Author: SHAWN DORCA <norgco[at]>

Summary: follows from my story Pardoned but you do not have to have read it.

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Buffy or Smallville characters.

Feedback: It's the coin of the realm, as The Man says.

Doctor Helgengruber's office, a Buffy session, October 14, 2005.

"You do realise that you are potentially a beacon of hope to the other slayers and potentials, don't you Buffy?" Her shrink announced one morning.

"You mean they could give pep talks by saying 'If you last long enough, you too can be one dose of the most powerful anti-psychotic medication available from being a total loon, brought back from the dead twice, and seemingly only able to form romantic attachments with the undead or soldier boys with quote genetic and cybernetic enhancement end quote'?"

She was smiling at him, she didn't particularly trust her own judgement any more and if he said 'yes that's exactly what I mean' she … well, ok so she wouldn't take it at face value. But she would get a second opinion rather than dismiss him as a crackpot.

"Cause doc, gotta say it sounds like something I might not have been terribly thrilled by at the tender age of 15." She said, then added in a more conciliatory tone. "Of course I'm nuts, so, it might be a really good idea."

He looked at her for a while, in that way he had that reminded her of Giles polishing his glasses. The he lowered his head and looked at her over the top of his glasses for a while, before speaking.

"I was thinking that Slayers traditionally know they are doomed." The good doctor - and he was a good doctor, he even made house calls - finally said. "I have studied the psychology of slayers most all of my professional life, and the sense of hopelessness and giving up on life that precedes the demise of so many is evident."

"They get a death wish?" She asked, remembering a conversation with Spike on the subject.

"I would not have phrased it that way, but a sense of duty can only go so far. Most have never even held hands with a boy because of Council upbringing, have no friends and no contact with their families, and can only hope for a quick, violent death rather than capture, rape and torture before being turned." He shook his head. "I really think Mr Giles was in the right by not letting you read the chapters of the Slayers Manual which detail how common that fate has been, by the way, damn the traditionalists."

"Vampire Slayers, my god how many of them are there? Are they like super dangerous cause…" Shock didn't begin to cover it, and her respect for Giles rose again. 'Always looking out for me, aren't you' she thought, of the man who hadn't even told her there WAS a manual.

"No Ms Summers, the slayer essence leaves on turning and what is left is a vampire girl in her teens who is mainly a trophy for the sire. They never last long." Knowing this was traditionally supposed to motivate the slayer to fight harder, he thought and had consistently argued it was sadistic. "So do you see now how your having made it this far, with friends who stand by you and retirement to a training post, maybe even a family some day, is hopeful by comparison?"

"So you think happy retired Mommy Buffy is in my future?"

"It is what you wanted since becoming the slayer."


"Isn't it?"

A warehouse that evening.

BOOM, CHUNK-CHUNK, BOOM, CHUNK-CHUNK. The shotgun was deafening in the enclosed space, and one of the guard demons swords slid along the floor from where the creature lay thrashing in pain. The rescue team was four cops in all, two of whom were releasing the hostages as the other pair stood guard. Most of the action was happening at the other end of the huge space, which was how the rescue could happen at all, the demons were distracted.

BOOM, CHUNK-CHUNK, BOOM. Its head gone, the crippled demon, which had been crawling towards them even with its hip shattered, dissolved into a puddle of yellow goo. The would-be sacrifices were led back to the exit, past Xander who was firing single shots from an M-16 he kept in the boot of his car for just such occasions. Faith and Suchi, one of the new slayers, were fighting the demons at the ceremonial area twenty feet away.

Or rather they were fighting one of the groups of demons, the other bunch being behind some kind of magic barrier. They couldn't escape from where they were, but since Xander's shooting was keeping them behind the green barrier they had to be vulnerable.

"May I?" one of the hostages, a bald man in his twenties asked, pointing to the weapons bag. The former Zeppo nodded, not really allowing himself to be distracted from what he was doing. The hostage took out a 9mm Beretta, went into a perfect Weaver Stance and fired off a quick double tap past the slayers. A small demon that had been staying out of the hand-to-hand suddenly lost concentration, followed by its head as the magazine was emptied into it.

"Bang." And Xander's bullet went straight through were the green barrier had been and dropped something large and mean looking like a sack of potatoes. 'Thank you Father Jessup for the blessed tracer rounds' the former construction foreman thought. It was suddenly chaos as demons started dropping, the rest panicked, and another squad car arrived, adding to the firepower.

"FALL BACK, FALL BACK!" Harris the younger shouted to the two slayers, who took the hint and backed up to his position, clearing the field of fire as they did so. With the hostages safe outside and four of the six Cleveland Police now on site in the firing line the withdrawal was bloody and quick. Time to get out while the bad guys were stunned and the good guys had plenty of ammo. "Time to leave people, every second person retreats ten paces and reloads, then the rest mad minute and leapfrog twenty paces back and do the same, three, two, one, NOW."

Slayer HQ, -aka SlayCo - later that evening, after action review.

"So, how did you drop the magic green thing?" Vi asked. These sessions were really for training as much anything else; it was Xanders idea from his soldier memories. The bald hostage was there too, he said he was intrigued.

"They violated rule Evil Overlord Rule 221." The bald man responded.

"Huh?" Was the response from everyone, well, everyone except Andrew, who spoke up immediately.

"My force field generators will be located INSIDE the shields they generate." The would-be super-villain was feeling useful for a change and continued. "The little guy you shot?"

"Exactly." From the bald man.

"Again with the huh, for the dumb blondes in the audience?" Buffy said. Her sense of humour was returning, plus she was studying Xander carefully as to how to put people at ease and make friends.

"The Evil Overlord Guide, my father made me memorise it." The hairless one responded. All 231 points of it, actually.

"Was he some kind of science fiction fan, cause I remember Xander printing off some of that as kids?" Willow asked. Her ability to focus on a task was powerfully displayed by the question. Not many people could have paid any attention to the goings on around them while sitting on Kennedy's lap and having her ear nibbled by the slayer, who also had her hand under the red-head's jumper and, apparently, her bra as well.

"No, he was Lionel Luthor." From the father who had responded to his need for relationship advice by supplying him with a copy of the Complete works of Niccolo Machieavelli in the original language it had seemed perfectly reasonable.

Faith's bedroom, SlayCo, that night.

"So Xman, this Lex character, who'd never seen a demon before yesterday, sizes up the situation, realizes the little demon mumbling in the back is making the force field and wastes him with a handgun from twenty feet?" She had been there but of course had not seen any of the details, being involved in slicing and dicing scaly things at the time.

"Yes." He said, distracted.

"You do realise that that's almost impossible, don't you?"

"How come?" The male in the bed questioned. Or it might have been that, it was hard to understand him now.

"FBI statistics." The Boston born slayer replied. "One of the Instructors at the police academy pointed out that in actual gunfights the average American policeman can't hit a standing man at ten feet, and the average pistol fight involves emptying the weapon at eight feet."

"But I've seen them at the range and they do WAY better than that." Buffy commented.

"Don't talk with your mouth full." The dark slay said to her, and the bottle blonde returned to her sword swallower impression. The one that had the Xandman so distracted. Who Faith proceeded to kiss, and keep kissing for ages until he came in a shuddering climax. "Now B, lay back, spread your legs, and let me eat at the Buffy Buffet."

After a while they lay back on the bed and rested. With the emergency rescue mission and the decision about to try what they had just done it had been a long day and they were relaxed and tired. Sleep was easy and restful.

Willow and Kennedy's bedroom, also at SlayCo.

"You know who I would really like to fuck?" The younger woman asked. It was a game they played regularly, a place, a movie, a book, which of the women would you just screw stupid, and give all the details. Their relationship was not like the one Willow had had with Tara, but the rich girl made her feel worthwhile and at peace.

And horny of course, lets not forget that.

"No, which of the girls here at SlayCo do you really want to have totally meaningless sex with?"

"Dawn." Her lover pronounced. "She's cute, she had great tits, and a very spankable ass."

"Go on." All three items of description being perfectly true and the two of them were monogamous, after all.

They were also naked and there were tongues, hand and fingers and long rubber devices in use, so her normal restraint was not evident. Also this was her and Ken's bed, she could be or say anything she wanted here, and it was all right. The dark haired non-Wicca had put a lot of time and effort into creating that belief, knowing perfectly well the load of guilt her girlfriend carried with her.

"How about, on her eighteenth birthday, we bring here up here and break her in properly?"

"You make her sound like a horse."

"I'd like to ride her like one yeah."

They made love and talked, eventually getting around to the TaraWarrenI tried to end the world stuff, as they routinely did. The red head would talk about it, her girlfriend would listen, give advice, and remind her of things like the thank you's she sometimes received from cops who'd found her training useful. A crayon drawing from a six year old would have been sacrifice had been included in one. It showed a stick figure 'Willow the good witch' throwing little balls of fire at big things with too many teeth. The slayer of the pair had framed it and put it on the wall where it was the first thing Willow saw in the morning and the last thing she saw at night.

"I'll never be able to tell you how much I love you." Willow said just while snuggling down for sleep.

"Nor I you. Sleep tight."

"Sleep tight."

SlayCo HQ Canteen, breakfast the next day.

"So, Buffy, how was your first time with a girl, feel like abandoning the home team now?" Willow asked with a smile not seen in many years. And a totally innocent enquiry tone of voice too, a 'do you think it will rain today?' tone.

"No, but I mean it was fine, really."

"FINE!" Faith responded with mock outrage. "That was some of my best work, it was FUCKING EXCELLENT."


"Or excellent fucking anyway." Xander quipped.

"Well I'm not quitting guys any time soon because of it, but yeah, I'd probably repeat the experience." The elder slayer added brightly. She was experimenting with various sexual things she normally would not try, as part of her attempt to find 'the non-cuckoo' Buffy, as she phrased it. As long as she was honest with him about it everything was ok with her shrink.

Given the almost total absence of data on Slayers love lives - most had never had one, no slayer had had a child AFTER being called, and so on - whatever the elder slayer did would simply be recorded. The slayers now existing were all 'of child bearing age' as it was traditionally phrased, and being monitored closely on every aspect of their thoughts, moods and behaviours. In a century or so the Watchers would actually have a clue as to what advice to give a slayer in Buffy's position.

For now all they could do was hope for the best, plan for the worst, and not get thrown by anything in between.


Lex Luthors hotel suite, same time.

"So let me see if I have this straight." The billionaire and son of a billionaire said. He had started a routine investigation as soon as he borrowed a mobile phone, and the woman on the other end of the phone had been working ever since. "The Department of Homeland Security has a block over their records, except for Faith McCormack's pardon for murderer and that Buffy Summers is still being made to pay off the bank loan on her mothers house despite the fact that it, and in fact the whole town, does not exist anymore."

The investigator responded to that for a while, as the purple clad man sipped his coffee. The Los Angeles bank in question was apparently in a tight squeeze financially and not about to let anyone off the hook.

"And they're all being paid the minimum wage plus room and board by an English organization called the watchers council so the rest are probably having to chip in so she can make the payments." More talk from the other end of the phone. "Good, yes send me what details you can get on the bank and I assume the usual payment arrangements will do?"

Lex Luthor was beginning to think he finally understood his friend Clark. The demons had made it clear they were trying to 'exterminate the plague of human.' In helping the hastily organised rescue operation - it started with a noise complaint and escalated rapidly - he had helped SAVE THE WORLD. It was in capital letters in his mind I HELPED SAVE THE WORLD YESTERDAY. He could have just obeyed the orders of his rescuers and left but he stayed and dropped the magic force field creator and HELPED SAVE THE WORLD.

Lex Luthor was ultimately driven by some simple desires, first of which was to avoid becoming his father. The other big drive was to be a great man, which was tending to make him act more and more like his father. Living his life was like watching a train wreck in progress, everything seemed pre-ordained and heading towards a place he didn't want to go and I HELPED SAVE THE WORLD YESTERDAY!

"Thanks for what you did yesterday, the others always have a problem admitting it but we can always use the help." Alexander Harris had said to him as he waited for his limo to come take him home yesterday. And now Lex was seeing how to change his fate, how to avoid hid destiny. He picked up the phone and made a call.

"Mr Harris, I think I've found a way I can be of further help to your organization." Paying out a house mortgage was peanuts, after all, and after all, if he allowed the world to end it would be terrible for business. "How about lunch with you associate Ms McCormack at Le Grande Buffet, I'll send a limo and we can talk about possibilities?"