January 19th, 2008
Buffy had gone up to talk to Jessie and found the woman gone. She went back downstairs and avoided Cordelia and Oz, slipping outside to wait in the shadows.
Jessie found the window of her upstairs guest room and tucked her Bowie knife into her jeans so she could jump up and climb back into the house.
"Hey," Buffy said, stepping into the light. "Door works better. Giles yells when I go out the window about giving him a heart attack one day or something. Can we talk?"
Jessie nodded. "Okay."
"You're a Slayer, right?" Buffy asked, leaning against the building wall. She rarely stood with her back facing any open space.
"I told you I was, and I would think after today, that would be sort of obvious. Yes," Jessie continued in a tired voice, "I'm a slayer."
"When you landed, you said you had been shot and grabbed at your chest," Buffy said slowly.
"Landed?" Jessie gave her a confused look. "Oh, you mean when I... ended up here." Jessie nodded. "Yes. I was shot, in the heart. It happened really fast and I couldn't do anything, but... I felt the bullet go in. Then I felt like I was falling... and I ended up here."
"What if you left a body back there," Buffy asked. "You didn't jump universes with the bullet or any injury."
Jessie frowned. She hadn't thought about that, but then she shook her head. "No... this has happened before. The Powers... they made us travel. It's happened before, and we've always found each other again."
"Were you injured when you jumped back and forth?" Buffy asked. "You were shot in the heart. You aren't scratched here."
"I've never been injured, no, but others had..." But that made Jessie think. They'd always retained the injuries. Like the time of the Spanish Inquisition. "I don't understand what you are trying to say."
"If you left a body on the other side, you may need to rely on us and yourself to get back," Buffy said with a shrug.
"Giles is working on it. He said he may have the answer tomorrow," Jessie said. "But I also have faith in my husband. He'll find me. He always has, and he always will." Jessie didn't want to hear any of this negative talk. Hope... it was all she had.
"This is a Hellmouth, things get lost and they don't come back," Buffy said softly. "Until it works out, we could use the help. Not you going off and taking on a nest by yourself. The vampires work in teams and make plans here."
Jessie bit back an angry retort. She realized that Buffy was just trying to help, and to keep her safe. She sighed. "You just don't understand how... how hard it is to be in there," she said softly, swallowing the lump in her throat. "To have him look at me and not know me, to hear about his... life without me. To see him with Ethan." She almost spit out the last about Ethan.
Buffy raised her eyebrows. "Ethan's one of the resistance leaders in San Francisco. You need a room somewhere else? There's a couple of White Hats that have secure places."
To get another place made Jessie feel like... like she was giving up and that she'd be here forever. "I... I don't know. If Giles finds the answer tomorrow, it would be easier if I were here." But if he didn't find the answer soon, maybe another place was a good idea.
"We joke around a lot, it's that or go nuts," Buffy said. "Why is Sunnydale my fault?"
"Its not your fault," Jessie told her. It was weird. Jessie was 29 years old, almost thirty. Here, Buffy was a teenager. In this reality, Jessie had been the slayer longer. That was mind blowing to Jessie. "How could it be your fault?"
"You said Willow was part of the team, we worked together," Buffy said. "She was turned when I got here. I was supposed to stop the Master?"
Jessie nodded. "Yes. All of you, working together. That's the key, Buffy. You all have to work together. As... as a family. You all seem sort of disconnected here. Giles is separate from you, I don't know if there is something going on between you and Oz or not but... the key was that you all worked together. It wasn't easy, but... it worked."
"I couldn't be here!" Buffy said sharply. "I couldn't fight! I was.... I was hurt and Mom... Look, why do you trust me with him? I got my other Watcher killed."
"It wasn't your fault, Buffy. And its not too late, you know? Sure, it won't be like it was, but it's not over here. Not by a long shot." Jessie tried to soothe her. "Why do I trust you with him?" She frowned. "As he keeps informing me, he's not... my Giles. It's not my place to trust you with him or not. But that being said, I know what's inside of you, and I know what's inside of him, and that's why I believe in you both."
"I can't get near the Master, they're just getting stronger," Buffy said softly. "My mom is.... I have to move her out of LA, the Council barely helps... I didn't ask for this!"
"Buffy, does your mom... does she..." Jessie wasn't sure how to ask this. "Does she have cancer?"
"She's in a chair," Buffy mumbled, kicking a rock from under her foot. "They found out who I was and attacked when we were out. They killed Pike in front of me, very slowly. They thought Mom was killed in the crash but she wasn't. I was..... hurt."
"And that's why you weren't here, in Sunnydale? That doesn't sound like your fault to me. That sounds like the vampires fault, or the Council for not helping you well enough." Jessie shrugged. "Is it my fault I'm here? No. It's fate, or destiny, or the Powers... but its not our fault. Blaming yourself doesn't help, Buffy. It's a distraction you don't need."
"Oz is a werewolf, you're gonna leave, my mom is in danger and we're losing here," Buffy grumbled. "How did you become the Slayer? How did I die in your world? Maybe the next Slayer here would be better."
"Good grief," Jessie lamented. "I'm here, away from my family, never knowing if I'm ever going to see them again. I'm totally alone, and you're having the pity party? And you didn't die in my world," Jessie said, frustrated. "You saved the world several times, and the last time Willow did this spell that made every potential slayer... a real slayer. I already told you before that you were alive."
Buffy frowned. "Willow is some magic type in your world? What if she finds magic here? And don't lecture me, you haven't been Miss Sunshine either. How old are you? What were you doing before you were zapped and became a Slayer? Already out of high school? Had a life?"
Jessie sighed. "I'm not trying to lecture you," she said softly. "I don't presume to know what you're going through here, and you have no idea what I've been through. I'm sure it's been difficult for the both of us."
Buffy shook her head. "Let's get inside. Giles or me has to sit with Oz tomorrow night."
"Buffy, have you talked to Giles about all of your... feelings?" Jessie asked. "He could help you, you know? Like what I said before, about... being a team and being connected. It starts with communication and... openness."
Buffy frowned. "Maybe he was loosened up by the time you met him but have you tried to talk about feelings with Mr. Uptight and British in there?"
Jessie flinched. "I can barely look at him," Jessie said painfully. "And my feelings hardly matter. Not here." Jessie reached for the door, hesitating, and then turned the knob.
"Yeah, noticed that," Buffy said. "Just.... think of him as your guy's twin or something."
Jessie paused. "You know, right now, here in this time, I'm in Texas. In Austin, and I'm probably around 22 or so. I'm not a Slayer yet. I'm living on a farm with my foster parents, who treat me like one of the animals." Jessie looked up at her then. "You have a mother who loves you. You have friends. You have a Watcher that is more loyal and strong and loving than you can ever know. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, take advantage of the good things you do have." Then Jessie turned and went back into the house.
"Tell me that after you get a good look at Sunnydale, Los Angeles and San Francisco," Buffy muttered. "We need a truce, Tex."
"A truce about what? I'm on your side. I'm just trying to get you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and use that energy to kick ass, that's all," said Jessie.
"Yeah, back at you," Buffy growled. "Think of him as.... a twin or something and focus on the fight until we get you out of here."
Jessie blinked. "Focus on the fight? I just spent all day taking out nests, and tonight keeping Ari safe and patrolling."
"I mean tomorrow, give me a break," Buffy said, moving past Jessie into the apartment. "We need another bed in here. Oz, we're on the pullout. Cordy, Giles has a cot in the closet."
Jessie was mortified. For a second there, it was as if she forgot where she was, and that this Giles wasn't... her Giles. His eyes had seen the marking on her leg, claiming her... and she'd just blurted out her first thought.
After changing her clothes and cleaning up, she could hear the others downstairs eating pizza and being loud and laughing. They all sure seemed to like to talk about Giles' sex life, to her chagrin. It was unbearable. Not caring it was dark out, and still with the Bowie knife in hand, Jessie decided to hop out the window. She could take care of herself.
Ari stared while she walked down the deserted streets. Wow. Even though San Fran was falling, there were still people out at night in groups, people refusing to accept what was happening. And in groups, in public, it was still mostly safe. Here...everything was dead.
"What the fuck are they thinking?" she muttered, kicking at an abandoned tire. "What's the point, if there's no life around?"
Jessie was wary, keeping her eyes, ears, and senses open. She forced thoughts and emotions away. It was too painful. That wasn't easier for her though. She kept having flashes, but she'd shake her head and force them away.
"Where's a vamp when I need one!" she shouted, itching for a fight.
Ari frowned at the echo, jumping slightly. Was someone trying to commit suicide? She'd heard of that - humans who suddenly seemed to understand what was coming, and who just gave up.
Something went down Jessie's spine. She clutched the knife in her hand, jumped up on a nearby fire escape, crossed the roof, and looked down the side of the building. "Ari," she whispered.
Ari turned around, trying to figure out where the shout had come from. Fucked if she wanted to see some suicidal human torn apart by vampires.
Jessie jumped down, landing right behind Ari. "Looking for a... meal? Probably won't find one out here. All the humans are tucked away in their beds, eating pizza, forgetting about... death and violence for awhile."
Ari jumped backwards, startled. "Who - oh, it's you," She relaxed slightly. "And not in this town...I doubt any of them are forgetting." She looked around and shook her head. "It's a damn shame."
"Yes, it is." There was much Jessie didn't understand about this place.
Ari sighed, and shrugged, before turning her gaze to Jessie. "What are you doing out now? It's late...and dangerous."
Jessie shifted the knife in her hands. "I can take care of myself. I just... can't stay there. But I have nowhere else to go."
Ari looked at the knife, and her eyes raked over the woman. "Maybe you can take care of yourself," she mused.
If Ari knew the half of it. Slowly Jessie began to walk, hoping Ari would join her. "Giles... he said that perhaps tomorrow he'll find an answer in his book to send me back home. I have to hold onto that hope. That or... my family will somehow find me, and come for me."
Ari nodded. "That's why we brought the books. And they were fucking heavy, let me tell you. I had to carry all of them out to the car." Ari made a face.
Jessie smiled a little at that. "Yes, Ethan's always been quite the gentleman."
Ari looked at Jessie, her eyebrow going up. "Either that's sarcastic, or he's way different in your world."
Jessie actually laughed a little at that. "It was sarcastic, trust me."
"Well, he does take some getting used to," Ari said, before she smiled fondly.
Jessie shifted the knife again and decided to change the subject. "So, do you need to... you know, feed?"
"I fed before we left," Ari said, with a shrug. "So I can go a few days, until I get a feel for everything...why?" then the demon did a double-take. "Wait, and - how do you know to ask that?"
Jessie kicked a bottle out of their way and stopped when Ari did. "First question, because I'd help you if you needed it. I know you don't kill anyone, and second question... I know you in my time. We're... we're sort of like family."
The demon looked skeptical. "We're family?" she asked. "But...you don't like Ethan."
Jessie's face tightened. "I hate Ethan."
Ari took a step away from Jessie, involuntarily, and stared at her. "Then...how can we be family?" she asked cautiously.
Jessie saw a bench and nodded at it. She sat down and waited for Ari to join her. "It's hard to explain everything. Ethan... in my world, he hurt everyone. Even you. Terribly. But you and I... we were like sisters. We had bad times, don't get me wrong, and sometimes we fought or had huge misunderstandings, but... I always had a part of you in my heart," she said softly.
Ari tipped her head to the side, looking Jessie over. "Sisters?" she asked, skeptically. "I dunno. You're kinda hot to have sisterly feelings about."
Jessie blinked, then started to blush. She bent her head. "Well, we... it wasn't quite like sisters. Like I said, it was very complicated."
Ari watched the flicker of lust through Jessie's body, and smirked. "See, now that's more like it." The demon walked slowly over to the Slayer - almost prowling - and sat down beside her.
Jessie propped her elbows onto her knees and rested her chin on her hands. "I have to believe that in my time, you and Giles are doing everything you can to find me, and bring me home."
Ari inhaled slightly, taking in Jessie's scent. "Are we lovers?" she purred, leaning in a bit too close to Jessie's ear.
Jessie jumped back and stood up. She held her hands out to Ari. "Ari, like I said, things are very complicated. I'm married. We both respected that Giles is mine, and I am his. But you... you and Giles..." she stammered and went quiet, too upset and confused to put it all into words.
"Giles?" Ari wrinkled her nose slightly. She wasn't entirely sure what Ethan saw in him. He seemed tired and...boring. Ari shrugged, and stood up again. "What about you and me?" she purred.
Jessie's shoulders slumped. She grabbed up her knife again. "Where the hell are all the vampires, for godsakes!"
"Probably enjoying the humans they rounded up earlier," Ari said, with a shrug. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to piss you off," she offered.
"You didn't. You... you don't," Jessie said softly. "It just... hurts. I miss you, and I miss my son, and... I miss my husband. And I have to look at his face here, but he doesn't see me. He doesn't know me. He can't feel me... I just feel so alone."
Ari thought about that for a second, and nodded. "Being alone sucks, doesn't it?"
"It hurts worse than anything," Jessie said softly. "That's one thing I've learned. That connection... that love... it's all that matters. This Giles, he's so sad and lonely, and has no real connections... I think if he did, he'd understand what he's fighting for. I... I have to go home."
Ari nodded. "Well, he's working on it. And Ethan says he's really smart."
"He is," Jessie said softly. "Where are you and Ethan staying? And, you and he, you aren't... uh... he's just your father, right?"
Ari gave Jessie a really confused look. "What?" she asked.
Jessie blushed again. "Uh, nevermind. Let me make sure you get back safely."
"You're kinda confusing," Ari said, pointing back towards their rental. "You know that?"
"If you were me right now, you'd be confused too," she said softly. "Everyone here is... some are just like I knew. Ethan is similar. You are younger but... the same. Willow and Xander are vampires, but Oz is still a werewolf. It's like this world is a puzzle, with all the pieces mixed up. They don't fit together like they should."
"Well...if it's a parallel world, you have to figure out what the difference is," Ari said, thoughtfully. "Like...the land of Perpetual Wednesday... or the World Without Shrimp."
Jessie chuckled. "What is it with you and the world without shrimp?"
"Well, I went there on vacation a couple times," Ari said defensively. "I thought it was cool...I even had a t-shirt."
Jessie laughed. "I'm glad I ran into you tonight. I'm sorry I'm so confusing. But... thank you. Thank you for... making me smile."
"Glad to," Ari said with a smile. She hesitated for a second, and then gave Jessie a quick kiss.
Jessie swallowed. She patted Ari's shoulder and then turned and walked away, back to Giles' place.
"If you reconsider," Ari called.
Jessie closed her eyes for a moment and gripped at her knife. Why was Ari so much like the Ari she knew, only not as hardened by life? But Giles... Giles was so different? She tucked the knife into her pants and jumped up to the window of the guest room.
January 15th, 2008
Cordy kept giving Jessie covert glances in the car. "So... who are you? And how can you be a slayer?"
Jessie exhaled slowly and shrugged. "Long story."
Buffy entered the apartment slowly. She wasn't surprised Ethan and his daughter weren't around yet, they were probably in some hotel. Oz was playing a guitar softly. "Giles?"
Rupert came down the stairs with a book in hand, reading the passage on transdimensional jumps. He shut it when he heard Buffy's voice. "Hello," he said quietly.( Read more... )
Jessie understood Buffy’s need earlier to kill some demons. Not that Jessie wanted to kill specifically demons. She just needed to exert her rage, fears, and frustration. Her overwhelming feelings of being alone and her profound sadness.
Sometimes Jessie had troubles fighting vampires now. Ever since Giles became a vampire… her Giles, not this one, she was always afraid of hesitating. But this day, she almost didn’t care if she lived or died. She was already dead, right? And seeing Ethan kissing Giles brought back all her old insecurities. Ethan is a vampire now. Ari is Giles sire. They’re probably better off without me. They’re a family now… all together… I was always on the outside. I tried so hard…. But now I’m dead…
No, Jessie didn’t think she’d have any problems killing anything.
She’d never been to Sunnydale, though it was obvious the place was utterly devoid of life. The buildings were empty, abandoned, or nests. Jessie wanted a nest, and she found one. She held the Bowie knife high above her head and kicked in a door. Soon she was screaming, and the air was covered in dust.
Jessie didn’t emerge unscathed. Her shoulder was slashed, severing the sleeve of the shirt she’d been wearing. Her lip was bloodied and she had a gash on her head. But all the vampires inside, too many for her to even attempt to count, were all dead.
The sun was setting. Soon the night would be alive with the undead. Jessie knew she should return to the others. A part of her never wanted to go back there though. She was afraid of what she might have to endure. It had been horrible before, but now with Ethan there… Jessie wasn’t sure how much more she could bear.
The voice of the obviously angry and terrified young woman brought Jessie out of her reverie. The brunette was behind the wheel of her car. QUEEN C said the license plate. She kept trying to slam the door as a vampire tried to rip it open. In shock and surprise, Jessie watched the woman grab her purse and begin to wallop the vampire beside its head over and over again. If nothing else, Jessie thought, the girl had courage. She obviously wasn’t very smart to get herself into this situation, but she had gusto.
“HEY!” Jessie shouted. She raised her knife and started running towards the vampire. ‘Larry’ saw her coming, growled and took off running in the other direction. The other girl watched him run away, her shoulders slumped, before she turned to Jessie with a wary expression.
“Are you a slayer? I’ve never seen you around here before.”
Jessie blinked and then slowly nodded. “Yes.”
Cordelia Chase got back in her car and then opened the passenger side door. “Get in. You’re crazy being out here alone at night.”
Jessie smirked and wondered the same thing about Cordelia. She slid into the car and held the knife in her lap.
“I can’t believe Larry was turned. I heard he was, but… stupid lunk head. We were suppose to go to the opera together. Now who am I suppose to go with?” Cordelia ripped the car into gear and sped off.
Jessie remained quiet. What could she say to that? And why wasn’t she surprised when Cordelia began driving towards Giles’ neighborhood.
“You look like hell,” Cordelia said. “Don’t bleed on my upholstery.”
Jessie rolled her eyes. “I can get out.”
“No, no… I’ll take you to Giles. He’ll know what to do.”
Jessie was going to protest, but decided why bother. She did need a shower. And eventually she’d need more clothes. She didn’t have anywhere else to go. That thought brought sudden tears to her eyes again. She turned her head out the window and stared out at the darkness. She just wanted to go home.
Buffy whistled as she made coffee. Oz was still asleep in his sleeping bag on the floor, pillow over his head. One nice thing about being a Slayer, she didn't need a lot of sleep.
Rupert paused outside of his kitchen and sighed before making his bleary way to the sink. He filled the kettle, thinking fondly back on the days when his mornings were solitary and calming.
Now he had to edge around a strangely-chipper Slayer to put the kettle on. "Good morning," he said.
Upstairs in the guest room, Jessie placed the journal she'd written her letter to Giles within one of the deep cargo pockets in her pants. She wanted to keep it with her at all times.
"Morning," Buffy said. "I saw that red-haired vamp, the one nutcase upstairs talked about last night. I really hope she's not expecting whacked out Willow vamp to help."
Rupert sighed. "Presumably, in her world, she's not a vampire." Which would have been - well, no point in dwelling. But Willow was a rather terrifying vampire, and with Xander...he knew sooner or later that situation would come to a head. "Did she have anything interesting to say? The vampire, not - her." He gestured to the ceiling.( Read more... )
Rupert watched as the young woman got into her car and turned it on, before retreating into his flat. He shut the door behind him and locked it. The sex had been quick and not exactly satisfying, but it had taken some of the edge away.
So, with a sigh, he poured himself a very small whiskey, and sat down, dialing a familiar number.( Read more... )
Willow stalked into the Bronze, growling to herself. Minions scattered out of her way, though she caught one of them by the collar, hauling him close. "Where's Xander?" she snarled.
"H-h-he's still out," the minion gasped, staring up at her with big glassy eyes. She gave the little weasel-faced vampire a shake and tossed him aside.
"Fine," she growled. She'd go play with the Puppy, then.
Angel could sense her, smell her vile dead blood cells as soon as she entered. He tensed and backed away to the far corner of his cage, angry at himself for his weakness.
Willow unlocked the cage and put the key into her cleavage, before she pulled the door shut behind her. She strode over to him and kicked him in the side.
Angel flinched but didn't make a sound. He sat with his knees up and under his chin, almost hiding his face. After he recovered from the kick, however, he glared up at her with an angry look.( Read more... )
Willow sauntered down main street, playing a bit with a new bracelet she'd pulled off of her last victim. She hummed to herself as she walked down the deserted street. The Master had finally calmed down - she'd never seen him as worked up as he'd been since the blonde descended on their little factory. At least she'd managed to catch her little puppy before he got away. Now she had to find a present for the Master. Maybe a lovely little girl. Blonde, like the new bitch in town.
Buffy motioned Oz slightly back and stepped into the light of a street light. "Hello, carrot top. Wanna dance?"
Oz pulled up his crossbow and pulled out another bolt to quickly reload.
"You," Willow said, frowning. She pocketed her bracelet. "You're annoying." But these whitehats never traveled alone, that was one of their rules. She glanced around, her eyes narrow. Where was the other one...
"And I love it," Buffy said, tossing her stake from one hand to another. "Where's gruesome? Drinking from some rats?"
"Puppy's the only one who drinks from rats," Willow said, shaking her hair back with a toss of her head. "He's been punished very severely for playing with you...maybe I'll give him your head to cuddle when you're dead." She vamped out and growled. The crossbow would be a problem.
Buffy laughed. "I play with the dust from all of you. I mean, really, you're all just SO ugly when you show your true nature. You deserve to be dust."
Willow rolled her eyes. "She's not nearly as bright and cheery as the rest of you," she told Oz. "What's wrong with her?"
"New in town," Oz said with a shrug. "She's got a point. So much easier dusting a corpse when it's all gross.... like you are."
Buffy stepped aside as the crossbow bolt shot past her.
Willow spun out of the way, and hissed at both of them. She wasn't sure she could take the blonde - scratch that, she knew she couldn't. Not alone, anyway. Not if the Master had fought her and come to a stalemate. "You know," she said, still looking at Oz. "You are kinda cute...I'll ask Xander if he'd mind if we turned you, instead of killing you." She shifted her face back to a more human visage, and looked up and down the blonde's body with a smirk. "You aren't so bad, either. A little butch, but that could be hot."
"You might get a surprise if you try," Oz said softly. "Come around tomorrow night, you can spend the entire night with me."
Buffy laughed. "I like being on top, babe. Right before I put my stake through your heart."
"I'd let you put it somewhere else," Willow cooed to Buffy. Then she shrugged and turned away, whistling as she started to walk off in the other direction.
Oz fired another bolt, hoping he'd at least hit her in the shoulder. "You think she'll show up? I bet she'd love to meet the werewolf."
Willow heard the whisper of air parting and jumped lightly out of the way. Let them try again when she was finished with her little...surprise. The blonde could be trouble, though - they needed to make a decisive strike and take her out. She'd talk to Xander when she returned to the Bronze. He was always up for some violence.
"Want to chase her?" Buffy asked. "I could put her through a work out trying to get away from me."
"Then we'd be separated," Oz pointed out. "I need to be on the dirt bike for that run. They're going to start focusing just on you, you know."
"You think?" Buffy asked, shrugging.
"I would," Oz said.
Jessie stayed in the shower long after the water had turned cold. The chill numbed her skin, almost leaving her feeling as numb outside as she felt on the inside. Eventually she turned off the water, hoping that this Giles was not upset by her selfishness of the hot water. She'd find someway to repay his water bill, if needed.
Funny what one thought of sometimes, when barely hanging on to their sanity.
Not having anything else to wear, Jessie pulled on her old clothes. They were dirty, but she was amazed there was no blood on the chest. Where did the blood go? Where did... where did everything go?
After preparing herself for the night as well as she could, Jessie returned to the bed. But she couldn't sleep. She didn't remember the last time she'd felt so alone. Yes, she'd slept alone sometimes, because Giles would be out with Ari or out hunting. Admittedly though, that hadn't been often. But Jessie was now used to sleeping during the day. Night was her time. Her and Giles' time.
She got out of bed and paced for awhile, and then something on the desk caught her eye. It was a yellow notepad and a cup full of pens. After hesitating for only a moment, Jessie pulled back the heavy desk chair and sat down. She picked up the pen and started to write.
My Darling Giles. My husband,
I'm not sure how to start. Where is the beginning, and where is the end? I do not know anymore. All I know is that you are not here, and I am alone.
I miss you. I need you!
Do you miss me? Are you looking for me? I'm alive, my Giles. I didn't die! Please, I know you'll find me. We always find each other.
Something terrible has happened. I don't know how, but somehow I came alone to another time, and another place. You... you are here, but it's not you. Your eyes and face look upon me, and do not know me. I die a little every time my eyes meet yours, and you don't see me. I don't think my heart can bare it for long.
That is why I am resolute to return to you. I won't give up. I know you'll come for me. I bet you and Ari and Buffy and Quincy and everyone is trying really hard to find me right now. I know you. You are my loyal and strong husband, my loving husband, and you'll find me.
I worry about Beau and you. Please don't be too sad. Just... just find me. Please hurry.
I'm in Sunnydale, California. I don't know what year it is, but you are all so much younger here. It's a different reality, my Giles. Buffy is here, but she's harder, meaner looking, and I don't think you and her are as close as a watcher and slayer should be. Not as close as you were. The Master rules here. I don't know what happened, but Willow and Xander are vampires, and...
They don't know me. They trust no one, and that includes me. They don't believe me. I popped right out of thin air into the middle of this Giles' room, and they think it's a trick of the Master. How they cannot see the pain and anguish in my eyes, I do not know. This Giles cannot feel my pain, or feel my love... he's not you! How he can look at me and not feel my love, I just don't know...
But he can't feel it, because he's not you. My Giles, my husband... please feel me. You have to hear me, through our connection. I'm not dead. I'm here, still loving you, still needing you.
I just want to go home, and I won't stop fighting until I'm in your arms again.
Your loving wife,
Mrs. - R/J
Rupert took a deep breath before picking up the tray and carrying it to the spare room. Obviously, this...woman was distressed, and he did need to be gentle with her, no matter how - well, shaking it was to have someone appear out of nowhere and claim to be one's wife. He paused outside of the door, and shifted the tray slightly so he could knock.
Jessie was lying on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. A million thoughts and scenarios ran through her mind. She knew she was alone. She knew no one here trusted her or believed in her. She thought she could trust them... she knew them, in a sense. But they had no idea who she was and didn't trust her. That was a problem.
The way he looked at her, and didn't 'see' her hurt her to her very core.
Was she dead? Could she get back? Did her Giles even know to look for her?
Rupert frowned, and knocked again. Had she fallen asleep? "Excuse me...miss?" he called softly.
Jessie's body jerked a little. She sat up and then slowly got up and went to the door. She pressed her hand against the wood for a moment before opening it a little. "Yes?"
Trying to smile in a reassuring fashion, Rupert lifted the tray a bit. "I've made you some supper, if - if you're hungry. I'd think dimensional travel would take a lot out of you."
The last thing Jessie wanted was food. She was never hungry when stressed. Giles always pressed her to eat. That thought made her smile a little at him. She nodded and held the door open. "Thanks," she said softly.
"I know this must be very hard for you," Rupert said, bringing the tray in and setting it on the side-table. "I promise that we'll do our best to get you back where you belong."
Jessie slowly nodded and gestured for him to sit in the chair by the bed. "I'm sure it's... hard for you too. "
"It's a little startling, yes," Rupert said, sitting down. "I apologize for my reaction, in this town we've all learned to be...well, wary of the unexpected."
Jessie gave him a wry smile and picked up a cup of tea. "I would think you would be used to... the unexpected by now."
"Oh yes, used to it," Rupert said. "However, it usually involves someone being injured or dying. We do live on an open Hellmouth."
There was so much Jessie could share with him, about Dracula, about Ethan, about evil and being a slayer and... so much. She watched his chest, fascinated to see his heart beating. She could feel his warmth, and see his healthy skin. "But you're alive," she said softly.
"Er, yes," Rupert said. He shifted in the chair. She'd said something to that effect when she'd first appeared. But she seemed to believe her husband was alive as well. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Jessie took a moment to answer while she sipped her tea, then she shrugged. "I just meant that you're on a Hellmouth, but doing well. Or as well as can be expected, I'm sure."
Rupert shrugged. "We're surviving," he said. Though it seemed to be just barely, most of the time.
Jessie slowly nodded. She kept her head down, looking at her food tray. It was so hard to even look at him, meeting his eyes was basically out of the question. "So... ask me. I know you... I mean... I know Watchers. Ask me." She tried not to blush about 'knowing him,' because she didn't. She didn't know this Giles.
Hesitating, the Watcher looked her over. She didn't look as though she could handle much tonight, and he couldn't blame her. "What happened?" he asked gently.
Jessie took a deep breath. She wouldn't lie to him. That wouldn't help her or him. That didn't mean she had to disclose everything either. "We were in the house... and the hunters. They found us." Jessie frowned. "It happened so fast. One minute everything was fine, then the next... They had guns. I got shot, in the heart... and then I was here."
Shot in the heart...that wasn't promising. Rupert nodded, thinking over those details. "What hunters?" he asked. It was possible she'd been attacked by mystical beings that sent her through the veils.
Jessie's jaw clenched as she struggled to make sense of it all, and explain it. "In my... time... things are different. Watchers.. aren't all good. They were after me and Giles and our family. Not all Watchers would be, but these... these hunters were." She didn't want to tell this Giles that he was a vampire. That would be so hard to understand... everything was difficult enough as it was.
Rupert's frown deepened. Watchers - damn. "Well...it is possible that they'd have a spell that might have sent you here," he said slowly. "Could you tell me - why were they after you?"
Jessie tilted her head. "Time travel, it's happened to us before. One time Giles and I were separated in time. It's hard to explain. I'm not sure I can make you understand... Giles and I were... friends with some demons and... like Ari, for example. And the other Watchers... they didn't agree with her being... a part of our family."
"Like...who? Nevermind," Rupert said, shaking his head. "Friends? With demons? Well, I suppose that...makes sense...time travel?"
Jessie finally looked at him. "It was... the Powers. They made us... travel. It wasn't our choice. Nothing that happened was really our choice," she told him. "Except for our love, and marriage, and our son... our family. We chose all of that."
"The Powers?" Rupert asked, feeling slightly dizzy. Good lord, how complicated was life in that other world. "And the Council...was against you for that as well?"
Jessie kept her eyes on his. It was as if she was pleading with him to know her, to feel her... anything. She worked her connection... did she have a connection with this Giles like.. her Giles? "I can't... I'm afraid to tell you everything. You just have to believe me. I love... my Giles. All I want is to get back to my family."
Rupert exhaled slowly. "I understand that," he said gently. Her distress was palpable. "I'm not sure if...keeping anything back would benefit you," he said slowly. "Unless you believe you are from my - form this world's future?"
Jessie shook her head. "No, I'm not. Willow and Xander were.... alive then. In the future... or whatever. This is... I know a little of this time. Giles taught me at school, about this alternate universe... only..." Jessie rubbed her face. Her head was starting to hurt. "I don't want to keep things from you. I just don't want to hurt you or make you... doubt me either."
With a sigh, the Watcher leaned back slightly. "I'm afraid I must doubt you. Please, don't take offense - and I will do my best to help you with your problem at face-value. If you can understand..." he paused, frowning at the far wall. "You can't trust anyone, here. Not even yourself, and the Master has tried several times to wipe us out through subterfuge."
"Is there anything I can say or do that will help? To show you I'm sincere and no threat? Anything so that you'll believe in me?" Her voice choked a little. "I don't think I can do this on my own. I... I need... I need my family."
"I understand," Rupert said gently. "And I will do my best to find you a way back."
Jessie put down her tea and nodded. "Thank you." She looked up at him again. "Do you... feel anything about me? Not... " Jessie blushed, "I know you don't know me, but my Giles and I had a bonding. We could send feelings and thoughts to the other. I just thought, maybe you... felt something like that... with me?"
Oh dear God, he was out of his league here. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. "Usually that sort of thing develops...though closeness and emotional ties."
Jessie deflated but she wasn't surprised. It was worth asking, she thought. "Is there a spell you can do to... prove I'm telling the truth?"
"There are a number of truth spells," Rupert said slowly. "Though I'm rusty, and not all of them are well, uh, pleasant."
"I'll do whatever it takes." If he believed her, he'd work harder, she thought. And maybe... he'd know her a little bit. She just wanted him to... know her.
"I'll talk with Jenny about finding one," Rupert said.
"Thank you," Jessie said softly. She wasn't even going to pretend to eat anymore. She pushed the tray away. Her mind turned to helping herself once again. Maybe if she called out to the Powers, they could help her?
Rupert watched her for a moment. "Well, I'll leave you to yourself," he said. "I know you've had a difficult time. Do try to eat a bit more." He stood up.
Jessie closed her eyes and nodded. She didn't want to be alone. She didn't want him to leave... but he didn't even know her, and that hurt worse than being alone. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I wish... I wish I wasn't here. I wish this hadn't happened. I didn't mean to... ruin everything."
"Ruin everything?" Rupert asked. "From what you told me, it was the attackers, not anything you did."
Jessie nodded. Suddenly she felt so tired. She glanced around and noted the bathroom attached to her room. "I think I'll take a shower, if that's okay."
"Yes, that's perfectly all right. There are towels in the cupboard," Rupert said. "I'll talk with you later. Goodnight, miss."
Her heart shattered into another million pieces when he called her 'miss.' "It's Mrs. Giles," she corrected him firmly. "Or... or Jessie."
Rupert opened and shut his mouth. God this was awkward. "Yes, yes, of course. I'm sorry...Mrs. Giles." Oh that sounded strange.
Jessie could tell how hard that was for him. She sighed again. "Just call me Jessie," she said softly.
"Goodnight, Mrs. Giles," Rupert said quietly, and stepped out of the door. He sighed, leaning against the wall. God, he wanted a drink. The watcher reached into a pocket and closed his fingers around a crumpled piece of paper. She'd probably come over if he called - and it would be some time before the Slayer and Oz returned...perhaps...
Jessie watched him shut the door, her face expressionless. Then she went straight into the bathroom and turned on the shower as hot as she could. She didn't let herself cry until the flow of the water covered her sobs.
Rupert Giles rubbed at his eyelids beneath his glasses, and then spread the map of Sunnydale on the coffee table. "So, if we shift the group patrols to include an additional sweep, that means we need to cover Restfield, Pleasant Hills and Shady Valley before midnight, instead of two am." He looked across the table at Oz and Buffy. Oz had been with the Whtie Hats since the beginning - as one of those who witnessed the Harvest and somehow escaped, he'd the most realistid view of the situation of any of the children. Buffy... well, Rupert wasn't quite certain about her yet. She was gifted, certainly, but...
Buffy nodded. "I can grab Restfield and Shady Valley if you can arrange to hit Pleasant Hills. What about here? The vampires are lying in wait for delivery drivers."
Everything slowed down. Jessie saw the bullet coming right at her. It was the strangest sensation, even worse than when they’d travel through the vortex.
She felt the bullet pierce her skin and enter her heart, and then she knew no more.
Rupert nodded. "Yes, but we've tried to ambush them twice already without success, they bring too many with them."
"We need to rearrange the schedule for the next three nights," Oz pointed out. "Full moon." He glanced over at the shark cage in the corner of Giles' apartment and frowned.
Buffy sighed. She hated that Oz was cursed with lycanthropy. "We'll hold off trying to ambush the vamps here then."
It was dark, and there was a rushing noise. Jessie didn’t know how long it had been. She screamed for Giles.
She was still screaming his name when she felt herself hit something solid. She landed on her stomach and banged her head, and she was still screaming his name.
Buffy fell back and came back up with stake in hand. "What the hell?"
Oz jumped in front of Giles. Whatever it was was screaming his name, that couldn't be good. A.....woman?
"What the bloody buggering hell?" Rupert blurted, shocked. There had been a flash, and then - a woman in his living room? He pulled a knife from his belt and put a hand on Oz's shoulder, urging him to the side. "Who - what - w-what's going on here?"
Jessie grabbed at her chest and slowly started to sit up. The pain was not from a bullet, but because the wind was knocked out from her.
She blinked several times and then started to slowly look around. Her eyes found Giles. "Giles?"
Rupert frowned, eyeing the woman. Demon, maybe? She didn't look to be one immediately. And vampires
didn't usually pop into being midair. "Er, yes?" he said slowly. "And you are?"
"Careful, Jeeves," Buffy said, keeping the stake ready. It wasn't a vampire but this was Sunnydale, after all.
Rolling his eyes, Rupert waved Buffy back slightly. "Let her talk first, at least."
Jessie looked around in a wave of confusion. She must have really hit her head. "Wh-where are we? G-giles? W-where is Beau?"
"Beau?" Rupert asked, eyeing the woman. She looked helpless enough. "I - I'm sorry, do I know you?"
Buffy frowned. A quick glance told her that the woman wasn't wounded and not armed. "Maybe some of that whiskey you keep hidden would help?"
"Buff, quiet," Oz said softly.
Suddenly Jessie noticed something. Giles. He was alive! He was breathing! She could see his chest heaving, and his skin wasn't sallow. She started to smile. "You're alive! Oh, My Giles... you're alive!"
Rupert's eyes popped open wide. He shot a helpless look at Oz, and then back to the woman. "Yes," he said
cautiously. "I am alive."
Jessie's face suddenly started to fall. Something wasn't right. She blinked and really looked at Giles' face. Then it hit her. Giles always looked at her in a certain way. Either with a bright love in his eyes, or a pain... hurt... but still love. This Giles? He didn't recognize her at all. He didn't know who she was.
Jessie started to stammer. "What... what's going on? Giles, what's wrong? Where... where are we? What's happening?"
"We're in my flat," Rupert said slowly. "In Sunnydale...California. Where did you come from?" He gentled
his voice consciously, putting the knife away.
"Okay, coffee instead. Come on, Oz dude, let's make coffee. Why don't you grab a blanket out of my room for her?"
Slowly Jessie realized something. This was a different time, certainly, but it was also a different place. She'd went through a vortex. Slowly she stood up and pushed her emotions away.
She had to, or she'd collapse in tears and fear. "I'm Jessie. Jessica... Jessica Giles. I'm your wife, Rupert. And we've a son, Beau, and... and I think I just died..."
Oz blinked. "Okay, this place just gets weirder and weirder."
Rupert stared at her, completely nonplussed . "I - I-I'm sorry," he stammered. "That's...I'm not married." It was really a ridiculous thing to say, but it was the only response he could come up with.
Jessie's heart shattered in a million pieces, but then she gathered herself up, standing tall. "You'll find me. We always find each other. You'll know I'm not dead. Ari will know... Buffy will know. You'll come for me." And then she turned her face from them and started to cry.
Buffy motioned Oz into the kitchen and walked over to Jessie. "How about we take a minute? Let's hit my room."
Jessie shook her head and turned. "Where's Willow? She can help. She knows magic. And you have a million books here. Giles always has books. I need to go back!"
That was a shock. Rupert sat down, slowly. "Willow? Willow Rosenberg? She's a vampire," he said slowly. How on earth did she know - perhaps - another universe? Or a spell?
Oz quickly bent to pick up the pieces of a cup that he had dropped. He had always thought Willow was cute then..... now she was damned sexy and very dead.
Jessie's eyes widened. "Willow's a vampire?" She turned her full look on Giles and was about to say something and then decided she'd said enough. "I need to go back to my husband and son... my family," Jessie whispered.
"Look, miss," Rupert said slowly. "You've obviously been through something very traumatic. I have no idea
what's happened to you, though...could I offer you a cup of tea?"
Buffy went to the kitchen to help Oz pick up the shattered cup pieces. "Traumatic and he offers tea, classic."
Jessie took a step towards Giles. She could see how awkard and shocked and weirded out he was. Wigged, as Buffy would say. She yearned to touch him. Maybe if she touched him? But no...
She knew this Giles would flinch or back away. "Rupert... my.... you're not my Giles anymore, are you?"
Tea4Clee: Tears streamed down her face and she turned away. She'd have to trust in her Giles. He'd come for her. He'd never leave her or forget her.
"I'm afraid I'm - I've never met you before in my life," Rupert said honestly. "I'm sorry."
Buffy leaned over the breakfast bar. "Oz is going to crash in a sleeping bag on my floor. You two want to talk this over alone?"
"Er," Rupert threw a slightly panicked look at Oz. They were going to leave him alone with this...this woman? "I suppose."
Jessie shook her head. Talking wouldn't do any good. They didn't know her. They couldn't help.
She had to rely on Giles and Ari finding her, or help herself. She turned to a full book shelf and started rifling through all the titles, trying to find something that would help.
"I'm good for awhile," Oz said. "Buff, you be careful on solo tonight."
"You got it, Oz-man," Buffy said, smiling.
"Ah, Miss...what are you doing?" Rupert asked, slightly panicked. "Those are - many of those books are
Jessie rolled her eyes and kept looking at the books. She hesitated when she found a title about Dracula.
Then she moved on and found one about vortexes and pulled it out. She couldn't look at Giles. It hurt too much. How could he not know her? Feel her? She ached.
"I'm sorry," Rupert said, standing up. He crossed the room and took the book out of her hands, shutting it. He looked at the title, frowning.
Buffy glanced at the guy who was her Watcher and shook her head. Maybe the girl had come from an insane universe? "Jessie, right? Maybe Jenny could help."
Jessie froze. Jenny? She slowly turned and looked at Giles. Jenny... and Giles... "Listen, I obviously went through a vortex. It's happened several times, actually, but usually it's Giles and I together, and others and..."
"There's a spell. Ethan did it before when Giles and I got separated. I just need... please... please help me..." She gave them all an imploring look. "I need my family... I need... I need my Giles, and my son. Please."
Rupert took a deep breath. "Please, sit down," he said quietly but firmly. "I am very sorry that...this, whatever it is, has happened to you. However, this is Sunnydale, and it is unwise to allow someone I have never met before access to these books." He shook his head.
Jessie stiffened once again. She blinked. She knew she could offer answers to questions about their past that she knew, but this
was a different time.
A different place. She didn't know this Giles and Buffy. "What about Xander? And... is Ari not here?" How could he refuse to help her?!
Giles sighed, and rubbed the back of his neck. Another point for 'alternate universe' perhaps? "Xander
Harris, if that's who you're speaking of, is also a vampire."
Jessie sighed and started to get mad. "Listen, obviously I was sent here by accident or something. I'm not lying. I'm married to Rupert Giles in another time. My Giles isn't half as daft as you! He'd help me!"
"She does know about that guy you used to hang out with," Oz said. "Hey, I saw the photos when I was looking through your albums."
"Guy? He probably hung out with a lot of guys," Buffy grumbled. "As for Harris, just wait, I've got a stake for him and that red-haired bitch."
Rupert's jaw tightened, and his expression went cold. "I will help you, miss," he said quietly. "But I will certainly not trust someone who simply appeared out of nowhere. I am perfectly willing to help you return, but this is my home and I will ask you to respect my wishes."
The pleading look in Jessie's eyes vanished. She turned and headed for the door. "My Giles will find me. I don't need you... We always find each other."
"There's a curfew," Rupert said sharply.
Buffy hit the door and stood in front of it. "Uh huh, civilains stay inside after dark."
"I'm a Slayer. I can take care of myself," Jessie said. This Buffy didn't know her either. Jessie realized she was all alone. Maybe she had died, and maybe this was Hell.
"You're a Slayer?" Rupert was shocked.
Jessie ignored Giles and looked at Buffy, recognizing they were sister Slayers even if this Buffy didn't know her. "Yes. Before Giles was my husband, he was my Watcher. He taught me well."
"Then act like a Slayer and be smart or die," Buffy said firmly. "Where would you go? This Sunnydale and the vampires control it at night."
Buffy had a point, where would she go? The library at the high school? A church? Jessie had never been to Sunnydale. She remained standing tall, but inside her soul slumped.
"We're on an open Hellmouth," Rupert said, his voice slightly more gentle. "You have to be reasonable."
"Hey, guys," Oz said softly. "How about she take Buffy's room? We can sleep out here tonight. She just needs some time to calm down and.... be sad."
Jessie felt so tired and defeated. She looked over at Giles. "You may not trust me, but I trust you. Giles... you'll keep me safe. You may not believe me, but I love you. I... I love my Giles with everything in me. I have to believe a part of you is him..."
Jessie sighed again and relaxed. She turned to Oz. "Please show me this room."
Oz nodded. "I'll get you some sleep stuff, Buff."
"Okay, I'm going to do a quick solo, back in an hour," Buffy said.