these people thought he always acted this way. Had being her Watcher diminished him in some way? Was this the way he should have been, but couldn't be, because the Watcher was subordinate to the Slayer?
Buffy felt tightness in her chest, and for a moment it was hard to breathe. He fit in. Maybe he should stay. He could have a life here, with that Weir woman, or Teyla. Although maybe not the weird woman; she and the major had some vibes going.
Buffy was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't realize the others had stopped until Giles knelt in front of her. He cupped her chin in his hand, raising her eyes to his. He drew in a sudden breath. "Buffy, what's wrong?"
He gripped her chin harder. "Tell me."
She blinked against a sudden surge of tears. "You should stay. You'd be safe. No vampires or monsters to worry about. You could have a real life. Get married and have kids." One tear escaped and slid down her cheek.
Giles rubbed it away with his thumb. "It would be living, but it wouldn't be a life. Not without you."
Buffy launched herself into his arms. "It hasn’t been life without you either." She gave a little laugh. "The last week has been so crazy. I beat up Riley and I've been patrolling with Ethan."
"With Ethan?" Giles gave her an incredulous look. "Ethan Rayne? Helping you patrol Sunnydale and fight vampires?" He frowned. "What was in it for him?"
"I didn't want to spend the week with a concussion," a voice drawled from the doorway. "She wouldn't let me out of her sight, so the choice was patrol or unconsciousness."
Giles glared at the doorway where Ethan was standing with the rest of the Sunnydale group. He turned back to Buffy. "Buffy, really?" She nodded, not looking at him. "That’s my Slayer."
Buffy looked and saw him smiling. He reached over and wiped the rest of the tears from her face. “Better now?” She nodded. Giles stood and offered her his hand. She took it and he pulled her to her feet. "Shall we show them how a Slayer handles a quarterstaff?"
Buffy smiled and nodded. She followed him over to where the staffs were leaning against the wall, and took one. She backed away, looking around to make sure no one was near, then started maneuvering the staff to check the balance. After a few seconds she faced Giles and held the staff in front of her. "Ready?"
They began their familiar dance.