Happy in a Land of Us
Disclaimer: Don't own them, never will - I'm just playing in a pretty big sandbox
Notes: When we were at Fusion, I was talking to Denise about the fics I'm working on and she challenged me to write a non-Xander centric one. So I asked her to give me a character and a situation or setting. She did - Andrew and Amanda post Chosen. Here's the result!
A/N 2: The title comes from the lyrics of Joss Stone's song "I Had A Dream" (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jossstone/ihadadream.html) which helped me sort out the logistical problem of the whole story. (You might already get what I mean and if you don't, you will by the end. Hopefully!) I know the lyrics are actually "in a land of Oz" but I hear "Us" every time I think it fits better so that's what I'm using!
A/N 3: This is unbetad and is a one shot - there will be no follow-ups to this! (although I did sneak in a little bit of another fic at the end! *g*)
Excerpts from the journal of Andrew Wells
I've spent the last week reading over the surviving journals. There aren't very many left, what with the explosions and the crater and everything. Luckily Mr Giles had scanned some of the more pertin… important ones (along with some other fascinating documents) onto Willow's computer. She's now put them on a secure web server - I'd thought Warren knew a lot about technology, but to see Willow Rosenberg work with a computer it's obvious he was like Tionne to her Yoda - not even in the same league.
Sometimes Willow still scares me.
Some of the journals are rather verbose and wordy - too prone to going off on tangents. I decided to begin my own now even though it's not official or anything. Hopefully it will serve as a chronicle for future student Watchers.
Yes, dear reader, today Mr Giles asked me, and one other, to begin training as the first Watchers for the next generation of Slayers. I immediately agreed, of course. What greater chance at redemption could there be for this once-evil mastermind than to help mould the innocent young minds of the valiant protectors of good?
The other candidate was a little reticent at first, but - after no small amount of persuading by yours truly - Dawn Summers agreed to join me in the honour of hopefully becoming the first graduates of the Watchers Academy.
I wonder if there will be a graduation ceremony?
Today was our first official day of training. It lacked a little of the scholarly atmosphere one might expect, but allowances must be made for the lack of facilities at the Motor Inn I suppose.
We began by learning a little of the history of the previous Watchers Council - I will append my notes from the sessions to this journal so as to avoid repeating myself. Suffice to say, the Council had a long and lurid history, some parts of which are perhaps best glossed over.
Mr Giles went to great lengths to impart on us the importance of learning from the mistakes of the past so that we aren't doomed to repeat them.
Sort of like that episode of Charmed where the demon gets to relive the same day over and over, learning from his mistakes so that he can finally kill the Charmed Ones, except he can't so he has to go through it all again. Of course, that could never happen in real life. The only demons that we know of who can manipulate time don't tend to work with other demons. The Rwasundi are probably the only ones who would consider it, but then there's a huge price to pay.
I'm pleased to say that both I and Dawn are progressing well with our training.
The physical side of the training is getting easier to get through. Mr Giles is an expert fencer and whilst neither myself nor Dawn can hope to match his skill, we are holding our own.
Weaponry training is also going well. We're lucky to have an expert in distance weaponry with us. Xander has been able to tutor us well in the best techniques with longbows, crossbows and throwing knives. Due to his injury incurred whilst bravely defending the then-potentials, he is no longer as proficient with those weapons as he once was but he is imparting all his skill to two eager students.
Today we graduated! Mr Giles and the others in the inner circle (Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris and Faith… (*NB - must find out Faith's surname)) have all agreed that both myself and Dawn are more than capable of taking charge of a Slayer.
I did propose the idea of a ceremony of sorts but we all agreed that since the first class consisted of only two graduates that there would be little point in having a large gathering which would detract from the task at hand. Instead we had a dignified soiree in Mr Giles' office. He gave both Dawn and I a glass of something he called 40 year old La Fraig (?). Buffy didn't look as though she approved but she didn't say anything. I didn't like the taste very much and when no one was looking I poured it into a pot plant.
Today we received our first assignments! We are each to work principally with one Slayer and will be able to call on others as and when we need them. Dawn has been given the onerous task of working with Kennedy - perhaps because the Slayer has previous training with a Watcher and will be able to advise Dawn when things start to go wrong.
As for myself, I'm delighted to say I will be working with Amanda. We established a useful working relationship in Sunnydale and even though I'm sure she cheats at D&D, I'm confident she will accept my authority.
Our first task is to scout out the area around the house the New Council has bought. We are to look for demonic hotspots and vampire nests, eradicating them where possible and reporting back where not.
Our assignment went fairly well. Amanda is wilful and a little slow in accepting orders. Perhaps I can talk to Mr Giles and see how he would deal with this kind of thing. Or perhaps this is all part of my on-going training.
I suspect the members of the inner circle are keeping tabs on me for the moment. After all, I was once evil.
I decided that for tonight's assignment, Amanda and I would patrol through the cemetery on the other side of the garden wall. (Perhaps the proximity of the cemetery was the reason for the New Council buying this particular property, sometimes Mr Giles can be so smart.) We had made a full circuit with no encounters of the demonic kind, when Amanda mentioned she could hear something in the distance.
I ordered her to go investigate it immediately; however, as she rightly pointed out, it was perhaps not the best plan to split up in the middle of a cemetery. (*NB: 'Dweeboid' can be a very hurtful term.) Instead, we agreed to stealthily creep across and assess the situation. I'm happy to report that Amanda's 'on the job' skills were more than adequate for stealth tactics. Unfortunately, there was a badly placed headstone that I inadvertently tripped over which ruined the element of surprise somewhat.
Luckily in this instance it wasn't a demon or vampire. Just as we were approaching the source of the sounds, Faith appeared from behind a large mausoleum. She looked a little flustered and her clothes were covered with grass stains. She told us she'd come out for 'a quickie' - I'm assuming she meant patrol; sometimes I don't understand her, what does 'five by five' mean anyway? From the state of her, I surmised she'd been in a fight. However when I asked her if she needed any help she replied she had it covered and headed back to the house.
I must admit, I'm not all that comfortable with Slayers patrolling alone and apparently I'm not the only one. Barely a minute after her, Xander also appeared from the same spot Faith had come. He was a little breathless; perhaps he'd been running to catch up to the once-rogue Slayer. I asked him if he was looking for Faith and told him she'd gone back home.
He's so brave. Despite now being half-blind, he's still looking out for everyone although he seems to be spending a lot of time with Faith. I suggested to Amanda that perhaps he was worried that she might go rogue again and that's why he was paying her special attention. I'm a little puzzled by Amanda's answer - she said she didn't think that was the kind of 'special attention' Xander was giving Faith.
I don't know what she meant by that, or why she found it so funny.
Amanda and I have officially been a Watcher/Slayer team for six months as of today. Looking back through the surviving journals made me think it might be a good idea to mark occasions like this since some Slayers didn't even live that long after being called.
When I suggested the idea to Mr Giles he thought it was worthwhile exploring and asked me to attend the next 'Inner Circle' meeting to present any more ideas I have.
I must work on the Big Board I'm using as a presentation tool.
We're being sent out into the field soon! The other Inner Circle members agreed with me that it's now time to start sending teams out. Whilst of course it was vital to have all the Slayers in one place whilst we were establishing the new Council, that's all done now.
We have to start paying attention to the rest of the world. Amanda joked with me that the reason we were being sent out before any other team was because they wanted me out from under their feet. Oh how we laughed.
I know we're being sent out because, after Mr Giles and Buffy of course, Amanda and I are the most successful team on the books.
It's been twenty years since I was assigned to be Amanda's Watcher. We've gone through a lot in that time. Lately however we've focused on the classification of previously undiscovered demons. Amanda's abilities as a Slayer and my own (not inconsiderable) skills with most demonic languages have made us the perfect choice for this task.
Mr Giles has even suggested that we might like to write a proper chronicle of our findings. Amanda seems to be really happy as well, the spell that Willow cast two decades ago seems to have stuck and the growing number of Slayers throughout the world has meant the life expectancy of each individual girl has increased dramatically. I suggested we might like to change the title away from something so connected with death. Being a Slayer now is more about life. And that life is definitely good.
A wordless shout woke Andrew abruptly. He looked around wildly, where the heck was he? A minute ago he'd been sitting in his study leafing through his old journals and now he was sitting hunched against a window on what could only be described as a school bus. Confusion set in as he spotted someone who looked a lot like a very young Buffy sitting across the aisle. She couldn't be any older than early twenties when he knew she'd celebrated her fiftieth birthday not that long ago and was showing no signs of slowing down at all.
What the hell was going on here? Looking round to see who had shouted a second ago he could see an equally young looking Faith staring down a group of girls around her…
That's when it hit him. He'd been dreaming. None of it had been real; he wasn't a Watcher; no one trusted him. Worst of all, his Slayer, the one person who actually respected him, Amanda, was dead. She hadn't made it out of Sunnydale.
A single tear rolling down his face, Andrew turned back to the window and watched the landscape roll past. Alone.